But that's exactly what happened to Lalo Delgado when he phoned emergency services following a "freak accident" that caused his car to burst into flames.
"Her initial reaction was laugh and giggle in the background," Delgado told the local ABC affiliate KGUN. "It was very disturbing."
Indeed, in the 911 tapes released to the media, the operator can be heard chuckling at Delgado's emergency. "It's hilarious, huh?" a shocked Delgado asks the woman.
"You're calling for help, you shouldn't be laughed at," Delgado later said.
The dispatcher's giggling prompted Delgado to phone back a few minutes later out of concern that his initial call wasn't taken seriously.
Capt. Jim Berry of the Pima County Sheriff's Department confirmed that the incident took place, and acknowledged that the dispatcher "messed up."
He promised to investigate the laughter and "correct" the problem, but also insisted that this was an "isolated incident."
All that is of little comfort to Delgado's girlfriend, who was badly burned and will require an indefinite amount of time to recover.
Delgado believes her injuries might have been less severe had the dispatcher not been so lackadaisical.
"If she wasn't there playing around giggling and would have been right on it," he said. "One minute, two minutes, every minute counts."
[H/T: MSN Now]