Sep 17, 2019
It takes a lot to shock an ASD Call Specialist on the phone. Just as funeral directors have witnessed many bizarre or atypical events during funeral services, ASD staff have handled just about every type of call scenario you can imagine. Yet, over the years, there have been a handful of inexplicably strange or extremely challenging phone calls that have embedded themselves in the memory of our staff. From unsolicited confessions to unorthodox requests, these “Call of Fame” conversations have become quite legendary around the office. (Please note, every person employed by ASD must sign a confidentiality agreement, so any information that identifies the funeral home or the caller is forbidden from being shared in any form).
Now, for the first time ever, we are peeling back the curtain to reveal some of these unbelievable stories with you. Recently, we asked our staff to anonymously share some of the most shocking or peculiar phone calls they have handled for funeral homes. These are their answers.
24 of the Most Jaw-Dropping Phone Calls Handled For Funeral Homes (As Told By Our Call Specialists)
Outrageously Hilarious Calls
1) “I once took a call from a pastor who was officiating a service and got locked in the funeral home. He called and said, ‘Can you reach someone? They forgot to take me to the cemetery too. I’m locked in the funeral home.’ He was actually pretty relaxed about it!”
2) “Police called into a funeral home stating they pulled over a guy with his wife in the front seat. She passed away and he wanted to take her on one last ride…but got lost. Ended up a couple states over when they were pulled over. Police were calling funeral homes because they couldn’t figure out which funeral home would have let him ride away with her!”
3) “I once had a lady call to hit on a funeral director. She said she attended a funeral the night before for her best friend and he was there. She wanted to ask him out on a date. The funeral home had instructions to reach for all messages, so I had to contact the on-call for this. Turns out, the on-call person was the funeral director’s wife!!! So awkward! I’m glad she had a good sense of humor.”
4) “I once spoke to a gentleman who had a bad phone connection. The caller (I thought) said his parent had passed away. I began to take information from him and then asked, “what is your parent’s name.” There was this weird pause and then he put me on hold for a moment. When he came back on the line, he asked if I could hear him better and I said yes. He then stated, “my parrot passed away, not my parent” and started laughing. I apologized and then had a good laugh too!”
5) “A very long time ago, I remember handling a call that I still think is hilarious to this day from a woman who was absolutely livid that bottle openers were given out at her friend’s funeral service. The woman, obviously unaware that this must have been something the family wanted, demanded someone from the funeral home explain their reasons for giving out the bottle openers as she considered it to be an unforgivable sin. I can still hear her voice in my head, ‘…and they were engraved. WITH. HER. NAME. ON. THEM!!!’”
6)“I love the ones that call the wrong number and when I say ‘you have reached the funeral home’ they say ‘oh God I don’t need you yet’ lol.”
Actual footage of people when they realize they’ve accidentally called a funeral home.
7) “A daughter reported her father passed at home. I asked for phone number to the residence and she said, “Well I don’t think he’s going to answer…he’s dead.”
8) “A gentleman called to report a death call and I began gathering all of the necessary details. Then, as I was closing the call and about to hang up to contact the on-call director, the caller interrupted me and asked, “Wait, is this ASD? Don’t reach him. I thought you were his wife!” It turns out the caller was another funeral director was just playing a prank on his friend. He seriously had me going!”
The Most Unusual Requests
9) “Well…one man asked about exhuming his father’s body, because he wanted to have his brain taken out and possibly put into a robot.”
10) “I think everyone is aware of that guy who hops on funeral home’s websites and sends in web chats. He uses a different name each time, but the request is always the same… to have his uncle embalmed and wrapped up in his fur coat so he can snuggle with him!”
11) “I remember this one guy called in an actual death call for a family member and wanted to know if he could get a discount if he transported the deceased in the backseat of his own car to the funeral home. With a straight face, I had to tell him I wasn’t sure, but I would definitely ask the director for him.”
12) “I’ll never forget a call I once handled from a gentleman who stated that he needed help with ‘getting his leg cremated.’ I was still in training at the time and did not realize that it was somewhat common for amputee survivors to bury or cremate their limbs. I remember thinking, “but…why would you want to do that?” Thankfully, I took down the message without asking this question. My trainer explained everything after I hung up and I was so glad I had not revealed my ignorance to the caller. I still laugh when I remember how confused I was during the call.”
13) “I talked to a lady once who wanted lavender embalming fluid and fireworks shot out of her casket!”
14) “A man called in because his girlfriend died and asked if the funeral director could officiate a wedding between himself and the deceased because she ‘didn’t want to die a single woman.’ He also asked why the family didn’t want him attending the service. I completely understood why!”
15) “Caller asked if we could cremate her dog that died this past April if she dug him up from her backyard.”
16) “Woman called in because her brother was at the funeral home. She asked if I could call the director because she had been asked by God to resurrect her brother. I still remember she said, ‘Ma’am I know I sound crazy but when God asks you to do something, you do it.’”
The Craziest of Crazy Calls
17)“Woman called because she was given a “cookie jar” from a friend. Said cookie jar was actually an urn full of human remains. Caller was asking what exactly she could do with it.”
18) “I had a lady who wanted to dig up her dead husband’s identical twin because she thought the twin had killed her husband. She was convinced he had made everyone believe it was him who died, took her husband’s place and was living with her!”
19)“I handled a call from a lady who spoke in a very matter-of-fact way about her father who was stuck underground in a grave at the cemetery. She wanted to know how she could go about having a small hole dug at the gravesite so he could “climb out.” She also wanted someone to go over to his grave to make sure he wasn’t being disturbed by rodents or snakes. It was a very strange call – especially considering how serious the woman sounded about everything she was saying.”
20) “I had police call in saying they found a woman buried in her back yard. They didn’t know whether the husband murdered her and buried her to hide the body, or if he just couldn’t afford a funeral and buried her himself. It was an older couple.”
21)“I had a lady call saying she was reading the obits in the paper and wanted to know if anyone who passed had any small dogs that needed a home as she wanted one. She also wanted to know if any of them owned parakeets because ‘pet store parakeets are mean.’ Can’t make this stuff up!
22) “I once spoke to caller who accused me of having illicit drug parties in the cemetery and digging up the dead to partake as well. I was trying so hard not to lose it, but it was obvious she wasn’t mentally with it.”
23) “You’d have to be at ASD for a while to remember the old man whose wife passed and he kept calling the funeral home to tell them that she had gotten out of the grave and was under his bed and wouldn’t let him sleep. He wanted the director to come get her and put her back in her grave.”
24)“Recently, I handled a call from a woman who was asking the funeral director to give her more information about a small cemetery near where she lives because she truly believed she was being haunted by the children who are buried there. Said she sees them often in very old-fashioned clothing and wants to know more about them to figure out what they want from her.”
You never know what situation you may encounter as an ASD Call Specialist. It’s not lip service to say that our staff truly does handle life’s most difficult calls. This is why our 6-Month Training Period here at ASD is so extensive – we want to prepare our staff for every possible call scenario. That’s not to say that our Call Specialists won’t eventually handle a call that will make their jaw drop – it’s the nature of the work we do! However, one of the most amazing things about our staff is their ability to adapt to each caller’s emotional state. Whether we’re taking a message or just providing a listening ear to someone who needs it, we try to ensure that every person we speak with feels a little better about their situation by the time they hang up.