‘Twas Christmas Eve in dispatch, and all through the center
the holiday eating made everything better.
The dispatchers hoped and the call takers trusted
that this shift – just once! – would not be disrupted.
The phones seemed to settle; the radios, too
no one dared say so – but ‘quiet’ hopes grew.
Under the headsets and poised at their mics
the crew settled in for their Christmas Eve night.
When suddenly the phones seemed to all ring at once
erupting with force they had not seen in months.
Call takers sprang into action with purpose
as dispatchers prepped for the incoming circus.
The calls rang and rang, forever, it seemed
as each one came in with a similar theme:
“A fat man in red is up on our roof!”
“The doorbell cam got it, and we have the proof!”
“A guy wearing red just flew up the chimney!”
“I have not been drinking! You have to believe me!”
“This may sound strange, but I just saw deer fly!”
“I don’t have the address, just look at the sky!”
“Male white, big beard, red suit and black belt!”
“I wouldn’t exactly describe him as svelte!”
Christmas Eve break-ins were well underway
the suspect, they said, had arrived . . . in a sleigh.
Each call had come in with an identical tone:
A jolly fat man has entered our home!
But then, just as surely as those calls had started
The clamor of chaotic phone rings departed.
And at that very time on the 9-1-1 roof
The unmistakable sound of a hoof!
And then, several more – as well as a landing
Someone was up there, the noises expanding.
And then a door opened, and who should appear?
The red-suited fat man was actually HERE!
The dispatchers were stunned and the call takers frazzled
their hopes of near-normal completely unraveled.
“Ahem,” he announced, as he started to speak,
“I’m sorry for all of the havoc I’ve wreaked,”
“But I wanted to stop here by dispatch to say
an important thing that I need to convey,”
“The job that you do is incredibly tough,
And no matter the pay, it isn’t enough,”
“But I want you to know how amazing you are
And how much we love you, both here and afar.”
“Merry Christmas to each of you, and thanks for your work!”
he surveyed the room without hint of a smirk.
The room was stunned silent as a smile lit his face,
and he laughed with a joy that could not be displaced.
And then, just as quickly as he had arrived
he left them, with tidings of joy in his stride.
Despite all the calls and the chaos he’d caused
on Christmas Eve in dispatch they had seen Santa Claus.
To each of you working the holiday beat
stuck to your consoles and pinned to your seat
please know that we love and are thankful for you
for doing the difficult things that you do.
Merry Christmas dispatchers, call takers and crew!
And thank you so much for ALL that you do!
About Kris Inman:
Kris Inman is the Director of Program Development for The Healthy Dispatcher. A 29-year veteran of 9-1-1, Kris retired in July 2023 as Director of Springfield Greene County 9-1-1 in Springfield, MO. An awarded speaker and instructor, Kris has delivered standout educational sessions, keynotes, motivational talks and yoga instruction to dispatchers across the country. He is also a long-time college adjunct instructor, teaching courses in communication and public safety leadership. Kris holds a Master of Arts in Communication and a Bachelor of Science in Electronic Media from Missouri State University. He is also a registered yoga instructor.