Robocall revenge--the postscript
Update at 5:20 p.m.:
Editor's note: Titus reports receiving inquiries from "Fox, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, a ton of local affiliates. Good Morning America is stopping by in about 40 minutes. I’ve got the Early Show tomorrow morning, followed by Fox and Friends." There was no immediate word on whether any of these appearances will require him to be up before 4:30 a.m.
Here is a postscript from my colleague Donna St. George to a front-page story she wrote today that has gotten a lot of buzz:
Aaron Titus was awakened from his sleep at 4:30 a.m. Wednesday by a robocall from the Prince George's County school system, letting him know it was a snow day and that schools would open two hours late. Titus already knew this because it had been posted online the night before, and he was annoyed to get yet another too-early call from the school system. His five children, ages 5 and under, including a one-week-old baby, were still sleeping, and he wanted to keep it that way.
So, for the next morning, the 31-year-old Fort Washington dad arranged his own robocall--to the members of the school board, as well as the superintendent and general counsel. All were called at 4:30 a.m. Thursday with an automated message from a Prince George's County School District parent, "to return the favor." He said in the message that he hoped the jarring wake-up call would "demonstrate why a 4:30 a.m. call does more to annoy than to inform."
The Post published the story Friday, and it quickly became an online hit, with hundreds of comments and readers divided about whether Titus was an "everyday hero" or a crank who had gone too far. Titus agreed to do a chat for The Post. The chat started: "This is Aaron Titus. Boy, I didn't expect to be here today."
Not long after the story was published, television shows came looking for Titus, including MSNBC and ABC's "Good Morning America."
Readers weighed in. One from Missouri noted that her school system in Clayton allows parents to "opt out" of robocalls, but families must renew the decision every school year. She recently realized she had forgotten to do so -- after she was awakened at an hour too early for her liking: 5:30 am. "My fault," she said. She advises Washington-area school leaders: "The technology to do the opt-out is apparently not hard to implement."
Washington Post editors
| January 14, 2011; 3:52 PM ET
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