Sunday, November 23, 2008

Riddle #32 - The 911 call

Late at night an old man was driving on the freeway in a big city when he felt a pain in his chest. "It's a heart attack!" he groaned, and he pulled off at the next exit. He found himself in the middle of a residential area, and he had no clue where he was. He didn't remember which exit he took or even which direction he was going. Unfortunately, he did not have On-Star. He did manage to find his cell phone and call 911.

"I'm having a heart attack," he said to the 911 operator.

"Where are you?" she asked.

"I don't know. All I know is that I'm in a residential area, with cars parked in front and behind me."

"Can you see any street signs?"

"I can't see any from here, and I can't move," he replied. The pain from the heart attack had essentially paralyzed him.

"Try honking your horn and see if someone comes out," she instructed.

Nothing happened.

Then she asked him one more question. After he answered the question, the ambulance was there within minutes. What was the question?

NOTE: The correct answer to the riddle has been guessed. To read it, see the comments section.

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Lateral Thinking Puzzlers by Paul Sloane has lots of classic riddles, clues and answers. Click here to order it.


  1. I think the question was, "Do you have On-Star?"

  2. No, he didn't have On-Star. I didn't even think of that. I'll go back and edit my original post.

  3. Was he in the parking lot of an apartment building that had the name of it on the front? And when he told them the name of the building they could locate him?

  4. No, he was not in the parking lot of an apartment building.

  5. Did she ask what exit number he was at?

  6. Good thought, but read the original riddle again. It states that he didn't remember which exit he took.

  7. The dispatcher asked him to read the license plate of the car in front of him. It's not 100% foolproof but the chances are good that since it's the middle of the night the cars owner lives in the house where the car is parked.

  8. Marci, That's correct! Yes, it's not 100 percent foolproof, but the keys are that it was the middle of the night and it was a residential area, so the chances were pretty good that the license plate was to a nearby house. Good job!

  9. My friend Patty actually came up with it. I asked her the riddle. I want to give credit where it is due. :)