Wrong Call
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Posted by Fly-Rin on: 03:56 PM, 11/11/21
As a computer support tech, I dislike having to make phone calls. The dread of having to talk to a voice that you can’t put a face to is a terrifying notion to me. This attitude may just be left over from many years of retail work. Having to talk with people face to face makes it easier to read the situation.

Seeing people makes things easier to tell which customers will be a pleasant start or customers that may just be having a bad day. Much easier to see when something is being said in a friendly demeanor or a condescending manner. Some days, I kind of wish I could go back to that.

Currently, I work tech support for a radio automation company. I know that I only got my position due to nepotism due to knowing the boss’ daughter from some community theater productions. Never had too much experience with sound editing or computer coding. Probably why a few of my new coworkers didn’t find my addition to the team the most fruitful.

I did my best to pick up as much information as I could, just to prove that I could be an asset and not just “dead weight” as I heard from a few disgruntled coworkers. I took notes on how the systems worked, read up on issues with our systems compatibility with different operating systems, and practiced updating software in a few locations. Even took the reigns on a few troubleshooting problems, with supervision.

About 2 months after I started, the support room had a pipe break in the ceiling and flooded the area. Now instead of everyone being in the same room to help each other on calls if needed, we were all separated into individual offices while repairs were being made.

This meant that I was pushed more to secretary duties until further notice. It wasn’t so bad. Listen to any support calls left on our answer system and put the information into a ticket for the techs to respond. Sign for packages when the usual front office worker wasn’t there. Run errands for office supplies and lunches. Pretty laid back compared to support work.

But “idle hands make for fretful minds.” I felt that if I didn’t prove that I could be useful before repairs were finished, I would be let go due to my inexperience. I was not confident in tackling program errors on my own at the time, but I was confident in updating the software on my own. So, I took initiative.

I started going through the list of customers in our database and started working on updates. It was working fine for a while. I would call, introduce myself and what I was calling about, then work with the customer to restart the automation system to accept the new software. It kept me busy, and it would help keep all the customers up to date.

 It was going smoothly until something unexplainable happened.

I had finished copying the software executables to the server at the location and started looking for contact information. I couldn’t find a phone number in the usual customer ticket that I was using for most of the prior calls. I figured I would just need to look somewhere else for the number to call.

I checked with my usual supervisor where I would be able to look up customer contact information and started from there. It took a bit of searching but I did find a number to call. No name for who to ask for though.

I dialed the number and waited for the call to either connect or send me to voice mail. After a few rings, someone answered.


The voice on the other end reminded me of a Muppet: high, wavery, almost like a cartoon chipmunk. Probably just an older station employee.

“Hi, my name is… “


That was odd. I paused for a moment before trying again.

“Hello… I’m with Sm- “


I wondered if my audio could not be heard on their end.

“Hi. Pardon me, but can you hear… “

“Is it your birthday?”

I was a bit loss for words with that question. Maybe I got a wrong number? Before I could apologize, the person on the other side of the call started singing.

It wasn’t shrill or grating. Same chipmunk tone, singing the well-known birthday lyrics.

“Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday, dear… “

I hung up the call. I was uneasy to say the least. Thinking back on it now, it was either a poor old lady with dementia or some kids pulling a joke on an unknown number.

I headed to my supervising coworker and told them what happened. He asked if I would try the number back, just to see if he could hear what I heard. I agreed and hit ‘Redial’ on my office phone.

Instead of the usual ringing, we were met with a robotic voice.

“Announcement 5. The number you are trying to reach is not in service. We apologize for the inconvenience.”

This repeated twice before the phone closed the call automatically. I asked if he had ever heard something like that before. He hadn’t.

Word got around the office what had transpired that day. I was the latest support anecdote in the office for a month. Occasionally, coworkers would call my phone and try to mimic the voice to try startling me. It annoyed me at first but when I stopped reacting, the teasing subsided.

It’s been several years since that call. I’ve experienced some odd calls since then but never anything as creepy as that call.


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