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People Explain Which Stranger They Remember To This Day

People Explain Which Stranger They Remember To This Day

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/ Contributor via Getty Images

We run into thousands of strangers throughout our lifetimes.

We obviously don't remember all of them, but some people seem to go out of their way to make sure you never forget about them. First impressions really are everything!

Reddiot u/scutu_ wanted to hear stories about over the top meetings with strangers, and asked, "Who is one stranger you remember to this day?"

10. This kind classmate

"My sophomore year in college I would always see this older man on my walk to my math class he always went out of his way to said good morning and ask how I was doing that day. We never exchanged names just two people checking in on each other."


9. He was just doing him!

"I was waiting at the subway station when I hear a man approaching, bopping his body as he sang 'Watch me do me... Watch me do me...' After exchanging pleasantries he looks to the gloves I was wearing. He proceeds to take one off my hand saying 'ooh wow those are nice gloves! Are those suede?'. He takes the glove to his face and takes a deep sniffing inhale, gives it back saying 'yeahhh that's suede. Nice nice.'

He then looks over my shoulder toward the station security guard, takes a small step to the right so I'd block him from view and pulls a bottle of vodka from his jacket. With the biggest grin on his face takes a huge pull and again bops off into the night singing 'watch me do me... Watch me do me...'

10/10 would watch him do him again"


8. Muffin is a perfect name

"I was waiting for my mom to finish the paperwork to adopt my first dog when I was 4. I looked at a random lady in the waiting area and told her I was going to have a puppy and pointed at the dog. She said 'what will you name her?' I told her I didn't know. She said 'well she's very fluffy, hm, a muffin is fluffy. Why don't you name her muffin?' I smiled at her and walked away to tell my mom. I had my dog Muffin until I was 17 and I'll never forget the nice lady who gave me her name."


7. This woman comforted a stranger in distress

"I was in a bad car wreck in Boston. I crawled out of the other side of the car and had a panic attack on the side of the busy road. A crowd of people came over to help me, but this one woman stroked my hair and gave me her drink until I calmed down. It sounds weird but it was exactly what I needed at that moment."


6. That was an unsanitary power move


"One time, I went to the gum wall in Seattle. My friend put his chewed gum on the wall and this guy came up behind him, plucked it off the wall and started chewing it. He told my friend 'any gum you put on the wall is MINE.' He didn't even look like a crazy homeless guy, he was well groomed and wearing a suit. Never been more unnerved in my life, and I was just an onlooker!"


5. The most brilliant sandwich orderer

"One of the best orders I've been witness to. I'm at a subway. I believe this was in the $5 footlong days. Customer ahead of me orders the $5 one. The sandwich artist ask the beginning trio of: "lettuce, tomatoes, onions?" His response, which to this day has left me marveled with its simplicity and bluntness, 'Give me double of everything that's free.' Brilliant."


4. Spreading good vibes

"I was walking down the street in New Orleans and a guy I never saw before was walking down the same street in the other direction, towards me. He saw me, nodded, reached out his hand for a high five. It was good vibes, and made me really happy."


3. This stranger is awesome!

"I was at a baseball game and I was seeing my favourite team. We were the away team. I'm standing there and a guy turns around and asks if I'm a fan of the away team. I say yes and he hands me an autographed baseball card of one of the pitchers. He says he got it signed that day when he ran into the pitcher but he doesn't want it because it's not his team."


2. An artist who used their talents to spread joy 

"I was in Chicago for vacation one summer. There was a man on the street corner drawing on some cardboard pieces. The drawings were amazing and I figured he was homeless so I asked if I could buy one of his drawings. He told me no and gave me one. He wanted nothing in return. His face and smile is always with me."


1. This very punny comedian


"I was at a parking lot at a beach in Texas. I'm walking out and this car slows down and stops next to me. An old man is driving, he asks - 'do you see a cat around anywhere?'

I immediately think he's missing a cat, but then he goes on...

'I just ran over a cat. Took its tail clean off.'

Now I'm starting to get a little creeped out.

'But it's ok, I'm heading to Walmart, you know why?'


'Largest retailer in the world!'

Dude couldn't hold it in anymore and just started cracking up. His wife is in the passenger seat just shaking her head. Then they just drive away. I finally get the joke and can't stop laughing. To this day it's one of the best executed jokes I've been witness to. Thanks oldster, wherever you are."


Things That Scream 'I Make Bad Financial Choices'

Reddit user Safe_Space7230 asked: 'What screams, "I make poor financial choices"?'

A huge part of adult life is learning to be financially responsible.

This means, keeping track of the money you earn and where it comes from, making a budget plan or at least budgeting in your head, and never spending more than you have, even if you think you'll be coming into some extra money soon.

In college, I bought a ticket for a Broadway play I wasn't even that keen on seeing just because my best friend wanted to go. Buying my ticket would clean me out for the month, but since my birthday was the following week, I figured I'd get some money from my dad, who had been gifting me money instead of a material possession since I was 12.

Well, my birthday came and went, my dad decided to give me a gift card to a bookstore, which was a nice thought, but useless at the time, and I had to ask my friends for loans just to buy groceries that month. I lived above my means that month, which was a terrible experience, but it taught me to be smarter when it comes to finances.

Redditors know all to well how easy it is to make poor financial choices, and sometimes never learn your lesson, and they are ready to share their experiences.

Keep reading...Show less

Small talk and gossip have a funny way of impacting the information that we receive and what we feel about it.

So much so, we sometimes accept events or concepts as fact because we've heard the information so many times.

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When someone is wrong, they’ll often wait and bide their time before seeking revenge—and when they do, it’s absolutely brutal. These Redditors came together to share stories about people getting even, and they’re unforgettable.

1. Betting On The Wrong Horse

photo of woman holding white and black paper bagsPhoto by freestocks on Unsplash

I was adopted as a teenager by a woman who ended up being terrible to me. I was supposed to be thankful because she pulled me out of the gutter and gave me opportunities, in her mind. But here's the awful truth.

She's an extravagant spender and has blown through TWO large inheritances and a divorce settlement, years of alimony, and refused to get a job, even though she holds multiple master's degrees in a desirable field. She used the school loans to continue funding her lifestyle instead of working. She never saved for retirement despite having the means and opportunity to do so.

Growing up, she told me I would grow up to be a dropout. Her biological children were her retirement plan because she told them to marry rich and pushed them into what she thought would be lucrative degrees. It was a classic scapegoat/golden children scenario.

She never fathomed that of all her kids, it would be me that broke six figures, having landed a great career. Too bad for her that I cut her off seven years ago and never looked back. She's now in her 60s, having to start over financially. Her children don't make enough to support her…and I won't contribute.


2. Two Steps Ahead

man wearing headphones while sitting on chair in front of MacBookPhoto by Wes Hicks on Unsplash

I knew a kid who was being victimized by a TA. He went to other teachers, school admins, and even the authorities. No one believed him and he even got punished for "making it up to get a staff member in trouble".

It destroyed his personality. He became bitter, resentful, spiteful, and generally hateful of other people. He was improving his demeanor in the group but from what he tells us he just "wanted to watch the world burn" at the time.

A couple of years later, that same TA tripped down the stairwell in one of the side hallways of the school and he happened to be nearby. He saw she was badly injured and likely had broken bones and was bleeding from her head. Instead of helping her, he literally stepped over her and pretended she wasn't there.

Security footage showed he wasn't the one to push her but when asked why he didn't say anything or get help he simply said that the last time he tried to tell people about something involving her no one helped, so why would they this time?


3. Diner And Dash

lighted bar signage during nighttimePhoto by Elliott Blair on Unsplash

A guy I went to high school with burned the bridge with his entire family. He was the middle child, with an older sister and a younger brother. His parents had owned a diner and it had been in his family for a few generations. It was an unspoken rule that the kids of each generation would help out when they were little, and eventually take it over to keep it in the family. There was just one problem.

None of them wanted anything to do with it. It was the easiest way to set him off, even mentioning it would have him go from 0-100 real quick. This didn’t stop either of his parents though, they would "joke" about how the kids didn’t need to worry about college or moving away—all of that would be "taken care of" when they would run the diner.

The sister, being the oldest, was the first to be really pressured into it, but he and his brother told her to get out and never look back and to not let them guilt trip her. So she did, and she goes to college on a sports scholarship and then moves a few states away. She occasionally visits, but more or less she left the town in her rear-view mirror.

Then it was his turn, but unfortunately, he didn’t have the money to get away, so his parents tell him to go to community college and work at the diner to save money. This is when some serious issues began cropping up. The younger brother doesn’t go to college and decides to go couch surfing and backpacking across the country for a few years. He'd occasionally come back to work for a few weeks when he needed the money, only to take off again.

So my friend gets left running the place, despite swearing he never would. I’d see him around sometimes at bars, and he was a bitter shell of his former self with a bad drinking problem and a series of failed relationships. His parents didn’t seem to care that their son was a depressed alcoholic, so long as their family legacy stayed the same.

He confided in me how they were pushing him to get married and give them grandkids, to settle down and let go of this silly dream of starting over when he has the diner. Given how inebriated he was in nearly every interaction I had with him, it was impressive he was able to run it. His sister and brother couldn't be bothered to come down and help, and in fact, they started to agree with the parents that he should just cut his losses and make this life work for him.

One day, he drops off the face of the earth. Nobody sees or hears from him for three weeks. His parents say he went on a vacation, and they also hadn't heard from him. Then suddenly he's back in town, seemingly in much better spirits, looking healthier than we had seen him in years.

About two months later, the diner is torn down and replaced with some other business. Later, I found out the shocking truth. As it turns out, his girlfriend at the time gave him an ultimatum. Quit the drinking and go to therapy or we're done.

So he does, and the therapist points out the obvious things that are linked to his depression and says he should take a vacation and figure out what else he wants to do with his life. He went to Vegas, partied for two weeks, and admittedly thought about doing something drastic.

After getting it out of his system, he devises a plan to sell the diner and pocket the money for himself. Everything was in his name as the owner anyway, so it was pretty easy. He took the best offer he could and used that money to leave town. The brother and sister didn't get a dime, and the parents were already retired.

He moved to the other side of the country with his now-wife, and we follow each other on social media but he seems much happier. Apparently, he hasn't spoken a word to his family in years, nor they to him, and does not intend to start.


4. Going Nuclear

man grinding metal tool in industrial machineryPhoto by Ahsanization ッ on Unsplash

I grew up in a conservative little town in a conversate rural area heavily dominated by religion. This makes people put great stock on moral purity and appearances. Keeping up the facade is the most important thing. Everyone must go to church weekly and people are heavily judged for appearing sinful. This was a bad thing for me as the cards were heavily stacked against me since birth.

You see, I'm the product of a teenage pregnancy. My mother lost her parents when she was young and was taken in by her uncle and aunt. The uncle had an important position in the local religious hierarchy. One of his friends impregnated her. She was painted as a harlot running around seducing married men. She was cast out.

Why she didn't move out of town, I don't know, but yeah. Then I came into the picture—born out of wedlock and with no father, branded as a sinful outcast. My childhood was terrible. I won't go into details, but enough to say that by the time I started going to school, I was quite damaged. School made it worse.

I was bullied relentlessly. The teachers were part of it, since they were all part of the religious community, which saw me as stained. In school, I became that antisocial kid. I became weird and hostile on purpose to turn people off. People were casting me into the mold of being damaged and stained, so I took it and turned it into something to protect myself with.

Despite all this opposition, I managed to graduate with decent grades. A distant aunt, my only decent relative, helped me get into a college in an actual city. She was the black sheep of the family and I'm guessing that she saw herself in me. Around this time my mother drank herself to death. Can't blame her for it.

She had a life insurance policy that helped me study. City life liberated me. I went into therapy and managed to treat the wounds that the town had sliced into me. I got rid of that town, but I guess some part of it never left me. Years went by.

I became a sort of...analytical consultant. I work for an international company that does sort of out-of-the-box analysis for other companies. I won't go into details to protect my identity, but we assist in solving all kinds of situations. Well, in my line of work, I'm sometimes called in to help downsize operations.

This sucks, I feel for the people who get fired, but if I wouldn't do it, someone else would. A couple of years ago, I got an assignment to go into three different factories and assess them wholesale so I could suggest which of them should be moved abroad. My home town was among those three factories. That’s when a plan started to form in my head.

You see, the terrible town I grew up in was one of those "one smokestack towns," like we say in my country. There was one factory and some agriculture. Everyone worked in those jobs, like 60% of people in the factory. The rest of the economy rolled around supporting the factory and the people working there.

Most of the people were looking forward to nothing but a job at the factory after getting out of school. The religious community running the town ran the factory as well. The big shots in the community tended to be bosses in the factory. This meant that the factory wasn't run that well; promotions were based on "holiness," not on merit or skill.

The trip back to my hometown was glorious. Most people didn't recognize me at first. The chubby outcast had become—on the surface—just another corporate drone. I inspected all the paperwork, listened to all their speeches and lies, and audited the processes. In the process, I dropped hints and finally, they realized who I was.

The factory people threw a party for me for old times’ sake. Many of my old school "buddies" were there. We remembered fake good times together. I threw a bit of shade on every part by bringing up certain torments I'd endured, just to see the atmosphere turn awkward. Then I laughed at it like it was always a joke and I had grown out of it. But there was something else that they didn’t know.

Inside I was seething with hatred and enjoying this all. I really loved seeing their faces, seeing what they had become, because I knew what I wanted to do. I was going to take it all away from them. In the end, they seemed relieved, believing that they were lucky it was me doing the audit, and that the hometown boy would protect them.

After my visit—lasting a couple of days—was over, I cruised around the town in my rented car, just to see how the people lived and to remember what it was like. I had never understood why people pursue positions of power, but yeah, now I understood. The rest is, as they say, history.

I wrote a really scathing report, documenting every little flaw and mistake ever done in the town plant. I didn't need to lie or fabricate. I simply took things that existed and polished them till they looked even worse than they were. The factory was shut down and in the following three years, and the town withered.

No business venture ever came to replace it. Substance misuse and drinking spiked, as did crime and domestic issues. Lives fell apart, families fell apart. They still haven't recovered, save for a few brighter souls who moved away.

I still stalk them on social media sometimes, enjoying how awful their lives are, and how they all finally got to pay for what they did to me and my mom. I don't feel a slight bit of remorse. If I could do it all again I would—only I'd first make it so I could be present to watch when they received the news about the factory being shut down.

Heck, in my fantasy version of the events, I'd stay in town for a year just to see everyone fall apart. In reality, I will only go there back once. When my uncle finally dies, I'm going to go and spit on his grave.


5. How The Tables Have Turned

man wearing black notched lapel suit jacket in focus photographyPhoto by Ali Morshedlou on Unsplash

One of my friends in high school was a major overachiever. He stayed at school or work as much as possible, to the point where he may have spent an hour or less at home a day. He would always deflect questions about his home life, but confided in me that it was bad. Calling him the black sheep of the family would be a major understatement.

His family had some money. They weren't millionaires or billionaires but better off than most, and they told him from elementary school he would always be useless and never amount to anything.

He is making a ton of money after getting through college and finding a great job with a big pharmaceutical company. Meanwhile, his father’s company, which has been in the family for a few generations, got picked apart by the government.

“Someone” tipped them off that he was lying on taxes, hiring immigrants for next to nothing, hiding OSHA violations, and much more. As the dust was settling and the damage was really being seen, my buddy drove to his former family home and dropped off a file.

It was the same file he gave an attorney that gave it to the government. The only thing he said was, “Who won’t amount to anything?”


6. A Dish Best Served Cold

man cooking in kitchenPhoto by Elevate on Unsplash

I worked as a line cook at a steakhouse restaurant when I was in college. The chef I worked for was a complete jerk. He would physically and mentally mistreat us when things got crazy at work, and deny all of our request-offs. Sometimes he'd even throw perfectly cooked food away to prove that the food we cooked looked like "garbage". Then he'd demand that we make it again. But that's not all.

He'd guilt-trip us into coming in to work sick instead of calling in sick. We were constantly short staffed and our turnover was very high I had to convince a lot of workers to stay and tough it out as our chef didn't seem to care if we were fully staffed or not. Sometimes I had to train the new hire myself as the chef refused to leave his office and do "work".

One day I requested a weekend off just so I could attend my uncle’s funeral (viewing and burial) and I told him ahead of time that one of my co-workers was going to cover for me while I'm gone. He approved it. As I was about to board my flight, I got a ton of missed calls and text messages. When I checked them, my blood ran cold.

They were from my chef screaming why am I not at work and told me to cancel my flight and come back to the restaurant. I snapped. I called him to tell him that someone was going to cover me for the two days I'm gone and I'm already boarding the flight and called my relatives I’m on my way.

My chef told me the guy quit, so now he has nobody covering for me. I told him I quit, hung up, blocked his number, sent a mass text to all my co-workers that I just quit and are welcome to leave as well, and then I boarded my flight.

When I landed, I got a lot of texts from my co-workers that they all walked out and the chef was forced to close the restaurant early due to "technical issues". I laughed. I felt a huge sigh of relief knowing that karma has finally been paid back.

A couple of months after I quit, my friend/former co-worker told me that the restaurant was closing and going through "new management" and reopened as a different restaurant and that our old chef was fired and now works as a manager at a Chilis. I haven’t heard from them since.


7. Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged

outdoor poolPhoto by Drew Dau on Unsplash

A pastor I lived next to constantly berated a kid in my class about everything from his hair length to him not fully embracing the "word of the lord". But don't worry, this poor kid got his revenge.

He routinely went into the pastor’s backyard and would go #2 in his pool along with several of his friends all at once. They would also throw animal carcasses they found in there as well, ranging from a squirrel to an opossum. Honestly, don't even blame the kid. That pastor was judgmental as heck and no one liked him.


8. Home Not-So-Sweet Home

woman in black hooded jacket by brown plantPhoto by christian ferrer on Unsplash

Growing up, my mother was terrible to my sister and I. My sister ended up anorexic and has been in therapy her whole life. It's taken years and years for her to fix herself, and she still isn't there. I ended up with bad generalized anxiety, social anxiety, bipolar, depression, and self-loathing.

My mom used to make us promise we'd never put her in a home when she got old. Last year my mental problems came to a head and I started therapy, medication, and being honest with my parents about the things my mother had done.

I gave them an ultimatum of either acknowledging the damage and taking responsibility by apologizing for it so we could move forward, or I'd never speak with them again. My dad apologized immediately. He wasn’t as bad as she was, and held more guilt than she ever did. We're on good terms now. My mother’s reaction was brutal.

She denied everything, so she has been totally cut off by my sister and I. She will end up in an old folks home after all. She has no children left. Consequences of her own actions. I didn't burn down a village, but I did burn down that relationship. The axe forgets, but the tree remembers.


9. Movin’ On Up

man in black crew neck t-shirt and blue denim jeans holding black dslr cameraPhoto by Jose P. Ortiz on Unsplash

I worked as an audio-visual technician for six years. I was making $15/hr. I would sometimes run a crew of 15 people and tell them how to set/strike a room. I even trained the new hires in the same position as me.

Later I find out the two new hires I’ve been training the past two years were making $17/hr. That’s 2 dollars more than what I was making.

I wrote a 10-page email to the company’s district director on why I was leaving. I put in my two-week notice just as we were about to hit one of our busiest seasons. Heard the clients were furious that everything was in shambles. Well…they should have treated me better.

My first new job offer after I left was $42/hr starting. I’m now a video specialist/camera operator. Scary to think I would have been stuck at my old job if they paid me $2 more. Everything worked out for the better.


10. The Evil Twin

woman in blue sleeveless dress holding bouquet of flowersPhoto by Marina Abrosimova on Unsplash

My mother's twin sister, AKA my aunt, is awful. She would gaslight, harass, and intimidate my cousin. Some highlights include burning her prom dress the day before prom to the point we had to go get an emergency replacement. She also threatened my cousin’s boyfriend with false charges—and then it got worse.

She tried to send her to one of those horrible wilderness camps. That was the only time her spineless father ever stood up for her. She also stole her scholarship money and took her car and sold it for money to go on vacation.

My cousin finally escaped by joining the Coast Guard and going to college online. My aunt ended up with cancer and she tried to convince my cousin to take care of her. My cousin’s reply was legendary. My cousin told her, “I'll help you pick out your grave and nursing home, nothing more”.

Today my aunt is pretty much a shell of her former self, physically and mentally. My cousin told the nursing home to never contact her until my aunt passes. She already filed a complaint against one of their nurses for overstepping that boundary because my aunt is a great manipulator and can play the weak old woman game.

My aunt constantly tries to call other family members to see if she can get sympathy or to live with them...No dice.


11. Double Standards

blue and red cars in parking lotsPhoto by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

One of my friends from elementary school, he's the typical middle child, his brother is 11 years older and his sister is five years younger. So of course, he faces all the actual consequences for his other siblings' actions. He was subject to rules he didn't like because of stuff his brother did when he was a kid; if his sister did something stupid, it was his fault because he should've stopped her.

His wants and needs were never the priority. If he wanted money, the answer was always "no" because it went to his brother in college; if he wanted friends to come over, "no" because his sister already had people coming over. He had to wear his brother’s old clothes, but of course, his sister got new clothes. You get the picture.

When he was 16 he went out on a late-night food run, and while waiting in the drive-thru, someone rear-ended him pretty hard. It does a significant amount of damage to his parents' car. The other driver takes full responsibility and offers to pay for the repairs. Just an unfortunate accident. His parents’ reaction was infuriating.

They revoke his car privileges. Because he got in an accident, and they had a no accidents policy. It didn't matter that it wasn't his fault. So he told them that if they took away his car privileges he will never lend them anything for the rest of his life. They grounded him for saying that.

That was about a decade ago, and he has never once given them anything. No money, no car, not even housing—he literally made his parents get a hotel once. He said he would forgive them if they apologized. To my knowledge, they have not apologized.

By the way, his sister was involved in an accident a few years back where she was at fault. And her parents not only paid for the repairs to her car but also are helping her pay for her car insurance now.


12. Jekyll And Hyde

a group of children playing with toys on the floorPhoto by BBC Creative on Unsplash

When working at a daycare, I had a pair of boys in my class, Matt and John. Full offense, John wasn’t great. He was violent, foul-mouthed, uncooperative, and frankly, just not cut out for daycare. The kid was a budding psychopath. He never acted like this around anyone but me.

He was a huge favorite among the staff that didn't work with him, so much so that they thought I lied about or exaggerated his behavior—until the day he kicked me. Now the other one. He was the one everyone said was misbehaved, but like John, his behavior with me was completely different.

I treated Matt the way I treated all my kids. I found him to be cheerful, helpful with younger kids, bright, and eager to learn new things. I considered the fact that I was the first teacher to engage with Matt in a positive way and also the first to ever tell John "no" and enforce rules with him.

Shortly after I stopped working there, I heard crazy news from a former co-worker. There had been an incident. Apparently, everything went back to the status quo where everyone spoils John and acts like he's perfect while treating Matt like he had already done something.

There was a massive blow-up between him and John in particular, and from what I heard, Matt basically hulked out and trashed the place. My heart broke for him. He just wanted attention and structure and absolutely thrived with it. John needed discipline and structure of a different kind but instead was coddled and enabled. The results were inevitable.

I'm just sad it resulted in Matt getting kicked out. I hope he landed at a new school with teachers who actually cared about him. That entire center was a mess of garbage like that.


13. Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

woman leaning against a wall in dim hallwayPhoto by Eric Ward on Unsplash

My family was terrible to me when I was a kid and so was my church. It was unsafe to be home at one point so I called my aunt to (awkwardly) ask for help. Her reaction was devastating. She laughed at me and I ended up homeless, staying at a hostel and on the floors of friends' dorm rooms.

After a couple of weeks, a friend's mom offered to let me stay in her basement if I promised to get a job. So I did. I got a job the first morning I was there, I walked into town and got hired as a cashier. My aunt and other family members acted scandalized because my friend's mom was divorced and the idea of working in retail is shameful to them. Retail is uncouth or something I guess.

My aunt is a super-Catholic, doesn't work, and has a lot of kids, she used to write a three-page letter about their “accomplishments” every Christmas and mail it to everyone. I was really, really mad at them. These are people who soaked up free childcare and eldercare from me for years, they would not help me at all. Not a suggestion for a job, not a couch to sleep on, no advice, wouldn't meet me for coffee in a public place to talk for 15 minutes. They laughed at me and I was young and very vulnerable.

So the retail job I found was at Staples. I wrote a three-page letter about their defects and “thanked” them for not helping, printed it using my discount, then mailed that to everyone I could think of who knew them. Including, like, their random neighbors. Their house number was 50, so I sent it to number 46, number 52—whoever was on the same street or next street over. Just to be a jerk.

They don't talk to me anymore. I hope they don't mail that awful braggy newsletter out anymore, either. No one cares about your kids except you, people. Especially if you're a family of insufferable snots.


14. Friday Night Lights

man in white and black number 20 jersey shirt shooting a basketballPhoto by Chris Moore on Unsplash

“Barry” was new to our school in upper East Tennessee back in 2005. Barry was a talented and athletic boy who was quickly recruited to play every sport the school offered. The only problem was that Barry was Black in an area where such “offenses” trumped his physical talent.

Barry and I became quick friends as we shared a majority of our classes, and we would often talk in excitement about the upcoming sports seasons. He planned to play all three sports (football, basketball, and baseball) but I only played baseball. After a few weeks of football practice, however, his demeanor radically changed.

He began to share about the prejudiced happenings of his time at our school. I was privileged in the fact that up to this point, I had never directly witnessed this kind of bigotry or would have thought my classmates capable of such actions. Threatening notes were found placed on his gear before each practice.

They vandalized his stuff. He played exactly one game for our school. While my friends and I were cheering for our team, my heart sank when I heard chants using abhorrent words coming from our stands directed toward a teenager on the field wearing our jersey.

His teammates would blindside him after a play to the delight of the “adults” in the stands, and after the game, he wasn’t allowed to shower until the other boys had finished. Barry called me that night to tell me he was transferring to a rival school that had a more diverse population.

I was heartbroken and disappointed in my town and my school. I told him that he would be missed by those of us who got to know him, but we understood that this was a necessary change. Barry was allowed to transfer schools and, due to the location of his home, continue the season without sitting out the remainder of the year.

He returned to our town wearing a different jersey, surrounded by teammates who protected him, and proceeded to hand our school the worst defeat we had suffered in years. Following the game, he didn’t speak to anyone, didn’t grandstand, didn’t celebrate. He simply walked off the field.

What he did on the football field that night spoke volumes.


15. The Family Rate

empty roadway between trees covered by snowPhoto by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

This happened to me, my dad, my brother, and my sister technically. But a massive ice storm happened in Oklahoma City when I was about seven. I think it was 2008 when it happened. An ice storm for anyone who hasn't had the luxury of experiencing one, is when it rains during a cold day, and overnight it freezes everything that got rained on. So everything was covered in an inch or more of ice.

So, a gigantic tree in our backyard was weighed down so much by the tree that it fell straight through our house and destroyed it while we were inside. Miraculously no one was hurt, but we were instantly homeless because of it.

So my dad asked our aunt (his sister) who lived in North Carolina if we could stay in one of her dozen rental properties, because she had five available. I can't believe what she did. She actually charged us more than the cost of the usual rent to stay there despite what we had just gone through and my dad trying to find a job.

Well, cut to 2011, my dad finally had a good-paying job and was doing great. Well, there was a tornado that hit our town in 2011 and ripped the roof off my aunt's house and essentially destroyed it. My dad happened to have two rental properties—and he knew exactly what to do.

He charged her about three times the amount of the rent that he'd usually charge just to stay in the house.


16. Checking In

group of people wearing white and orange backpacks walking on gray concrete pavement during daytimePhoto by note thanun on Unsplash

This kid I went to elementary school was a foster youth. He was extremely kind to everyone, despite the fact that his life was unbelievably hard. People delude themselves about the system and think it’s just a system that fixes kids’ lives. Talk to former foster youth and you will find that it’s almost never a good thing in a kid’s life.

Anyway. The teachers at my school genuinely bullied this kid. Like, they treated him completely unfairly. And it was fully classism—for reference, we both had “behavior issues” and while the way I was treated was not okay at all, I was not demonized the way this kid was.

I’d hit someone, and I would get in no trouble. He would speak “out of turn” and get suspended for 2-3 weeks. It was HORRIFYING how they treated this boy who was just there to learn. Anyway, his teacher suddenly went on leave. She was approved to be a foster mom, and she got chosen to foster a baby.

She was over the moon because she couldn’t make a baby on her own, and she figured she’d just adopt the baby through foster care. If anyone is unaware of this, this is something that unethical foster parents frequently do. They foster with the hopes of reunification never being able to happen, so they can adopt for free and without a waitlist. It’s gross.

If you look at the stats, reunification comes out on top for the best outcome for the whole family. Praying for a family to break up so you can start one is disgusting. Long story short, her plan was to adopt the baby, but the baby’s ACTUAL mother was able to get her kid back, thankfully.

The teacher was devastated and took a few months off. One of the teachers of our grade talked to us all and explained that she didn’t get to keep the kid, so she was very upset, and so we shouldn’t bring it up when she comes back. My friend was happy she was gone, because she was his biggest tormentor.

This fact makes me irate because don’t be a foster parent if you’re not trauma-informed enough to not mistreat a foster kid for showing normal signs of trauma. Unfortunately, though, she did come back right before we graduated, so the first thing he said to her was, “Hey teacher! How are the kids?”

I’ve always respected him for it. He deserved the opportunity to throw her exploitation of a system that he never should have had to be subjected to in her face. Infertility does not give you a free license to prey on the downfall of a family.


17. Instant Karma

brown and white concrete house near green grass field during daytimePhoto by Sieuwert Otterloo on Unsplash

I have a pretty awful set of parents and a terrible brother. He's well over 40 and he still makes fun of me like we are in grade school and when I tell him that it isn’t funny, he calls me juvenile names.

Needless to say, I don’t really like him that much. He's a real piece of work. He’s first born and my parents have always always, always favored him. Heck, my dad doesn’t even know my birthday.

Anyway, they live across the country. The “family” has a summer home, but I haven’t used it in more than 25 years—however, it was my grandfather’s and it allowed me and my family to buy our first house without having to buy mortgage insurance because of the equity.

I own a third of the house—but this year was the last straw. My snake of a brother convinced my parents to just give him their shares of the house and then they cut me out. Now I’m going to sue and force a public auction because he forged my signature.


18. The Garden Path

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I was a bit of an outcast growing up in my neighborhood. I grew up in a weird sad neighborhood that was all ex-gang members or dirt-poor pill poppers. I never really fit in with any of my peers because I was just not interested in a lot of the same things.

I was made fun of a lot by classmates, some teachers, and a LOT of adults in my neighborhood. Definitely pushed out. But I had a huge passion for education, specifically food education. Where I grew up was the poster for food and desserts. After I graduated college, I moved back and volunteered at the library in the middle of that terrible place.

I will spare you a lot of the details and minor stories, but I started a bustling community garden that got involved with a lot of charities because of my college connections and helped create a ton of resources to help my community.

Food banks, job assistance, adult education assistance, and community gardens for the children so they could have fresh food and actually learn. It still has a good handful of problems, but I know for a fact I helped out people who were really terrible to me. And I do genuinely smile knowing they got their stuff together.

I feel a tiny bit of smugness knowing they have to thank me after mocking me for being more interested in the plants than their own interests. I didn’t burn down the village, per se, but I guess I burnt down their mindset.


19. Vindicated

I lived in a coop in a college town. There were two guys in the house, one was a misfit who was awkward, wore fedoras, had trouble looking you in the eye, and was not really friends with anyone else there. I'll call him Tim. The other guy was good-looking, athletic, the house treasurer, and popular with the other residents. I'll call him Sam.

Sam kept complaining that the house was short on money, people weren't paying the rent on time, and that we were in serious financial trouble. Tim kept telling everyone that something was up, that Sam was lying, he thought he might be buying illicit substances, and that we needed to look at the financial records.

Nearly the whole house sided with Sam, and Tim eventually attempted to get a restraining order against Sam, despite living in the same large house together. Tim would rage against everyone at anyone who would listen—to the point where he became consumed by this, like some wild-eyed religious fanatic preaching on the street corner.

Fast-forward a year. I had moved out, but learned from the new treasurer that the books eventually got opened—and what they found was seriously twisted. Sam was an addict and had been embezzling from the house for months and months. He had stolen over $10,000 to get high.

It was his first offense, and I don't believe he served time—or a brief time, with a fine. Tim disappeared, I don't know what happened to him—but he was the only one who was right the whole time.


20. The Golden Child

women in white sleeveless topPhoto by Brian Kyed on Unsplash

I’m a lesbian and was pretty much outcasted by my family when I came out. They were all pretty awful. I still babysat my sisters a lot because I wanted a relationship. For reference, I’m 22 and they’re six months and four.

Recently, my girlfriend and I were able to get custody. My mom is pretty much out of the picture at this point. The whole side of the family that ousted me either wants custody or visitation with the babies. They get nothing.

The last grandchild, the baby of the family, the cute little princess they all want to hold and dress up. But god forbid she has an opinion. They get nothing now.


21. Escape Plan

aerial view of green and brown mountains and lakePhoto by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash

My best friend as a kid came from a broken home. His dad got sent to prison. His mom was super overbearing and took things way too far when it came to punishment. We’re talking grounding for a month for the mildest of slip-ups.

As we got older we went our separate ways. We didn’t live as close to each other and went to different schools, etc. He fell in with a rough crowd and got peer pressured into trespassing on school property after hours. The consequences were awful.

The authorities were called, and charges were pressed, but luckily my dad—a social worker for juvenile delinquents—heard about it and got involved. He got my old bestie into a good community service program and some therapy to help him deal with his home life.

Soon as he turned 18? Gone. I’m talking the day of his birthday. He dropped me a line to say goodbye, asked me to thank my dad, and that glorious guy moved to Hawaii! He moved in with a friend he’d met ages back who lived there now and offered him a place to stay.

He got a job, then got a license, worked as a bartender, saved up, and finally opened his own beachside bar. The dude is living his best life, meanwhile, his younger brother got sent behind bars for grand theft and his younger sister got knocked up by boyfriends twice before she was 18. It all brought me back to the secret he’d revealed to me when we were kids.

When I learned that I finally realized he wasn’t just being a normal hyperbolic teenager when he said he had to do everything to keep the family functional. Without him to run interference between his overbearing mom and younger siblings, family dysfunction just tore them all apart.

It’s a shame what happened to them, but I don’t blame him for leaving at all. He saw his one chance to save himself from a miserable home life and took it.


22. A Chip On Her Shoulder

brown food in clear glass bowlPhoto by Pille R. Priske on Unsplash

My little niece bought some chips which she planned to eat during the weekend but my sister gave them to another kid from our family who was visiting their home without asking my niece.

A day later, when my sister came back home from work, my niece had used all her makeup to draw pictures in her drawing book. Her logic was: You took my things without asking, so I took your things without asking.


23. Boys Will Be Boys, Girls Will Be Gone

two women reclining on bedPhoto by Ayo Ogunseinde on Unsplash

I'm the middle kid, the only girl. First of all, I wish I had the parents my brothers did. They were so kind and warm to my siblings. They encouraged them to seek help when needed and took care of them when they were hurt. They treated me completely differently.

They raised me with an unhealthy relationship with food. I couldn't eat after 5 pm even if I got home at 4:50 and hadn't eaten since 11:15 at lunchtime, or had to ask permission any time I wanted food. They told me it was rude of my fiancé to not ask their permission before proposing to me.

They asked me for several thousand dollars when I was 17, which I said yes to because they made it sound like we'd be homeless if I didn't. When I turned 17, they stopped paying for my car insurance, didn’t tell me, and I only found out when I got a call that it would get canceled if I didn’t pay it that day.

My parents paid for my older brother till he was 25, and still pay for my little brother’s at 18. They found out I had mental health issues and told me to knock it off and if I didn’t shape up they would ship me off to a counselor. They took my phone and grounded me. Then my dad went through my entire phone. But the worst part?

My older brother has mental health problems. They tell him to go get therapy and get some help. They've even chosen my awful ex-boyfriends over me several times, and would let them come over to the house when I still lived there. They said it was their house so they didn't have to tell me.

I made my mom cry one day telling her she disappointed me as a mother because a mother should always have her child's back and she’s proved time and time again she doesn't. I told her I don't trust her. And I definitely don't respect her, that was six years ago.

I'm still stuck under their thumb, being gaslit constantly by them, constantly feeling like I have to tell them every single bit of info, or they will come to my house. That’s why I’m working on an escape plan. I’m deciding whether I should stay low contact or go no contact.

I’m also thinking about if I want them at my wedding...or even if I should tell them I'm moving three hours away next month. Currently, I work as a CNA. I pay attention to nursing facilities. I know where I want to put them when their time comes. And honestly, I don't think I'd visit them again...but hey, my brothers are doing fantastic and wonderful things, parents know exactly what the sons are up to.

My dad still can’t remember I'm a CNA, not a nurse. And I've been a CNA for a year and a half, I'm not even in nursing school yet. But I'm done. I have no desire to ever help them with anything.


24. Napoleon Complex

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A few years ago I worked in an admin job. I was one of five people working in a tiny office, and the place had a really awful culture. Essentially the big boss was an insecure man with a short temper, who loved to yell at people and thought he was king because he drove a fancy car.

His little-man-syndrome attitude cascaded down to the two managers, and they in turn were terrible to the two admin people. Even the other admin person liked to talk about everyone behind their backs, and they had been there a while so I was very much at the bottom of the chain.

There were so many major red flags that I discovered. Had I known beforehand, they would’ve had me running for the hills. Such as the fact that they’d gone through about four people in my role in the past three years. Nobody seemed to stick around for more than a few months. But I needed the job.

I would dread going to work each day and come home miserable a lot because working with that team was like walking on eggshells. In the end, I lasted about a year. Around the same time, I got another job offer lined up, the other admin person was quite ill—no doubt partially caused by stress from work—and was about to go off sick for an operation.

So they and I were about to disappear at the same time and leave the other three to manage without any admin support. They struggled to hire my replacement and didn’t have anyone lined up by the time I left. Did I feel bad? Maybe a tiny bit.

Did I tell one of the people who came in for an interview that they shouldn’t take the job and should find somewhere (anywhere) else to work? Absolutely. I still wish I could’ve been a fly on the wall to see how those next few weeks went down for them.


25. Actions Have Consequences

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My godparents had trouble having children on their own, so they adopted. During his early teen years, my godparents got pregnant naturally. It should’ve been a blessing—but the parents' reaction turned it into a nightmare.

Mom thought the kid was a miracle, while the dad thought the kid wasn’t his—it was. The fighting led to cheating, the cheating led to a divorce, all the while, the teen adopted kid struggles with getting any attention, positive or negative.

He starts stealing. Then he starts fires. Last I heard he was behind bars. Mom was too busy raising the natural-born son, who had mental issues as she was well over 40 when she gave birth, and Dad chose a 20-something over his family and completely bailed on all of them. No wonder he turned out the way he did.


26. Don’t Mess With Coders

monitor showing Java programmingPhoto by Ilya Pavlov on Unsplash

I held a senior position in a corporate job, which allowed me to take on some extra responsibilities for higher pay. It also allowed me to work on projects that I came up with if they were good for the team.

It was not my responsibility to code anything, but I knew some basic JavaScript, HTML, and SharePoint workflows/Power BI which I learned by myself because for some reason none of the other seniors ever cared to learn, nor did the managers either.

Long story short, I made several web apps that reduced multiple tasks from 4-5 hours to 20-30 minutes each and gave my managers actual headaches because of the amount of time it took them. Then one day, they turned on me and put me in an action plan for unfair reasons.

Action plans are nearly impossible to pass. I knew that, in the end, they would fire me, so I came up with a devious plan. I coded a deadman switch into all of them where the code would first check for the current date, and if it was after the coded date, then the entire app wouldn't execute any function.

I coded different dates into them so it wouldn't look suspicious, the first switch activating approximately 15 days after I left. 15 days later I got a message from my manager panicking, asking if I knew what was happening, to which I responded that "Who knows, maybe a user permissions thingy" and could only check if I looked at the code, which I knew they would never allow.

I was friends with an old co-worker so over the next few days I would casually mention my apps, and she would confirm that more were failing every other day. Then one day, the worst happened. The big one failed.

It was a website that was essential for the managers' bi-weekly reports that only took them a few clicks to filter and screenshot instead of spending an entire day manually doing the graphs on Excel. My manager contacted me again, panicking, asking if I could teach her how to fix it or create a new one.

I told her my fee for a consultancy was $30 per hour. That it would take maybe 20 hours to guide her through the process—but probably more—and she would need to pay 50% beforehand. I never heard from her again.


27. Lesson Learned

black and white photo of man in black suit jacketPhoto by M.T ElGassier on Unsplash

When I went to school, I had cruel, awful professors who spent more time intimidating and humiliating their students than they spent actually teaching. Mocking and belittling was the classroom norm, and many students (myself included) suffered psychologically from it.

I got a job at the university's HR department where I did a ton of research that completely screwed them all over when it came time to renegotiate their union contract. Their pay and benefits were horrendously slashed, and they knew exactly who was responsible for it.


28. Justice Is Served

person walking on hallway in blue scrub suit near incubatorPhoto by Hush Naidoo Jade Photography on Unsplash

So, I worked in a hospital as a nurse in the psych unit where we were understaffed and under-equipped.

For example, there was one nurse and one tech for 20 acute psych patients. The unit was in shambles, the nursing desk was held by duct tape, and the fiberglass would come off if someone shook it a certain way. But it got so much worse.

The patients’ area was a nightmare and if they weren’t medicated so much, they would have seen all the dumb ways they could have hurt themselves. The administration would not do anything about it.

Anyway, there was a Joint Commission coming up, and as expected, the admins had us clean the unit, discharge the worst patients to other hospitals and keep it going as if nothing was wrong. To me, that was the final straw.

I decided enough was enough and ratted them out and dragged the Joint Commission lady around showing her everything that was wrong. The hospital got huge fines and had to fix everything or the government would shut it down. I loved it.

We got ergonomic chairs, better computers, and other equipment and the nursing director and his lackeys were fired.


29. The Last Laugh

grayscale photo of man making silly facePhoto by Denis Agati on Unsplash

I worked for my aunt and uncle for almost 10 years. It was kind of a miserable environment, but I stayed because of family obligations and they paid me pretty well. When I had an opportunity to take a different job in a different field, they were beside themselves, telling me I was going to fail and how could I do this to them. So I took the new job.

They were never able to replace me and the company closed just over a year later after 67 years of operation. And I laughed and I laughed and I laughed.


30. Sink Or Swim

person in swimming goggles in swimming poolPhoto by B Mat an gelo on Unsplash

Back in the 80s as a kid, I was on a town swim team. There were older kids that bullied me relentlessly. Wet towel snapping, tripping, slamming into lockers, everything you could think of. Adults never believed me when I complained, nor would they even bother to have someone supervise the area.

One day they were pulling their usual stuff in the locker room. About two dozen boys were in the room and of course, no adults were around. After getting shoved multiple times I made it to a bathroom stall. I locked the door and stood on the toilet so they couldn't reach me. Everyone was hooting it up and egging the jerks on.

At this point, I snapped. I knew there was only one thing I could do. I peed on him. With great deliberation, I dropped trou, aimed at the crack between the door and divider, and let loose like a fire hose. I don't know how long I manage to shoot off, but the cheering quickly turned to screams and swears as they realized what I just did.

Of course, they ran off to find the coaches and claim to be the victims. Thankfully, there were a few others that corroborated my story. My punishment was that for two weeks I had to change in a separate locker room by myself. My tormentors? Kicked off the team. I never saw them again.

That was the last time anyone messed with me there.


31. Run For Your Life

black spin exercise bike lotPhoto by Humphrey Muleba on Unsplash

I was the head of marketing for a gym equipment company. Their sales guys were a bunch of Chads who kept blaming marketing for their own failures as salespeople.

There were a ton of OSHA violations that I documented from day one, just in case I’d ever need them. After enough whining from the sales guys they fired me. The next day, I reported everything to OSHA and sent them videos and photos showing their numerous violations.

When I called OSHA later that week I asked what had happened and the guy on the phone couldn’t tell me much besides “immediate action taken” and that it had gone up the chain so they had built a case. So yeah. Good luck selling treadmills now.


32. Play With Fire, Get Burned

burning open bookPhoto by Freddy Kearney on Unsplash

My grandparents sent my mom to private school throughout her elementary years. Students were provided with a grammar workbook at the beginning of every year, yet were required to surrender it before the summertime. Then the school took the used workbooks and burned them.

Parents were informed of this practice and were told by the administration that even though the tuition paid for these grammar workbooks, it did not mean that the books belonged to the child. Furthermore, the administration reasoned that burning the books was a way to mitigate cheating. Yeah, OK, whatever.

This particular year, my mom wanted to keep her workbook and use it to practice during the summer. My gram told my mom to just take it because the rule was dumb. My mom's teacher called my grandparents, looking for the workbook and to come to the school to surrender it.

Well, my gram decided that she was going to ask the teacher to make an exception for my mom and even offer to pay for the workbook so it wouldn't go into an incinerator. Gram and Mom go to the school where the teacher was waiting for them. My gram tried reasoning with this person. Her reaction was deranged.

She flat-out refused to let my mom keep the workbook. My gram argued her point: How was anyone to know differently if these books were being burned anyway? That enraged my mom's teacher, who, up until that point, my mom really liked.

This lady snatched the book out of my gram's hands, the two exchanged words, my gram grabbed the workbook back and promptly told this woman off with some very strong words. From what my gram said, the teacher was so taken aback that she just let my Gram and mom go with the workbook.

I don't know how what happened spread from the school to the parents, but it came to light that my gram wasn't the only parent who complained about the book burning. After that year, the school ceased the book-burning practice.

To ask my gram about it now, she said, "That woman was a pain! It was your mom's book and it was STUPID that they wouldn't let her keep it!" Go GRAM!


33. Joke’s On Them

3 women and 2 men standing beside blue wallPhoto by leah hetteberg on Unsplash

I joined a sorority in college. It was super awful. Everyone was mean to me. Fake friends. When I was in my second year in the sorority, the class above me decided to fake a school shooting during an event. They all laughed it off as a big joke and I was the only one who was not cool with what had happened.

Then there was gaslighting and intimidating since I had been very vocal about not being okay with what had happened. I decided at this point to transfer to a different university due to what had happened—but not without getting revenge.

I decided to call the sorority headquarters and report what had happened. The sorority got a five-year suspension from the university. It was at the end of the school year so I peaced out before the decision was made by the headquarters.

I got lots and lots and lots of angry texts and messages from everyone in the sorority. I laughed all the way to my new school where people didn’t suck.


34. Dropping Nuclear Bombs

woman in white coat holding green shopping cartPhoto by Tara Clark on Unsplash

I was at the grocery store once and there were two ladies blocking the end of the aisle and having some stupid conversation. I stopped for a moment, acted like I was browsing and they still stayed there. I cleared my throat and one of them glanced over, made eye contact with me, then dismissively went back to her idiotic conversation.

So I painstakingly got my cart, turned around, and ripped one in their direction—after eating an especially dank Del meal. By the time I rounded the corner, I heard "OH MY GOD" and heard them vacate their blocked position. I was cry laughing for minutes after.


35. Snitches Get…Points

woman diving on the pool photographPhoto by Austrian National Library on Unsplash

I was a diver in high school on the swim team. The way scoring works is as long as a diver places 1st-3rd they get more points in one meet than a swimmer can earn in multiple events placing 1st per meet.

As a freshman, I walk into the locker room—and make the most disturbing discovery. I find one of the senior swimmers choking a freshman with a wire hanger. I was small so I said nothing to either of them but ran to get the coach. The senior swimmer was not allowed to compete after that.

I got called rat for three years for being a "tattle tale" including by the kid that was getting choked. So I quit the team my senior year. It was the only year my team didn't make states. Guess y'all didn't need rat points huh?


36. Slow & Steady Wins The Race

yellow school bus on road during daytimePhoto by Lisa Boonaerts on Unsplash

Growing up, our neighbors had a couple of boys (10 and 14 at the time of this story). The younger son had a good friend that would stay at their house VERY frequently. He was always pretty quiet and kept to himself, except when he was with his friend, the 10-year-old, which was when he could be himself.

One day, we find out that he was permanently moving in with my neighbors due to an “unsafe situation” at home. Luckily my neighbors stepped up and offered to take him in, which was actually great for everyone. He really started to blossom and became pretty stable, with a caveat: he just didn’t take any guff. From anyone. Which leads us to our terrific act of rebellion.

Like everyone else in our neighborhood, we rode the bus home. This kid is riding home from elementary school when the bus driver started going off on the kids for real, or imagined indiscretions. Well, this kid takes offense to this and speaks up on behalf of the rest of the kids.

The bus driver, now furious, tells this kid, “One more word and I’m kicking you off the bus!” Well, you are correct in your assumption of what transpired next. The kid gets kicked off the bus, which royally tees HIM off. The kid walks off the bus, and immediately walks in front of the bus.

We were about a mile from his normal stop at our street, and this was a two-lane road with sporadic oncoming traffic. No way the driver could get away with trying to pass, so he drove at a walking pace until the kid got to our street.

The parents were wondering where their children were, as everyone was now 30+ minutes late, and were overall very amused when they discovered the cause. Still, he was the proudest 10-year-old I’ve ever seen, and I have two of my own!


37. The Chicken’s Come Home To Roost

aerial photography of houses on green field during daytimePhoto by Sander Weeteling on Unsplash

A kid I grew up with in school came from a small town outside the bigger city. It was a close-knit community, very religious, and almost everyone there worked at the same handful of stores in town.

He was the thin, short, bespectacled, nerdy, studious, and not religiously indoctrinated child who was ridiculed by that village. He was mistreated at school, and I only befriended him because I always stood up against those guys.

Anyway. This kid eventually goes to university to study, leaves the town, finishes his degree, works a few jobs, starts his own company, works his behind off, and sells the company a decade later for—what he told me—amounted to a little over $150,000,000. This was around 2014.

With money comes attention. Despite being alienated from the village and his family, the beggars came. His family, who disowned him, also decided they deserved the money.

I'd love to say: "He bought up all the stores, closed all stores, fired everyone, and got his revenge," but that would be too easy and evil. Understandable, perhaps, but no. He did one better.

He did exactly that but also bought up about one hundred homes. The larger city has a company (IT) with hundreds of employees looking for homes close to work. Those were his market. He sold all the homes to young, highly-educated IT people.

I am certain he had his own strategic buying-out plan where he destroyed that town's culture. A culture built up over many generations, going back at least 800 years. Cemeteries are full of families that have lived there forever, the church that married everyone there...but not anymore.

The church is now empty and unused. The only original people still there are the very old folks who will pass in the next decade or two. He still insists that he just saw a business opportunity. And maybe he did. He made his money to make more money, for sure. But he left all the other villages untouched.

This was personal.


38. Breaking The Cycle

woman sitting on chair in front of windowPhoto by Aris Sfakianakis on Unsplash

My mom’s mother was a horrible, narcissistic drinker and her dad was long gone. She had been at an orphanage briefly until her mother got her back, and growing up for her was a pain. She and her family moved countries when she was young, which is important for her story, and had dual citizenship.

She grew up in a small and cramped apartment with her mother and sister, in a small-ish town, being verbally abused. Her relatives refused to help. So after finishing school, she moved back to her country of origin. Leaving everything behind, only keeping contact with her sister.

She encouraged her to leave as well. They left their mother to live off of welfare and had to beg her neighbors for money—something they were both forced to do just to eat. My narcissistic grandmother couldn't handle both of her daughters leaving, so she threw the manipulation into overdrive. It didn't work.

She was moved into government-owned housing, where she lived out the final years of her life. The one good thing to come of it is that she stopped drinking and became slightly less insufferable. I got to meet her as a kid, but never really got to know her. My mom said it was for a good reason.

I still don't know my mom's side of the family other than my cousins. Apparently, they're not much different from my grandmother. Going off the mugshots I've seen, I believe it. On the bright side, my mother is a saint. She is nothing like her mother whatsoever. She's raised two kids as well as she and my dad could.


39. Minimum Rage

woman sitting on chair beside tablePhoto by Johnny Cohen on Unsplash

I was promised by a former childcare employer that taking more relevant college credits in education/ECE (I’m a STEM major) would get me a higher wage as well as receive tuition assistance.

After a year’s worth of education/ECE credits, and a mountain of forms and paperwork completed to make sure this all went through, I found out a little after the two-year mark of working there that I wasn’t even making minimum wage.

I paid for all of the courses out of pocket, and when I confronted them about the “promise” they had made me, I was told they would “bump me up” to the minimum wage. I frequently subbed for supervisors and often did more than was ever asked of me. Most of the time, they didn’t even have it ask, it was already done or being done.

I bought so many of my own supplies and materials out of my own pocket. Taking all of those education and ECE credits put me a year behind in school to graduate, and cost me thousands. Just minimum wage was a huge step down from what I was promised and I pressed them to do something more than that.

They denied my request. Instead, they cut me from full-time to nine hours a week. NINE. I told them I needed more hours and for weeks they promised me more. At some point, I told my supervisor in charge of scheduling that his promises were worthless, just like his presence at work. But I wasn't done yet.

Not only did I quit, but I EMPTIED my room—emptied, not cleaned, cause they could clean up my mess for once. The room was bare when I left and when I came for my last box a few days after I quit, kids were saying how empty and depressing it was.

I documented every incident (including a harassment incident) and every instance of coverage I did for my higher-ups when they couldn’t be found or bothered and reported every single one of them to the director of HR.

Just a few months later, an old co-worker told me that most of the people I reported were forced to move elsewhere or were let go of entirely. I hate that place.


40. Nothing But Net

grey basketball hoopPhoto by Austris Augusts on Unsplash

Years ago, a group of students in my HS class went around the community tearing down basketball rims. They were called “The Rimmers”. If I recall, it went on for a few months and there were several dozen rims torn down.

Eventually, they got caught. There were four boys, three of whom were from "the leading families" in the city. One was from the wrong side of the tracks. The three golden children got off with a wink, a nudge, and a gentle warning. The 4th kid got nailed to the cross. The whole town was after him—and they went to disturbing lengths.

I vividly remember kids in school screaming at him in the hall and teachers just watching it happen. This was long before we had the term "Karen", but, in hindsight, the Karens were out in full force. Roll the calendar forward a few months, and stuff started happening.

The three families, the most vocal Karens, the mayor, yadda yadda, all became the victims of vandalism, and had stuff stolen, etc. Big ticket items, too: a sunk boat, stolen/wrecked cars, and a flooded house. Nobody picked up on the pattern.

Apparently, it was well known to other people from the wrong side of the track what was going on.


41. Ice Cold

person holding clear glass mug with brown liquidPhoto by Martipaan on Unsplash

Our family-owned two apartment buildings, three units each. We lived in two of them and rented out the other four. There's nothing but these "three flats" lining both sides of the road for about a mile. Not all have parking. On the side streets are houses and very little street parking.

We had more land than most of these units, since it was also our home. So we had parking for around 16 cars. Everything was fine for literally decades. Then cars started appearing in our parking lot that were not our tenants. I blocked one in one day.

I went outside to see these guys drive through our bushes and across the yard to get out. I called the authorities—but there was nothing they could do. So I called a tow company and had them put up signs. We'd have to call them to have a car towed. The signs seemed to work. No more random cars...that is, until New Year’s Eve one year.

I arrive home and every space is filled. There are even cars on the street blocking in the other cars. I'm beyond angry. I call the tow company. They can't do anything for a few hours because they are so busy. We're in the Chicago suburbs. It's below zero out. I have an idea. I dig out the lawn sprinklers and hoses.

I run one hose inside and attach it to the laundry room faucet and turn on the hot water. This way, the hose and sprinklers won't ice up. But the cars and ground sure did. Three sprinklers, moved every half hour or so. For almost five hours.

Every car, every square inch of the parking lot, the street by the cars, encased in ice. I made it a point to spray ice IN the locks, between the window seals and glass. In the grills. I put away the sprinklers and hoses, and went to bed. At 4 am, I hear furious pounding on the doors, doorbells ringing non-stop. We just smiled and called the authorities.

We then waited until they arrived and went outside. The officers were holding back laughter. These people were told to park here by their "friend" who owned an apartment several buildings away. The same idiot who drove over our bushes. I pointed to the tow sign and told the people to move their cars or get towed.

In our town, officers can ticket on private property with the owner's permission. So all cars were ticketed. They were also towed, since nobody could get in their vehicle. Wish we had it on video.


42. Fumbled The Ball

File:Vince Lombardi Trophy (2023).jpg - Wikimedia

I'm a huge 49ers fan—the rabid all-day tailgate in the parking lot type. A few years ago, we made it back to the Super Bowl. I was working at a consulting firm with a handful of accounts I would interact with directly.

One client, in particular, knew how big of a Niners fan I was. I was the day-to-day lead on his account. He really liked working with me and we became friends, often grabbing drinks or dinner after our meetings. He had access to a pair of extra company seats to the game, and as a thank you, wanted to give them to me as a gift.

He passed the tickets over to the partner on that account, who I will refer to as Dave, to be given to me as a surprise. The game came and went, we lost, and it sucked. The next time we met, we went to drinks afterward and he mentioned, "Hey, by the way, why didn't you go to the game? I heard someone else was in your seats".

I asked, "What game?" He said "The Super Bowl!"

Confused, I answered: "I didn't have seats to the super bowl?"

He told me that he gave Dave a pair of his company tickets for me as a gift so I could attend. I had zero idea what he was talking about. He looked shocked, and told me to quietly ask around about it and get back to him. When I was back in the office the next week, I found out the infuriating truth.

Dave had given a pair of Super Bowl tickets to another one of his clients as a gift from our company. I might have let this sort of thing go to keep the peace under different circumstances, but these were seats on the 30-yard line to see the 49ers play in the Super Bowl. I was beyond angry.

I considered confronting Dave myself, but realized it was the client who had noticed I wasn't there in the first place, so if I let him handle it, there would be no blowback on me. So I texted him, "Hey, I just wanted to thank you so much for thinking of me with those seats. It appears that they were given to another one of our firm's clients".

He texted back right away, in all caps, "ARE YOU KIDDING ME??" and then, "Pretend I never told you, let me handle it". He followed up with me about formulating a plan. A few days later, we were asked to come down for a meeting in their office.

The client requested the partner be present, not entirely unusual, so Dave and I hopped on a flight the next week and headed over to their office. Little did Dave know, my client had orchestrated a devious plan to catch him red-handed.

When we entered the conference room, it was all the usual suspects along with a woman in her 30s we didn't recognize. My client immediately introduces her: "Dave, this is Stephanie, VP from [other department], she wanted to sit in on this meeting. Hey, you guys must already know her from the super bowl!"

She then responds as she goes to shake my hand, "Oh, I don't think so. Did we meet there? I'm sorry if I forgot". The client responds, "Jeez Steph how much did you have to drink? They were sitting right next to you!" The client looks at me, and I say, "Sorry, I wasn't there. Are you thinking of someone else?"

At this point, Dave is looking visibly uncomfortable, probably trying to come up with an excuse. He starts in with an "Uhm" when Stephanie says over him, "No, [so and so] from [other company] were in the other seats. By the way, I was wondering why we gave company seats to those guys, is there a project we're working with them on that I don't know about?" (obviously not, they were in completely different industries, it would be like Coca-Cola partnering with John Deere).

Dave lets out an "Uh" again, and the client immediately speaks over him asking, "Dave, I gave you those tickets for him?" At this point, Dave is turning bright red. He responds, "Ohh, uhh, well he wasn't able to make it, so he must have given the seats away to someone else?" and turns to me looking for me to cover for him.

The client smirks at me. I respond, "Uh, what are you talking about? You gave me tickets to the Super Bowl?" The client suddenly raises his voice, "Dave, those tickets were a personal thank-you gift from me to him. Did you give them away to someone else? Was it another client?"

Dave cuts in with, "Oh, uhm, maybe something got mixed up in the office?" The client went quiet for what probably seemed like an eternity to Dave. He then looked down, grabbed his portfolio and iPad, put them into his briefcase, and said, "I think this meeting is over”.

He looked at me and said: “It seems as if I owe you a thank-you gift, let's go to lunch. Stephanie, you're welcome to join...Dave, I need to evaluate our relationship, please go back home and expect to hear from us next week".

Dave suggests he would like to join, presumably to do damage control, and Stephanie sternly tells him "I don't think that's a good idea," and asks the front desk to see Dave out. As soon as he is in the elevator, we all break out laughing hysterically.

Stephanie wasn't really a VP, just an employee at the company who the client had drafted into helping with his pre-planned meeting skit, but she did end up coming to lunch with us and was a fellow Niners fan and a total blast to hang out with.

On our way to the restaurant, I got a desperate text from Dave saying I needed to "cover for the firm" and that we could discuss things when I got back. I replied, "Yes, we need to talk, but I'll see what I can do".

The client told me to wait a couple of hours and then respond to him: 1) To expect invoices for the resale value of the super bowl tickets (resale is WAY above face value, it was over $10K) as well as our lunch (he picked a pricey spot and made a big show of overspending) and that he expected them to be paid immediately, 2) Expected I be given a direct apology, 3) Expected a written apology to his company for what he considered theft, and 4) He will only interact with me or another one of our firm's partners, never Dave.

This whole thing caused a stir with the other partners, and I actually came off looking great because it appeared that I had made a good-faith effort to save the client for the firm despite being the victim in this situation. The client would transfer to another partner, which meant Dave lost his profit share on any work with them.

Oh, and the other partners in the firm made Dave pay the invoices back out of his salary. In retrospect, I really have no idea what the heck the guy was thinking. Did he seriously believe the client would just not notice me not thanking him for Super Bowl tickets?

Anyway, the well was kind of poisoned for me there long term because Dave wasn't going anywhere. I left the firm a few months later for a much better position. The client ultimately terminated their relationship with that firm a year later, he actually now works with a good friend of mine at a competing firm.

I'm still angry I missed out on the Super Bowl even though we lost; hoping we make it back this year so I can finally go to one in person. Go Niners!


43. Eye For An Eye

white and brown concrete housePhoto by Dhruv Mehra on Unsplash

My family treated me and my mom like garbage. They let my mom die of liver cirrhosis and then tried to take her house that was going to go to me during probate by making a bunch of false claims. Anyway, I paid the money and eventually sold the house for double what I paid for it.

I know for a fact that several members of that family wanted that house as it belonged to my Nana, so I am glad to have made some money off of depriving them of some sentimental value as they robbed my mom of ever seeing me graduate high school or seeing any future kids I might have.


44. Don’t Mess With Engineers

man in purple sweater sitting at the tablePhoto by ThisisEngineering RAEng on Unsplash

I worked for a company that provides specialized equipment used in manufacturing. During my time working in this field, I got to know many clients who would need these machines installed and serviced. One of these customers we'll call Jake. I later left the company for a different job, but Jake apparently kept my number.

One afternoon, I got a call from Jake that they wanted a new unit installed and that another unit needed maintenance and wanted to know if I was available. I let him know that I left the company but that I could pass him on to someone who could help. He tells me he'll pay 2x my current rate to install the unit over the weekend.

He lets me know that the company has increased the rates for installation and the company just can't afford it. The instructions they sent over just aren't clear enough and their engineers are scratching their heads trying to figure it out. He begs me to consider it and I agree.

For more context, installing this unit can take a good few hours, or up to a day on your own. The company gives you two options. You can either pay for an engineer to come and install it, or you can save money and they will send instructions so that the customers' own engineers can install it.

The instructions aren't easy to follow and it's company policy that if someone has started to install the equipment, the supplier wouldn't get involved since they couldn't verify that any of the pieces were broken. This will be important later.

I drive down on the weekend and they show me the boxes of equipment. I set to work and I make good progress installing the unit. Around six hours in and I'm stopped by Jake who greets me. I let him know I'm nearly finished and he tells me, "Sorry but they just don't have the budget to pay you".

He understands my frustration but his engineers can take it from here. To say I was frustrated was an understatement. I wanted revenge. There's a small button inside the unit that changes the unit into test mode.

This is done to perform maintenance on the unit but it's impossible to configure the unit with this button pressed. It's only possible to reach this button using a pin so it's not easily pressed during installation. Because of this, the installation instructions don't mention it.

There's no real way of telling the equipment is in test mode, it just won't work normally. I think you can guess where this is going. I click the button, collect my things and leave. Monday morning I get a call from Jake. I declined. I knew my old company wouldn't get involved since I already started installing the unit.

I knew his engineers would never figure it out. I just had to let him stew. A few days later with many missed calls, I finally pick up. Jake is furious. He asks me where the heck I've been and why I haven't been picking up the phone. He tells me they can't figure out how to configure the machine and they need my help.

I tell him, "Why is this my problem? You won't pay me". He told me he was sorry and that they would work something out if I could get there as soon as possible. I told him, "Oh no, you're going to pay me £7,000 upfront before I do anything". I'd never felt this powerful before.

He screamed at me for a bit and hung up. He called back a day later after saying he was sorry for how he acted and said that if I could come fix it he would pay me, in a totally defeated tone. He tried to fight it saying he'll pay when I was done but I was having none of it. After a bit of back and forth, he agrees to pay me. The money hit my account and I came in the next day.

The look of confusion on his face, when I took out a pin and changed the unit from test mode, was priceless. It was even more priceless seeing his reaction to me packing up my tools and leaving after only 20 minutes of configuring. Easiest £7,000 I'd ever made.

Don't try to mess with a professional problem solver.


45. Greedy Greedy Never Gets

brown wooden framed beige padded armchairPhoto by Ignacio R on Unsplash

This sweet older lady in our church was a retired nurse. Never married, no kids. She had a heart attack and while she was in the hospital, her niece and nephew thought she was a goner. They came and TOOK HER STUFF. Her apartment was small but she had some very nice crystal and silver, and some lovely antique furniture.

When she came home, she had no dishes and almost no furniture. The niece and nephew denied it but the neighbors had seen them carting everything away. Several years later, she passed on. Her most recent will, dated after her heart attack, left one dollar each to her niece and nephew. Everything else went to the church.

Her estate was worth NINE MILLION DOLLARS.


46. It’s The Principle Of The Thing

portrait photography of man wearing black suit jacketPhoto by Shipman Northcutt on Unsplash

My entire graduating class, in our junior year, dealt with this absolute moron of a principal. She replaced a genuinely competent woman who was finally retiring, and she was one of those, "Don't talk about your problems, everything's fine" kind of people.

She would not do her job. Multiple boys younger and older than us got pulled into the office for awful remarks, physical altercations, drug stuff, and even threats. She did nothing. Multiple Hispanic kids had eye-rolls thrown their way—that's how we found out she was one of those conservatives.

She talked down to staff and students, using baby talk and a condescending tone for people in their 40s. She was utterly incompetent, not knowing how to handle outbreaks of rebellion and sweeping as much under the rug as she could.

I, personally, marched into her office multiple times, and during one of those instances, I called her an idiot to her face. My parents also got involved at one point. The guys in our class utilized the strategy of publicly making fun of her by pretending to love her and snickering about her reactions.

People refused to listen to her. She was mocked relentlessly by staff and students alike. It was awful. Finally, for some sort of trip, she decided to take the kids to a baseball game...that almost no one wanted to go to. It was rainy and cold and we were really high up so we couldn't even see.

A lot of us got really bad frostbite. As she was leaving, she forgot half of the class. The bus was not in the same spot that it had been before. Mind you, we were all three hours away from our school, in a big city that none of us were used to. She almost left without that half of the class, and instead of heading out to look for them, she smiled while we were frantically trying to contact them.

With our combined complaints, especially to our math teacher, in particular, news reached the school board. We found out with some gossip that she was forced to resign. And the person who got her in trouble? Our math teacher, who is now the current high school principal.


47. The End Of The Line

white and brown building during daytimePhoto by David Knox on Unsplash

A couple of my collegemates used to haze me and mistreat me. We had to go to a mutual friend’s wedding, and we rented a car and drove there. I had the most shameless revenge plan.

On the way back, we took a bit of a detour and went through a more scenic route, I left them in the middle of nowhere when they went out to pee. They didn't have their phones with them either.

It took them two days to get back. They didn't have anything with them, it was a lonely road in the middle of the rainy season. Their girlfriends picked them up after two days. They had to walk and take lifts from strangers for over 300 km.

They also missed a lab exam and we had corporate placements happening in the next semester so everyone got busy anyway. They left me alone for the most part for the rest of the year.


48. If It Isn’t The Consequences Of My Actions

person using MacBook ProPhoto by Campaign Creators on Unsplash

I was doing work above my pay grade, and outside of the scope of my job. But then I was lied to by HR, and it led to me not getting a promotion. I basically put them in a position where I couldn't be replaced and messed with the Excel codes I made for them that saved managers six hours a day. I didn't correct what I knew would get us high fees since it wasn't technically my job. Then I quit.

$700k in fines, nobody trained to do scheduling, a department without anyone to run it, and additional work for the managers was the damage. I started getting calls to help them fix it. I'm sure you can imagine how well that went for them.


49. Like Music To My Ears

Children's Choir of Russia concert • President of

When I was in elementary I was forced to be in the “normal” music class instead of the “special ed” class for years. This was even after my mom and both of my therapists requested I get put in the assisted class for sensory reasons. I’m autistic and had sensory overloads daily in this class.

The teacher said I was lying to them and always did quiet activities when someone sat in on the class. So I suffered every Monday and Wednesday I had school from when I was four to when I was ten. But then I went to middle school and life moved on. I still loved music so I tried to join the choir.

I was denied for two years but got in when I was 12. I’m a pretty good singer and had no other extracurricular activities so I began helping the choir director. Eventually, he asks me if his daughter, who’s also autistic, could be good with music like I was.

He says her music teacher in elementary school says she’s terrible with music and throws tantrums in class. I say she’s most likely not having tantrums but rather a sensory overload because 30 eight-year-olds playing the recorder at once is sheer torment. Other than a few other questions about his daughter, it was the last I heard of this elementary school music class.

A couple of years later, I’m bringing my mom lunch in my old high school, where she works, and I see my old choir director and his daughter. We catch up and eventually they leave to get lunch together and I chat with my mom. What she told me was stunning.

She says: “You know, you’re one of the reasons he divorced his wife". I’m like “What?!?” And she explains that his ex-wife was the elementary school music teacher who’d treated me terribly.

When I said elementary school music class is horrible for autistic kids, he found out she doesn’t believe autism exists and thinks you can fix neurodivergent kids by making them so uncomfortable they “become normal”. Not a good attitude for the mom of an autistic kid.

She also refused to take a course on how to teach mainstreamed special needs kids…so she also lost her job. I hadn’t even meant to get revenge, but I did. No regrets.


50. Where There’s A Will, There’s A Way

man in blue button up shirtPhoto by engin akyurt on Unsplash

I knew a nice man who ran a successful business and was a regular customer—but unfortunately, he had three absolute garbage kids. After his wife passed on, they treated him like garbage and kept trying to borrow money, one of them took money for illicit substances, etc.

He got so fed up that he decided to get some revenge. He wanted to write them out of his will, but before he got around to it he was diagnosed with lung cancer. He thought the issue was smoker’s lung so he ignored it for way too long and it had metastasized, so it was fatal.

His kid’s response was only about how much they'd get in the will. The joke was on them though. He sold the business and his house. He donated almost all the money to various charities in his wife's name, then moved in with his niece who'd agreed to let him stay.

The last I heard, he passed on at his new home with people that actually cared about him, and his kids were trying to figure out how to sue the charities.


When I was 11, I developed a crush on a boy who was obsessed with X-Men comics. Wanting something to talk about, I told him I loved the X-Men, and was dying to read the issue he had on his desk, which I knew was new only because my brother was into X-Men and I was the one who took him to the store to purchase it.

The boy seemed pretty impressed and asked me who my favorite X-Men was. I said Wolverine since he was the only one I knew. The boy agreed with my opinion.

That night, I looked up biographies and power descriptions of a bunch of X-Men characters so I would be able to discuss the characters with him the next day. However, the next day, he didn't want to discuss the characters, but the events of the newest issue. He asked me if I had read it, I stupidly said yes, and he asked me what my favorite part was.

I was literally saved by the bell, as class ended at that moment, but the lie seriously backfired. I ended up never speaking to that boy again because I could not get trapped in another X-Men conversation. I never lied to a crush again.

I'm not alone in this. People lie about being interested in all sorts of things -- sometimes really dumb things -- to impress a crush or date. Redditors know this all too well and are eager to share their stories.

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