And a **real** Y2k problem (it happened in 2000) : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread Digital convergence

Misdirected message has woman scrambling to clear communication lines


By Michael Precker / The Dallas Morning News

Carey Thompson wants everyone to know that, no matter what your phone message seems to indicate, she is not a homewrecker.

But an innocuous venture into voice mail and an apparent technical glitch is making a lot of people think otherwise.

Ms. Thompson, a 25-year-old project manager for Prism Database Publishing in Farmers Branch, says she called a friend at his cell phone number the night of July 26. He didn't answer, so she left this greeting:

"Hey, babe, this is Carey. Just thinking about you. Here's my home phone number... ."

The fellow never called back, so she's not sure whether he got the message. But a lot of other people apparently did.

"I began to get calls from women wanting to know why I was calling their husbands," Ms. Thompson says. "Then the next call came, and the next call came. I decided something weird was going on."

One particularly irate woman left a message declaring, "I don't know how long Little John has been talking to you, but he'll be free as of tonight."

Ms. Thompson says she has received at least 15 calls responding to her message. She spoke to seven or eight people, and all said they have Sprint PCS phones, as did the fellow she was calling in the first place. Several told her that the cheery "Hey, babe" message had somehow replaced their own voice mail greetings.

"I don't know how far this message has gone and how many people have gotten it, but I figured I've got to do something to let people know I'm not a homewrecker," she says. "The women I've talked to believe me, but the people I haven't talked to are really mad. I don't want somebody showing up at my house."

Although Ms. Thompson figures some kind of bug in the phone system must have distributed her message, she can't prove that. Tom Murphy, director of media relations at Sprint PCS headquarters in Kansas City, Kan., says he doesn't know whether such a mix-up is technologically possible and can't comment without more details.

Jeff Kagan, a telecommunications industry analyst in Atlanta, says messages can get misdirected.

"I'm sure it has happened with every voice mail service," says Mr. Kagan, who says he occasionally receives a message not meant for him. "Computers turn your message into a voice file, and like your computer at home, 99 out of 100 times it works flawlessly. But once in a while there's a hiccup. That's what this sounds like."

Even if the phone is wireless, Mr. Kagan says, "There are still plenty of wires to get crossed."

There may be an upside to the digital disarray. Men are calling Ms. Thompson as well.

"I've gotten asked out," she says. "Guys are saying, 'I don't know if I know you, but call me back.' Maybe they can do a 'How to meet people on a Sprint cell phone' campaign."

-- cpr (, August 07, 2000

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