It's 4 a.m. and a young mother frantically dials 9-1-1. Her baby has stopped breathing.
She's alone with the sick child. Her husband is working the third shift at the factory in the next county. They have one vehicle and he has driven it to work.
The 9-1-1 dispatcher tries to calm the young mother as she screams for help.
"What is your address?" the dispatcher asks. Remarkably, the dispatcher understands the garbled answer and immediately dispatches first responders, police officers and an ambulance to the home.
The 9-1-1 dispatcher continues talking to the young mother as he listens for those responding to the call. He reassures the young mother that help is on the way.
As the mother calms, her instinct and training takes over. She has learned infant CPR, something she thought and prayed she would never have to use. She lays the phone on the floor beside her baby and begins the life-saving technique. She can hear the dispatcher encourage and reassure her.
The dispatcher repeats the address to emergency personnel rushing to the home. All they have is a name and an address somewhere on a dark country road.
The dispatcher consults the county map and gives directions to the house. "Turn off Highway 62 onto Young Road," he says. "Take a left on Stonegate Road. When you get to Orchard Lane make a right. Then turn left on Big Oak Lane to 7439. The mail box with that number is at the end of the drive."
The operator continues to assure the young mother that help is on the way.
After several minutes a first responder radios the dispatcher. "We're about 7 miles down Young Road," he says. "We haven't found Stonegate Road."
The dispatcher consults the map and tells emergency personnel to turn around. Stonegate Road is only 2 miles from the highway. Other emergency personnel call in, they can't find the road signs needed to direct them to the house.
The dispatcher slowly begins again, this time counting the roads and estimating the distance to guide the emergency personnel to the address.
The dispatcher tells the young mother to listen for the sound of sirens. When she hears them, the dispatcher knows those responding are heading in the right direction.
Minutes seem like hours to the young mother and the emergency personnel trying to find her.
Will it be too late?
Does the above sound like an exaggerated fiction story? It is -- but only to a degree. It's a scenario that is very real in Fulton County thanks to the stupidity of someone(s) who gets a thrill out of the destruction of county road signs.
This past week I saw first-hand the seriousness of this problem. Early Wednesday morning someone(s) pulled up, knocked over and stole 20 road signs and mail boxes. Then dumped them in the middle of a road along with beer bottles, cans and boxes. Road signs and mail boxes used to guide personnel to an emergency.
How ridiculous! How stupid!
This is not a teenager's prank. It's a felony -- a very dangerous one.
Every person living in Fulton County should be furious that someone(s) -- it could be a friend, neighbor or family member -- is destroying these signs. They are putting you and your family at risk. They are also costing you thousands of dollars. It's not cheap to replace those signs.
This is not just an irritating problem -- it's a serious problem that needs to stop.
So, keep your eyes and ears open. Anyone stupid enough to steal and destroy road signs is probably stupid enough to brag about it. Turn them in to law enforcement. Someone like that deserves some public humiliation.