Teaching all public figures an important lesson in triple-checking any phone numbers given out during press-attended events (as well as a reminder of the importance of fact-checking for news agencies), Florida’s Gov. Rick Scott inadvertently directed callers worried about the fungal meningitis outbreak to a sex phone line instead of the toll-free health hotline.
Of course, whenever anyone messes up a phone number, it’s some sort of universal rule that the wrong number has to lead to somewhere hilarious/unsavory/whathaveyou, right?
The slip-up came during a Florida Cabinet meeting, when Scott informed anyone worried about the recent outbreak that they could visit the Department of Health’s website for the state or call, and WUSF reported that same number he read off.
“You can call the Dept. of Health’s toll-free, 24 hour hotline set up in response to this,” Scott said reading off an 866 number.
WUSF then followed up by posting that same telephone number online as part of its story on the outbreak. And in the fashion of observant readers with noses for news, the online community quickly informed the site that the number went somewhere different altogether.
As WUSF so tactfully puts it:
“Hello boys, thank you for calling me on my anniversary,” is how the recording opens. A young female voice then directs “existing callers” to press one, and so on.
After the site informed the governor’s office of the very wrong number, a spokesperson said the correct hotline number has already been out there for days, and during that meeting Scott just happened to have the wrong one. He was told of the slip-up during the meeting and apparently corrected it.
By the way, Floridians — if you’re concerned, the correct Florida Fungal Meningitis Hotline is: 866-523-7339. We checked and the woman who answered (without us being put on hold!) was very nice and well-informed about fungal meningitis. Just for the record.