Dial ‘M’ for Mistake

By Pam Robinson

Sep 10, 2009 1:00pm

ABC News On Campus reporter Chris Badders blogs: On her way to work Tuesday morning, Lindsey Bacon looked down to see a voicemail from a number she didn’t recognize. “Hello this is Jimmy at Orange County 911,” the message said.  “Someone called 911 from this number and hung up I was calling back to see if you had an emergency or any kind of problem there.” Bacon, 23, was the victim of a butt dial – when pressure against your cell phone accidentally dials a random number from your contacts list or, in her case, a random number altogether. “When I heard the message I just thought to myself ‘Oh my God, what do I do now?’” Bacon, a recent graduate of East Carolina University,  said. “I felt like an idiot.” Normally a butt dial is just a barrage of random noise being left in a voicemail message or coming through the line on a call. Other times it ends up being a funny story to tell after the fact among family or friends. Jenn Flaherty, a senior at UNC, said that she got to showcase her singing talents to her dad in her most embarrassing of butt dials. “Me and my friends were at He’s Not Here on karaoke when my phone butt dialed my dad from speed dial,” Flaherty said. “It went to his voicemail and he called me back the next day.” Her dad’s reaction? “He just told me I was a little off key.” UNC senior Mattie Van Schoor’s butt has a special interest in dialing her dentist as she has managed to call him, discovering similar musical tastes in the process. “One time I called my dentist on his emergency line while playing beer pong 3 days after he’d taken my wisdom teeth out,” Van Schoor said. “He didn’t answer, but later in the week I left him a message with my cousins and I singing Stevie Nicks.” “He ragged on me about it at my next appointment, but come to find out he’s a fan also.” Victims of a butt dial can also find themselves in hot water with friends as calls can be made to people who are actually the topic of conversation. This was such the case for UNC junior Sarah Beamish, as she listened into her roommate talking about her behind her back. “She called my phone from her pocket and it left a two-minute conversation of her talking about me to someone else,” Beamish said. “When I called her back she denied everything, and then I told her I had the recorded message. She’s much more careful now.” Calls between friends, family, and other common acquaintances are all common in the butt dialing world. But as Duke graduate student Kathryn Ellis found out, a butt dial can strike at any moment no matter how prepared you think you are. “I was in a graduate school interview with my phone in my back pocket on silent and everything,” Ellis explains. “In the middle of the interview I hear this low moaning sound coming from my pocket, but I ignored it thinking my interviewer couldn’t hear it.” Ellis said that she had somehow managed to take her phone off silent, turn the speaker phone feature to on, and continuously speed dial the same number. The moaning she heard was a woman on the other end asking who was calling and why they kept calling and hanging up. “Apparently my butt is better with my phone than I am, because to this day I don’t know how to turn my phone on speaker,” Ellis said. “It was really embarrassing though, but my interviewer didn’t miss a beat and kept on going with the interview.”

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