Technology, Emergencies and SciFi

I know you’re wondering what Technology, Emergencies, and Sci-Fi have to do with each other.  Before today, I would have been right there with you.  But today, well, we had another of those, “does anyone else do this stuff?” type moments.

Let me see if I can explain.  It all started last week.  It was innocent enough when I saw an ad from Best Buy in my email box saying I could get TWO Samsung Galaxy S8 or S8+ for the price of ONE.  Well, that’s a deal we cannot pass up.  Anyway, LONG story there with problems with the ad, driving to town to get the deal and a bunch of stuff happening in between…BUT…

Nonetheless, I finally got a new S8+ (only because…well my Note 5 was becoming impossible to use and I couldn’t wait any longer for the Note 8).  Yesterday, I spent most of the day getting it all set up and found this neat little feature called SOS.  Since I’m traveling in a 38′ Class A motorcoach and my oldest two sons are somewhere else and it’s just me and 4 younger kids I thought, “That would be GREAT!  I can set that up and in the event of an emergency, it can notify both my older boys who don’t live here and notify my two girls who have cell phones but are usually with me and if something happens they will have all the information.”

At least it SEEMED like a good idea at the time.  So I selected all FOUR of their phone numbers set it up and promptly forgot all about it.  That is..until the police showed up in the middle of us watching a Sci-Fi movie today asking who I was.

WHAT?

You see today was a busy day for us.  Cat #5 that we picked up in Florida needed to be neutered and we finally got everything worked out for that to happen.  We made the hour long drive to “town”, dropped the cat off and we were doing great!  I figured…hey we’re in town why not catch a movie then some lunch and then the cat should be ready to make the trek back home.  That way we don’t have to drive an hour back “home” only to turn around and go back again.

I thought I was being a good mom.  I thought I had it all worked out that everything was going to flow so well today.  It all seemed like my plan was executing as expected.  That at least until the COPS showed up.

You see I don’t yet have a phone case for my cell phone.  I’m waiting because I’m too cheap to buy one locally so I’m waiting on Amazon to deliver (which for some reason my 2 day free shipping is taking THREE ??? go figure).  I’m sure if I had a phone case this wouldn’t have happened.  But…yeah…

So..if you want to know how well that SOS feature works.  I can tell you.  It’s GREAT!

You see, I put my cell phone in my little purse to protect it.  It got moved around a few times during the movie and apparently at some point it pressed the power button three times quickly in succession.  I know this because…the COPS SHOWED UP.

Of course, I didn’t know this when it was happening.  But what that little SOS feature does is send out an emergency text message to all FOUR of my children.  Two were in the movie with me with their phones OFF!  Had either of them been on, we could have avoided calling out the police!  My middle son is unable to get cell signal during the day but my oldest, good son that he is, received the following message:

I haven’t yet decided if I should be PROUD of my son or not for taking the next steps he took.  He did try to get ahold of me as well as his sisters.  None of us were answering the phone.

The audio file attached to the message only had a zipper sound and some muffled voices that you could not make out.  And, when you follow the link it takes you to a location between Arby’s and a Japanese Sushi house.

Since my son was getting no response from any of us, he assumed the worst (or maybe he just wanted to teach me a lesson…I’m not sure which.)  In any event, he contacted the local police department.  You have to consider he’s in Florida somewhere near Miami and we’re currently in Indiana!  So he didn’t have many options.

All I know is… I took the kids to a nice SciFi movie and we were about halfway through the movie right in a fight scene when things are beginning to get interesting and a man in a security uniform comes up to us and says, “EXCUSE ME”.  I noticed his clothes and thought…We must be in the wrong seats (as the theater required assigned seating due to the new “recliners” they installed).  But then I notice…No…his shirt isn’t security…it’s POLICE.  My next thought is…”what did I do wrong?” followed by, “Someone must have hit our car in the parking lot.”

All of these thoughts are rolling around in my head within seconds of me seeing him and him speaking to which he said, “Are you, Susan Davis?”  That threw me off…How the heck…Then he says, “You might want to call your son.”

At this point, my brain begins kicking in and I realize…oh no!  My phone must have hit the emergency button in my purse.  I tried to explain to the officer that I got a new phone with an SOS feature and I must have accidentally caused it to send out messages.  I’m feeling really bad at this point.  The police officer was quite nice about it and probably thought I was NUTS babbling about my phone and how sorry I was.

I called my son who explained what he got and the actions he took and why.  And then I spent the next 20 minutes of the movie trying to figure out where that DANG little setting is on this new phone.  How the heck do I disable that!

I finally found it.  If you’re interested, on the new Android you go to SETTINGS, ADVANCED FEATURES, SEND SOS.  You can turn it on or off and it can be set up to send to several people as well as send them photos and video of what’s going on.

I’m sure this is a GREAT feature and should there have been some crazy shooter at our movie theater today and I had thought…hey…press the power button three times, then it would have been GREAT to send all that information to my son.  One thing that makes it great is that it keeps no record that it sent any text at all.  So…that quick emergency message goes out and your people are notified and there is no record on your phone for the crazy hostage taker to find and want to kill you next.  BUT…alas…BECAUSE there is no record that the message went out you have no FREAKING IDEA that it sent out a message so therefore you cannot alert your emergency contacts that you have once again bumped the power button three times and no…they don’t need to send the police.

Now, I have to admit.  I was quite impressed.  Based on the location that my phone sent out (which was a bit off) the police apparently tracked me down through the phone company, found that we were in the movie theater and I’m guessing went into every theater until they found us!  WOW.  Way to Go Indiana PD!  You guys are awesome!  Had it been an actual emergency situation I know help would have been there.

But…it was not…and I hang my head in shame having put the police department through all that for nothing.

And, sadly, now that we know how easy it is to bump that button THREE TIMES quickly enough on accident to SEND an emergency message, I have disabled it.  So…no chance it will ever actually BE useful for me.

I can, however, be thankful that it was not more embarrassing than it was.  When I posted my little mishap on FB today one of my friends explained that…yes, it could have been much worse.  Apparently, small children can also bump that button three times while playing with mom’s phone while mom is in the shower…butt naked and…mom’s emergency contacts are her husband and her FATHER!  OH MY!  I am so much more thankful that I didn’t find out about the SOS feature that way!