LAKEWOOD, OH (WOIO) - A man called 911 to report a local Burger King wouldn’t honor his whopper coupon, and now, police have a message to residents about when to call for emergencies.
“I’m calling the police,” the caller can be heard saying.
The angry customer at a Lakewood Burger King was not happy that he didn’t get his meal his way.
“I’m at the Burger King up on Madison and 117th, and I had two coupons for a free Whopper," he said.
The man was so upset, he called 911 to report what he thought was a crime.
“The guy took my coupons and he won’t give them back to me and he won’t give me the free Whopper that they called for, either," the caller said.
While this call may have you chuckle, Lakewood Police Cpt. Gary Stone says it’s no laughing matter.
“911 lines are for emergencies and that was not an emergency,” Stone said.
Inside the Lakewood Police dispatch center, dispatchers are busy answering calls nearly every minute. Cpt. Stone said they receive hundreds of calls each day.
“Some days are busier than others, but it’s a busy police department here in Lakewood. The telephone’s always ringing,” Stone said.
When a call is placed to 911, dispatchers must have both focus and patience. In the call on Thursday, you can hear the dispatcher calmly tell the man that an officer is en route.
Non-emergency calls right to the 911 line are frequent and they’re clogging up lines for real emergencies on the other end.
“That also should be called in on the non-emergency number if it is something that is non-life threatening,” said Cpt. Stone.
Calls for power outages and flooding should also be called into the non-emergency line. In this case, police responded to the Burger King and asked the man to leave.
Turns out the coupon dispute that turned into a whopper of a problem had a simple answer. The coupons were issued in Texas and not honored in Ohio.
Anytime someone calls 911, whether it’s for a real emergency or not, police do have to respond.
If a person is abusing the 911 system, they can be charged with a misdemeanor crime. They could also have to pay fines and pay for the emergency response.