The New York City Fire Department is in hot water after it billed an “UNKNOWN ASIAN,” demanding a payment of $784.20 for an ambulance requested the morning after Halloween.
The bill was sent to Parsons the New School for Design in New York, leaving school officials shocked.
Office assistant Chris Rivera first came across the letter on Tuesday.
“I was taken aback, shocked more than anything,” Rivera said Wednesday. “My gut reaction is ‘How did this ever happen? Whatever happened to Jane Doe?’”
Rivera said he showed the letter to Christine Ahn, associate director of academic communications at the Greenwich Village school and her supervisor.
“I showed it to Christine and her supervisor – both of whom happen to be Asian – and Christine thought it was sort of disrespectful and rude,” Rivera said.
“I hesitated to open it but then I was like, ‘Well, I could be an unknown Asian,’” said Ahn. “We were in disbelief. There’s the racial aspect of it. And then there’s the bizarre and kind of hilarious aspect.”
FDNY confirmed answering a call for a female student with a “drug or alcohol intoxication issue” around 3 a.m. on Nov. 1. The woman was too intoxicated to identify herself so the paramedics filled out her paperwork, listing her first name “Asian” and last name “Unknown.”
“Someone there said she was from the New School dorm,” said a FDNY source. “The form was processed and sent to a billing contractor. It was a clerical error.”
FDNY spokesman Frank Dwyer said the department is “speaking to the vendor and asking them not to process bills that have an ‘Unknown’ for the name.”
School officials plan to pass the letter along to the office of student services.
“We’ll just go down the hall and ask every Asian student if they needed medical assistance,” Rivera joked.
Sources: New York Post, New York Daily News