These Geniuses Beat The System
Yes, civilizations have rules for legitimate reasons. However, when you invent around those rules or find loopholes, does that make you a vigilante? It sure puts some people in hazardous situations, but for these rebellious minds, the rewards outweigh the risks.
Rank The Concertred and yellow light on a dark roomPhoto by Wesley Pribadi on Unsplash
When I was 16, a friend and I created a website with fake reviews of concerts in the Washington, DC area that we didn't actually go to. It ended up working out better than I could have ever imagined: Once we had built it up to our satisfaction, we used it as credentials to gain backstage access to a huge DC area music festival three years in a row.
A simple call to the radio station that sponsored the event got us free passes and access to hang out with and interview most of the bands, including Cypress Hill, Coldplay, Social Distortion, and Offspring. Nobody ever caught on, and oddly, nobody seemed to be suspicious of our age.
The Parking Spot Whisperer
I used to keep a can of white paint, a can of yellow paint, and a small paint roller in the trunk of my car. Why? Because I'm an evil genius, that's why.
Whenever I pulled into a full parking lot I just added a space. I expanded a total of four parking lots before I decided to quit. I also cut a “NO PARKING” stencil from two pages I printed off the internet. It didn't really benefit me in any way, I just wanted to see how obedient people could be. Turns out people are very obedient. I spent an entire day at my bedroom window, watching people drive up, almost park, then pull out and drive around the block looking for spaces. One of the better moments in my life.
Sorry, Wrong Applicant
I was applying to colleges, and having slacked off all through high school, I was getting rejected from every one of them. I finally applied to a university I had no chance of getting into, and marked down that I was "Native American", though I'm very clearly white.
A month later, I learned that I had gotten in, contingent on me completing a summer in a program for minorities, focused on bringing up their skills and background to their more-qualified peers. I accepted, had a very interesting summer—a whole other story—and graduated with honors.
You Here?men's blue collared top near silver MacBookPhoto by Austin Distel on Unsplash
When I was a teenager I worked for one of those crappy call centers with one of those horrible micromanaging plans. So they would divide us into "teams" with "team leaders". So one day they switched our teams and I noticed that they never placed me in another team—therefore, I was never accounted for. I had a crazy idea. I figured there was no way it would work, but I had to try:
I would go in every day, clock in, go home or whatever, then come back and clock out. Eventually, I got too lazy for this and just paid a girl to clock me in and out. This lasted for a month and a half before anyone ever noticed.
That’s Why They Hire Interns
When I was in Paris studying abroad, a large group of us had called a trendy club early in the night to reserve a couple tables, so we showed up around 1 am or so expecting to skip the line—which was a few hundred feet long at this point—and get our table. That's why you make reservations, right?
Well, naturally the bouncer apparently didn't get the memo and wouldn't let us in. After a few minutes of pseudo-arguing with their management, my friend pulls out his secret weapon: His ABC press pass—his expired ABC press pass—that he had from his summer intern work for ABC in London. He told them that he was writing a story on Paris nightclubs and that theirs was now going to be let off the list because they weren't letting us in. I started laughing thinking, "yeah sure Ted, good one, let's go home".
And then, boom, all of a sudden the velvet ropes open up and we get two bottles for free at our tables.
That was the coolest trick my friend Ted has ever pulled.
Have You Been A Good Boy?
This happened many, many years ago when I was still a kid. As I was old enough to figure out the truth about Santa Claus, mom took me shopping with her for Christmas. She was buying gifts for the whole family, so the shopping cart was quite full. The department store ran a well-publicized contest where each customer could have all their purchases reimbursed. It went like this: at checkout, the cashier asks you to pick an envelope. If you get the magic voucher, you just walk away and don't pay anything.
Obviously, she asked the "innocent kid" to pick the envelope. But, I quickly realized something: As the cashier handed me the envelopes, the lighting was well-positioned behind them, so I could see through. They're thin and I quickly realize most of them are empty; only one contains a piece of paper. The rest is family history. Not an impressive feat, but it made my day as a young boy!
Car Swapred car parked on parking lotPhoto by Krzysztof Kotkowicz on Unsplash
Working in the city, I really didn't want to pay $80/week for parking. I noticed there was very little differentiation between the “0” and “O” they used on plates. That gave me a crazy idea. I registered a custom plate—O101101—and parked my car on the street every day. 9/10 times, they would put 0101101 on the ticket. Never came back to me and I saved a ton of cash!
Not Lost But Found
Go to the library a day after it rains and tell them you forgot your black umbrella. Free umbrella!
Lose your phone charger? Go to the front lobby of any hotel and see if they have a match in their lost and found bin.
You Better Have My Money
There used to be a routine that you could do which took advantage of the lag between funds available and check processing with ATM deposits.
Basically, it worked something like this: You have two bank accounts with nothing in them. Write an uncovered $1000 check from one to the other. Wait a day and write a $1000 check from the second to the first. The first check will eventually clear using the phantom money from the first because funds were available faster than check processing.
With the right timing you could get a substantial amount of imaginary money flying around in a long cycle for more or less as long as you like. You could then take short-term loans out of the circulating money but managing it would be a lot of work.
I never did this myself, so I might have the details wrong. I had a friend who did this when he was short on cash. But he's maybe not a guy you should listen to... I'd check with him for the details—but he's currently in federal penitentiary.
Did You Beat The System, Or Beat Yourself Upsmiling boy wearing white crew-neck t-shirt during daytimePhoto by Moses Vega on Unsplash
When I was four, I was diagnosed with type 1 Diabetes. When I was six, I took over the day-to-day management of it. That included testing my blood sugar and taking my injections, which then was twice a day—parents still supervised of course but didn't need to do everything and anything for me. It took a few months before I was capable but eventually, I was able to take care of it all on my own and therefore able to do all the other things my Grade 2 classmates did, like have sleepovers and go on school trips, etc.
Sometime later, I can't remember how old I was but I would have been under ten, I discovered how the machine that tested my blood sugar level did it. It would read the color of my blood.
For those who don't know, Type 1 diabetics need to test their blood sugar by pricking their finger and putting the blood on a small strip of plastic. That plastic then goes into the machine and the machine tells you what your reading is. Back in the 80s, it was a little different. I had to drop the blood on the strip of plastic, wait about 90 seconds then wash the blood off with water, then put the strip in the machine.
I figured out that the darker my blood was on the strip, the higher my reading, and the lighter it was, the lower my reading... and the lower my blood sugar, the more I would need a "boost"...like candy.
So my young self thought, “That's interesting”. What is also interesting is that the strip I have to put the blood on is white.
So I started doing my blood tests as normal, then not putting the strip in the machine properly. The machine was no longer reading my blood, it was reading the white strip and giving me a low reading—which to my young mind was full of win! Lollies, cake, and all the awesome things I was never allowed!
My parents were scared and confused. The doctors were baffled as my pathology results were not matching my daily readings, the manufacturers were confused as when they tested my machine it was in full working order. I was getting all the awesomeness I wanted...and getting sicker and sicker.
Eventually, I confessed to my doctor. Although my parents were a little angry I think my doctor was a little impressed.
So there it is...not so much beating the system when all I'm doing is making myself sick but as a child, it felt awesome!
Throughout college, I had a sneaky way of cheating the system when studying for tests. Whenever it was time for me to study, I would send out an email to my entire class saying something like "Hey, I'm working on a study guide for the test...if anyone wants to send me a copy of theirs I will send you mine...just to make sure we haven't missed anything of course".
This is the genius part: Within an hour I would get several study guides sent to me...and I would just send them back a copy of another person's study guide. In the end, everyone is happy and none the wiser.
Thunder Buddies For Life
My swim team has meetings every Saturday morning. They tend to last between three to four hours. On one particular Saturday, there was a thunderstorm. Every time you hear thunder you can't get in the pool for 30 minutes, so the meeting got delayed several hours.
By the time the storm cleared up everyone just wanted to go home. So to encourage the officials to cancel the meeting, I walked out to the parking lot and hit a dumpster with my fist. The boom it created sounded just like thunder. From where I was standing, you could hear everyone in the pool area yell "THUNDER". Dismayed by another delay, the other team's coaches forfeited the meeting and we all got to go home.
You’ve Got Mailperson showing white envelopePhoto by erica steeves on Unsplash
Used to live in NYC for a long time. For personal mail within the five boroughs, I would put the recipient's address in the return address spot on the corner and my address in the center of the envelope. I'd "forget" to put a stamp on it and drop it in a mailbox. Inevitably, the mail would be returned-to-sender...to the address I wanted it mailed to. It worked every time.
Tweet All Your Worries Away
We all know customer service phone centers make it impossible to get good customer service, especially when you need to return something or get your money back. But I found another way.
Pretty much all large companies now have teams of people monitoring Twitter for complaints. Since hardly anyone uses Twitter to complain, I find that any time I complain via Twitter, someone contacts me almost immediately and rectifies the problem.
For instance, my dress shoes fell apart—Johnston & Murphy—and calling their phone center was really painful, but after I complained on Twitter, I got a brand new pair shipped to me the same day. Pretty decent move if you ask me.
My dad works in a chemical company as a scientist. One day, when he was cleaning out the old chemical closets, he found an unopened package containing one kilogram of solid Silver Chloride that had gone past its expiration date. Normally it would get thrown out, but my dad decided to take it instead. He took it to the kilns and decomposed the Silver Chloride back into elemental silver and chlorine gas, and managed to get about 700 grams of silver out of it.
An Endless Roller Coasterpeople riding red and white roller coaster during daytimePhoto by Gabriel Valdez on Unsplash
My dad and I waited in line for hours to get onto the fastest ride at Six Flags. Feeling adventurous, we decided to just see what happens if we don't get off the ride at the end. It turns out that in the rush, nobody notices that you're still on the ride. I couldn't believe it worked. We were only asked to step off after getting five or six rides, but by that time my dad had blacked out anyway.
Thinking Outside Of The Box To Get Inside Of The Bin
When I was in second grade, our school had a carnival with a bunch of different midway-style booths, run by our teachers. One in particular challenged us to build a paper plane, throw it about ten feet, and land it in a small trash bin. Nobody had succeeded in doing so, and I watched many paper airplanes veer off to one side, nosedive, tailspin, and so on. Cleverly interpreting the definition of "paper airplane", I wadded my piece of paper up into a really compact ball, aimed carefully, and tossed my paper ball into the trash bin.
They didn't award me the prize.
Doppelganger Saved The Day
Didn't happen to me but to a woman I met in Japan a couple of years ago, who had gone on a trip to China. After driving in a bus for two hours, they arrived at some destination only to be told that it was already crowded, it was late and they would have to return the next day. Well, one of the people on the bus looked a little like a certain ex-president's daughter, so they told the Chinese people that it was Chelsea Clinton. The place was suddenly open for business again.
Evil Twinphoto of woman's face reflectionPhoto by Alexander Grey on Unsplash
My friend really didn't want to go to her group meeting for a group engineering assignment in the first year of college. Every week, we persuaded her to make up an excuse and not go. After a few weeks, we've started to run out of plausible excuses. So we decided that she should have appendicitis. And then I had an incredible, devious idea.
I decided that it would be fantastic if she walked into her group meeting, pretended to be her own identical twin and told them that she had appendicitis. She did, and they ended up doing the whole assignment for her.
I took the SAT for my best friend. We had someone at our school store make a school ID for us using my picture and his name. When I got to the testing center I told them I lost my driver's license and this was the only ID I had. Worked like a charm. I scored a 1400 for him, which was better than I got for myself, and apparently was about 400 points higher than what he scored when he took it himself.
This threw up a red flag and the SAT people weren't happy. They told us—him—we had three options: get a refund and cancel the score, cancel the score and take the test again for free, or send in handwriting samples to prove it was really him who took the test. This is when we decided to roll the dice. We chose to put up a fight and take option three. I pulled a bunch of homework assignments that I hadn't written my name on and put his signature on them.
We sent them in but apparently, there was still too much of a discrepancy in the score and handwriting that they couldn't accept the score. And that was the end of it.
Cooperating With The Teachers
My school had trips to Spain offered every two years. As a fundraiser, we would sell candy bars. I was quite a bit more entrepreneurial than my counterparts, and offered candy bars on credit. This caused me to essentially corner the market to a point that one of the teachers went into competition with me.
The problem with that sales system was that we could only do it the year before the trip, not after. This is because it was, after all, a fundraiser for Spain. I decided that if I wanted to keep my business going I would need to get a little bit shadier.
The same teacher who ran the Spain trip also was in charge of Key Club. I gave 25% of my profits—not total sales—to Key Club in exchange for protection from the school authorities.
All in all, I netted around $1,600 in profit, or $3,200 in revenue—about 4 per person in my school—while going to school, without breaking the law. The year after was the Spanish fundraiser, so the teacher wouldn't accept protection money.
Like Having A Time Machinered apple fruit on four pyle booksPhoto by Element5 Digital on Unsplash
When I would have an assignment that was overdue, I would leave it somewhere under or around the teacher's desk. So, they would just assume you turned it in on time and that they had just misplaced it; I did this once or twice.
The hotel I work at has a membership to a full-service gym that's totally free for guests. All they have to do is show their room key, and bring a towel.
The cheating part comes from knowing that they don't verify that people with a room key are actually staying at the hotel. Hello, free gym time!
One Step Ahead
In college from—1998 to 2002—at the end of a semester, I already knew who my professors were for the next semester, and those professors used the same coursework every semester. So, I would download their entire website, where they had the current semester's homework/quiz/test answers. That info was very useful when I started the class.
Taking Quality Notesflat lay photography of blue backpack beside book and silver MacBookPhoto by Matt Ragland on Unsplash
When I was in school—at the beginning of the year—we were supposed to deposit empty notebooks for each subject. Throughout the year whenever the teacher for that subject would give us a test, they would distribute the notebooks to us to take the test on at the beginning of the day.
After the test was completed and checked, the notebooks would be again collected and locked in the class cupboard. What I and some of my buddies did was, whenever they would distribute the notebook at the beginning of the day we would write the answers to most probable questions or important stuff on the last pages of the notebook. When the test was taken, we would copy the answers from the back pages. Once done with the test, we would quietly rip off the last pages before submitting the notebook to the teacher. We always scored well.
Hey, Can You Come Pick Me Up?
In high school, a friend of mine had a cell phone. During class, if he felt like leaving school, he would just call the classroom he was in, imitate a security guard's voice, have the teacher write him a note and he was on his merry way.
Losing My Religion
In grade nine math, I told my teacher I was Jewish—I'm not. She was from the Caribbean and had no knowledge of the Jewish religion. Whenever I would miss a day and she asked why, I would just say "Oh, it was Yum Kavandash" or whatever series of Jewish-sounding words I thought would work that day. Basically, this let me take two weeks off the class while playing cribbage with my buddies in the cafe.
Friend With Benefitsman wearing blue denim jacket and sunglasses taking selfiePhoto by Tânia Mousinho on Unsplash
I had a friend from Belgium of Moroccan descent.
This guy was the most charismatic human being I've ever met in my life. I used to own businesses on the Santa Monica Promenade in LA—in the 90s before it became a corporate dystopia—and he worked for me. I remember going to the movie Independence Day when it came out at the time and was about to pay at the box office for myself, him and two other employees who had all done a hard day's work in the sun when he suddenly stopped me.
Instead of "wasting my money" as he called it, he dragged us—a party of four—to the ticket checker and started sweet talking rapidly—something about a lost cell phone. The next second, we were all waved through without paying. We were all astounded but elated. We'd somehow hacked the system through this guy. And my wallet was heavier through not having to pay. He would have taken it as a personal affront if I had paid. He impressed me to the point that I still remember him 15 years later.
Soon after, I learned he had talked the California DMV into granting him a driver's license even though he was a foreign national. Also, not long after, I learned, he'd gate-crashed the Oscars dressed as a chef and hung out for the night with Oliver Stone. All of this I confirmed.
The guy blew my mind.
We Love Free Candy
My high school had a shop run by the student council and they kept all the candy and soda in a locked room by the gym. One day, I noticed they had left the key in the padlock. During football practice, my friends and I snuck in and looted several duffel bags of candy. We did this for the next few days until they finally changed the lock. The best part, nobody thought twice when they saw a bunch of kids making off with full duffel bags because it was by the gym and everyone had them!
Play The Sick Card
I was up the Sydney Tower and for some reason—I can't remember—they were delaying everyone going down the lift. The queue was approx 1.5 hours long to get in the lift down. They wouldn't allow me to take the emergency stairs—but I knew I had one card to play.
I stated I was a diabetic and I needed my injection which was in my hotel, since I never planned on being up the tower so long. They told me to wait in the queue and I agreed as long as I had a Sydney Tower letter signed by the manager stating that I told them I was diabetic and I was to wait in line delaying me getting my injection. They asked what I wanted this for, and I stated that it was so I had evidence to help my case to sue them when I fell into a coma. Needless to say, I got the next lift down.
Catch Me If You Canperson holding credit cardPhoto by CardMapr.nl on Unsplash
I used to fill out credit card applications: Platinum Visa, AmEx, Discover card, etc. It took about three weeks, but they'd send me cards. I used to go from store to store and just "charge it". After about two weeks, I'd call in and report the card stolen. Then just repeat. I guess based on their system, it's hard to catch or something. I would also buy stuff from the mall with said cards, then take the bags back and get the cash.
College On A Budget
College textbooks are very expensive, but buying used books at the Student Book Exchange (SBX) can save you some money. However, you need to act fast when the book is a new edition and there won't be many used copies available. Since everyone tends to sell old books and buy their new books during finals week, you need a game plan to lock in a deal, especially if you are short on cash—which was me.
What I used to do was cruise the bookshelves and find a used copy of the book I knew I would need the next semester that got turned in early, a week before the current semester was over. I wouldn't have my cash then as I had not yet traded my current books in, so I would create a bridge loan by taking that used copy from one shelf and sticking it behind a big pile of books nearby. The bigger the pile the better as that pile needs to hold up until I return the following week. Piles that are all new books last longer than a pile of used books.
The next week I would sell my books, walk over to the big stack and grab the used copy that I had stashed and buy that one at a lower price. Often that used copy I had stashed was the only used copy available.
When There’s Smoke, There’s Fire
When I was 16, there was a fire drill in my high school in Texas. My boyfriend and I were skipping class and walking around the hallways when we heard the alarm go off. We decided it would be really awesome if we stayed in the school while everyone left—there's about 2,000 kids at my high school. So, we hid and waited.
When we couldn't hear any more voices we proceeded to skip around the halls and goof around. I realized I had a pack of cigarettes in my bag. I told this to my boyfriend. The moment I said it I knew I had to smoke one, the irony was too much to refuse. So, while the fire alarm was still going off, and in the hall right in front of the library, I lit one and we shared it. He put it out on the wall and we ran away screaming with laughter.
Twenty minutes later, after everyone had already come back in, we decided to check out that hallway again. We come across the administration—the principal and a few of the vice-principals. They were sniffing around, clearly wondering why it smelled. I've never felt so empowered.
That’s Why They Call It “Payphone”gray phoneboothsPhoto by Maarten van den Heuvel on Unsplash
There was a row of pay phones outside of my local movie theater. After finishing a movie with some friends, we all waited outside to get picked up by my mom. We were bored, just walking and looking around when I saw a quarter stuck in the middle payphone. I tried pulling it out but couldn't reach it, so I took a piece of cardboard on the ground and pushed it in. Little did I realize, I'd just hit the jackpot: A huge pile of coins came tumbling out from all the people who put money into the—malfunctioning—payphone.
The next few days I would pay a visit to this payphone and push the coins in the back and collect my payment. I even went so far as to create "Out of Order" signs and put them on a few of the other phones to encourage people to use the broken one. Eventually, the theater fixed the phone and put an end to my easy money, but I made away with something like $40 in coins.
Nobody Can Block My View
My house is on a very popular public beach. Tourists usually like to come on the holiday weekends and they will set up tent cities right in front of my house—blocking my steps and walkway to the beach.
So, I just started setting up a whole row of fishing rods and chairs near my steps and walkway. You see tourists start to walk up, take one look at the fishing equipment, and say to each other "Ugh, let's sit over there instead".
Solution Is One Button Away
Recently? Big conference. 18th floor, top of the building. Everyone was going down the limited number of elevators at breaks. Big lines.
People are not going down the stairs by one floor because if you hit down you'd just get a completely packed elevator. My solution? Go down one floor. Hit “up”. Board empty elevator. Welcome people on the 18th and enjoy my quick trip down. The greatest hacks are the simplest.... though it would have been better if it didn't fail the categorical imperative.
Of course, if I wasn't an American I'd just take the stairs all the way down.
Let’s Reset The Tankperson holding black corded devicePhoto by Erik Mclean on Unsplash
Several local gas stations near me would switch from "regular'' pay to prepay-only at a certain time of night. Let's say it was 10 pm. I'd pull up and start filling my tank at 9:58 pm—making sure to keep filling as the clock rolled over to 10:00. When it hit 10, the pumps would go into the pre-pay mode and reset themselves. I'd finish filling my tank and only have to pay for about two gallons.
This stopped working when gas went to $4/gallon and drive-offs became a huge problem, making all the stations go to pre-pay-only full-time.
Life Hacks: Airport Edition
As a college student that lives on one coast and goes to school on the other coast, I have to get a lot of stuff across the country every year. This trick saves me a ton in overweight bag charges.
Go down to the nearest Army/Navy surplus store and pick up one of their backpacks. These fit a ton of stuff and don't look all that big. Pack two backpacks—one regular, one from the surplus store—plus your personal item. When you get to the airport go through security as usual, they don't care if you have more than the usual “1 bag + 1 personal item rule that the airlines use.
After getting through and to your gate, go up to the counter and say you're worried the flight is too crowded and/or you think your bag won't fit—don't let them see the other bag. Ask if there is some way to check your bag now. Most likely they'll "check the bag gate side" for you. Which means they put a tag on your bag and when you walk down the ramp there is a spot to put it. They then put it below with the other checked bags. On the way off the plane, you pick up your bag and you're on your merry way. Best part is you don't get charged for it.
For two years that I was in the dorms, I picked a roommate who said he was going to pledge and join a fraternity. That way, a few weeks into the term, he would move out. It would take another one or two terms to get the paperwork in line that I needed to get a new roommate. I would pick another guy who was soon joining a fraternity. I had roommates in my closet-sized dorm room for maybe two months of my two years, and I only paid for 1/2 the room.
Photoshop Your Way To The Topman in grey shirt using grey laptop computerPhoto by Desola Lanre-Ologun on Unsplash
I was a junior in high school, and I was transferring schools due to a recent move. However, my grades at my previous school were mediocre to say the least. The awfulness of my grades didn't stem from stupidity—I'm quite brilliant, mind you, but rather I had problems with undiagnosed insomnia for a very long time and never went to school because of it. My new school required a personal interview between the principal and myself. During this interview, I was told the school had very strict GPA requirements—my grades didn't cut it.
They'd requested a copy of my transcripts from my previous school, and as I was walking out of the office, I saw a sealed envelope on the secretary's desk—it was from my previous school. I took the envelope from the secretary's desk when she wasn't looking and proceeded to go home with it. I opened it up and sure enough, they were my transcripts.
I took the transcripts to Kinko's and had them scanned at the maximum resolution and quality possible and took them home with me on a CD. Then, I meticulously photoshopped the transcripts and changed my GPA from a mediocre 2.3 to an astounding 3.9. Finally, I had a buddy of mine whose dad worked for the US Postal Service don his dad's work uniform and deliver the transcripts the next day.
Needless to say, it worked. I went on to graduate with a 3.8 GPA in my senior year—I got my stuff together—and was accepted to one of the state's best 4-year institutions. I've since graduated and have a very rewarding career.
Is It A Six Or A Nine?
I went to a conservative university that had a nightly curfew. If you went away for some period of time, you'd have to fill out an overnight leave form online which would need to get approved by a student dean or dean or something. One fall break, I needed to fill out one of these forms for 10/03/06 to 10/06/06. I purposely filled it out for 10/03/06 to 10/06/09—in my mind, hitting a nine instead of a six was a legitimate typo if I had to explain myself. Their online system didn't automatically check for this kind of discrepancy, and the student dean overlooked it when he approved it because the month and day columns looked correct. It got me three years without curfews. I never had to worry about it again.
Think Simple, Think Fast
There was this really nice apartment complex next to our not-nearly-as-nice apartment when I was in elementary school. During the summer, it got really hot and the community pool was not walking distance. Unfortunately, the complex was pretty well fenced so no one without a key could get in—and they had a really nice pool which everyone was envious of. On top of that, the people living inside were pretty strict and would never just let us in. One day, I realized I could stick my hand through the metal grating of the fence and open it from the inside. I swam a lot more after that.
Don’t Overthink Itwhite plastic laundry basket beside yellow front load washing machinePhoto by Anca Gabriela Zosin on Unsplash
I used to live in a condo building that had three clothes washing machines and two dryers on each floor. Often all of these machines would be in use at the same time that I wanted to use them. My solution: Go to another floor and use the machines there. There are 18 floors in the building, that's 54 machines to choose from, so that I could wash my clothes simultaneously, in parallel. It's kind of obvious, but when I first realized this, it seemed pretty cool to me.
Okay, so in Ireland we have two official languages, Irish—Gaelic which is the first—and English. Because of our constitution, all services provided by the state have to be in the two official languages. The funny thing is though that the majority of Irish people cannot speak their mother tongue—Irish. Whenever I do my taxes or any other business with the state I always conduct it through Irish or demand that it be conducted through Irish. The advantage of this being that the queue/line and waiting time for things to be processed for things such as passports, tax credits etc. is always minimal or practically nonexistent.
I don't like the way my co-patriots don't speak our language, but it sure is a massive advantage to me. Also, if the state cannot provide the service through Irish, they try to fast track you through their system of whatever so as to try and not to offend you so you wont complain. I love it.
We’re Here, Obama!
My friends and I went to the Obama inauguration and since driving and walking were out of the question, we took the Metro. Well after the ceremony ended we headed towards the nearest metro stop which happened to be near the Air & Space museum. The stop was closed with a huge crowd of people trying to get in, so we went back to the museum and played poker for an hour and a half. After that we checked back at the station, still closed, so we walked up three blocks to another station, also closed. Then we were told we had to walk all the way across the mall.
At this point it was like four or five in the evening and we had been up since 3:30 am. So, we sucked it up and walked the mile or two across the mall to the one open station, and there was a line because it wasn't open yet...so we waited in a nearby food court for an hour until the station opened, and then we got back in line.
After we got inside the station, there was a solid mass of people trying to get back to Virginia, it would have easily been another hour or two waiting for the train. Then, I noticed that the Maryland-bound platform was nearly empty so I said, "Hey let's ride up a few stops then get on the train headed the other way".
Everyone agreed this was at least a better idea than waiting. After two stops, the platforms were empty and we got off that train and right on to another headed towards home. I was quite pleased as we rode past the platform of people who would be stuck waiting for empty trains for hours.
Like Father, Like Sonperson using phone and laptopPhoto by Austin Distel on Unsplash
I got a free trial cell phone and just didn't give it back. It stayed free for like 7 years, until someone took it from me.
Also, me and my dad used to tell the cable company that C-SPAN wasn't broadcasting clearly—like there was static and stuff. They would come over and remove some "block" which allowed us to watch HBO for free.
Also, in 1999, my dad worked in the IT department of a large insurance company. For Y2K, they needed one person to stay in the building, in case everything exploded or whatever. To determine who would stay, there was a tournament of coin flips throughout the company. Out of the hundreds—maybe thousands—of people who worked in the building, my dad was one of the final two people. It all came down to one coin flip, between him and his former college roommate. My dad said, "Okay, if it's tails, you stay, if it's heads, I don't". Apparently, the guy did not realize that either way, my dad would win.
Also, my friends and I inadvertently realized how to get free food at fast food establishments. You go through the drive-thru and tell them something like you spilled a drink in your car and you need some napkins. Something that they won't make you pay for. Then you pull up to the first window, they just wave you on, because you didn't order anything. Then you get to the second window, and usually, you'll get the food ordered by the people behind you. The two windows don't communicate. The first one just assumes you're going to ask the person at the second window and not take someone else's food.
Does This Ring A Bell?
When I was in high school, we had a bell system that sounded through a tone in the phone that was in each class instead of an old school bell. That gave my friend a brilliant idea. Realizing that this "bell" sound had a very digital ring to it, my friend and I decided to record it one day. Now having acquired the tone, I was able to replicate the sound of the bell, thus fooling my fellow students—who instinctively would get up and leave once they heard the bell—and the teacher into believing that the class had ended.
I was able to use this to end class early throughout a large part of the year until the administration caught on and started changing the tone daily.
This one time on a road trip me and my friend stopped at a local restaurant and bar to grab lunch. Halfway through my friend knocked over the salt and I told him to throw some over his shoulder for good luck. Unfortunately, the man behind us didn't enjoy it so he came over—he was much, much larger than us—and secreted a fluid out of his mouth right in my friend's burger.
Disgusted, but wanting to get back at them, I came up with a great idea. I went over and apologized to him and his friends and offered them a round of beers. They of course accepted and then, me and my friend headed over to the cashier. We said that this man and his group of friends felt bad and wanted to pick up our tab. The girl was skeptical at first but we pointed him out, and he signaled for what he thought was his round of beers. The waitress obliged and we headed out of the restaurant with a free lunch!
Count Me Twicegray computer monitorPhoto by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash
About 10 years ago, I had a summer job that used online timesheets. When I started, my name was spelled wrong on the system. I had it corrected and received a new login, but they didn't disable the old one. That gave me an idea. For two months I completed two timesheets every week and got paid double. Nobody ever found out.
Confidence Is Key
My best “cheating the system” moment wasn't even clever or really even cheating the system. It was just outright lying mixed with extreme confidence. When I was seventeen, a bunch of my friends who were already eighteen wanted to go to an adult club. I didn't have a fake ID, but I didn't want to miss out—so I just went with them anyway. As we're walking in everyone gives the woman at the front podium—there was no outdoor bouncer—their IDs. I'm the last in line and I just gave her my real driver's license.
She looks at it for a minute, and then looks at me with confusion on her face: "This says you're only seventeen". Figuring there's nothing to lose I just went for it: "No it doesn't". She looked back at it, back at me, shrugged, and said, "Okay, go ahead".
BOOM, adult club jedi.
Reddit user Aesthetik_1 asked: 'What made you instantly realize This "friend" is not a real friend?'
A good friend is not always the one with whom you share laughs and fun experiences.
The friendships you want to keep include those who won't abandon you in a time of need or someone who supports you in a variety of complicated situations where not even a family member can be relied upon.
Unfortunately, many of us have experienced a time when a person's true colors revealed to us that the so-called "friend" we've always trusted wasn't one at all.
Curious to hear examples of this, Redditor Aesthetik_1 asked:
"What made you instantly realize This 'friend' is not a real friend?"
These Redditors didn't realized at the time that they were being used.
"When he only called me when he needed something. It didn't hit me until much later."
"I have one of those 'friends'. She always gushes about how we're friends but she never initiates contact unless she wants me to do something for her."
The Errand Girl
"Several years back, I had a friend who introduced me to this new boy she was seeing. Maybe a year later, their relationship blew up in a fury of bs (whole other story), but by the time they split, I was equally friends with both of them. He and I were both photographers at the time, so the friendship was instantaneous."
"One day we started talking about her, neither positively nor in poor taste, just kind of in general."
"He then asked me 'when she texts to hang out, what does she usually want to do?'"
"I paused. I thought. Holy sh*t, she'd either be asking for a favour or for help with some kind of errand. I was her f'king errand girl."
"She texted me a month or two later, just a 'hey'. I never responded. She never texted again."
"I'm still friends with her ex, though. That dude is genuine as heck."
Testing The Friendship
"When you decide to let them be the one to reach out. And you never hear from them again."
"Yup. Made plans with a friend three times, she cancelled each time. I finally told her to let me know when she was free, we haven’t hung out since."
"She was a good friend for the season, but not a lifetime."
People were shocked to discover the moment they realized they didn't really know who their "friend" was anymore.
"I had been giving rides to a girl I thought was my friend. To and from school in high school. She wasn’t really suppose to ride with other teens but due to her mothers work hours we could easily pull this off. I thought we were close."
"One day while on the way home my brakes went out. We were about 2 blocks from her gated neighborhood. I managed to roll in safely and parked at her house to call a tow truck."
"She flipped. Told me I couldn’t stay. She knew my brakes were not working as she had also been terrified when we couldn’t stop. She said she wanted to go to a movie that weekend with other friends and her mom would ground her if she saw me at the house. I offered to lie and say I only stopped there as my car malfunctioned on my way home. I had to pass her neighborhood on my way home anyways."
"She refused. Started to scream at me. She didn’t care what happened I had to go. Started to call the guard at the front gate to tell them I had broken in and was threatening her."
"I left her and that friendship that moment. I managed to roll my car slowly to a mechanic not too far away but never forgot the shi* feeling of knowing I could have been seriously hurt and she wouldn’t have cared. She wanted to see a movie. She had the nerve to sheepishly call and ask me a couple days later if I could give her a ride to school. Told her I was too busy and no longer had time… after all I wanted to help her obey her mom's rules. She rode the bus til she graduated."
"I had this friend in school. Each year there was a funfair in our city, all students received vouchers for a drink and something to eat. This friend complained the whole day that she had no one to accompany her to the funfair. So, stupid me offered to go with her."
"Once we arrived we met another friend of hers. And another, and another... until we were a group of 5 or 6 people. I didn't know anyone and was basically just walking behind them. This friend took me aside and said, 'My friends think you are annoying, and we would like you to leave.'"
"It was a pleasure to see that she failed her exams a year later."
There's the spirit of competition, but when it's taken seriously, we're no longer game for these friendships.
I Can Do It Better
"Constantly 'one ups' me. A real friend is happy for you."
"That one time I got a fake bag but she doesn’t know and then 2 weeks later messaged me that she also bought a luxury bag… Then when I got a bf, she also went to get a bf within 3 months which is TOTALLY fine but she constantly messages me for us to go on a double date. Anyways, sadly they didn’t last long :( I mentioned that I wanted to go to Cuba, she went ahead and bought herself a ticket to Cuba but I didn’t end up going lol"
Never Steal The Spotlight
"When they loved the idea of me shining, but behind their shadow, I could never do or achieve anything above them, and when I did, they would get jealous."
"Yes! I recently ghosted a friend because of this kind of behavior. She was trying to compete about EVERYTHING. Like she bragged about how her mom’s car accident was more traumatic than my elderly MIL’s - which is not even an appropriate thing to compare. She would also try to 'outshine' celebrations of my milestones and was mean to several of my friends for no apparent reason. She was a loose cannon at best."
All About Me
"ALL she talks about it herself and her problems. Granted she has a a lot but never asks about me or my life until she realizes she just bypassed my attempt to want to talk about something in my life bothering me and continued to talk about herself."
People can just be so rude.
"When I got really sick. Very few came to help."
"Same here. I got cancer and everyone I knew was over the top supportive for the first six months and then all but three of my friends just vanished. I saw one of them at a Halloween party while I was going through chemo and she told me that my bald head made people uncomfortable. I was dressed as Captain Picard, it was awesome and she ruined it."
Not Missing High School
"At lunch, she was sitting with her boyfriend, I was sitting with our friend circle. She came up to me, guilted me into sitting with her and her boyfriend, and then proceeded to ignore me for the rest of lunch."
"She didn't care about me, she just didn't want me talking to the friend circle that she had abandoned for her boyfriend. When I pointed this out to her, she called me a jealous b*tch."
"Ah, high school. How I don't miss thee."
These examples actually served as a good reminder for me to take a moment and assess my friendships.
Not so much about how I've been treated but more about checking myself to see if I'm respecting the people I call my friends.
We've all been guilty of casually mentioning future plans to get together. I embarrassingly wait for people to initiate something, which is terrible.
Show up for your friends. Make them feel important like the individuals they are.
There are few moments in life more momentous than buying your first home.
Of course, as is the case with any big decision, after going through with it, your mind begins to spiral down into a series of doubts.
Most of the time, once you've moved in and lived there for a while, all these doubts begin to slowly disappear.
In some cases, though, those doubts quickly turn into regrets.
Particularly when you notice more and more elements of what you thought was your "dream" home that is more reminiscent of a nightmare.
Redditor californiabred was curious to hear the biggest regrets from people who recently purchased a home, leading them to ask:
"Homeowners who bought recently, what’s your biggest regret?"
Not The What, But The When
"Not buying 4 years ago."- 3rdPartyArbitor
Location, Location, Location!
"The situation when you bought a house where it was possible and a month later they sell a house in the area where you wanted"- BenefitOk3952
"Not knowing enough about the area/town."
"I hate where we live."
"Hoping we can move by the time my oldest starts kindergarten."- MP1087jason patric fox GIF by Wayward PinesGiphy
Upon Closer Inspection...
"The inspector told us the main drain in the basement was clogged."
"We thought it was clogged with something normal."
"It was, in fact, 'clogged' with cement from when our basement floor was redone."
"So now our basement regularly gets standing water on one side."- doctorpotterhead
"Hiring the wrong home inspector they missed so much, I really have to wonder if all those reviews were bought and paid for."- CaptainQuoth
"Not planting the fruit trees sooner."
"It’s a long wait."- SageLeaf1Plant Hope GIF by The Seed of Life FoundationGiphy
How Long Have You Got...
"Be shameless enough to perform your own base level of inspection of a house so you don’t have to rely on what an inspector finds or get in a situation where you have to make an offer regardless of what the inspection finds."
"Turn all the faucets on and run the dishwasher."
"Start the washer machine for a second."
"Figure out if there is any water pressure issue."
"Bring a multi line laser and a tape measure."
"Check for any significant changes in slope on the foundation for some settling issues."
"Pay attention to the downspouts."
"Do they terminate right at the house or do they have longer pipes that lead the water away?"
"Pay attention to the flooring and create a rough estimate of what it will cost to immediately replace the flooring."
"Way easier to do when you don’t have a house full of furniture and can do it right before you move in."
"On the financial side you need to talk with multiple lenders at all times and make sure they continue to give you the most up to date closing costs."
"There were a lot of sneaky numbers that made there way in that I was unaware of as a first time home buyer."
"Until that mortgage lender gives you the locked in rate don’t trust them as to what number they are currently telling you."
"Discover your maximum mortgage rate + escrow and work backwards as to the maximum house you can afford."
"Don’t buy based on the pipe dream of refinancing."- from_the_LuftGIF by BlindspotGiphy
"Not recent, but I still regret not refinishing the floors before I moved in."
"I'll never do it now."- WinterFilmAwards
"I regret not having the inside painted and the carpet replaced before we moved in."
"Been here two years and it never felt like 'my home' until I got rid of the stains of those who came before."- DaisyRage7
Consider A Test Drive...
"Not particularly recent, but we did not pull out cars in the driveway or attempt to park them."
"So we didn't realize that my car could only enter the driveway from one direction, so I had to turn around half a block up every time I needed to park."
"And we just BARELY got two cars in the driveway."
"So my regret is that I took for granted that the driveway met our needs."- gtizzzhomer simpson episode 24 GIFGiphy
Always Read The Fine Print
"I bought a few years ago."
"So many things have gone sideways."
"One thing I regret is not being educated about permits."
"Contractors/handymen/ anyone who works on your house really, never mentions a permit may be needed."
"Learned that it’s up to me and me alone to do the research and phone calls."
"Currently have a job on hold because they needed a permit."
"The company blamed me and now I’m not sure they’re even going to do the work."
"Watch the movie 'The Money Pit'."
"It’s not that far off."
"Some days I wish I’d just be a renter."- MissPeppingtosh
Simply Not Worth The Effort
"Don't bother childproofing your home."
"They still get in."- Blueblackzincseason 9 friends GIFGiphy
It's easy to question whether or not buying a home was the right decision.
But rather than live a life full of regret, why not make the most out of what you have, and turn your not-quite-dream home into a temporary dream home?
Who knows, it might even increase the resale value.
In an instant, anything can change in life.
Deciding to turn left instead of right at a traffic light can save your life -- and you may never know it.
That's why the movie "Sliding Doors" is so great.
Small choices and seemingly minor chances can shift things massively.
Redditor Lexie_Mark wanted to hear about how life can change drastically by the smallest influences, so they asked:
"What's a seemingly minor decision you made that ended up having a massive impact on your life?"
I had dinner with a guy once.
I told him a joke and let him read 5 pages of my writing.
Now I write for this website. BOOM!
Right TurnNever Mind Baby GIFGiphy
"Turned up to a military recruiting day on the wrong weekend as a youngster. Walked into a BBQ for traumatized veterans accidentally. That changed my mind."
"I had moved countries and decided to go back home after initial plans didn't work out. Had a ticket booked, was in a hotel near the airport, and got an invite to stay with online friends for a week or so before going back. Deferred my ticket, took them up on the offer."
"Met the love of my life there- moved to his city, have a new job, new friends, new life completely."
"While I was experiencing a period of career ennui, I treated myself to taking some college classes in biology, which I had always been interested in."
"While walking in the neighborhood close to the university one day, I saw one of the professors walking down the street, contentedly eating some ice cream. I don't know what possessed me, but I actually stopped him, said hello, that I was in one of his classes, and how much I liked the course."
"I have come across many professors in such casual circumstances before and since and never had the inclination or the guts to talk to them, particularly when they are clearly just having an enjoyable moment and likely don't want to be annoyed by a random student they don't even know."
"But I talked to him, and we had such a nice chat that he invited me to come to his lab and potentially do some work there. I came by a few days later, and he asked me a few questions and then asked one of his postdocs if he'd like to have me give him some help on a project. The postdoc said yes, and within 2.5 years I had my MS in biology (advised by Dr. Professor and helped greatly by that postdoc), and I was on my way to getting my PhD.
"Now I'm the prof."
On the Vespa
"4 months ago I was riding my Vespa to the gym on a Saturday morning, and I was T-boned by a car pulling out of a side street. She was looking the other way to make sure the traffic was clear and didn’t see me."
"I was coming from her right (in Australia, left-hand drive) and the front left of her car hit the back of my Vespa. If I had been half a second faster, I wouldn’t have been hit."
"I ended up with a crushed lower left leg and foot, permanent nerve damage, and 2 weeks in hospital. Fast forward to now, and I still can’t walk or move my leg and foot, I’m in unimaginable pain, and I (just today) lost my job."
"The recovery timeline is looking like 18-24 months and there’s no guarantee I’ll walk again."
"I was just trying to be healthy and go to the gym on a Saturday, and now my life has totally turned upside down. lol. Sigh."
Swipe Righttinder GIFGiphy
"Matched with a guy on Tinder and complained about my current job. Encouraged (and walked me through) the recruitment process for a government job and 5 years later I’ve had 4 promotions, earned almost twice my old salary, and have much higher job satisfaction."
Maybe Tinder isn't so bad after all.
Key StrokesJim Carrey Reaction GIFGiphy
"Taking a typing class in 1974. Almost no guys took typing at my school. Made life with computers a lot easier."
"Same here, it was the main reason I got a job in IT, I was able to have a lifelong career."
"Started running because I heard it helps with chronic tinnitus, now run 5 days a week, lost 20 kg, stopped drinking, and can sleep. It doesn't cure the tinnitus, there is no cure and probably never will be, but it made it more manageable, lowered the volume in my head, and let me sleep easier. I still have it and struggle with it sometimes, but running/exercise for me is the best way to mitigate the stress chronic tinnitus causes."
"Buying tickets to Guns 'N Roses. I'm from Northern Australia and went to the Brisbane show. Ended up going with an old friend who was looking for an extra roommate, moved to Brisbane, did an audio course cause I needed something to do, and ended up working in the music industry full-time. Just got off tour with Suicidal Tendencies as their backline tech and have had an incredible career so far."
"My current job was a throwaway application I submitted purely for interview practice. It was one of two listings I saw at once, one was quite detailed and looked really good, and the other one was a handful of vague bullet points that seemed interesting enough. The one I was hoping for never replied, the other one offered me more than the maximum salary on the ad. No regrets."
ForeverSmooch Love GIF by molehillGiphy
"I decided to have my first ever one-night stand."
"We've been together for 12 years!"
"So you still haven't had a one-night stand!"
Ah, the curse of the one-night stand gone wrong.
Love is all around.
At the end of the last century DNA laboratory companies began to offer direct-to-consumer home DNA test kits.
According to The Center for Genetics and Society, as of November 2023 more than 26 million people have taken an at-home ancestry DNA test.
These tests have helped people find and reunite with long lost family members. However not all revelations were well met.
Unknown ancestry was discovered.
Infidelity and secrets and lies were also exposed by these tests which led to strife in some families.
Reddit user OmarBessa asked:
"Redditors who have gotten genetic tests, what's the weirdest thing you learnt from your DNA?"
"So my dad is from the Philippines and my brothers and I all assumed our whole lives we are half Filipino and half Polish/German from my mom. Even my brothers married Filipino women and are very much into the family culture."
"Anyway I’m the only one who did the dna test and it came back we are only a 1/4 Filipino."
"There’s a mix—1% Japanese, 1% South American, etc...—but the big surprise was our missing 1/4 was Iranian/Romanian."
"My brothers flat out refuse to believe it."
"Learned that I (White) had a 100% Nigerian ancestor around 130 years ago. Now I want to dig deeper to find out who it was!"
"What’s funny is that I spent a gap year in Nigeria as a teenager, and I love the culture and food and still have a lot of Nigerian friends."
"It’s still a big part of my life."
"For 29 years, it was assumed that my dad who raised me was not my biological father, that I was the product of an affair my mother was having."
"I came out with blond hair, freckles and blue eyes. A stark difference to my tanned, dark featured dad."
"My dad chose to raise me as his own anyways, refusing paternity tests. I was never made to feel like I wasn't his."
"I took 23&Me simply out of curiosity and found out that he is in fact my biological father."
"My dad has told me he didn't want to know the results either way, but I let it slip showing my sister's the app one time at dinner."
"He didn't react, but I got an extra big bear hug getting on the train to leave that night."
"It was assumed when my mom found out she was pregnant that the pregnancy was the product of the affair. My features only solidified that assumption."
"He was already raising my mom's first daughter as his own, who he'd met when she was 2 and told my mom he wanted to keep raising the kids together. They got married and he adopted her a few months after I was born."
She was also treated so much as his that I didn't even know she was adopted by him until I was a teenager."
"My parents stayed together for 14 years, and to this day are still best friends."
"As an adult, my father-in-law found out his mother was actually his grandmother and his older sister was actually his mom."
"Things were different in the late 30's."
"I think this is quite common, especially when the real mother is still very young and in school when they get pregnant."
"The grandparents will adopt the baby and say they’re the mum’s sister/brother, and so the mum can continue their life as normal as possible."
"The daughter I adopted and I are actually distantly related!"
"As an adoptee who is considering doing the DNA thing, this intrigues me."
"My brother (also adopted, not a blood related sibling to me) did the DNA thing and found his birth family! I got to meet two of his half siblings. It was fascinating seeing 'nature vs nurture' in real time."
"There were certain mannerisms, etc... that all three of them did, and then other things my brother did that are definitely from the family we were raised in."
"Really cool to watch."
"Not me but my grandma got a DNA test done because she was sold as a baby—this happened back in the 30s (Depression Era, USA)—and never knew her biological parents, so a family member urged her to do it so we could maybe find them."
"We found both sides—a half-sister from her bio mom and a half-brother from her bio dad."
"Although it was kinda weird to realize we have family close by (only 20 miles away in one case), it was much weirder for the bio families to discover my grandma’s existence, since neither side had anything to do with the other."
"Her bio mom and bio dad seem to have crossed paths at some point in the same city. He was a married man, she was an older teen. Not sure if it was a one night stand or whatever but her bio mom was pregnant as a result of that night."
"At some point in her pregnancy, she checked into a home/hospital for pregnant unwed teen mothers (using a fake name). The bio mom was told the home would find homes for the babies, so she delivered and left."
"Bio mom went on to marry and have her own family, while bio dad likely never knew of the situation."
"As it would turn out, the home was not adopting out babies, rather selling them. Since my grandma was blonde and blue eyed she was bought quickly for a higher price by a woman."
"My grandma didn’t know until her teens that she was sold."
"My grandparents—they were married at the time—had a biological son they gave up for adoption before my mother was born and never told any of us about."
"Turns out some of the extended family knew my grandma had been pregnant before my mom but kept it a secret."
"If it was during the great depression in the US it was sadly something that happened. Not even just with babies."
"Some families had to give away their children or some of their children (I can't imagine the trauma for everyone involved) because they couldn't afford to feed themselves, let alone a child."
"My husband's grandmother told me about family members she knew who had to find new families for their children or even send them to live in an orphanage where they would at least be fed.
"Sometimes they were able to get the kids back after finances improved but not always."
"My ancestry is exactly what I grew up being told, I have several family members who were really into genealogy".
"But I found out I have a first cousin we didn't know existed."
"Apparently, my uncle had gotten married and had a son no one knew about when he was 19 and stationed across the country that he bailed on."
"Ends up my bio dad was quite the dabbler."
"None of his relatives were surprised I existed, just that I was the only stray kid that did (so far). I keep an eye on my results for any other mystery siblings!"
"I told my new half siblings if I ever went to a family reunion I'd show up in a shirt that said 'Spare Parts' or 'I'm your plot twist'."
Solving Unsolved Mysteries
"I had the same suspicions when I took my test. Turns out it was my grandmother instead with the secret babies she put up for adoption."
"Didn’t find out until 6 years after she passed away so we’re never getting answers as to what happened."
"Also got a surprise contact by the police, as I was a high match to a John Doe that was found drowned on the shores of Lake Superior in 1991."
"That was a fun family tree rabbit hole to dive down. Turned out to be a half 1st cousin from my grandmother’s firstborn."
"The local police were great about informing me and communicating. The case was assigned to them by the provincial police who were clearing out thousands of cold cases."
"I was also very excited to assist because I’d done a rather in-depth family tree about a decade prior."
"They have a team of forensic genealogists, most of them on a volunteer basis, and they were incredibly good at finding information. A lot of it was birth/marriage records and working off random dna matches to try and figure out where the Doe related to the match."
"In my case, I was a 422cm match to the deceased so we looked from my maternal great-grandparents on down."
"I assisted myself on a couple of cases afterwards, all just unidentified bodies found in water or bush, nothing criminal that would require clearance."
"To be honest, I felt a little morbid because of how interested I was in the process. I had to temper my enthusiasm when responding to the police initially."
I didn’t know the person, I had zero attachment to them and it was more of a scientific interest."
"It wasn’t until weeks later when I realized how close of a relation it was that it hit me. That plus he was likely murdered made me feel bad about my earlier enthusiasm."
"But in the cases I volunteered on, those people were loved and missed."
"One fella was a cousin of a beloved NHL enforcer that passed away a year before and I recognized the names of the immediate family we had to contact. They still had Facebook groups dedicated to searching for him with posts until the day before we contacted them."
"I’m sure there’s a relief at having answers but grief at the loss being confirmed."
More and more people are exploring their roots through DNA testing.
Have you taken a test? What was your DNA revelation?