New York City's fire department (FDNY) is dealing with some backlash for billing an "unknown Asian" for a $784 bill for an ambulance ride.
The bill, which the FDNY sent to an art college called Parsons The New School for Design, read: “UNKNOWN ASIAN, 2 W 13TH ST, NEW YORK NY 10011-7902.”
Unsurprisingly, staffers at the building where the letter was sent were confused. Some were even upset.
“I hesitated to open it but then I was like, ‘Well, I could be an unknown Asian,’” Christine Ahn, who found the letter, told The New York Post.
The bill was for a Nov. 1 ambulance ride, which New Yorkers are required to pay, to a hospital near the art school.
“The funny thing for us was that there are so many Asians at this school,” said Ahn, who works in the dean’s office at the art school.
“We’ll just go down the hall and ask every Asian student if they needed medical assistance,” said Chris Rivera, the dean’s office assistant.
“When I saw it said ‘unknown Asian,’ I thought it was racist,” Rivera said. “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 and Ahn think the FDNY should explain itself.
“There must be ‘unknown Hispanic’ or ‘unknown African-American’ bills out there,” Rivera said. “What else goes on in that agency?”
An FDNY source told The New York Post that bill was the result of EMS workers not having enough information about the female agent that they transported at around 3 am Nov. 1 for a “drug or intoxication” issue.
EMS workers were told by someone who was with the female patient at the time that she lived in a New School dorm. The patient was "too intoxicated" to tell EMS workers her name. The bill was then processed and then sent to a billing contractor at a fire department, the Post report add.
“We’re speaking to the vendor and we’re asking them not to process bills that have an unknown for the name,” FDNY spokesman Jim Long told the Post.
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