rescue call

n.
A call to a cell phone placed at a prearranged time to give the person being called an excuse to end a date or other social engagement.
Example Citations:
The SOS service just shows the way things past come back and haunt you. And it's funnier that even technology is like that. In an earlier generation, people set up a friend or colleague to make the rescue call.
— N. Nagaraj, "Dial SOS for that exit line,"The Hindu, March 7, 2005
The peak time for dates from hell in New York City is Friday at 8 p.m. — judging by the cell phone calls delivering emergency excuses to bolt.
Truth is, they're fake "rescue" calls — now being offered by two cell phone providers, Cingular Wireless and Virgin Mobile USA. In an era of Internet-set dates, it's just customer service — a hip way to wiggle out of an uncomfortable encounter.
— "Via cell, help's on the way for bad dates," The Associated Press, August 8, 2004
Earliest Citation:
The Virgin Mobile will provide quirky functions aimed at the youth market, the company said. Callers will be able to programme their telephones to send them a "rescue call" and a message, which will provide them with a plausible escape from a blind date gone wrong.
— Abigail Rayner, "Virgin targets US mobile market," The Times (London), June 21, 2002
Notes:
Have you ever been on a bad date and wished someone would call you with some urgent task that required your immediate attention? Wish no more: Cellular providers Cingular Wireless and Virgin Mobile USA offer rescue call services that ring your cell phone at a preset time and supply you with a "script" to make it appear that you've received an emergency call. (Cingular's service is called, memorably, Escape-A-Date.)
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