A 7-year-old girl in New Jersey accidentally touched her family’s Elf on the Shelf this week, and the poor kid panicked so badly that she freaked out and called 911 because she thought she’d ruined Christmas.
The Elf on the Shelf is a contentious figure with a pretty complicated mythology. The Kewpie-faced little creep supposedly lives in your house and spies on your children and reports back to Santa about if they are good or bad. And they come with a book called Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition, which specifies that they can never, never, under any circumstances touch the elf.
According to The Cut, the book says:
“There’s only one rule that you have to follow, so I will come back and be here tomorrow: Please do not touch me. My magic might go, and Santa won’t hear all I’ve seen or I know.”
But this week 7-year-old Isabella LaPeruta was playing with a ball in the house and accidentally knocked her Elf off his shelf. Utterly panicked that she had ruined the magic of Christmas, Isabella made a frantic call to 911.
According to NBC New York, Isabella called and told the operator her name, but by the time the operator asked her why she was calling 911, Isabella realized that calling 911 was probably the wrong thing to do in that situation and cried, “Don’t come to my house! Don’t come to my house!”
Isabella told the operator that her “emergency” was about the elf and that she was actually trying to call her father. All 911 calls have to be checked out, though, so an officer went by to make sure Isabella was OK.
Her mother was just waking up from a nap when she found Isabella panicking and trying to shoo the policeman away before anybody saw him.
“I didn’t want to get in trouble,” she said.
Isabella apologized and said she would not call 911 again if it was not an emergency–and her mother explained that the Elf falling off a shelf was not an emergency–but the police were very relaxed about the incident.
“To her, it was an emergency when she touched the elf, and she’s going to ruin Christmas, so that was her emergency,” said Old Bridge Police Lt. Joseph Mandola. “In her mind, she did right, and it was fine with us.”
I feel terrible for that poor kid! She thought she’d destroyed Christmas, and she sounded really scared. I can’t imagine she’ll be enjoying the Elf on the Shelf tradition for very much longer.