For most folks it's not a dilemma. Given a choice between "a day without sunshine" and a day without jail time, most people will skip the orange juice and stay out of jail.Despite his farcical use of 9-1-1, I'll guess that Osman could have avoided the slammer if he hadn't tried to argue civics with the sheriff's deputy who showed up. (See the article for point-counterpoint details.) Law enforcement's exasperation is evident in a quote from sheriff's spokesman Sgt. David Thompson:
But Raibin Raof Osman isn't most people. The 20-year-old Aloha man had a sleep-over at the Washington County Jail on Memorial Day after calling 9-1-1 to complain that McDonald's left out a box of orange juice from his drive-thru order.
Osman was booked Monday night on accusations of improper use of 9-1-1. He bailed out Tuesday. The offense is a Class B misdemeanor punishable in Oregon by up to six months in jail and a fine of $2,500.
(Aloha man calls 9-1-1 over botched fast-food order by John Snell, The Oregonian, Wednesday May 27, 2009)
"The deputy basically said, 'You can't use 9-1-1 for that reason,'" Thompson explained. "It's not an emergency. (Osman) said he didn't know how to get the non-emergency number. The guy had a Blackberry. He could have dialed 4-1-1 or got it off the Internet. There are payphones all over the parking lot, with phonebooks hanging from them."This has something to do with immigration? Well, yes. The article makes clear that at least some in Osman's family aren't native speakers of English, and a glance at Osman's winning mug shot accompanying the article reinforces this.
But to get the picture of immigrant versus immigrant, you need to listen to the audio clip of the 9-1-1 call, available with the linked article. By this I really mean both 9-1-1 calls, there in the one clip: Osman's call is followed by a call from McDonald's employee Helen Velasquez, whose English is fluent but with the sing-songy rhythm and intonation characteristic of native Spanish-speakers.
The 9-1-1 dispatcher had to have Osman spell his last name several times. Not so with Velasquez, who didn't have to spell hers at all. Oregon dispatchers apparently get lots of practice with Hispanic names, which won't surprise our friends at Oregonians for Immigration Reform.
Velasquez saw fit to dial 9-1-1 after about a half hour's harassment from Osman and crew, which would seem to take the edge off her call's emergency status. She stoutly denied to the 9-1-1 dispatcher that there had been any food larceny on McDonald's part.
Evidently, then, the missing orange juice isn't a slam-dunk fact, so l'affaire Osman-Velasquez boils down to another case of he-said/she-said. But a reader named "withoutpity" admirably summarized the larger significance of the dispute with an online comment on 05/27/09 at 4:28 p.m.:
The Democratic party should be welcoming Osman with open arms. He passed the first vital test which is that all issues in life require governmental intervention.