A man in New Castle, Indiana recently called 911 nine times in a 90-minute span trying to order a cheeseburger. Why? Obviously, it was an emergency.
Maybe the only person safe enough to deliver a cheeseburger was a paramedic also carrying a defibrillator. Maybe a gun-toting cop was needed to say to all potential cheeseburger thieves, “Step away from the cheeseburger.” Or maybe a fireman was needed to cook a cheeseburger on the grill without burning down the house. There are many types of cheeseburger emergencies.
It turned out the local police department thought otherwise, but were worried the caller might be hungry. The man helped them out by giving them his name, which led them to visit. By now, you are thinking this is going to be a heartwarming story with a happy ending. Aren’t you? Admit it, you think the cops brought the man a cheeseburger because they understood the medical concept of a cheeseburger emergency.
Wouldn’t it be great if the world worked that way.
But this is not that cheeseburger nirvana world that you dream of. This is the real world where cops look up the records of people who call 911 nine times asking for a cheeseburger. So if you are going to call 911 nine times asking for cheeseburger, it is probably better not to have a warrant out for your arrest. The caller in this story had a long arrest record and a warrant out for missing a previous court date. When the cops showed up, they arrested him and put him in the county jail.
And yet he, like those who have practiced civil disobedience before him, may yet be remembered as the visionary who first understood that America can become a place where all businesses, big and small, must serve cheeseburgers. Everyone. Even ambulances, police cars, and fire trucks. It’s so true. The need for a cheeseburgers can be an emergency.
Is it a crime to have a cheeseburger emergency? Is that the kind of America that we want to live in?
It’s up to everyone to change this. It’s up to me, and you. I’ve got a cheeseburger right up above for you. Your job should serve cheeseburgers too.
Teachers should serve cheeseburgers. Car salesmen should serve cheeseburgers. Even ditch diggers. You should be able to walk by any random ditch being dug and get a cheeseburger on demand. Asking nine times is just too much.
But asking an emergency operator nine times for a cheeseburger might land a person in jail in some places, especially if you have a warrant out for your arrest. And that’s when the cruel and unusual punishment of this Kafka-esque story really begins. Our trailblazing hero was treated like some kind of criminal with a long arrest record, not someone facing an actual cheeseburger emergency.
In jail, he was given a peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich.