You can predict a lot about a parent from a kid.
And teachers often have to deal with both in a very concentrated fashion. Unfortunately teachers tend to get the brunt of the blame, always. And user u/TheLegend1125 asked Reddit to share their own horror stories:
Teachers, what was the worst parent/teacher interview you've ever had to sit through?
Here were some of the craziest horror stories.
When The Dog Bites
Pre-school teacher here. My first year as a lead teacher I had a student who bit, scratched, pulled hair, slapped and punched both students and teachers, including myself. Every day we were essentially beaten up by this 4 year old. Leading up to the conference my boss advised me to keep a log of everything this child was doing, each time he slapped or bit someone, each time he yelled out a cuss word, etc.
The entire conference was this child's mom going through my behaviour log of her child and laughing. She told me that he had never exhibited that kind of behaviour and was a perfect angel. She told me she had never even seen him angry. She laughed in our faces.
Minutes later, the child's grandmother, whom the parent and child lived with, called the school and told me all the things she knew her daughter wouldn't, which included the child giving the grandmother bruises, banging her head into her headboard, dropping books on her feet, biting, scratching, pulling, and punching both his mom and the grandmother.
I was senior management at a private school and we had some insane helicopter parents who insisted their 4 year old daughter was a genius. They wanted her fast tracked THREE grades ahead. Nobody could reason with them and they carried this big binder of 'tests' they'd paid for to prove their case. Now, she was a sweet kid but very shy and _seriously _afraid of failure. Huge red flags to be honest. They were at the point of suing us and I drew the short straw for talking them off the ledge. It was last day of the school year, my own kids were waiting for us to start the holidays (they went to the same school) and I was stuck for two hours with them, trying to persuade that them that they were damaging their child and that moving an already nervy little kid away from the few playmates she had would be catastrophic. I went through every test paper, used every tactic I could think of and eventually called the meeting to a close on an 'agree to disagree' basis - but refusing to move her higher up.
The next day, first day of the holidays, my Director got an entire transcript of the conversation which they'd secretly recorded and a demand to have me fired. They must have stayed up all night as it was before auto transcribe tech was available.
My Director called in the lawyers and I had to forward all the slanderous emails they kept sending me in case of court action. We had an internal tribunal with them when school opened after the holidays and they lost their case. We never saw them again as they moved out of the area. I often think about that little girl and hope she's doing ok. :(
Abuse Begets Abuse
I remember as a kid I went to a parent-teacher conference with my dad for my older brother. He went to a pretty bad high school in a rough area. So for one of the classes, the mother ahead of us goes with her son. Her son was this big, scary looking, gangster kid (this is the mid nineties in NYC). The teacher looks up at them and says, "I'm sorry I have no idea who he is. He's never shown up to class and cuts everyday."
The mom turns her head and looks at the son and I see him go from having this smug, nonchalant attitude to having the fear of God suddenly on his face. The mom takes an umbrella and starts beating the kid right in front of the teacher. The teacher gets immediately flustered, but has no idea what to do. The kid starts apologizing profusely to his mom and to the teacher. His mom then grabs him by the ear (she's at least a couple inches shorter than him) and drags him out of the classroom. The whole time the kid is just saying he's sorry.
I was a teacher at a private tutoring company that catered to children with Autism and dyslexia who had major problems with reading. It was expensive, like $140 an hour, and children were required to do at least 4 hours a day, 5 days a week. It comes out to like $2k a week. Anyway, I was sitting in one of the p/t conferences with some of the admins, and the conference turned from their child's progress to how they were going to pay for it. It was horrifying to hear, that these parents are planning on taking a second mortgage out on their house, that they've sold some jewelry...this damned company was driving people into the ground, financially. I quit about two weeks later.
My wife's first teaching job was at a rural high school. Most of the parents couldn't be located or contacted, so it was a miracle when they would show up for parent/teacher conferences.
One student, the oldest of 6, had not turned in any work and failed every test. It took several attempts, but his parents were finally able to come in. My wife met with them and her principal joined her as I guess this family had a history in the town.
My wife expressed her concern for the kid's future and his goals beyond school. The parents screamed at her and the principal saying they were successful with out a high school diploma and didn't believe their kid needed to be here. The only reason they were making him go was because CPS had threatened to take him away from them.
Kids Don't Always Take After Their Folks
I had a model student conference after two really tough conferences, so I was looking for a breath of fresh air and assumed his parents were as awesome as their child. I was wrong. They had decided to get a divorce right before conferences. They spent the entire conference arguing over who would have to take their child. More than once in my career I wanted to adopt a child, and this tops the list. I saw him a few years later and he was the same confident, thoughtful, intelligent kid.
I had to inform them that it wasn't in fact a parent/teacher conference.
Student asked to meet to discuss his recent exam grade. Cool. He shows up basically being dragged in by his mom, who proceeds to rant at me for a solid 5 minutes about how unfair the test must be because "her special little guy" (her words) couldn't possibly deserve a C.
He was a junior in college and I was his TA.
When she finally let me speak, I informed her that I didn't meet with parents and it was actually against regulations for me to discuss his grades with her, and asked her to leave. She hit the roof, started screaming and tearing up his exam, and was eventually escorted out by campus security.
Lets see, there are 3 that come to mind.
First, it was heavily implied I was racist (I'm black, and was teaching at an all black school), and the parent said "God would get me for my behavior"
There was the one where I basically offered almost irrefutable proof this kid cheated on a test. (It was a math test, he showed no work, had all the right answers to a different version of the test, and you couldn't even get those answers with the numbers provided). She said quote "You say he cheated, he says he didn't, I don't know who to believe"
Finally, and this was both bad and good. A mom basically was blaming me for her kids bad grades (as happens fairly often). I actually really liked the kid, he was just lazy. He jumped in the conversation and said "Mom, don't blame Mr. Illini02, you never make me do any homework at home". That pissed her off, but she couldn't really say much more.
Isn't It True That...
Parent was a lawyer and wanted to grill me as if I were on the witness stand. Based on that encounter, I'm not sure they were a very good lawyer.
Kid refused to do any work or take tests. She was failing, obviously. Said the work was too hard (it was a third year Spanish honors course for those going onto dual enrollment college course senior year).
Her father was insistent that he come in to learn the material that he would then teach his daughter. I was really thrown by that one. Took about twenty minutes to convince him that the arrangement would be unsustainable.
I used to teach senior English for ten years. It was pretty much the only class anyone had to absolutely take senior year, unless they were behind on their 3 math or science courses. The course was specifically British Literature and I tried to make it as interesting as possible for students. I tried to challenge students and prepare them for college-level work, but I also allowed students to turn in late assignments for points off (my district also unofficially required us to accept late work, as failed students=less funding.)
I posted all assignments on the class website for all students to access in the event of an absence, held tutorial once a week, updated my online grades weekly, and contacted parents when students were failing. I did all of this, because in the event a student fails, you have to provide supporting documentation that you tried to help them.
Every year, I had two or three male students (I don't know why it was usually guys) who wouldn't complete any assignments. These kids usually had overbearing mothers who would constantly harass me and find every excuse in the book to present some fault of mine to my principal as reasoning their son shouldn't be failing. These parents' usual excuse was that they "didn't know" their kid was failing, despite the access to online grades, my phone calls, letters home, etc.
On one such occasion I was called into a meeting with a mother a month prior to graduation. Her son had failed first semester and I was a bit surprised to see her, because she had been fairly nonchalant in our previous phone calls, saying things like, "If he fails, that's on him." Well, this lady pulled out the big guns for this Hail Mary meeting.
She first said I never called her and she didn't know her son was failing. I presented my documentation on our phone calls and quoted what she said, word for word. She then stated that I was too tough on students and wanted to fail her son. I reminded her that I hold weekly tutorial for students, post all assignments online AND give students time to work on assignments in class.
Then, she went on about not knowing her son failed first semester until it was "Too late," because his report card was sent to the wrong address. My principal pulled up their information and read back the address. She commented, "Yeah, that's my sister's house." My principal asked her for her current address and she gave it. He paused, then said, "Ma'am, your address is outside of our attendance zone."
Realizing the mistake she made, the lady got quiet for a moment then snapped, "(My son) will make up all of the work he owes for your class and attend every tutorial for the remainder of the year," and he did.
I work in public school education with a nonprofit organization. Sitting in a parent-teacher conference with the principal of the school, mom, and the kid. The kid is in 5th grade. The principal tells the mom point blank that her child can't read, which is true. The kid could barely write his own name and couldn't read anything except basic sight words. The mom laughed and said "my kid doesn't need to know how to read, he wears Polo."
I was speechless. I had no idea a parent could be that ignorant. I still think about that kid every few days and how hard his mom is making his life.
Kelvin Ain't Just A Temp
Was grading tests for a teacher while there was a parent/teacher conference going on (the teacher asked the parents beforehand if I could be there as the kid was three years younger than me and I didn't know him) They are talking for a bit and I start to notice the teacher pronouncing it "Kevin" and the parents are adding an "L", "kelvin", but I assume ya an accent or something. The parents start to become very dramatic, going on and on about how the teacher needed to go to the kid outside of class to make sure they were doing their homework (ugh) and such, and at the end the teacher stands up to show the parents a piece of writing from the student. Parents take it and read, look at each other and say to the teacher "this is someone named Kevin, our son is KeLvin", then proceed to get very upset with the teacher because he wasn't their child's actual teacher, when THEY were the ones who came into HIS classroom to talk about their son. It nearly made me pass out repressing my laughter before they left
F For Flirting
I was a substitute teacher then. Special needs class, so there was more meetings with parents than normally. Normally I just saw the mom, she would pick up her kid on Fridays. She was a little bit demanding and stuck up, but nothing I couldn't handle. Talked really badly about her husband when we had parent teacher meeting and when I called to tell what happened during the day (some people think these meetings/phone calls are their therapy sessions. Once she talked for 1.5 hours... I just didn't have the courage to make her stop). So her husband, child's father starts picking him up on Fridays. Okay, nothing unusual. Then he comes to the parent teacher meeting and starts asking what I do on my free time, am I seeing someone etc, just made me uncomfortable even though he didn't actually say anything rude or offensive. All this time his wife was sitting next to him!
Accidentally met him in a bar after that... He tried to buy me drinks and flirted with me. At that moment I realised he tried to flirt with me when his wife was sitting next to him in a parent teacher meeting.
B For Bad
High School teacher here ...
Had a parent teacher conference with two parents and their daughter. She had been achieving a steady "B" average in my course through her own efforts and hard work. She had long been a "classified" student, with a number of small issues that had caused her to struggle academically - until she matured and found ways of better managing her issues. I had her a a junior, and she was doing well in my challenging course - and seem proud of it. Then came the meeting. Her parents clearly had used the system as a way of providing their daughter with every academic advantage they could, bullying school staff along the way to create an academic plan that made it nearly impossible for the girl to not score a 95% or better in all her courses. I have never seen a plan so designed for academic success, with no intention whatsoever of helping the student develop the skills needed to survive in the world outside of school. I tried to make clear to them that she was doing very well in the course without the various supports in place, and that she was quite pleased with her accomplishments, but they could not care less. All they could focus on was the final grade being below their 95% expectation. We went back and forth for a while, with them presenting very angrily and with veiled threats. I did not back down, and the parents finally had her removed from my course. Luckily, my administration backed me - even complimenting on my willingness to stand against them as many had not before. The girl ended up taking the course over the summer in a far easier setting.
It was very disturbing to see parents so bent on their version of her success that they ignored the real progress she had made. They viewed the district as an enemy - an obstacle to navigate instead of an opportunity. I can only hope that the girl found her own path as she became an adult, but I can assure you that her parents hindered her growth and failed to give her the future they imagined for her.
A student claimed bias in grading. She and her father later emailed me, the principal, the board of education, and Barack Obama. Obama was president at the time, but no, he didn't reply. Thanks, Obama.
I had a parent storm out of an IEP meeting because we wouldn't agree to put an aggressive student back in to a public school setting. We also had issues with the student running out of the school building and angrily stalking around the neighborhood when the slightest thing upset him. The parent just started crying and stormed out, yelling at us that he wouldn't be able to experience prom.
We all just looked at each other in realization that our student 100% had learned this behavior from his parent.
Displays Of Unkindness
As a student teacher, I was placed in a multi-age gifted & talented classroom (fifth and sixth grades.). My mentor teacher was phenomenal, loved by all and incredible at her job.
One little girl in our class just could not keep up. She was simply not at the level of advancement that the other kids were. She was a happy, mellow kid who didn't really care, but her mother pushed her super hard and refused to believe she wasn't the height of giftedness. At the conference, I witnessed this mother berate and blame this incredible teacher, including telling her all the other parents were taking about how bad she was (lies.) It ended with my mentor teacher having tears in her eyes. This woman did it all in front of her 11-year-old daughter, who was silently miserable the whole time.
I used to teach year 4 (8-9 year olds) in London. There's a lot of immigrant families in the area I taught at and it made for a very interesting classroom. Unfortunately, due to the British curriculum, I had to teach a foreign language to my class and the school had chosen French as the language. Good for me, I speak it reasonably well and definitely well enough to teach 8 year olds how to say where they live and what they do at the weekend, not well enough to do parent-teacher meetings in French to all the Congolese parents from my class. Several of the children went home and told their parents how I spoke French. One dad in particular decided that he would only speak French to me and I had to try and tell him why his daughter wasn't doing as well as he expected in a language I don't speak fluently.
What's on the menu? What are the specials? What's popular? What's your favorite item?Tell me everything.
Back when I was in hospitality, these are part of the litany of questions I would get from visitors to our country. It became a bit irritating. I should've made a sign with "Regular FAQs."
I didn't have a lot of answers, due to the fact that I find American food pretty run of the mill. I'm going have to be schooled on what is considered extra yummy only in the states.
Although I must admit, the shoe definitely swaps feet when I travel. Tell me everything. The rest of the world is far more compelling with their menus.
Redditor u/Well_shi__-_- wanted to discuss what menu items we all need to discuss by asking:
What common foods in your country are considered delicacies by foreigners?
The closest "delicacy" for America I can come up with is pizza. Right? But only in NYC. And bagels, but only in NYC. Maybe alligator in Florida? And oranges, but only in Florida. Were very centralized here aren't we?
Berry WayThanks Strawberry GIF by DriscollsBerryGiphy
"Goji berries. We put that stuff in our soups and many people pick that out when they drink the soup."
"(good) Olive oil."
"Kirkland California Extra Virgin Olive Oil is white label Cobram Estates, which is the California grown product of the Australian olive oil company, Boundary Bend. They have an unimpeachable reputation for quality and win many awards!"
"It was supposed to be caviar, but now it's also unaffordable for us. cries in Russian."
In the Forest
"Hmm, forest berries perhaps. I live in Finland. We have a lot of forests, so lot of berries such as blueberries and lingonberries. Everyman's Rights mean that you can just go and pick as much as you can find. It's kinda one of those things where if you live near any forested area, and are willing to spent time there come late summer, you'll probably have enough to last until next year in your freezer."
"We have so much berries that people from poorer countries (Thailand is a common one for some reason) are hired to pick them up, because doing berrypicking enough to actually profit monetarily is heavy work. And apparently the pay isn't worth it for most Finns. At the same time, forest berries are considered a superfood around the world, very healthy and trendy. Dunno about actual delicacy status, but definitely a difference in how we think about them."
The Little Lambbaby lamb GIF by The DodoGiphy
"I worked for a charity in Iraq for a year and we'd buy a dozen lamb chops for the equivalent of $5. That's like $60 to buy in the US and it's worse quality."
Ok, now that is what I call a menu. And I actually had a few of these items on my list when I heard the question. Only in Italy can you find true oil. And caviar? Guess I'm flying to Russia. Knock, knock Vlad. LOL
"Hawaii has somehow turned spam into a sought after food, especially by visitors from Japan."
"I would add mushrooms for Finland. Especially porcinis (herkkutatti), chanterelles (kantarelli) and C. tubaeformis (suppilovahvero) are incredible food mushrooms which are sought after e.g. in Italy. We can just go pick them in the forest thanks to our "jokamiehenoikeus", every man's right, which allows anyone to pick mushrooms and berries etc. on public land such as state-owned forests."
When in Mexico...
"Avocados here in Mexico, pretty common and cheap."
"Jamón Serrano, here in Spain is really common and you can find very good product for a very affordable price."
"We are going to Madrid this fall and my husband has already informed me that he plans to eat his weight in Jamón Iberico. We used to get slivers of it from a Spanish importer near our old house for crazy money."
Truth Hurtsbritish crown GIFGiphy
"Englishman here, been scrolling for sooooo long to find my country..."
"Maybe some stereotypes are true."
Spam? Just, no. And I will say, I think the English are in the same boat as the good ole US of A. Empty food treasures. I've been to London... the supermarket sandwiches were good and you can drink in the streets. I guess you make up where you can.
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Standards for dating people are definitely very varied, because we as people are varied, and we as people are flawed. Little things might get to us from the get go, causing us to be very very picky about who exactly we let through a couple rounds of dating.
Those things can be really small. Do they wear white after labor day? Are they one of those weirdos that refrigerates their red wine? Have they recently been spotted at a Yu-Gi-Oh! tournament?
"What's the pettiest reason you've rejected someone?"
The answers were as varied as the humans who gave them.
So She's Making Things Up Again
"We went bowling and she started saying the bowling ball was hurting her fingers."
"She was convinced that there were bugs inside the bowling ball biting her fingers and that was the reason for her pain."-Wacky_Sacky
Okay But Only Psychos Cut Their Spaghetti
"I have a friend who has a whole list of petty reasons she's rejected guys:"
"•He cut his spaghetti before eating it"
"•He wore brown shoes with black jeans"
"•He cut his hair too short"
"•He dropped something and said 'whoopsie'"
"•After watching her favorite movie, Ever After, for the first time he said it was 'just Okay.'"
"And then once a month she cries about how she's still single."-Johannes_Chimp
Avoidant Attachment Style
"She smelled funny. Not bad. It clearly wasn't a case of not washing or anything like that."
"She just smelled... Weird. Couldn't get over it."
"For clarification: I didn't know how to broach the whole 'I like you and you're funny and smart and sex is great but you smell weird,' so I just moved to a different country."-BeefPicklesCheddar
It really is pretty interesting to see how people deal with these petty reasons as well.
Hoppy Beer Made Him Hoppy On Out
"I was rejected because I didn't like the taste of his preferred beer."
"That was it, I wasn't asking him to stop drinking it - I just didn't personally want to drink it. We were about to order another round, he asked if I knew the one he had just had, and offered me a taste."
"I gladly accepted because I try to be open to tasting new things."
"I just said I found it a little too hoppy for my tastes and I was happy to stick with what I was drinking. I wasn't rude, I said it was nice, but a little hoppy for me."
"His face dropped, it was almost comical. He then said something along the lines that he had changed his mind and he had better get home."
"That was the end of that first date. As in he literally decided he no longer wanted another round. The date was over. He had blocked me on Facebook before I walked the 100m to the bus stop."
"Pretty sure I dodged a bullet there."-Sharkoslotho
"My ex's name was Simone. She was studying business administration and had a horse."
"We broke up after she f**ked another dude."
"I got over it, and met another girl. Her name was Simone. She was studying business administration and had a horse. Nope."-somniumx
A Taste Log Of The Day
"This dude was super sweet and had a lot of good qualities."
"He was a plumber and casually admitted to me that sometimes he will bite/clean his nails after work and taste the remnants of what he touched that day. I could not get over that and had to move on."
"Things were really going great, like he said all the right things and he was a genuinely good person with similar interests. Up until the point he said that, I was considering moving forward with the relationship."
"Also, I see nail biting as a habit that could be changed, and even practicing better hygiene (which he mostly did, except for those damn nails)."
"Once he said it, and he was serious, my views and feelings for him changed. It's just one thing that completely turned me off from him."-AdmiralPendeja
Half The Fun Of Having Cats Is Having Them Be Bratty
"My perpetually single friend has turned rejecting people into a bit of a sport."
"I'll Tinder for her, which is all sorts of amusing, but one day, I had actually met someone for lunch and thought 'here's someone that's kind of her type, I wonder if she'd be interested!'"
"I ended up pulling up his website and showing her some pictures of the guy. We get to about the sixth photo in, of two of his cats, in a treehouse. She explains 'his cats look bratty.'"
"Yeah, well, that's why you're single. Still. Six years later."-disillusioned
And the reasons people will find just to get away from people and keep themselves alone is also very interesting.
Was It Worth It?
"Went on a first date with someone that was out of my league. Couldn't believe my luck! On our way to dinner, everything was going fine and the conversation was flowing. She seemed really into me."
"Suddenly she screamed at me to stop the car. Not pull over, stop right here right now immediately in the suicide lane of a 4 lane major road."
"Just before I came to a complete stop in the middle of this busy road, she opened the passenger door and tried to jump out. If a cop saw all this it probably looked like she was escaping a kidnapping."
"She jumped out of the car and played Frogger across two lanes of traffic, and I sat there stunned with my passenger door hanging open into traffic. A few seconds later, she came running back with something under her arm."
"I couldn't see what it was in the mirror. She had a huge smile on her face and as she climbed back into the car she squealed with delight as she showed me what it was."
"A f**king hubcap. She said it was to commemorate our first date, and that we could share custody of it. I could have it first."
"That was our first and last date."-Uncle_Baconn
Elton John Would Probably Laugh At This Story
"We spent our first date browsing various record shops in Manhattan and Greenwich Village. I took him to my favorite ones. I told him what Elton John album I thought was best."
"He disagreed and was adamant I was dead wrong. He was going to a party at his brother's after and didn't believe in subways (as his dad had died in 9/11)."
"The party was 100 blocks away in Brooklyn. Decided to walk him to the party despite having mild asthma and severe post nasal drip. Once there at the door he decided it wouldn't work out because he couldn't put our differences aside."
"His last words were, 'Do you really believe Honky Chateau is his best work?' Of course I do. He had this horrified disgusted face on and said, 'Yeah, no. That's just wrong. Not gonna work out since you have poor taste.'"
"Literally got rejected over Honky Chateau, but it's okay. My FIL thinks that album is the hottest sh*t."-intothethickofitoh
Tiny Teeth Committee
"I broke things off once because of the size of her teeth."
"They were tiny compared to the size of her mouth. It shouldn't have been an issue, but it creeped me out. I don't know why, but it was one of those things that I couldn't ignore and gradually became the only thing I could see."
"Grown woman with a mouth full of baby teeth... just weird."-CarrollGrey
It is really a wonder how humans are so easily poked, prodded, and annoyed. But it is part of what makes us who we are.
We wouldn't have fun, funny, interesting stories to tell each other otherwise. We simply have to honor these little, "petty" reasons for not getting with others.
There's nothing funny about having an employee show their true colors after you've already hired them. Upon hiring, they seemed completely normal, pleasant, like they would be a good worker. Then as they get the lay of the land, they show that they actually have a different personality when the manager isn't around to see.
A Redditor wanted to know:
"Employers, what's the most insane complaint you've had about an employee that turned out to be completely true?"
These stories will shock you. The things that these people did were deceitful and, quite frankly, illegal in some cases. How the managers didn't catch them sooner is what makes it so unbelievable.
The hotel party.
"I was the head night auditor at an upscale airport property. Had a youngish night auditor who put a room into out of order status and let his friends in to party and have an orgy that he joined during his lunch break. He got caught because of a noise complaint. Police called, he was fired and blacklisted from being hired back."
"I hope he had a 1hr lunchbreak. If he joined the orgy for 15mins that's kinda disappointing for everyone."
"That is hilarious, I had almost the exact same thing happen at a property I worked at, except:"
"a) It was a tiny 30 room historical property, so it wasn't going to go unnoticed."
"b) He threw his drug fueled party in the "Queen Anne Suite," our most expensive room."
"c) He didn't even have the sense to put the room out of order or even kiiinda clean up afterward, assuming the hotel staff would just not notice or care that a room we didn't rent that night was ABSOLUTELY THRASHED."
"d) He just made keys for his friends that he handed out, and came in through the back or something, rather than just renting the room at a discount or something so it would all be kosher on the books (if you don't have 50 bucks to rent a room at the employee rate then you don't have the money for a party bud)."
"e) He did all this on MY shift rather than his own, thinking I wouldn't catch on that something was fishy on one of our TWENTY FOUR SECURITY CAMERAS."
"f) He really thought he could prevent us from catching him by coming in on my shift, acting like he left something behind on his last shift, then while I wasn't looking, STEALING THE CORDLESS MOUSE TO THE CAMERA MONITOR. IN PLAIN VIEW OF THE FRONT DESK CAMERA. He just. Palms it. Then shifts a guilty lil glance at the camera."
"Surprise surprise, we were able to roll back the security footage and catch all this on tape when we pulled the high tech maneuver of 'Plugging In A Different Mouse.' He was fired so fast. I've never worked with such a dumba** in my life. He really thought he pulled the heist of the year."
"For context, this was not a teenager. He was obviously in his 40's, receding hairline, lanky and always a lil sweaty and dodgy and socially awkward. Not 'quiet and timid' socially awkward, more like... this guy gives me bad vibes, makes inappropriate uncomfortable jokes and laughs too hard, doesn't really get professional workplace boundaries, seems like the sort who would try too hard to impress teenagers because he has a car and can buy them liquor but can't hang onto a friend his own age to save his life. My hiring manager really knew how to pick 'em."
At the bank.
"Working in a bank. Had a teller (about 19 year-old) get pissed about the way a customer (retail store owner) would send in her deposits at the drive up window. The teller complained about the customer on Facebook! Tagged the lady personally, as well as the store! Customer called the bank and told me, furious of course."
"I told the customer we would investigate, I asked the teller. She straight up admitted it, and says "What's the customer or Branch Manager going to do about it? My Grandfather is friends with the bank President." I called HR and Bank President on conference. Girl lost her job in under 15 minutes of me receiving the call from the customer. Breach of customer confidentiality in banking is a MAJOR law violation."
"I love the fact that she thought her grandfather being 'friends' with the bank President was going to do jack for herself. Even if it had been her father being friends with the president she would still be fired. Even if she had been friends with the president she would still be fired. If she was the bank president she would still be fired. The only scenario where she gets out of this untouched is if she had a time machine to slap herself before she tagged the customer."
"This is why it is important to distinguish between nepotism and networking. Networking can look like nepotism but you are actually taking advantage of the fact that you know competent people and thus don't have to play roulette with new hires. The catch is that if you give a bad recommendation it reflects poorly on you and you lose status in the network, and the new hire is not protected at all."
"Though if you break the law even nepotism won't save you most of the time."
Should have run a background check.
"Hired a guy on a trial basis. He was super polite and careful when speaking to me, but several of my female employees told me when I wasn't around he was creepy. After about 5 days, one came to me and said almost verbatim: 'I think he's a rapist.' She just a had a gut feeling about him. So I ran a background check on him... yep, he was a convicted rapist."
"For those of you saying 'This is why you run background checks BEFORE you hire...' this was almost 20 years ago when it was not standard procedure, and I was not in charge of that regardless. HR would make the decision. In this case I requested it specifically because the safety of my employees appeared to be at stake, but not one other time in my career did I feel the need to ask for one."
Subway stamp cards scheme.
"I knew a guy who worked at subway back when they gave out stamps. Basically for every six inches of sub you bought you earned a stamp and once you filled a card with 8 stamps you could get a free six inch sub."
"So this guy started only giving stamps to customers who asked for them. If they didn't ask he pocketed their stamps and grew a sizeable stack of complete stamp cards."
"Then over time he started cashing them in. When a customer paid with cash he would ring it in as a freebie, place his own completed stamp card in the till, and pocket the cash. Customer got their sub, subway's till was balanced, and he had an extra five to ten bucks in his pocket - everybody was happy."
"He worked there for a few years and word was he racked up a few thousand dollars running this scheme. No idea if anybody complained, or if he was ever caught, but he did buy a motorbike."
Innocent retail worker gone wrong.
"So I worked retail and we got this guy named something like Gus."
"My boss tells me, 'Hey this guy's got anxiety, go easy on him OK?' And so I was like, okay that's cool I get it I can relate. I do everything I can to help him make sense of the infernal godforsaken hellscape that is retail."
"It starts off with little forgivable things -- forgetting a task here, forgetting things there, accidentally giving the wrong info and things like that. You know, newbie retail stuff like that."
"He quickly devolved in popularity as his complacency grew over time and his helpful attitude shrank. My guy started messing around during his shift, getting caught on his phone while ignoring backup cashier calls and things like that. He would make stabbing motions behind the manager's back to other employees, tell off new employees, and play it all off like he was some innocent dope who didn't know any better."
"None of this got him fired. Day after day was a new complaint from an employee about responsibilities he shirked or a customer about blatantly wrong info like, 'Oh yeah we have another location up on the hill,' and we didn't. No idea whose son he was, because that was apparently all kosher."
"What ACTUALLY got him fired is the one day he brought a dog and a super expensive dog collar into work. He claimed he almost hit the dog on the way to work and it was running around wild, etc. He tried to sell the dog collar to a customer, then tried to 'adopt out' the dog to a coworker."
"This coworker was competent enough to take the dog to a vet whereupon they found a microchip and contacted the actual owners. THAT'S where the fun started."
"It came out that Gus never found the dog at all. He straight up KIDNAPPED this dog from his neighbor and tried to pawn it off, knowing full well what he was doing. The guy lawyered up immediately, tried to sue Gus and threatened to sue the store and the store manager if Gus wasn't fired."
"Suffice to say, Gus was gone the very same evening. Nothing else came of it, but we talked about him for years and years."
These stories are unbelievable but true. How some of these people didn't get arrested is beyond us!
Thank goodness there were employees who caught these people in the act.
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The magical, curated experience for paying guests is only the tip of an iceberg of hard work, dicey ethics, and a robust corporation with all the policies and economic motivations that you'd expect.
Lucky for us, some Redditors were there to see all that goes on behind the curtain.
And my goodness do they have some stories.
Redditor memezdankton asked:
"Former Disney theme park employees of Reddit, what are some dirty secrets or stories you can tell us about your time there?"
Many people were cast members: princes, princesses, people in giant, fuzzy costumes. Those smiles, plastered there for hours at a time, aren't always legitimate.
"My SIL got a the role of Cinderealla at Disneyland Paris."
"She had to practice Cinderella's autograph over and over because although different actresses play her all over the world, the signature of the character has to be identical anywhere it's signed for consistency."
"You have to be in specific height ranges to play the different characters. Because Mickey's height range is so short he's usually played by a woman. Likewise for Donald, although the most successful and best known Donald that I knew while I worked there was a little person."
"When the princess face characters come backstage they have to take off their dresses so they don't get dirty while they're on break so the princesses are usually walking around in a smock and bloomers if you see them back there. There is some serious cognitive dissonance when you walk back and see Snow White in her bloomers on her phone cursing up a storm."
"People sexually harass the characters super frequently. I was working with Ariel and cast members will always count down before they take a photo so people have time to get into position. I counted down and this teen boy decided to try to rip off one of Ariel's shells."
"I had to open his camera and expose his film so the photo didn't get developed and passed around. I found out later that I was supposed to take it to the Kodak shop to have the film developed and that one removed - but I'd always heard the rumors about ruining the film and nobody really trains you on that so I just went with it. The little a**holes deserved it."
The Show Must Go On
"Worked at Disneyland for almost 5 years. I personally haven't gone to see the 'Disney' doctor for cast members but I know friends who have an heard the doctor doesn't give a sh** about the CM's coming in for injuries."
"The time I was there, photographers and other departments weren't allowed to drink water from the water fountains because we are 'on stage.' It was a big issue the last year I worked there and some of the leads were fighting for umbrellas for photographers. It gets really brutal in Carsland where it's 5x hotter. Almost past out from the heat and dehydration."
A Very Hostile Work Environment
"I had a friend who was a gorgeous red head in her early twenties. She got cast to play Ariel at Disney World. She returned home after a few months saying that they were pressuring her into getting breast implants.
"To quote her (quoting her manager), 'There is no way Ariel has such small boobs.' "
Others discussed the employment policies that are sure to leave you scratching your head. Or calling your union rep.
What Can and Can't Be Shown
"Disneyland first interview papers include a blank outline of a person to indicate where you have tattoos."
"It's referenced if you want to change positions internally, to indicate how said tattoos could be revealed, based on what your new uniform would be."
Playing the Part
"I worked in reservations. They give you a name, that is not your own and you better use it. My name is not Robyn Leigh, but in Disney reservations, it was."
Never a Good Sign
"Disney Employees started referring to Disneyland as Mousechwitz due to working conditions."
"Management told them to stop, so they used Duckau instead"
And others shared the obscure and strange stories that only a Disney employee, with a front row seat to a massive institution, could ever know about.
A Big Loss
"During the construction of Pandora at Animal Kingdom, a very beloved superintendent passed away on the project of an immediate heart attack. Mid-sentence and while opening the door to the construction trailer, George Burke just…died."
"The project was very affected by this. His knowledge of the work that needed to be done was deep and irreplaceable. His laughter and personality was loved by all 1400 workers that were there. A couple years after he passed, we were finishing the project and found the perfect way to pay homage to George. They invited his family to the middle of an active construction site to let them view it."
"George's red hard hat, with the black Nordic Cross on top was attached to the rockwork, in the middle of the flowing river, to the left of the entrance to Flight of Passage, and plastered over. The family, friends, and a few Imagineers, were the only people there. Only we can point out where the hardhat is underneath the plaster, theming, and plants. I revisit the spot everytime I go back to Pandora. :-) Peace!"
Truckin' It Out
"Former cast member from the early 90s. There was a central 'bank' near the Magic Kingdom tunnel entrance where all the park gift shops, restaurants etc would deposit the day's cash. Each day an armored truck would drive into the tunnel to haul away the loot. i can only imagine how much cash they took outta there!"
"I worked there for 3 months 2 years ago with my gf at the time and anything news worthy that happens there (usually negative) immediately gets shot down by the official page of Disney (Twitter, insta, Facebook etc) they keep everything hush hush."
"Lighting struck a bathroom building and there was a small fire and my gf and I weren't working that day but we were there enjoying the park for free bc we're cast members and she records it and posted it on her Twitter. News media pages were commenting and asking her questions like when, how, what's being done and before she could reply the Disney page said to disregard the video bc it wasn't true and the video is edited and the media pages stopped asking after that."
"She gets called into the office the next day and was super close to losing her job. The reason she didn't was bc of how much seniority she had but she was basically on probation after that."
It's a list that'll leave your mind wandering a whole lot more if you ever do go to Disney again.
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