Drivers called 911 to report what they thought was a person hanging from a roofing company's billboard on the North Carolina coast, but the joke was on them.
"Umm, you know what?" one driver says to a New Hanover County 911 dispatcher in one of the calls. "I just passed a restaurant, Fish Bites, and there's a guy hanging from a sign with his foot on what looks like an electric wire. Looks like a teenage kid. It just doesn't look right."
In the second 911 call, a driver tells the dispatcher: "There's somebody hanging off by their arms off the bottom of a billboard right near Fish Bites, and I don't know if something's happening, can't reach his ladder."
"Not to be funny, ma'am, but you don't think it's like one of those like mannequins they put on billboards, do you?" the dispatcher replies.
"No-no-no-no-no," the woman replies. "It was a person. I could tell he was kind of swinging, but he wasn't like kicking his legs seriously like he was in serious trouble. So I don't know if he was just hanging there to stretch or if he can reach his ladder."
The Observer on Tuesday requested and obtained copies of the recordings from New Hanover County 911. The drivers sound downright serious, thinking they're reporting a person in distress.
Wilmington NBC-TV affiilate WECT first reported about the calls on Monday.
Some people on social media said they'd also driven past the Above All Roofing billboard on Carolina Beach Road, and the mannequin and others like it on billboards elsewhere in the Wilmington area looked real to them, too.
"They actually do look realistic," Crystal McDaniel posted. "I’ve seen the one on market (he’s not hanging but it looks like his ladder broke?) and I had to double -take to make sure he wasn’t real."
"It’s not that they dumb," posted Madeline Sullivan. "Just think your flying by about 45 or 50 miles an hour in traffic lol and catch this out the corner of your eye. "
Others couldn't believe people would fall for the mannequin being a person.
"Wow really people any normal sane person can see it’s not a real person dang," posted Steve Jersey Wagner. "Where has your common sense gone geez."
Whether drivers fell for it or not, posted Erica Cosgrove, "Advertising. Mission Accomplished."