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Man calls 911 about missing highlighter

Des Moines, Ia.—A recent outbreak of Covid-19 forced the Principal Financial Group to close its supply room for a week, the company announced Tuesday. On Wednesday, employee Jared Skruggs encountered a supplies emergency and took the only reasonable avenue available – he called 911. MMW News Network has obtained a transcript of the harrowing events:

911 operator: 911 what's your emergency.

Skruggs: I need help! I'm going through some financials and I'm using a yellow highlighter for recurring expenses and an orange one for one-time expenses, but now I've lost the orange one! What do I do?

911 operator: Sir, remain calm, I'm going to talk you through this. What’s your name?

Skruggs: Jared.

911 operator: OK Jared, have you checked under your desk?

Skruggs: It's not there.

911 operator: How about in your desk drawer, or maybe ask a co-worker if they borrowed it.

Skruggs: No, I tried all that! What am I going to do if it's lost forever? I’m going to get in so much trouble. Normally I’d just go get a new one but the supply room…it’s…(starts crying)

911 operator: Jared, nobody’s going to get a mild talking-to on my watch. Did you maybe put it in your pocket?

Skruggs: (pause) Oh...oh, yes! I must have done it when I went to...OH GOD, IT EXPLODED! I HAVE ORANGE INK ALL OVER MY PANTS. HELP! HELP!

911 operator: I'm sending someone right now. Jared, I need you to remain calm.

Skruggs: IT’S THROUGH MY PANTS! IT’S ON ME! (a clunking sound, like the phone dropping)

911 operator: Stay with me, Jared…Jared…are you there?

Man: Who is this?

911 operator: This is the 911 operator, what’s happened to Jared?

Man: Dear God! He’s got ink all over him! I think he’s passed out. He needs help, bad!

911 operator: Sir, what’s your name?

Man: Ethan, I work in the cubicle next to Jared and I was revamping our org chart when…

911 operator: No time for that, Ethan! I’ve dispatched the IRT (ink removal team) but it’s going to take them 10 minutes to get there. I need you to do something very important.

Ethan: Uh, OK.

911 operator: First, get the highlighter out of Jared’s pants. Can you do that?

Ethan: I…it’s so gross.

911 operator: Jared needs you, Ethan!

Ethan: OK, here’s goes…oh, I almost had it…so slippery…GOT IT!

911 operator: OK, now, do you have some binder clips?

Ethan: Yes. Jared has some on his desk.

911 operator: You need to take the biggest ones you can find and clamp off the area where his pants are stained. Can you do that?

Ethan: Yes…I…dammit, he’s only got the really small ones. Why does anyone use those? They hold, like, two pieces of paper, tops!

911 operator: They are worthless, but you’ve got to make the best of it.

Ethan: OK, here I go (20 seconds pass) alright, I’ve stopped the spread.

911 operator: Great. What color are Jared’s pants?

Ethan: Khaki.

911 operator: That’s what I was afraid of. OK, is there a yellow highlighter around?

Ethan: Yes.

911 operator: I need you to color over the orange stain in yellow.

Ethan: What?

911 operator: It’s the only way to save the pants! The inks will blend together to form a dark yellow or light orange that the IRT guys can blot out once they get there.

Ethan: Really? How does…

911 operator: Do you want his pants to live or not!?

Ethan: OK, I’m doing it…alright, I’ve covered the stain in yellow ink.

911 operator: Now just back away, Ethan. We’ve done all we can. It’s in God’s hands now.

Ethan: Hey, those guys you talked about just got here.

911 operator: Hallelujah! I think he’s gonna make it, thanks to you.

Ethan: I’m so glad! I couldn’t have done it without you, though. Say, while I’ve got you on the phone, I’m all out of staples. Do you have any?

911 operator: Ethan, this line is for serious emergencies only (click).

MMW News Network has learned that Jared has been comfortably working from home since his close call. His pants are expected to make a full recovery, with only a slightly noticeable stain that will probably continue to fade with future washings. The orange highlighter, tragically, had to be destroyed.


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