"I was 16, working at my first job as an amusement park employee. This particular amusement park had a 'BounceBack' promotion, where you could come back within 10 days and your ticket would only cost $20. These 'BounceBacks' were non-transferable, and the way they verified this was by taking your picture and printing it on a coupon. My job was to take these pictures for people.
I was already having a bad day. I was tired, I forgot my lunch at home, and someone keyed my car in the middle of the night. I wasn't in a very cheerful mood. Then this lady who looked like she was in her mid-60s walks up to me and tosses her day-pass in my direction and bluntly says, 'I need a bounceback,' without even making any eye contact. I take her picture and hand her the coupon.
She takes one glance at it and throws it in my direction and yells: 'Oh my gosh! You're the worst picture-taker ever! You should be fired!! I look like a monster in that picture!!' Then I placed her coupon back on the counter, and as I slide it to her, I calmly say, 'The camera takes what it sees, ma'am.'
I didn't even get a customer complaint."
"When I was about nine years old at a McDonald's restroom, I took the toilet paper and unrolled a good amount.
I then proceeded to take a crap on that toilet paper, and rolled it back up in the TP dispenser, leaving enough to wipe my own butt.
So, the next one or two people that came in pulled for toilet paper and certainly ended up with my poop on their hands.
What was my reasoning? I don't know, I was a stupid, immature 9-year old.
Was there a reward? None. Just the eternal shame. It's been over 30 years since I did that horrible deed, but I am so sorry to the person or people who had to deal with my stupidity.
If there is any plus side to this, I'm much more patient and understanding with kids now, because apparently, I was dumber than any of them have ever been, so I've got that going for me."
"The gas station where I work by law has to take can returns because we sell them.
A guy came in with a huge 30-pack worth of cans in a plastic bag that was overflowing and dropping cans everywhere.
This was after a particularly long shift and I was somewhat close to being able to go home but still had some work to do. I can't go home till the paperwork is done and it was all jacked up, so I still had a bit to sort out. Then this guy comes in with cans to return, which stopped me from working on the paperwork.
Also, there's an unspoken rule that we don't actually do the can return in large numbers. If you bring a can or two we will do it but we are not a redemption center. I think he was homeless. He was not rude in any way about it either, he is kind of the customer you want to deal with, which makes this even worse. He was actually very soft-spoken and timid because I suspect he has dealt with a lot of awful events in his life. He even offered to clean them out once he noticed some of them still had soda or other liquids in them. But I was a prick and just annoyed that I had to deal with this instead of working on the paperwork.
The actual interaction in more detail happened like this.
At first, I outright lied and told him we can't take that many. It was just because I didn't want to deal with it. We absolutely can accept them and are also required to by law. He looked at me and thinking about it now the look he gave me kills me inside. He had the most crestfallen look and just said, 'can I please just return a few of them? I'm really hungry.' He wasn't doing this to get a stick of gum. He was doing it because he wanted to eat and the redemption center is a 25-minute car ride or a 6-7 hour walk away. He most likely could not get there. This at the time went right over my head. I was just so peeved.
I just thought it's going to be faster to deal with it then talk my way out of this. So, I said fine and again for no reason other than to be awful, I said we will only take 12 of them. He gratefully accepted, but as I was returning them the bottom few were dirty and still had some liquid in them. I felt my blood boil as I hate the smell of Budweiser and it was everywhere. I think he noticed because he immediately offered to clean them out. I outright ignored him and said nothing and made him feel bad for making me do this. I walked outside to pour them out with a nasty irritated look on my face that I know he saw. I told my cashier to give him 12 cab returns (.60 cents) and went to the back to put them in the return cart. He was gone when I came back.
An hour or two passed, and I started to process the interaction in my head. I have not been this disappointed in myself in a long time. I had an opportunity to show kindness and compassion to someone who genuinely needed it, something normally I always do and will go quite a bit out of my way to do so. To me, it defines a big part of who I am. It's part of what lets me sleep with a clean conscience and feel like a good person.
Nope, I was the very type of person I despise. I don't think he will, but I hope he comes back so I can apologize to this man from the bottom of my heart."
"I started to talk to this girl on Tinder, our conversation was really pleasing and we were doing well together. We talked for about eight hours straight on the first day, seven hours more the next day, and this was going on for about a week before we were able to go out together.
So I get to where we had agreed to meet and I see her. She's really overweight (completely different from her pictures, because she only had pictures of her face), and I am a really skinny guy (6 ft with only 105lbs, really skinny), but okay, I told myself I was not going to be superficial. The date starts and we really click, but her appearance really threw me off, and I was really uncomfortable the whole time. Anyway, when I leave her at her house, she invited me in, I politely declined and went home.
When I got to my house, she had sent me messages thanking me for not being superficial and by paying attention to her mind and not her body, and that she was really lonely and was really happy that she had found me. I hadn't gotten this impression from our date, for me, it was just a bit above average, I guess. I did the superficial, mean thing and did not answer because I was afraid to end up having to live with a lie just to not break her heart. I regret not telling it to her straight to this day, but she hates me now, and in no way would she understand my side of the story.
I still feel bad about it almost every day."
"I'm a delivery driver in an area with several big hospitals.
Hospital deliveries suck. No one meets you outside. Security always tries to tow you after you run in. There's 70% stiff rate on tips, and never NEVER an above average tip to compensate.
I'm having a bad day already and I get a big order to the hospital. I call from the parking queue and security tells me to 'come up to the 8th-floor lobby.'
I'm waiting forever for the customer and finally, someone in the waiting area starts chatting me up. He asked how my day was. I complain to him. It was out of character for me, but I do it all the same. Finally, the nurse comes out in full OR scrubs, with blood on her.
I then realize this is a surgery floor, and the surgery is so long they are bringing food in for the surgery staff. I realize the waiting room people are the patient's family, and this is major surgery. It suddenly dawns on me that I'm complaining to them on what could be the worst day of their lives.
I never complained about hospital runs again."
"I was riding my bike in London. A school trip of young teenage girls was crossing the road a long way ahead of me. They were all looking the wrong way, presumably being from a right-hand diving country. I rolled my eyes to myself and rang my bell. They remained completely impervious as I rang my bell several more times with increasing insistence.
Now at this point, I should have slowed down and stopped to wait for them to clear the road.
I didn't do that, caught up in my own petty anger at being ignored, I rolled on. Still ringing my bell continuously, I tried to pass through a gap in the crocodile, but to my absolute shock and shame, I knocked one young woman to the ground.
As her friends bustled around her helping her up, the awful truth dawned on me.
They were all deaf.
I learned an important lesson that day. I'm so sorry little girl, I was so inconsiderate and I'll never do anything like that again."
"I was working in downtown Chicago and had to take the train back to the south suburbs, where I lived. It was winter and snowing pretty heavily so needless to say, the trains were delayed. On top of an already crappy day I was having, I had lost my train pass too, so I'd have to pay for my ticket. When the trains finally got going, there was another delay.
I saw on Facebook that someone had got hit by a train near a stop by my hometown. So I commented something along the lines of, 'Great, I'm just trying to get home and we still have people that can't look both ways and inconvenience everyone else, what's wrong with the world today?' Well, I noticed an old high school friend commented after me, 'That was my mom that got hit. Sorry for the inconvenience.'
Turned out, her mom committed suicide. I've never felt worse than I did that day."
"So, I was at the McDonald's Play Place with my kids a few years ago, sitting in the play pit and waiting for them to come down the slide.
Two boys that I assumed were brothers came down the slide together. The bigger one said, 'It stinks in there! I think somebody farted.' Forgetting that I wasn't among my friends, I pointed to the other kid and raised my eyebrows like, 'I think he did it.'
The other kid gets all sad looking and backs away from me. I said I was sorry and just kidding, but it turns out they weren't brothers or even friends and the damage was done. The kid gave me the stinkeye as he left with his grandpa shortly after.
Basically, I was an evil Vince Vaughn character in a movie, picking on kids for no reason."
"I provided some video editing services on Fiverr. Someone messaged me about making a couple of minute-long videos for $10/ea. The interested party was Chinese, so there was broken English involved that had led me to believe my profile hadn't been read. As a believer in being paid decently, I replied with a 'Thanks, but I like being paid a fair wage for my work.' The interested party replied asking me what would be a good price for me, but before I answered, I took a glance at my profile.
Lo and behold, I had $10/video as my basic rate, as I was trying to undercut the more established competition. I'd completely forgotten that's what I had set. I felt so embarrassed about my smarmy comment that I deleted my account altogether."
"My best friend's sister had just committed suicide.
After the funeral, my friend and I were sitting in his backyard, where his family was hosting other guests, including family members and close friends.
One of the guests was a friend of his sister's, but she was a bit different and a bit off. She was engaged to a Juggalo and was an addict. Anyway, she sits down with us, and while having a seemingly normal conversation, the topic of his sister's remains comes up.
She asked what my best friend's parents have done with the remains and he responded that they cremated her and are planning to spread her ashes.
She then turned to him and asked him if she could approach his mother to ask for some of the ashes, in order to put it in a necklace which she could wear.
Now, I had no idea that this was a thing that people did (I'm Jewish, we don't really make jewelry with ashes, something about the Holocaust), so when I heard her say that, I laughed really, really hard.
She had the most mortified look on her face, and my friend was looking at me like, 'don't provoke the box of crazy, you fool,' so from then on I attempted to de-escalate by explaining that's not something I've ever heard of in my culture.
At any rate, she didn't get any of the ashes from his mom, so maybe I'm not the only one who thought it was weird. And now my best friend and I have a fun story about me being really mean to inadvertently help deal with his sister's passing."
"I was selling tickets for a movie at the theater where I work when I see two people come in. The way our counters are set up are like a square 'U' and my terminal is behind the larger part of the wall so it's hidden. I see two people walk in, and the guy is standing in clear view and the person he's with is standing behind the wall so I can't see them.
He asks for two tickets so I say, 'One adult and one child?' Because the person was so short, I figured it was his daughter as I could only see long hair. She steps to the section where she was now visible, and it is a 40+ year-old woman...of the shorter variety.
I'm surprised I still have my job. It was an innocent mistake, but oh, that poor woman. She probably has a lot of situations where people confuse her for a child."
"In an unfamiliar area several years ago, I missed a yield sign gaining speed entering a freeway on-ramp, causing the guy with the right-of-way to have to brake hard to avoid the collision.
To be honest, I didn't even notice that two flows of traffic were merging on the ramp until it was too late to yield. The apparent 'main' flow onto the on-ramp was a hard curve coming from my left and below the level of my straighter approach, but they definitely had the right-of-way. I'm really glad the other guy realized that I didn't see him and slowed and laid on the horn.
It scared the crap out of me and probably did the same to him. I tried my best 'I'm sorry' gesturing, but he remained understandably unimpressed.
There was no damage, I just cringe whenever I look back at it."
"I remember when I was around 12 years old, I was in a pool at a hotel with my cousin and sister, and I really needed to poop, but my little kid mind thought I had enough time to go and kept swimming without a care in the world. Eventually, I finally got out and wobbled to the bathroom, with every step my bowels grumbling angrily at me. Unfortunately, I was too late and as soon as I got into the bathroom, I started pooping all over the place.
I finished relieving myself on the toilet and then went about cleaning myself off. After washing my swimsuit in the toilet, I got out and left with a huge trail of poop on the floor leading to a stall. A couple hours later, I saw the janitor wiping the floor and mumbling to himself angrily."
"I was working retail in the mall. We had to greet everybody within the first two minutes of them entering the store whether we were busy or not. So it was a particularly busy Saturday night. My sales associate and I were trapped at the counter ringing up transactions and didn't have the time to actually go to the front of the store and greet people.
A big group of people came through the door and I yell loudly, 'Hey guys! Can we help you find anything tonight?' I was greeted with dead silence, even though a few of them looked right at me. I rudely say 'OR NAW!' I then proceeded to finish up my transaction, so I can get in their face and reach ultra friendly mode that management demanded.
I stormed over thinking about all the sugary sweet passive aggression I'm about to unleash upon these rude individuals. I got up to them and asked if they're finding everything alright, only to see that they have an interpreter with them signing in American Sign Language what I had just said.... they were all deaf."
"One time, I baited an aggressive driver into an impromptu drag race at a red light. I don't know why I felt he deserved to get a ticket, but I wanted him to get caught by the police for speeding.
I also knew there was a police speed trap about 200 meters up the road from the lights, as I just drove from that direction and had to go back. This was in Canada in a 40km/hour zone.
He not only took off before the light even turned green, but he was flying by the time he passed the cops, probably going over 90km/hour. The police sirens went off immediately in pursuit. They pulled him over farther up the road, and by the time I drove by (when I was going the speed limit with both of my hands on the wheel), he was getting cuffed. He got his just desserts."
Subscribe to our digest and receive a weekly email of hand-picked stories.