Nova Scotia

12-year-old Halifax boy who doesn't like salad called 911 — twice

A 12-year-old boy's dislike of salad prompted not one, but two 911 calls that Halifax RCMP used as a teaching moment.

What kind of salad prompted 911 calls? 'Obviously one to his dislike,' say police

A dislike of salad is not a good enough reason to call 911, RCMP say. (Africa Studio/Shutterstock)

A 12-year-old boy's dislike of salad prompted not one, but two 911 calls that Halifax RCMP used as a teaching moment.

Just before 10 p.m. on Tuesday, RCMP responded to a 911 call from the boy who said one of his parents made a salad he didn't like. 

However, before police arrived, the kid called 911 a second time asking when police would get there — and reiterated how much he disliked salad. 

RCMP officers took it as an opportunity to speak to the boy not only about the salad but the importance of only dialling 911 when appropriate.

Donair complaint also not a good reason to call 911

RCMP Cpl. Dal Hutchinson said every day in Nova Scotia calls are made to 911 in error or people call for non emergencies. Hutchinson said there are a few calls that stand out that resulted in a $697.50 fine for misuse of 911. 

"They've involved everything from someone calling 911 complaining that there wasn't enough donair meat on their donair. Another one a person couldn't find their TV remote so they called 911," he said.

"We can't make this stuff up."

Police have even received a call to 911 from a parent whose child didn't get a haircut they liked. 

"It's not just children that misuse 911, we see a lot of adults that use 911 … when they shouldn't be," said Hutchinson.

Given the boy's age and the discussion officers had with him over the correct use of 911, Hutchinson said police will not fine the kid.

"Hopefully, this will be a learning lesson … it created an opportunity for him to learn something from this," he said.

Hutchinson said the 12-year-old's parents "were not impressed" with what their son had done when police arrived at their door.

When to use 911?

Hutchinson said it's only appropriate to call 911 in the case of an emergency. 

"If somebody's at risk of being harmed or it's a life-threatening situation whether it be a motor vehicle collision or an assault in progress or break and enter — those are the situations that require someone to call 911. It's an immediate emergency, you need first responders there as soon as possible," he said.

Hutchinson also said if you suspect someone is driving while impaired, you should call 911.

He said police have an obligation to respond to all 911 calls, whether it is an accidental dial — or even if it's someone who doesn't like salad.

As to what kind of salad prompted the two calls for help? Hutchinson couldn't say.

"Obviously one to his dislike because he called 911."

On a more personal note, Hutchinson said at his age, salad has become a part of life. 

"I have to eat healthy some days, and I typically have a salad everyday at lunch, but today is one of those days I'm not having one," he said. 

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Seasick marine biologist, turned journalist. She lives in Halifax. In 2018 she helped lead a team of reporters and editors to win the RTDNA Ron Laidlaw Continuing Coverage Award for work on the Deep Trouble series. The series delved into the plight of the endangered North Atlantic Right Whale. She can be reached at, on Twitter @cassiehwilliams