Guardian's Crazy Phone Calls Fielded By Mental Health Professional

Categories: Media
Trees on fire? Naked pedestrians?
Jimmy Sosa, a mental health counselor for San Mateo County, has unwittingly found himself thrust into a second career for which he is all too qualified -- fielding the oft-unhinged calls to the San Francisco Bay Guardian.

Sosa's cell phone number is only one digit different than the paper's main line. As a result, he often receives three or more errant calls a day. Over the past decade, he estimates he's easily received thousands of calls every year that were meant for the Guardian.

"These are some really crazy stories," he confirms. "People walking around naked, trees on fire, bedbugs -- lots of bedbugs -- 'a dog bit my neighbor.' Anything you can think of. It's gotten to the point where, if I don't recognize the number, I don't answer it. But they leave voice messages. And they're angry!"

Jimmy Sosa, unwitting Guardian receptionist, on the far right. From left, Jimmy's elder son, Andre, his younger son, Moses, and Andre's son, Orlando, up front.
Far and away the most common call is from "people who want to give me tickets to see their band. They say 'I know the last show was really bad. We know. But come see us this week!'"

Sosa has contemplated chatting with AT&T to lower his bill due to the uninvited barrage of incoming calls. But, on the whole, he's a happy man. The calls keep him entertained and lead to discussions with people he never would have otherwise met.

"I love it," he says. "Keep 'em coming."

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