This story was told to me by a field service tech near Lake Champlain in New York State.
Old Mrs. Smith was a widow living on a slowly decaying farm. She had called the telephone company for months – actually nearly 14 months – to complain that her phone had stopped ringing.
Every time the Customer Service or CO tech called her to check on her phone, she answered it after just a couple of rings. Each time they would close the ticket as no trouble found. Yet, within a week or so, Mr. Smith would be back on the phone calling to complain.
Finally, completely frustrated, Mrs. Smith called the General Manager to demand someone come out and replace her phone. He sent his most senior field service tech with a replacement phone to see what was up. Upon arrival the tech checked the phone, lifting the receiver, and dialed the CO. Everything worked perfectly. He asked the CO tech to call him back and hung up the line. After just a minute or so, Mrs. Smith said “Aren’t you gonna answer the phone?”.
Shocked, he picked up the phone, and sure enough the CO tech was there. He could not believe she knew. There was no sound whatsoever from the phone. He asked the CO tech to wait a random amount of time and repeat the call, then hung up.
“How long has the phone been like this?” he began to converse with Mrs. Smith. “Almost 18 months!” she replied, “And it’s about time you got out here and fixed it!”
Just about that point, Mrs. Smith interrupted the conversation “Aren’t you gonna answer the phone?”
He picked it up, and sure enough, it was the CO tech! “Unbelievable!”, he thought to himself. He hung up and went out to the truck to get the replacement phone. He installed it and tested it, and the now smiling Mrs. Smith was so pleased to have her phone working properly again, although, he was not quite sure why. It appeared she knew when the phone was ringing every time, and yet it had never made a sound. Sitting in his truck, completing the service report, he was not sure what to write as he figured not a sole would believe the story.
Just about that point, Mrs. Smith came running out of the house, frantically waiving her hands in the air. “Wait. Wait”, she yelled. He rolled down the driver’s side window. “Don’t leave,” she said, “you fixed the phone, but you haven’t fixed the dog!”
“What!!??”, he said.
“You need to fix the dog.” she said.
He went around back of the house and found the dog chained up. He followed the chain to where it attached to the house. It was attached to the ground post!! “Oh my goodness” he thought to himself, “every time the phone rings this dog is getting a shock!!” And this explained how old Mrs. Smith knew the phone was ringing – the dog would bark!
Needless to say, he went to the truck, got a new ground stake and put it in the middle of the back yard attaching the dog to it, and then he buried the other ground stake.
Returning to his truck, he was still mystified as to what to write, having now fixed both the phone and the dog!