Six-Year-Old Boy Calls 911 after Dad Runs Red Light

August 12, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. outrage /ˈaʊt reɪdʒ/ (v.) – to anger or offend someone
Example: The news about the price hike outraged the public.

2. dispatcher /dɪˈspætʃ ər/ (n.) – a person whose job is to send people to places where they are needed
Example: The dispatcher sent a police officer to check the house.

3. intersection /ˌɪn tərˈsɛk ʃən/ (n.) – a place where two or more roads meet
Example: Turn left when you get to the intersection.

4. investigate /ɪnˈvɛs tɪˌgeɪt/ (v.) – to try to discover all the facts about a crime or accident
Example: The police arrived to investigate the neighborhood.

5. hotline /ˈhɒtˌlaɪn/ (n.) – a direct telephone line for a specific purpose
Example: The company set up a hotline to receive complaints.


Read the text below.
A six-year old boy called 911 to report his father who drove through a red traffic light.

On May 28, Robbie Richardson of Quincy, Massachusetts, was in a car being driven by his father when the latter reportedly continued driving through a red light. Outraged by his father’s traffic violation, Robbie called 911 to complain. He also described the vehicle they used.

Toward the end of the call, the dispatcher asked to speak to Robbie’s father, Mike, who apologized for his son’s actions and declared that there was no emergency. He was left off without a charge because in some US states, including Massachusetts, driving past a red traffic light is allowed as long as there are no other vehicles passing the intersection.

Other similar incidents of kids calling 911 have also been reported in the United States. In 2015, seven-year-old Isabella LaPeruta from New Jersey called 911, announcing that she ruined Christmas after knocking over an Elf on the Shelf figurine. She panicked because according to a children’s tale, touching an elf is bad luck.

Another incident also happened in South Carolina in March this year when two-year-old Aaliyah Garett dialed 911 with a different emergency. The toddler called and hung up after saying hello a few times. A policeman visited her house to investigate and learned that Aaliyah just needed assistance in putting her pants on.

The use of the 911 hotline in the United States started in 1968. It became the central number for all kinds of emergencies. Calling 911 automatically connects the caller to an operator at a dispatch center.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         If you were the 911 dispatcher, what would you tell the father during the call?
·         What would you tell Robbie if you were his father?

Discussion B

·         What do you think of people who don’t follow traffic rules?
·         What is the importance of implementing strict traffic rules?

August 12, 2016