If you're not careful with what numbers you're dialing, you could be a number or two off from talking to a complete stranger. At least, maybe like these people, you'll get a funny story out of it.
(Content has been edited for clarity.)
"When I was 16 years old, a woman called my cell and tried to fire me.
She was very worked up, and whatever deadbeat employee she had been trying to call must have been a real piece of work. She was going on about how I never showed up to work, always gave excuses, etc. I kept trying to interject to say, 'Ma'am, I think you have the wrong number,' but she was all, 'Don't give me that crap, I'm not buying it.'
Finally, I said, 'Ma'am, I don't think you understand. I'm a 16-year-old high school student sitting in my parents' basement. I really think you have the wrong number.'
She paused. 'Oh my God! Sweetie, I'm so sorry to have yelled at you, I hope I didn't upset you,' and all that.
I just wished her well and told her to give the guy a hard time, and went back to playing Call of Duty. Pretty wild."
"I got a call from a crying lady about seven years ago. She says over and over 'Mom passed away. I don't know, how do you? You were supposed to be there.'
I was freaking out because she sounded like my sister, at least from the hysterical crying and talking. After the first two minutes of trying to get a word edgewise to my 'sister' she said she 'doesn't know how to make it to Marion.'
WAIT, who is this?! Come to find out, she wasn't my sister but some poor lady whose mom passed and hysterically misdialed her brother. I was living in Cincinnati at the time and her mom and family and also the funeral were in Marion, which is a bit north of Columbus.
She apologized and calmed down, but by this point, I was kind of drawn in based on the emotional roller coaster she'd put me through. So I asked her where she lived and found out who she was. Turn out it was a very sad situation, so I told her I'd pick her up from Lexington, Kentucky and take her to Marion the next day. I met some of her family and left right after. Now for the last seven years, I get a Christmas card from this sweet lady and she's come to my home a few times for my kids' birthdays and my family as well to some of her life events.
An initially terrible phone call resulted in a fantastic relationship with a wonderful person."
"I got a wrong number call looking for (let's just say) Susie. I told them sorry, you have the wrong number, there's no Susie here.
A short time later, they call again, asking for Susie. I politely say nope, still me, no Susie here, you've got the wrong number.
They call a third time. I answer in my best crappy female falsetto voice, a la Monty Python (I'm a guy)...
'Hi, we're looking for Susie?'
'This is she, who's calling?'
'This is company so-and-so, is this a good time to discuss X?'
I reply, but transition from falsetto to mid-range and then to my actual, rather deep voice (bold) during the sentence...
'Sure, this is an ok time -- so yeah listen it's still the same guy and you've still got the wrong number.'
A short pause, followed by laughter and then saying sorry, and that they won't call again."
"In college, I got a call at like 2 am from some guy yelling at me and threatening to 'beat my behind' if I didn't stay away from 'his girl.' I had just started sorta casually seeing a new lady friend a couple days before, but it became clear when he said a name that wasn't hers that the guy had the wrong number. I told him as much and went back to bed.
When I casually mentioned it to the girl the next day, before getting to the whole wrong number part of the story, she got a shocked look on her face and said 'How the heck did (dude's name) get your number?!' Turns out she had a boyfriend that she was cheating on with me. I politely told her we weren't going to work out and neglected to mention that it was a wrong number.
Bullet dodged. Thanks, random angry guy. If I knew who you were, I'd buy you a special dialing wand so you can threaten the right dude next time.
I thought of another phone-related mixup that is pretty funny. I switched providers and had to change my number. I gave my friends the new number, but apparently, some of them just added it to their contacts without deleting my old number. It was apparently eventually reissued to someone else in the area and sometime later my friends, thinking they were texting me, sent a message to that number with an invite to a party with the address and all that info. The dude actually showed up. Apparently, he was pretty chill, but everyone was pretty confused and thought it was strange that someone would get a random text like that and just go without seeing who the heck was texting him. I thought it was hilarious. According to my friends, the guy even sort of looked like me and they refused to call him anything but my name."
"There was a hostage situation with multiple shootings where I lived sometime last year. I got a random call from some lady in a completely different state shortly after the media grabbed hold of the situation.
When I answered, she yelled, 'TRISHA, YOU OK BABY?!' I informed her she had the wrong number. She apologized, then she said 'Are you ok though? I heard about the hostage situation going on. You're safe? Right?'
I lived about 25 minutes from where the hostage situation took place. But it made me smile that she stayed on the phone with a wrong number to make sure this stranger was ok, too. She actually still calls every couple of months to say hi."
"I made a call to my grandma when I was a little kid. I was probably 4 years old and I called my grandmother pretty regularly. My mom always dialed it for me, but I finally decided I had the number memorized, so the big day came where I decided to call on my own:
Me: 'Hi grandma! How are you!'
Grandma: 'Oh hi! It's so good to hear from you! What are you up to?'
Me: 'I just got home from kindergarten, etc. etc.' I have no idea what I talked about but it went on for a minute or two.
Grandma: 'And how's your brother?'
Me: 'Grandma I don't have a brother!'
Grandma: '...Is this [name I don't remember, but not mine or any of my cousins!]'
Me: 'Oh no, wrong grandma!'
Grandma: Laughing as I slam down the receiver.
I'm not sure I totally believe that I actually said 'wrong grandma!' but my mother hearing me on the phone came over by then and swears that's how it went down. It's 35+ years later and I'm still mortified, but I bet the 'wrong grandma' got a kick out of it!"
"I pick up the phone and hear what is clearly a child's voice:
'Um, hello? This is, um, the refrigerator company?'
Okay, so it's clearly a wrong number because I don't know any children, and they're clearly setting me up for an 'Is your refrigerator running?' joke.
So I decide to mess with them.
'Oh, the refrigerator company! Finally, I've been waiting for you to call back for days! My fridge still isn't running - I've defrosted it, I've cleaned the coils, I've reset the circuit breaker, I've tried plugging it into another outlet, it won't chill. It's not making any noise or anything, the fans don't spin - and yes, I cleaned the fans too. The light works, but that's about it. I've lost hundreds of dollars of food and I'm being greatly inconvenienced by having to buy new food every day. I have an important dinner party on Saturday, and I absolutely must have refrigeration! I need you to send out an emergency technician immediately because this wait is absolutely unacceptable!'
The poor kid breaks down and fesses up that she's just trying to do a prank phone call and she must have gotten the wrong number.
So I fess up that I'm just messing with her, give her some tips on scripting and delivery, and we part amicably."
"When I got my first cell phone at the age of 19, I kept getting a lot of calls for the same person, whom I'll call Joe. Joe was apparently a bit of a shady character, as a lot of the calls were people yelling about him owing them money, the location of 'packages' etc. Joe had apparently changed his number without informing his creditors/accomplices. It was super annoying for me because my voicemail kept getting filled up with messages for this guy.
So one night I was in a hotel room with my family - we were all going to visit my grandfather for Christmas - when my phone started to ring in the middle of the night. My family members were all yelling at me to shut off my dang phone. I did so and went back to sleep.
Next morning, I checked my messages to hear, 'Joe, I'm really sorry, but I had to call the cops. You've got, like, five minutes, man.'
Calls for Joe declined after that."
"Many, many years ago when I was 11 or 12 (I'm 43 now), my mom told me my friend is on the phone. The girl asked for me and said her name was Laurie (my best friend). So I grabbed the upstairs extension and we proceed to have a conversation. About 10 minutes into it, I'm thinking something is off. It didn't quite seem like her.
So I asked, 'I'm sorry, my mom never said who this is?' And she said, Cory. I was like, uh, I don't know a Cory. She asked who I am, and I'm like this is Beth. She tells me she was indeed calling for Beth, but one from another town. My mom had misheard her name and she somehow dialed the wrong number but got someone by my name. We continued to talk for a few more minutes as we were enjoying the convo, but eventually hung up and I never heard from her again."
"When I moved into my first apartment, landlines were still commonplace (cell phones not so much). Someone, for about a month, was giving out my phone number as the phone number of the local ambulance company. I would regularly get (non-emergency) calls asking to schedule an ambulance to transport patients between nursing homes and hospitals, etc.
First, it turns out people don't really listen to what you say, and they would continue to try to make the appointment after I told them it was the wrong number.
Second, there was one lady who refused to believe that she had the wrong number. This was the number she was given, so I had better be ready to transport her patient. I wound up explaining I was a college student with a beater, and not in a position to transport critically ill people before she finally accepted that I couldn't help her."
"My father's phone number is almost identical to a taxi dispatch service based 40 miles away from where we live. Once in a while, someone calls him to order a taxi and he kindly informs them that they have called the wrong number. One day, though, he decided to play with one of the callers for a while. It went like this:
Customer: 'Hello, I would like a taxi from [address]'
Father pretending to be a taxi dispatcher: 'Yes that's alright. Would you like a black, white or Asian driver? Male or female?'
Customer sounding confused: 'Hmmm, I don't really care.'
Father: 'You have to choose.'
The customer chose some specification after my dad pushed her to choose something. Then he went on for the next 10-15 minutes asking her about the color of the car, limousine options for an extra fee and so on. He was really amused.
Then finally, the customer gets enough and almost cries out: 'To be honest, I just want a taxi. I have been hospitalized for three weeks and just got released from the hospital minutes ago for cancer treatment. I just want to go home.'
That left my father feeling much less amused, leaving him apologizing for taking up that much of her time. Luckily for my dad, she did find it very funny herself for not calling BS minutes ago and forgave him."
"This actually happened last week.
I had been getting phone calls from a number I didn't know, in Jamaica. Now, I don't know anyone in Jamaica so I assumed they had the wrong number. But because I have a bad case of phone anxiety, I never picked up in the hope they would stop calling eventually. Two weeks later, they were still calling. So one day I finally picked up to tell them they had the wrong number.
There was this guy on the other end who started talking to me in Jamaican Patois, and I could barely make out half of what he was saying. He was asking for a Mister whatever-his-name-was. I told him I don't know this man and that he must have gotten the wrong number.
Next thing he said was something that clearly sounded like 'murdered his wife!' Naturally, I was surprised and alarmed by this, but I told him I don't know anything about that and repeated that he had the wrong number.
By this time, it finally started to dawn on him that I wasn't who he thought I was and that he may have to switch to English so that I'd be able to understand him. So he repeated, more slowly and clear this time; 'Oh, I thought you were Murdell, his wife!'
I couldn't stop myself from laughing at this point, and once again told him that he really, really had the wrong number. He apologized for the inconvenience and left this rollercoaster of a conversation with a cheerful 'Jesus loves you!'
I'm still giggling thinking about it."
"I once had a wrong number call from a debt collection agency, asking for someone I'd never heard of. I'll call her 'Jane Doe.' I explained the situation and they just hung up on me - no 'sorry for wasting your time,' not even a 'goodbye.'
A few weeks later, I got another call from the same number, so I picked up and answered, 'Good morning, Jane Doe's office.' They asked to talk to her, but I explained that everyone needs an appointment. I offered February 19th, 3:15 pm. It was October. They insisted that February was unacceptable.
They carried on calling and texting every few weeks, and I carried on playing the part of the most obstructive personal assistant imaginable. I mentioned that any money matters should be handled not through me, but rather by contacting Ms. Doe's financial advisors - but then refused to give their number, as anyone who is really doing business with Ms. Doe already has the relevant contact information.
I carried on being as professional as possible while remaining utterly unhelpful for over five years. Several times I pointed out that they'd been offered that February meeting but refused it. My viewpoint was that if one of them ever treated me with professional courtesy then I'd admit to everything.
I don't know how much the debt was, but over the years they did offer a settlement for less than $300.
Finally, early in 2017, one of them was polite and reasonable, so I explained the situation and made a few suggestions for changes to training at their company. They haven't called since.
Sometimes I kinda miss them."
"There was a girl in my third-grade class that had given me her phone number, and I had tried to call it on numerous occasions, but it kept going to poison control for some reason. The one time that I think I actually got through, a woman answered the phone. Since I wasn't 100% certain that I had the right number, the conversation went like this:
'Hello?' A woman's voice answered.
'Hello, who is this?'
'Who is this?'
Hoping she would say her name or the last name of the girl I had tried to call, this went back and forth a few times before I realized that she sounded a lot like my mother.
'Mom, are you on the phone on the other side of the house trying to mess with me?'
I go around to where the other phone was. My mother was nowhere near it. I just called some random woman 'mom.'"
"When I first got my google voice number, I guess it used to belong to a doctor's office. After a conversation with a nice old timer, I realized they hadn't updated some of their office literature. I was able to track it down and when I asked them to change it, they were super rude. They said it's expensive and that their website is up to date.
The problem is they got a LOT of calls. And I was doing a job search so I had to keep the line clear.
I tried telling people they had the wrong number, but these boomers would just curse me out or demand I__call the office for them.
Finally, I got fed up and ended up spending a weekend giving anyone who called the same appointment time: 4:30 PM on the upcoming Friday.
The calls slowed down drastically and within a week had stopped."
"I received a call one Saturday afternoon where the guy started with:
'Andy! Where and when's the party, bro?! I got the drinks!'
My actual name is, in fact, Andy, but I did not recognize this fellow at all and I was not hosting any kind of party that night either (I lived in a small apartment at the time with my mom). I told him he must have had a wrong number and told him to have a good time.
I then started to think about how there is an Andy out there who must have a phone number similar to mine so I decided to try changing out one number from mine and calling in hopes to find this Andy.
Within a few attempts, I was in luck and I asked a gentleman, 'Is this Andy?'
'Yeah that's me.'
'Oh cool! My name is Andy and your friend X (the guy who called me earlier) said he has the drinks and wants to know when and where your party is.'
I then proceeded to explain the situation and we laughed about it and then I wished him a good time at his party."
"When I was about 11 and home alone, this elderly woman called my home looking for Maria. I told her there was no Maria and she must have called a wrong number. She started to insist I was lying to her and to tell this Maria to come to the phone, she really needed to talk to her. It went on for about half an hour until she got upset and hung up. She called another two times, always accusing me of lying to her and being a bad kid. I was a bit scared, too, because I was a dumb kind home alone.
Another time I had this random woman harassing me with texts and calls and accusing me of being her husband's mistress. I was 13 and no idea what was going on and I told her. She even heard a child voice when she called me but still believed I was having an affair with her husband.
Once I moved to another country and I had a new number, I didn't know anyone there and no one besides my family back home had this number. One night a blocked number called me and all that I could hear on the other side was a man breathing and whispering gibberish. This went on for a few minutes. I was pretty scared and never found out who he was."