Did a domestic violence victim really call 911 pretending to order pizza, as a clever form of code to bring police to arrest her abuser? The dramatic story makes you want to stand up and cheer — and that’s why it’s no surprise that this tale, which originated on the internet forum Reddit, went massively viral.
According to the account, a battered woman calls a 911 dispatcher as the boyfriend who abused her sits nearby in the same room. As she pretends to order pizza, the alert 911 operator on the other end of the line quickly catches on to her clever ploy.
He immediately sends an officer to the address where the 911 pizza call originated, and his suspicions are confirmed when he runs a check on that address and finds a history of multiple domestic violence complaints at the house.
The story seems too perfect to be true. So — is it? Or is the 911 pizza call just another in a seemingly endless series of internet hoaxes?
So far, only one media outlet has actually done the legwork of checking out the story, but even then, the account still lacks the detail that would allow it to be judged definitely 100 percent true — at least in the opinion of the site Snopes.com, which makes its entire business out of separating truth from baloney when it comes to hoaxes, urban legends and online viral stories.
BuzzFeed News tracked down the person who, under the screen name Crux1836, claims to have posted the story on Reddit. The original post was made in May, and according to what “Crux1836” told BuzzFeed, the actual incident occurred about 10 years ago.
“According to the BuzzFeed story, Crux1836 is a Portland, Oregon, man named Keith Weisinger, currently a lawyer for the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Weisinger worked as a 911 operator from 2004 through 2006 before attending law school.”
The BuzzFeed account, by U.K.-based staff writer Rossalyn Warren, does not specify how BuzzFeed tracked Weisinger down and verified that he, in fact, made the original Reddit post that, for reasons not totally clear, went viral only last week, picked up by news outlets around the world as well as in the United States.
But Weisinger does not say — or at least BuzzFeed does not quote him as saying — where the 911 call took place. Was it in Portland? Or somewhere else? And Weisinger admits that he has no idea what happened to the domestic violence victim who cleverly placed the now-legendary 911 pizza call.
“This is a part of the job most 911 dispatchers find frustrating,” Weisinger told BuzzFeed. “Beyond the immediate resolution – arrest, hospitalization, etc – we rarely hear what happens to the people who call.”
Weisinger also said that other than medical emergencies, disturbingly, domestic violence incidents were the type of 911 calls he handled most often.
While Weisinger’s version as told to BuzzFeed certainly feels credible, Snopes.com still maintains that the 911 pizza call viral story lacks enough detail, and the incident occurred too long ago, to determine whether it really happened exactly the way he described it in his suddenly famous Reddit post. Snopes rules the truth or falsity of the 911 pizza story “undetermined.”