I had a Production Controller who was less than fluent in English beep me one night in February in the days when there were no cell phones, PCs were so rare that there was no provision for remote service and everything was achieved by spelling the stuff you wanted done down the telephone.
I climbed out of the giant co-ed Jacuzzi that was a large part of why I even played racquetball, wrapped a towel around me and called in, dripping wet, from the pay phone in the unheated foyer to the building. There was at the time about three inches of snow on the ground.
I ascertained what the problem was - eventually and largely despite the efforts of the person who had called me - who in addition to speaking very poor English was unfamiliar with the Unisys 2200 operating system or the processes running on it that he needed me to remediate, and began spelling the commands needed down the phone.
There were several false starts and restarts as he misheard or just couldn't understand what I was asking him to do. He was, for example, not familiar with what we called the masterspace symbol, or "at sign", which begins every 2200 command. All the while, ice was threatening to form on my skin every time someone entered or left the club.
After what seemed like several years but was probably closer to five minutes the Production Controller made a strange noise like a cross between "Oh" and "Aw" and he became unresponsive.
Luckily I had had this chap before and knew that this noise was his local dialect for "I'm unable to understand a word you are saying and have decided to deal with this issue by carefully putting the phone on the desk and walking away very quietly and hiding until I think you've gone away".
I was at the time renowned for being a bit of a pushover in these sorts of confrontations, and I was terribly dedicated to the 24x7 uptime myth, but on this occasion I hung up and went back to the pool for an hour or so.
Then I went home, where my very sturdy built-like-a-tank AT&T answering machine was attempting to melt, made some tea and answered the phone once I was snug and sipping.
Production Control operative was mad. Why had I left this vital process hanging around in a broken state for two hours? The log showed I had been called. Why had I hung up?
I told them that the real problem was that I did not speak the particular third world language in which their earlier employee felt most happy conversing, well, that and the fact that someone so monumentally unfit to be holding the fort had been left to watch the baby. Where, I idly wondered, was the Supervisor while all this was happening?
I also opined that as their own operative had walked away from the phone after calling me, I saw no reason to supposed that the problem, whatever it was, was urgent in any way, shape or form. At this point the caller must've sensed I was in an unusually militant frame of mind, and he moved he conversation from the Blame Allocation Phase to the Actual Fixing Of The Actual Problem Stage.
Mr Walkabout was quietly reassigned to somewhere he wouldn't be called upon to work outside his experience and no more was said.
How he was ever thought to be a good fit for that position I'll never know.