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911 Call: "I ordered chicken nuggets and they don't have chicken nuggets!"

POSTED: Thursday, March 5, 2009 - 6:49pm

UPDATED: Thursday, April 8, 2010 - 1:44am

Is missing your favorite fast-food lunch an emergency worthy of calling 911 ?

This Florida woman thought so.

Police say, Latreasa Goodman called 911 last week, because she could not get a refund after being told that McDonald's was out of McNuggets.

Police say, Goodman actually made -three- calls.

Here's her last call.

"Operator: 911, do you need police, fire or rescue? Caller: police. Operator: how can I help you? Caller: "I ordered chicken nuggets and they don't have chicken nuggets, and so I told her to refund, give me my money back and she told me I have to pick something else off the menu she's not gonna give me my money back. She don't have the right to take my money, you need to get an officer out here."

The 27-year-old has been charged with misuse of 911.

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Generally, calltakers are trained to not send police when the situation in question is merely a civil dispute. Rather, the calltaker informs the caller that the police are powerless to help and that the caller will need to pursue the matter via the judiciary system.

However, calltakers are also trained to dispatch police to civil matters for which there is any indication of a disturbance, or even, when there is a degree of evidence that a particular situation may escalate and become a disturbance (argument) or worse.

The above rationale, followed by calltakers world-wide as a point of protocol, begs the question, "what degree of evidence of a disturbance or potential disturbance is required before sending police as opposed to not sending?"

This question could be handled in some 911 centers with even more specific protocol that the above. However, in many centers, this question (and many others) are answered largely by a calltaker's professional opinion. And thus, another principle of emergency calltaking: "when in doubt, send it out." That is, err on the side of caution. If a calltaker.

This caller, just in the snipet we heard at this site, demonstrated several repeated signs of elevated emotion indicative of a potential disturbance. Perhaps more significantly, this was her third call. Calling multiple times, if nothing else, indicates that this dispute had been going on for several minutes, that is was still continuing. And there was no indication that it was ending.

One could certainly argue that the question of sending police in this instance was in the "gray area." However, if we want calltakers to err on the side of caution (and I suspect the vast majority do---what if it was our good friend or relative working at that McDonalds, or for that matter, not getting our nuggets at that McDonalds?), we certainly can't argue that the calltaker made a poor choice in sending police.

All this is to say, the 911 center was right to send police to this incident. That is clear. Whether or not the woman should have called is a question the calltaker couldn't have answered. They usually can't answer that question. So they send someone to get an eye on the scene and make that determination.

For these reasons, I just don't understand what the facination is with this 911 call or others like it---calls that are like it in the sense of being a routine 911 call. The 911 center wisely sends help to situations the center can't fully know with certainty what's going on for not being there. What's so remarkable here?

The woman was charged with misuse, true. But that happens a lot too. Was she convicted? We don't know. What we do know is that such charges almost always get thrown out. The responding officer was not at the scene for the beginning of the dispute between the caller and McDonalds. It's a "he said, she said" situation. She will probably not be convicted. So, for all we viewers of this video know, she may very well have had a legitimate reason for calling 911 about her situation. The responding officer's (the person who almost certainly charged her) opinion about the matter is only one opinion here. So again, what's the interest? So much paint drying and grass growing here.

I've been a 911 operator for over 15 years. People waste emergency resources like this all the time.

When I started I was shocked that people called 911 for directions, to ask if schools were closed, etc....

The problem is that many people think the police are there to solve all of their problems. well, they're not. Police are not babysitters and medics are not home delivery health care transportation. If these silly peoploe were fined they would quickly learn who to call for what....Politicians and our courts are not willing to stand up and tell people they are wrong...stop making excuses for the stupid. They are stealing services from everyone else who may really need help.

Hello! 911 is for EMERGENCIES. We learned that in 3rd grade.

Well she needed to call the police because she felt she was being robbed by mc donalds.

"Operator: 911, do you need ***police***, fire or rescue?

she probably did not have the phone number to the local police department so she called the only number she knew 911.
In the past when 911 came out, even i dialed 911 when i needed the police. and prior to that people called the operator "0"
So instead of the 911 operator transfering the call to the local police department politely like they did in the past, now it seems this is a major crime.
No wonder our jails are overcrowded and underfunded. The 911 operator should have just transfered the call and moved on. now we all have to pay the court employees for hours in procecussion of this person.

The anchor people are laughing and frankly acting unprofessional, They are just supposed to deliver the news not express their opinion of how stupid they thought this woman may have been.

Mr. Fargo,

I agree with you! They have failed to understand the story. It was not about the nuggets, all she wanted was her refund. My mother would have done the same thing. If she can find a GOOD laywer, do you think she can win her case?

You are just as stupid as the caller.....you have no idea how 911 works.....that call wasted an emergency telephone line that someone who really needed help may not have been able to get thru in time....911 operators do NOT transfer calls to police stations...

911 operators are highly trained emergency first responders...this person's problem is a civil matter....she needs an attorney not the police. She was probally creating a disturbance at the store she should be grateful the store didn't have the police add disorderly conduct and trespassing to the charges. She needed to ask to speak to the manager. If she was still not satisfied she should have copied the 1-800 number for the McDonalds corporate offices or the owner of the McDonalds.

An emergency is an immediate life threatening situation.

I can't believe how stupid these 2 comments are. You are just as dumb as this woman. 911 is for an EMERGENCY! This is not about if it's right or wrong. Theft or not. It's not an emergency. 911 doesn't transfer you! You get the managers name and the store number. Then complain to McDonald's corporate or goto the police station or call the police station. (I don't think it's worth doing either). This is abuse of the 911 system and this proves that there are dumb people all over. The woman was dumb and the people who comment on her side are dumb.

I wish people would stop saying that she called because they were out of mcnuggets. That's not the case. She called because McDonald's would not give her her money back. That constitutes THEFT. Of course this is a minor issue, so the woman should have known to call some other non emergency line. But the only "wrong" thing the woman did was not use common sense. McDonald's on the other hand is bordering criminal action

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