During my time in news I have taken many strange phone calls. Most of them are just lonely people who want someone to talk to, and if we have time, most of us are glad to listen for a moment. However, there are a few that stand out in a crowd. For instance, there was one man who had gotten caught shoplifting at a local thrift store owned by a religious organization. He claimed he had been "framed" and was going to sue the store, the church, and Jesus Christ himself. I probably should have hung up on him when he said that, but it was 2am and I was tired, so I let him keep talking. I mean, until he asked if I would be a character witness. Then I found a reason I had to quickly get off the phone. Another time a guy called from the lobby, claiming he had discovered a new kind of dinosaur, and that he had pictures to prove it -- I just had to let him in. Um, no. I told him if he wanted to leave them with the security guard I would look at them and give them a call. So he did. His new dinosaur? A line of rocks sticking out of the soil. Oh, and that wasn't the best part. He wanted to call it the "Dianasaurus" after Princess Diana. I'm sure she would have been touched.
Of course, my experiences pale in comparison to the call taken by Sloane, a producer on the morning show this morning. I could recap it, but instead I'll let his e-mail tell the tale...
It's no big deal at this point - but I thought I should let you know a slightly unhinged woman made a death threat against me this morning - and a bomb threat against this building.Sloane went into the wrong business. He should be writing for Letterman. Or working as a crisis counselor. Honestly, I don’t think there is a person in the newsroom that would have handled it with more aplomb. I mean, maybe one of the receptionists, but then they wouldn't have summed it up so well.
It started when she called demanding that I send a crew to meet her at Provo City Cemetery. She claimed she had the answers to all of the world's problems, but outside of that - she didn't explain what the cameras would see.
She said "I am a genius, and can prove it." She asked that I make those arrangements and then call her back when the crew was on its way.
I told her, I would try - but don't expect a call.
Of course - when I didn't call - she called back.
LIVID. PISSED OFF.
I've never heard someone call me a "motherf--ker" so many times in one conversation; well except perhaps when I was living in the dorms at the University of Wyoming - but that was on more friendly terms and involved alcohol.
Anyhow, she called me incompetent, and demanded I write on a piece a paper that she was gay and she loved her country. Then she said she would drive up from her apartment in Provo - find me and kill me. And if she didn't find me - she'd bomb the entire station - UNLESS I call Provo Police and have them come to her apartment.
So - I called Provo Police.
I really don't think she intended to carry out her threats, but obviously she was unhinged and I feared she would at least harm herself.
A few minutes later, I got a call from Sgt. Crosby. They found her outside her apt in perhaps what they thought was a suicidal state, and possibly threatening harm against her "wife." He told me that they've had several run ins with her before - but never found her threatening. But, again, I doubt and the Provo police doubted she'd come up her and bomb the station or anything else.
But I thought you should know what happened. I also gave heads up to security.
I love my job.