HARTFORD — When you call 911, dispatchers are one the other end of the phone to get you the help you need, but one Hartford 911 dispatcher took that help to the next level.
Katherine Grady was at the end of her shift at Hartford’s 911 call center when she received a call for help from 86-year-old Francis Royer.
Grady told FOX 61, even though their call center takes in roughly 160,000 calls in a single year, this one really stood out to her.
"She called in, she was a Hartford resident for, I think she told me like 40 plus years, or something like that, she’s lived in the same place, she loves the city, she’s worked here, had her family here," Grady said.
Royer's emergency was not what typically comes into the Hartford 911 call center.
“I just wanted to know if someone could take my garbage out tomorrow, it’s been there two weeks and it’s overloaded… I’m 86 years old, I’m handicapped, and I got a heart condition, I got nobody,” Royer said to Grady on that call.
Neighbors typically help her out with some things around the house but they were tied up with their own family emergencies and Royer was having trouble getting her garbage barrels down to the end of her driveway. That’s when Grady, who’s also an EMT and volunteer firefighter, stepped in to help.
“If they’re calling 911, it’s an emergency to them, so it doesn’t matter if it’s small or big,” Grady said about the call from Royer. Grady told Royer she would come over on her day off and take care of her garbage for her. She also helped her clear out some old items and boxes of newspapers from her basement that were too heavy to lift.
“That’s such an easy thing, and a lot of people that call in here it’s not something you can fix over the phone, we get you the people that you need, like we’ll get you fire, police, EMS, all three if you need it, but it’s not usually us personally that fixed the problem, but for something so simple like that it was easier to just do it myself,” Grady humbly told FOX 61 about her selfless act of kindness.
“She was more relieved than anything," Grady described her visit to Royer’s house. "I think she was so focused on it, because everything in her home was neat, perfect, in order, she had everything under control.”
At a time when tensions between police departments and the community are high, Grady said her motivation to help was when Francis told her about her memories of a friendlier time.
"When it was a smaller town, when people used to help people for no reason…’ You know what? That’s a really easy thing for me to do is to go help this person for no reason, because they need help and I can do it,” Grady said.
FOX 61 spoke to Francis at length over the phone, and found out she does have family out of state, but that she has been in touch with a local in-home assistance program to help her keep up on these kinds of daily tasks.