New Yorker Casey McCormick was given a fright when she looked out her office window in Manhattan last month and spotted what looked like a suicidal handmaid about to jump.
Swaying atop the ledge of a building rooftop was a red-cloaked figure wearing a white bonnet, as if she were about to hurl herself to her death, or so it seemed. The outfit reminded McCormick of women from “The Handmaid’s Tale” on Netflix.
Thirty-year-old McCormick, who works as a creative strategist for New York publisher Popsugar, consulted some of her co-workers before dialing 911 to report the apparent imminent suicide.
— New York Post (@nypost) May 22, 2019
“This morning I called 911 because I thought a woman dressed as a handmaid was about to jump off a building,” she shared on her Instagram and Twitter pages. “The police were in constant contact with me as they figured out where to go and how to find the woman.”
McCormick got in contact with an officer, and 15 minutes later, she received a text and a photo from him revealing that all was well.
“It’s an umbrella. All safe,” the text read. It was just a red patio umbrella with a white top.
Today I thought I saw a woman dressed as a handmaid about to jump from a building. I called 911. pic.twitter.com/EIrz6wR0bz
— Casey McCormick (@itsmeCaseyMc) May 21, 2019
“I literally melted into my chair,” said McCormick. “I was very happy it wasn’t a real person and that everyone was safe [but] I felt so dumb.
“Its [sic] better to be safe than sorry. [The NYPD] took it very seriously and we also did.”
The red cloaks and bonnets from the Netflix series have become symbolic of anti-pro-life protests in recent months. The television show tells the story from a 1985 novel by Margaret Atwood, which depicts a dystopian world where women are relegated as reproductive vessels—and nothing more.
HOLLYWOOD, CA – APRIL 19: Handmaids attend the premiere of Hulu's "The Handmaid's Tale" Season 2 at TCL Chinese Theatre…
“There’s just so much going on [politically] it wouldn’t surprise me if someone was taking a stand and it became very scary,” said McCormick. It could have been a costumed woman protesting recent anti-abortion laws, perhaps.
Yet, the humor was not lost on the NYPD, who messaged McCormick afterwards, “Blessed be the umbrella.”
Nor was Netflix to be left out of the fun either. They tweeted out, “Ofumbrella,” humorously citing the show’s protagonist Offred.
Blessed be the umbrella. Thank you Casey and the @POPSUGAR team for alerting us to this crime, glad we could save the day.
Jokes aside, if you’re ever hesitant about calling 911 – don’t be! We take all calls seriously, and worse case we get to go home with a great story. https://t.co/PJLNw9Gx0P
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) May 21, 2019
And netizens ate up the twitter post by McCormick, which garnered over 400,000 likes and tens of thousands of retweets.
Chelsea Stoutenburgh, who works in a nearby building, chimed in on Twitter with a similar sighting of the suicidal umbrella.
“I work across the street from her and almost did the same thing!” she tweeted with a photo of the jumper from a different view.
I work across the street from her and almost did the same thing! pic.twitter.com/EMClyo5g5y
— Chelsea Stoutenburgh (@ChelStout) May 21, 2019
An NYPD spokesperson confirmed that the call was received from West 27 street and Park Avenue South around 11 a.m., and that officers from the 13th precinct responded and gained access to the building where the cloaked woman allegedly was.
The police department added on Twitter, “Jokes aside, if you’re ever hesitant about calling 911—don’t be! We take all calls seriously, and worse case we get to go home with a great story.”