Movies love to play up the "and then everybody clapped" scene. Someone drops their lunch in the cafeteria, or clearly just got laid the night before, or they got the promotion they've been working so hard for--yeah. It's a pretty great scene.
The thing is, it rarely happens in real life. But when it does--and it's for real--it's oh so much sweeter.
Here were some of those answers.
Talent Show With Actual Talent
My high school hosted a talent show every year and each act had a limit of 3-5 mins. One kid was doing karate and this whole dance routine with it. We all loved this because before him there was about a million people singing and we were all very bored. We all thought it was good and enjoyed it but then his music stopped and he motioned for them to keep going. (He had already been at this for about 5 mins).
Teacher and staff were trying to tell him he needed to leave and get off the stage but he didn't know much english and didn't understand them so he just kept going, no music and we all started to cheer and stuff. Then teachers went on stage to try and bring him off and right then as a teacher was like literally trying to pull him off (it had been about 10-15 mins at this point) he started doing push-ups with 2 fingers, and then with just his thumbs.
Then we all stood up and applauded encouraging to keep going and the guy in the music booth (who was also a high schooler) started playing his music again and he straight up did his act for like 30 mins. By then school was ending and we all got to vote on our favorite act to perform again at our next assembly. He won by a landslide.
In the first round of a huge, prestigious chess tournament, I got paired with the #1-rated player, a foreign grandmaster. Most of the games took place in a giant ballroom, but the top two boards were in a separate room. A big audience sat and watched those two games; the moves were displayed on giant vertical boards that the audience could see.
I was a pretty good player, but this was the first time I had ever played a grandmaster, and this guy was famous for being a world-class player, even better than most other grandmasters. The audience assumed he'd crush me; so did I.
To shorten a long story, I played the game of my life. I got a good position, sacrificed some pieces to put his king in danger, and finally finished him off by threatening an unstoppable checkmate. The audience watched all of this on the giant board.
When my opponent shook my hand, indicating that he was resigning, the whole audience started clapping. You rarely hear that at a chess tournament, and I certainly hadn't expected it. (The applause may have bothered the guys playing on board 2, but it didn't last long.)
There's a well-known story about an old-time grandmaster who played a winning move that was so brilliant, the spectators showered the board with gold pieces. That didn't happen for me ... but the audience clapping for my upset victory was a perfect moment anyway.
I was driving some friends home from a christmas party when we hit some black ice, sending the car careening sideways down a 180o offramp. I saved it, and got the damned thing stopped, pointing in the right direction and in our lane, by the time we got to the bottom of the ramp.
There was no clapping, but there was cheering.
Was being inducted into the national honor society in high school, and had to sit in front of the whole school during the ceremony. I was so nervous I didn't want to move, so kept my legs crossed.
Leg fell asleep, they called my name to come up. I nearly fell down when I tried to put weight on it (again, in front of the entire school). I manage to stumble to the front, where a senior is ready to read off my accomplishments. He puts his arm around me and literally holds me up till I get to light my candle or whatever and got to go sit down, at which point everybody clapped.
That was over 20 years ago and my buddies still won't let me forget it, as they shouldn't.
I'll Get You My Pretty
Did a 5k race dressed as Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz last October...everyone (race volunteers, people that have already finished, and spectators) were all mildly cheering as folks approached/crossed the finish line, but about two dozen feet from the end I started skipping like I was on the yellow brick road and off to see the Wizard! It was like a Munchkinland farewell because the vague cheers turned into ROARS AND THUNDERING APPLAUSE. I was Dorothy Gale and I just dropped my house on a mfing witch
Ain't No Pants
Many years ago, I was at a SF Giants game at Candlestick Park. This was back when they were owned by a man named Bob Lurie, who was trying to sell the team to Florida. The game went into extra innings and ended up tying the record for the longest extra inning game ever played there. It was so late in the evening, they were showing "Late Night with Dave Letterman" on the big screen, in between innings. Seeing Letterman reminded me of this bit he once did involving the owner of GE (his boss) and a megaphone. So with the Giants on the field, and barely 200 die hard fans left in the park, I yelled at the top on my voice, "MY NAME IS BOB LURIE, AND I'M NOT WEARING ANY PANTS!" I swear to God, SF infielder Robbie Thompson and one of the umpires cranked their heads around and looked in my direction in the upper section. The crowd erupted in laughter, and I got a STANDING ovation.
Took a small role in my high school production of West Side Story to get over my fear of public speaking. Show night comes and one of the gang members (Shark or Jet - I don't remember) gets down on one knee to deliver his line to me with his fly wide open (unbeknownst to him). He had a dumb look on his face because he was mocking me (Officer Krupke) as part of the scene. The whole thing got the better of me and I lost it (laughing) when I tried to deliver my 2 simple lines. Could. Not. Recover. I eventually laughed out the words, "Aww forget it" and walked off stage. Received a standing O at the end (for being a trooper I guess).
Next night, same scenario, except EVERYONE has their flies down this time. Rinse and repeat. And everybody clapped. The end. Needless to say, I only further exacerbated my fear of public speaking.
Ignore The Rules
I was at mass last Sunday and an announcer at the beginning was like "please stop clapping at the end of the mass, please respect the solemnity of lent", but at the end of the mass almost everybody still clapped.
In trucking school this past month I struggled to learn manual... got frustrated and started getting depressed that I'd never get to truckin. After a few days of grinding and frustration I went to sleep... woke up next morning and got back in. The other student learning with me was in back... i shifted, next gear.. next gear, button flip 6th gear.. downshifted revved and did a double down made a turn and went back to shifting... round and round I went... instructor and classmate clapped for me and cheered me on. I did 300 miles today in a 10 speed peterbuilt on I-4 and 75 North to Georgia with those guys while getting our mileage in. I grinded 2 or 3 gears on offramps but I did it. I am proud of myself today.
Freshman year in college, life is good, oldest professor in campus (50 years teaching) was a serious hardass and I handle stress with humor, so one day he comes into the classroom with his zipper down, people start chuckling and he proceeds with his class up to a point where he puts his foot on a chair to rest his leg, making the zipper gap wider, chick on the seat closest to it turns red as a beet and people chuckle again.
I raise my hand and he points at me, I ask him to come closer, he refuses and tells me to just spit it, I ask him once more to come closer, he gets upset and tells me that if it isn't pertaining to his lecture, I'll be given a written warning, I assure him that while not pertaining to class, he'd very much appreciate the information, he gets even more upset and tells me to cut the crap and share it with the class, people start losing it and chuckles become actual laughs, so I tell him his fly is down, classroom erupts in laughter and everybody claps, he tells me that in 50+ years of teaching, it was the second time it happened to him.
Needless to say, I dropped out and switched fields.