It was a Saturday night. I was on the corner of King Street and Warren, where so much was happening at once. There was music playing from a nearby bar, people laughing with each other as they stumble home from the bars and friends parading down the street with their funky costumes on.
It was around 12:45am, and my friend and I were wrapping up a bake sale we did for the College’s Vegan Club. We were excited for the profit we made and all the wonderful people who purchased a treat who were now open to learning about veganism. Even though it was pretty late for us, we were wide awake and buzzing with energy.
A loud cracking noise turned my attention to the people crowding around 10 Warren. At first, I figured it was a crowd of drunk students making their way home from a Halloween party or one of the nearby bars and didn’t think twice about it. But the more I continued to look in that direction, I realized the cracking noise was the sound of two people throwing punches at each other.
It didn’t seem all too bad at first, but then, before I knew it, the two fighters crossed the street and were gravitating closer and closer to where I was standing. I was hypnotized. I could not look away. One of the guys (guy number 1) kept punching and punching the other guy (guy number 2) to the point where guy number 2 collapsed to the ground. But guy number 1 was not finished yet. He picked guy number 2 off the ground and threw him against a nearby car. He then grabbed the closest bike and hurled it at him, while guy number 2 laid unmoving on the ground. It was in that moment when I heard the sound of a skull crack and saw blood all over the pavement that I realized I had to do something.
I grabbed my phone and dialed the CofC Emergency number. “Cofc Emergency, how may I help you?” made it’s way into my ear after the second ring. I told the officer where I was, and what I was seeing, and how they needed to send somebody to me quick because the fight seemed to be getting worse. The officer responded, “Okay ma’am. I’m going to put you on hold for a quick second.”
That quick second turned out to be 5 minutes and 38 seconds. Yes, you read that right. The CofC EMERGENCY number put me on HOLD when I was in the middle of an emergency. I was so frustrated that I hung up and dialed 911. Two minutes after I talked to a dispatcher, 5 cops ran out of cop cars and attended to the scene.
What would’ve happened if my situation was a lot worse than it was? Or if I was in danger and needed CofC Emergency to get to me ASAP? I could have been severely injured, or worse, and that would of been the College’s fault. I understand it was Halloween weekend, but that number is supposed to be used for emergencies, and when I found myself in an emergency, the College was supposed to answer and help me right away. Instead, they did the opposite. They put me on hold.