“Hello, I’m not the gas company.”
That’s how Debbie Oram answered her phone Tuesday afternoon and that’s how she’ll continue to answer it as long as she keeps receiving nasty phone calls from Donald Trump supporters. Since Friday, when the news broke that the owner of Turner LP Gas Services of Skowhegan had left a voicemail on his business line saying that he would not deliver fuel to anyone who voted for Trump, she has received more than 100 calls.
Oram has nothing to do with Turner LP Gas Services and isn’t interested in telling anyone about her political leanings. The reason for all the calls is that her phone number is one digit different from Turner’s and has been published incorrectly on multiple websites created by Trump supporters in response to the voicemail.
“I’d appreciate anything you can do to put it out there so these calls will stop,” said Oram, a home health nurse who is out of work because of a knee replacement. “I would hate to change my number but that’s what I’ll have to do if this doesn’t stop. We’ve had our number for years.”
Oram said some of the calls have been polite while others were downright threatening in the very worst sense of the word. There have been threats against her 21-year-old daughter and once, when her 11-year-old son said something in the background, a threat was directed at him. The boy started sleeping with Oram’s bedroom because he is scared.
“They’re saying rude and disgusting things,” she said. “I had to go to my doctor today for more anxiety medication because of it.”
Oram said she called Skowhegan police, who were unable to help. On Tuesday, she emailed one of the websites that confuses her number with the gas company’s, but was told it would take at least a day to remove her number.
The BDN and other media outlets reported on Friday that Michael Turner, the owner of Turner LP Gas, recorded a message on his answering machine that said, “if you voted for Donald Trump for president, I will no longer be delivering your gas. Please find someone else.”
Within hours, Oram started receiving calls. She said she called Turner and he apologized but said there was little he could do. Oram bristled when she saw Turner on a television newscast with his face blurred out to protect his identity.
“He said ‘I’m retiring in a couple of weeks anyway,'” said Oram. “He’s so headstrong about not serving Trump’s people, but at least he could take his message off his answering machine.”
Turner LP Gas’s number no longer goes to a voicemail and Michael Turner could not be reached. He did tell the BDN on Friday that he would not refuse to deliver fuel to people who really needed it, regardless of their political views.
“I just want all of this resolved and I don’t want any more phone calls,” said Oram. “I wish everybody could just get along, personally, but I don’t see how that can happen at this point.”