Does Your Kid’s Safety Checklist Include How To Make a Collect Call?

A girlfriend and I were out enjoying a couple of hot lattes tonight when my hubby texted me, he can’t find our oldest son. He was supposed to be dropped off at another coffee shop close by after Volleyball ended but he wasn’t there. 10 minutes late became 20 minutes late.

Dave called Q’s cell, it went straight to voice mail. I called his cell… voice mail. I called our house to see if he somehow showed up at home. No Quinton. It’s now 10pm on a very rainy and foggy winter night. 

Trying not to panic, I started going over what I’ve taught the kids, what was their back-up plan?! Did I even teach them a back-up plan?! We’ve covered 911 and Stranger Danger but did we go over what to do if you’re ever stranded without a cellular device?! We’re dealing with a digital generation after all.

10 minutes later, his coach noticed him waiting outside in the dark and handed Q his cell to call Dave. He was still at the gymnasium where they had practiced (in the next city over)! Phew, I could breath again. He’s a shy kid, I don’t know why he didn’t ask for help sooner. His usual ride home didn’t go tonight and his battery died on his phone. He didn’t bring his charger, didn’t have any money for the payphone and his friends all left before he thought of asking to borrow a phone.

Listening to him explain all the reasons why he didn’t call to let us know he didn’t have a ride home, I quickly snapped, “You could have called us collect!!!!”

To which he quickly responded, “WHAT’S THAT?!”

Seriously?? What’s a collect call??! I forgot that I was talking to a generation who thinks a payphone is something from a Maroon 5 song!

I’ve taken it for granted that they’ve always had access to a cell phone. Making a collect call on a Pay Phone (when you can find one) seemed like a such simple suggestion to make (there was one in the school he was at). It may have been to someone who remembers when it cost a dime to make a call!


This week I’ll be taking my kids out to the closest payphone to teach them how to make a collect call home, in case of emergency, and tonight’s panic attack as to my 14 year old’s whereabouts… is definitely deemed an emergency in my books.

It may cost a bunch more than when I was a kid but it still works… Hello Operator, my kids will be prepared from now on!

My Kid’s Safety Checklist:
911 – check
Stranger Danger – check
Stop, Drop & Roll – check
Don’t Run With Scissors – check
Never Wake Mom Early On Saturdays – check

and now… 
Collect Calls – check

I feel better now. 


I'm the Cool Mom of 4, Married to the Preacher Man, but at times I'm a little more Sass than Saint!

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  1. I'm actually surprised that there are still pay phones around…Good post though, we need to remember to prepare our kids!

  2. There aren't payphones here anymore. I'm not sure what to do in that situation. Glad he is okay!

  3. Wow amazing post. I would have never thought of that.

  4. My heart was pounding throughout this post. My son was lost at 4 years old and I'll never forget that terror of that day. (The school bus let him off 3 KM from home on his first day of school) I know my children would not know how to call collect. Glad everything turned out okay last night.

  5. Wow! That is something that I didn't think of. Funny what we take for granted. Great list of what to cover 🙂

  6. haha my kids would have no clue what a payphone is.. I think there are 2 in our town..we had a collect call about a year ago from a total stranger, I didn't even think they still had that option. Great post!

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