Cars are great since they allow humans to be mobile across long distances.
However, cars are not great in the sense that they require constant maintenance and they can sustain damage in ways you didn't even think was possible.
At some point, everybody has brought in their car to a mechanic and said, "are you serious?" at the thing that needs to be fixed.
These are their stories.
A quora question asked:
What is your most "you've got to be kidding me" experience as a car mechanic?
Here were some of the answers.
"This literally happened to me this week!"
"A little back story before we get to the juicy parts!"
"Last week I was running errands and I came back to the car which had unashamedly urinated itself in the car park."
"I took a quick peek under the car and established that it was my car that had some incontinence issues."
"Against all healthcare advice and warning labels, I dipped my finger in the puddle and tasted. It tasted sweet so I knew it was coolant."
"There was coolant still left in the expansion tank so I drove it home and let it sit for a few hours. I then checked the expansion tank for signs of oily residue as that would indicate it is a head gasket issue."
"Thankfully, there was none."
"I then pressure tested the system and it seemed to hold pressure so that led me to believe it was a leaky radiator."
"Normally I would do repairs myself but changing a radiator is a b*tch, so I elected to take it to a garage."
"My normal mechanic was away but there was someone there I presume filling in for him."
"I told him what the issue was and left it with him."
"Now the juicy part!
"He calls me back soon after to tell me I need the head gasket changing (much more expensive than a radiator change) and I assure him it does not."
"So I go down to the garage where he condescendingly explains there is oily residue in the expansion tank."
"I tell him I checked for that and it was not."
"He pops the bonnet and lo and behold there is oily residue in the tank but also oily residue all over the cap."
"I start the car and rev it high to check if there is any smoke with a whitish tint. Thankfully, there was none."
"I outright told him if he was going to try to con me; he should have at least washed his hands before touching the cap to add a little oil."
"Words can not describe how the colour drained from his face!"
"Never try to hustle a hustler!"
From The Other Side
"Thanks for the A2A. Since I was a mechanic for most of my life I am going to answer this from the other side."
"This happened many years ago when I was working as a commissioned technician at an independent tire shop. A customer asked for a brake inspection on his 1970 ish station wagon. We did free brake inspections so that meant all the time it took me to test drive, rack up the vehicle, inspect and estimate the job was unpaid. Normally this would take about 15 minutes so it was not a big deal but if the car needed a lot of work we could kill 30 to 60 minutes just coming up with an estimate to repair."
"When I climbed in I could tell the guy was living in the car. It was packed with clothes and everything the guy owned. As I pulled the car out of the parking space the brakes were grinding badly so a test drive was out of the question."
"When I pulled the car onto the rack I heard something fall. I got out and looked under the car and found a big puddle of gas. I thought maybe I had ripped out the fuel line so I racked the car and started my brake inspection by looking at the fuel line. This car had a metal fuel line that ran from the tank to the engine. It was so rusty and corroded that fuel was leaking out at several points along the line. So the customer had tied tin cans to the fuel line and would collect the fuel. I immediately went and talked to the customer. He was pissed that I had spilled his gas. What the hell? You're driving around in a fire trap and your mad at me? The poor guy was so down on his luck that he would collect the leaking fuel so he could pour it back into the tank. This whole situation was so dangerous that I was speechless. I had no idea what to say to the guy so I went back to finish inspecting the car."
"At this point I knew the guy would not be able to repair his vehicle. Just from the bad grinding noise I heard he was looking at at least several hundred dollars to repair the brakes. Then we still had to address the fuel leaks. I felt really bad for the guy. Everything I looked at was completely worn out. Front and rear brakes were metal on metal. None of the rotors or drums could be saved. Brake hoses were badly cracked. Wheel cylinders were leaking. The whole fuel line needed replacing. It all came to a couple thousand dollars just to make it safe."
"When I presented the estimate the guy got pretty mad. At first I thought he was mad at me but he was mad at himself for not being able to get out of the hole life had dealt him. I was pretty young at the time and had never really struggled in life. I had never been fired and could always find enough work to get by. I could always make rent and buy food. This was a side of life I had not really seen close up. It reminded me of when we studied the great depression in school. This guy wanted to work but couldn't find a job. Now his car was broken down so finding work just got harder."
"The customer wanted to drive the car but we told him it was too unsafe, he would have to tow it away. He told us he needed to sleep in it tonight but would have it towed the next day so we pushed it out into the parking lot. We knew he would just drive away as soon as we closed but felt so bad for the guy we did not call the police to report it. I hope he was finally able to get back on his feet. I never saw him again."
We Know It
"I had bought a brand new 2007 Silverado and it was a super nice truck. About a year after purchase, after a cold rainy day, the truck was almost dead! The only thing that happened when the ignition key was turned was that the theft alarm went off. Nothing else worked. No starter, lights, radio, nothing. Later on that day, the truck started and worked just as if nothing had happened. During the next year, it was towed 10 times to the shop after it rained and they had no idea what was wrong, because every time they had it, after a short while, it would suddenly start and be perfectly normal. This happened many times before my wife called the regional manager and complained about the inability of the Chevy to fix their own truck. One of the times that it had been dead at the shop, the mechanic said he had never seen anything like it because all of the 22 computers in the truck were unresponsive, until they all came on line and worked. After her call to the regional manager, we were quickly contacted by the dealer who told us to bring in the truck and they would give us a loaner vehicle until the truck was repaired."
"We dropped off the truck for the 13th time, and about three days later, I got a call to come in they had fixed the truck. They had changed out the ignition switch, the computer, and several other things, all at no charge under warrantee during the last year. I asked if they were sure and he said absolutely. The problem was found, and fixed."
"We went over to pick up the truck and asked what the problem was. He explained that while they were looking at the truck, they noticed that one of the lights in the fixture over the truck bed was out, so they were going to fix that. When they took the light fixture out, they noticed that there was some water inside the liner of the cab. They noticed that it had run down over on the drivers side, so they pulled out the liner and in the space between the cab shell and the liner was the little receiver module that monitored the rear tire pressure from the tires. When the mechanic touched it, it was HOT! He immediately realized that the water was shorting it out. They replaced the module and the light fixture and that fixed the issue."
"The "You've got to be kidding me" moment came when he explained to me that the basic problem came because the gasket around the light fixture on the back of the cab over the trunk bed had shrunk and allowed water in. All the problems in the whole truck came from a leaking gasket! He said that when the water entered the module, it shorted out the computer system and the truck went dead. When enough water had leaked out of the module, the module quit shorting the computer system and the truck was back to normal."
"PS. I kept an eye on that new gasket and about a year later noticed it had shrunk, so I got some black silicone and potted the fixture and have never had another bit of trouble with it."
Two Thousand Over
"I took my truck to a mechanic shop because when I stepped on the clutch it made a grinding noise. I thought it would be a throw out bearing but I had no time to take it apart because I was working out of town. A week later when I came to pick up my truck the shop told me it was still making noise but it was a different noise. It wasn't any different. I left the truck there another week. After two weeks I came back to pick up the truck, They told me they had changed clutch and pressure plate, throw out bearing, clutch pivot and clutch arm but it was still making the same noise. They kept it another week."
"When I came back the third week to pick up my truck a mechanic that worked there told me that a lock washer had came lose from the starter and lodged between the clutch and pressure plate, when they removed the lock washer it stopped making noise. I told him that the shop told me they replaced the clutch and pressure plate the first week, how could the new clutch and pressure plate have a noise if it were replaced? He just rolled his eyes."
"When I went to the counter my bill was 2400.00. I told the supervisor about the lock washer story and that I wanted my old parts as is state law. He told me the old parts were thrown out and would not release my truck back to me. I called the Better Business Bureau and they told me I only had to pay for the parts that were returned to me and if I had to rent a vehicle to commute to work I could sue the mechanic shop. They also called the shop to get the other side of the story and called me back to say the shop would release my truck and negotiate a new bill. The bill I agreed to was 300.00. As I left the supervisor said" Don't ever bring your vehicles back" It also sold tires and there was a crowd in the display area. I replied" You lied to me, to charged me for work you did not do, your not the only shop in town and your not any good, I would never come back. If I didn't call the Better Business Bureau, you would have stolen more from me"
"The shop closed two months later."
Ain't Too Proud
"I grew up in a garage and seen many things through the years, but the best "you've got to be kidding me" moment came when I worked as an admissions coordinator at a skilled nursing facility. An elderly man came into my office asking for a coat hanger because he had locked his keys in his car. I was busy, so I couldn't help him but I did give him a hanger to attempt to unlock his doors of his station wagon."
"The man was parked right in front of my office window so I watched the old guy struggle for a good 45 minutes trying to unlock his door with that hanger. I felt sorry for the man and guilty I Hadn't gone to help him. I went outside and offered to try. It's not the first door I've ever had to unlock for somebody."
"i wiggled the wire, twisting and turning, trying to get the tip around the door handle, but I couldn't quite get it. If the wire was bent slightly different, I could make it work. I had pliers in my truck about six parking spaces away. I told the man that I could grab my pliers to reshape the bend and I would have him unlocked in just a few minutes. He announced "I've got pliers". He went to the back door, opened it, picked up his pliers off the back seat, closed the door and handed me the tool."
"??????? "You've got to be kidding me!" I thought it but didn't say it. I opened his back door, reached up and lifted the lock, closed the back door then opened his driver's door. I handed him back his pliers and he said "thank you". I stood back, watched him get in and drive away….wow!"
"ive got a couple more that I will share in another post that are truly worthy mechanic moments."
"I was busy at work and had no time to work on the wife's car. So I took it to the local dealer for a brake job and to tighten the steering wheel. It had tilt and telescoping features and the bolts had come loose. Takes two special tools to fix that I did not have and I was working 60 hours a week plus. The dealer tells me they must do a frontend alignment anytime they repair any steering part. Steering wheel being a steering part. It had been a while and just had new tires put on, so what the hell. do it. It took them 10 days to do the work. I went to get it and it had brake fluid dripping off the wheels and fender. And the tires squealed as I turned onto the pavement. I turned around and went back. The service manage told me I must have hit something and knocked it out of alignment."
"Oh and it pulled hard to one side when I hit the brakes. They wanted to charge me again to "fix" it. They tried to baffle me with "front end jargon". Stopped when I corrected them on what toe in, camber, and caster were. I explained for two years I did their frontend alignments at a different shop. Seems their GM Certified guys could not pull off an alignment then. I took it to another shop, they had almost a 1/2 inch of toe in on a Camaro. They did not have a vacuum brake bleeder, so just let the fluid drool on the rotors and wheels, which them blew down the lower fenders. A short piece of hose and a beer can would have prevented that. I would have loaned them my bleeder if I would have known. Problem with the brakes was one side had OEM pads, the other had high performance pads. Both sides being soaked in fluid did not help. I cleaned everything up, replaced the pads, took it to another shop for an alignment, had them print out before and after specs. Went back to dealer and demanded I get at least my cost of the alignment back and offered to train their mechanics. I got their check for alignment. Oh, and they cracked the steering column when they "fixed" it."
"I was a broke, starving college student in 1992, driving a red 1985 VW Scirocco with 200,000+ miles on it that I'd picked up for $2k. It ran well for me and got me through college and then some, although I never could seem to get the backup lights to work (VW electrical gremlins). One time the tailpipe broke off the muffler so I stopped in at a Midas to see if they could weld on a new tailpipe. They threw "Red Rocco" up on the lift, took a quick look, came and informed me the muffler was completely rusted through and couldn't be repaired. I asked to see it but could not see any rust or holes from my view below. The mechanic and two other shop guys proceeded to reach up on top of the muffler, feeling around, saying, oh yeah it's all rusted through up here. Ok, how much? They go look it up, run the numbers and come back with, "$400, and we can do it right now!" I say, I don't have that kind of money right now, I'll just have to drive it as-is. They offered a special discount, right now only, $50 off, and they said I could post date a check, to help me out."
"I again declined and asked for my car. On the way home, I happened to see a small, independent muffler shop and wondered what they might charge to replace my "completely rusted through" muffler. The guy says, let me take a look at it and comes back in and informs me the muffler is fine, and that he can weld a tailpipe on for $10 in about 5–10 minutes, if I can wait."
"Back in the 80's I had a lady come in complaining her car wouldn't go over 30 mph. After making all the obvious checks, scope the cap rotor, wires etc.. I checked the condition and level of the transmission fluid. All was normal. I turned the engine off waited a couple of minutes and checked the oil."
"To my shock and surprise, the oil level was within 2″ of the dipstick handle, and like new condition. I called her back out to show her what I had found. Her explanation was that being a used car it would leak or burn oil and she would need to add oil between changes."
"Long story short, she had added a qt. a day for 7 or 8 days. She had never figured out how to check the oil so she followed someones directions."
"I remedied the situation by draining like 13 or 14 qts and doing a complete oil change service. Car had no visible leakage like front or rear main seal like a lot of cars did and wasn't burning oil either. I grabbed her and we test drove the car and the 350 cid Chevy was back to normal with plenty of power and speed."
"She was so happy, she gave me a $25.00 tip, a lot of money for that time."
"The 2nd weird situation was when a rather large woman came in with a brand new Monte Carlo SS for it's 1st ever oil change. When I got in to drive the car into the garage,I hit the gas pedal and I went straight almost into the back seat. She had actually broken the mounting bolts for the drivers seat, What a laugh we had after work having a beer…."
"Many years ago I had taken my Toyota Corolla in to a chain place for an oil change. We lived in apartments and had no place to DIY. Anyway, I left it there while I went to work with the wife. At the end of the day they called and said there had been an "issue" but that had taken care of it for me at no charge."
"My heart sank. All I could imagine was my car falling off the lift or something catastrophic. The manager met with me and showed me my car. He said they had noticed a lot of wear to me tires which they felt was unusual as I had bought them at that store only a few months prior. They did some investigating and found that the tire guy who had installed them (he had since been fired) had dropped the head alignment machine without reporting it and my new tires had been misaligned causing unusual wear. Thus, they went ahead and replaced the two fronts with new tires and realigned all four at no cost."
"Shout out to a fine crew at that shop. I am sure they are long gone by now. That was about 20 years ago."
Back In Alignment
"When I went to pick my truck up from an alignment shop and they hadn't replaced my steering components that were dangerously worn out. The feller doing the work supposedly had 10 years experience in this field. Yet he claimed that the stubborn parts had been on there " Too long to be replaced." I had to have this done, as it was on my source of living. I walked back to my welding truck and unspooled the torch lead and cut the bad parts out of his way, cleaned up the threads where every new component would be installed, and helped him fit everything up. Then he aligned it. I walked back up to the service manager payout and they quietly rang me up for the original bill. I looked him in the eye saying nothing until he looked away and wrote the check."
Wear And Ne'erGiphy
"When my Toyota Camry reached 60K miles, I promptly got the timing belt replaced at a dealer in Atlanta."
"Less than 5,000 miles later, while driving to Orlando (about 500miles away) I noticed that the car would vibrate when pressing on gas and would immediately stop when gas pedal was not pressed."
"Upon reaching Orlando, I took it to a local Toyota dealer for investigation and was told that the axel needs to be changed. The service advisor also said that the timing belt and water pump are showing signs of wear and should be replaced."
"That was my "are you kidding me moment"
"Continued showing my ignorance on cars, I asked him to show me the wear and he took me to the car and tried to find a fresh oil spot, but failed. I knew enough that timing belt is not visible and is a big job to access the belt."
"I told him that I was a bit low on money and requested him to write his advice on the service report, which he kind of brushed off."
"Had he given me a report, I would have taken it to Toyota corporate."
Getting Away With Murder
"I've always been lucky in this respect. I'm 6th generation living in a small agriculture community in Northern California. If you don't run a honest and upstanding business, you will starve to death. So when I take my car ,truck or motorcycle in for service I know with out a doubt my mechanic is giving me the straight skinny ."
"But to answer your question, the first time I took my new Mazda 626 in for a tune up. The price tag was $350. Well like I said I don't question the mechanics honesty. I just thought maybe he'd made a mistake. But true to life that's what it cost you to do a tuneup on a modern car (1986). In the past I had always done the maintenance on all our family and farm vehicles. I don't think I ever spent over $35 on point, plugs, oil & filters. Nowadays I'd feel lucky to get off for $300!"
The Bolt Inside
"Many years ago I had a friend who was rebuilding an old 1950s motorbike. He came over to my house almost in tears, seems he had dropped a bolt into the engine. Now he had to strip the engine to get the offending bolt out. I asked if I could have a look and see if I had any ideas. Went back to his house and there sitting on the ground is the engine, Took a look, and down inside the engine is a bolt sitting on the cam follower. Next question, "is there any oil in the crankcase?". Was told there is no oil in the engine which is just as well as he would have to drain it out to strip the engine."
"I then gave him a long slow look, picked up the engine turned it upside down, gave it a gentle shake and the bolt fell out onto the ground. Turned the engine up the right way, put it down and slowly walked away without looking at him or saying a word, just shaking my head as I went. Anther acquaintance who was there told me later the look on my friends face was priceless."
That's one advantage to living in New York City. You don't need to worry about the costs and concerns of owning a car. Now subway horror stories, that's a whole different story.
Want to "know" more?
Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.
Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again.
And there are just as many grievances for which we are not at all sorry.
Curious to hear about people's track record of their questionable behavior, Redditor NanoPKx asked:
"What is something bad you have done with no regrets?"
Is it petty theft or flat out stealing? You decide.
The Parting Gift
"'Forgetting' to bring back a company ipad after they forgot about me having it. Actually they never asked for it back so I still have it and use it."
"I stole a barn kitten while delivering packages for FedEx. He kept climbing my legs and getting into the van, sitting under the wheel when I tried to back out (it was a steep driveway, no way to swing the van around). I called the number on the package, looked the name up on facebook, called the local non-emergency to get contact info, all failed."
"So I took him. Now, if you're not from a rural environment, you might not understand that barn cats like that are 'no-man's-cats.' For all the owners know, he got sick or got got by a coyote. And he would have died, because when we got him to the vet he had a nasty upper resp infection and some other nasties."
"Now, one deformed nasal passage and the cutest snore later, we have a bonkers little orange cat with the heaviest penchant for snuggling I've ever seen (his name is Monty btw)."
"Edit: I forgot to pay my Cat Tax: https://imgur.com/a/HIXS4us"
"Edit Part 2: Monty loves the attention. Thank you for loving him as much as we do :3"
"MmmmMMMMRrrrrrrrrrrAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAW" -Montgomerey Valentine, 2022
The Dirty Treat
"A housemate of mine kept eating mine and my girlfriends food and even though I asked him to stop the only thing he would ever say is 'I thought it was mine' then keep eating it."
"Well I bought my girlfriend some ice cream she really enjoys and she put the half she didn’t finish back in the freezer. Well when she want to get the rest it was gone and it made me madder than I think it probably should have."
"The very next time I saw him and somehow keeping a straight apologetic face I told him how he accidentally ate our sex ice cream and that bits of it had been on our parts etc. I told him I felt guilty not to tell him and that I had to apologise for him to eat such a thing."
"I will never forget the face he made when I told him. A face of pure self disgust and shock to which all he had to say was 'I wish you never told me that' and proceeded to move out around a month later."
"Although he didn’t actually eat sex ice cream, like why the f'k would you put it back after use anyway? Sometimes I wonder if I went to far but in that moment I just did not care at all. He still doesn’t know it isn’t true and I’ll probably never see him again."
"F'k you Vitas buy your own food."
Vengeance is sweet.
"A drunk driver hit my parked car, left a huge dent in the front driver’s side door, and then drove away. I happened to be looking out the window at the time and saw the whole thing, including his plate number. Cops got there not long after and took my statement. After a couple days and a couple phone calls, I found out nothing was going to come of it because he was the son of the sheriff the next county over."
"Fast forward a couple months, I see his car parked behind a local bar within walking distance of my apartment. I got out my hunting knife and sliced all four of his tires, and made a couple trips around it destroying the paint job. Yellow Pontiac Sunfire, and I still remember the goddamn plate number even after almost 20 years."
For The People
"I was a GM for a retailer that was going out of business. During the liquidation I let my employees that worked until the end store product they wanted to buy in a closet I claimed I didn't have a key to. Oh the final days I sold them all the items they requested for 95% off. 70" tvs, ipads, gaming laptops whatever they requested."
"Years ago I worked for a wealthy dude who was married to someone semi-famous. He would waltz in every morning and talk about the fantastic dinner he had the night before, how he hung out with some other famous person or whatever else."
"He paid me peanuts. I had a hard time making ends meet."
"I was the office assistant and IT guy. So it comes time to get a new computer for one of the designers. I spec something out, and show it to him. It was a ripper of a machine for the time (early 2000s). But it wasn’t expensive enough for bossman."
"So I added a really high end graphics card. Boss was happy then. The card added nothing for the designer: they only did illustrator and photoshop."
"So I came in that weekend and swapped the graphics card for my aging one from home."
"No one ever knew. Or cared. And I got a new graphics card."
When times are tough, people had to do what it took to survive.
"In college I was so poor I would steal toilet paper from the supply closet in our major building."
Hungry College Buddy
"I stood watch for a college friend who was going hungry because he’d been disowned and his roommates had made living with him intolerable after he came out."
"I was loosely affiliated with an off campus program with local churches that gave free student dinners on Thursdays. We would go to church to eat, then bring dishes into the kitchen."
"Anyway, he would go in there and steal stuff like peanut butter, literal bread (not an allegory), granola bars etc. while I watched out for the pastor."
"Eventually we both got caught, the pastor for the college students got a bit mad because he was responsible for us while we were there to eat. And I think it was offensive on some level to steal from church. But then he saw what my friend was taking, and asked him if he had enough to eat. My friend shamefacedly said no, not usually."
“'Okay, fine. Put the food back, and come with me.' Took my friend grocery shopping instead, got him connected with the food pantry and community garden at church instead."
Based on these examples, people didn't twice about their actions in the heat of the moment.
Within reason, we all gotta somehow get by.
But do you think their actions deserve punishment?
Want to "know" more?
Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.
Never miss another big, odd, funny or heartbreaking moment again.
When a person sees someone they care about going through a struggle or crisis, their instinct is to uplift them with positive advice.
But sometimes, the wisdom imparted by friends isn't always helpful or relevant to the situation.
Curious to hear from strangers online who could do without specific knowledge, Redditor Saibotnl1 asked:
"What life advice can just f'k off?"
These Redditors have a problem with how certain people have on outlook on life.
Time To Rest
"Sleep when you’re dead."
"Cool, but you’re going to be dead a lot sooner."
"People have it so much worse than you so don’t be sad!"
"To that I like to say, 'people have it so much better than you so don't be happy!'"
Your Life Path
"Almost anything relating to what age you must be in order to buy a house, have children, marry, have a profession, or do anything else. Seriously, everyone's life is different from everyone else's. Make your life the way you want it to be. If you so desire. Up to you."
On The Contrary
“Cheaters never prosper”
"Yes, they f'king do."
People can get out of any situation they find displeasing.
But others feel people should just "stick it out."
"Just ignore bullys or get someone else to handle it for you. I have never seen this work, only makes it worse. The only effective way I've seen to deal with them is by not making yourself an easy target and make them scared to f'k with you again. If going psycho on their a** is the only thing they'll respond to that's their fault. Also want to add in schools they will punish you for self defense but that punishment is only sitting around a few hours in detention or sitting around at home with a suspension. The punishment is temporary boredom, it's absolutely nothing compared to being bullied and when it's over the important message will still stand that you will not tolerate being a victim."
– User Delted
Remain to be Miserable
"Stick it out"
"Whether that's sh**ty jobs, shi**y relationships, shi**y living situations..."
"By all means don't just give up on things when you face challenges, but if something feels wrong or is wrecking your peace then take some control and change it if you can!"
"Easy for you to say," might be an auto-response to these suggestions for many people.
Invitation For Recklesslessness
"Live like everyday was your last"
Yall know what people do when they learn they have a single day left to live?"
A Possible Consequence
"I did that as a teenager and ended up homeless and addicted to heroin. Didn’t pan out for me too well."
"19 years sober though today."
A Practical Approach
"If I knew with certainty that I had one day left, I'd double-check all my financials, my will, and my insurance policies, make sure my wife had all of my passwords and knew where all the money was, spend the rest of the day with her and the kids, then call the medical examiner and ask to lie down on the gurney so that when I die they won't strain their back moving my remains out of my house."
Nose Stuck In A Book
"Work while they sleep. Study while they party"
"That's not a recipe for success, that's a recipe for a lot of white hairs, burnout syndrome and a stroke before your 40s..."
Doesn't Apply To Everyone
"Do what you love and money will follow"
"I love walking my dogs and grilling food for my friends but That sh*t doesn't pay the bills as well as my engineering degree!"
While people's intentions are good, they're better off keeping their two cents in their own pockets.
Not everyone likes to hear platitudes.
Sometimes, people just want to know they're not alone with their problems over listening to unlikely solutions that are nothing more than superficial pick-me-ups.
Want to "know" more?
Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.
Never miss another big, odd, funny or heartbreaking moment again.
Kids start going to school from the age of five, and for the most part, they spend more time at school than at home. Because of that, teachers can become very important figures in the lives of their students.
Some students don't have the best home lives. Some keep it to themselves, but others confide in their teachers.
Curious about various situations, Redditor Delicious_Mastodon83 asked:
"teachers of reddit what is the saddest thing you found out about a student?"
In Need of Parents
"Not a teacher but was a school-based therapist. Had a student (7 -8 y/o) I didn’t know knock on my office door and ask if I’d adopt her and “if you have room, my brother too, but if not, that’s ok, we can be split up. We’re split up now. And I don’t take up space. I just need a sleeping bag”. Broke my heart."
Heartbreaking, But Industrious
"My mom taught at a school in a bad neighborhood in Chicago in the mid 90’s. There was a second grader that would save his milk and ketchup packers from lunch for his mom so she had something to eat when she got home from work."
"Not a teacher but a parent with a 9 year old son. Every day I pack extra in my sons lunch because he tells me he has a friend that never has anything to eat. It's winter and my son came home and told me his friend was turning up with shorts and shirt and holes in his shoes. So I sent in a jumper and long pants for him to wear and some slightly used but good condition shoes. I have been up to the school recently and the teacher pulled me aside and thanked me profusely for helping this child. Apparently teachers are not allowed to aid kids they teach here in Australia and they have already reported the issue 3 times to child welfare without results so I was the only one helping this child. The teacher told me before I started sending in more food and clothes, this child would steal others food from their lunches and look through the bins because he was so hungry. They doubt he gets fed at home. So now I make sure to always send an extra lunch and some school clothes/supplies when I can. I can only hope child welfare eventually does something but it breaks my heart."
Amazing Big Sister
"It was right after winter break and before class started I was just talking with some students and asked if they got anything fun for the holidays. One girl said on no, I don’t ever get presents, my mom is a drug addict. But I went out and got some stuff for my little sister so that she can have a real Christmas."
"She just said it so matter-of-fact. She was so used to being the parent to her little sister that she didn’t even care about her own childhood. It totally broke my heart."
The Importance Of Human Affection
"Second hand story from my mom, elementary teacher for 30ish years. She had a hug or a handshake out the door policy, just some small contact and a proper goodbye, and had this young boy who always picked the hug. She wondered why he always went for it, most kids would go back and forth depending on their mood that day, so she asked him why he was always so excited for the end of day hug? His answer, "It's the only one I ever get.""
Coming Out The Other Side
"Two teenage boys (16/14) with learning disabilities were on my caseload, they never missed school but often ditched class. They were homeless mid-year after they went home from school to find the locks changed, their Mom had abandoned them for a new boyfriend. She didn't leave an address for them to find her."
"*Edit: both eventually dropped out, however a couple of years later the younger brother came back to visit. He and his brother were both working construction, and his brother had gotten married, had a child, and was living with his wife’s family."
"The younger had roommates and was saving for a car. He told me it was a shame I didn’t have kids, because I would make a good Dad."
"People often persevere, even with the odds stacked against them."
"Not me but my daughter is a teacher, she has lots of stories but one that stands out for me is one of her kindergarten kids saying she was tired and her asking why, the little girl explained that she had been up all night with her mums newborn baby. She did this every night, fed her bottles and everything."
Luckily, He Was Resilient
"This year I had a 17 year old kid enroll at my school. He was sitting in my math class and I could tell he was struggling. After class I took some extra time to go over a concept with him. I asked him to read the question to me, and he sat there silently. He then looked at me and said “I’m not going to lie to you, I cannot read. I have no idea how to say these words""
"Turned out at age 17 he was illiterate and had been kept out of school by his very religious, controlling parents. Over the past few months he has worked very hard! Now he can finally read at an 8th grade level and he is STILL improving!!"
– User Deleted
A Heroic Teacher
"I worked in an inner city charter school. One of my students (`M10) had a sib (M8) in a lower grade. The mom was there every day in the beginning of the year encouraging them, helping them and generally being very supportive... until a CPS agent spoke to me asking about her behavior. After CPS left things went downhill. The boys showed up late to class even though they lived a half block away from school. When in school both boys were tired from sleeping in the car while their mom "went fishing". She also had two very young girls which she dragged around making the boys take care of them. One day the boys didn't show up and their teacher walked over to the house to find the mom had loaded up the fridge, paid the rent for the month and abandoned them. The teacher (a candidate for sainthood btw) took them in, adopted them and grew them up to be great men."
This is really heartbreaking stuff! Luckily, teachers aren't just another adult in your life; they can be your saving grace as well.
Want to "know" more?
Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.
Never miss another big, odd, funny or heartbreaking moment again.
TRIGGER WARNING: This article contains sensitive content about depression and mental health.
As the stigma around mental health lessens (however slowly), people are more forthcoming about the problems they are facing. One of the most common mental health issues is depression.
Depression can affect many different types of people. Factors such as gender, race, nationality, and even age have no bearing on whether someone suffers from depression or not.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), globally, "...an estimated 3.8% of the population affected, including 5.0% among adults and 5.7% among adults older than 60 years..."
Depression displays in certain patterns, such as mood changes, physical difficulties, and social isolation. However, depression manifests differently in different people and feels different to different people.
Reddit users divulged what depression felt like to them when Redditor iodineseaspray asked:
"What does depression feel like to you?"
Some of this is sure to sound familiar.
The Worst Kind Of Boredom
"Like being more bored than you could imagine but also not wanting to do anything at all, even breathe. So you want to do something, but you can't imagine anything that you would like to do so you're just sort of stuck."
"So you then spend literally hours staring at a blank wall hating yourself, your life, and everything around you. Well, as much hate as you can summon in the absolutely mentally numb state you find yourself sat in day after day."
Lack Of Motivation and Energy
"Complete lack of motivation."
"Ignoring people that I love, and who are trying to help."
"I feel it extra at work. Letting things slide until you either get into trouble or trying last minute to prevent it."
"Funny those times when I'm working to save my butt, the depression goes away and i feel super focused and motivated."
"I try to carry that energy over but no, it's rinse and repeat."
"Insecure about absolutely everything, no hope for the future, dissociation from society and not knowing how to “act” anymore, feeling like I’m not as good at the things I always thought I was good at or that the “talent is wasted on me”, only food cheers me up and sometimes even that doesn’t work"
Loss Of Creativity
"This. It's like some numb fuzziness you feel in your brain. It's the worst thing ever for an artist who just wants to create but your brain comes up dry with a dense fog that wants to just lie down for a few hours"
A Mental Inability To Breathe
"For me, it feels like I’m in a lake with a ball chain tied to my feet, desperately swimming up for air, the only problem is the chain isn’t long enough. I can only get an inch of my head out of the water to breath, and as soon as a high tide comes, the water just floods over me and I feel like I can’t breath again. I live like this, constantly feeling like I’m struggling to breathe, weighed down by my own mind. It’s a struggle and I can’t really describe it in any other way, I’m jealous of people who don’t worry about depression"
"Like suffocating under a heavy cloak"
"Like being crushed. Like if the air was crushing my muscles and bones and I can’t breathe because I’m being crushed…"
"Kinda like that."
"Scrolling thru your steam library. Thinking you want to play something, either not settling on anything or not wanting to put the effort into the game. Going back to the scrolling."
"It feels like you're forced to play a game of Monopoly (represents life) and your just rolling the dice to appease everyone but you genuinely don't care about where you go, where you land, what you pick up, what you pay, what you gain."
"You kind of just watch it happen without interest and while people are cheering or oh no-ing for you, you genuinely don't care. Everyone is a piece on this board that hardly matters and you feel like we're all just running in a circle over and over again and it's boring and disinteresting as hell."
"You lose all curiosity for everything and just let everything happen and pass by you. No motivation, hardly any love, hardly any care. Feels like the world is in black and white and your waiting for the game to end became it's so absolutely boring and disinteresting, but it never does."
"You come to resent the game and eventually hate it because it feels like you're being forced to play it and suffer it's consequences when you never asked to play it in the first place."
"That's what depression felt like for me. Since then I've been medicated and recieved therapy. I'm doing a lot better now and I don't feel this way anymore, thankfully."
A Relation To Fantasy
"You know that scene in the Lord of the Rings where Bilbo is describing to Galndalf what having the Ring all those years felt like? "I feel thin. Like too much jam spread over too much bread." That's honestly the best way I've seen to describe it."
"I always say the closest thing to compare it to is a dementor in harry potter. It sucks every ounce of happiness out of you until there is only darkness left."
"Side note: chocolate always helps"
Fear Of Lack Of Justification
"Like someone close to you died yesterday. Expect no one has, and nothing has happened to justify how you feel."
A Physical Pain
"Physical pain in my heart, will start crying just by attending to the physical sensation in my body."
"I've always described it as having a shadow fixed to your brain which fuels things like indecision and negativity. You can do things to temporarily help but you can't truly shift it. Previous normality is forgotten. But it's amazing how much you can mask it."
"I found I didn't realise how bad I was until I started to get better"
"For anyone suffering with depression. Please, please speak to someone. Best thing I ever did"
Depression isn't something you can just deal with or get over. Learning to cope is not easy. However, as Redditor DavosLostFingers pointed out, talking to someone can literally save your life.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with depression, contact the American Psychological Association by phone at 800.374.2721 or 202.336.5500.
Want to "know" more?
Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.
Never miss another big, odd, funny or heartbreaking moment again.