My coworker John was on vacation, and since the company I work for was perpetually understaffed, I was scrambling to keep up with the extra work load. I was up to my elbows in paperwork when George Benson called asking for John. Explaining that he was on vacation, I asked if there was anything I could do for him.
“As a matter of fact, there is,” he said, “We finally got a toll free number for our company, but some of our out-of-state customers are saying they have a problem with it. Since you’re also out-of-state, could you please try it and see if it works alright for you?” George was one of our main clients, so I agreed to help him out and jotted down the number.
After hanging up and dialing the 800 number, a sexy voice came on the line that said, “Hi. My name is Brandy and I’d really like to talk to you. Please call me at 1-900…..” I immediately hung up and furiously called George back. I’d forgotten what a prankster he was and I’d been had.
“Very funny,” I complained, “You know John is on vacation and I don’t have time for this nonsense.” Laughing uproariously, he apologized and explained that the prank was really intended for John and made me promise to be sure to give him a message with the bogus number when he got back from vacation.
Humor is a great stress reliever, and being somewhat of a jokester myself, I took every opportunity to use the same gag on everyone else in the office. When John came in Monday morning all refreshed from his holiday away from the office, I handed him a stack of legitimate messages with the fake one included. He was at his desk going through them, when I heard him comment, “So George got a toll free number. That’s cool.” Then he did something I couldn’t have anticipated in my wildest dreams. He promptly programmed the fake number into his speed dial!
I mumbled something about having to get the Simpson file from Randy and dashed down the hall trying to contain myself. It didn’t take long for word to spread throughout the office of what had just transpired. We all waited in gleeful anticipation for John to call George.
The day dragged on, and John, who normally talked to George on a daily basis, still hadn’t made the fateful call. It was then I realized my rookie mistake. The message simply said that George had a new toll free number, but not that he was expecting John to call. Something needed to be done to complete the hoax, so while John was out of the office on an errand, I came up with the perfect solution. It was so simple! Why didn’t I think of it sooner? I grabbed my pink “While You Were Out” pad and concocted another fake message for him saying George had called and could he please return the call. When John came back into the office I gave him the second bogus message and the trap was laid.
With message in hand, John went to his desk and hit the speed dial button for George. Deciding it was a good idea to vacate the immediate vicinity, and also to alert the rest of the staff, I was halfway down the hall when I heard John exclaim, “Ja-a-a-a-ne! I can’t believe you did this to me!”
The whole office erupted into peals of laughter. I emerged from the hall giggling helplessly. “Oh John,” I gasped, “You did it to yourself! George pulled that one on me when you were on vacation, and I’ve been getting people with that prank all week. But you…(more giggles)…you are the only one who put that number in his speed dial!”
John was a good sport and you would think the story would end there, but it didn’t. In all the hilarity and teasing, John completely forgot to change the number in his speed dial back to the right one. For days and weeks later, every time John went to call George, the sexy voice would come on the line and I’d hear him say, “Dammit Jane. I keep forgetting to change that number!” Chuckles would ensue, and then he’d manually dial the right number and forget to change it again.
Eventually John managed to get the right phone number back into his speed dial, but I never get tired of reminding him of the time he became the ultimate dupe for what was meant to be a simple silly prank.