We asked for readers' most bizarre, awkward wrong number calls and text messages and, boy, did they deliver. These tales of "whoa" involve everything from clueless callers to tactless texters, playful responses to toilet phones, and everything in between.
Illustration by Sam Woolley.
Even with smartphones and caller ID, wrong number calls and texts still happen all the time. What's the most bizarre one you've ever received? And how did you handle it?
The one with the, um, personal pleasure device, from iseedeaddaleks:
Years ago I got a voicemail from a guy who was congratulating a woman on her new job. He sounded INCREDIBLY uncomfortable the whole time and over the course of the message it became clear she must have gotten a job at a vibrator company or Viagra's headquarters or something like that... It was a wonderful example of someone talking around the obvious.
The one with the stranger thing, from Tortri_:
The one with Greg the player, from ad infinitum:
I moved and was assigned a new number, and it quickly became clear that the person who'd had the number before me had been something of a Lothario. For months, I got calls — often multiple a night — from women who were very displeased to hear a woman answering the phone. Most of them would just hang up when I told them there was no longer a Greg at this number, but a few became quite hostile, apparently convinced that I was purposefully hiding Greg from them.
The best was a voicemail I received on Christmas day that went something like this: "Look, bitch, I don't know who you think you are, but this is Greg's house too, and if you don't get him to call me RIGHT NOW, I'm going to call the police."
The one with the boys in blue, from ihatespam:
I live in Dallas, TX. Years ago, Dallas had only one area code, 214. Eventually, they expanded and added a second area code, 972 and thus they began requiring 10-digit dialling instead of just 7 digits. If you forgot to dial the area code and just dialed the last 7 digits, it was random as to whether you would be connected to the 214 or the 972 number.
That was about the same time I got my first cell phone. My newly issued cell phone number used 972 as the area code, but the exact same number for the 214 area code corresponded to Dallas Police Internal Affairs... You can imagine the number of interesting calls I received and I would have to inform them they needed to dial the 214 area code first.
The one with the good reverend, from laggyNGroovy:
For months, I would get calls at random times of the night looking to talk with a "Reverend something-or-another." They had a problem and needed the good Reverend's help. I kept patiently explaining that this was my number, could someone please update the number that he was giving out... Just please make it stop. After about 9 months, I was finally able to get it to stop on my own. The next call I got in the middle of the night asking to speak to "Reverend something-or-another," I responded with:
"Didn't you hear?"
Caller: "Hear what?"
"He got picked up for solicitation."
The calls stopped after that night. I'm thinking the burning grapevine must have got the number corrected on the church call list.
The one with Sharna, from TheRevanchist:
The other wrong number was a recurring one. Usually at 1 or 2 in the morning, one man crying and asking for Sharna to come back to him. No one ever picked up the phone after 10pm in that house, which led to us listening the next day with a good intense laugh at this guy.
Until we got a message from what sounded like a radio call-in show during the early morning, where the guy was trying to meet up/make up with Sharna, as he really, really missed her. Then, we had the best laugh ever!
The one with the faux professor, from Mixeddrinks:
I got a text from some person thinking I was her professor, question about a paper they are suppose to write for me... So I responded with:
"[name of person], the questions you seek the answer to demonstrates that you have a good understanding of the assignment, and for that reason, you get an automatic A. I will answer all of your questions in class next week, now go to (name of restaurant by campus) and celebrate."
Person was super thankful and believed it. Thanked me and mentioned that she really enjoyed what she learned in class etc etc. With a bunch of words of praise. I was going to prank it more but I felt bad and text her:
"You got the wrong number, sorry I can't give you an actual A. But if you ever get your professor's actual number, I will be glad to call her and give you a raving recommendation."
After reading this she called me, and I told her the truth, she was a bit sad.
The one with the unsolicited feels, from Marc Alvarado:
I got a very sad message from a woman who thought she was texting a friend after her first round of chemotherapy. She said that she was doing OK but was not looking forward to continuing the treatment and that she was really scared of dying. I offered her my condolences and prayers and encouraged her to reach her friend again. She texted back that she was sorry to have bummed me out but appreciated my concern. I hope she is OK…
The one with the royal flush, from Andy Affleck:
I once got a voicemail (I still have it saved on my phone because it's too wonderful to delete) in which a woman is hard to hear then she gets suddenly louder and she says, "George! George! George!" "What?" "Can you get this? I dropped my phone in the toilet. Can you get this?"
The one with the Google Voice translator, from Jackal Frost:
Recently, I got a new number and received two calls from Mexico. I don't speak Spanish, so I have no idea what they were about, but despite the country code and everything, Google Voice valiantly charged forward attempting to transcribe them to English. The results are pretty amusing:
- "Hey way, it's about an idea what I started picking up one of my car, and you can help me face all day. I look up with my father. Hey satish on my way to get Ocala for me looking for hello. This is ann from work phone number. I'm a listen."
- "Honest I've been really hope this reminder you will know that was in the f*** where. I love jingle on the me again. I see langol. I'm assuming you got there is Italia. every have a problem with your pool. OK? I'm trying dance."
The one with the porn scam, from Cheve:
Indian guy (assuming from accent) berating me for taking his money at some porn website (I am not even joking). Apparently he paid 2kg on some obscure website and then found my (new) number there. I found it way too amusing to hang up, last thing spoken was "Give me my porn motherfucker!! I hate you!!".
This is all true, I swear. Also, this is not an old story, this happened late 2016!
The one with the conspiracy theory, from SInghwada Dheet:
I got a voicemail back in 2008, and a bookend voicemail later.
"The pope knows, man. He knows shit's goin' down. Sell all your stock, just sell it man." Click.
18 months later:
"Did you sell your shit like I told you? Manny and Mooch didn't, and they done now - the pope screwed them." Click.
These two still drive me crazy. Maybe the pope knew of the market collapse? IF he did, what did he do to 'Manny and Mooch'?
The one with the Ginko Biloba, from Clint:
I once had the following conversation on my phone from what I presume was women working in a school office who didn't realise my answering machine had kicked in...
Woman 1: Doesn't have to be for life does it?
Woman 2: I think I am also just thinking, which I think, I think brides do don't they always think about people in the past?
Woman 1: Yep yep.
Woman 2: So I think you know, in some respects people like James, hah, I could talk to him for hours, I just don't, well Will and I don't talk for hours, never have really.
Woman 1: But you didn't want to fuck Will, um, James.
Woman 2: No that's so true.
Woman 1: But you do want to fuck Will?
Woman 2: Well I am not really up for sex, I am not bothered by it.
Woman 1: Aren't you?
Woman 2: No, I completely lost my sex drive.
Woman 1: I'm gagging for it.
Woman 2: Just completely...
Woman 1: Wonder why?
Woman 2: I don't know.
Woman 1: Try taking Ginko Biloba. Gets your circulation, stimulates your bits...
Woman 2: Lovely.
Woman 1: Its really good for your heart because it stimulates your circulation and it makes your bits tingle.
Woman 2: Maybe that's what I need to do…
The one with the love boat, from fireupabove:
"Listen, idiot, I am on your boat now and if you don't show up in the next 10 minutes, it's going into the water, and I am telling you, it will sink. It. WILL. Sink. Do you not get that? Get here, yesterday. Love you."
I gotta think it was the dude's brother or something... He called from a blocked number which went straight to my voicemail and didn't leave a number, so I had no way to save that poor boat.
The one with the little old lady looking for Rose, from Jhamin:
I used to get a call at 10:30 am every Sunday from a little old lady who wanted to know if her friend Rose wanted to get lunch. Every weekend she would wake me up (I was always up late Saturday, I was in my 20s). Every weekend I would tell her she had the wrong number. Every weekend she would be really embarrassed and apologise. Every weekend she would promise to get it right next time. Then the next week the call would come again.
In the grand scheme of things there are worse ways to be woken up Sunday morning and she seemed like a really sweet lady, so I just sort of accepted this was a thing that was going to happen in my life. After a year or so we developed the sort of friendship you have with the guy who rides the elevator with you every day at the office. You don't know each other, but you sort of do. You are each on your way somewhere else and are just passing by and you wish each other well.
She eventually promised to have her son program Rose's number into her phone and the calls stopped. I still have the same number but haven't heard from her in years. I miss her...
The one with the surprise visit, from G E:
I got a call from a girl asking "Is this Matt?" I told her she had the wrong number. She called again asking for Matt, I told her again, it's the wrong number. On the third call, I said "Hey, what's up?" and went along as if I were Matt. She asked if I was home, I replied "Yeah." She asked if she could come over. I said "Yeah, come on by."
Always curious as to how that turned out for her and Matt.
The one with the shady gun deal, from notinvitedback:
My phone fell out of my bag in Dupont Circle and the guy that found it made good use of my number for the five-ish days or so before I got a new one. I still receive calls and texts meant for him sometimes.
Most memorable was a string of photos of seven different handguns and one semi-automatic lying on someone's beige duvet with the message: "tell him which one he want different prices."
The one with three names that start with the same letter, from hagrok:
Many years ago, I got a rather suggestive message from a number not in my contact list. I showed it to my manager on duty, saying "ha ha check this out, someone sent a dirty text to the wrong number." Manager looked at the number and said, "Uh, I think that's the boss's number." Checked the number against his phone... Yep, it was our boss. Cue the hysterical laughter.
Boss said it was a text meant for his wife, whose name started with the same letter as mine. Turned out — when he was fired for sexual harassment with an official veneer of failing to do his job — it was actually meant for another manager in the store, whose name also started with the same letter as mine.
The one with the early morning vent session, from Evil Closet Monkey:
When in college (mid-90s), I received a phone call at 4 a.m. from a very distraught young woman. Answering "Hello?" in a groggy half-awake voice, she replied inquisitively with my first name. When I replied "Yes," it was enough for her that she had the right person.
So began a 5-minute long explanation of the worst day this young women had ever had. It has been too long for me to remember everything that happened to this poor girl, but I do recall gum getting in her hair at some point during the day...
She broke long enough to ask me if I was still listening at least once. I confirmed I was, only to be met with more of the day's hardships.
Finally, she paused long enough. "I'm very sorry that all this happened to you today. It sounds horrible." I said.
"But..." I was finally awake enough to conjure coherent thought. "Who is this!?"
"YOU SEE!" she exclaimed. "You don't even know who this is! You don't even care!" She swiftly hung up the phone.
The one with Mrs Smith and her friend Patrick, from Kaffine:
This was a few years ago, I had just walked into my old apartment from a bad day at work. Right there in the front hall, off come my pants, my shirt, my tie — I'm in socks, boxers, and a tee shirt. I hit play on the answering machine and go to take a poop with the door open. I have 24 messages — which is definitely high. All of them are this little old lady and she just keeps saying "hello. Hello? Hello! Hello? Patrick? " and hanging up. All 24 times. Then I noticed the time stamps. They were all like 3 or 4 minutes apart and had started about an hour before I came home. My name isn't Patrick... and I recognised the voice!
So I call my lovely old neighbour "Mrs. Smith," the 83-year-old widowed librarian and ask if everything is ok. She immediately asks if I'm home.
"Are you home now!?" she demands.
"Yeah I just got home and got your mess..."
"I'll be right up!" and slams down the phone like this was a bad movie.
So I freak out — I'm dropping a loaf, door open, in my knickers. A quick wipe, flush, and spray, then I run to put my clothes on, except… they're gone. My pockets were emptied onto my mail table hastily, my suit coat shirt and pants were nowhere to be found, and my crummy tough mudder sneakers are gone. I'm dumbfounded.
Then the door opens, and there is a half-naked "Mrs. Smith" wrapped - but not tied - in nothing but a red silk kimono. She startles to see me, pushes past, and goes into my guest bedroom. There she starts searching — under the bed, in the closet, she pulls open this old futon I used to have — all the while yelling "Patrick!?" Then she grabs a chair, goes into my closet, pops open my crawl space, pulls down a little rope ladder (that I didn't know was there), and hauls herself up. I hear footsteps over my bedroom (other end of the apartment) and then nothing. Minutes go by and nothing. I go to grab some sweats when I hear a little throat clearing from the ceiling...
"Cal - um, would you mind helping me down the ladder?"
Looking up, I can see Mrs. Smith's eyes through my AC vent. We meet at the ladder and I help her down.
"How about a tea? And some lemon loaf? My place, 10 minutes, and I'll explain everything."
It seems Patrick was Mr. Smith's best friend growing up. And Mrs. Smith had relations with both him and her boyfriend, but couldn't pick which to keep. So she kept both. And she was a classic kink who liked to be watched. I had apparently moved into her old boyfriend's apartment, which she and Patrick had already set up. So, when I asked her to keep a key in case of emergencies, she thought that meant she had a free access pass... For the two years I had lived there, she would hook up with strange men... in my bed (she apparently bought copies/ swapped out my sheets so it wasn't that gross), with him watching. Then, when they were done, they'd go down stairs and bump oldies together all over again.
This time, her gentleman caller had to wait for his little blue pill to take effect. Hot and heavy foreplay lead to an early arrival, so he left, and she was unfulfilled. So she went down to her room to await Patrick, who never showed. He had fallen asleep out of boredom, only waking up when I replayed the messages and apparently "made a loud groan while pooping." He then tried to sneak out so he could get back to his wife, but since his cloths were in Mrs. Smith's apartment, he stole my clothes to get home.
The next day, my suit was returned, dry cleaned and pressed, with two new Armani's in my size, a check for $US10k, and a request for discretion. Which I have kept until today.
Thanks for all the submissions! Think you have a story that tops these? Feel free to share it in the comments below.