Everyone has gotten intrusive phone calls from numbers they don’t recognize throughout the day, usually from some kind of telemarketer or scam. With the advent of new technology, we can see who and where the calls are coming from the moment they pop up on our screens. We can ignore them in a fraction of a second with just a single tap of the finger. And if they’re foolish enough to leave a voicemail, it often leads to an instant block of their number. It’s happened to me so many times that I don’t even have a second thought when I see an unfamiliar number call me. But what if an unknown number is something more than just a scam or a salesman? What if it was a warning?
A warning is exactly what I would receive and one that I’m lucky to have had time to abide by. You would think that I would feel good about that, all things considered, but it still haunts to me this day. And that is because the person who called to warn me about the trouble ahead was…me. I’ll back up so that it makes a bit more sense and so that I can try my best not to seem like I’m just going crazy.
It started when I got a call on my way to work. I had my phone linked to the “in cab” option in the car without realizing it and a call interrupted the song I was listening to. The ringing through the speakers startled me at first because I forgot that I had connected the phone. So without thinking about it, I hit the button on the steering wheel that picks up the call. I said “Hello.” But nobody answered and the line was just a faint buzzing sound with perhaps someone breathing on the other end. I said “Hello, who is this?” and after another few seconds of no reply I ended the call. It was just a bit strange, but I forgot about it once the music came back on and I went into work.
I’m too busy during the day with my job to check my phone too often, so I just put it on silent and keep it in my pocket. I was swamped and didn’t get a chance to look at it again until it was my lunch break. When I did, I noticed that it said I had five new missed calls. That was unusual, so I thought there might have been someone trying hard to get hold of me. The number for every call was the same and it was from someone who lived in the same city as where I worked. Whoever it was calling seemed to really need to speak with me and urgently. And they also left a voicemail on the most recent of the calls. I normally wouldn’t bother listening to a voicemail from a number that I didn’t recognize because it was always just a waste of time but something about this person’s urgency was enough to get me to listen.
The voice on the messages was one that was very clearly panicked and they rushed to get the message they had out. I recognized the person speaking, but it took me longer that I’d like to admit to realize that it was my own voice on the other line. You’d probably take just as long to recognize your own voice in that kind of situation because it would obviously be the last thing you expect to hear when picking up the phone. It’s not too often that you get phone calls from yourself to…yourself. The thing is, however, it wasn’t just my voice that caused me great concern; it was what I was saying to myself that scared me the most.
I was desperately trying to warn myself about a major mechanical malfunction at the plant I work in; one that was going to kill me and dozens of my coworkers if I didn’t get to the machine in time. My first thought was that this was some kind of sick prank, but the panic in my own voice was enough to convince myself that something was going to happen. I got off the phone and rushed to the machine that I had told myself about and checked for the warning signs that something bad was about to happen. And I soon discovered that it was indeed very close to total failure, so I hit the manual overrides and the floor alarm for everyone to get out of there.
My boss and coworkers called me a hero for discovering such a dangerous problem with one of the machines that rarely ever needs worked on, but I didn’t bring up the fact that I had gotten a phone call from myself warning myself. Once all the drama subsided, I packed up my things and walked back out to my car. I pulled out my phone and was relieved to see that I did not get any other calls. I was still perplexed about what had happened and looked back at the call list from when “I” called myself.
That’s when I noticed that the times of the calls were listed as having been an hour or so after I actually got them. This lined up perfectly to when my lunch break was and gave myself just enough time to check the machine. Had I waited, it’s very likely that I would have been killed along with everyone else. When I searched the number online, it came back as being the phone line on the production floor of the plant. I cannot explain it, but I know that I’ll be less likely to ignore random phone calls from now on.