The Dispatcher’s Night Before Christmas

T’was the night before Christmas, as she sat all alone,
In a room made secure, full of consoles and phones.

I had come down the chimney with presents to give
And to see just which hero in this center did live.

I looked all around and what did I see?
No tinsel, no presents, just a very small tree.

No stockings by a fire, just switchboards & mics,
And a few small photos of her kids riding bikes.

Amongst medals, and badges, awards of all kinds
A sobering thought crept into my mind,

For this room was different, so busy and bright:
T’was the 911 office, and a dispatcher on “nights.”

I’d heard stories about them and wanted to know more,
So I walked down the hall, and pushed on the door.

And there she sat with keyboards and mouse,
Waiting to set tones on a well roasting house.

Her face O’ so gentle, her room was abuzz,
It occurred to me then that she needed a hug.

Was this the hero of whom I’d read?
Sitting at a console making her bread?

Though my stress was high, hers seemed to be zero
And I soon understood this was more than a hero

For I realized the families that I saw just that night
Owed their lives to this servant who was willing to fight

Soon ‘round the world, the children would play,
And grownups would celebrate a new Christmas day.

They all enjoyed freedom each day of the year,
Because of dispatchers like her standing so near

I couldn’t help wonder how many there were
On a cold Christmas Eve working hard like her.

Just the very thought brought a tear to my eye,
I eased up beside her my heart full of pride.

The dispatcher said, as she saw my tears falling,
“Santa don’t worry, this life is my calling;

I am the watcher: alone, steady voice,
Getting help to the helpless: my job and my choice.

With a wink and a smile she answered a call,
An elderly man who’d been hurt in a fall.

I watched her intently, so alert, and so quick,
And I saw a slight shiver as she made a mouse click.

So I took off my jacket, thick, fluffy and red,
And I covered her shoulders, her neck, and her head.

I put on her sweater, which was smaller and tight,
The two of us there must’ve been quite a sight!

Though her sweater hardly fit me, my heart swelled with pride,
And for a fleeting moment, I felt a kinship inside.

I didn’t want to leave her on that cold dark night,
This guardian of honor so ready to fight.

But she kissed my cheek, and in a voice so pure,
Said, “Carry on Santa. Christmas Day is secure.”

One look at my watch and I knew she was right.
Merry Christmas my friend, as you watch through the night.