Arlington 911 Operator Makes Call Her Personal Mission

Operator helped woman and her dogs during ice storm

By Scott Gordon
|  Monday, Mar 7, 2011  |  Updated 11:17 PM CDT
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An <a title=Arlington 911 operator is being commended for "going way beyond what is expected" for helping a woman and her dogs during the Super Bowl ice storm." />

Scott Gordon, NBCDFW.com

An Arlington 911 operator is being commended for "going way beyond what is expected" for helping a woman and her dogs during the Super Bowl ice storm.

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An Arlington 911 operator is being commended for "going way beyond what is expected" for helping a woman and her dogs during the ice storm the week before the Super Bowl.

Ingrid Massingill answers all kinds of calls, but none quite like the one she received from Charlene Box.

"Is there anyone helping people kind of stranded in their houses?" asked the caller. "I didn't get to the grocery store in time, you know what I'm saying?"

Box, 75, lives alone with her two dogs. She explained that she had run out of dog food.

"I would have been OK, but not my animals," she said later.

But her call wasn't considered an "emergency" -- not when there were more urgent calls for police, paramedics and firefighters.

Massingill referred Box to a social service agency, but in the storm, nobody answered.

Not sure what else to do, the 911 operator made an offer almost unheard of in a big city.

"If you can't reach anyone, I get off at 2:30 and I can come by there and pick you up if you need me to," Massingill said.

At first, Box declined the offer.

"I know you offered to, and I'd let you in a New York minute, sweetheart, if the ice wasn't out there," she said.

Box didn't want to be a burden, and said she didn't even have any money.

"Money is no problem," Massingill responded without missing a beat. "You want me to drop by and get some dog food? Do you need something?"

Box finally accepted.

"About 12 cans of dog food and I need me some cereal and some milk," she said.

"I just want to make sure you and the puppies have something to eat, OK?" Massingill said.

Some colleagues pitched in donations, and when Massingill got off her shift, she and a co-worker stopped at a store, picked up the needed supplies and delivered them to Box's door.

"I just couldn't believe the goodness of people, but here they were," Box remembered a few weeks later.

She said the operators won't allow her to repay them.

"I've offered four or five times to pay for it, and they won't let me," she said. "They said, 'No.'"

In a memo, supervisors in Arlington's 911 office commended Massingill and her colleagues for "going far beyond what is expected."

A month later, they still keep in touch.

Box calls Massingill and the others her "dream girls" and "angels."

"It's very unusual in these days and times to find somebody who would do that," Box said.

Massingill said she is just grateful she could help.

"I would just think if I needed help, somebody would help me," she said. "It makes me feel good inside."

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