“As a young child, I’d see people eating salad and think, ‘They must be dying or, even worse, training for a marathon or something.’ To me, salad eaters never seemed happy,” comic Jim Gaffigan wrote in his book Food: A Love Story, adding “On the rare occasion that I’ve had a salad as an entree, I feel less like I’ve made a healthy choice and more that I’m being punished.”
There’s a 12-year-old in Halifax, Nova Scotia who would probably agree with him, and he took Gaffigan’s salad-related sullenness one step further, calling 911 to report the terrible salad that his parents were asking him to eat.
According to CBC News, the boy called the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) just before 10 PM on Tuesday night, telling dispatchers that he did not like the salad that his folks had prepared. Then he called a second time to ask how quickly the cops could get there, and to “[reiterate] how much he disliked salad.”
The cops did make a trip to the kid’s house that night. Unfortunately for him, they didn’t arrest his parents for putting lettuce in a bowl, but they did give him a lecture about when it is and isn’t appropriate to call 911. (And nothing makes an already depressing dinner worse than seasoning it with a teachable moment or whatever).
“While many can relate to the dislike of a salad at times, this raises a more important issue that warrants discussion at all ages,” RCMP Cpl. Dal Hutchinson said in a statement. “The improper use of 911 is an issue with all age groups and it ties up valuable resources, preventing emergency first responders from dealing with real emergencies.”
Hutchinson said that this would be a “learning lesson” for the boy, and that he would not be given the $697.50 fine that the RCMP often issues to those who call 911 for dumb shit. (Some people who weren’t so lucky included a parent who thought the cops needed to know about his or her child’s terrible haircut, and the person who dialed 911 after not getting enough meat on a doner kebab.)
But pre-teens aren’t the only ones who misuse 911—at least not when it involves calling to complain about their meals. An Ohio woman who reported some sub-par Chinese food, while she was still in the restaurant, was a full-grown adult. So was the Texas woman who told 911 dispatchers that her McNuggets weren’t cooked fast enough, and that she’d like to get her order for free. As was the Florida man who dialed the cops repeatedly to report the small portions that he’d received at a seafood restaurant. And, in February, two police departments in England had to remind their adult populations that the widespread KFC chicken shortage was not a police matter.
But still: Having to eat a salad is pretty terrible.