This UPS driver was out delivering packages when one house he visited sent shivers down his spine. From inside he could hear cries for help. So he called the police and what they found simply beggared belief.
One evening in November 2017, UPS driver Lee Purdy was out on a delivery. It was a pretty average shift for the Oregon native, as he hopped from house to house dropping off packages. However, when he stopped outside one home, his evening took a worrying turn.
As Purdy approached the home in question, a startling noise pierced his ears. The strange sound stopped the delivery guy in his tracks. He listened carefully to see if he could hear it again. And when he did, he could make out someone shouting, “Help me.”
Of course, this wasn’t an everyday occurrence for Purdy and quite frankly it stumped him. “I wasn’t sure what to think at first,” he confessed to Today in November 2017. As a result, he pricked his ears once more, and, sure enough, he heard the cries again.
Worryingly, the voice that Purdy could hear didn’t sound wholly human. However, it was clear from the tone that the person behind it was in distress. So the delivery driver decided to call his wife for some advice.
Upon hearing the unnerving situation her husband had found himself in, Purdy’s wife wasted no time in calling the police. “My husband is a delivery driver,” she told the 911 dispatcher, according to Inside Edition. “He just called me saying that one of the doors he just knocked on, there was somebody saying ‘help me’ on the inside.”
With a life potentially hanging in the balance, cops from the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office rushed to the scene. When they got there, they found Purdy still waiting outside the property. According to deputy Hayden Sanders, the situation was so tense you could have cut through the atmosphere with a knife.
With that in mind, Sanders approached the house cautiously. Purdy looked on in trepidation as the officer entered the home, uncertain of what he would find in there. But when he emerged minutes later, the cop’s reaction shocked the delivery driver.
Because when Sanders emerged from the house, all trace of concern on his face had melted away. In fact, he started laughing. It turned out that no one at the house was in need of attention. Inside, all he found was a noisy parrot named Diego, which had learned to shout help.
Despite his screams, the bird was completely fine. “Sure enough it was Diego the parrot yelling for help,” Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office’s public information officer Sergeant Brian Jensen told Today. “Nobody was in distress. Diego was fine.”
After the confusion, Purdy revealed he had always had his suspicions that a bird was behind the shouting. “I was a little concerned at first that maybe somebody was, maybe an older person had fallen and couldn’t get up, you know, was yelling for help and maybe the bird heard and started copying that,” he explained to Fox 12.
Luckily for Purdey, he didn’t have any cop mates to tease him about the incident – unlike Sanders. “We’re thankful. It’s super funny. We were ribbing [Sanders] a little bit. We’re just glad that no one, including the bird, actually needed any help,” Jensen said.
Now that they’d got to the bottom of the mysterious shrieking, police closed their case. However, Purdy still had one particular question that was playing on his mind. Why, exactly, was a parrot crying out for help in the first place?
Luckily for him, Diego’s owner Susan Baird soon came forward to answer his query. She explained that the parrot loved human companionship. As a result, he often took to crying out for attention when she left the house.
“He is very people oriented. He likes to have people around. He is very affectionate,” Baird explained in an interview with Inside Edition. “When he’s alone, he will often yell help me because he doesn’t like to be alone.”
And it later transpired that calling out for help isn’t the only trick Diego has learned during his 41 years. The talented bird can also impersonate cats and dogs. But his favorite thing to do is to simply snuggle with his owner.
Baird first acquired Diego two decades ago when a friend was searching for a new home for him. Over that time, he has enjoyed shrieking “help me” when separated from his owner. On one such occasion, Baird was entertaining some friends in another room to Diego. However, he still cried out for assistance.
When Purdy showed up, Baird was on a two-week trip out of town. Although her daughter was taking good care of the parrot, Diego still missed his mommy. So, Baird believes that when he heard the delivery driver approach, the parrot might have thought it was her causing him to cry out in celebration.
But despite the perfectly reasonable explanation behind Diego’s behavior, the Clackamas County cops still found the incident hilarious. As a result, they shared an image of Sanders with the parrot on Twitter. In a matter of weeks it had clocked up almost 1,000 likes.
So it’s safe to say that lots of people got a good laugh out of the false alarm. It turns out that when it comes to policing at least, it’s good to have a sense of humor. “We all needed a lighthearted moment, and that’s what this provides,” Jensen explained. “It’s the wild kingdom here.”