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People Explain Which Actors Nailed Their Roles So Hard No One Will Ever Live Up To Their Performance

Cameraman filming woman in front of window
Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

Anyone who loves watching movies or television shows undoubtedly has a favorite actor and film.

Most will also be able to answer a very important question: which performance was so good that it's truly irreplaceable?

A Redditor, who has since deleted their account, asked:

"Which actor or actress nailed their role so well that no one else will be able to live up to their performance?"

That's 'Captain'... Jack Sparrow.

"Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow."

- Civil-Ad-6365

"Especially since, if I remember correctly, Depp himself just up and decided to make Jack Sparrow so... Jack Sparrow. None of that flair was written into the character. Or so I've heard..."

- Equality-Slifer

"This is true, and in fact, the director had to defend him from Disney's attempts at studio interference and firing."

- Iwasthewalrus

1 Actress, 17 Roles

"Tatiana Maslany in 'Orphan Black.'"

"She played 17 different characters and nailed them all."

- cashew996

The Legends of 'Harry Potter'

"Alan Rickman as Severus Snape and Robbie Coltrane as Rubeus Hagrid. No one will ever bring those characters to life as they could."

"RIP, Alan and Robbie."

- poposhaker

The Addams Family

"Christina Ricci as Wednesday Addams (1991)… I’ve loved Jenna Ortega since 'You,' but nothing can beat the sheer feral nature of Ricci!!"

- jeanie-us

"Angelica Huston as Morticia Addams."

"I mean, CZJ did fine, but it’s just no comparison."

- Beholder_V

"The entire cast of 'Addams Family' is just absolutely pitch perfect:"

"Christopher Lloyd as Uncle Fester."

"Anjelica Huston as Morticia."

"Raul Julia as Gomez."

"Carel Struycken as Lurch."

- munificent

"Every Gomez ever will always be put against Raul's. It's nearly impossible to outperform."

- MNcuriosity

The Antics

"Literally no one else in the world could play Mr. Bean except Rowan Atkinson."

- TheZestyJester09

Love You 3000

"Robert Downey Jr. as 'Iron Man.'"

- benwkakkn

"When your life pretty much, in its own way, parallels the character you’re playing, with the fall from grace, reinvention/rebirth, and then the second act… yeah, I don’t think anyone can ever take the place of RDJ as Stark."

"Also, I had to scroll down waaay too far to find his name."

- rubicon_duck


"Catherine O'Hara as Moira Rose."

- leebeemi

"Catherine O'Hara in everything, frankly. She's the best."

- BranWafr

The Epitome of the Super Fan

"Kathy Bates as Annie Wilkes in 'Misery.'"

- karma_dumpster

"I don't think I've ever not felt a minor shudder whenever that role comes up. That's how good/perfect she was."

- tacknosaddle

The Undeniable Villain

"Maggie Smith as Professor McGonagall and Imelda Staunton as Umbridge."

- highlandcow75

"Anyone else having problems watching 'The Crown' since Imelda Staunton took over? I keep expecting her to torture Princess Diana into saying, 'I must not tell lies...'"

- Evil_Athena

Tim Curry for Everyone!

"Tim Curry as Dr. Frank-N-Furter."

- Active_Policy_957

"Tim Curry as Primeminister Chardenko in Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3."

"You can see him trying to not laugh when he delivers his most memorable line from that game too."

"'I'm going to the one place not touched by Capitalism... SPACE!'"

- RolyPoly1320

"Tim Curry in ANY of his roles if we're being honest."

"Even when I was young, I recognized how stand-out he was as Long John Silver in 'Muppet Treasure Island'!"

- astermorii

"An entire Tim Curry thread and no mention of the 90s “It”? He was downright unsettling as Pennywise and was absolutely the best part of that movie."

- chrobbin

"Nigel Thorneberry."

- Tiny_Parfait

"Had to scroll wayyyyy too far to see Nigel Thornberry on here, my god."

"Tim Curry is iconic."

- SnoozleEnthusiast10

Robin Williams in Anything, Everything

"Robin Williams as the genie in 'Aladdin.'"

- Badit_911

"Robin Williams in just about every role he ever played."

- idrinkandsleepate

"Still miss the joy he brings to every movie."

- arootdesign

"Make It So."

"Sir Patrick Stewart as Captain Picard."

- Striving_Stoic

"Or Charles Xavier, for that matter."

- Brvcx

So Justified

"Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley."

- SuvenPan

"Smart cat lady no one listens to. Everyone dies because no one listens to the smart lady. She survives with her cat."

- darthlorgas

"I love her so much in 'Aliens.' She’s so mad and she’s godd**n right to be!"

- Iirima

Breaking... Compliments?

"Bryan Cranston as Walter White."

- DDKLondon

"After 'Breaking Bad' ended, Anthony Hopkins sent a message to Bryan Cranston, telling him that his portrayal as Walter White was some of the finest acting he had ever seen in his life."

"Coming from Anthony Hopkins, that is one h**luva compliment."

- 2donuts4elephants

An Unforgettable 'Cast Away' Performance

"The Wilson volleyball as Wilson."

- 9penguin9

While there are surely countless performances anyone could name as good, there are only some out there that could be deemed as irreplaceable.

How fortunate we are to live in an era when so many of those performances are available to watch at the same time.

People Reveal The Dumbest Reason They Ever Had To Go To The E.R.

"Reddit user lugulaga asked: 'What is the stupidest reason you went to hospital?'"

Paramedics load a patient into an ambulance
Photo by Mat Napo

Everyone is a bit leery of hospitals.

Even people who have to work there would rather be somewhere else most of the time.

But sometimes, a trip to the hospital is unavoidable.

More specifically, a trip to the ER.

We humans can really get ourselves into some ridiculous health-related situations.

All you can do is try to laugh about it.

And be grateful you lived so you can tell the silly story.

Redditor lugulaga wanted everyone to fess about the times their ER visits were more embarrassing than painful, so they asked:

"What is the stupidest reason you went to the hospital?"

I do my best to stay away from the ER.

I'll even suffer in silence.

Especially if I'm being an idiot.



"Hiccups that lasted 24 hrs, stopped right when the doctor stepped in the room. Lol."


"I’ve seen this a lot. Had a guy last Monday. 'Intractable hiccups.' Fun note: we use Thorazine to treat it. As in the anti-psychotic."


Down the Hatch

"Not me but I had to pick up a mate who swallowed a 50c piece to win a $2 bet. If you don't know, an Australian 50c is quite large. They had to do an endoscopy to get it out. They let him keep the black corroded coin too."


"My son did this but with an American 25¢ quarter. He had it in his mouth but inhaled it. It was stuck sideways in his airway so luckily he could breathe. They had to put him under and got it out via endoscopy."

"He spent 9 hours with it in his airway and hardly spoke at all. That is the quietest he has ever been since he learned to speak. He was about 9 when this happened, he is autistic, though very high functioning, and was sensory seeking which is why it was in his mouth."


While I Sleep

"A bat landed on my head while I was asleep. Rabies shots all around!"


"Ugh, my child had a 'mystery bite' from daycare that we ignored until it started looking infected. Doctors asking about animals and specifying bats-- reminds me that LAST YEAR the daycare had bats removed that were living in the roof but had no sighting since then."

But I said it. So they had to do the rabies shots, including IGG injected directly into the infected bite... on a 2-year-old. Most traumatizing experience of my life... thank goodness she doesn't remember!"


A Hard WInd

"My husband went because he was in extreme pain and thought he was having a heart attack. Turns out it was wind. He just needed a good fart."


"I took my 1-week-old son to urgent care because he had abdominal pain for hours and hours. He cried in the waiting room for a couple more hours, then farted three times and immediately fell asleep."

"They called us in about 10 minutes after that. The doctor said, "As long as you guys are here, let's see how he's doing" and gave him the standard well-baby check. I thought that was nice."


Not the Thumb

big bang theory paper cut GIFGiphy

"When I was 8 I was bored so I got a bottle of Gatorade from my pantry and grabbed a kitchen knife then proceeded to stab it over the sink to see how easily the knife would go through the thicker plastic of the bottle… almost lost my thumb."


Kids and kitchen knives, a most deadly combination.

Merry Nothing

Freak Out Running GIF by TLCGiphy

"Christmas Day, I dislocated my knee attempting to kick my brother during a sparring match. Needless to say, my martial arts career was over."



"I was at a house party, all the bathrooms were full. Went outside, and decided I should crawl under the porch to pee. Everything went well until I tripped on the way out and rolled my ankle. Shrugged it off, limped back upstairs and someone said 'Your ankle is broken.' Sure enough, bone sticking out. DD took me to the hospital and got me ice cream on the way home. I miss you, Kyle. You're the best."



"Butt cheek injuries caused by a door. I hate touching door knobs with my hands and always use my forearm to rub against the doorknob in a downward motion using friction to turn the knob. Was joking around with my gf saying I can open a door with my buttcheek exactly like how I use my forearm. Jumped at the door butt first and the little metal thing that guides the door cut my buttcheek (I think they call it strike plate or latch strike)."

"The cut wasn’t a clean cut because the thing wasn’t that sharp. 30+ stitches."

"After that, she had to stand behind me holding a bowl to cover my wound every time I take a shower so it doesn’t get wet, and we live in a hot country so she has to do that twice a day for like a month."


We did Nothing...

"I’m an ER doctor. About once a year I see a very nice young female who comes to the ER with three or four family members because her fingers are blue. They have always googled all sorts of fancy and exotic diseases that they are worried about. 100% of the time the patient has brand-new blue jeans on."

"Without saying a word I just grab an alcohol swab and wipe the blue dye off of their hands, and then I do the same thing to their jeans to show them it’s the same color. The collective sigh from the family is always what does it for me. Not surprisingly, half the time the patient doesn’t believe me and is angry that 'we did nothing.'"


All Sewed Up

Tongue Out GIF by MOODMANGiphy

"When I was about 3, I was running up the stairs in my house and fell. I hit my chin on a step and bit my tongue nearly off. My parents took me to the local hospital where they sewed up the gash in my tongue without anesthetic. I still remember it to this day."


I feel faint after reading all this.

Thank the Lord no one brought up any eye issues.

I'd be on the floor.

From angry clients to scandalous mid-trial confessions, lawyers tend to see the best and worst—but mostly worst—that humanity has to offer. It’s not easy waking up in the morning with the burden of a big court day on your shoulders, and these lawyers of Reddit are finally letting loose and sharing their most ridiculous cases.

An Underdog Victory

brown wooden tool on white surfacePhoto by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash

I work as an insurance lawyer. One of my firm's partners, as happens sometimes, handed me a small case for our client, and told me to resolve it. Our insured, a man of around 75, was driving his car in the left lane of a four-lane road. The defendant, a lady who had been involved in a grisly murder as an accomplice about 15 years ago, was in the right lane.

The lady side-swiped our insured's vehicle, causing like $4,000 in damages. At the scene, our client said that he was just driving, and then he was side-swiped. The defendant said, "I don't know what happened, officer." The lawsuit was about six or seven months old when I got it, and the partner who was initially handling the case had spoken with the old man on two occasions and sent him a letter.

When I received the file, trial was a few weeks away, so I printed out the pictures of the vehicle, sent a subpoena to the officer, and tried to call the insured. I got a busy signal, so I put the file away. A few days later, I got a call from the officer who filed the report. Her words started a chain reaction of disaster. She said, "I'm not going to make it to court because I'm off on the court date."

"Alright, well, when are you available?" I asked. She paused, then said, “The report is hearsay. You don't need me anyway." "Ma'am, what I need you for is not hearsay. I'll reset this for a date that you are available for." That wasn't helpful. I called the defense attorney, and we pushed the trial out about a month and half.

I issued a new subpoena on the officer. I tried to call our insured again. I got a busy signal. Out of options and ideas, I pulled up our data software and looked up our client...that’s when I made a disturbing discovery. He’d passed the previous month. I'd never had this happen before, so I called the insurance adjuster handling this claim and told them, "Hey, I hate to tell you this, but our client is no longer alive.”

I then talked to the partner who had handed me the case. Instead of dropping the whole thing, he came up with a diabolical plan. He suggested that we fake it. I'd go to court, call the defendant as my witness, call the officer to discuss the scene, then get pictures of the vehicle into evidence using the insurance adjuster, who could also testify to damages.

The insurance adjuster is willing to try, but about a week later, I get a call from the officer, bailing on being a witness again. I really wanted to call her sergeant and complain, but it wasn't worth the trouble. So, now at trial, it's going to be the insurance adjuster and I. We'll probably lose since I have practically zero evidence against the defendant now.

Suddenly, I get a phone call that changes everything. It’s from the defense attorney. On the spot, they suddenly agree to pay the claim in full. I never told that attorney that my client wasn’t even alive anymore, but some day I kind of want to tell him he paid out a ton of money to a ghost.

Friends In High Places

I'm a family lawyer, and I was in court representing the mother of two young kids. The dad was representing himself, as was Grandma, with whom the kids were staying for several months while my client finished a college program. Dad took issue with this arrangement, despite being unable to take care of the kids himself because of a disability.

At our first appearance, the judge suggested something that everyone actually agreed to. I was the only lawyer there, so I was tasked with drafting the order. I sent copies to Dad and Grandma, asking them to let me know if they remembered the agreement differently, or if they are okay with my wording. The wheels started to come off immediately.

When he gets the order, Dad calls me right away. He says that he takes issue with my lack of professionalism (no explanation of what he means by that, but okay) and he doesn't consent to the wording of the order. He doesn't suggest alternate wording, though. And then he took it up a notch. He says that my draft has violated his human rights (again, no idea what he's talking about) and he will be forwarding this to the Human Rights Commission, who will be his lawyers from here on out (uh, they won't).

I decide not to point out that that's not how this works, and just go with a, "Thanks for letting me know." I point out that the Family Court Rules require me to file the order within a certain amount of time, which is rapidly running out. I ask him when I can expect the HRC to contact me (obviously they won't). Dad tells me that they usually take 3-6 months to deal with things.

I tell him "Okay, well I'm just going to write the court a letter explaining this, so the judge is in the loop." I write the letter, explaining briefly what has happened. I say that I'm unfamiliar with the HRC getting involved in Family Court cases (they don't), and particularly in the drafting of orders (ditto). But this was all an ingenious plan.

I point out that I'm hesitant to file the order since Dad has said he was going to consult counsel, so "I await direction from the Court.” This is actually code for: You see the crazy I’m dealing with? Can you help me out here, Your Honor? The Court office calls me the next day and asks me to send them the draft order, so the judge can look at it.

The day after that, I'm in front of that judge on an unrelated case, and she says, "Oh, and I signed that order from the other case. If he doesn't like it, he can appeal." Mic dropped.

The Crooked Lawyer

I am not an attorney, but my boyfriend is, and this tale took place a few years ago in NYC...thus, here is The Tale of (throws dust in campfire) of "The Crooked Lawyer." While looking up this guy's information, it became clear that he was a real jerk. A local paper described him as “a con artist,” and he preyed on unsuspecting victims, took out loans in their name, and falsified information.

Then he’d take off with most of his victim's money. Somehow, he’d avoided justice up until this point...until my boyfriend came along! My boyfriend moved to NYC from a state in the South. Freshly out of law school and riddled with student debt, he found a low-paying personal injury firm and settled in. Since money was tight, he found a roommate on Craigslist named Julie.

Julie is a feisty Latina, and my boyfriend is pretty much Wonder Bread, but they hit it off very well. My boyfriend would go to Julie's job after work (she was a bartender) and they developed a very strong friendship.

During this time, Julie meets a server, named Luis. They hit it off and begin dating. My boyfriend clicks with Luis, and they become a trio. Late nights, nodding off on the subway platform, my boyfriend being taken to Latin clubs...they become the best of friends. Something that will play a role in this tale is that both Julie and Luis (and their families) are in the USA undocumented.

So, Julie and Luis are getting serious, but they don't have a lot of money, so they move in with Luis' elderly parents. My boyfriend finds another place to live and they all still keep in touch. During all of this, Luis' dad had suffered an injury at work. He lost part of his finger and had hired a personal injury attorney—AKA the “Crooked Lawyer” of this story.

Apparently, Luis' dad was supposed to receive a $100k settlement, but some time had passed and still no update. Since Luis and his family didn’t speak English, Julie called Luis' father's insurance and asked about the status of the settlement. Their answer chilled her to the bone. The insurance said, "Oh, the settlement's already been paid out....?"

That's when Julie called my boyfriend and freaked out. Apparently this "personal injury" attorney had a history of being an ambulance chaser, and sought out undocumented clients. He held that over them and took their settlement money for himself, knowing that no one would pursue him and risk deportation. While there had been reports of this scumbag, the guy had been getting away with this kind of thing for years.

So, my boyfriend tells Julie to tell the lawyer that she knows what's up. Apparently this guy thought his clients were too stupid to seek retribution. The crooked lawyer then told Julie that he would return the money if she dropped her complaint against him. Still, my boyfriend was livid at this guy taking advantage of people—so he decided to get payback.

He told Julie to record all of her conversations with the lawyer and keep records of any type of contact. During their meetings, the jerk tried to bribe Julie into keeping quiet about his scam. She plays along, meets up with him a few times, always recording interactions and "getting money from him." With evidence in place, my boyfriend took everything he had to the NYS Supreme Court.

He told them that he was representing Luis's dad. While on trial, my boyfriend learned that people had filed reports against the other lawyer for years but nobody ever gave a darn until he became involved. It turned out that the guy had taken over $400,000 from clients over the years. It was a long trial, with my boyfriend representing Luis' dad and him having to testify, even though he was terrified that he'd get kicked out of the country.

The crooked lawyer knew my boyfriend had reported him, and he would glare at him from the stand. Long story short, the jerk pleaded guilty to charges of identity theft, among other things. He was also stripped of his ability to practice law and was sentenced to seven years behind bars. And this story has an even better happy ending.

My boyfriend is now the Godfather to Julie and Luis' son. Luis' dad moved back to his native country and bought a beautiful house. All of crooked lawyer’s victims got their money back through the Lawyer's Fund for Client Protection.

Darlings And All

man in black suit standing on brown wooden floorPhoto by Jeremy McGilvrey on Unsplash

I'm a partner in a small New England area firm. I had court this morning with one of my clients who is a very sweet older lady, around 70 years old. We were helping her with an old judgment from her divorce. Long story short, her ex-husband failed to pay something, and we were helping her collect. But the star of the show is something else entirely.

The old lady has a habit of calling everyone “Darling.” E.g. "Do you need my bank statements, darling?" when calling the office. I don't really care what she calls me, she pays and is mega sweet, so we brush it off. But she is also a bit hard of hearing, which is how our interesting. We had the final hearing today, and the judge was keeping things pretty casual and conversational.

He was asking the parties different questions to clarify things before closing the hearing. He asked my client something about her finances, and she didn't hear him. Her words made my face turn red instantly. "I'm sorry, Darling, what was the question?" Oh my God. Help me. There was a moment's pause, and the judge burst out laughing.

"I'm sorry, did you call me...Darling?" He leaned back in his chair, beet red, grinning. She also turned a shade of scarlet. "I...I did, Your Honor." He laughed again, shook his head, and the rest of the hearing proceeded. Upon closing the record, he mentioned that it was the first time he had ever been called “Darling” by anyone. I think we did well, though. Darlings and all.

The Queen Of Karens

It was a dispute in which I helped a low-income man seek full custody of his children. His ex was representing herself, and refused to communicate with me in any way. Apparently, she thought she knew the law, and said she didn't have to talk to me without a lawyer. No amount of explaining that I was a lawyer, not an officer, got me anywhere.

Come hearing day, she hadn't submitted anything to the court, and decided that she should get whatever she wanted simply by telling the judge to do it. She was, after all, the "mother" and more entitled to the child, benefits, and child support that went along with the child. Despite what she was saying, she spoke sweetly and was very petite so I knew people would automatically want to side with her.

The judge explained that she hadn't submitted any pleadings, and that she wouldn't prevail unless she asked for a continuance, submitted pleadings, and tried her case. That’s when she transformed into a monster. I must have romanticized the memory, because I swear she was flailing her arms around so fast that I couldn't keep track.

Her entire body was twitching, arms flailing, hands flopping, and head back screaming. She demanded to speak to the judge's boss immediately. She repeatedly made offensive comments about the judge. A non-stop river of psychotic-entitled garbage spewed from her mouth. She wasn't doing the insanely high-pitched-unintelligible scream, either.

She was doing a full-on drill sergeant bellow. The yell was loud, clear, forceful, and disconcertingly deep.

I’ve seen some stuff, but this left me opened-mouthed and staring. My client, however, was familiar with this brand of crazy. He stood up to loudly and politely ask the judge if he could say something. I felt like a jerk at this moment for not staying on point, but I was completely caught by surprise. In an instant, my client took the case from ridiculous to absurd.

The judge allowed my client to speak, and my client used both arms to gesture to crazy and yelled, "This is the stuff I'm talkin 'bout right here. You see this crazy. Nah. Just nah." For the second time that hearing, I didn't remain professional and couldn't contain my laughter. I think laughter, or any sound of happiness, must have been a trigger for her, because Crazy then started trying to physically attack my client.

My client ran to the witness box and ducked down inside in an attempt to shield himself from the attack. There should be officers in each domestic courtroom during hearings, but we all know it'll never happen. Crazy was detained, and screamed the entire time she was dragged away that she was going to talk to the judge's boss about her being disrespected.

My client was awarded full custody, and the mother wasn't awarded any parenting time.

Doggone It

So this couple has two dogs. My client tells me that she wants both dogs, and she won't have it any other way. She explains to me that the dogs love each other and NEED to be with one another. She is sobbing uncontrollably in my office, which is something I can normally deal with, but not in this case. She was beyond out of her mind crying.

I often use the Socratic method to explain things to people. First, I told her I love dogs (I do) and I totally understood her situation. I told her that it would really suck to break up my two dogs, so I understood her. Then I said, "But I have to ask you something. If you were a judge, and there were two dogs and two people, how would you divide them up?"

She realized what I was saying and she almost screamed, "Nooooo! You don't understand! They love each other and they can't be broken up!" I said, "I totally understand. I'm just asking you what you think YOU would do, if you were the judge...and there were TWO people and TWO dogs. How could the judge easily settle this matter?"

I was just trying to get her down to reality, so I could maybe figure out if she preferred one dog or if there was another way to settle this. Then she says: "Okay, I get it. Dogs are property. Even though they are my children, the law says they are property." That's right. At this point, I thought she had seen the proverbial light. I soon discovered how wrong I was.

"Okay, so then how about this: I will sell the dogs and that way, the court can't order me to give up the dogs. The dogs will be gone." Ugh. I said, "Ma'am, it sounds like you are saying that you are going to try to pull the wool over the judge’s eyes." I then continued, "I can't even entertain that notion. You think the judge hasn't seen this kind of stuff before? You think you're the only couple who has two dogs? Do you think this is an original idea? I'm not telling a judge that you sold the dogs."

I got her spouse served with the petition. Then she got her revenge: She fired me right before the trial and went in without an attorney. But she was in for a rude awakening. When she told the judge she sold the dogs, she actually thought he would just say, "Okay, well that's that." Instead, the judge said: "Who did you sell them to?"

Excuse me? "WHO DID YOU SELL THEM TO? I want a name and a telephone number. We can make the call right here, from the courtroom. I'm going to verify your story. I know you love these dogs very much, so I know you didn't give them to a stranger. Tell me who you sold the dogs to NOW." Oh gee whiz. She wasn't expecting that. I guess this judge has been a judge before!

Rather than have the judge call her accomplice, who was hiding the dogs and NOT expecting a judge to call, my ex-client admitted that it was a con. She crumbled under the judge's cross exam. The judge gave BOTH dogs to the respondent in the case. Full justice achieved, plus happy ending: Dogs get to stay together, and they surely would have been broken apart otherwise.

Down But Not Out

a wooden gaven sitting on top of a white counterPhoto by Wesley Tingey on Unsplash

I was representing a defendant being tried for a probation violation, for trespassing and possession. My testimony was going to be focused on the officers who detained him and failed to follow proper procedures—they entered his house without a warrant, and they lied to the phone company about having a warrant to track his phone.

I was feeling tired, but I didn’t think much of it at first. This was a huge mistake, and the beginning of the most dramatic court case of my life. I’m a diabetic, and I didn’t realize I was about to have an episode. We go through the court case, and I'm behaving badly in court and being reprimanded by the judge repeatedly. I eventually start slurring my words and having single sided weaknesses.

The judge recognized something was wrong and put court at recess. The court officers thought I was having a stroke. They called an ambulance, but by the time it arrived, I was already unconscious. As soon as they saw me, they gave me an injectable hormone that forces my blood sugar to go up. 10 minutes and several snacks later, I manage to return to the courtroom and win the case.

Deja Vu

The Spanish Supreme Court recently ruled that certain clauses in mortgages from banks were null and void. This mean that we had tons of claims for compensation coming in. One day, there were 10 hearings against the same bank and every plaintiff was assisted by the same lawyer, my colleague. So we had 10 hearings in a row with the same judge and same lawyers, only pausing to let one plaintiff out of the courtroom and the next one in.

It was easy to notice that the bank lawyers didn't have much experience in civil procedure: they tried to introduce evidence they weren't allowed to, or stuff like that. Even worse, after the judge decided against the bank in every one of the points, the lawyers would introduce the points again in the next hearing with same results.

After the fifth or sixth time, this exchange happened: Judge: I already decided over this five times, attorney. Why do you insist on wasting my time? Bank lawyer: Mutters something about guarantees, proper trial, and a right to be heard. Judge: Everyone in this courtroom knows by now there is no basis for your defense. I expect a professional attitude in my court and that the lawyers come prepared to the hearings.

That’s when the bank lawyer started crying, then he made an unhinged confession. “With all due respect, I was hired only for today’s hearings. I didn't get to see any of the case files, and only received instructions to read from. Honestly, I don't even get paid enough for this.” After that, the judge called a recess so the lawyer could calm down.

When we reconvened, the bank lawyer briefly read from her instructions and the judge rejected the allegations one by one like before.

Family Feud

In my country, for child custody cases, the court will often pay for the child to have their own attorney or advocate who isn't working in the interest of either parent. I was representing the child in this case. The custody was over a five-year-old girl. The father was an unemployed alcoholic ex-gangster with a severe prior record.

The mom had a significant psychiatric history and a minor record, plus a reasonably stable stepdad. The mom and the stepdad had won in the past for obvious reasons. The child had complex medical and psychiatric needs, which were being adequately met, but the father had a history of taking the child’s psychiatric medication and denying her medical care during urgent situations.

Pre-trial, we often interview the parents to get an idea of whether they're fit to care for a child. I already knew the dad was unfit and the mom was not perfect but more fit, but I wanted to interview the dad to build my case. The lawyers frequently tell the parents to deny the interview, but sometimes they don't listen to the lawyers. He didn't listen very well and accepted our interview. That was his first mistake.

Before I got in the front door, I noticed an odor of drinks on him and numerous open and empty bottles in and around his living room. He made statements about the mom and physicians controlling the child with prescribed medications. He seemed manic, was living in unsanitary squalor, and it was clear that he had some undiagnosed psychiatric issues, too.

His girlfriend was his age, and she was obviously off her rocker. Interviewing her, she appeared to be in the middle of a psychiatric episode and was very cruel to me. Next I go out to the kiddo, and during the interview the kiddo spills off an obviously coached tangent on mommy drinking and acting funny. Me: "Who told you to say all that?" Kiddo: "Daddy."

The kid was clearly coached. After I get her to tell me the truth, I made a discovery that sent a shiver down my spine. The kid confessed that the dad’s girlfriend was abusing her physically and emotionally. I immediately haul my butt down to court and file to transfer emergency custody order over to the mom ASAP, plus a protective order against the dad’s girlfriend.

Trial comes up, and both of their attorneys bicker over who's more horrible. My testimony is requested and I drop a half an hour’s worth of revelations on the dad and the girlfriend. They eventually curse at me then leave the courtroom. Eventually, sole custody was awarded to the mom and the child was ordered to receive therapy for trauma.

After interviewing the kid, the authorities find sufficient evidence for an order to detain the girlfriend. In THAT subsequent trial, which only happened a week after the custody one, the girlfriend was sentenced to one year in intensive psychiatric care and 10 years behind bars before any release. I thought the case was over, but I was so wrong. Fast forward to a few weeks later.

I was preparing for another emergency late case at 8 pm, when the dad bursts through the doors of my firm's office. He starts screaming for me, and I meet him at the front window. The front window is bulletproof, the door is locked, and the access is pretty tightly restricted. He's punching the window, kicking it, threatening to hurt me, etc.

We lock him in and call the authorities and the officers come in. Now he gets detained on that charge, finally putting an end to the messiest case I have ever worked on.

A Good Foundation

man in white dress shirt sitting beside woman in black long sleeve shirtPhoto by krakenimages on Unsplash

So, I do a lot of insurance work, and I try cases of all kinds, large and small. I had a small case, over about $2,600, from where a contractor drove into a retaining wall at this lady's house and damaged it. He wouldn't fix it, and, after like eight months, the homeowner allowed her insurance company—my client—to have it fixed and then sent the bill to the contractor.

Surprise surprise, the contractor wouldn't pay. There was lots of squabbling between my client and the contractor's insurance company, who offered less than $500 on a $2,600 bill. We had a trial to settle it. I brought our claims adjuster and the homeowner. The defense attorney brought the contractor and an adjuster from the contractor's insurance company.

Everything goes fine with questioning the homeowner, who was a sweet, middle-aged woman. She, like most people, knows nothing about the finer points of masonry. Then, we get to my claims adjuster. He says, "Well, we paid $2,600 to have this fixed, but I'm not an expert on masonry." However, he also discussed how estimates on masonry were made.

I close my proof. Next, the contractor gets up on the stand. They go over what exactly happened with the retaining wall. Then, he testifies that he "knows for a fact" that the $2,600 invoice includes overhead and profit and accuses my client of "running a scam." The judge strikes the answer. I look down at the estimate for repair and grin from ear to ear.

It says, in bold print, "This amount does not include overhead or profit." I look at the invoice. It's the same amount as the estimate. This guy is lying through his teeth—and I’m going to catch him. On cross examination, I show the contractor the invoice. "Sir, this is a $2,600 invoice for repair, correct." "Yes." Then I show him the estimate.

"Sir, this is a $2,600 estimate for the same repairs, correct?" "Yes." "They're the same amount, correct?" "Yes." "Does the estimate say it does not include profit or overhead?" "Uh..." "Does it?" "Yes." "Didn't you just testify that you knew for a fact that the estimate included overhead?" "I don't know." "What don't you know?"

At this point, the contractor is furious and beats his hand on the stand. "It doesn't include overhead and profit, does it?" "I guess not." "But you said it did, right?" I pass the witness. But I wasn’t done yet. Next, the defense attorney calls the contractor's insurance company's adjuster. He testifies about how much he thought it should cost, like $500.00.

I cross-examine him. "How did you make this estimate?" "I put the numbers into a computer program." "How do you know what numbers to put in?" "Uh..." "Are you a contractor?" "No." "Are you an expert in masonry?" "No." "Have you ever worked in construction?" "No." "And the computer programs spits out what you put in?" "Yes."

"And you can just put in whatever numbers you want?" "Yes." "And it makes an estimate based on the numbers you pick?" "Yes." "But you don't know anything about masonry?" "No." The adjuster just testified that he made up the estimate. Defense closes proof. And the judge takes the matter under advisement. So let’s recap all this glory.

The contractor lied and was discredited, and the adjuster for the contractor admitted he just made everything up. We got $1,000 out of the trial. Less than half of what we sought but double what the defendant argued it should be. It was a win in my book.

Revenge Of The Dads

This one's a messy one. I'm a family law lawyer, and I was representing the kids in this one. Four kids. Three different dads; the mom was getting divorced from her husband. Mom had custody of all four. All the petitions against each other were complicated. One of the dads wanted the other dads’ kids too, the mom wanted sole custody of all the kids, the divorce guy wanted his kid and another. It was VERY confusing to figure out who and what everyone wanted already. But it got worse.

It turns out that mom was on probation AND on the national violent offenders list, had an ankle bracelet and everything. Despite all of that, she still got temporary custody of the kids. Her ankle bracelet forbids her from going out of the county, and the judge in the custody case forbid her from leaving the province as well.

Well, the mom and children didn't show up to appearance #3. Myself and all three petitioners motioned for the respondent’s ankle bracelet to be tracked. The judge made the phone call, and it was pinged outside of the county, just inside the province. Court is put at recess, and the roads department go try to get her. What they found stunned them.

They discovered her ankle bracelet off the side of the highway at an exit ramp to the next province. National guard get called, and they track her phone to her parents’ house in the next province. Once they track her down, they detain her. The children are brought back by child protection services, and the judge awards temporary custody of each child to each respective dad.

After all of that, there was one more twist. At the next court appearance, the dads start complaining about the mom sending them threats from behind bars. Then, because this couldn't end without one last catastrophe, one of the dads decides to set the mom’s old house on fire. He gets taken into custody, then his kid gets put with another one of the dads. That case was a RIDE from start to finish.

A Real Sicko

I’m a judge who presides over an emergency family court. My saddest case wasn't just one suit, but several separate petitions for emergency custody. A bunch of family members wanted to override a long-term custody plan that was previously ruled in favor of the mother. When I read all the files, they almost broke my heart.

I reviewed the petitions from dad, maternal grandmother, and family friend, which all talked about one of the children being in the emergency department with a chemical burn from an oven cleaner. They also all had substantial reasons for why the other parties shouldn't get custody. My plan was to call everybody in and dismiss the claim, because based on the petitions, it sounded like the injury was an accident.

I bring everyone in and explain why I'm dismissing the claims and denying the petitions, basically saying a simple accident isn't a basis for an emergency custody order to overrule a standing court order. That’s when they confessed the dark truth. All three parties clarified this wasn't an accident, nor was it one injury.

Apparently the mom was intentionally spraying dots of oven cleaner over the entire body of her child. She was doing this to present the kid to the ER, with the subsequent burns, claiming it was a horrible rash. She must have had some kind of mental issue because she did it so many times that her doctor figured out that something very wrong was at work. Learning about all that raises the stakes of this case so much more than I had first thought.

I call social services to ensure they had an investigator out, which they did. But we still had one more disaster to go. Around this time, mom arrives and storms into the courtroom, yelling and crying that she wouldn't harm her child. I lost my cool with her just a little bit, and she admitted that “just a bit of oven cleaner” got on the kid, but she didn't create the rash.

The mother was incredibly disruptive and made a threat to the father, so I had the authorities detain her in contempt of court until the next night. This ticked off the dad, who also started yelling at me for having his wife detained, so I had him held in contempt for the next night as well. The other family members left. You think this is the end of it? Nope.

This is now a week later. The social services investigator is present in the early hours of the morning, filing an emergency protective custody order for that child and all five siblings, ranging from three yeas old to 17. After an audit of medical records, we discovered that the oven cleaner was just the tip of the iceberg. This lady had been harming her kids and passing it off as illnesses for years.

These included using what was suspected to be chemicals to cause rashes, nurses having a concern over the mom possibly accessing a child's IV and injecting something, etc. Also, the mom was a nurse but her license was on a 15-year suspension. We ended up ordering emergency joint custody between social services and a third cousin of the children.

I'm not sure what the final outcome was, but that's my first for-sure case of Munchausen’s by proxy.

He Knows What He Wants

focus photo of woman in black top wearing white and black hatPhoto by Nic Amaya on Unsplash

My aunt is an officer, and has been for the past 27 years. She's seen a lot of messed up stuff, but this case takes the cake. About 20 years ago, she was called to court as a witness in a case. The case was delayed for some reason, so she was waiting in the hallway when suddenly her radio piped up with something like "additional officer assistance requested at the courthouse."

She responded that she was already there and asked what was going on. "Suspect turned violent after being told defecation in front of the judge was not allowed" was the slightly surreal reply from dispatch. So she found the courtroom where this went down, and as she walked in, her jaw dropped. She found a suspect and two other officers involved in what can only be described as a poop wrestling match.

There was poop all over, and the suspect used that as a sort of nasty lube to slither out of all sticky situations in order to stay free. charged in, grabbed the guy's arm and tried to cuff him. He resisted. Soon she was also covered in excrement...but eventually she, with help from the other officers, managed to cuff him and get his trousers up.

It turned out that the guy was in court because he was a serial public defecator. The judge had asked him "Sir, why do you keep doing that?" and the defendant had replied that it was just "so liberating," dropped his trousers, and squatted on the floor to squeeze out a Cleveland steamer. The case my aunt was there for was delayed even further while the judge allowed her to go shower and change.

The defecator got some time behind bars and fines. So lawyers, if your client does something stupid, just remember that at least they didn't poop on the floor while standing trial for pooping on the floor...

A Game Of Telephone

I have a funny story from when I was a law student observing court matters. That day, I was witnessing hearings for bail release. This guy came on his own, with a warrant on him for theft. So probably, his lawyer told him to willingly turn himself in, so the judge would be more compassionate, especially about the bail. It did not go the way he planned.

Judge: Young man, that warrant was issued last year, but it's only now that you wake up and come to court? Lawyer: Mr. Judge, my client has enormous difficulties communicating because he does not have a cell phone. Judge: Ok, but you can always try to reach him. Lawyer: Yes, but unfortunately, without a cell phone, I couldn't reach him to give him proper advice.

Judge: Let me hear from the defendant himself. Sir, what were you doing all this time, knowing that you had a warrant on your name ? Defendant: Mr. Judge, everything is a communication problem. My previous lawyer tried to warn me that a warrant was issued. But again, I didn't have a cell phone at the time, so no communication was possible.

The judge then takes off his glasses, looks at the defendant with a glacial look, and utters a phrase that changes everything. Judge: Young man, the warrant was issued because you are accused of stealing cell phones. I burst into laughter, the court laughed, and my teacher laughed when he read my report on that.

All The President’s Men

I’m a defense attorney, and I work a small town misdemeanor docket. One day, I had an intake meeting with this gentleman, who is as nice as can be, and who was charged with an extremely low level public nuisance offense.

However, there were aspects of the interview that did not ring particularly true. Like when he claimed to be the President of the US, who needed to be relieved of the burden of this court case so that he could return to treaty negotiations in Washington DC. I nod, and we have a pleasant conversation as I note the need to approach the bench at the upcoming court date and request time to arrange a psychological evaluation.

We go to court. Part of the routine process in this court is for the defendant, upon being called, to step up to the podium with counsel and state their name and birth date for the record. So, my client gets up, provides his name, and gets halfway through his birth date before he stops and shakes his head. What he said next may be the greatest line I've ever heard in a court room.

"I'm sorry your honor, I forgot, you blew my CIA cover. My actual birth date is (insert random date here)." The judge, to her credit, took this wholly in stride. Also, I'll note, there was no anger or accusation in client's tone. He was, in his mind, just reciting facts. The judge, without me needing to walk up to request time, goes ahead and gives me a date far enough out for the evaluation.

As I head out, the prosecutor grabs me, and asked if that was legit or if I thought the client was acting crazy for effect. I inform him that I believe it is legitimate, and, in a bit of a surprise move, he just shakes his head, and says, "This isn't worth it for a public nuisance charge. Just get me an agreed order dismissing." Easiest dismissal ever. I cleared the President/CIA Operative, and he returned to keeping America safe. Either that, or he is an evil genius.

From The Mouths Of Babes

five children smiling while doing peace hand signPhoto by Larm Rmah on Unsplash

I preside over an emergency family court on the night shift. We handle a lot of the emergency custody issues, protective orders, etc. Although evidence is definitely required, this is an emergency court. The threshold is pretty low for me to take a protective action—I handle immediate safety, the other appropriate courts untangle the rest.

Around 11 pm, one of our former frequent fliers (yep...that's just as sad as it sounds) is brings her three kids that she's had since I've last seen her, a three-year old and five-year old twins. She's filing for emergency protective custody of her children and an order of protection against her husband. She and the children both stated that they were mistreated.

However, I recognized the story, as in the past she used the darn near same template to file complaints of mistreatment against every ex she's ever broken up with. Anyway, with this one she wants a protective order for her and her kids against the husband, she wants emergency custody, and she specifically wants provisions allowing her to move out of the area.

I talk with the children in private. That’s when all her lies unravel. They tell me with exceptionally little hesitation that the mom coached them, they love their dad, and their mom is "crazy" (their own words). The kids also stated that mom hits them a lot. I was able figure out via one of the five-year-olds that the parents were "being unmarried"— again, his own words.

So now I have a lady going through a divorce in my court filing (almost certainly false) emergency orders. I confront the mom about the divorce and her previous patterns of filing the same claim against different exes, and she did not like that. She started yelling at me, saying I'm a part of a victim-blaming system, how I'm just as bad as her husband, etc.

She was crying (lots of noise, but no tears) and most unnervingly, the children seemed unfazed. All of a sudden, she's coming out and saying that the husband tried to run her over with a van, that he's done other violent things, etc. Kids seemed like “what the heck?” It turned out, the wife was desperately trying to get us to produce those orders so she could delay the initial suit for divorce and leave the country.

That's not what happened. We called the husband/father to court, and were surprised to find that actually seemed quite level-headed and calm. We granted him half an emergency custody order of the children, on the basis of protection from psychological mistreatment and neglect. We also filed an emergency eviction, forcing her to move out of their shared house.

I reported the whole saga to social services, and those kids got a happy ending. But man, I needed a stiff drink after wrapping up that case.

Do I Know You?

Ex-public defender assistant here. Two friends of mine were building a summer house and got scammed out of approximately five thousand dollars by their material supplier. Of course, the guy was using a fake name and ID, so it took a while for the authorities to identify his real name. After we managed to find his true identity, we started to do a background check, looking for past convictions.

We came upon a shocking realization. I had already met the jerk. Three years ago, while I was still working at the public defender’s office, a case of his got assigned to me. I managed to save his sorry butt after he was accused of, guess what, scamming someone out of a few bucks. This truly sounds like a cosmic prank, and all I have to say is Karma's a witch.

Catch Me If You Can

I'm a court marshal. Something one of my responsibilities is to serve court orders. Order service is a very complicated gig here, with many finicky rules. So, I've been chasing around a homeless guy for about two months to try to serve a protective order so that he stops harassing a client. If I can't physically give it to the homeless guy, the order doesn't fully count, meaning the person who needs protection is still at risk. Long story short: It's really important that I get this paperwork to this guy.

But to serve a protective order of this specific type, I need to do a ton of extra stuff. I have to introduce myself in front of the recipient with no obstacles (no doors in the way, etc). I need to show them the order, hand them the order, explain that they're being served with a protective order, and say that it's effective immediately.

I've been in contact with a family member of his to keep me updated on his location so I can hopefully give him the order, but this guy is impossible to catch. I've had him run after I knock on several different houses trying to find him. He's sped off after I tried to serve him at his car. He's jumped and run out of a third-story window of an apartment. I even tried to serve him in the hospital emergency department and he still managed to run away.

But finally, I found him sleeping in his car. I knew this was my big shot, so I was smart about it this time. I brought a wheel clamp and clamped it onto his car before knocking. The guy tries to speed off, but doesn't realize he's stuck. Watching him mess up his car and admit defeat? Priceless. Handing over an order never felt so good.

The Tables Have Turned

man in black suit wearing sunglassesPhoto by Harsh Gupta on Unsplash

This is a story from an attorney who rented an office from my first firm. I did not know him at the time of this story, but this was his favorite hearing ever, so much so that he spent money to order the official transcript just so he could show people the level of crazy he had to deal with. And guys, this case was truly next level insanity.

The attorney here was a defense attorney. In this particular case, his client was a little old lady who had gotten caught trespassing. She'd gone to a business she had been banned from before. She'd been caught on security cameras and had resisted getting cuffed when the authorities came and escorted her out.

After hearing about all this, the attorney thought the old lady must have some kind of mental illness, but she'd passed a competency exam. Then he had a pre-trial hearing with this lady and realized that even though she'd technically passed the exam, this lady was nowhere near sane. So he came up with an absolutely ingenious plan: He told her crazy side of the story.

So, when the head of security took the stand, the attorney used him as a way to show how nutty his client was. He asked, "Is it true that people have been coming into your establishment wearing masks of my client's face?" Witness: (confusedly) No... Attorney: "Is it true that you and/or your employees have edited films to feature my client's face?"

Witness: No. Attorney: "Is it true that you and/or your employees broke into my client's house and took the dress she was wearing when she had a liaison with Bill Clinton?" Witness: No... Client: (standing up and shouting) It was a nightgown! Judge: May I speak to the attorneys up here? (when they arrive) There's no way she's competent to stand trial.

Karma Will Get You

I'm a courtroom assistant. We do both security and practical assistance like moving displays, escorting juries, and some ceremonial stuff as well. One day, I was at the sentencing of an evil, evil man with several huge offenses. He stalked, kidnapped, assaulted, and killed a locally famous and growing pop artist. And as though that wasn't bad enough, the poor girl was pregnant at the time.

So this Evil Man, as he will be referred to from here on out, was on suicide precautions as he made threats against his own life, so he was in spiffy paper clothes. At this point in the day, we were well into victim impact statements; the victim had a large family and there were something like 35 individuals addressing the court. We're something like 28 statements into it, and next up was the grandfather.

These are always really emotional. Families are always really upset for good reason, but this 80+ old guy is the worst I can remember. He was crying, breathing heavily, and shaking for the entire sentencing. He was called to make his statement, starts walking up, about past the council table. He then turns and tackles the attorneys and Evil Man.

He didn't get much in on the Evil Man, maybe a kick and two punches, before 15 of us pile up on him. He was taken into custody, and it quickly became apparent that Evil Man got what was coming. Evil Man is screaming and gagging for about 20 seconds, then he starts convulsing. He came back in about two minutes choking/gagging, really bad.

We put him on his side and get an ambulance on the way, the rest of the gallery was evacuated and the court went into recess. By time the ambulance arrives, he's not breathing, only twitching, and has no pulse. They do CPR, take him out to the hospital, where he passed that day. Coroners report said his brainstem was damaged, his skull was broken, and his brain herniated through a break in his skull.

The granddad was interviewed by national officers who have jurisdiction of courts. He said that he'd been planning that for days, he felt no remorse, said if he had time he would have done the attorneys in, too. It also came out that the granddad was in the mob back in the day, and had 40 years behind bars prior to this for drowning someone in petrol and lighting their corpse on fire.

He was suspected but not confirmed to be involved in several other high profile attacks. He was charged with a slew of offenses, but found not guilty of everything except contempt of court, to which he was originally sentenced to four years but it was reduced to terminal probation with home confinement due to his health.

In The Driver’s Seat

I had a client once who wanted to get her car seats reimbursed. No problem, I told her. I sent the photos we had on file along with the Amazon price listings she sent us to the insurance company. The company emails me back a few days later stating that they need actual receipts or some kind of proof of purchase before they do anything.

I call the client, and she says she doesn't have any receipts because she bought them over a year ago and didn't hang on to the receipts. That's fine, I told her, any proof of payment would do. I asked if she could maybe find a bank statement showing how much she paid for the seats, or maybe call the company she bought them from and see if they could look into their records and provide her with something.

She just says, "Well they can't do that. I paid in cash." It's important to know now that the car seats were several hundred dollars each, and the total was about a thousand, so I was more than slightly shocked. "Do you mean you paid with a debit card instead of credit?" "No, I paid in cash. Like paper." So I call the insurance company again and explain the situation.

They very kindly agree to provide reimbursement for the amount given on the Amazon listing, provided that the client sends photos of the car seats with the straps cut through to prove that they can't be used anymore. I call the client back, and she LOSES it. How dare we ask for more photos from her! Is it not enough that she gave us photos of the car seats on her driveway in the first place?

Many of her relatives have been in car accidents, and they all got their car seats reimbursed, no questions asked. What kind of attorney's office are we if we can't even get this small thing reimbursed for her? I explain again that literally all she needs to do is take a scissor to the straps and send us the photos, and really, the insurance company is being very generous with this agreement.

She tells me that she can't do that because she tossed the car seats ages ago and hangs up on me. But she wasn’t done. A few days later, she calls back and asks me what the status of the reimbursement is. I tell her that, per our previous conversation, the insurance would not reimburse her without proof of payment or proof of the car seats no longer being usable, and since she paid in cash, lost the receipts, and junked the car seats, there was nothing I could do.

She then tells me that she didn't actually junk the car seats, she gave them to a lady in her neighborhood. A hoarder, apparently, who collects car seats. Great, I tell her. Go find the lady and ask if you can take back your car seats or borrow them long enough to cut the straps and take a picture. She goes on and on in circles about why this is impossible, why I'm being unreasonable, why our whole firm is being outrageously incompetent, etc etc etc. Finally, she asks me this whammy of a question.

"You have photos of car seats from other cases, don't you? Why don't you just use one of those photos?" Ma'am. MA'AM. The insurance company already knows what model your car seats are because I already sent them photos and listings. I do not have photos on file of car seats that match yours. And even if I did, I wouldn't send them to the IC because newsflash! That is insurance fraud!

I don't care if your relatives' attorneys did that for them! We are not them! I will not be helping you with this! I refuse to be involved in so stupid a plot! One of the attorneys catches me mid-explanation and says, "Tell her that's a freaking felony.” I duly relay the message as I am ordered. She goes into a deeper rage and demands to speak to an attorney.

So I transfer her. She ended up dropping the case eventually, thank god.

A Mother’s Love

a golden scale with an eagle on top of itPhoto by Nellie Adamyan on Unsplash

I'm a judge. One day, I oversaw a custody battle where the dad was trying to get joint custody. It's granted, and he's about to have his first weekend with the kids. Mom is not having it in the slightest. So Mom does the unthinkable. She has the father killed. In the aftermath, Grandma (Dad's mom) attempts to get guardianship of the kids.

It's discovered that Mom conspired to have Grandma offed, too. Mom is brought before the judge for her hearing. She is sobbing. "BUT I'M THEIR MOTHER!!!!!" Judge isn't having it. "You're their mother. So?" The woman stops crying almost immediately, proving she faked her "tears" from before. She's still currently behind bars.

You Have The Right To Remain Stupid

My job is helping people use the rights they are allowed while behind bars. One day, a client called, stating that they were going to turn themselves in for violating a protective order. That was enough for me to get sent out. I try to figure out what's going on, and learn that the client's ex-girlfriend took out a retroactive protective order and he's admitting to breaking it.

That's a huge “Oh god” moment for me, because you need to do something seriously messed up with significant proof to get retroactive protective order. Anyway, I advise him of his rights when interacting with officers as clearly as I can. Then I make sure he understands and urge him not to void his rights. Well, he voided his rights apparently without hesitation, and he spilled the beans to the officer about everything.

The story was even crazier than I ever expected. It turned out that there was no active valid protective order at the time of the alleged offense. Instead, the ex-girlfriend applied for a retroactive protective order, got denied, then had her friend serve him a fake retroactive order. When he breached the order that doesn't exist, she applied for a new regular protective order, was approved.

But there was one problem: the order wasn't active yet because it hadn't been served. Despite this, the ex-girlfriend didn't hesitate to void it by sending him harassing text messages! She ended up going in on production of false documents, distribution of false documents, breach of protective order, and electronic harassment.

The Early Bird Gets No Worm

I had a genius client today who called in and was very rude to my assistant. Old twit claims that he called twice in the morning and nobody answered his calls. Turns out, this geezer had called the office at 7:45 am and again at 8:25 am. Our posted hours are 9-5, plus our voicemail system states our hours. PLUS what office is open at 7:45 in the morning?!

When he finally did manage to speak to a lawyer, all he did was get really mad that we recommended that he get a new will done because all the people named in his existing will are deceased. There's no helping some people.

Do You Know Who I Am?

person in black long sleeve shirt driving carPhoto by Miles Loewen on Unsplash

This happened several years ago. My father was a superior court judge, and about 60 years old at the time. He was driving on a city street when a young kid blew through a stop sign and ran into him. Dad was on a through street with no stop sign, so it's pretty obvious that the kid was at fault. Nobody was hurt, thankfully, but the kid was very upset about it and jumped out of his car, cussing a blue streak.

"You crazy old man, you shouldn't be on the road. I'm going to sue you! I'll have you taken in for a hit-and-run, you can't you look where you're going," along with a series of other colorful words. My dad looks at him, cool as a cucumber, and totally destroys the kid. He says he isn't going anywhere, so hit-and-run wouldn't apply.

Kid keeps on cussing, stomping around, and generally being a real jerk. Fairly soon, an officer shows up. Young kid goes off on the officer about getting this crazy old man off the road, yadda yadda. Dad gives the cop his license, registration, insurance, and business card. Officer turns to him and says, "Your honor, can you tell me what happened?"

Young kid suddenly stops yelling, and looks like he's seen a ghost. Turns to the officer and says, "This guy's a judge??? My dad turns to the kid and says, "That's correct. If you would like to bring your parents by the courthouse some time, I'd be happy to perform the ceremony at no charge." I thought the officer was going to lose it on the spot. Kid got a ticket and was found at fault for the accident.

Christmas At Court

One Christmas Eve, a woman comes in with her two sons and files an emergency petition for sole custody. They had just arrived to spend the holidays with her and informed her about how abusive their dad was to them. So she fills out the paperwork, staff is going over it, and a probation officer comes to tell me that the next time I see this woman, I need to tell her to stay put because she has to go through a substance screening.

I find the woman and awkwardly delivered the news. It went better than expected. She took it all in stride and agreed. And after that interaction, I thought to myself that for someone who is spending Christmas Eve at court, petitioning for sole custody because the father of her children is mistreating said children...she was really chipper. Yeah, I'd soon learn why.

She tested positive for a whole whack of feel-good substances. Regardless, she was brought before the judge. Dad was called up so he could appear telephonically. Oh ho, the judge was unhappy with both of them. Turns out, dad had full custody, and mom was only supposed to have supervised visitation with the kids. Why? Because this lady COULD NOT parent.

The poor kids sometimes didn't have enough to eat. And she would leave them unsupervised for hours at a time while she went to do...whatever it was that she did. The judge was reading all this stuff from the previous cases onto the record in a really flat, matter-of-fact tone. "[Mom] complains that she doesn't receive enough in child support for the children. [Mom] still has enough money to afford substances.”

The judge asked the dad why he sent the kids to the mother they're not supposed to be alone with. Dad said he didn't want her to not be part of their lives. Judge scolded him regardless. Good intentions, bad execution. And this wasn't the first time she cried wolf about dad. And to top it all off, throughout the hearing, this woman is switching between sobbing loudly, laughing like a maniac, and stone cold sarcasm. Her petition to be the kids' only care-taker was denied.

By Any Other Name

So, I was a law clerk at a small firm in a northern state for two years during law school. The firm had been around for several decades, and it had a name like "Davidson, Roberts, McIntyre, and Johnson." Well, Davidson had started the firm. Roberts had joined within a few years. Roberts had passed about 20 years before I became a clerk, and Davidson had passed a few years before I became a clerk.

The firm name hadn't changed, though. When I became a clerk, McIntyre was the senior partner, and there were four other partners in at the firm, plus an associate. One of the partners was Davidson's son, we'll call him Joe. One day, I was called to the front desk to cover the phones because our receptionist was out. I was sitting at the front desk, and an older man walked up to me.

"I need to speak to an attorney." "Alright. What kind of case is it?" "Well, I don't know. Can I just speak to attorney Davidson?" "Joe Davidson?" "I just want to speak to the Davidson on the sign out front." "Oh. Well, he's dead." The man cocked his head, and said, "Well, can speak to attorney Roberts?" "Sir, he's gone, as well."

The old man just stared at me. I called around and found someone to come talk to the man finally. I don't know if we took him on as a client though. It was a really strange interaction.

Choose Your Battles

woman in dress holding sword figurinePhoto by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash

Years ago, my wife and I ran a tiny landlord/tenant law practice. Technically, it was a two-person partnership law practice, but my participation was limited to reviewing contracts and going to court once in a while if she had two cases at the same time. Because of this, it was basically a one-woman show, so if my wife had to go to court, the office was empty. Not usually a big deal, as this was the type of practice that was mostly done by cell phone and laptop.

Or, I should say that it wasn't a big deal until one insane day. So, there was one tenant client who had a dispute with her deposit and damages. Long story short, not only would her landlord not give the deposit back, but he claimed there were extra damages that she had to pay too. Our case was weak as our client didn't have proof that the damages in the apartment existed before she arrived or that they were caused by external forces.

Now, in my state, if the landlord does not provide a detailed list of damages or return the deposit within 30 days, the landlord has automatically failed his or her role and now owes double the deposit. Guess who didn't comply with the statute? The now double deposit amount exceeded what the landlord was demanding, so we were willing to settle for the difference. Nope. Landlord refuses to take that deal, so mediation fails and we have to go to the judge.

Now, before I continue, this landlord was an arrogant jerk who didn't know the law. He was a computer engineer who thought the rental was just a second investment property. We tried to explain the law when offering the deal, but no dice. He clearly thought that a firm that didn't even have regular office hours was too far beneath him. That was his first mistake.

The way landlord-tenant court works in my state is that you have two rounds of meditation before you see a judge. Most cases settle before you get to the judge, so if it gets that far, the judge is looking to see who is being unreasonable. The judge rules for the landlord, though he disagrees with some of the cost estimates and awards him a bit less money.

He also reminds the landlord that he owes double the deposit, so he needs to give the tenant the difference from the award but less than the double deposit amount—in other words, more than what we would have had to pay if he just accepted our offer. The landlord doesn't agree with the judge’s findings and appeals, so larger court fees for him right off the bat.

When my wife gets the paperwork, she notices his fatal error. He screwed up the appeal. Since she wasn't his lawyer, though, she didn't have to tell him he'd made a mistake. She didn't even have to respond to the court since the appeal wasn't properly submitted. Instead, she quietly put a lien on the property for the judgment, added a fee for the extra paper work involving the fee, and went on her merry way.

For the next few years, we didn't hear a peep about the appeal. But then, one day, we get an email from the landlord asking us to remove the lien as he is selling the property. Gladly, we say. All he has to do is pay the judgement and fees. Landlord refuses and hires his own lawyer to fight us. This time, we got revenge. We have the strong case.

We simply e-mail the attorney the paper work and show how everything was proper on our end. Just like that, we proved that it's not our fault this jerk-landlord tried to play at being a lawyer. Long story short, our client gets her money, we get our fee, and that awful landlord gets a nice big bill from the attorney that he hired for his completely stupid case.

Black Magic Woman

I'm a client intake specialist for a firm that handles claims for employees who have been discriminated against at their workplace. Last week, I had a call from a potential new client who said that her employer caused her son's auto accident. When I asked her for more information, she asked me if I could meet her somewhere to discuss the details.

My internal red flags were waving at full staff, so I explained to her that I could not meet her. I told her I could take down all of the details and give her claim to the attorney, so he could review it and see if he could help her. She said she would call me back the next morning, since she didn't know if her calls were being recorded or if there were cameras in the room she was in. I did not hear back from her.

Fast forward to this morning, when I received a call from the same lady. She said she wanted to sue her employer because they hired a man to cause her son's car accident using...witchcraft. At this point, I'm thinking that this lady has really gone off the deep end. Oh, but she's not done yet. She explains that she has filed a report and wants to sue this man and her employer.

She goes on to say that she overheard a co-worker tell this witchcraft-practicing man to make sure all of her son's airbags come out because they want him to work for them in the near future. I politely, but firmly, had to tell this lady that our firm would not be able to assist her. She asked why, and I so desperately wanted to tell her that it's because she's clearly nuts.


I did a will for a client. Signed the will, gave him the bill. He whipped out a check and paid it happily. He immediately went home and sent an email to my boss getting really angry about the bill and only wanting to pay for the half hour he had spent in our office signing the will—not any of the time I spent drafting and preparing the will. My boss’s response was priceless.

My boss had him bring back his will. Handed him a check for the full amount he had paid, and then fed his will through the shredder in front of him. Full refund.

Go Speed Racer

vehicle driving through empty roadPhoto by Raivis Razgals on Unsplash

Several years ago, I was interning for a friend of mine at the firm he worked at. I had the pleasure of being the note taker at a first meeting with a new client. It was an 18-year-old kid who got pulled over by highway patrol for excessive speeding at about 3 am. So, my buddy explains everything to him, and then gets to the "be on your best behavior part."

The kid doesn't get it. My friend goes, "Pretty much, don't do anything that could get you in trouble. Don't stay out late at night, don't smoke, and honestly, just don't speed. The kid responds with, "But I like to go fast." My friend is completely dumbfounded. Like, this kid got pulled over on the freeway doing about 90 mph, at 3 in the morning.

He explained it to him about three times, how if you get a ticket for something, and you challenge it, and take it to court, if you get a ticket for it again while waiting for your court date, you will lose your case. But this kid kept saying, "But I like to go fast." I highly doubt that "Ricky Bobby" learned his lesson this go around, at least.

Employee Of The Month

So this is about five years ago. I worked as a chef at a bakery, and it was my job to make everything but the baked goods. Every morning, the baker and I would walk in at 4 am and knock out all the food needed for the day. This would leave me ready to go home around 10 AM or so. On my way home, I'd drop off half the online orders we received, while my co-worker would deliver the other half.

On this particular day, I had a delivery for a large law firm with a generic-sounding name. I had never delivered to them before, but they were a regular of sorts. Every financial quarter, they would hold a huge meeting. This meeting would require roughly $700 of bagels and bagel accessories. This spread included eight dozen bagels, all ten of our flavors of cream cheese, pastries, brownies, and enough coffee to power a college dorm though finals week.

My passenger seat, entire back seat, and entire trunk are filled with food. Now, the firm is located on the ninth floor of a commercial sky scraper deep in downtown. Parking was non-existent. There were meters outside the building, but I knew I would need close to 10 trips to deliver all this food, and didn't have a lot of change on me.

So I decided that I'd try to use building's own parking garage. As I pull on in, the security guard, let's call him Sam, stops me and says that the parking garage is for employees only. I happily show him my delivery invoice, explain why I'm there, and offer him a bagel, as I never leave the store without at least two on hand.

Sam refuses the bagel and says I can park in one of the guest spots on the bottom floor. The fee is $5 for every 30 minutes, minimum $10. Work will reimburse me, so this sounds great to me. I thank Sam and head to the bottom floor of the garage...where I see a total of six guest parking spaces. Just six. All of them are taken.

I head back up to talk to Sam, when I see an open parking spot reserved for the law firm. There are cars in every spot, with many spots reserved for employees by name. The last spot is empty, and is reserved for "Guest of [Law Firm's Name]". Perfect. I pull on in. I grab the most important part of the delivery (the coffee) and head to the stairwell.

I get into the elevator and hit the button for floor nine. The elevator asks for my employee ID card. Well...crud. So, I try the lobby. That works. From there, it’s nine flights of stairs until I am outside the firm. After introducing myself, I am shown to the room where the meeting will take place. A table is set aside for me. I set down the coffee and head for trip number two.

That is when I see an unsettling sight. Sam is talking to the receptionist. He runs over and starts shouting at me. "I am putting a flag on your freaking car. I told you to park in the guest section on the bottom floor!" I don't get a word in before he launches into a speech about security and how I could be hurting his building or people.

That is when a very well dressed man walks over. It so happens to be one of the partners at the law firm. He asks what is the problem, and soon the two are arguing. Partner: He is delivering food for my meeting. He is allowed to use my parking spots. Sam: Those parking spots belong to the building. You are leasing them like you lease this floor. I am the one who says who can park there. He isn't an employee so he isn't parking!

Partner: Then I am making him an employee! Sam: You can't do that! Partner: ... ... ... You know what. You are right. I thought it was over, but I was so, so wrong. Then the partner calls over another partner, who walks over with an amused look on his face. Partner: (introducing the other man) This man is Mr. Smith. He's the head of our HR department. Mr. Smith, hire this boy.

So Mr. Smith pulls out a piece of paper and scribbles that I am “Now a member" of the law firm, and signs it, then asks me to sign as well. I do so. The partner reaches over to the receptionist, who is already grabbing some things. Partner: Here is your employee badge, your -PARKING PERMIT- and your elevator key card. Now please, do the job I have -HIRED- you to do, and deliver my bagels.

Sam looks on in utter fury as I ride the elevator down to my car. Seven sweet, sweet elevator rides later, all the food is delivered. Bob and Harry meet me at the table. Bob: Well, you have made great strides in this company and I am proud of your work, but I feel it is time for us to part ways. Here is your final check. Bob then hands me a crisp $50 bill.

Mr. Smith: And your severance package. Now please be sure to return your badge and card on the way out. The partner hands me a $20 and sends me on my way. The receptionist is sure to validate the parking ticket that Sam gave me, and I head on out. On the way out, Sam grins at me and asks for my ticket. I place it in the machine in his station.

It sees the validation I got, and lets me out for free. Sam glares at me as I drive off into the late morning sun. Lesson of the day: Never argue with lawyers.

Take A Walk

I had a client who called to tell me that the police report completely messed up her name, and she was afraid it was going to affect her case. I checked, and the report was indeed messed up. Like not just a minor misspelling, but it looked like an entirely different name. I told her not to worry, she just had to bring the report and her ID to the station, and they'd fix it for her.

Client asks why we can't do it for her. I tell her that departments are quite strict about that sort of thing, and I'd do it for her if I could, but they absolutely require the actual involved party to come in themselves to get that fixed. She complains that her car accident happened too far away from where she lived and she doesn't want to go all the way back there.

Thankfully, the agency that took the report was the State Highway Patrol, and in the state I worked, you could go to any SHP office regardless of where your accident actually happened and they could help you just the same. I do some Googling and the following exchange happens. Me: Good news! I found an SHP office that's literally right around the corner from your address. It's like a ten-minute walk MAX, faster if you want to drive.

Client: That's too far. Me: I'm sorry what. C: That's too far, I'm not going all the way there to get my report fixed. Me: It's literally around the corner and down a block. This is the absolute closest SHP office. There is not a single one that is any closer than that. C: Well it's too far. Why can't you guys go do it for me? You're my attorney's office, this is what I pay you for. At this point, I'm losing my patience, but I put on my nice voice and continue.

Me: As I've explained, I am literally not allowed to do it for you. SHP won't do it if it's not the actual person themselves. C: Can't I just call or email them? Me: No, they need to see your actual physical person along with your ID, so you need to show up. I promise, it's right on [names intersection here], it's no more than 10 minutes away if you WALK.

I'm slowly losing my mind here, and I thought the conversation had gotten about as brain-numbing as it could be—until the client dropped this next line. C: Well that's 10 minutes out of my day that I'll have wasted, and I'm not a youth anymore, I can't be traveling such distances whenever I want. I told her that if she really didn't want to get the report fixed, she didn't have to, but it could totally cause problems later in her case.

But if she INSISTED, then fine, don't. She told me she'd think about it. The client, by the way, who claimed she was "not a youth anymore," was a fully able-bodied 20-year-old. It's people like her who give the rest of us millennials a bad name and honestly I hate it.

Orders From Above

File:Portrait of US federal judge William H. Pryor, Jr.jpg -

I’m picking a jury in front of a judge who, coincidentally, happens to be in the Reserves. During selection, the judge asks "Is there any reason that anyone can't serve the full length of this trial?" Young lady in fatigues sticks her hand up. "My lieutenant is giving me a lot of grief about missing work to do jury duty." Judge doesn't skip a beat and delivers the greatest line I've ever heard in my career.

"Really? Give him my number and tell him that General Hizzonner would like to discuss his attitude." The grin on that young lady's face was something to see.

Long-Distance Friendship

This happened to my co-worker, Al, who represented a guy who had clear mental health issues. The client had a long history, took a bucket-load of medications, was semi-homeless, etc. So while talking to Al, my co-worker decides to contact this guy named Bob that Al keeps calling "his lawyer"...even though Al is supposed to be his lawyer. Confused, Al looks up Bob—and he realizes the case just got more complicated.

Yes, Bob is a prominent attorney, but in a totally unrelated field. Now, it's obvious that Bob isn't the client's lawyer in the sense that he has him on retainer. Still, Bob's been an attorney for 25 years, so Al figures that Bob probably represented the client at some point—maybe he started as a public defender, or took an occasional pro-bono case, or whatever.

So Al gives Bob a call to see if he can remember anything about the client that might help, and at least ask why the client is so insistent that Bob is "his attorney," when the client has clearly been represented by at least a dozen lawyers at this point in his career. The conversation goes as follows: Al: “So, I'm representing Mr. Client and he says that you're ‘his lawyer.’ How do you know him?”

Bob: “Well, I know him, and I don't. You see, I've never represented him, or even met him. A few years ago, he called my office and asked to speak to me. He had apparently seen a story about a case I was handling in the local paper. I wasn't in, so the secretary put him through to my answering machine, where he left a lengthy, rambling message.”

My co-worker is rapt at attention now. Bob continues, “At the beginning of the message, he was extremely agitated, but as it went on, he seemed to calm himself down and sounded much better. A little while later, he left another message, which followed the same pattern. It really seemed to help him just vent into the answering machine.” Al’s getting the point now, but Bob finishes off the ridiculous story.

“So I told my secretary whenever he called in the future, to just tell him that I wasn't in and let him keep leaving messages. He's been doing it for years now.”

Mother Knows Best

I’m a legal assistant. I just recently opened files for my lawyer, and this means new clients calling in to schedule their first appointments. This usually happens the next week after I sent out the first letters. They usually call in bulks. I mostly have a good memory so if your name is unique, I will definitely remember you. Now, this client’s name is unique in a way that is difficult to pronounce.

It’s even harder as I’m not from this country, so I still have a slight accent...and I have a lisp too. Yay. The client is also apparently not from here and has an accent. The two of us are not the dream team. Normally, I'd make my lawyer handle this kind of thing, but she was in court during this exchange, so it was all down to me.

ME: Hello. Her: Hi, my name is [insert complicated name] and my son is [even more complicated name]. Is it possible for me to talk to his lawyer regarding his case? ME: (me trying to type the name onto the system but not coming up with any) Sorry about this, but can you please spell your last name? I can’t seem to find your son’s name on file.

Insert us spending five excruciating minutes trying to figure out the spelling. ME: Okay! So can your son come in at this date and time to see the lawyer? Her: My son is actually not here in the city right now, he lives abroad. Is it possible for me to deal with this case without him coming down there? ME: Your son lives in abroad? Sadly, we cannot help your son if he doesn’t live here—

Her: OH NO! Haha, I meant my son is on a vacation for two weeks. He’s going to be back soon. Can I just see the lawyer instead of him? ME: So he is coming back then? That’s fine. The lawyer is scheduling appointments in six weeks anyway. Sadly, you cannot see the lawyer in his place. Her: But my son might be away for two months. I’m not sure if he’ll be back here. It’s fine. I know all about his case. I can see the lawyer for him and we can settle this without him.

This is where I started to get suspicious.

ME: Oh. I thought you said he’ll be back here in two weeks? And again, the lawyer needs to see your son. We need him to sign documents, things you won’t be able to sign. Can you give me a date of when your son is returning and we can schedule the appointment then? Her: But I’m his mom. I know all about his case!

ME: But we still need your son to come in, as he is the one getting a divorce. Please pass on my phone number to your son. Okay? Her: Okay. Fine. I’ll have him call you today. Son called later in the day. No, son is not on "vacation." Yep, son is fully living in another country. No, we cannot represent him. I don’t understand why mom kept lying to me.

Nothing Comes For Free

three women sitting beside tablePhoto by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

A good client of mine asked me to help a friend of theirs, who is having some trouble with debt. The debtor is getting demand letters because they haven't been paying back their $12k student loan. They're a medical professional in a lucrative field, so I figure that they can just...y' back their loan. But on the phone, they're panicking so I assume something else must be going on.

Me: "So, what's the issue?" Debtor: “I got this student loan with auto-debit. I closed the bank account and moved. They're calling me up again." Me: "Did you offer to start paying them again?" Debtor: "Do I have to?" Me: "Well, have you paid it off?" Debtor: "That's another thing. I've been paying on it for three years and it's not paid off? That can't be right.”

I do some quick excel work and realize that Debtor's payments are lower than the interest on the debt. This takes the conversation to the Crazytown exit on the Just Don't Get It turnpike. Me: "You've been paying less than the interest payments, so they're adding to the principal." Debtor: "That's not fair. Isn't there a way to get out of this? Like sue them?" Me: "I'll bet that there's a 'cost of litigation' clause in the contract where any court or attorney's fees they spend in getting you to pay are paid by you."

Debtor: "Can I get them to pay your fees?" Me: "No. You'd pay their fees, my fees and the loan. That's why I recommend that you settle for the current principal." Debtor: "But I didn't get anything out of it.” Me: "You're a practicing medical professional. I imagine that pays better than the alternatives.” Debtor: "I still think I paid too much. I shouldn't have to pay interest."

Me: "Yeah, I know that feeling. But you signed a document that says you would pay it. Since it's a student loan and you're earning decent money, you don't have much in the way of negotiating strength." Debtor: "But it seems that all my patients get Medicaid. Why don't I get anything for free?" Me: “You're getting free advice."

Debtor: "But you're not helping" This is when I lost my patience and dropped the mic. Before hanging up, I said "Sorry about that. I'll refer you to someone who specializes in this. They'll want to be paid up front."

Nickels and Dimes

If you've ever driven through a small town where the speed limit dropped precipitously from 55 to 35 for no apparent reason, you know that lots of places support themselves through fines and court fees. This extends far beyond speeding tickets, though. It's a dirty secret that most municipal and justice courts exist to make money for the town, not actually dispense justice.

I used to work as a public defender in a county that squeezed every dime it could out of people coming through the court system. Many of my indigent clients owed hundreds or even thousands of dollars to the courts. I had one client who owed $25,000 to the courts. That was my record for a while, until I had a guy who owed $40,000.

One day, I was swapping stories with my fellow public defenders and I this topic came up. I didn't think for a second that my $40,000 guy would be the record, but I was still shocked when one of my colleagues told me that he once had a client who owed $190,000! This prompted the following amusing exchange. Other colleague: $190,000? Geez, that's more than my student loan debt. And at least I have an education to show for it!

Me: Well, in a way, so does he...

Blank Slate

We were buying our first home, and a small firm specializing in real estate transactions was handling our closing. My wife and I, and our realtor, were seated on one side of a large table; the seller and his realtor were on the other, while an attorney sat at the head of the table, handing out papers to sign, and then collecting them again while explaining each step of the process.

It was all very amicable, generally well organized, no issues whatsoever. No issues, that is, until he collected a freshly-signed document from us with one hand, his attention on that one to make sure we had crossed all the I’s and dotted all the T’s as appropriate...while almost absentmindedly handing us the next one without really looking at it.

The next form was a single sheet, which I committed to memory. Quoting in its entirety: "By my signature below, I hereby certify that I have received a copy of this notice." With lines for printed name, signature, and date at the bottom. That's it. Nothing else on the page at all. I said "Um....I don't understand..." Puzzled, the attorney asked for it back so he could see what I didn't understand.

He looked at it for the longest time...looked at the back (blank) and then at the front some more...and said "Well...on one hand, I've never seen this form before, ever, and I have NO IDEA why it is in your package. On the other DID in fact receive a copy of it, so... why not?" The man had a point. We signed it. :)

Mean What You Say

person talking to phone raising his hand with ok signPhoto by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

A respondent called my direct line; we represent his wife. Now, the wife is pretty crazy. I don’t want to get into why and how, but believe me that as soon as I hear her name on the phone receiver, I cringe and know that this won’t end very well. She demands things we can’t do unless we perform magic. But somehow this guy is even worse.

He is a piece of work. One of our staff-members served him with papers and he had such a huge freak out that the poor girl literally ran out of the office. This guy's pretty big, while the staffer is a tiny woman. Needless to say, we sent the sheriff out to bring this guy back into court, only for him to pretend he didn't have ID and that the sheriff must think he's someone else. By the time the sheriff realized he'd been fooled, the guy was already long gone.

Since we couldn't get an address for him, we found him on social media and served him with paperwork through there. Now that was a year ago. We were finalizing their matter but we needed his financial information, so we subpoenaed his employer for his information with a court date. However, the employer called and told us how much of a piece of trash he is and just sent us his information without any more prompting or court date needed.

The payroll hates his guts and that’s amazing, because what are the odds he has interactions with payroll. Unfortunately, by that time, the information is useless because the kid from the wife was taken by child protective services. Like I said, the wife is a piece of work too. She won’t be getting the kid back anytime soon, so we can’t proceed on their matter anyway.

We’ll have to put everything on hold. Basically, court is cancelled and no support from him will be taken. Well, the guy called this morning and was nice at first, but as soon as pleasantries were out of the way, the truth came out. Him: Now, I know you subpoenaed my employer! Now my employment is at risk! Me: (having no idea how to answer this) Is there anything I can help you with?

Him: You’re ruining my marriage! I don’t want a DNA test! Me: We’re not asking for a DNA test, sir... Him: My lawyer told me I don’t have anything to say to you! I can’t believe you’re helping my wife! She is a horrible person! As a mother, how can you sympathize with that! Me: (With no boyfriend or plans to have children, raised my eyebrow) Can you give me your lawyer’s name to talk to him instead?

Him: My lawyer said I don’t have to talk to you! And I’m not giving you my lawyer’s name! He said I don’t need to! Me: (I am very confused at this point on why he called) Is there anything I can help you with today, sir? Him: You’re ruining my marriage and my work is at stake. I won’t talk to you! (Hangs up) Weirdest conversation ever.

You Read My Mind

I’m an assistant in a family firm. This happened a few moments ago and I still don’t know how to react. I’m honestly baffled. So here's the story: I had a family emergency yesterday so I had to leave work an hour earlier. As I was leaving, I heard my work phone ring, but I had to leave ASAP so I left it. I thought for sure this person would leave a voicemail or contact reception if it was an emergency.

Imagine my surprise (and joy) that I came in the next day and I didn’t have any voicemail! Fast forward a few hours in: My phone rings. Client: *Screaming* Me: Confused Me: Hello? C: WHY DID YOU NOT CALL ME BACK I HAVE BEEN CALLING SINCE YESTERDAY Me: Sorry, can I get your name? Did you leave me a voicemail? C: MY NAME IS SCREAMING CLIENT AND NO. I DON’T LEAVE VOICEMAILS BECAUSE YOU WOULD NEVER CALL ME BACK ANYWAY

Me: So you didn’t leave me a voicemail but you expected me to call you back...? (I’m super stumped at this point) C: YEAH BECAUSE YOU GUYS DON’T CALL ME Me: ...okay. Well how am I supposed to know you need me to call you if you don’t leave a voicemail? SC: WELL, YOU SHOULD’VE KNOWN The next part was just us finally discussing the reason she’s calling, and then I put her on hold to get the lawyer to talk to her about her screaming and to please PLEASE leave a voicemail instead of assuming I have the powers to know when she called.

All’s Fair In Love And Breakups

The process of obtaining a restraining order is pretty straightforward. However, the people involved are sometimes very...interesting. I thought I'd already met the strangest people that humanity had to offer...until this one woman walked through my door. She came in one day to file for a restraining order.

Before starting anything, the clerk has to ask who they are filing against, to make sure they're eligible to apply. So she says, "Who are you filing against?" The woman bellows, at the top of her lungs, "He's a psychopath!" Cool. That doesn't answer my question. She explains that she wants to file against her ex boyfriend, and, as is common with a lot of people who interact with court staff, she begins to share the whole story.

He's attacked her multiple times, she has multiple health issues and the stress he puts her under could be fatal, he jacked a car and brought it to her house (?), among other things. She then starts focusing on the physical damage she's endured. She has some healing scars and such that were new-ish—not fresh, but not too old.

All of a sudden, she blurts "Do you wanna see what he did to the inside of my mouth?" I probably had a full on deer-in-the-headlights look on my face. I'm holding the paperwork she needs to fill out and just wondering how I should respond to such a question. I opt to avoid answering and just meekishly ask her to start filling out the paperwork.

She heads outside the room to begin About 10 or 15 minutes later, I hear screaming from the hall outside the office. The ex arrived, also looking to file for a restraining order. Neither were happy to see each other and proceeded to start a screaming match that attracted the attention of some officers, who separated the pair.

The woman was brought back into the office and the man was kept in the hall. A pair of officers attempted to calm her down. Not because she was scared or anything, but because she was angry. She insisted on not filing for a restraining order unless he did, too. The officers explained to her that the process didn't work that way.

She had to make a decision of whether to apply or not, independent of his decision. In the end, she elected not to apply and left. Once the dust had settled, he came in for the paperwork to start the process for his own restraining order. Now, this guy was not all there. Red in the face, strange speech, eyes sagging shut, you get the idea.

But I still gave him the paperwork and he filled it out. One of the probation officers got a look at him and informed me that he wouldn't be going the usual route for a restraining order. Instead of having his hearing in front of officers, he was going to be in front of a judge. Oh, and he would have to go through a substance screening.

I don't know if he caught onto the fact that something was up or what, but he elected to stop the process and left. So the screaming match amounted to nothing.

Battle Hymn Of The Tiger Mother

person holding pencil near laptop computerPhoto by Scott Graham on Unsplash

I’m a legal assistant, and I work in a branch of government that deals with providing assistance to those who cannot afford representation. I work in a family firm, so we mostly handle stuff like divorces and separations. One day, we open a client's file and send him a letter, saying we need to meet to discuss his case. We do not hear from him for weeks.

I send a second letter, but no dice. I checked his file for any phone numbers or emails. No phone number, but there is an email. Bingo! I send his last letter, a threat that if he does not reply we’ll be closing his file and he won't be able to use our services. Nice. If we get a reply, then yay! If no reply is received by the deadline we set, then even more yay, time to close his file.

One Friday afternoon, when I’m 30 minutes away from freedom, my phone rings. With just enough time to wrap up a call, I answer it. Big mistake. It had to be the most frustrating call I have received to this date. Me: Hello. Her: WHY ARE YOU CLOSING MY SON’S FILE HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO HIM HE HAS NO MONEY WHY ARE YOU NOT HELPING HIM HE CAN’T EVEN PAY FOR THE APPLICATION FEE YOU ARE ALL HORRIBLE PEOPLE—

ME: Sorry about that, but may I ask which client you’re calling about? Her: MY SON’S FILE AS I AM HIS MOM. ME: Great. And your son’s name is? Her: MY SON ME: (at this point I knew she was going to be a pain) I cannot help you if I do not know which file this is on. May I please get your son’s name? Her: (gives me son’s name) AND I AM HIS MOM

ME: Thank you, Son’s Mom. Let me just grab his file for a second. I’m going to put you on hold, is that fine? Once I have her on hold, I went ahead, grabbed the file, opened it, and went back to her. ME: Okay. So I have your son’s file. You said to not close it— Her: WHY ARE YOU CLOSING MY SON’S FILE HE HAS NO MONEY (repeats everything she screamed at the start of the call)

ME: We sent the letter because your son has not replied to any of our letters. I just need to schedule him an appointment to see his lawyer. Do you have a phone number I can contact him at? We do not have any on file. Her: MY SON HAS NO PHONE AND HE ONLY DROPS BY THE CITY TO PICK UP HIS MAIL ONCE A MONTH HIS SISTER IS SICK SO HE CANNOT PICK UP THIS MONTH WE LIVE OUTSIDE THE CITY

ME: Oh! In that case, can you give me your son’s address outside the city? We only have the city address on file—Her: MY SON HAS NO PHONE HE HAS NO MONEY HE HAS NOT BEEN WORKING IN YEARS WHY DOES THAT WITCH WANT MONEY FROM HIM HE HAS NO MONEY. At this point, it’s been 30 minutes and I am just so tired of her repeated complains and not answering my questions.

ME: Well okay. Your son just needs to see his lawyer and the lawyer will fix everything for him. Just have him come at this time and date and the lawyer will see him okay? Just let him know. Her: WELL I DON’T KNOW IF SON CAN COME THEN BUT I WILL TRY TO LET HIM KNOW BECAUSE WE HAVE NO MONEY TO PAY HER SHE IS RICH AND HE HAS NO WORK AND

ME: Your son just needs to come see the lawyer and the lawyer will sort out everything! Her: Okay.’s been 32 minutes since the call started. To this day, I still don’t understand why she was the one calling our department. Her son must have called when HER to complain about US closing the file when he could’ve just called US directly. Some people!

An Expensive Mistake

So, I had an insurance file where a company had rented a few floors of a building, and the lease required them to maintain the utilities. They moved out before the lease expired, turned off the electricity, did not turn off the water, and didn't tell anyone. Well, no electricity meant no heat so disaster struck hard and fast. The pipes burst in the unoccupied building.

Virtually overnight, they got $45,000 in damages. Before the file is handed to me, the insurance adjuster reached out to the CEO of this company, who agreed to pay in instalments. Sounds good, right? Wrong. He agreed to pay, but never signed a release or made a payment. So I get the file and type a release that obligates them to make $1,500 per month payments until the entire $45,000 is paid off.

If they default, they’ll pay attorney fees, pre-judgement interest, post-judgment interest, and court costs. This file also admits liability for the damages. It is signed and returned without objection. I get a single payment. I wait a month. Nothing. I send a letter threatening suit. They want to make a late payment. I refuse, but I allow them to a sign a second release with the same terms and begin paying. Again, I get a single payment.

At this point, I'm fed up. I wait about two weeks after the payment is due. Now, I don't have to prove negligence or breach of lease. They've admitted to that. I have a contract, so file a lawsuit on the contract and request $45,000 minus the two payments plus attorney fees, pre-judgment interest, and costs. I also include claims for negligence and breach of lease based on their admissions in the contract.

It was close to an $80,000 or so case. I get a call maybe three days after service of the lawsuit. "Why did you sue us?" "You didn't make the payment." "But we sent the check." "I don't have the check." Apparently, some employee at a branch office had received the check but had just stuck in a drawer somewhere. "Can you dismiss the lawsuit?"

"No, but I can settle for $50,000 cash. If you don't pay up, a motion for summary judgment will get me an $80,000 judgment." "Okay. I'll have a check to you tomorrow." A courier showed up the next day with a $50,000 check, which I hand delivered to my client. It took a good four months to resolve the claim, but I basically just let the company screw itself over.

Unfortunately, the clerk who misplaced the check was fired for her $50,000 mistake.

Going, Going, Gone

One day, I'm in General Sessions Court. There's lots of debt collections matters on the docket—for which most defendants don't even show up—and several matters where people are defending themselves. One case gets called, and the defendant isn't there, but the plaintiff is. So the judge gets the plaintiff up to discuss her damages. Here's the important part: This judge intelligently requires the plaintiffs to do so under oath as a strategy to stop frivolous suits.

So the lady who walked up to the podium gets sworn in then launches into her story. She goes, "I took my car to this guy to get it painted, and he just ruined it." Judge asks, "Well, how much are you asking for? It says here '$5,000.' Is that how much you are asking for?" Lady goes, "Yep. That's the estimate I got to get it fixed."

Judge: "How much did you pay this guy who damaged your car?" Lady: "$800.00, but I was 'sposed to pay him another $500.00 when he's done." Judge: "So you paid him, $800.00?" Lady: "Yes. I have pictures." The judge takes the pictures, looks at them, and says, "Wow. This guy really did destroy your car. Is this one of those PT Cruisers?"

Lady: "Yep, it is!" Judge: "And is the picture of the car after you got it fixed?" Lady: "It sure is." Judge: "You know, I like that Dale Earnhardt number 3 on the side of it. That's a good number." Lady: "It is! I got a big ole number 3 tattooed on my back, too!" Judge: " much did you pay for the car?" Lady: "$1,500."

Judge: "Well, it certainly would cost $5,000 to paint this car, but I can't give you $5,000 if the car is only worth $1,500." Lady: "I didn't mean $5,000." Judge: "You said you wanted $5,000. It's on the civil warrant." Lady:"I didn't write that." Judge: "Who wrote that then?" Lady: "The people in the office that done gave it to me."

Judge: "The Clerk doesn't fill out warrants." Lady: "Well, I guess I did it then." Judge: "Alright, well, how much did it cost to get this repaired to condition in this picture with Dale Earnhardt number 3?" Lady: "About $400 for paint and such." Judge: "Alright. I'll give you $1,200: $800 for what you paid to the man who ruined your car and $400 for supplies."

Lady: “You know, he did mess up the interior a little too."Judge: "Alright. $1,300." Lady: "And he drove an entire tank of gas through it and put a lot of miles on it." Judge: "Alright. $1,400." Lady: "And I had to do the work myself." Judge: "$1,500, and that's my final offer." Lady: "I'll take it!" The Judge entered a judgment in favor of the plaintiff for $1,500.

The Happiest Place On Earth

blue and white concrete building under blue sky during daytimePhoto by Bastien Nvs on Unsplash

Whenever anyone gets in trouble for spending money that isn't theirs, they always use the dough to go to Disneyland or Disney World. For example: one client was his mother's Power of Attorney. Took his mother on a trip to Disneyland with him, his wife and his three kids...and he used his mother's money to pay for all of it. Every single cent.

If he had only used it for his mother's expenses, it would have been sketchy but at least it could be justified, however tenuously. All six tickets, hotels, flights, food, drinks, though? Not even a little justifiable. And here's the kicker. This whole time, the mother was in a wheelchair and barely coherent with dementia.

This is just one example, but I swear it's every time. Someone misusing a Power of Attorney—Disneyland. Someone misusing a corporate credit card—Disneyland. Someone faking expense reports—Disneyland. Someone taking someone else's identity—buys tickets to Disneyland. Pilfered estate funds—Disneyland. The list goes on.

What is it about Disneyland that entices people so much?

Be Careful What You Wish For

I am not a lawyer; I am a Foreclosure Mediation Specialist working for a large mortgage servicer in the United States. In my company and department, there are two mediation reps: Myself, and a fairly useless lump of DNA at one of our other offices across the country. I operate with almost complete autonomy and report directly to my manager.

Not to toot my own horn, but I am good at what I do and I work hard. I have, however, convinced my boss that this work is a lot more difficult than anyone knows, so I basically spend my days listening to heavy metal, answering emails, taking phone calls with our attorneys and the courts, and trying to put out fires when someone screws up.

However, once upon a time, when I was just a wee foreclosure processor, I made a mistake. I was working foreclosure files and did not notice that our loss mitigation team had erroneously issued a denial letter a few days before our foreclosure sale. The letter included an appeal period later than our sale date, giving the borrower extra time to appeal their denial.

I was understandably upset, and so was the borrower who filed suit against us. Being very concerned for my job, I kept tabs on the file as it processed through our litigation team. Some weeks after the foreclosure sale was rescinded, the borrower filed for bankruptcy through a third party (major red flag) while continuing with their litigation against us.

Being the concerned drone that I was, I reviewed the bankruptcy filing and re-reviewed the loss mitigation applications that had been submitted, and I found something curious. The borrower had (allegedly) transferred partial interest in the property to a third party by way of a quit claim deed prior to the original foreclosure sale, and the third party had filed bankruptcy as a stalling tactic.

This fraudulent behavior was actually a common practice at the time, but soon, something far, far worse caught my eye. I saw that the borrower was actually deceased...and had been since before the quit claim deed was signed. And yet there was a signature stating he'd signed the quit claim deed, presumably from beyond the grave, notarized and everything.

I took everything to my boss and we went over everything together, and she was stunned. After discussing the matter with our attorneys to confirm what we were seeing, we forwarded everything to our litigation team handling the case. My boss was just tickled that the borrower's family was trying to sue us while we had definitive proof they were engaged in a fraudulent bankruptcy. Their lawsuit was quickly dismissed by the court.

An Iron Clad Defense

I was an Assistant DA in a college town in Texas. A fellow prosecutor (in plain clothes) overheard this exchange between a defendant and his attorney in the courthouse hallway. "Why don't they dismiss this case? The paper says 'State of Texas v. ______,' but I didn't punch the state of Texas. I punched my wife." Oh, buddy…

Let It Go

man in gray crew neck long sleeve shirt standing beside woman in black crew neck shirtPhoto by Afif Ramdhasuma on Unsplash

So, this story takes place at the second firm I worked for. I worked primarily on family law. This particular case was a divorce case. It should have been fairly easy, as the couple had only been married for about five years. Our client was in his early 30s; his wife was between five and 10 years older. They had no children; the only division would be property.

Our client was a perfect client. He was an officer in the Air Force. He always told the truth. He gave us relevant documents as soon as reasonably possible. He was nice to chat to. He paid his bills on time. His wife, on the other hand, was a hot mess. He was divorcing her because of two incidents. The first was when he was stationed overseas and they were Skyping.

She was in her cups and started stripping. That wouldn't have been a big deal, except for the fact that he was in the barracks with a number of other airmen, some of whom were visible on the screen to her. The second incident, and the straw that broke the camel's back, was Thanksgiving. Our client and his wife invited his superior over for a Thanksgiving party. This is where everything went off the rails.

While preparing to host this swanky dinner party, the wife starts drinking (noticing a theme here?) and neglects the dinner, over and undercooking various parts of it. And what was she doing while ignoring the turkey? Why, making out with one of the guests in front of her husband, of course! After that, our client left her and his ex moved back to her home state. And here's the kicker: This isn't even why he showed up at our office. Her true crazy only came out after they split.

After moving back home, she called our client one night, threatening to take her own life if he went through with the divorce. Our client did the smart thing: he called the authorities and told them his ex was claiming she would hurt herself. She was put under a 72-hour psychiatric hold. Because of this, we learned that the woman had Bipolar Disorder. I'm not sure if she was diagnosed before this episode or not.

We're basically rolling our eyes at this case since it should just be a 50/50 split of assets. The most complicated thing should have been the house, but given that she had left the state, it should have been simple to hand it over to our client. Instead, the wife kept dragging things out. In the meantime, she was represented by an attorney.

Now, I understand that sometimes you have crazy clients. Sometimes, your client doesn't show his or her true crazy until you're well into the case. However, this lawyer was also crazy. My first interaction with him was jaw-dropping. He called us after we served the wife to announce his representation. The receptionist transfers the call to me, and before I can finish a sentence, he cuts me off.

He tells me "I'm the attorney. I don't have email. I don't have a fax machine. My only employee is my wife. The only way to reach me is to call me or send me mail. Let me talk to your boss." I'm a bit taken aback, but this isn't the first time I've dealt with an attorney who feels he is above dealing with a woman. Plus, we've been waiting to hear from this guy so I let him talk to my boss.

I later learned he talked to my boss (a male attorney) the same way, so my initial impression was off. He didn't just hate women. He thought he was better than everyone! Anyway, we eventually go through several months of negotiations, which at one point involves the wife bringing in her sister (who has been divorced several times and is thus an expert) to "review offers." It was hilarious, but it was also insane and at the end of the day, we weren't here for laughs. We were here to win our client's case.

So our client wants the house and is willing to compensate his ex for the difference. His wife, however, comes out with a crazy demand. She wants half his pension and his insurance for it. This might be reasonable if they'd been married for decades, but this was less than five years. She would get more out of the 50/50 split than she put in, which kind of defeats the point.

One day, I get a call from her attorney. He is nice and almost apologetic. He tells me, "I think my client has been lying to me." I somehow refrained from saying, "Really? Your client has literally been institutionalized during the course of this proceeding, and you're just now realizing that her view of reality might be skewed?!"

I instead made some kind of sympathetic sound, and he said that he wants to settle the case fairly and amicably, which is all our client wanted all along. The case settles more or less equitably, though our client paid way more in attorney's fees than he should have. Now, every time I have a difficult or crazy client, I remind myself of this case.

Service With A Smile

I'm a clerk in a civil court. My job includes dealing with lawyers and parties who walk up to our counter. Sometimes, it's better for some parties not to show up here, though. This is a story about one of those times, which happened at my previous workplace. In walks a bulky gentleman, who looked like he could destroy a person with a single punch.

"I wanna know what's da deal with my suit, yo," he barks, while basically throwing his ID at me. Since he didn't give me a lawsuit number, I would have to input his SSN number in my system to get a list of the suits he was a party in, and then see which one belongs to my court, if any. My system is already very slow, but that day it was particularly slow.

I was waiting for the list to show up and he starts to tap his hand at the counter and then screams "HURRY UP, BRO, I GOT PLACES TO BE." His demeanor ticks me off, but I keep my face straight. Finally, the list shows up. There are two lawsuits to his SSN: A family suit for alimony—and something much darker. A suit for... Third degree murder.

Oh, and it comes with a pending bench warrant. Now, were it a lesser charge AND were he not discourteous, I would probably just warn him that he has a warrant and tell him to surrender himself to the authorities. I'm not a bailiff, so it's not my job to detain anyone. I could, however, nudge the court officer in the right direction, know what I mean? So I launch my ingenious plan.

"Sir, there's a problem with your suit and I need to make a phone call so someone with the right skill set can help you." He scoffs and berates me for being an incompetent public worker and talks about how I'm wasting his time. Well, don't worry, sir, soon enough you'll have plenty of time. I call the court authorities and tell them about the guy at my counter.

Not five minutes later, three officers show up with his bench warrant in hand. They go through the procedures and he doesn't fight or try to run, but yells the same thing many times, while walking with them: "I AIN'T HURT NO ONE, YO! IT WAS AN ACCIDENT, I SWEAR!" OK, sir. How about you go ahead and tell that to the jury.

Content Warning: True Crime Topics

It's hard to know what's going on in someone's head without having their mind ourselves, but we can make assumptions based on how they behave.

Some people have a serious vibe about them that other people know better than to mess with, with some of those vibes downright terrifying.

Redditor sludge_factory_777 asked:

"Who is the scariest person you have ever met?"

Jail Besties

"I got a DUI back in 2009 and was taken to the Placer County drunk tank. A guy with tattoos all over his face approached me..."

"He wanted to offer me his roll of toilet paper for a pillow. He introduced himself as the 'Sac City Psycho,' and he told me he would watch over me to make sure nobody f**ked with me, because he could tell I did not have much experience in jail."

"Now looking back on it, I guess for a few hours there, I was his b***h."

"Super nice guy, though. I 10 out of 10 would be his b***h again."

- NagoGmo

Innocent Until Feeling the Vibes

"I did an internship at a jail and met a dude awaiting trial on a triple homicide."

"The guy just had that vibe around him that just made you feel uncomfortable. Just being in his presence, you could feel the air change around you."

"Everyone in that room felt and respected it."

- throughthequad

The Magnetic Personality Type

"I once did one of those corporate mock jury panels. The little scientist analytics guy came out halfway through to shoot the breeze and holy h**l, I never understood what people meant by having a magnetic personality until then."

"We were clamoring over this dude. It was completely involuntary. He asked me a question and it was an out-of-body experience watching myself act like a golden retriever."

"I was so freaked out that I avoided him like the plague the rest of the panel. Nice dude. Seemed chill, but he could have started a cult with a snap of his fingers. Absolutely terrifying."

- Bridge-etti

Top-Notch Security

"I once as a medical student was doing a rotation in the state mental prison. We had to do a basic physical on this guy."

"There was a chair in the middle of the room, bolted to the floor. He had cuffs on his wrists and feet secured to the chair. Nine guards were in the room surrounding us, not more than five feet from the chair in a circle."

"He was off, just not there, and didn't want to cooperate. He looked at me, saw my coat, and said, 'That guy is from the university. I want to talk to him.'"

"I still don't know what he had done, but after a few months of the rotation, no one else had that degree of security for medical visits. No one else was even close."

- rykh7

Biker Aesthetic

"My cousin. He's a high-ranking member of a pretty well-known one-percent motorcycle club. The dude stands maybe five feet, seven inches tall, and he is of average build. He has no visible tattoos and is super soft-spoken."

"Everything about him says he should be a banker, not a biker. I have never seen him even raise his voice once but that dude scares the absolute s**t out of me. He gives off strong psycho energy."

- SignificantFix8218

Scary Dude with a Big Heart

"I live in New Mexico and met 'Big Dragon' from 'Beyond Scared Straight.' He does outreach like that with troubled kids."

"I was working as a teacher at YDDC, and they brought him down. The dude is no joke."

"I shook his hand, and you could just tell, the only reason he was not killing people was he didn't want to, because if he did, the guards would have not been able to do anything about it."

- Soundwave-1976

Murderous Besties

"I got arrested for public intoxication in the mid-to-late 90's and was put in a normal cell because the drunk tank was full. About ten minutes later, I was woken up and hastily moved to an adjoining cell."

"I visited with the guy in the first cell I was in for a few hours. When I was bailed out, I bumped knuckles with Gary, the guy in the second cell, and left."

"I later found out he was Gary Kleypas, and he was being held on first-degree murder... of a college student."

- TheJonnieP

Completely Out of Place

​"I was working at a bar in a pretty small town when we had a drifter come in on a random midweek night. The second he walked through the door, everyone I worked with and was at the bar said they felt cold."

"The dude had incredibly sunken eyes, pale white skin, dingy dirty hair, and visibly sharp-looking teeth. If I were to explain what a mako shark as a human would be, that’s this guy."

"He said he was passing through and was looking for 'stuff ordinary people can’t find' and then proceeded to show photos on his phone of odd areas he had been to previously. Nothing was off about the photos, but everyone I saw gave me more chills."

"Nothing was happening, no one was there, but everything had this feeling of 'I’m not supposed to be here.'"

" The dude left and asked me to follow him on Instagram, which I did. He posted last a few years ago up in Jackson Hole and said he’d be staying off for a while. Odd dude. We all were quite relieved when his cab showed up."

- Expensive_Change_893

The Doll Whisperer

"My grandpa's second wife, Angie. She was a hateful woman. I don't believe in people being 100% anything, but she was pure evil."

"She had a collection of porcelain dolls in a corner of their house when I was very young, and she would always try to talk to me through them, giving each of them their own creepy voices. One time, I touched a Pillsbury dough boy figure on her shelf, and she swatted my hand with a metal ruler."

"She was in her 70s when I was a young kid, and I'm 30 now. I heard from my aunt that she's still alive somewhere near where she lived with my grandpa (which makes me believe she is some kind of hag witch) and that she's committed insurance fraud, like, a lot."

- LepreConArtist

Constant High-Alert

​"I was at a bar and this guy walked in and immediately it felt like I was on alert. My spine turned to ice when I saw his eyes look at me, they were almost sunken into his face as if he was peeking out from behind a portrait. He moved like a cat stalking prey."

"Over time, he made his way over to me and made polite conversation, but his words felt disjointed, almost like he was translating them before speaking them. There was nothing aggressive or insulting about anything he was doing."

"In fact, he was quite polite. but everything about this guy was setting off every nerve I had. He was even smiling through most of it, but it felt as if his lips were stapled back."

- Cyanora

Reverse 'Breaking Bad'

"When I was pretty young, I was hanging out with an older friend, and I found out one of her close friends from school became a high-ranking member of a cartel. He got cancer and was allowed to sort of 'retire' from the cartel to spend the last few years with his family."

"I met him at a party of hers...He was very polite, but I had no intention of spending more time around him!"

- xain_the_id**t

Soldier Vibes

"A dude who hung out with a friend of mine back in the 1980s was a Vietnam vet, one of the advance forces guys or whatever they called them."

"He looked like he could bite the top off of a fire hydrant."

- Earthling1a

A Good Egg. Or Rock.

​"A p**sed off Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson."

"Let me explain A few years ago, I was part of a charity event with Power of Pain (a family friend who I call my aunt, Barby, owns the charity for neuropathy and other immune disorders), and funnily enough, we somehow got Dwayne Johnson as a guest (we had contacted him but didn't expect him to actually come)."

"He was a f**king great guy. Honestly, best f**king dude in the world."

"Anyway, after the event, a lot of us went to a Denny's down the road to celebrate, not expecting him to be there, though he was invited. He showed up like 20 minutes after we all got there and he was having a blast hanging out eating Pancakes."

"Unbeknownst to the rest of us, there was a domestic dispute across the Dennys, a couple who seemed like they were about to break up, but more like the guy was just an abusive a**hole screaming at his girlfriend the whole time and her just in tears."

"Dwayne caught wind of what was going on, stood up, put on his 'Rock' persona, and had a f**king screaming match with this guy. The guy was just receding further and further into his shell and eventually he just f**king left."

"Dwayne paid the girl's bill, helped her stop crying, and walked her out to her car. He then came back in with a smile and continued having a good night and finished his Pancakes."

"He's a beautiful, kind-hearted man, but if you p**s him off, he WILL make you s**t yourself. Remember, they call him 'The Rock' for a reason."

"Best night of my life. Moral of the story: Be nice to people, because if you're not, you may find yourself in a situation you just can't win."

- Ok_Experience_6877

It's easy to see how these are the people that Redditors viewed as the scariest and most intimidating people that they had met. Even if a person hasn't done terrible things, sometimes people just have a vibe about them that makes you think they have the potential, or at least the power.

Customer Service Clapbacks
Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

Customers can be total jerks sometimes, and workers want nothing more than to put those people in their place. From employees who finally stood up for themselves to Karens who got what they deserved, these clap-back stories are sure to give you great karmic satisfaction:

Take A Breath

woman standing on food counterPhoto by Robert Bye on Unsplash

I was working at a coffee shop in a busy downtown area. There was a businessman that was notorious for being awful with our staff. One morning, he came in and ordered a coffee and a cranberry scone. We happened to be out of cranberry scones that day, and when I informed him of this, he flew off the handle and started swearing at me.

But I was NOT going to let him speak to me like that. I looked him square in the eye and said, “You’re a grown man throwing a temper tantrum over a cranberry scone. Sort your life out”. I then calmly turned to the next customer. The next day, he apologized, and was never a problem again.

Just Look!

At a pawn shop, this lady paid me $20, and I gave her change. She flipped out because she knew she'd given me a $100 bill. She screamed, cursed, and called me every name in the book; just lost her mind. The whole time, she was saying she knew she paid with a $100 bill be she'd just put one in her wallet earlier. I asked her repeatedly to just check her wallet to see if the $100 bill was still there or not.

She just kept yelling she didn't need to check because she knew she'd given it to me. Eventually, she checked, and all the anger just blew out of her. She was mortified, the $100 bill was there.

Picture Imperfect

I worked at a photo printing lab, and we got people in all the time who claimed we were stupid and had messed up their pictures. One woman had us print 800 vacation pictures. They were bad quality, dark, and out of focus. When she came to pick them up, she insisted that we had ruined them, that they were perfect in her camera, and that she had a very expensive camera so there was no way the pictures could be dark or out of focus.

We finally gave her money back, even though we had done nothing wrong and were out a lot of time and paper. She called us 30 minutes later and told us she was at a store across town, and they had reprinted all of her pictures and they were beautiful, in focus, and nice and bright. I had to tell her that the same person who owned our store also owned the store across town and that not only would it have taken that store several hours to reprint 800 pictures, but their printer was down that day, so they couldn't have printed anything.

She hung up on me.

A Toilet Situation

woman beside black monitorPhoto by zibik on Unsplash

I had a customer come in to do a return on a toilet seat. He went to the customer service person who told him the store policy, which is that the store doesn't do returns on plastic seats. He told her he just took it out to check it and it's not the right shape, but she just repeated store policy. Since there was no manager around to override it, we couldn't return it.

The customer service person braced herself because she knew it was coming—he was about to have a major adult tantrum. He started raising his voice, berating her. She's super shy and quiet, so she kind of just shut down. The other cashier then said very loudly, "It's dirty, he didn't just take it out. He's a liar". That's when he became overwhelmingly angry. I reached over, pushed her lightly aside, and said, "You're on break, go upstairs". She protested but I repeated myself, and she left. The customer asked what she said.

I replied, "Don't worry about it, I'll handle it later. We aren't doing your return". He started to protest again, but I cut him off. "I don't care. I don't care what you did or what you have to say. We aren't doing your return today. You've got two options: either take your toilet seat home and come back tomorrow and talk to a manager or take your seat and get out of here. Either way, you're leaving here with your seat".

He left after that. From that point on, managers were required to be present at all shifts.

Free For All

I was a server years ago and this woman who’s usually a nice lady comes in. We had messed up her salmon a few days prior, so the manager had given her a free meal card which is good for one single meal. Well, a few days later she comes in with at least fifteen people about an hour before we closed, and they all ordered seafood and steak anorderednks, and her whole party is awful to me and my friend who is another server.

One guest even threw his plate on the ground, breaking it and throwing food all over because his steak was overcooked. After all this, the other server went to take the woman her check. It was a couple of hundred dollars, and she whipped out the free meal card! The server takes it to the register, comps one of the meals off, and comes back with the new total and the woman loses it.

“I have a free meal card! This was one meal for all of us! It should be free!” And the server just stiffens up and politely explains that that isn’t how it works and stresses that she had to have known that she couldn’t have brought fifteen people in here and expected free meals for everyone. The woman stands up and pours her drinks all over my friend and my friend runs to the back to get the manager. My friend kept her calm, but the manager flipped and told the lady to get out and never come back.

That was a crazy night.

Reaching My Limit

When I worked at Subway in high school, there was this guy in his 30s that came in with his wife almost every day. He was awful and talked to you like an idiot. Not because he was in a bad mood either, but because he thought it was funny to be a jerk to kids working fast-food jobs. One day I had enough and took his sandwich I was in the middle of making and spiked it into the garbage can and told him to get out. He told me I couldn't talk to customers that way and I told him "I just did".

He called the owner and dropped my name, and she told him that if I blew up on him like that it was probably deserved, and she asked him to not return. I for sure thought I was fired. Lucky for me, the owner knew exactly what customer she was talking to, knew me well enough to know it take well lot to get me irritated, and knew that I wouldn't do something like that for no reason.

Full Of Gas

a person holding a drillPhoto by Jesse Donoghoe on Unsplash

I was working at a gas station in a very rich part of town. During a nice summer day, a prime example of the douchebag variety of the human species drove his super-expensive Lamborghini in, and in that haughty, I'm-rich-so-you-must-do-what-I-say voice, demanded that it be filled with premium. The attendant started to do so, only the guy immediately snatched the nozzle from him and screamed "You're too stupid to do this on your own".

We're in Oregon, where you can't pump your own gas because of state flaws. Well, being that he's an idiot, gas spills out from the nozzle all over his sparkly jerk mobile. At this point, he truly flips out, and storms into the store, where I'm working as the cashier and de facto manager. He immediately demands to speak to the owner, and that we are going to pay to have his car repainted AND he's not going to be paying for his gas.

I try my best to calm the situation, but he's got a good rage going and doesn't want to be calmed down. While he's spewing forth, I notice that an officer from the local department is about to come into the store to get snacks, a drink, or some such. s gives me a nice idea: "Sir, I'm afraid that the gas is in your tank, and you pumped it yourself, so you are going to have to pay".

He exploded. He asks, exactly, do you think you can do if I just go and get in my car and leave?" Thank you, good Lord, for your timing. He says this, at full bellow, right as the officer walks through the door. My response? "Well, I can't do much ice West Linn Officer standing behind you will probably take you in for second-degree theft".

This second-degree and to see the officer, who has a very evil-looking smile on his face, nodding vigorously. Yeah, he shut up, paid, and we never saw him again.

The Slimy Sandwich

I worked at a sandwich place for a year or so. I was making this dude a hot chicken sandwich; I brought the sandwich up to the front and tried to hand it to him. Then, he just looks at me for a second then proceeds to scream and swear at me for spitting in his sandwich. I didn't spit in his food and told him this over and over. The dude was yelling at me for probably five minutes.

I was patient with him and gave him a new sandwich made by a different employee and refunded his order is dude decided that he wanted to be a jerk, so he hung around the store telling customers I was going to spit in their food and swearing a ton. I waited for my manager to step forward and kick the guy out, but he was just pretending nothing was going on.

Finally, as I was making food for this family with young kids, who were uncomfortable, I lost it. I slammed down the knife I was using, startling everyone because I had been so respectful to this guy for so long and screamed "We are a family-friendly establish family-friendly quit being a jerk and get out of this store!"

For whatever reason, that worked, and he left while swearing at me. I apologized to the family for the guy, and my swearing at him. I nearly lost my job from that and got a long lecture from my boss about how the customer is always right and that I need to be respectful. Luckily my manager vouched for me, saying that I was extremely respectful until the guy started making other customers uncomfortable.

Where’s The Manager?

I was a manager of a CVS, and during an extremely busy time of the day, I opened the Photo Lab register to help the regular cashiers keep the lines down. I announced that I was open, and the nearest customer happily took her merchandise to my register. Then, the second nearest customer started loudly saying that she was first, and it was her turn. I said she will be the next after I take care of this customer.

When it was her turn, she started going off on me that it was rude of me to not help her...blah blah blah. I ignored her as much as possible. She kept going on and on until I said, "Lady, I opened this register as a favor so the wait time would be shorter. If you would rather wait in one of the regular register lines, you are more than welcome". She was shocked that I talked back to her.

She found one of the employees who was stocking a shelf in the candy aisle and demanded that she speak to a manager. That employee called for a manager over the intercom, and I happily walked over to the candy aisle to see her waiting for a manager. With a big smile on my face, I let her know I was the manager on duty. She walked out of the store without saying a word...

I was off work like an hour later, but apparently, she sent her husband in looking for me, but I was at home by then. They complained to corporate. I was only told to not take my job so personally, and that was it.

Do You Know Who I Am?!

man in white crew neck t-shirtPhoto by engin akyurt on Unsplash

My folks used to own a Tastee Freez in South Carolina and I worked in it most summers as a teenager. Since it was a small town, everyone knew each other and most went to the same church. One Sunday night, one of the ladies from the church called in at about five minutes after ten and tried to order a 20-piece chicken nugget, even calling them McNuggets.

When I informed her that we closed at ten and the grill and fryers were already cleaned and closed for the night, she got irate with me and started yelling in my ear about how she knew the owners of the place and she was going to get me fired and did she know who I was talking to. I calmly replied that yes, Mrs. Greene, I knew exactly who I was talking to, since my parents and I lived right across the street from her, and she had asked us in church that morning what time we closed for the night.

We were never on speaking terms again.

How Dare You!

I worked at a Walgreen's photo lab, and it was my first job. There was a nice lady that used to come by every now and then to have her pictures developed, and whenever they came out, we would chat about them because I thought they were great. One day while we were talking, another customer arrived. When I asked her how I could help her, she started yelling at me because she didn't like the way her photos came out.

She threw them on the counter and was angry with me and wanted to speak to my manager. I called for my manager, and she came over and tried to calm the angry lady down. The angry lady started pointing at me and said that I messed up her photos, and blah, blah, blah, threats, better business bureau, yak, yak, yak. I didn't know what to tell her other than I'm sorry and that I didn't know what was wrong.

I told her I processed them like I was supposed to and that most of the work was done by the machine, to which she immediately replied, "Then what good are you?" Suddenly, the nice lady with the cool pictures pipes up in this authoritative tone, "How dare you? How dare you say that to him and accuse him of ruining your pictures? He already said he was sorry. Do you realize that what you said is going to cost him his job? shame on you".

The angry lady just got quiet, realized how she was acting and left. I thanked the nice lady, and it made me tear up a bit afterward.

Whopping Problem

During high school, I worked at a Burger King. There was one woman who would always come into the drive-thru during the afternoon and ask for a Whopper Jr. with extra onions. And I mean, a LOT of extra onions. And no matter how many we put in, she always came into the store and complained that there weren't enough. This happened in the middle of the afternoon most of the time, so we didn't care.

However, one day, we had four buses full of US Army enlistees at the store at the same time. Convoys of chartered buses would go by periodically, and they usually stopped at our store because the bus drivers knew my boss. Now, these people were always the nicest, most respectful people you can imagine, which was a welcome change after dealing with jerks the whole day.

They also always ordered a ton of food—all king size, tons of double and triple whoppers, the whole nine yards. My boss would always have me give them the "senior discount" (15% off), and they enjoyed that immensely because it said that they were getting a senior discount on their receipts. Anyway, as nice as they were, they strained our store to the limit because they ordered so much food—and things spiraled quick.

So, we were almost literally going hammer and tongs to keep up, and that's when the onion woman came into the drive-thru. My boss told me to just grab two handfuls of onions and put them on the sandwich because she didn't need a scene when we were as far behind as we were. I could barely close the sandwich because of the onions, but I managed it, and we gave it to her.

Now remember, the store was full of US Army enlistees. They probably had not had fast food for weeks. And the line was out the door. So, the woman came in and pushed her way past all of the people to scream over the counter that she didn't have enough onions. My boss was mad, so she took the sandwich, handed it to me, and told me to do whatever the heck I wanted with it.

I dumped the entire tub of onions on this sandwich, wrapped it up tight, and taped it shut. My boss then handed it to the woman, and she opened it right on the counter to "make sure there were enough", even though the burger was like six times bigger than normal. Then, the best thing that could have happened, happened—the thing exploded all over the place. So, freaking awesome. All the enlistees were trying not to laugh. One of their officers was waiting by the counter for his food, and finally, he just gave up and started laughing his face off.

The others took this as a cue, and she had about 250 of these guys all laughing at her. It was one of the best days of my high school life. She didn't come back for a month, and she never ever complained about not having enough onions ever again.

I’m The Most Important

man in red and white button up shirtPhoto by Afif Ramdhasuma on Unsplash

I only ever lost it on a customer once when I was working at an office supply store. The customer was one of those self-important money-pusher types. He came in during the lunch rush on a day when we were shorthanded. He wanted to buy a phone. I normally would have helped him, but I was stuck on the register. Even so, I did everything I could to help this guy anyway.

When I was finally able to focus on him exclusively, he launched into a lecture along the lines of how he specifically was the most important person in the store. And I lost it. I barely remember what I said to the guy. I know I tried to walk away first, but he pushed it. I ended up tearing into him so badly that he basically ran from the store, and the assistant manager on duty was too stunned to do anything about the incident.

Swapping The Toppings

When I worked at a sandwich shop, I got assigned to train a new girl, who was shadowing me at my register. A big woman comes in with two other gentlemen and orders a croissant sandwich with no tomatoes, or "sub" avocado. I proceeded to explain to her that I couldn't do that, as tomatoes and avocados are not equivalent. Before I even get that far she interrupts me, starts to mock the way I was talking to her, and tells me that they've done it for her before.

I stood my ground and told her regardless of if someone else had done it before, I wasn't going to because that's now how it works. She gets super angry and says some stuff to me, then looks at my trainee and says, "Don't learn from her, Cynthia, she's a bad one". She then struggled to pay with her card because she was broke apparently, and she gave me lip when I said her card was declined.

When she walked away, the two gentlemen she was with came up to me and apologized. I was so checked out, I just said, You're the one who must deal with her every day, not me".

An Explosive Day

I had already put my two weeks in at the gas station when a woman comes with a van and tries to pump gas with the vehicle running. I told her over the intercom to shut the engine off. She started to argue with me over the intercom, and I just turned it off to deal with the small lineup inside. She comes inside and starts arguing with me. I calmly told her the rules are for safety, and if she wants to fuel while the engine is on, she can try another gas station.

She starts screaming telling me I'm just being a jerk to ruin her day. I just snapped in front of everybody and yelled back, "Oh really!!? am I in your place of business harassing you for following the rules so people don't explode??!" To which all the other customers laughed. She kept arguing back, so I said fine, go fill your tank. As soon as she was outside, I locked the doors.

I told the customers they could leave if they wished by pushing the black handle, and nobody did until the irate customer sped off.

A Stressful Sunday

woman in black and white striped long sleeve shirtPhoto by Julien L on Unsplash

I didn’t explode, but a customer screamed at me in front of the entire restaurant. She ordered breakfast for her family on a Sunday, and we told her there would be a 45-minute wait for such a huge order to go. She came 10 minutes later, furious we didn’t have it ready yet. She was so angry that this was causing her to miss church. She ended up leaving after calling me a string of names, without the food. Then came the most unexpected turn of events...

She came back later, hugged me, told me she was sorry, and said something along the lines of having a sick child. I don't know. I block bad stuff at work out of my head, but the hypocrisy still cries out in my brain from time to time.

The Noise Of The City

I work at a hotel, and at around 10:30-ish, a woman called down very upset because of a noise coming from outside. The hotel is downtown, and it was Saturday night. People were partying. Anyway, she told me to fix it immediately, and I informed her that the noise ordinance for our city as far as private residences go does not kick in until midnight, so I couldn't do anything until then as far as reporting it goes.

I offer to move her to a different room on another side of the hotel, away from the noise source. She refuses, saying it was late. She then demands that I come up with another solution. I tell her there isn't one. I tell her I can call someone, but they won't do anything until at least midnight, probably later. I again tell her that we have other rooms in a quieter area of the hotel, but she begins to shout that she doesn't want to move and just wants me to make them quiet.

This is when I flipped. I didn't yell at her, but I said something along the lines of "Ma'am, I have offered you the only solution I have to this problem, and you have refused it twice. At this point, I can't do anything to help you". She blew up and threatened to call our corporate office, and I told her she was welcome to do that, that I looked forward to speaking with them, and gave her my name. Then, I hung up on her.

I Have My Arms Full

I work in an anime store in the mall. One of the things we have is a wall of Funko Pops. This guy brought up like 10 to the register and was just being ridiculously impatient the entire time. Our cash register is a little more than a calculator, so punching in each thing can take some time. Before I even hand him his receipt, he shouted: “Can I get a bag?!?”, so I said we don’t have any.

Watching him waddle out of the store with 10 pops stacked high made me feel better.

The Worst Last Day

a woman in a white dress is looking at a shelf of foodPhoto by Rey Joson on Unsplash

It was my last day working in a common retail chain. 20 minutes before my shift ended, I was helping a middle-aged woman do a return and exchange with coupons. She was getting agitated, because our coupon policies are very strict, and she was giving me attitude. I looked her straight in the eye and took a deep sigh, “This is my last day, I’m supposed to leave in five minutes” without smiling. She immediately became quiet and was way more cooperative.

One Step At A Time

I worked for a one-hour-photo at a CVS-style store. We would take overflow at our register if the lines got too long. A lady comes up with a cart full of stuff and a large fistful of coupons. Whatever, I ring her up and process the coupons. The total is something over 100 dollars, something like $122.35. She gets mad, saying I messed up big time—but she was the one who messed up,because she tried messing with ME.

After a little back and forth, I void the whole transaction and start again. After every item, “This cat food rang at .89 is that okay?” After every coupon, “You can see $1.00 came off Ma’am, is that correct?” This must have taken 15 minutes. At the end, “as you can see the total is $122.35”. She was furious but couldn’t say anything. It was glorious. I am 37 now, have a child, and 1-hour photos don’t exist, but I still think of my triumph.

Tell It Like It Is

I stopped to get gas today, and while talking with the cashier, I mentioned that she was probably tired of people yelling at her about the price of gas—but since she is the one standing there, she probably gets it a lot. She said that every day, someone complains to her like she can do something about it. A guy then came in and demanded "Why the heck is gas $3.76 a gallon?”

Without missing a beat, she said, "Because it went down 10 cents this morning". He just looked at her, paid, and left.

I Can Help With That

person holding black handled scissorsPhoto by Tá Focando on Unsplash

I used to work at a video store, and after a while, I got desensitized to people throwing little hissy fits about late fees. One day, a gentleman tried to rent a movie and I had to let him know he had accumulated some late fees on his account. Cue the standard rant about having returned them on time, blah blah blah, "...and I'm just going to cut up my membership card when I get home!!" I reached under the counter, grabbed a pair of scissors, held them out to him, and said "Well, you can do that here if you like". He gave me a venomous look and left the store in a huff. And it felt so good.

Do You Know What You’re Doing?

I’ve worked in a hardware store since I was 16. When I was about 17, I cut two keys for a guy. I’d been cutting keys for a while, and so had the hang of it. I was told that he returned when I wasn’t there, told my colleagues that the keys didn’t work, shouted that I was a stupid little girl that didn’t know what she was doing, I shouldn’t be allowed to cut keys, etc.

My colleague was already mad but looked at the keys to see what the problem was. He had been trying the keys in the wrong locks. As in key A in lock B and key B in lock A. He left with his tail between his legs and has not returned since. As a young blonde girl, I regularly get stuff like this. Proving them that I am far more clued up than they think I am always satisfying, though.

Well, Go Ahead!

I used to work at CVS. One day, I had a customer who was incessantly complaining about how the toothpaste he was buying was a lot cheaper at Walmart. He even pulled out his phone and showed me a chart that compared the prices of it at different stores. I didn't get worked up or anything really. Instead, I retaliated in the best way that I know how—I just acted very uninterested and said, "Go to Walmart, then".

Make Me

a man sitting in the back of a yellow truckPhoto by Documerica on Unsplash

I remember I was probably 17 or 18 working at Whataburger in Austin. I worked early and late hours. I remember this one time very specifically, the customer had come to the window, and I politely asked him to move forward. There was one car behind him, and I was just trying to give the guy his drinks. The customer then yelled at me, telling me the only way he would move is if I made him move, and told me I wasn’t anybody to tell him what to do.

During his yelling, he pointed at me, and I just slammed the window shut in his face. My managers came to me asking what was wrong, and I explained and begged them to handle the customer. I then realized, when I turned to hand him his food, that the window was cracked, and he heard everything. He threatened me, saying if I ever slammed the window in his face again, he’d “beat me up”. This dude was like 30, by the way.

Before he could finish his sentence, I slammed the window again and ran outside. He drove off and threw his food out the window. I didn’t get fired, I just got moved to cook.

This Is Bananas

I was a grocery store cashier in high school. I had a dad and his toddler son come through my lane one afternoon. They racked up $302 in groceries and only had a $300 EBT voucher, so the dad proceeds to tell his son that “this man says you can’t take the bananas with you today”. Annoyed, I decided this is a point I’m not budging on at 16 and tell him that’s not the case and to not lie to his son, that perhaps another item could be left behind so the son could have these bananas.

The man explodes at me, and my manager tells me I must apologize to the man or be fired. Instead, I walked out and never looked back.

Big Red Flag

When I was in high school, I worked at Sears. If you were under 18, the name on your name tag was highlighted in red. It was around Christmas and some dudes, both at least 30 years old, started hitting on me. I politely told them no and tried to walk away. One grabbed my arm, so I said loud enough for people to hear, “If you don’t get your hands off of me right now, I’m calling security”.

Then they said they’ll tell my manager I was being “an absolute jerk”, and I said “Yeah, and I’ll tell security you’re being a pedophile. I’m 16, back off!” They ran out of the store before security could get there.

You’re Kinda Slow

blue shopping cart on street during daytimePhoto by Eduardo Soares on Unsplash

I’m a manager at a grocery store. I was checking people out because we were busy, and a dude wearing a Dallas Cowboys jersey comes through my line. He didn’t have a whole lot, but he paid with both dollar bills and loose change, so it took a bit to count it because I don’t trust people. He gets angry, asks me if I’m stupid or something, and insists he could have done better. From that point on, it was no more "Mister Nice Guy" from me.

He had been quiet though, because there were other people in line. So, I loudly asked him if he talks to everyone like that or just people that can’t fight back. He got quiet and left.

Conversion Conundrums

I worked at the Manchester, NH airport, at a car rental place. Twice a week, we'd have someone come in with a reservation for a car in England. I had one guy demand that we honor the reservation's pound cost, not the dollar cost. I said I'd honor the equivalent, pulled up a dollar-to-pound chart, and converted on the spot. It would've cost him $20/day more than just taking our no-reservation price.

Another customer with the same issue said "I thought the dollar sign looked funny, but I figured that was just a website bug or something. Never seen a dollar sign look like that".

That Thing From High School

I worked at a drugstore in high school. I had a German couple check out at my register, and they were incredibly rude. They were complaining in German about the customers behind them in line, using vulgar language and whatnot. I wasn't moving fast enough for their liking, and the woman called me some curse words in German, obviously not aware that that was the impractical language that I took in high school.

When I finished their order, I stared her in the eye and said thank you in her native tongue, and they both looked shocked and embarrassed. It felt good, man.

Your Job, Not Mine

person holding white rabbit figurinePhoto by Bianca Ackermann on Unsplash

I worked for Dollar Tree, and we sold a lot of porcelain figurines that we would have to wrap up in several layers of wrapping paper so they wouldn't break. After a year or so working there, I became accustomed to the majority of customers wanting to do the wrapping themselves because it made them feel assured that if they did the wrapping, their product wouldn't break.

I would casually and kindly ask the customer beforehand what their preference was, and it never became a big deal until one guy who drove a brand new Porsche flipped out over the simple question and told me he was too good to do that kind of thing and that I am the one with the job so I should be doing it for him. The words were harsher, but it was so long ago that I can't remember them that well.

I finally got fed up. I wrapped them and told him to get out. The manager and customers didn't say anything and went back to their business.

Lost And Found

I’m a cart pusher at a large grocery store in the US. I was sweeping the sidewalk by the entrance to the store when I see an old woman drive her car onto the sidewalk by the door, very close to me and other people walking. She then opened her window and threw a bunch of trash out of it. I walked over, swept it up into the dustpan, put it in her window, emptied it, and said, "Excuse me, ma'am, you dropped this". She had such a confused look on her face!

Less Than Perfect

I used to work as a croupier at clubs, and during a shift change, my colleague accidentally made a wrong payment to a paying customer. Gamblers being what they are, the complaints that ensued were awkward. and no matter how much my colleague said he was sorry, the customer kept on complaining. Finally, I just had to take over the situation. I gave the customer a piece of my mind: "Sir, people make mistakes, we are not robots. If you want to play with machines, there are slot machines in the other bar".

He shut up and the other players seemed relieved.

The Mess At The Pool

white and blue swimming poolPhoto by Nick Shandra on Unsplash

I worked as a lifeguard for my first "real" job. One night, at the indoor water park, a child came up to me. He asked me very quickly where the bathroom was, I pointed him in the right direction and he quickly said, "No, I need one closer!" I swore in my head as he pooped himself in front of me, all of it running down his leg. I radioed him into first aid, and we took him in and paged his parents.

Eventually, his dad came in, and we chit-chatted about his son, no big deal. It happens more often than you think. His dad told us to change and clean him, me and my manager refused. The dad was furious and yelled why not. We told him he was not our son. That shut him up.

Going On And On

I used to work in the main office of a large chain of furniture stores in the UK. I worked in the evenings, phoning customers to let them know their furniture was in and arrange a delivery date. One night I phoned and asked for Mr. or Mrs. McSomethingOrOther. The guy on the phone starts ranting to me about people phoning up his elderly parents trying to sell things.

He went on and on and on and wouldn't let me get a word in edgewise. I think he may have even used the toilet while he was ranting at me. When he finally wound down, I said "Are you finished now sir? I'm phoning to arrange a delivery date for your parents' new 3-piece suite". Yup, that shut him up completely.

Fix My Order!

I work at McDonald’s, and one morning this older guy who’s a regular at the place and was known to give the workers a hard time was trying to order breakfast. He said he wanted eight extra sauces with his food. I told him that it will cost extra because it’s store policy and he got a bit agitated; he then tried ordering coffee, and he kept on confusing me saying he wanted this amount of condiments inside and this amount outside, and other special requests for his coffee.

I also couldn’t really hear him the whole time, so I just punch in everything on the register that I think he was trying to tell me, and when I finally repeat his order, he had a look of sheer anger on his face, raised his voice, and told me I have his whole order wrong. I told him I can change it no problem, but he just proceeded to yell names at me, telling me I didn’t know how to do my job, and said “Forget you, I’ll go with the other cashier”.

By now he had caused a scene, and everyone was staring at me. It was truly awkward, and I was angry at the guy because I just tried to help him with his order, and soon after when he got his food he seemed like he had calmed down and tried to shake my hand and say sorry, but I slapped his hand away, shrugged and told him something like “nah bro, you gave me a hard time, try doing something like that again, and I’ll tell everyone to not give you service ever again”

He didn’t say a word and just left.

The Express Lane

person holding green leaf vegetablePhoto by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Man came to my express line with a basket full of groceries, when you’re only supposed to have one to fifteen. I asked him to count his items because I’m sorry, this is an express line... He responded with “That’s okay. You can count them”. I was a fast cashier. People have better places to be than my grocery line...I could run up to 25 to 30 items a minute with 100% accuracy. No way was I gonna let this smug jerk get away with his antics.

You better believe I went as slow as possible to run up this guy's order. I took three to five seconds per item, as he got progressively redder and redder... I finished the order with “It’s unfortunate how many people you’ve held up in the line sir. Have a fantastic day”. He called me names and stormed off. I apologized to every customer in the line for the wait and got them out in record time.

It was a small victory, but it was my victory. Every other customer wore nothing but a smile on their face for me at that glorious moment.

I Know I’m Right

Working at a bank's customer service center, a customer called in insisting he was shorted 200.00 dollars cash. Our department took calls like this very seriously, so I sided with the man who was certain a teller had pocketed it. He had his deposit ticket, which showed the amount, and when I looked at the amount deposited. It was a $200.00 difference.

Our bank scans all incoming and outgoing paperwork and found that he was reading the wrong amount, despite my questioning him from the get-go that we were looking at the same numbers on the same forms. He got stern and he got mad, saying his check was for $XXX.XX dollars and we didn't give it to him, we were taking it. I pulled up the check, pulled up the tickets, and explained what was what.

Faced with the evidence and my acting like a non-jerk he took it all in and said: "I know I'm right; I know she stole my money, but you know what... I don't want to get anyone in trouble, I'll let it slide". and hung up.

Help-Desk Horror

Many years ago, I worked in a call center as a technical supervisor for a major PC vendor. When you asked for a supervisor, I was one of the people you got. One night, I was transferred a call from a customer that was having an issue where his PC would not boot, and he did not want to open his case to see if a card had come loose or to reseat any components. This was part of standard over-the-phone troubleshooting.

He argues for a while that his warranty covered a technician coming to his house to fix the problem. I explained it did... Once we diagnosed the issue and that would require looking inside the PC. He again stated he couldn’t because he did not have a screwdriver. After going back and forth for a while, he demanded that I show him where in his warranty book it said he needed to have a screwdriver.

I opened up a copy of his warranty on my PC and searched for the section that explained our troubleshooting policy and said, "Sir please turn to page 32 in your warranty guide. Are you there? Great. Please look at paragraph two line three. There, it states that you need to follow all the suggestions of the phone-based help desk before a technician can be dispatched". He quickly responded, "That doesn't say anything about a screwdriver!" I responded, "Sir, I suggest you get a screwdriver".

A Data Disturbance

man in red sweater holding gold iphone 6Photo by Nimi Diffa on Unsplash

I work for a cellular company, and one day, a guy comes in with his child complaining the service is shut down. I call in and am informed their bill is 20,000 dollars due to a month of constant data usage on a smartphone with no data package. I ask about this and turns out the family put the 17-year-old on the account with full access to avoid having to go into stores when he needed a new phone.

The kid was a jerk that broke cheap pay and talk ones constantly. Well one day, he bought the smartphone and put it on. He was warned that any data usage would be charged $30 per MB of usage so he should never use it. He denies having been told this and denies he was using the data. The father is yelling at me, saying his son never lies.

I grab the phone, open the browser, and under history, it shows he'd surfed right up until thirty minutes before coming to the store. I show the father, and he completely explodes at his son. End of the story, we knocked off 18 thousand dollars, and he's probably still paying a two-thousand-dollar bill.

My Undercover Boss

I was working in food service at a cash register. A customer came up and placed an order, so I rang it up, but she wasn't happy with how much it cost. She threw us off guard with her reaction—she started whining and being just awful. My co-worker came up and stood next to me, looked over what I did, and just kind of stood there polishing a counter. She squawked, "Get me your manager!" I say, "Ok sure, but ma'am, this is the correct price".

The co-worker standing next to me is the manager. He looks at the woman and goes "Yup” and continues polishing the counter. "buh...wha...uh...ok fine!" shouts the woman. She walks away. The two of us cracked up laughing.

A Sudden Snap

When I was 15, I worked as a secretary for a local doctor. This one guy comes into the clinic and tries to go inside the doctor's office out of his turn. I step in and tell him that he's next in turn. The guy waits by the door for about 10 more minutes, while mumbling curses to himself and side-eyeing me. I just sit there, look at him, wait for the door to open, go inside, and tell the doctor that that guy just stood there and cursed at me for 10 minutes.

The doctor says ok, and when they go in, I closed the door behind me and went to my desk. A minute later I hear shouts from inside. A few minutes go by, and the fragile, old, nice, neighborhood doctor is screaming like I couldn't even imagine. The door opens, and the guy leaves. The doctor comes out and tells me with his gentle voice, "I told him this is unacceptable behavior, and that he is no longer welcome here". He turns back to his office and never speaks about it again.

Do You Even English?

white and brown labeled boxesPhoto by Eduardo Soares on Unsplash

This guy came in and was buying a two-liter bottle of soda. As I'm ringing him up, he asks for a bag. I say, “okay dokie”, and continue to finish the part of the transaction I was currently working on. He asks for a bag again, I figure he didn't hear me the first time, so I say it again, a little bit louder, but continue to finish the transaction first.

When he asks for a bag the third time, I straight up say okay while looking at him right in the face. He asks me what okay dokie means and if I speak English. Being that I'm like, seventh generation American, and white as freshly fallen snow I'm genuinely surprised that this dude has never heard the phrase okie dokie and proceed to tell him that yes, I speak English and that “Okie dokie” is slang.

At that point, he starts throwing coins to pay for this bottle of soda off the counter directly at me and I just snap. I void the transaction, remove his soda from my register, and tell him that I'm refusing him service. The dude pushes back a little bit but surprisingly doesn't demand my manager and eventually just leaves.

Tension At The Theater

It was Christmas at the movie theater. Doesn't matter how many people you have scheduled for Christmas. Doesn't matter if everyone shows up. You're still shorthanded. Usually, one person would work the counter and the other would get the food ready. So, you've got two people per register. I'm one of the more senior people working that day outside of management, most of whom are currently helping to clean the theaters so we can admit the huge crowds in time.

This meant that when something came up in the back that threatened to delay the making of popcorn, I had to go take care of it. A co-worker tapped me on the shoulder, and informed me of the issue, I went to go to the back and some guy standing in line yelled out "Don't leave the register! It's slow enough as it is and I'm hungry!"

I'm told that I turned red, and started shaking from anger as I yelled at this guy about how I understood much better than him what it's like to be hungry since I hadn't eaten all day so I could serve him and everyone else, about how I understood what it takes to make this place run efficiently better than he does since I'd been doing it for two years, and how if he wanted me to come back as quickly as possible, then I had to be allowed to do my job. If he didn't want me to do my job, then he could either leave or take my place.

I don't remember that, though. I just remember the crowd going quiet, me punching the coconut oil box open so they could hook it up, and then a manager making me take a 30-minute break. My hand hurt for a couple of days, but it was fine

It’s All The Same?

I worked in customer service for a company called Future Shop, which is Canada's equivalent and daughter company to Best Buy. I remember one time some guy making a huge fuss about his future shop credit card bill, which was through HSBC Bank at the time, and because of that, I couldn't help him in-store. This man got so mad at me that he threatened to never shop at Future Shop again, and that he was going to Best Buy.

I giggled inside, then told him that we were the same company. He didn't believe me and told me to prove it, so I grabbed my pay stub and showed him the "Best Buy Canada" envelope. He stormed out of the store pretty fast.

Learning The ABCs

brown wooden table with black rolling chairsPhoto by Lucía Garó on Unsplash

When I worked in the media section, I spent most of the day stocking CDs/DVDs and finding them for customers. So, this lady comes over to me, getting in my face about how ridiculous it is that we don't alphabetize our selection. A little confused, I assure her that everything is in alphabetical order and offer to find it for her.

At this point, I wasn't planning on rubbing it in, but then she mumbles something under her breath about how dumb we are and wishes me luck. I sang the alphabet song while gesturing to the appropriate letters until I got to what she was looking for, in exactly the place it was supposed to be. Her only response was "Oh..."

A Horrifying Encounter

When I was like sixteen, I worked at a local haunted house, which, mind you, was a sweet gig, and would have been hard to get if the manager wasn't my good friend. Anyway, one night we were going through the usual show, and I played an "Escaped Experiment" character, kind of like Igor, all short and hunchbacked, whose job it was to jump out and scare the tourists as soon as they walked through the entrance. I even had a blood pack in my mouth.

One day, this group of typical dudes walk in and they're making noise and ruining the atmosphere, but nonetheless, I jump out and give the typical scream. Their response was totally appalling—one of those guys kicks me right in my face.

I stumble back a bit and manage to retain character. Meanwhile, this jerk is still laughing his dumb face off and kicking at me. Remembering that I have a blood pack in my mouth, I grab his leg, put it in my mouth, and bite just hard enough to break the blood pack. Fake blood goes everywhere. He starts crying because he thinks he's seriously bleeding, and is all, "Dude, what the heck?!"

My manager, who was also the tour guide of the attraction, quickly replied, "Oh, don't worry, he's had all his shots".

Extra, Extra, Extra

I used to work in a deli restaurant, and this lady came in and rudely ordered her food. I told her that everything should come out all right, and that I will double check for her to make sure her order would be correct. She insisted on getting LOTS of honey mustard on her sandwich. I typed in extra honey mustard on the ticket. Sure enough, her order came out and there seemed to be plenty of honey mustard there.

But when I deliver it, she complains to me about not having the extra about mustard I promised her and told me to "get a to more honey mustard" for her. I go to the back of the store, get an entire new gallon jug of honey mustard, and plop it on her table. Her friends were laughing, and she was steaming mad. She complained to the manager, who thought it was hilarious and laughed in her face.

Trouble With Tires

a garage filled with lots of tires and tiresPhoto by Vinicius "amnx" Amano on Unsplash

I was super busy trying to run the shop and the counter; I had already sold 14 sets of tires, not including the odd individual tires, and this older guy came up and demanded I go get him a tire. He told me the size, and I told him it'd have to be ordered. We don't carry 13" tires on hand. He blew up and started calling me insults I hadn’t heard since grade school.

I told him to leave my shop, but he got in my face and raised his hand to hit me. That’s when I lost it, dragged the old man off the property, and called the authorities on him. The next day, this dude comes back in with glasses and a hat and asks politely to order the tire. I called the authorities again and have him taken in for trespassing.

Do The Shoes Fit?

When I was in high school, I worked at a shoe store. We did this "buy one get one half off" sale all the time. The way it works is you buy a more expensive pair, and you get the cheaper of the two half-off, otherwise, we'd lose money. So, this woman comes in and buys two pair of kids' shoes. She looks at the receipt and thinks that 50 dollars is too much for her smaller child.

So, she returns them. She then proceeds to flip out because the difference for the other pair came out of the refund. I called the manager, and he came up, and she said, "he's a foster kid. He's not worth a 50-dollar pair of shoes, stop trying to rob me and give me my money". The manager refunded her the entire bill, took both pairs of shoes, and walked off.

We all gave her the silent treatment until she left, angrily. I feel bad for both the children and her husband who were just standing there quietly.