Young woman thanks dispatcher for keeping her calm during grim 911 call


She knew the look.

And things looked very grim.

At around 1 p.m. on Dec. 11, while sitting on a couch eating tacos, a 57-year-old man fell gravely ill.

Brianda Arellano, 19, and several relatives rushed to him.

Brianda, who the previous semester had completed a class in “Death and Dying” at Fullerton Community College, knew what her uncle’s profuse sweating, eyes oriented in different directions, and gurgling indicated.

“He was in the process of passing away,” Brianda said.

She called 911.

Michael Simpson, a dispatch supervisor with Metro Cities Fire Authority (MetroNet) in Anaheim, ended up on the other end of the call.

A distraught and frantic Brianda fought to stay calm. A kind and compassionate Simpson kept her that way as ambulances rolled to the house in Anaheim.

“My voice was shaking, and he soothed me,” Brianda says. “I think he did an amazing job.”

Although the outcome of the 911 call wasn’t happy –- Brianda’s uncle, Guillermo Arellano, a married father of three, died from a heart attack — Brianda was so grateful for the way Simpson treated her she recently thanked him in person.

Officials from the Anaheim PD and Anaheim Fire & Rescue helped set up the meeting, which included a tour of the MetroNet dispatch center.

Brianda is majoring in administration of justice and plans to pursue a career in law enforcement. She’s off to a good start.

Every time she goes to work, she’s surrounded by police officers: She’s a part-time cashier and server in the café inside the Anaheim Police Department.

Brianda says her experience with Simpson has had a big impact on her.

“I’m really grateful for people like him,” she says.