"911, what is your emergency?" is the first part of your script. After that, nobody knows the rest of the script.
It could be something serious--maybe someone could be hurt. It could be something important but less dangerous, so you can keep your cool.
It could be something totally batty. But there's just no way to really know until it happens.
Here were some of those answers.
***SPOILER.... The following content is for 17 and Over and contains darker material***
Some Serious Ones At First
Scariest was a woman who called and said her husband had a gun and was threatening to kill himself. While the officers were on the way they wanted to talk to her. While I was transferring her she said "he's pointing the gun at me" but luckily the officer picked up right after and I could disconnect. I was still in training at the time so it was scary.
Worst call was an old man who called saying he accidentally ran over his son with his combine. His son tripped while he was next to the big wheel and went under it. He was crushed. I froze for a solid 10 seconds not knowing what to do because my mind went blank. This was when I was fresh out of training, so I was still inexperienced with that level of intensity.
Nature Vs Nurture
Not mine, but an old friend of my Mom's we'll call Judy:
Judy was a switchboard operator in high school (before 911 was a thing). She got this call one day from a dude who was keeping a literal and actual, fully grown DEER as a pet. Not only that, it was a MALE adult deer. This guy had raised said deer since it was a baby and it had been fine for years. But it was still a wild animal, mating season had rolled around and for whatever reason it had decided that its owner was competition.
In short, this man was being attacked by his pet buck. Judy called the cops, but she had to stay on the line until they got there. So she had to listen to him being gored to death on the other end of the phone by a deer. Needless to say, they didn't get there in time to save him and Judy still has nightmares about the whole thing 50+ years later.
Oh there are just so many!
Many times I've walked people through CPR after someone calls 911 to say their spouse isn't breathing - crew arrives and finds an elderly patient doing CPR on a blanket or a pillow.. no ill intent just mental health problems.
Took a call where a guy was stabbed - just wanted to keep him talking so asked if he knew who did it - he named the guy and then stopped responding seconds later - dead when the crew arrived.
Fairly rare but we sometimes get calls from people saying their pet isn't breathing or is choking and they want us to walk them through CPR or send help.
I've taken three calls where people chopped off their penis. Two of them were sitting in a tub, one had microwaved it.
I would say > 50% of all calls are related to drugs and alcohol.. maybe 25% are mental health related and then 25% random accidents or medical emergencies.
Private security/emergency control room operator here.
I have a lot of different stories I can share so here's just one.
We recieved a call from a lady but when you work at a job for a decent amount of time like that you start to recognize your clients voices. We immediately knew it was the local town crazy, let's call her P.
Now, P was certified batty and insane. If you worked nightshift and worked the inbound calls you would dread getting a call from her because she claims she sees ghosts, that her neighbours try to kill her every night and that her family is in on the thing because they keep trying to take her to an asylum but P refuses to do so because she claims she is mentally well.
The family tried getting the police take her in but because there is no certifiable evidence that she is insane they couldn't do anything about it.
I've worked there for 3 years and she phone about every night even from before I started there. Right, so this one fateful night guess who was working inbound that night...
Right off the bat when I answered she said she "saw" a spirit come out of her and she knows definitely it's her neighbours that are trying to steal her soul, she also mentions how scared her cat looks and how desperately it's trying to claw its way out for her to open the window.
She says this is odd behaviour of her cat but she mentions it every time she calls how the cat is trying to get out, seems she forgets every conversation from previous nights.
Now I just calmly tell her we can send a response officer to patrol the area as that usually appeases her then we hang up and that's that for the night... Usually.
2 hours later we recieve a panic from wouldn't ya know, the neighbours of P. She was trying to break in and stab them with a knife, she kept claiming that they tried to steal her soul and she won't allow them to harm anyone else.
Needless to say, police got called in, they saw how crazy she was, she got sent to an asylum 2 provinces over and we haven't heard of her since.
Kinda scary that I was the last person she talked to before she decided to try and kill her neighbours. Chilling.
And that's just one story...
Coast Guard command center, so the maritime version of 911 (you call "MAYDAY" on the radio, I pick up). Probably when I got the call that we lost one of our own helicopters. I never saw the report, but from what I gathered they were trying to take off and the winds (this was hurricane response) caused them to crash at takeoff. Everyone got out and no lasting injuries, but the helo caught fire and I'm pretty sure had to be scrapped. For sure one of the more memorable ones since it's different when it's "one of your own" and also aircraft emergencies tend to kill people a lot better than sinking boats.
Put It In The Pizza
Scariest was an elderly woman who was vacuuming her carpet and saw large footprints in the carpet she had already vacuumed. She didn't hear anything but was terrified. Turns out her grandson had broken in and hid in the closet when she had her back turned and the noise of the vacuum cleaner could cover it up.
Strangest was a woman who called and reported that she had been robbed by a police officer and that she wanted to report him. She didn't have a name or description of the officer, but claimed "it was one of you guys." She said the officer came to her house, took her money and left. She couldn't give us enough info and refused to give us an address, so she ended up hanging up.
She called back a little later and had the same story, except it wasn't an officer, but someone with a logo shirt and hat approached her at her apartment, took her money and left. Again, refused to give us more info or her location and hung up on us. This happened a few more times that night, with the story becoming a little clearer every time. By the time the morning came, we had deduced that she had simply ordered a pizza and paid for it.
A Call From Across The Sea
I got a 911 call from a different country. Always doublecheck your VOIP emergency settings. Its led to a few avoidable deaths.
So I was working nightshift when i get a call about a girl being followed. She kept on mentioning a nearby shop and burger king as her location. The location sounded like it was a spanish supermarket. Thinking it was night time, I instructed her to go to a well lit, public place where it would be hard to be dragged away from, which was the burger king.
My google maps, which was usually on point was failing me. I couldn't get the spelling of the name of the place and needed to clarify which part of the metro area she was in, so I asked her what city she was in. She replied by saying,"I'm in florence" "Florence, (US STATE)?" "No, Florence, Italy".
I ended the call by telling her to change the phone's settings to local 911/get help from the burger king. I don't know why she didn't realize that the 911 operator responded in perfect English with a Southern accent wasn't Italian. She was on a study abroad and probably had her home police number set up in Voip when she called 911. I spent the rest of the night confused, thinking I was hallucinating. I told my supervisor in the morning at shift change about it and she confirmed it when I came back later for my next shift.
This Could Have Been Bad
My old house mate was a paramedic and I remember him telling me about a time he (and loads of other ambulances) had been scrambled to the city airport because there was a passenger jet (737 or similar) on approach and in trouble.
Luckily that plane landed without incident. Apparently it happens far more than most of us are aware of but better safe than sorry I guess!
I'd need closure. I worked in substance misuse and one Friday afternoon, last minute, I picked up the phone. It was a suicidal client. All the medical staff had left, and there was just me, admin person, trying to talk her down and advising her who else to call etc.
I worried all weekend. First thing Monday morning I was on the phone to the local hospital, hoping to hell she hadn't actually done it and I'd been the last person she spoke to. Luckily no, however she died from a heroin overdose a year later.
Talk to my Mom
It's not scary in the sense of creepy, but it really affected my mom and she had to take a break for a while after it. My mom works in the psychological support line for the 911, meaning that if somebody calls because they're just too sad, lonely, overwhelmed or just want someone to talk to, the call gets transferred to my mom.
She got a call at the end of her shift that night and it was a guy around my age who simply stated he was sad and did not want to be alone that night. My mom asked the regular questions just to make sure that he was safe and continued talking to him.
He told her about how his parents abused him since he was very little, he told her every detail of it, he explained to her that that was the reason he did not have any friends or close family members, how he lived alone now and he cried a lot every night. My mom continued talking to him, when he suddenly says he feels very sleepy and he might have to hang up soon, my mom knows this is usually a sign that he might've taken something, so she dispatches an ambulance to his house and tries to keep him on the line.
The ambulance took 2 hours to get to his house because they said it was not an emergency, even though my mom told them it was and she was certain about it. She stayed on the line for 2 hours trying to get this person to stay awake and continue talking because the ambulance took so long, until he eventually stopped replying to her. When they got there, he was already dead, he was lying on the couch with the phone on his hand and my mom on the line.
Not a 911 operator but a paramedic strangest/scariest would have to be when we got a dispatch for a cardiac arrest the dispatcher told us that a woman had found her sister in a bag and was screaming about not being able to find her legs but was too hysterical to answer any clarifying questions. Turns out the woman had gone to her sisters house because they hadn't seen or heard from her in a week which was odd. She found her sister dismembered in a trash bag in the back yard and some of her limbs were in a burn barrel near by. Sister's husband had killed her and was trying to dispose of the body.
3 years ago a 5yo girl found her parents dead in their bedroom with blood all over the place and a bullet on the floor, she was in the backyard and heard some shots and after 2 hours of hiding she found the body.
I have a friend who works for a crisis line. A call came through from a guy standing on the wrong side of the barrier on a bridge, he was ready to jump. After some time my friend convinced him to climb over onto the right side, as he was climbing over he slipped and fell off the bridge. His family will never know that he had actually changed his mind and it wasn't suicide. My friend was gutted.
I've taken calls from kids in domestic situations and it always sucks hearing how scared they are. At least scared kids are better on the phone than scared adults.
PTSD by Proxy
Filled in as a 911 operator and dispatcher for a rural County a few decades ago. Got a call for a motor vehicle accident one night. The car had gone off a 60-foot embankment ending up upside down in a shallow river. As calls played out, there had been 6 occupants all deceased. Bodies were found from the accident site to half a mile downriver. 3 of the occupants had been friends or acquaintances of mine. The stress of knowing that and taking calls from family members I knew most of the night soured my young self on the job. Please give rural first responders extra support. PTSD by proxy is a real thing.
the last goodbyes....
I once got a call from a individual who's mom passed away a day prior, he stayed the night with his mom. Washed her, changed her, brushed her hair, and then cuddled her through the night before calling.... in the end he just wanted to say his last good byes. He went on to seek psychiatric help after the event to assist with the passing.
Off the Cliff
My night shift just took a call this weekend where a guy drove an atv off a 200 foot cliff. Dude obviously didn't make it but he wasn't dead on scene.
Edit: also, side note, working one county over from where all my family lives terrifies me, because just happen to dispatch ambulance for that county in addition to mine. It's a matter of time until I work a call on family.
You Killed Him!!
Not scary or strange, just... sad. I received a call from a man who's father was having a heart attack. It was a rural area, and although most people knew each other, it was policy not to use anyone's name on the radio. I toned and dispatched the ambulance service and gave a play-by-play of directions on country roads from the caller to the ambulance service. It took them almost 20 minutes to get out to the area of the farm where the patient was. Toward the end, they had trouble finding them, and I had to ask the caller several times to repeat the directions. The patient didn't make it, largely due to the time it took the responders to arrive.
About two hours later, the sheriff, ambulance and fire chief, and the caller arrive at the jail where we dispatched. The caller was yelling at me saying "You killed my father!" over and over again. It wasn't until he listened to the tape of the call, and learned that in his panic he gave me the wrong directions, did he stop. I was told that If I had been allowed to use the victims name on the radio - the driver would have known exactly where to go. The fire chief and sheriff tried to console me, but I was a wreck for weeks. That was the most traumatic for me, and I've not talked about it for years.
Worked as a 911 dispatcher while I was in undergrad for a rural town in Appalachia. It was about 45 minutes from campus and on night shift we could go literally hours without a call and I could study.
The last call I took was from a woman who drove around flood water signs with her kid in the car.
Edit: I'm ok guys thanks. This was nearly twenty years ago.
The Big City
Not an Operator. But I'm a big city Cop. I've had 4 kids die in my arms/presence.
2016, had a 5 year old kid literally die in my arms after he got hit by an old Ford F-350 truck. Kid was getting Ice Cream from Ice Cream truck and goes to cross the street and go back home. Dad is blasted drunk and sees Truck coming. Goes to grab kid, but trips him into the street instead. Truck hits him and drags him 25 feet.
I was driving down a Main Street just north. Got to the scene about 20 seconds after dispatch puts out the call.
I pull up and see the kid laying in the street. Mom and Dad are screaming in Spanish for me to save him. But kids skull is crushed. Started CPR while Fire arrived. I pick the kid up to load him on gurney to save time, and he took his last breath in my arms. Fire took him anyway but he was gone.
I hate wearing lotion because it feels the same as the kids blood did on my arms that day.
The other kids were pool drownings and vehicle ejections.
On the Ferry
Summer of 2019 I worked the tourist info booth for my very rural home town. One night mid summer while waiting for the ferry to come in (usually pulled in around 5pm after a 12 hour trip from lower on the coast) we got word the boat was delayed due to a plane crash since they were the nearest ship and had two doctors on board so had to assist. When the ferry finally arrived the next day I had to deal with a couple of passengers who were endlessly b!tching that the coast guard specifically asked for assistance from their boat and how angry that they were one day late for their reservations at an empty campground.
The Tragic Accident
Not an operator myself, but used to know one. She always said the toughest calls were from parents that had accidentally hurt their kids...
She once got one from a dad who had accidentally backed over his son playing in the driveway with his car... She didn't think that man would ever get right again. She wasn't sure she would...
She also had more than one calls from parents that had brought their babies into bed with them... rolled onto them in the night and suffocated them...
Those were the ones that haunted her.... the ones where she knew she couldn't help.... not the injured, nor the ones that had caused the injury...
I had a woman who was hiding under her bed. 2 men had broken into her house and was holding her boyfriend hostage in the bathroom and they didn't realize she was there under the bed. She was pregnant at the time and got wedged under the bed and stuck. I was 5 months pregnant at the time so it was very memorable. A deputy happened to be close by and got there in less than 4 minutes but they had already shot and killed the boyfriend. Hearing his screaming and then her screaming when she realized he was dead will stick with me for the rest of my life.
Not a 911 operator. I worked for a British call center (offshore I'm from Zululand) I kept getting calls from people trying to get through to family members during the Grenfell Towers fire. I reported this multiple times to management and felt helpless. People would call in and just cry. I remember Googling numbers for local police but I was getting into trouble for spending too long on calls.
I would look at the account (not giving any account info) and see the last activity was hours before for someone who normally constantly used their phone. We were given instructions from the UK to release the call if it wasn't someone from our network. Eventually DAYS later they decided to give new phones free to the victims who survived and needed the help. The pain in their voices hurt me really badly.
Not me but my Mom is a Herald of the EMS Gods (whereas, I am just a lowly street runner). She took a call back in 2012, where it was a homicide and the caller was eventually convicted for said homicide. She actually had to testify in court. I heard the call when she was preparing to testify earlier this year. It wasn't much but my mom even said that something didn't feel right about it and was trying to get additional info out of him. He said stuff like "she's bleeding from her neck" "she's not breathing." Fairly standard stuff. The thing was he was the convicted murder on the phone.
Not my story but my friend's so this is a short one....
So she was just doing her job and a drunk guy called 911 because his neighbors had just attended funeral so they were "crying to loud" and when she said that's not mean emergency and that he's being rude he said "I'll find you and I will freaking kill you and your whole family then burn your house and through your dead body into a lake" then she hung up.
I am not an operator but on another Reddit thread I remember reading things similar to this one. One that always stuck with me, is when Katrina was happening, the calls were overwhelming the system, so they were being routed to a town or so over period one woman who commented on the thread said she remembered a lady who was in the Attic of her home but couldn't get out of the Attic window onto her roof because the window opening was too small and her body couldn't fit. She talked to the lady until the lady died from the flood water.
MeowOn My Way Goodbye GIF by Bubble Punk Giphy
Old lady called to complain that a cat was on her bed... it was her cat.
I was an ambulance dispatcher and my twin brother was an EMT. I may have told this before, but it's genuinely the biggest, most immediate, and most visceral "Oh F**k."
I was working a typical day with three coworkers: My work husband, a narcissist, and an idiot. Twin Bro was in Kansas, doing a long-distance transport. (We lived and worked in the Denver area, but long-distance transports happen sometimes.)
Work Husband picked up the ambulance crew line, and stayed on the line for a surprisingly long time. When he hung up, he said that Twin Bro and his partner were caught in a hailstorm, and their ambulance was being hit by tennis ball sized hail. Their windshield was taking heavy damage.
Crap immediately hit the fan. Narcissist called his favorite supervisor, ostensibly to advise Supervisor of the situation, but actually to get a bunch of attention. He stopped doing his work. Idiot immediately stopped doing her work, ran over to Work Husband, and freaked out about it in her outside voice: "OH MY GOD, WHAT ARE THEY GONNA DO... OMG insertcaffeine ARE YOU JUST, LIKE, FREAKING OUT BECAUSE YOUR BROTHER'S OUT THERE?"
My answer: "I don't freaking have time."
I got the crew's location, then frantically started googling stuff: PSAP phone number (how to reach 911 where Twin Bro was), auto glass shop, hospital, hotel, and body shop. I paged it to Twin Bro. Then, because Narcissist and Idiot weren't doing their work, I picked that up. I answered phone calls for transfers, answered phone calls from their crews, and dispatched their ambulances.
I ended up leaving a couple hours after they called, not knowing if they'd make it back. A few hours after I got home, I got a text from Twin Bro. He'd made it back. The relief and the release of stress hit me like a ton of bricks and reduced me to a blubbering, ugly crying mess.
My dad used to be a dispatcher. I can vividly remember one night he came home after a shift and just woke me up and held me and cried. He had been on the phone with a mother whose 5 year old daughter's head got stuck out the car window while they were driving. A semi drifted smashing her head and decapitating her. The woman was injured being ran off the road. He was visibly shaken and so sad.
Screaming on the Inside
Not me, but my sister is a dispatcher. One time she received a call from a man who said he just killed his sister and brother. She kept him on the phone for 5 or 6 minutes to make sure he didn't run before officers arrived. She got him to admit they had all been drinking and playing cards, then got into an argument when one of them accused the other of cheating. The other two went to bed, but this guy stayed up stewing. Apparently he couldn't let it go. He shot each of them in their beds while they slept, then called 911. I heard a partial recording of the call and she sounded calm AF. She told me she was screaming on the inside the entire time.
For my own personal story, I am not or ever was a responder, but on a separate thread I was reading tonight, was talking about a lady named Denise Lee that got abducted from her home in front of her two Children band later killed even though there were FIVE 911 calls about her abduction, inducing a lady who watched it unfold before her. Apparently up until then, this happened in 2008, operators didn't require any sorts of training, and so that incident changed the way they are hired I think maybe it is just optional training that is provided, and her parents and her foundation are trying to get it to be full training and certification for anyone who wants to be an operator.
Too Much to Hear
911 dispatcher for 13 years here. Scariest call I ever took was a man who told me about how he set his girlfriend on fire. He walked into a gas station smelling like gasoline and asked them to call 911 so he could turn himself in. They then put the man on the phone with me and he said that he thought she was "running around on him" and he couldn't take it so he just sat her on fire. I had to talk to the man and make sure he'd turn himself in peacefully.
I was a dispatcher for a residential alarm company similar to ADT. I would call people when their alarm was tripped and ask them if they were okay. One day I received a signal from a residence from a glass break sensor on a window in the bathroom. When I called the lady was laughing so hard she could barely give me her safety password.
Turns out she was cleaning her bathroom and when she bent over she farted so hard and loud it set off the sensor on the bathroom window.
Hold on Ms....
Older lady, I want to say maybe early 70s, calls in with a sort of polite urgency in her voice, tells me she thinks she's having a stroke. Tells me she has her grandchild at the house with her, asks me to call her daughter to come get the child.
By the time she's done giving me the phone number there's just a very slight slur in her speech. By the time EMS got there (probably no more than 5 minutes or so) I couldn't understand a thing she was saying. Fascinating, disturbing, and profoundly sad hearing someone stroke out on the phone as they're talking to you.
I'll go with a lighter one. I once had an elderly woman complain that gang members tagged her shed. She also said she didn't want a black deputy (this is the south). The (black) deputy arrived and found that it wasn't spray paint, but that her shed was so dirty that slugs had eaten paths in the filth that created patterns.
Listen Closelyaroused goat GIF Giphy
Had some one call saying a man had been killed by a goat. Turns out goat is what they also call the machine that picks oranges off of trees. Miscommunication can be horrifying.
So when I was younger I had a friend that lived right by the highway and one day we were hanging out on the porch and a very bad accident happened and everybody lived but a couple of them had broken bones and they were all screaming at us to call 911, and this was in 2005, and I called 911 over and over and it just rang and rang and rang each time I mean it was a Tuesday morning that was not busy and we live in a midsize town.
Stay with me....
For me, the worst ones are always the calls you can relate to on a personal level. I took a call last month from a father who discovered his son with a bag over his head and a note next to his body. I've taken a ton of suicide calls, but this one was particularly difficult for me because the son was my age, and the way the father pleaded with his son was almost exactly the same way I've imagined my dad if I were to ever do the same.
I've had the same "Come on, buddy! Don't do this to me!" running in my head at least 2-3 times a day since.
Also, not technically a call but my first shift on my own, I dispatched the deputy I did my ride along with to a domestic that he ended up being shot and killed at. Hearing his blood-gurgled "shots fired" scream on the radio won't be something I'll ever forget.
DUDE! My Dog!
Well, my buddy is a fireman and dispatch had just alerted them of a man having chest pains. They get to the guys house, and as soon as they open the door, the dude's dog runs outside. The dude shouts "you let my dog out! go get my dog! Please!" So my buddy immediately starts chasing the dog.
He catches the dog, comes back to the house, and when he walks in the door he sees that the man having "chest pains" had actually shot a HOLE IN HIS CHEST while cleaning his gun.
Old dude shoots himself in the chest, tells 911 it's chest pains, and when help arrives, he makes them go chase his dog down before tending to his own life threatening wound. Biggest WTF of my buddies career.
You check first
"A woman complaining of spiders in her vagina"
In college, I worked as an EMT in a major city. Not the craziest call I ever had but one of the wackiest call outs we ever got was to respond to "a woman complaining of spiders in her vagina". I'll never forget pulling up to this major intersection where, sure enough, there's this old lady lying on the sidewalk with her pants off and legs spread up in the air. Turns out it was this transient lady in her 70s who had been having some wild hallucinations.
We still had to check for spiders. :(
No that is not NormalThe Office No GIF Giphy
Not 911, but tele-nursing, people called me plenty when it should have been 911.
Grandma, calls me about her 16 year old, 40 week pregnant, grand daughter.
GM: Hey my grandbaby is pregnant and she just went to pee and said the cord is hanging out....is that normal?
Me: No.....not even a little bit.
On the floor
112 dispatcher amongst other things. My job is actually a fireman but due to the structure of the fire department where I live we are also taking calls.
Anyway got a call once from a lady who wanted assistance because she fell on the floor, lived alone and had trouble standing up. Pretty common so I sent a crew out there. They come back and they tell me she was kind of disappointed. This call kept happening for the next few days till we understood what was going on. She had a crush on one of my colleagues and she just wanted him to visit her. When she finally put together when his shift was working, they only had her calls ever since.
I'm sure he was this way because of shock.
The way each person reacted in each call stuck with me. Both of these incidents were on different ends of the spectrum as far as life changing events. Yet the responses each caller had to the event was not what I would've expected. But everyone that genuinely calls 911 (or in my case 000) is having a really bad day.
don't come to the garage.....
After a while they all blend together but I do have one call that I remember at times.
A wife called because she found a note in the kitchen saying "call 911, don't come to the garage." I guess her husband was chronically ill and decided to commit suicide on Mother's Day while his wife and daughter were out. The hardest part for me was pleading with the teenaged daughter to stay outside and wait for first responders.
Good Days/Bad Days
Oh man. I helped deliver a couple of babies, which was awesome and a positive in a largely negative job.
I'll never forget the time that a girl called and said her friend shot himself. She did not know the address of where they were, but she knew the general location. I had to tell her to look around and yell out everything she saw.
I used the satellite view on google maps to find her location based on what she told me.
Helping parents perform CPR on a newborn is one of the worst things ever.
I probably have more, but digging that stuff up isn't always the greatest.
Lights Up!happy girl GIF by Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Giphy
During a power outage, I got screamed at by a man who demanded to know why he didn't have power when a car JUST drove by with its lights on!
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When we go to sleep, we slip into one of the most vulnerable positions we can possibly embody. And we do that every single day.
So it's hardly surprising that, at least a few times throughout our lives--maybe more than a few--we find ourselves snatched from slumber, and left sitting started and defenseless against a threat we can barely make out in those first few seconds.
But for all the vagueness of those first few sensations, we sure do remember those horrible awakenings rather vividly.
And recently, some folks on the internet shared their most memorable experiences.
Redditor ScoopySnacks829 asked:
"What's the worst thing you woke up to?"
Many Redditors encountered animals in the dead of night. The creepy crawling hands and mouths were enough to make their skin crawl.
"My grandmother had a filthy house and made me and my brother sleep on the floor whenever we were over."
"Once I woke up with a rat tangled in my waist length hair. I was 8"
"Another time I woke up to see a giant roach crawl. Out of my brother's mouth as he was sleeping. (I never told him as I figured he would rather live in blissful ignorance.) I was 9."
"To this day have a fear of Rats, roaches, and sleeping on floors."
"A dog's paw in my mouth and getting stepped on the balls at the same time" -- Lower_Environment774
Only Thin Nylon Between You and It
"The sound of a bear outside my tent. Got my heart racing." -- SingLikeTinaTurner
"Oh fu** okay, so I once was woken up by a bear paw to the head. It was just fu**ing around with our tarp but I'm tall so the top of my head stuck out just a tad. It felt like being brained with a sandbag."
"It was a black bear and ran off when we made a bunch of noise, but I'll never forget the few moments of sheer terror, head reeling and seeing that bear paw slide next to my face." -- Cthulhu_sneeze
"Blood all over the bed that I was in. Then I saw the flyscreen had been torn open. Then I heard a crunching noise. And then I saw the cat with the remains of a magpie."
Others shared the times they encountered a personal tragedy immediately upon waking up in the morning.
"woke up to the news one of my best friends family had been murdered in an arson attack and that he had tried to save them and had 3rd degree burns over 70% of his body..."
"I woke up to my dad telling me my mom had a brain tumor."
"It was during a sleepover with my best friend at the time. I knew they were going to get her an MRI because she had been having really bad chronic headaches, but none of us expected brain cancer."
"When they removed the tumor two weeks later they removed a baseball and a half sized mass of tumor from her right frontal lobe. She's alive and well now 15 years later, thank god, but that was an awful time for everyone in our family."
The Worst Reason to Get Up and Go
"My uncle calling me in the middle of the night to tell me my mom was in the hospital, and that I should fly out as soon as possible if I wanted to be able to say goodbye."
Finally, some people discussed the times they felt threatened by other human beings that clearly did not have their best interests at heart.
Just What Did They Want
"Someone jiggling the handle on my door, trying to get in to my apartment. Scary as fu**. I don't know if he was drunk and thought it was a different apartment, or if he was just going door to door, seeing if any were unlocked."
"My ex-girlfriend pointing an unloaded gun (I thought it was loaded) at me. She pulled the trigger and she wanted to scare me, she thought I was cheating on her with a friend of mine (a female)."
It Gets Worse and Worse
"When I was like 16, the landlord and a couple of other men (LEOs of some sort, presumably, but I didn't get a good look at them) came in to physically evict my mother and I from the duplex we lived in at the time, something I had no idea was in at all."
"Like, we apparently went through the entire eviction process without me getting even a slight sniff of it. I slept naked even back then, so basically, I was awakened by two or three strange men coming into my bedroom."
"I threw on a cream-colored dress and got the fu** out of there, having no other option obviously, and went to my mother's workplace in a panic...where one of her coworkers gently pointed out that I had started my period, which was obvious from a distance, apparently."
Here's hoping this list won't give you trouble falling to sleep tonight.
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Simply put, the line between needs and desires becomes blurry without us even realizing it.
That is, until we look at our bank statement at the end of the month, suppressing the tears and horrified shrieks that want to leap out of us.
But with the help of a recent Reddit thread, perhaps there is hope. Maybe taking stock of exactly which unnecessary places that money is going can help us dial it in.
Redditor Rice_Liar asked:
"What is the biggest waste of money?"
Of course, many people mentioned the common vices that have long been dubbed the easiest way to throw your earnings right down the tubes.
The Next One Will Hit, I Know It
"Scratch off lottery tickets. I visited my uncle, and he asked me to help him sort the scratch tickets he had bought that year (I guess if you collected enough non-winning ones you could turn them in for a small prize?). He had stacks and stacks of tickets. Took us forever to sort them."
"He was proudly telling me about the times he'd won 50 or 100 bucks, but it clearly didn't even begin to break even with the total amount he paid for them."
"I still buy one every once in a while for fun, and know that a lot of people enjoy the thrill of them and don't mind spending a few dollars for it, but seeing how many he had with no worthwhile return except a rare win has definitely stuck with me."
"I just quit smoking and I have to say tobacco, in the Netherlands the pack of tobacco I used to smoke (John player special) costs 14,40 euros or $16.95 dollars according to google u pay that much multiple times a week for something that kills you."
"Any smokers here wanting to quit but can't, just buy a vape pen it makes it so much easier."
Designed to Fail
"Gambling. Most of the time it goes tits up and has ramifications for other people in your life." -- Mgreengo
"Worked at a casino. I saw behind the curtain. You will lose. The only way to win is to accidentally win a jackpot (that you somehow didn't spend over the jackpot amount to win) and walk away never to return." -- Femmefatele
Others discussed those unneeded luxuries that we get lulled into thinking we absolutely need.
For Olympians Only
"buying a house with a swimming pool. Unless you're an avid swimmer, you'll only use it irregularly 2-3 months a year. Requires constant maintenance that cost up to 5k a year."
"If you build the swimming pool after you've bought the house, that's around 30k for a 600 sq2 ft pool. And it most likely will not increase your house' price at all."
"Stupidly expensive weddings" -- FairySpice12
"Napkins - $1"
"Baby Napkins -$5"
"Wedding Napkins- $20" -- OntarioIsPain
How Did They Do That?
"Starbucks. $6 for an iced coffee that usually isn't that great." -- kdub1523
"The $6 'coffees' are usually a drink with a million things added so it doesn't taste like a coffee" -- Main-Argument-5898
And many people took notice of all the money they spend on transactions surrounding our online lives and our relationships to all the new gadgets that make our heads spin.
Monthly Black Holes
"Subscriptions to stuff you don't use anymore." -- StructureMoist
"I feel like you don't need all the streaming services. For me, I have netflix, prime, Disney and Spotify. I pay for prime and Spotify and my boyfriend has Disney and netflix. We share the accounts. I use all of them about about same amount, Spotify the least but I miss it a ton when I don't have it." -- Zanki
Money From An Unseen Source
"Donating to popular streamers they have so much money and they are most likely to not read your donation" -- fiskars12345
"I much prefer to give my money to smaller streamers because they're always so sweet and I like supporting them" -- mintmoonstone
Give It a Few Years
"Latest mobile phones every year with allegedly 'revolutionary' must have new features!" -- MarcDarcy
"I generally skip 3 or 4 generations. Then buy a new phone after I've wrung every last ounce of life out of the old one." -- Majik_Sheff
But It Seemed So Fun For Those Few Seconds...
"buying video games that you'll never play" -- Zack4044
"But it was 75% off, how could I pass up those savings" -- 98raider
"There goes my angry upvote of the day." -- Nidrew
So maybe it's time to face the harsh realities of the monthly statement and see where the big omissions can be.
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You've probably stayed up late watching some television special about a criminal in your area and seen the announcement near the end: "If you have any information, call our tipline." The authorities might even offer a reward of some kind. But what are the chances that you might actually know of the person they're looking for?
People shared their stories after Redditor Renzot56 asked the online community,
"Has anyone here ever actually called into one of the FBI rewards for information on criminals and won the money?"
"My neighbor down the road..."
"My neighbor down the road growing up was always getting into trouble. One day someone robbed a gas station with a gun, and accidentally shot the clerk (so he claimed), and the police didn't know who did it. After about a month, they offered up a small reward for information. The guy arranged to have his wife turn him in to collect the reward, because she would need it since he knew he was going away for a long time."
A likely story!
"I felt pretty good..."
"Ten years ago I'm working front desk at this third rate motel and I'm the only employee on property until 7am.
So I get this report of an unruly guest and check it out. Dudes whacked out on something, threatening other guests and I call the cops to remove him. On their way out they tell me he's got active warrants in another state.
I don't think anything of until three months later I got a check sent to me at work from a sheriff's office two states over. Turns out the guy was wanted for a double murder and I got the reward when he was convicted. I felt pretty good about that."
"My sister has a pretty weird hobby - she solves cold cases by helping match descriptions of bodies that have never been positively ID'd to missing persons matching the body's description. She's solved several cases and submits them to the FBI tip line. Twice now, she's gotten phone calls from law enforcement as a result, one from the FBI and one from a local police department. One had reward money tied to it from long, long ago. She turned it down.
Both times, she's informed the agency calling that the missing person disappeared before she was 10 years old (that's her limit, she doesn't look at recent cases to avoid potential problems), and they just kinda shrug and move on. That's all."
I think I'd be pretty proud if I had Nancy Drew as a sister. Well done!
"I made an anonymous tip..."
"I made an anonymous tip to a local library about someone posting online about wanting to do something sexual in the bathroom of the library.
Local police and FBI gave me a call on my actual number (not the one I used to call in the tip) and asked me a few questions.
Turns out they set up a raid and caught some 19-year old who was trying to meet kids online. Got $500 and they offered to pay me to go on apps/websites like Craigslist and such to find the same kind of people. Was pretty cool."
I'm sure that child's parents were rermarkably grateful.
"In college, we had a drive-by shooting on my block. The police showed up and asked all the neighbors if they had any information. I had just heard the shots from my house and wasn't able to help.
A few days later I was walking home from class and I found a shell casing the in the grass near where the shooting was. I didn't want to touch it so I got home and called the police. I was very very specific about exactly where the shell casing was, and that I DO NOT want the police to come to my door. The neighbors were pretty sketchy people and I just didn't want to be seen being involved.
Well, these cops walked right to my door and asked for me. I told them exactly where to find it (again), they walked to the general area, looked for maybe a minute, then walked back to my front door and asked if I could show where it was. Goddamit. So I led them to shell casing while the sketchy neighbors stood on their porch and watched (looking very displeased).
Apparently, the fingerprints on the casing matched one of their suspects and he was arrested and went to jail. The cops stopped by a few months later with a $20 gift card to a sub shop."
All that for $20?
"When living in Minneapolis..."
"When living in Minneapolis, I saw a Craigslist ad looking for a roommate that specifically worked at Minneapolis-St. Paul international airport and had a badge that allowed them to access beyond security.
I alerted the FBI and Minneapolis police through their tip line. Never heard from either of them."
"I'm sure a bunch of people..."
"I called CrimeStoppers once. The local news released a video of someone violently robbing a store. They beat up the cashier pretty badly.
I knew it the second the video started who it was—a guy I used to party with and had spent the night with a few times.
The CrimeStopper folks gave me a number to write down to claim the money if he was convicted. I wrote it on my hand then washed it off accidentally like an idiot. It was on the smaller side, I think around $1k, but it would have made a big difference at the time. And the guy did end up getting convicted and is still in prison now.
I'm sure a bunch of people called in, though, so I don't know how much I would have gotten. Anyone who grew up in my area who was around my age would have known the guy."
A long time ago..."
"A long time ago, 20+ years, a nearby bank was robbed at gunpoint. The article had a very good photo of the guy. Turns out, he was my sketchy neighbor. Saw him that morning, he was still wearing what was shown in the photo.
Long story short, cops bust him, he goes away for a long hitch, they said a small reward is available. Told them to donate it to a nearby animal shelter. Everyone wins! Well, almost everyone."
The animals certainly won this one! Good for them.
"I've sent a few..."
"I've sent a few tips to the FBI over Internet fraud over the years and have never gotten anything other than an automated response and certainly no rewards."
The FBI might want to do something more than just leaving automated messages for their tip line. Who knows? The answer to some long-unsolved cases might be out there... just a phone call away.
Have some stories of your own? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments below!
Often, high school is where students become rebellious. They're learning about themselves, they're testing boundaries, and they realizing that they can break the rules and sometimes get away with it.
Sometimes they're doing it to mess with a teacher who's treating students unfairly, sometimes they're doing it because they're standing up for the very little autonomy we afford kids in the first place.
Redditor CloudWoww wanted to know about those moments that are unforgettable defiance of authority.
"What was the most legendary thing a student did at school?"
These stories will amaze you!
"My friend once was pissed off at the rest of us guys (5 of us). He chased us into the bathroom because he wanted to be a tough guy and thought one of us was hiding in a stall. He says 'peekaboo I see you!' And kicks the stall door in on a teacher we all knew, taking a crap. The teacher said, 'I see you too Nathan, now close the door.' I will die the day I forget about that lol."
"The teacher's response was legendary!"
"Agreed. Honestly, at that point, what else are you going to do? Invite them in for a cup of tea? Challenge them for the seat? Model the proper way to greet another on the toilet?"
"Teaching is great."
"This kid in my class put the school for sale on Craigslist. He provided the school's attendance office number as a point of contact because everyone hated the receptionist there. They were getting calls from interested buyers for days who wanted to buy a multiple acres of property with a big swimming pool and a track."
"Some kids put up Craigslist ads for free brand new TVs with my school's number listed as the contact and they received thousands of calls by like 10 AM. It was legendary."
A teacher with poor eyesight.
"My English teacher was close to retirement & had really poor eyesight."
"A mate started the lesson on the right side of the classroom & managed to shuffle both himself & his desk to the back of the room and then over to the left."
"He then managed to climb through the window, sauntered round the building, came back into the room & apologized for being late."
"Not even to leave, just to see if he could."
"Yeah, teachers who can't see properly can be pretty funny. I had a teacher like that. During that class, a classmate from our year had a free period and lived too far away from the school to realistically go home. But he had friends in that class, so he just came to that class."
"In the teacher's defense, it was a fairly big class, at least 25 kids, and the kid wasn't disruptive or anything. He didn't actually participate or anything, he just sat there and occasionally talked to his friends while they were working on tasks. It took the teacher several 'visits' to notice that 'visitor,' he seriously didn't notice for several lessons that there was a kid he didn't know."
Teaching the teacher a lesson.
"Teacher everyone hated just cause he was a pure bully. We had a fair snow fall and he was on yard 'patrol' this shy kid launched the perfect snowball 40ft+ and it went in his cup of juice. Splashing out and soaking him. Kid went from 0 to hero real quick! This was approx. 15 years ago and we still talk about it today when I'm with a friend from school."
"Kid is going places."
Someone lost their marbles.
"This kid once brought a backpack full, and I mean completely full of marbles to school. He went to the main staircase near the front up the third floor and dumped the whole bag over the stairwell. How those marbles didn't break the glass trophy case at the bottom is beyond me but marbles went everywhere. Surprisingly he never got caught. He either managed to run to one of the stairwells at the end of the hall and get to the bottom before teachers had time to react or he hid somewhere until the first bell rang."
"This happened back in like 2005. Kid went on to disgrace himself and be sentenced 16 years in prison for military espionage....so."
"Did he blame it on losing his marbles?"
The fire alarm.
"A kid hit the fire alarm when the mayor was visiting our school. For context, we had an assembly the week before where we were specifically told not to hit the fire alarm during the mayor's visit unless there was an actual fire, as it was a common occurrence at our school to just hit the fire alarm whenever."
"'Hey Bob, do you have any plans before school?'"
"'Hey Bill, yeah, I'm just going to pull the ol' fire alarm again.'"
"'I have a study hall around then, I'll pull the ol' alarm for you.'"
"We had a kid do this when our state's Supreme Court was doing a presentation or visiting or something. The staff was FURIOUS, everyone knew he did it, and they tried to prove it was him, saw LEOs dusting the handle for prints. There was an old rumor that when you pulled the handle it sprays like an invisible ink visible to black light on your hand, idk if that's true, but I know the kid used his shirt sleeve to cover his hand when he pulled it, so there weren't any prints."
"There was an old rumor that when you pulled the handle it sprays like an invisible ink visible to black light on your hand, idk if that's true."
"This is definitely not true."
"Source: I am a commercial fire alarm technician.
The rumor that we all believed to scare us as kids, turns out was just that: a rumor.
Senior prank that everyone loved.
"The senior prank one year was hiring a mariachi band to follow our principal around all day. He loved it--went classroom to classroom so everyone could see it and take pictures/videos and have a fun break from class."
"A señor prank?"
Standing up for what was right.
"A special needs kid got a two day in school suspension because he threw a sharpened pencil into the drop ceiling tile. He saw a friend of mine do it and thought it was the coolest thing ever."
"A kid on the football team heard about what had happened and protested the suspension directly to the assistant principal. The a** principal stuck firm to his decision and threatened 'and if anyone else gets caught, it will be out of school suspensions….'"
"The following Monday the entire second floor was closed down for the morning. Come to find out the kid and the football team got into the school over the weekend and just blanketed the entire second floor ceiling with sharpened pencils. The video of it was stellar."
These are some legendary moments that every student will remember and can look back on fondly. What we may never know is if they peaked in these moments or went on to do incredible things.