CROSSED LINES: The family and friends of West Ballina’s Ellen Drew have been able to talk a lot with a South Australian tradie because of crossed lines as a diversion to Ellen’s mobile phone was bungled.
CROSSED LINES: The family and friends of West Ballina’s Ellen Drew have been able to talk a lot with a South Australian tradie because of crossed lines as a diversion to Ellen’s mobile phone was bungled.

A case of crossed lines

ELLEN Drew, from West Ballina, doesn’t reckon she’ll put David Russack on her Christmas card list – even though he has got to know her family and friends over a period of a week.

But Ellen has never met the South Australian tradie.

The only reason the pair  got to have contact is because of a blue by Telstra in redirecting Ellen’s landline to her mobile phone.

The problem began when Ellen called a technician in to check her home phone a few weeks ago.

She said she was told that the phone line had to be repaired, and her home phone could be diverted to her mobile so she didn’t miss out on any calls from her family and friends.

But the mobile phone then didn’t ring.

And that surprised Ellen as she is in regular contact with her seven children, her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, as well as her friends.

She then found out that her calls were being diverted to Mr Russack in country South Australia whose mobile phone number is similar to Ellen’s.

Mr Russack said he had fielded more than 50 of Ellen’s calls last week as her family and friends desperately tried to contact Ellen, fearing something was wrong with her.

“They were trying to ring me up to make sure I’m all right,” Ellen, 75, said last Friday.

She said she had rung Telstra on a friend’s phone about four times last week to get the problem fixed, and the problem was  frustrating

Meanwhile, over in South Australia, Mr Russack, who ironically specialises in installing communications equipment, said he also was getting frustrated by the constant calls to his business phone.

“I’d be up in the roof of a house installing a cable, and I keep getting calls – I come down the ladder to answer them, and they weren’t for me,” he said.

But, to the relief of both people, Telstra finally came good and the diversion was fixed on Monday this week, and Ellen is now getting her phone calls.

She said she rang Mr Russack to apologise for all the calls he had been getting. “He was okay about it, and told me ‘It’s not your fault’,” she said.

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