New York City’s Fired Department is getting complaints of racism after they sent a bill for ambulance charges to a Parsons New School building designated for an “Unknown Asian.” An apparent student was transported to Beth Israel Medical Center on First Avenue for a “drug or intoxication” call at the beginning of November, but EMTs were unable to get the name of the student.
They did the next logical thing and took the address supplied by the person with the student and processed the bill with “Unknown” as the first name, “Asian” as the last name. The bill was delivered to the school on Tuesday, where Christine Ahn, an employee in the dean’s office, opened it reports the New York Post.
Ahn said, “I hesitated to open it but then I was like, ‘Well, I could be an unknown Asian.’ The funny thing for us was that there are so many Asians at this school.”
Dean’s assistant Chris Rivera said, “When I saw it said ‘unknown Asian,’ I thought it was racist. 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.” He joked that they should “go down the hall and ask every Asian student if they needed medical assistance.”
FDNY spokesman Jim Long said they are working to ensure this mislabeling does not happen again. Long said, “We’re speaking to the vendor and we’re asking them not to process bills that have an unknown for the name.”
The bill was for $784.40. It’s unclear whether the bill will be paid by anyone.