People Confess The Darkest Secret They Need To Get Off Their Chest
Perhaps one of the biggest reasons a blog like "Humans of New York" has become such a popular phenomenon is because it invited random people to speak, unfiltered, and reminded everyone else that the people around us are endlessly fascinating and complicated in innumerable ways. Everyone around you has a secret or two, and while some people choose to keep those secrets quiet, others may achieve catharsis through sharing.
This appeared to be the case after Redditor KayGee1922 asked the online community,
"What is your darkest secret that you want to get off your chest?"
"I messed up..."
"I messed up the promotional posters of a well-known martial arts film by editing its Wikipedia article with incorrect character names before it came out. The company in charge of the posters was incompetent enough to use Wikipedia as its source for the names of the characters."
This is genius. Genius, I say. I can't help but laugh.
"That the demands of the world..."
"That the demands of the world seem like such a waste of time. If I had my way I'd move somewhere I could enjoy the sunset and call it good."
"I've got a chronic illness..."
"I'm terrified my husband will realize that I'm so not worth all the effort he puts into our relationship and taking care of me. I've got a chronic illness and he's had to add taking care of me to his plate on top of already being a wonderful husband and father."
It sounds like you are one lucky human being. He loves you! Hold tight to that.
"I have already..."
"I have already been vaccinated (first dose only) but I haven't told anyone because I don't want people to start making plans socially with me. I'd rather stay home."
"I was happy..."
"I was happy when my wife's father died. Still happy. He was a toxic f*** but my wife still loved him and tried with everything to keep in touch and have some kind of link to him. It was destroying her because her love wasn't reciprocated. Now that selfish prick is dead and my wife is slowly healing."
There are a few people in my family who I won't miss either, just saying. I completely understand this.
"I am not allowed..."
"I am a twin survivor. Because my mom is traumatized by the death of my brother, she denied his complete existence (he died at birth) and everyone in my family, her friends, believe I was a single child in her pregnancy. I am not allowed to reveal the truth nor mention his name."
You are worthy of love and help.
Feel free to reach out to a professional. While your mother has the right to grieve the way she wants, she doesn't have the right to impose that on you.
"She doesn't know..."
"I'll go first I guess... my mom is cheating on my dad and has been for a while now. She doesn't know I know and I don't know which of them to tell, or if I should just ignore it and stay out of their business."
Former Anti-Vaxxers Explain What Actually Made Them Change Their Mind | George Takei’s Oh Myyy
"I set up..."
"I set up a surprise flower delivery to my wife's workplace today. I'm excited for her reaction."
This is super sweet! "Dark" secret, huh? Did you actually get the memo?
"I was alone with my grandfather in hospice a day or so before he died (so my mom could get a shower and fresh clothes). He kept trying to get up, thinking he had to go to work, but he was so weak, all he could do was grab my hand to try to get some leverage to sit up. I got him to settle by telling him it was his day off.
My mom came back and I left after a while. He deteriorated into being nearly non responsive and passed that week. At the funeral, she said that her grief wasn't so bad because he kept grabbing her hand and 'squeezing as if to say "I love you" '.
I'll never tell her."
"I haven't gotten another one."
"My dog died in 2010. I haven't gotten another one. It's the longest I've been without a dog in my life. When my family asks why I haven't gotten another dog, I just laugh and tell them that I don't want the expense, the mess, the responsibility... but that's not true. When my dog died, it broke me. It's been over 10 years and I still miss him and the real reason I haven't gotten another dog is I don't want to feel the pain of losing him again. I keep that to myself, I guess."
Carrying around a deep, dark secret can take a toll on your mental health. We highly recommend you seek out professional help if you find that you're experiencing high levels of stress or anxiety as a result.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is here for you.
SAMHSA's National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders. Call anytime at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
Have some stories of your own? Feel free to tell us in the comments below.
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Rules are stupid. Okay, maybe not always—plenty of rules exist for a good reason. However, everybody knows that there is nothing worse than a dumb rule, especially when it's at school or work. From the cringe-worthy to the downright creepy, here are the most idiotic rules people on Reddit have experienced.
We Jammina white and black printer sitting on top of a counterPhoto by engin akyurt on Unsplash
We are not allowed to refer to the Xerox Machine as "Bob Marley" anymore even though it still jams way more than it Xeroxes. This is because apparently, the CEO had a tween daughter come one day and she got very upset when she thought the staff was keeping her from seeing Bob Marley in real life. She did not know that Bob Marley is not alive. This stressed out the CEO and he yelled at us about the nickname, no now, the Xerox machine is just "the Xerox machine."
Trees Have Feelings Too
At my elementary school, we had a very strict no snowball policy. This doesn't mean “no throwing snowballs at people”; this means picking up snow and forming a ball is not allowed. So anyway, in Grade 6, my friends and I were throwing snowballs at a tree for fun one day. We got caught in the act and had to write a letter apologizing and explaining why it was wrong and whose feelings we hurt. I wrote the tree.
The Importance Of Shorts
I went to a catholic school from first to eighth grade and I think the worst was when we got a male principal and he made a rule that we were no longer allowed to wear shorts under our skirts. At the time I was only upset about it because it made no sense to me since no one could even see the shorts but once I got older, I realized just how sick it was.
Take A Seat
I was on vacation with my girlfriend at the time, and her dad had a no peeing standing up rule. Literally, I was not allowed to pee standing up in his house. He said this to me at the beginning of the vacation, and I thought he meant to make sure the toilet seat was down after I used it since he only had daughters and wanted to protect them or something. But no—it was so much weirder than I thought.
So, one time when I was peeing standing up, as any man would, my girlfriend's mom says from outside the door that she can hear someone peeing while standing up. Still taking this as a joke, I admitted that it was me. I then got a 30-minute lecture on how I should obey his rules and not pee standing up. Still one of my biggest WTF moments in a relationship.
Don’t Stop To Smell The Flowers
My very first job at 15 was at a florist. I was paid under the table, and as a result, didn't really have any rights as a worker. The hours were normal full-time hours, 8 per day, but I wasn't allowed to take any breaks. I could only use the restroom once during my entire shift. I wasn't allowed to speak to anyone besides the owner, and I couldn't look at the flowers.
Breaking one of these rules would result in $15 taken off my "paycheck" (per incident) at the end of the week. I was making $5/hour at the time, so the penalties were huge. Sometimes I'd get paid for the week and would only get around $50. When I asked why, she'd say she caught me looking at the flowers for too long while I was sweeping or cleaning.
The Tardy Tableman and woman sitting on chairsPhoto by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash
At my high school, when someone was late, they would just have the teacher mark "tardy" on their computer. Most students were never more than a minute late. They just couldn't get to class fast enough and would walk in 30 seconds late or so. Our principal had the brilliant idea of instead having a "Tardy Table" all the way across the school where students would go, line up, and register as being tardy.
If you were late to class, the teacher would send you to the tardy table instead of just marking you late themselves. Instead of having a teacher mark the one or two people who showed up tardy to their class, you had late students from ALL classes lining up to register as tardy with only one person to process them at the tardy table.
The result was students ending up 15-30 minutes late to class because they were waiting in line to register as tardy. The parents were not pleased, but the principal insisted that it would reduce the number of students who were late overall. I'm not sure if they kept it or not. The tardy table was started just a few months before I quit school.
The Company That Aims For Less Efficiency
I was temping for a company in a data entry role. They had some standardized input on their website for inquiries and it got parsed into an excel spreadsheet for some reason. I wrote a macro that sucked all of the data out, which meant you could zip through about ninety forms a minute. What a relief it was.
The people the company employed FULL TIME to deal with these forms complained to the IT manager (one of them was married to the IT manager), and I was lectured about how my efficiency would cost people their jobs and had my internet access restricted for six weeks. A little bit too backward for my taste.
The Dangers Of Circles
In my elementary school in Canada, we were not allowed to form circles. During recess and such as you get older, you kind of get into that whole "oh look at me I’m getting older and cooler and I just stand around and talk with people instead of messing around in the snow" type of thing, and apparently, us forming circles was a safety hazard because supervising teachers couldn’t see anything going on in the middle of the circle
I mean, god forbid, what if we were making a circle inside of THAT circle?
That’s Just Plain Dangerous
I am an EMS helicopter pilot. I fly with Night Vision Goggles. Problem: The FAA rules for using NVG's state that the aircraft must also be equipped with a working radar altimeter. So, if I am flying over the Sierra Nevada mountains on a pitch-black night and the radar altimeter fails…I have to remove the night vision goggles.
Attack Of The Colors
In my sophomore year of high school, our old principal got a promotion to the district office. He was replaced by someone who had literally just moved to the area and knew next to nothing of the well-established culture of our small town. After a few weeks, he noticed a "problem" around the campus. This is where the fun starts.
He saw many people wearing purple and gold in copious amounts, often in ridiculous ways every Friday, and he was sure it had to be related to gang involvement. Rather than ask anyone about it, he called an "emergency assembly" in which he lectured us all about the seriousness of this issue.
He informed us that, from that point on, if anyone were to wear either of these colors at school, they would be put in detention for the remainder of the day, and their parent or guardian would have to come to pick them up. People laughed and rebelled, wearing more purple and gold on more days, and the detention room was overflowing almost every day.
Two months later, he found out that purple and gold were our school colors. People were dressing up like that on Fridays to show support and pride for whatever sports team had a game that day, as was the tradition of our town for the past 60 years or so. To show how stupid he felt, he called another emergency assembly to apologize, to which he wore a purple and gold clown suit and a dunce cap.
In The Name Of Securitythree people sitting in front of table laughing togetherPhoto by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash
At my former company, much of my work depended on being able to send and receive email; yet no one except management level was allowed to have their own email address, or even access the outside internet through the company LAN. I was inside an office and had to surreptitiously filch a phone line and get on my own personal dialup account to do my job. Protests to management, of course, proved fruitless; it was all in the name of "security."
When I was about 10, my stepfather's mother would babysit us for several days or sometimes even weeks at a time because my mother wasn't in the picture and my step-father had many business trips. Alright, that’s life. It wouldn’t have been so bad...if she wasn’t completely crazy. She had a rule that if we weren't eating a meal or sleeping, we weren't allowed to be in the house.
This was normally fine, but we were living in Virginia at the time. There was a bad snow storm one winter, and we were out of school for three weeks. This rule still applied then, even with several feet of snow on the ground. Luckily, my best friend's mother was really awesome and would let us come down to her house every day. She fed us lunch and let us watch movies.
Pushing Their Employees To Breakdown
I worked for an inbound call center dealing with the mental health benefits of a certain health insurance company. They had these things called alerts on various accounts, which would give us important instructions like "this group has NO inpatient benefits!" or "this employer does not want us using the word 'eligibility' under ANY circumstances!"
You didn't have to work there very long to familiarize yourself with the alerts for most of the regular accounts that called in. The crazy rule was that you still had to READ the alerts FOR EVERY CALL. Not just click the link and immediately click away–they actually monitored your screen and counted how long you stayed on that page, whether you scrolled down, etc. and expected you to actually re-read every single alert for every single account on every single call.
When upwards of 10 calls every day are coming from the same account, this gets to be EXTREMELY ANNOYING AND STUPID. Of course, this place had a THIRTY-SEVEN step call flow process (as in, 37 things that you had to do for every call), so every call was full of superfluous bureaucratic stuff like this, but the alerts thing was the worst.
I ended up having to go on short-term disability from stress because of all the stuff they made us go through, and eventually I quit after a few months of passive-aggressively refusing to do the parts of the call process that I found pointless/redundant/stupid, and simply taking the hits on my audit scores.
Chinese No Take-Out
Once I worked at a Chinese restaurant where if you forgot to put rice on each customer's table–white or brown rice that was free–the owner expected you to buy the entire table's meal. He implemented this rule by taking the money out of your paycheck. It happened to me once in the six months I was there.
The one time that it actually happened to me, they told me to pay the $50 tab for the table. Yeah, that’s not going to happen. That’s a crazy amount of money when you consider the job I was working. I told them if they enforce that rule, I'd walk out in the middle of service. They didn't enforce the rule. I continued my shift.
In my high school, students would link arms and sway side to side to show school support when the school song was played. One year, we got a new principal who immediately banned swaying due to its suggestive nature. “Any student caught swaying will be suspended.” And we WERE! This was 1972. He was fired in 1973.
Fast Forward to 2002, and my oldest child had this "weird substitute" teacher in one of her high school classes. She thought he was peculiar, commenting about how strange his rules were and that he had a bad attitude. When she said his name, all I could do was laugh. I couldn’t believe it. It was my old principal!
NO TOAST!brown and black bread on white ceramic platePhoto by مشعل زاهد on Unsplash
Working for a 600+ employee marcomms group in the UK: They did free breakfasts for all employees but absolutely no toast was allowed (including toasters) because the CEO hated the smell of toast and thought it made people look unprofessional. This has since been relaxed, I believe, but it was that way for years.
Watch Your Step
In our student handbook at my high school, I found this gem: “Any step measuring longer than 2 feet is to be considered running indoors and to be punished appropriately.” As a 6-foot-tall person with knee problems, basically every step I take is more like 3 feet. The school gave me an in-school suspension for 2 days. Logically, I then organized a 'long step' protest and got about 70 people to take large, exaggerated steps down the main hallway.
It Was A State-Sponsored Cult
I was in Katimavik, which is a Canadian program that is basically a government-sanctioned cult, where youth 17-22 get to travel to three places in Canada doing volunteer work. They cover your transportation, housing, and activities, and you get an "allowance" of $3 a day. It sounds great if you want to travel and have no savings.
However! They have some bizarre rules, which make it sort of like a hippie commune where everyone is supposed to love everyone else equally. You are not allowed to have close friends, OR love partners. At all. So here we were, a bunch of 17-22-year olds, stuck in rural Manitoba in -45 degree winter, no TV or recreation at the house, except lots of snow. And cows. What do you think happened?
Out of 11 people, 8 of them hooked up. We had to meet each other in secret because we would get disciplined if it was found out. On our "weekend off" a bunch of us decided to get hotel rooms, and GASP!, couples shared rooms. Our group leader disciplined us, and gave us "strikes." I already had two strikes for insignificant things, so I was told to leave the program.
I was also disciplined because I spent too much time hanging out with a female friend, instead of like, six people at once singing in a circle like they wanted us to do. It was a pretty bizarre social experiment, kind of like Big Brother. Except nobody wins.
All you city folk might think that this is idiotic, but I think it's pretty sweet. At my redneck high school out in the sticks, there were three categories on the attendance sheet. Present, absent, and hunting. For a month in the fall, students would not get in trouble for being absent if they were out hunting!
Cornering The Cashiers
I worked at a grocery store in Missouri where we got a new front-end manager who was an absolute tyrant. We had to stand in front of our registers with our hands crossed and were not allowed to speak to any of the other cashiers (whether there were customers or not) and if we spoke to the baggers we were written up.
After about 5 write-ups (I treated the baggers like they were actually humans) I contacted the union and she was torn apart.
Desks Need Loving Toobooks and pencil on wooden tablePhoto by ROBIN WORRALL on Unsplash
As a public school teacher, we have what is referred to as "desk warming" where we have to come into school during vacation time to literally sit at our desks. The students are gone, nothing is going on. Our contracts only give a limited amount of vacation time so when our vacation time is up, we must be back in school...students or not.
There Is Time For Juice
My dad had some insane rules but my favorite one is regarding juice. He goes crazy on me whenever I drink fresh fruit juice after midday because according to him “fresh juice is for breakfast.” I’ve never really gotten that one, but now that I've moved out, I can enjoy orange juice whenever I want. Oh yeahhhh!
Taking Clapping Seriously
I went to a private Baptist school during my freshman year of high school. Whenever we had an assembly and it was time to clap our hands for someone who had just spoken or performed, we would have to all clap our hands in unison. It would be led by the insane pastor's wife. She felt normal clapping was too chaotic. It was the weirdest thing I've ever witnessed.
Not Appreciating Pidgin
I worked in an international organization for a few years and spoke to people from pretty much every European country, generally in English. Afterward, I was in the UK and got hired by a company there to help them expand their European business. When I started to call people in other European countries from the new job my new bosses started to look oddly at me, then afterward took me aside and told me I had to stop talking to people in a patronizing way.
I was pretty confused but I worked out after a bit that, like most people that have worked in multinational situations, I spoke "International English" when with non-natives. That is to say, speaking a little more clearly, with more obvious gaps between words, a tiny bit slower, and with a slightly smaller vocabulary.
By slowing things down and speaking this way, it makes it much easier for people to understand than if speaking rapid English as I would down the pub. Having been told off for it, I tried to explain, but my bosses were adamant it was a bad thing to do. Apparently, they believed that people were being made to feel dumb.
I accidentally slipped into it several times and got told off each time until I trained myself back out of it, after which many clients asked me to speak more slowly because they couldn't understand me anymore.
Look At Our Shiny Signatures
I used to work as a developer for a web content firm. Our marketing manager was obsessed with two things–awards and email signatures. She managed to combine the two into a hideous mess. We had won a few big awards at a national level. We had also won lots of magazine "Best Of" type awards for garnering lots of positive reviews from blogs and personal websites.
Every time we got a new award or positive review, we had to add that to our email signatures, along with the award or blog logo. 25 images later I told the marketing manager it was getting out of hand and that big email signatures were the internet equivalent of pooping into the mouth of your friends firstborn whilst suffering from dysentery and nasty gut parasites.
She didn't care. Her response was, "We have to blow our own trumpet and let people know how great we are." To enforce the email signature rule, we had to send her two emails each day proving that our signature was correct and to her satisfaction.
Redefining Lunch Timetwo children sitting beside dining tablePhoto by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
Our school messed up the periods so the students who were assigned fourth-period lunch had to eat at 9.40 am. Apparently, the school is not allowed to serve lunch before 10. So, the genius administration decided to ban eating during the period until it hit 10. This included the students who packed their own lunch.
It was extra stupid because they allowed eating during study halls, so if I had a third-period study hall and wanted to have part of my lunch, it was no problem. However, as soon as I moved to the lunchroom the very next period…NO EATING. Talk about dumb!
Fear The Ghost
I work for a very superstitious man. He has quite a crazy set of rules. They go like this: No red pens, no shaking your legs, and no whistling after the sun goes down. These rules are not “official” but he gets stern and incredibly serious about these things. Oh yeah, and he also doesn't allow any joking about ghosts or the supernatural.
Not Believing In The Power Of Women
Women aren't allowed to lift anything at my job. Literally, anything. I was going to dump a trash can full of shredded paper in the dumpster last week and my boss caught me, made me put the trash can down, and go find someone to dump it for me. I was lifting the thing with one hand. It was all so ridiculous and patronizing.
As my job requires a lot of lifting and I hate asking for help constantly, I have mastered the art of picking up 50-plus pound boxes and running with them so no one catches me.
Please Be Warned
I work construction. We're not allowed to tell the new guys how many newbies tragically lost their lives in their first week. I hate it. Young guys don't naturally think about safety, many of them think that they'll live forever. Yeah, gravity doesn't care what you think, please stay away from the ledges, and open elevator shafts.
How Many Nurses Does It Take To Screw In A Lightbulb?
I'm entrusted with the care of mentally handicapped clients, including being trained in first aid, CPR, and the Heimlich Maneuver. Yet, apparently changing a light bulb or adjusting the thermostat in the group home where I work is too big of a responsibility for me to be allowed to do. Instead, I have to call someone else in for the simple task.
The Consequences Of A Napwoman in blue dress shirt and blue denim jeans standing beside brown wooden chairPhoto by Daria Pimkina on Unsplash
We weren't allowed to sit at my old job. That is ridiculous enough, but even more when you understand that our job didn't require us to walk, or stand for any particular reason. We weren't allowed to sit because a worker in the past once pushed two chairs together and took a nap. Luckily for him it was a glorious nap.
Winter Wonder Classroom
We couldn’t wear winter clothing in class—whether it was coats, gloves, hats. All the same. The thing was, even with the heat on, it got cold inside the school during the winter because we lived in a farm town in Wisconsin. So, we just had to freeze. They said it was because winter clothing was gang clothing. Again, this was a farm town in Wisconsin.
Dr. Pepper Takes On A New Meaning
No one was allowed to have nor say the word "Dr. Pepper" because it was the password to a shared Brazzers account that the administration found out about.
My Crazy Dad
If I was in the house, I had to be in the same room as my dad. This continued until high school. I couldn't be downstairs when he was upstairs. If he was downstairs, I had to be downstairs. If he was in the back room, I couldn't be in the front room for too long. I couldn't even nap for years (unless I was sick).
When I got a dog, I started going outside more (she was my best friend). We went everywhere together and I taught her lots of tricks and talked to her regularly. So, he also made a rule that I couldn't teach her any "tricks" if she wasn't going to listen to him when he "ordered her to do them." I also wasn't allowed to greet the dog before greeting him when I came back from school.
Still Using Floppy Discs
In the English class of my Junior year of high school, we had a paper that we needed to make look nice and spiffy, with pictures and such. Floppy disks were the only "school-approved" type of storage. My paper with the pictures didn't fit on the floppy disk. I didn't even have a floppy drive in my desktop at home at the time, so a USB flash drive or email were my only options.
Accessing your personal email from school is a bad idea, so I picked up a 128mb flash drive for about $50, and started using that. The school wasn't happy at all about me installing software on the heavily restricted computers, so I was suspended for three days—at least I scored well on the stupid paper.
Then I got mentioned during an assembly a few weeks later about how people are constantly trying to install software on the school computers to benefit them. The next year, USB flash drives were necessary, and the school made that very clear.
Word Traumaa stack of three towels sitting on top of a tablePhoto by Rinku Shemar on Unsplash
I used to work at a Frisch’s, and the manager there was a total witch. She would nitpick every little thing, but one thing in specific comes to mind. She would not allow anyone to call a hand towel a rag. She policed the usage of the term religiously and if you called a towel a rag, you better be ready to get chewed out.
Taking Video Games Seriously
We were told we could not place stuffed dolls (video game characters mostly) on top of our cubicles because it looks "unprofessional" and "people might be able to see them through the windows from outside." You would imagine that I work in a professional, corporate office. Nope. I work at a video game company.
In 2nd grade circa 1990, I had a teacher that looked like Tammy Faye Baker ask the class to raise their hands if they watched The Simpsons. I raised my hand because my parents were "with it" and I noticed about half did the same. What happened next still blows my mind to this day. She gave the declaration that those with your hands down receive extra credit and will for each week they don't watch that show.
She then went further, extending the extra credit to us watchers if we stopped watching. I told my mother and we didn't abide by it, but I'm sure a few kids did. No idea how she could prove this though to award the credit. But it was pretty much the most prime example in my life of anyone having a cow, man.
Painting The Unpaintable
For a brief point in my life, I was an apprentice in the union of operating engineers in Chicago. I had a temp job in an office building where I was supposed to repaint the equipment in the boiler room. Pipes and such, and even the concrete walls thereof. The building management wanted this and even had butt-ugly colors picked out.
The building engineers thought this was ridiculous, especially when I was told to paint even though there weren't any painting supplies or paint! To make it even worse, the corner of the ceiling had water leaking in, and apparently this happened long enough to erode the concrete and make it look like coral reef. How do you paint that when the water keeps flowing over it?
Walk This Way
I went to a junior high school with all the lockers in a big circular hallway that branched out to the rest of the school. There was a rule that you could only walk around the hallway counterclockwise. This was supposed to promote order and prevent bumping and jostling, or something like that. Good idea, right?
My locker was about 5 feet to the left of the hallway that led to my homeroom (clockwise direction). Nominally, I had to walk a full circuit of the center of the school each time I went to my locker, which I could have spat on from the first pass. I got busted for walking clockwise several times by the VP–the final straw was when I walked to my locker, backward, while holding eye contact with him.
I received a punishment and I had a meeting with the principal and my parents. The principal had a fun time explaining to my parents the rule that I had broken and even harder time convincing them of the need for further punishment. They asked me if I wanted to go to another school. Easy decision.
Not A Strong Enough Punishmenta person with a colorful dressPhoto by Iwaria Inc. on Unsplash
At my high school, a female assistant principal was literally pulling girls aside before they entered a dance in order to check what kind of underwear they were wearing. Apparently, she didn't want students wearing thongs. I don't know if it was an official rule or not, but I have to assume it wasn't. It made national news and the principal only got demoted to a teaching position.
Creeping The Facebook
I went to a private Christian school and they just recently introduced a new rule after I graduated. Now, everyone in 7th grade to 12th grade is required to "friend" at least two staff members on Facebook so they can basically keep tabs on you and whether or not you're bad-mouthing the school or any teachers.
If You’re Late, Don’t Come At All
In one of my college courses we are only allowed to be late three times without our grade being docked but allowed to miss class 6 times without our grade being docked. I'm notorious for being late, so I surpassed my 3 tardies quickly when my professor pulled me aside and told me that if I'm late again my grade will be docked—but I hadn't missed any classes yet.
So now, whenever I'm running late, I go and get a coffee instead, hang out, skip class, because overall that's better for my grade.
One In The Bush
I was in 2nd grade and when it came time for recess, we were all let out onto the playground field area. Well, being a dumb little kid, I didn’t realize that while on an hour-plus recess period I would have to pee. The school didn’t allow students back into the building at ALL while recess was going on. All the doors were locked and there wasn't a supervising teacher around.
Being the enterprising kid I went to the far edge of the field, found a bush, and urinated on it. Well some little witch told the teachers that I had peed on the playground (Technically true because the whole frigging field was the playground.) I was immediately marched to the principal’s office and she convened the school leadership to begin expulsion proceedings immediately.
That would have been the end of it except one little detail that they required my parents to be notified. My mom stormed into the room 10 minutes later and proceeded to yell at them about how stupid it was to not provide bathroom access to a child and then punish the child for finding a solution to the problem that wouldn't hurt anybody.
She took me home that day and we stopped for ice cream So I was happy. Shortly after this the no bathroom rule was rescinded and the principal was fired, presumably from stupidity.
Playing It Safe Against The Rules
In high school I drove a truck, a 4-door F-250. A big truck, but it wasn't raised or anything. So, one day apparently some students were hanging out in the parking lot during break (which is verboten, apparently) and they were hiding behind my truck. Now, I always back into spaces, it makes it much safer leaving the space so I don't accidentally crush someone in a little car who cannot seem to see reverse lights.
It was one of the rules that if I drove the truck to school, I had to back in. Now, the vice principal assumed that I did this so other students could hide behind my truck during break. He brought me into the office and forbade me from backing into parking spaces at school. I explained to him why I did it, and he dismissed it, telling me "I'd have to learn how to back out of spaces someday." Actual quote. He dismissed the idea that I was actually being safer to other students and cars by backing in.
Lunch Silencewoman in gray dress resting her hands on white tablePhoto by sean Kong on Unsplash
In middle school, we were allowed to talk for the first twenty minutes of our half-hour lunch, and then required to sit in absolute silence for the last ten minutes. I'm an adult now, and able to think logistically and objectively about rules that middle schoolers may get indignant about but may also be completely necessary…and I still can't figure out why that rule was in place.
During my junior year of high school, we had an assistant principal come into my math class to lecture the students on their behavior. I'll admit that the class did have behavioral issues, but myself and a handful of others weren't being problematic students. The assistant principal decided to ask everyone in the room to sign a piece of paper with a list of new rules that this class will be enforcing.
A great many of these rules were pretty ridiculous and threatening suspension for any rule violators. A few that I can still recall were: No leaving your seat under any circumstances without permission; No turning your head or breaking eye contact with the teacher; No talking to another student at any time without permission; Absolutely no speaking out in class without permission.
The entire time the assistant principal is reading off this list, I can't help but feel like I'm being unfairly punished because of the conduct problems of others. It felt to me like I was being drilled by a staff sergeant for something that I didn't do, forced to follow a ridiculously strict set of rules. Even though I really wanted to criticize this new regimen, I continued to hold my tongue.
Finally, the AP asks if anyone in the class disagrees with the new rules or feels as if they are overly harsh. Well, what do you say? Just as I had been hoping. Naturally, my hand shoots straight into the air, and I'm called on by the assistant principal. It's my time to shine—and it was amazing. I dramatically clear my throat and proceed to say:
"Please Mrs. _____, tell me if I'm reading all of this correctly...So, in the event that I needed to borrow a pencil from another student, I would first have to raise my hand to get the teacher's attention, then ask the teacher for permission to turn my head and speak with another student, and again that student would have to raise his hand and ask for permission to turn his head, next I would have to ask that student for permission to borrow his pencil, and after I would have to raise my hand and ask for the teacher's permission to sharpen said pencil…does that sound about right to you?"
The class, which had earlier been pretty somber, bursts into laughter. I'm told to immediately report to the principal's office for my statement, and I'm later suspended for two days because of it for "undermining authority."
Too Small A Slice!
Only use one square of toilet paper. You read that right! I always spent the summer with my dad and step-mom, and one year she decided I was using too much toilet paper when I peed. Her solution was to inform me to only use one square of toilet paper, and hung post-it notes in each bathroom directly in front of the toilet so I couldn't miss it.
I don’t know about most of you ladies, but one square just doesn't cut it. I prefer to be reasonably dry down there!
I was asked to always use the word "mustn't" instead of the word "no" around a friend's child. Their reasoning? They thought it would lessen the chances of their child defiantly asserting "no!" when she got older–the age of 2 seemed to foreshadow doom in their family. I was a teenager at the time and the couple were friends of my parents.
They admonished us if we used the word "no" while they were frequently objecting "mustn't!" when the child did something they didn't like. It looked as ridiculous as it sounds but my parents didn't say anything so I just tried to keep my distance. I still think about it to this day and can’t really believe it.
I used to work at Plato's Closet (which is a used clothing store for teens) and they treated us pretty badly. I always felt like I was being treated like a child who is bound to misbehave at any moment. It was the first job I managed to get after graduating from college, which made it so much worse when our manager tried to make us do homework.
One day our manager comes in and tells us that our sales have been lower than usual lately, and tells us to write a two-page essay about why, what our part in it is, and what we can do to fix it. (Note—this is for a job where we were all making minimum wage, no benefits, etc.) I was livid.
Sometimes, a person can be mature and intelligent and still have some thoughts or theories that are truly stupid. And sometimes, that person says something truly stupid out loud.
It usually makes for a funny memory.
When I was in middle school, a group of my friends were talking about a movie that had just come out and where it was filmed. One boy said it was filmed in New York. A girl's response made all of us cringe:
"That movie wasn't filmed in New York, it was filmed in Manhattan."
When someone told her Manhattan was in New York, she didn't believe it and insisted that was not true! Four years later, she graduated third in our class. Guess she eventually figured it out.
Redditors know people who have said truly dumb things out loud as well, and are eager to share.
It all started when Redditor A_Lice_in_Wonderland asked:
"What is the dumbest thing you've ever heard someone say?"
First Time For Everything
"“Well she never got pregnant before,” after his girlfriend got pregnant and after asking my friend why didn’t he use protection."
"I've never died before so I won't ever."
"Should’ve checked to see if there was a history of pregnancy in the family."
"I was microwaving some food, I hit the 1 so it would automatically cook it for a minute. My friend asked “Why did you put it in for a minute? I usually put mine in for 60 seconds”. I had to explain to him that it’s the same thing. We were in high school."
"I have a similar one. Had to explain to someone that 0:90 on the microwave was the same as 1:30. They kept insisting 1:30 was more, and that I was crazy."
Where Does Our Food Come From?
"That there's no difference between turkey and ham because "they both come from birds."
"I guess pigs really do fly in their world."
"I had a friend in college who asked me very seriously, "so if beef comes from cows, and pork comes from pigs, what animal does chicken come from?""
And When Does It Come Back?
"“How long does it take the meat to grow back on a cow when you shave it off?”"
"Average "Hay Day"-player."
"Making hamburgers is not an outpatient procedure."
This Is The Real World
"A new hire at the cotton mill that had dropped out of school to go to work:"
""How long do we get off for spring break?""
"Oh welcome to real life you poor child."
"This involves a conversation with a guy I used to work with who was trying to lose weight so he was cutting down on pasta."
"Him : I've been doing pretty good, haven't had pasta in 2 weeks."
"Me : That's awesome, what's that you got in your hand there?"
"Him : Mac and Cheese."
"Me : I thought you said you haven't had pasta in 2 weeks?"
"Him : I haven't, this is Mac and cheese."
Not How It Works
"If you drink a coke & then a diet coke, the sugar cancels out."
With Magic, Sure
"I was solving a Rubik's cube and a guy asked me how many sides it has and if I can make them all blue."
"Friend and his girlfriend were over. Watching some TV when an ad for an Anne Frank documentary comes on."
"GF: "oh, wasn't she like Hitler's daughter or something?" The room became very quiet for awhile."
"I guess it's "or something""
"A moment of silence for a dumb friend."
"The question right above this in my feed is: “Why’s a square called a square when it has six sides and eight corners?”"
"The sub was NoStupidQuestions"
"The premise of the sub has been disproven. Time to shut it down."
""Sir, that's called a cube.""
It Never Did
"“What year did this happen?”"
"We were watching The Lord of the Rings."
Not The Lakes
"I was in seventh grade history and the teacher asked a student which ocean Christopher Columbus crossed to get to America. She said she didn’t know and the teacher replied by asking “how many oceans can you name? It’s gonna be one of them.""
"The girl thinks for a moment and says “Lake Champlain… Lake Geo-""
"The teacher cut her off by saying “if it has the word lake in it, it’s probably not an ocean.”"
The Whole Country Does
"Was on the bus headed to class in Honolulu, a Southerner got on and asked the driver"
""Do y'all take American Dollars?""
"The driver pointed at the American flag sticker on the window and with extreme exasperation said"
""You're in America.""
"When I worked at Starbucks it was frequent question from customers to explain the difference between a hot and an iced drink…"
"I work at Starbucks, holy sh*t our customers are a different breed."
"I had one lady ask why her drink had so many small bits of ice in it when she wanted it blended."
"I have had more than one person ask for hot coffees but iced and vise versa."
"I've had people ask if cold brew was/could be made hot."
"The list with Starbucks customers goes on and on..."
"Can I get hot coffee cold? No I don’t want cold coffee! I want hot coffee but cold!"
"I heard a similar story about someone who had driven across border from the U.S. to Canada."
"To paraphrase: "They checked my ID and inspected my entire car! It was like I was entering a foreign country!""
Oh My Lord...
Do you have any similar experiences? Let us know in the comment below.
How can we make money by barely breaking a sweat?
Inquiring minds want to know.
If it's not about a career but just cashing a check, let's make it easy.
Nobody wants to work hard labor for nothing.
If it's for almost nothing, then I should be able to nap while I'm there.
Actually, there's a job that pay pretty well that let's you do exactly that!
Redditor Ubarberet wanted to hear about the jobs where we can collect a check for basically not working, so they asked:
"What job pays you to do literally nothing?"
I will be getting a pen and paper and writing down all of these suggestions.
More money, less work?
Night. Night.Donald Duck Sleeping GIFGiphy
"Professional sleeper. You’re hired by mattress and blanket companies to test their latest products before they go commercial."
"3rd shift security guard. Easiest s**t ever. Just don't get caught sleeping."
"What you're saying is if you want to rob a place, make sure it's during 3rd shift."
"The pros already know this. But scout your location cuz the grave guys aren’t the ones you want catching you."
"Think of it this way; dayshift security is like the crew of a cruise ship (more customer service oriented), graveshift are your old school privateers (pirates). Some have an eye patch, a limp, a penchant for violence, and you don’t want them catching you alone on the open water."
Not a bad gig...
"Knew a guy who worked at a general electronics place. He was a typical retail dude but got promoted to be a 'repairman' in the back. He got no extra training and was just told to do what he could and if he couldn't fix it then refer them elsewhere. He didn't know sh*t about repairs. He would be on his phone most of the day and when someone brought him a broken phone he'd try to turn it on, if it didn't work he handed it back. He spent most of his time on his phone in the back. Not a bad gig.
"I was the white guy for a company in South East Asia. I had no job responsibilities. Just turn up and sit at my desk and Reddit all day. Occasionally I’d put a suit on and go to the owner’s fancy meetings in restaurants, and not say a thing. Or turn up at some building project. I mostly took Xanax and slept on my desk or snuck over to the bar next door."
BoredBored Season 5 GIF by The OfficeGiphy
"My last job. technically I got to send faxes and open the mail, but that was an hour of work tops. It was mostly watching YouTube and being bored out of my mind."
People still send faxes?
I haven't seen a fax machine since the aughts.
AbysmalGIF by Young ThugGiphy
"Firefighter at a rural, but paid, department. Most of my day is napping or binge-watching stuff on my laptop. The pay is abysmal though."
"Security guard for a nonfamous rich person's house."
"Had an unofficial gig doing house sitting for a rich friend of a relative. Was paid decent money to live on the property, and walk around the land a couple of times a day. Dead quiet at night and a pretty big space with no one else, so I can't really say it was relaxing."
"A friend of mine is a 'concierge' in an up-market, small-build apartment block in a leafy suburb. He said the most he usually has to do is take in people's mail/parcel delivery or help older residents if they need to move furniture, etc. (and he said that in itself is quite rare). He mainly sits in a cushy office and listens to music/watches movies."
5 to 30 minutes of pretending...
"Professional white man. In China, I had a side gig to be a white guy at various places. I would just pretend to be working for a company when tours and investors came through. I guess a Chinese company looks more successful if there is a white person. Then there was the sitting on the stage looking important during inevitable presentations."
"No actual work, just 5 to 30 minutes of pretending during a workday. Other than that you do what you want. Just be well-groomed and well-dressed. Sometimes I was told to be on the phone pretending to be making an important deal. Got business cards and everything."
Get that bag, Nana...
"The last time I was at Walmart, there were old people sitting in chairs by the gardening exit, presumably to check receipts or stop shoplifters. But company policy is not to try to stop shoplifters, it is dangerous. So they were all just sitting in their chairs and playing on their phones. I was like, 'Get that bag, Nana. You... deserve to play Candy Crush on the billionaire dime!'"
Spooky SpooksGonna Die Black Metal GIF by KiszkiloszkiGiphy
"Graveyard security. 90% of the job is downtime, 9% is 'Move along, sir' and 1% 'HOLY F**KING S**T!!!'"
I don't care how boring, quiet or easy it is... I am not working ANY Graveyard shifts in a damn graveyard.
No thank you.
Everybody needs a win sometimes, and these hardworking lawyers hit the jackpot. From jaw-dropping courtroom revelations to jury plot twists, they finally got to say “case closed” in these triumphant moments. After all, it’s not every day that you get to pump your fist in front of a judge. Lie back and enjoy the victory.
Done And Busteda room with a desk and chairs in itPhoto by Robert Linder on Unsplash
I had a client who was accused of taking a young woman's car and then crashing it and fleeing the scene. The girl testified at trial that she had given him the keys that night because she had been drinking and she "would never, ever drink and drive." I just sat back and let her speak, because she didn’t know that I’d already won.
Apparently, she was not aware that I had requested and obtained a copy of her driving record, which showed she received a charge for exactly that—drinking and then driving—after the incident in question. I still remember the look on her face when I handed her the driving record and said, "Except for that one time you got caught a month later, right?"
The look on the judge's face was equally memorable.
A Bump In The Road
I was working as a paralegal. We were defending a claim that had run into tens of thousands of pounds against our client. It was a trailer park where a woman had tripped over a speed bump while walking back to her caravan, and damaged her knee. The fall was genuine. The question was whose fault this was. She claimed it was the trailer park’s fault because she hadn't seen the speed bump due to low lighting, poor marking etc.
Going through the various questions to her, our barrister asked how she knew the speed bump was poorly marked, or something similar. Her response was, "Well, I remember thinking how it wasn't well marked when I was walking up to it." Needless to say, it was a short day in court after that point. I mean, if she saw it in the first place…
Me, Myself, And I
During a deposition. It was a case where two former employees decided to start their own company in a VERY niche market, but decided to make their plans on company laptops they unsuccessfully tried to brick. Now, there isn’t anything specifically wrong about wanting to leave one company and start your own. The problem was how they did it.
They were trying to poach existing clients while still employed, which breached their fiduciary duty, particularly of loyalty. I believe we also went after them for intentional interference with contract, as they weren’t trying to solicit new clients for their business, but rather trying to get existing ones to break their contracts with our client.
Using the company laptop to try to do it just made it way easier to catch them…when the company IT guy found all the emails. Yep. These were not the smartest bulbs in the drawer—but at the deposition, they really let it all hang out. One of the defendants was the one being deposed. She said she “answered to a higher power than the company.”
When pressed on what that meant, she said “herself.” That got reused prominently at trial.
I was reviewing the transcript of an interview with a child. The child made incriminating statements against my client. At one point, when discussing the allegations, the child used an odd word, but I didn't think much of it. A few days later, I was watching a video of the child interacting with their grandmother, who hates my client, from about a week before that interview. That’s when it all became so clear.
The grandmother used the exact same odd word in the exact context the child later used it. At that moment, it became clear that the child had been coached. It was the first real "ah ha!" moment of my career.
A Total Trainwreck
I was sued for a car crash. While the plaintiff was on the stand, she began recounting the event, and everyone realized the stomach-dropping truth. It was a completely different crash. Different cars involved, different time of day, everything. Upon cross-examination, she revealed that she had FOUR lawsuits running concurrently and couldn’t keep them all straight.
The jury foreman looked at me and rolled his eyes! Her eventual payout from my insurance was a pittance, less than the initial settlement offer before the whole thing went to trial. Her lawyer was shaking with anger when court adjourned. He was one of those “we don’t get paid unless we get money for you” guys, so he lost a lot of money on that one.
Paper Trailperson writing on white paperPhoto by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash
I worked on a case involving defective processors. In discovery, we got emails from the defendant’s engineers who had worked on the processors. They were in an Asian country, but the emails were in English because they were going to US executives. As we read them over, one email’s contents absolutely sealed our victory.
One of the more senior engineers basically laid out the exact defect we were suing over, explaining what the problem was and why it was their fault, and finishing with: “This is a big problem, we ship JUNK to the customer!” Needless to say, we hit them over the head with that in mediation, and they settled shortly after.
Nickel And Dime
I represented myself in small claims court. My lease had an exit clause that said if I fronted two months’ rent, they would work to lease my place and return any money that was unused. I checked with the office ahead of time, and they ensured me there was a waiting list for the units, so I gave them the two months and moved. This turned out to be a huge mistake.
They never returned a dime. I talked to the new tenant and confirmed they moved in a week later. In court, the judge was commenting on how he didn’t see anything explicitly saying they would return any unused rent, even though that intent was stated to me a few times. Dumbo from the leasing office piped in with “Your honor, in almost every case we can return some money, but in this case we didn’t have a tenant in the two months after he left.”
So she gave the case back to me and I presented the affidavit from the new tenant confirming the move-in date. Judge awarded me double what they owed. Turns out leasing office dumbos 1 and 2 thought they could lie to me and “return” my excess rent money to themselves. Protect yourself, people! Landlords are jerks.
What’s In A Name?
My mom got pulled over in my dad’s truck. The officers wrote the ticket in my dad’s name. Well, my dad was at work an hour and a half away from where it occurred at the time. Judge threw it out pretty quick.
On The Record
It was my third month of practice, and I was in family law at the time. I was representing a mom in a petition for a restraining order against the boyfriend/dad. At issue in the broader case was child visitation, custody, support, etc., but today's hearing was just on the restraining order. We had pretty good facts but it was mostly based on the testimony of the parties.
My client was way more reputable as a witness, so I was feeling confident. 10 minutes before the hearing, my client shows up. I give her a last-minute prep on what to expect and then she says "I'm glad I'm going through with this. I can't deal with it anymore and he's just getting worse. To top it off, he left me a ranting voicemail on Saturday."
"You have your phone with you?" "Yes." We play the voicemail, and the recording shocked even me. It's a full two minutes of ex-boyfriend screaming stuff like, "I should have killed you when we were together," and, "You were always such a witch. I hope you burn in a fire." I didn't have time to ask her why the heck she hadn't said anything to me about the voicemail before the bailiff called our case.
We sit, and the judge asks if either side has additional evidence, and I ask for permission to play the voicemail. Ex-boyfriend, who didn't have an attorney, didn't object, so I played the whole nasty two-minute rant in open court. Judge goes, "We're going to take a brief recess before I issue my ruling. If the parties want to meet and confer in the hall, they are welcome to."
Boyfriend knew he was screwed. We settled the whole darn case then and there. My client got her wish list in terms of custody, supervised visitation, child support, plus the restraining order, to boot.
The Whole Truth And Nothing But The Truth
I’m a trial lawyer, so I have a ton of these. My favorite was probably a drink and drive case where the officer was in a Buffalo Wild Wing with my client watching a fight on TV. Like, the officer was standing at the bar in full uniform, then when my client walked by him to leave, followed him out. My client was only actually going to his car to grab his phone charger because he was going home with the bartender.
Like, he hadn’t even closed his tab yet. The officer detained him and charged him for opening his car door, then fabricated this story for his report about how the client got in the car, turned it on, and began to pull out of the space to leave the parking lot. He also denied being inside the restaurant—this was all on the stand, under oath, to my face. Well, he had a surprise in store.
I talked to the bartender and got the security tape. It very clearly—like surprisingly good quality—showed the officer standing at the bar, watching my client walk out the front door, then follow him 30 seconds later. The parking lot camera also showed my client barely touched the door handle before the officer stopped him. But the story doesn’t end there.
Eventually, the officer underwent an “internal review” where the board determined he hadn’t done anything wrong. A few months ago, he shot an unarmed man while on patrol. He also trains new officers now and tells young college girls he pulls over to call him “Tommy.” For what it’s worth, bad officers lie under oath ALL THE TIME.
This story is just fun because I got to prove him wrong and save my client from a conviction.
Lies Don’t Payman in gray notched lapel blazerPhoto by FILMon on Unsplash
A friend of mine was an attorney in New York for a while. He was defending a guy who was asleep in the backseat of his car while intoxicated and a NYS Trooper detained him. On the stand, the Trooper testified that he visually saw "the key in the ignition." My friend gave him like three chances to walk it back. "Are you sure, Trooper, that you actually saw the key IN the ignition?" The guy wouldn’t back down.
"Yes, counselor..." And then my buddy dropped the hammer. "You are aware that my client drives a Toyota Prius?" BAM. My buddy moved for immediate dismissal, and the DA didn't argue. Case dismissed. Nothing happened to the Trooper. As to WHY the Trooper did this? Promotions & Overtime. Imagine you're running the entire New York State of officers. You have about 5,000 Troopers—what metric do you use to gauge how effectively they're performing their tasks?
For the most part, Troopers ride alone. So Trooper #1 drives around all day on his shift and issues zero tickets. Trooper #2 manages to issue, say, five tickets a day and makes an arrest four times a month? You're going to assume that Trooper #2 is "doing his job." An "aggressive" officer is one who has a lot of tickets and so forth.
Also, court appearances are almost always on overtime. Officers’ unions are very specific about overtime pay rates and when they apply. If you're an "effective" Trooper and you write lots of tickets, you're going to be in court a LOT at 1.5 your hourly rate, sometimes 2.0 your hourly rate, depending. So it pays them to be like this.
Me And My Big Mouth
We had no evidence that the woman who slammed into my stopped car going 85mph wasn’t sober…until she indignantly admitted it on tape in her deposition. She busted into my deposition and demanded she go first because I was a “lying witch.” She then excitedly told my lawyer that the report was wrong because it said she was coming from the movie theater when she was actually coming from her friend’s bar.
“Did you have anything to drink at your friend's bar?” “Of course.” “How many drinks” “I dunno, they just keep my glass full.” “Did you take any medicine that day?” “Methadone and low blood pressure medicine.” “I see.” The officers had refused to breathalyzer her at the scene because her husband was a fire-fighter who they knew personally.
They told her to go home, sober up, and go to the hospital later. I heard the whole thing but had no proof until she handed it to me. They settled same day.
Justice Is Served
I once had an illegal immigrant client in for not paying his child support, and he was beyond difficult to work with in any capacity. I'm talking, whomever he spoke to from my office, he would demand their phone number, current address, and social security number because he thought he was entitled to it since we're government employees.
He also was just not a fun guy to talk to and was just straight up rude to everyone. So these types of things rarely go to trial and usually, people don't even serve any time as long as they work with us, but not this guy. He was uncooperative the whole pre-trial process and refused to show up to anything unless there was a threat of warrant.
It gets to the day of the trial and he starts giving the judge heck over every little thing, demanding her SIN, address, and phone number, and claiming some weird straw man argument. He cited unrelated contract and business laws (again this is child support), but what finally did it was he called the judge a "stick up the butt witch."
He was promptly found guilty and sentenced to the max time. I literally did nothing but read his payment history, cited how much he was behind, and sat back to watch this guy argue himself into serving six months. It was pretty satisfying seeing him escorted out of the courtroom in handcuffs. Not exactly a strict win for me, but…still a win, to be honest.
V For Vendetta
I’m not a lawyer, but I am a very observant girlfriend. My boyfriend’s car was involved in an accident. He was parked in an area where, during certain hours, you were not permitted to park as it would block semis from being able to maneuver to deliver goods to a steel plant. A girl backed her vehicle into the driver’s side door of his Ford Fusion.
The authorities were called for insurance purposes, and my boyfriend states that it appeared the officer and the girl knew each other, as they were on a first-name basis. He received a parking ticket. It took forever for the insurance companies to sort it out because she didn’t think she was at fault because he was parked illegally.
However, that doesn’t matter to the case. If you hit someone’s car, you’re not going to get off scot-free, so she ended up having to pay for his deductible. And this is where the nightmare began. The local PD, who obviously did know the girl, started straight-up harassing us. My boyfriend received a piece of mail from our magistrate stating he failed to pay a parking ticket.
He was just going to pay it. I looked over the paperwork, though, and found that the vehicle they identified was traded in before the ticket was issued. The ticket indicated a white Toyota Tundra, but the license plate block was not filed out. It was signed, but you could not make out the badge number. We had traded his Toyota Tundra in for a Ford Fusion in December.
The ticket was written in February of the following year. I was furious. So I gather all the evidence for him, and he went before the magistrate. The officer testified that he saw a white Toyota Tundra illegally parked at a certain location that had a parking time restriction and that it was owned by my boyfriend when he ran the tags.
I should note that my boyfriend had had several parking tickets while he owned the Toyota Tundra. That’s our guess on how he got just enough info to write the ticket. My boyfriend presented his evidence and the judge dismissed the case. The judge was heard saying to the officer that he would like to speak to him afterward, and he chastised him for wasting the court’s time. The officer later told my boyfriend that if he had contacted him, they could have “taken care of it” outside of getting the magistrate involved.
Needless to say, we haven’t had an issue since.
I tried to sell my home myself, and the buyers wanted a term period for the land contract before getting their own mortgage. I agreed to one year, had a simple contract drawn up and after we both signed it everything seemed fine. I didn’t know how wrong I was. Within 30 days, they present me with their own land contract that was pages long to "protect their investment."
At about page three, it very clearly stated that, "If for any reason the home burns down, purchaser will receive all insurance proceeds." First, I still had a mortgage, and the proceeds would go to pay that off. Second, that's a pretty targeted thing to say. Not lawyers’ terms of the house being destroyed, and it's surrounded by woods and waterways, just "if it burnt down." But it got worse.
Page four stated that this would remain a land contract until my mortgage was paid in full, so they'd never buy outright. I returned it to them with a letter stating those two things were never happening and I wasn't signing. They stopped paying, so I began eviction. Six months later, the lawyer I hired was an idiot, so I'm sitting down with their lawyer myself.
He brings out the contract they'd tried giving me and began talking about their iron-clad case due to the agreement. I asked him one simple question to absolutely ruin him. I asked him to show me my signature. The look on his face when he realized it wasn't there, oh man. After we talked, it turned out he knew them and wrote the contract—without the burn-the-house down stipulation; It seems they added it.
Not only did I "win," I'm pretty sure they lost a lawyer friend.
Done Dirtya woman in a black suitPhoto by Nussbaum Law on Unsplash
I was a volunteer family advocate. I worked with families who were falsely accused of child mistreatment. Part of that job was going to court with them. One day, I was contacted by a family whose children were in foster care because of parental substance use. Except the family claimed that they didn't use, but that no one would believe them.
They had a court-appointed attorney who did nothing but tell them to stop using. I honestly didn't believe them, since I was pretty jaded at the time. Still, I told them to request their case file so that I could review it myself. I was surprised when they called me back and had the case file. I met with them and went through everything.
I noticed the claims of substance use, and court findings of substance use, but there was one huge thing missing. There were no test results in their paperwork at all. I told them to ask for the results. Long story short, the caseworker wouldn't give them the actual results, and the lab wouldn't either. Well, that’s alarming.
So, I tested them myself at a different lab. They tested clean. Color me shocked. There were four months to go until the next court date. Every time the court-tested them, they went right after to the other lab and did a second test. All clean. I told them to tell the lawyer beforehand that if the courts claimed any dirty tests, to ask in court for the test results.
Their lawyer didn't want to. I was starting to get mad. So, on the day of court, I had a stack of clean test results in my bag. The lawyer wouldn't even look at them, and he was openly hostile to my presence and involvement. Court starts. For what it’s worth, I had been in this judge's courtroom before with other families. It wasn’t my first rodeo.
The child protection services supervisor stands up and says that the parents have had 12 dirty screens in the past six months. At this point, the lawyer actually did ask her for the results. Her answer made my blood boil. She said she didn't have them with her. Like, really? Well, obviously at this point I knew exactly what to do.
I got my own results out of my bag and handed them to the mom, who was next to the lawyer. She tried to get him to take them, but he ignored her. I got so agitated that the judge said, "Mrs. Baez looks like she's about to have a stroke. What's going on?" I stood up and explained that we had clean tests taken immediately after the mandated ones that Child Services claimed were dirty.
I briefly explained that the parents had tried getting copies of their results and had been refused, and refused continually. I said that the parents had consistently denied ever using substances and had clean tests to prove it. The judge ordered Child Services to provide copies of all the test results at a hearing in a week. When it finally happened, I was so vindicated.
At that hearing, the case was closed and the children were released from foster care. The family never got an apology from anyone, but they were too traumatized to pursue it. They packed up and moved away within a month.
A Slippery Slope
The plaintiff was being deposed in the lawsuit she filed alleging gender discrimination and harassment. She was claiming her boss had made some inappropriate innuendos and overtures. The defense attorney asked her if when the alleged statements or events took place, was she shocked? “No.” Was she offended? “No.” Was she damaged in any way? “No.”
“So why exactly are we here?” “Well, honestly, I’d rather not be.” Meanwhile, her attorney stared straight down, scribbling notes and doodling. We ended the deposition there and asked her attorney if this was going away now. We got a call later offering to settle for $1,000 and a letter of apology. My best guess is that she was pressured by a friend or family to talk to an attorney, and the lawyers ran with it without really talking to their client.
The Wrong Place, The Right Time
I was prosecuting a convenience store owner for luring a young girl, who regularly came into the store, back to a part of the store to grope, fondle, and kiss her. However, it was the only section of the store without surveillance camera coverage. They were in the backroom for about two minutes and 17 seconds, per the time stamp on the videos.
Of the many arguments the defense put on, one was that there was no way there was enough time for anything to happen. I knew just how to shut this down. In my rebuttal on closing, I asked the jury to imagine what could happen in the room in that amount of time, and I asked them to all close their eyes while I timed out 2 minutes and 17 seconds on my watch, in silence.
After about 60 seconds, two of the jurors started crying. Knew it was going to be guilty right then.
A Friend In Need
My client was riding his motorcycle on a relatively calm street when this guy exited his garage, without looking, and ran over him. In the deposition, the guy brought a witness who was with him at the time in the passenger seat. The whole time, the witness maintained that my client was driving too fast and that there was no time to brake the car.
I asked him the same question a few times in different ways, making him tell the story again. In the fourth telling, he was already a bit frustrated and let it slip: “—Look, I’ve already told you. We were exiting the garage and, as soon as I sat up from getting my cell phone from the car’s carpet—” “—Wait. So you didn’t even see the crash?”
There was no coming back from that.
A Dog Eat Dog World
I filed the lawsuit in January. We exchanged "discovery" over the next few months, and I filed a motion for summary judgment, meaning I'm asking the court to let me win the case without a jury because the case is so obvious. Right before I file this motion, I figure, let's review the discovery materials and see if there's anything I missed.
And what do you know, the other side made a massive mistake on literally just the fourth out of 100+ questions that I asked. It's a dog bite case, and every single time I asked about the bite, the response says something along the lines of, "We admit to this and that, but we deny that our dog was involved in any dog attack." Just one moment won me the whole case.
Question 4 asks whether they admit that their dog was not leashed on the day it bit my client, and they simply answer, "Admit." Meaning, they admit their dog was not leashed, AND they admit that their dog was the one that bit my client. That was the ONE thing that was genuinely in dispute. They tried to argue at the hearing that it was a mistake and they only meant to admit to the lack of a leash.
Nonetheless, the judge held them to their word, most likely because the other evidence made it clear it could only have been their dog, anyway.
Cuts Like A Knifeman wearing police uniform selective focus photoPhoto by Fred Moon on Unsplash
I knew that officers had beat up my client and framed him. They described a knife in his possession that “caused them to fear for their safety.” Oddly, they never seized it. We won the court case and then filed a civil rights case. While deposing an officer, he described the knife in detail. No more than three minutes later, he slipped up and claimed his partner told him my guy had a knife, but he never saw it himself.
I told him, “That’s not what you just said,” and saw him panic. His lawyer panicked too and asked to see me outside. When we got in the hallway, I withdrew my settlement demand, and the case settled for a substantially larger amount within 45 minutes.
This was a custody case I was prosecuting. The dad went on about how he has changed his life around and worked through the AA program. I asked him what step he was on, and he proudly proclaimed, “Three.” I then asked him what step three is, and he had no idea. I then asked him what step two was. Again, no idea. Parental rights terminated.
What Lies Beneath
At a restraining order trial, it was essentially my client's word versus his, regarding an assault. He did a good job dressing up and acting very appropriate during most of his testimony. But in an instant, his perfect façade fell apart and revealed evil. He was asked a series of open-ended questions, and you could see him getting tenser.
He then said something to the effect of, "That freaking witch coming up on me. What was I supposed to do?” As soon as he said, it a look came over his face and the judge's face, and everyone knew the ruse of the respectable young gentleman had failed. I won.
Nothing But Net Profits
We were in a five-week jury trial on a civil case. Big business dispute. About 15 witnesses later, the plaintiffs call their last witness, their damages expert. The guy talks about his damage analysis, which was about the lost profits my clients allegedly caused this company. The whole time, the guy has a PowerPoint slide up, which shows his damages figures.
But as lawyers know, it’s just an aid for the jury and not actual evidence. The examination comes and goes, and the plaintiff passes the witness to us. I look at my boss. He looks at me. We know something he doesn’t know. The witness literally never read his damages number into the record. There was no admissible evidence, because even though he showed the number on the screen, he never said the number, nor admitted it into evidence.
We didn’t ask the damage expert a single question. Plaintiff rests. We move for a directed verdict, asking the court to rule as a matter of law when there is no evidence, that they had submitted no evidence of any monetary damages. We won. It was more than $10 million. Simply because he didn’t read the number. That was it.
The Letter Of The Law
I was the client in this case. In my divorce trial, my ex-wife has spent about two hours explaining to the court what a jerk I was and all the horrible things I had done to her and my children, claiming that I was unfit to be a parent. Two solid hours...Lie upon lie. Just six months earlier? My wife had snuck into my house—she's the one who moved out—and went on my computer to type me a love letter.
"Oh, you're so wonderful! You're such an amazing father, a great provider, and a great husband! You've done so much for the community. Please don't leave me!!! " That's the gist of it. Well, she didn't print it or sign, it was just a file on my computer left on the screen for me to find. So our challenge, after all her testimony to the contrary, was to get her to admit she wrote this letter. I told my attorney—ask her! She won't be able to lie if she's sworn in.
Plus, I thought she was going to feel incredibly guilty about all these lies. So...he handed her a printout. He had one too. He started reading it, then he asked her to continue the reading. She started to cry. He asked her, “Do you remember writing this letter?” Her face was shriveling. She looked at her attorney and said, "I'm sorry Sandy.” This is what actually did her in.
Then she looked at the courtroom and said "Yes, I wrote this." There was silence for a few moments. Then the judge said, "Attorneys—in my chambers! Now!" My attorney told me later: "The judge understood that when your wife said, 'I'm sorry Sandy,' that meant that her attorney was aware this letter MIGHT be brought up and that she had instructed her client to lie."
The judge was F U R I O U S. Back in the courtroom, my attorney went down the list lie by lie. Did he really do this? Did he really do that? When you say he was doing this, wasn't it really that? Etc. Then he had her read the entire letter again. After that, my divorce went from me being 1/2 inch away from losing all custody to getting full custody. Made for TV or what?
Do You Even Lift, Bro?person holding silver iphone 6Photo by Solen Feyissa on Unsplash
This was a good one. The plaintiff was saying he couldn’t work and had back injuries after a minor car accident. I found a video on Facebook of the plaintiff squatting 300 pounds the month before his deposition. So, I sent the video to his attorney after the deposition, and the case immediately went away. He also adamantly denied being able to work out or doing any lifting during his deposition. It was all a big lie.
My husband was in the middle of a paternity case once defending himself. His ex was trying to take basically full custody of their son and only give him visitation two days a month. Her reasoning was that he wasn’t involved, didn’t go to doctor appointments, didn’t take the kid to school, etc. My husband asked her, “When was the last time you told me about his doctor appointment?”
She thought for a second and said, “Never.” He asked, “Would you have let me take him to school if I had asked?” Again she thought for a second and said, “No.” Needless to say, they got 50/50 time-sharing with joint custody. They were not married when the kid was born, and where we live that means the dad has zero rights.
His ex didn’t want him to be involved because she hates him, so he was forced to take her to court just to be able to take his son to the doctor and to school. If he had simply done those things in the past she would not have let him, and he had no rights. He once kept his son past what she told him he could, and she threatened to call the authorities and report him for kidnapping.
Oops, My Bad
My girlfriend had a very minor nose-to-tail and a rookie officer who happened to drive by booked her on some massive charges and fines. She went to trial, and her lawyer tore apart the officer. In the report he filed, the officer ticked her ethnicity as African—she's white and European. He also put the wrong date, the wrong street name, and didn't get the other witness details.
The prosecution and officer argued that she had signed the witness statement, so while a few things were accidentally filled out wrong, it reflected what happened. Her lawyer asked the officer to show the court her signature on the statement. He looked at it and went white as a sheet. He looked back up and said, “Oh, I must have forgot it.”
The prosecutor and a few officers who went to the trial for some reason all let out audible groans. The judge adjourned for 10 minutes, and the officers still wanted to press on, but the judge threw it out immediately after recess. He also gave the prosecutor an earful for taking such a ridiculous case to trial and acting like it had any chance at all.
We had some huge issues with a landlord—trying to enter without letting us know beforehand, not answering to fix issues, very aggressive when talking with us—when he decided to sell the place. He didn't check with us about the visits and just showed up randomly with potential buyers. We told him to get lost, and he eventually left but called us the same evening to threaten us.
We sent emails to remind him of our rights as tenants and he answered by threatening us some more, IN AN EMAIL. We eventually end up in small claims court, and he fabricates a story about how we are terrible tenants and we try to discourage buyers. We just showed the judge the emails as well as the open complaint to the authorities we filled a few days earlier.
The judge couldn't believe it and gave the landlord a formal warning, plus gave us three free months of rent. In the end, the guy just used a real estate company to sell the place. All went smoothly and we still live there with lovely landlords that aren't completely bonkers.
Think Before You Speak
I watched my lawyer have this moment last time we were in court. My ex mistreated my kid, so I withheld visitation and hired a lawyer. I offered supervised visitation with a plan to integrate regular visitation once he completed anger management and parenting classes as well as had six months clean of all substances. I thought this was reasonable.
When he was on the stand, he mentioned that he had been taking prescription medications for 10 years. This was supposed to illustrate that he’s been on meds for a decade and never had a problem being a “good” dad. My lawyer asked what medications, and he listed off a bunch: medications like methadone, Klonopin, Vicodin, OxyContin etc.
She asked why he began taking those particular medications. His reply dug his grave. He said, “Well, I messed up my back last year riding my quad.” She asked him to repeat himself. He said it again. The look on her face was amazing. She said, “So, you’ve been taking large amounts of medications for 10 years?” He said yes. She said, “10 years of major medications due to an injury that happened two years ago?” Done.
Not Very Sportsmanlikeman in green 5 American football jersey holding ballPhoto by Keith Johnston on Unsplash
When I practiced insurance defense, I was handed a file to take over of a slip and fall. The guy tripped on a hose and tore his ACL. My partner had taken the guy’s deposition already, so I read the transcript. It took me only a few lines in to know we’d won. I'm a Michigan football fan, and I’ve watched every game for 20 years.
This guy testified that he was the starting safety for a certain rival for certain years. Also that he graduated with a double major that doesn't exist at that school. I immediately knew this was false. My partner didn't understand. I dug deeper, and found out he lied about so much stuff unrelated to the fall for no reason.
Eventually, I found high school records from football injuries of head trauma, knee injuries, oh and a slip and fall injury a few months after ours. He also testified he rehabbed an ACL surgery after one month. We immediately settled.
The Proof Is In The Payment
I represented an elderly Indian couple who didn't speak English very well and owned a rental property. They had a tenant at the time who had not paid rent in over six months. They had tried to evict her on their own, but when they got to court, the tenant produced some hand-written notes that they had given her the year prior thanking her for payment.
Sadly, they had failed to date the notes. So of course, the tenant added recent dates herself. The tenant also produced a partial certified check receipt, but most of it was illegible. Anyway, because of their poor English, they had difficulty understanding the questions and giving intelligent answers, so they lost the initial case.
They hired me to help address all of the various lies that the tenant was putting forth. Anyway, we re-filed. I had my clients pull the banking records, so we could show the date that the certified check was actually deposited into their account. The plan was simple: Let the tenant make the same arguments and then present the banking statements showing the deposit date. My clients also found a photocopy of one of their notes that was undated, unlike the copy the tenant presented the last time.
Well, when the judge finally understood that the things the tenant had presented occurred the year before, his cheeks turned bright red and he asked the tenant, "What year did you make this payment?" The tenant started saying something like she couldn't be exactly sure when...and the judge cut her off again in a very loud voice and said, "What year?!"
Needless to say, the clients got their eviction granted. But here’s the best part. When the tenant arrived at court, I watched as she got out of her car, walked to the back, and pulled out a wheelchair. She then proceeded to stay in that wheelchair until the case was over. Once the judge left the courtroom, she folded-up the wheelchair and carried it to her car, mumbling that she "hates lawyers."
That was a very satisfying day.
Walk A Mile In His Shoes
I got robbed in my home. Long story short, he would have gone behind bars anyway, but the kicker is that the shoes he wore to court were the same shoes he took from my house. The judge asked if I wanted them back. I said yes. The judge made him take them off in court and walk back in socks. Donated the shoes, it was more about the principle.
Bare With Me
I had a ton of these when I used to do Family Law. Once, my client's husband was alleging that she had been high and in her birthday suit in public. As I'm crossing him, I get him to admit that she was in fact changing out of her bathing suit at the beach and covered by a towel at all times. But it was his exact words that were so unforgettable.
He says: "Well, she was naked...under the towel." I come back with: "Just like you're naked under your clothes right now?" Even the judge chuckled.
The Invisible Man
I had a client charged with battery. The alleged victim didn’t really support the prosecution’s case, and in any event, was reluctant to testify. They still had another witness though, and she said that my client was hitting the alleged victim, so it wasn’t looking great for me, to be perfectly honest with you. But then it all changed in an instant.
The prosecutor and I were talking before court started, hanging out by the courtroom doors, when the witness walked in. She looked right at my client, who was sitting not five feet from me, then scanned the room and said, “Where is [client name]?” The prosecutor and I looked at each other for a minute, and then he said he needed to check on something.
When I saw him a few minutes later, he told me he was dismissing the case.
Mistaken Identityman in black shirt sitting beside woman in white shirtPhoto by Saúl Bucio on Unsplash
When the petitioner’s attorney called me my brother’s name when I was on the stand. My brother is a jerk and I don’t associate with him anymore. However, he has a lengthy, sordid history and it pops up on traffic stops occasionally. So I was in court over custody of my oldest child, and her mom’s attorney was trying to paint me as a hypocrite for being an addict.
I (truthfully) denied it all on the stand, when the lawyer said, "Now James, I must remind you that you are under oath, and by denying this, you are committing perjury." I stared him in the face and said, "My name is Bill, James is my brother." Even the judge laughed at him, and the only reason we didn't bring it up sooner—we knew he submitted it as evidence but had no idea why—was because I really wanted to know what he was up to with it all.
Let’s Go To The Tape
I got into a car accident after another driver crashed into my car. The driver was such a jerk, talking tough, blaming me, saying that he knew a bunch of lawyers, and here's the kicker—he threatened that he was going to take me to court. I'm a laid back dude in contrast, and I was cordial to him. We went to the station and made our statements to the traffic investigator.
I didn't have a dashcam at the time, but a day later I got a copy of the CCTV footage that was looking directly at the scene of the accident. I showed the investigator the video, and he was absolutely stunned by how wrong the other guy was. At that point, I told the investigator the truth: I was an attorney, and I'd decide if I wanted to take the matter to court.
The following day, I got a call from the guy who hit me. Apparently, he said he also saw the CCTV footage, and he had called to settle things. I was just shocked because this dude who was previously Mr. Alpha Male did a total 180 and was suddenly polite and respectful. Amazing what an impact video has, especially when you’re at fault.
I Regret My Actions
My grandfather was a small-town Georgia lawyer, and he told of a time he was representing an insurance company in a civil suit after a car accident. The plaintiff claimed to have received “whupneck” from the accident, supposedly caused by my grandfather’s client. Pop asked him what exactly he meant by “whupneck.”
The plaintiff, wearing a neck brace, proceeded to answer: “It’s when you can’t move your head like this” and then he shook his head back and forth. The judge promptly dismissed the case.
The Five Finger Discount
I was a witness on this one. It was a shoplifting case. During cross, the examiner asks the accused—based on his testimony during his detainment—“you listed [place he shoplifted] as your employer. Why?” His response: “I make so much from them every year, they might as well pay me.” The public defender just about collapsed.
I’ve got a good one. When I was interning at the court for a judge, I observed a pre-trial hearing for a murder case. The defendant allegedly slew his grandmother because she wouldn’t give him money, then stuffed her in a closet. Horrifying stuff. During the hearing, the defendant’s lawyer, prosecutor, and judge went through some typical procedures.
Then the judge asked the defendant if he had anything to add. The defendant smugly said, “Yes, actually, I don’t think I’m mentally fit to stand trial according to article X.” The judge let him finish, then looked him straight in the eye and said: “The fact that you just told me this shows me you’re perfectly fit to stand trial.” Better luck next time.
This One’s Going In The Burn Bookperson holding black samsung android smartphonePhoto by Solen Feyissa on Unsplash
I was an attorney for an insurance company defending a lawsuit where the plaintiffs were two girls who claimed they were irreparably harmed and their lives would never be the same because severe back injuries kept them from being active. There was just one problem. They forgot to set their Instagram accounts to private.
As it turned out, the accounts were full of pictures of them riding jet skis, dancing, and pictures of them at the gym. The underage drinking pictures were just icing on the cake.
A gas station chain had one of their station’s gas tanks leak and pollute a church playground. They then tried to say they weren't liable because the pollution didn't start seeping up through the ground until years after it happened. Yeah, swing and a miss on that one, boys.
Mother Doesn’t Know Best
It was day two of a child custody modification trial. The opposition and her attorney were and are crazy. Their allegations were so weak that I told my guy, “Screw it. Let’s go for custody ourselves.” I’m cross-examining mom about her proposed custody plan for dad in some detail and I ask her, “Would you accept this for yourself?”
She snaps back, “Absolutely not!” I ask, “Why not?” “Because I’m a MOTHER.” To his credit, my guy kept a straight face the entire trial and never once got angry. Her petition was denied outright. Ours was accepted by the court. If the mom or her lawyer hadn’t been such pains to deal with, my guy probably would have agreed to some small reductions in his custody just to keep the peace.
Instead, the judge gave us nearly everything we asked for.
Don’t Believe Your Eyes
This was actually fairly recent. I was in a deposition of a fact witness to a fatal automobile accident. The defendant’s attorney had called the deposition, and over the course of an hour and a half or so, elicited a lot of testimony that seemed to place my client (the slain man) partially at fault, which would impact the money the family got.
After sitting quietly for an hour and a half, I asked fewer than a dozen questions. The last of which was about the specific location of my client when he had first seen them. Based on the witness’s answer, it was clear that my client couldn’t possibly be at fault. I sent a follow-up letter that same day and the case was settled within the next two weeks.
Power To The People
I’ve been up against plenty of lawyers as a union chief steward. Years ago, we had an arbitration related to healthcare costs. The company spent the better part of a year trying to break us from pursuing the case. The day had come for our arbitration. The lawyer we were up against was actually Paul Newman's nephew, if you’ll believe it.
Anyway, it was my turn to take the stand. His first question to me was presenting the grievance as evidence and asking me what step it said it was on at the top of the page. Our grievance process is a two-step system, progressing to arbitration if it's not settled. So I said, "Second step." Then he smugly asks, "And where is the first step?" To which I replied, "The first step is a verbal discussion. It goes into writing at the second step." He looked hurt, but persevered anyway. He had no clue what I was about to do to him.
A few more questions in, he asked, "If the entire company got base level insurance, instead of a premium option, that would satisfy the contract?" He was hoping I would argue that the base level insurance wasn't sufficient, because he was trying to paint the picture that we were just trying to get premium insurance at a base level price.
I responded with "Yes." He looked dumbfounded. Asked me, "Yes?" I said again "Yes, that would satisfy the language in the contract." He kind of looked at his other papers he was going to submit as evidence, then muttered, "No further questions." I knew at that moment that they had brought no real arguments to the table.
We got our answer from the arbitrator six weeks later, during a contract negotiations meeting. It was insanely satisfying watching them read the email during one of the sessions, and the immediate shift in demeanor from their side of the table. They got real quiet. We were awarded 100% of the arbitration. Full back pay for all employees who were being overcharged, and reduced rate for the premium insurance.
The Ringerboy kissing her daughterPhoto by Limor Zellermayer on Unsplash
I sort of have an opposite story, in that the lawyer knew when he lost one. When I was about four years old, I was ill one day and the only option my parents had to take care of me was for my dad to take me to work with him. My dad was an attorney, so it just so happened that work was the courthouse where he was arguing a case that day.
My dad knew the judge and I was allowed to lay down on a bench during arguments from the two attorneys present, my dad and opposing counsel. I was a pretty well-behaved kid I guess and was quiet, and just sort of laid down on the bench and stayed silent. I have vague memories of the incident, but nothing really defined.
As my dad tells the story, the judge grew “bored” at one point, looked over to me, waved and gave me a smile, and commented on how well behaved I’d been during all of this. Dad said it was at that moment the opposing counsel knew he’d lost the argument and subsequently the case. Dad joked about needing to take me to court more often.
Friends In High Places
I got a hidden shout out from a federal judge in a ruling that I consider to be one of the high points of my career. Here’s what happened. Before a hearing for an emergency injunction, I was watching the hearing before mine. At the end of that hearing, the judge accidentally used a pun, and could not stop laughing. She was literally crying.
I decided at that moment I was going to intentionally use a pun in my hearing. I did—I accused the opposition of engaging in a “shell game” by diverting some federal funds to an egg industry trade group. The judge called me on it, but laughed heartily. My client won. A major newspaper reporting on the case said the judge “winced” at my puns but agreed with my arguments. False!
When the written ruling was issued, the last sentence said that an injunction was issued for protection against “any plans they may be hatching.” Undeniable shout-out.
A Mother’s Love
Not mine, but my mom’s story. She was fighting for custody on behalf of the father, trying to prove that the kids were living in subpar conditions with their addict mother in spite of the ample child support he had provided. It was a tough case because courts are so hesitant to pull kids away from their moms, and they have the upper hand.
Then the mom burst out that she had been feeding the kids cat food as proof that she wouldn’t let them starve. Needless to say, the judge didn’t take that as a good reason for the kids to stay with their mom.
I took my old landlord to court when I was in college. She had taken my security deposit over false allegations: They claimed I "trashed" the place, not knowing that I took pictures and video when I moved in and out. Their "evidence" was a VHS quality recording of going through a perfectly clean apartment in better condition than it was when I moved in. Oh, but it got better.
They opened up the top of the stove and found a single piece of elbow macaroni under it, holding it up triumphantly. That was the crux of their "defense." The judge was not amused, and I got all my money back plus my lawyer fees and the filing fee. She then fought against her own lawyer to avoid paying him like she should have.
Money Back Guaranteed
Years ago, I had to do something at an outlet mall in a bad part of town. It took me about 20 minutes and then I found that my car had been towed. Ubered to the tow yard, and the giant sign says “cash only.” Had to call another Uber, drive to the ATM and back, and pay them $300-some bucks. Got a horrible hand-written receipt that, believe it or not, was itemized.
I went home, Googled, found that they violated the law in three separate ways: They towed illegally, illegally refused to accept credit cards, and had multiple charges that the law called “unreasonable.” So I got my revenge. I took them to small claims court. The judge began by asking the tow yard owner about his relationship with the property owner and how the decision was made to tow my car.
"Oh," the slimy tow truck dude answered, "My cousin works there, if he says tow, I tow. It's a hundred percent fine!” The judge's eyebrows begin to rise. "But," the dude continued, "BUT what I detest the most, your honor, is this JERK claiming I don't take credit cards. I'm a businessman! I take credit cards all the time! He's a low life who does not have any credit cards, that's why he wanted to pay cash!"
I was having a "HOLD IT" overload, and the judge saw me smiling and hopping in my seat and patting my manila folder of receipts. "Do you actually not have any credit or debit cards?" the judge asked me. I pulled out my wallet and showed him, and then I pulled out the clincher. It was a time-stamped photo of the "CASH ONLY" sign I took the day of, and another one I took the morning of the hearing.
The guy mumbled something like, "Okay, you got me there" and then had nothing but, "Huh, I didn't know that" when the judge asked him about the legality of each unreasonable itemized charge. Anyway, each violation pays double the total tow charge, and since there were three, that's how I made $1,800 on a $300 investment.