Prison Guards Share Their Scariest Experiences Working Behind Bars
There are few occupations we can think of that would be more high stress than working as a prison guard. Television and film have given us countless depictions of life behind bars, and none of them show it like a walk in the park - for prisoner or guard. One reddit user asked:
The answers were almost all pretty intense, but we managed to pull 20 stories that struck a chord with us. Some of these may be intense for younger or more sensitive readers, so be careful as you move ahead.
Stuck In An Elevator
Setting the scene:
1997; local Jail with a very big budget crisis.
The jail was on the 4th floor of the courthouse and the chow hall was in the basement. So we would have to take the prisoners up and down to eat. The elevator was junk. It broke down with me and 13 felony inmates trapped inside of it. Four were convicted murderers waiting on a bed to come open at the prison. I was trapped in a very tight space with some very bad people unarmed and alone.
They helped me crawl through the escape hatch in the roof of the elevator so I could get help. No escape attempts and no violence. It was scary, but went pretty well considering.
At last, my day has come. In lieu of one "scariest day," allow me, as a CO in the State of Florida, to tell you all of the scariest incidents to occur to me in the past few years.
-From the point you're hired until your graduation from the academy (roughly 6-12 months) you are advised to not get into any physical issues with an inmate. This can lead to awkward and dangerous instances when a new person is assigned to work in the Close Management buildings. On one particular day, I was assigned to assist an officer with escorting CM1 (most dangerous) inmates to their rec cages. For whatever reason, the officer I was with neglected to follow standard procedure and have said inmates step backwards out of his cell. The door rolled, and the cuffed inmates bolted between us, ran up the stairs to the second level, and started attempting to remove his cuffs. This inmate, I found out later, had a reputation for enjoying his beating of COs. It took nine officers to take him down and return him to his cell.
Fun fact; the officer I was with attempted to blame the whole thing on me since I didn't run after the inmate. He was shutdown when cameras revealed that he, as a certified officer, had ALSO not given chase.
So, I worked night shift at this jail for around two years, right before I went to the academy, I was working a control room that looked over four different pods, called F-Block. Easy pod, most of them are trusties and minimum security, so they're whiney, but usually not ones you have to worry about much. This block is set up where three of the pods are set up with cells, and there's one pod that is an open pod, meaning bunks and no cells. So two days a week, we do a razor night, pretty standard stuff, the worst part is making sure you get the razor blade back. After handing out the blades, about thirty or forty minutes pass when inmates start banging on the window to get me and another guy's attention, and hitting the call box rapidly. Sadly, this can be a normal occurrence because they'll play that as prank to get us riled up. So the guy I'm in the control room hits the button to answer the call box.
Other CO: Yeah?
Inmates: You need to get in here now.
Other CO: Is it an emergency?
Inmates: Yes, please get in here.
So since I'm the newest of the two, I get the pleasure of walking into the open pod and seeing what's going on. I walk in and just freeze for a second, there's an inmate laying on his bunk with blood coming from his neck, self inflicted. So I call a signal and wait for back-up to get there. Soon me and another guy (also hasn't been to the academy yet) rush over there. The inmate is still alive and he is determined to die, he kicks the other CO away and he begins to slash the blade towards us in a threatening manner to tell us to back off. The other CO goes to one side and holds the guys arms down to his own chest, so the inmate uses this time to just slash his neck even further.
About that time, nurses and superiors find their way to the pod, but the nurses can't come anywhere near them because he's still holding a blade. He scratches one CO who is one scene (the guy has Hep C) and finally the Captain elbows the guy in the best and gets him to drop the blade. We held tampons to the guys neck and proceeded to take him to medical.
Somehow, this guy lived. Turns out he declined a sentence that would have made him serve just 10 more months, but declined the plea and received 10 years to life.
My brother is a CO at Rikers island and around fall last year an inmate tried to stab him with a shank he had hidden in his rectum. The guy failed but I don't think the experience was pleasant.
Michael Clark Duncan
Obligatory not a CO. My dad, father in law and husband are COs at a max facility.
Each of them have been involved in riots, but the worst one was when my father in law, the commander on shift, was trapped in the yard by a group of inmates.
This area is normally gated off, and my FIL was in that area to make sure it was secure, but they later found out a notoriously lazy CO didn't feel the need to lock it up that day after yard (what could go wrong, right?)
The area at the time, for whatever reason, had a roof over the weight pit, and a set of double doors that led back into the prison. The tower guards didn't have a clear view of anything that happened under this roof, and the inmates knew it.
There were young inmates funneling him towards this area, and inmates behind the double doors holding them shut so he couldn't get through to safety. He was fucked.
Now, my FIL is a man that is very "by the rules". He's the kind of guy that just commands respect by the tone of his voice. He's fair, and he gives inmates what they have coming, good or bad. He'll make sure you're getting your mail on time, won't give you petty tickets and make sure you're getting a fair shake at chow. He also won't hesitate to sanction you if you fuck up. Because of this, he has built good rapport with a lot of inmates who are doing long term bids.
One of those long term inmates happened to be on the other side of those doors, trying to stay out of trouble.
My FIL described this man's appearance like that of Michael Clarke Duncan's character on The Green Mile. A quiet, compliant gentle giant.
FIL is by himself, no gun, no taser, no gas, no backup coming. He stands there helpless, trying to reason with the group.
He said he watched the window on the door fill with orange out of the corner of his eye. He turns to look and a huge arm swats these relatively tiny, young punk inmates out of the way. He opens the door for my FIL, threatens the rest of the inmates outside, and brings him inside to safety.
I'm not sure where they went after that, but he said that was absolutely the scariest situation and the most vulnerable he had ever been.
They have since removed the roof and if you EVER missed securing an area, you suffered the wrath of my FIL.
That inmate still locks there to this day, and the respect has continued on between him and my husband. Lucky for me, my husband had a great role model while training at the facility, his dad, and realizes that being a hard ass 100% of the time and being a "bad cop" can get you killed. It doesn't take much to treat people like humans.
"The Guts Guy"
I Had an inmate just come back from the hospital after having some sort of abdominal/stomach surgery. I was doing a round and as I passed his cell, He was sitting on the floor of his cell facing away from me with his arms in front of him and his head looking downward towards his lap.. I saw him moving so I at first didn't think much of it and continued with my round. During the round I had a weird gut feeling that I should go investigate a bit further. He was always pretty odd but never displayed any self destructive behaviors. I walked up to his cell and asked what he was doing. He just said "nothing go away". I had the door opened by the control center and when the door opened It let in enough light into the cell for me to see a bloody handprint on the floor next to him. I directed him to stand up slowly and put his hands behind his back to be cuffed, when he did that I saw both of his hands were literally dripping with blood. I got responders to the area and we pulled him out of his cell where we found his surgical wound was wide open and his innards were visible. We had come to find out that he had pulled his stitches out and had been sticking his hands inside the would to "play with his guts", as he so eloquently put it.
Current CO here, been working for about 4 years now at a federal joint that will remain unnamed.
This happened on my off day, but I was able to watch it on the camera in the control center the next day. One hard, older CO who was known to never let an inmate get by with anything and maybe sometimes said a little to much (cursing at inmates) was dealing with an inmate in a housing unit about wearing the right uniform, well this inmate was apparently having a bad day and started yelling at the older CO. The inmate walked away and went to his cell with the older CO close behind, I assume still talking crap to inmate. At this point you can see the inmate lacing up tennis shoes and putting on gloves on camera. For those of you who are not CO's this generally means they are about to fight. Well long story short, there was this older CO and 1 other unit officer in this housing unit, the older CO starts getting his a** beat and alot of the other inmates (about 120 in the housing unit at a given time) make a circle around the fight.
While there was no audio on the video I saw, word is the inmates that circled the fight told the other unit officer that if he called on the radio or tried to help they would beat him to death. He stood there and watched as the older CO got beat, but luckily the older CO was able to hit is body alarm and help came in about 3min.
3 minutes is a long time to get beat, but he made it out with a broken nose, few ribs and bruises. Older CO still works here and still won't back down from any inmate, he is a scrappy fellow. The other unit officer was forced to quit/got fired. Never leave a brother to get beat even if you get beat. That could have been very very very bad if the older CO had not been able to hit his own body alarm and the unit officer was unable to let anyone know what was happening due to being frozen with fear. No one would have known the older CO was being beaten.
"Urine Coated Spear"
Correctional officer of 4 years in Texas on a Max security unit working administrative segregation (in their cell 23 hours a day) I was stabbed multiple times with a feces and urine coated spear through a cell door. Thankfully all of them were caught in my stabproof thrust vest but it was terrifying.
My Dad has a great story:
One day he caught someone throwing drugs over the fence so he hopped in his truck and was driving over. When the guy saw him he ran into the woods next to the prison. My dad hopped out and ran after him. Eventually, they made it to a clearing and when my dad caught a glimpse of him, he had his hand on his hip like he was reaching for a gun. My dad wasn't armed. So at this point he was thinking:
"what am I supposed to do now?"
So he puts his own hand on his hip and yells at the guy to get down and my dad pretended to have a gun. The guy freaked and got down. Ends up he was reaching for a phone to get backup. But I think it's funny that my dad pulled a Paul Blart.
"Suicide In Progress"
I work for a small Jail. Nothing too crazy happens. One day, a female threw her sheet over her cell door and tied it to the handle. I just happened to be looking into the cell block and saw her hanging from the door kicking and struggling. I called a code for suicide in progress over the radio and ran to the block. We got her down just as she was slipping out of consciousness. She screamed at us when she woke up.
We placed her on suicide watch in the turtle suit.
About 3 years later I saw her out in public and she ran up and gave me a hug and thanked me for helping her. Apparently, she was struggling with meth really bad at the time of her attempt. When I saw her she had been clean for 2 years. Everyday I wonder why I keep doing this job and that one incident was worth it. When I started the job, I thought everyone in jail was just a sack of sh*t. But in reality, some people just mess up or have a bad day.
What Could Have Happened
I was one for two years before I left. I want to preface this by saying DO NOT WORK FOR NORTH CAROLINA:
So, we are so understaffed that we were working upwards of 80 to 90 hours a week. I was also working nights. Some nights i'd be in a dorm that was set up like military barracks. Those barracks had just two officers to 136 inmates. Also, the equipment we had didn't work. Our radios were fubar'd, our pepper spray had been out of date for six years, and only half of the prison cameras worked.
My other officer was asleep by 9:30 pm - as was pretty usual for my pathetic coworkers. I was walking my rounds when my baton clip breaks off my belt and the baton rolls in front of 34 inmates who are not locked down and freely moving about the room. I calmly walked over to the baton that had stopped right in front of an inmates bed and picked it up and left. Luckily nothing happened.
It was the thoughts of what could have happened that drove me to find another job. I could have died that night or any night with a sleeping officer one room over, without a working radio to call for back up or a camera to even show which person killed me. I saw so much corruption and dirt in that job that I'll never want to work for any law enforcement agency again. I sincerely hope that it turns around one day but it will have to without me.
Pregnancy And The Pencil
CO here. When I was 6 months pregnant, I got followed into a cell as I was doing cell checks. The inmate - whom I had given a warning about something earlier - threatened to stab me with a sharpened pencil. My partner was supposed to be watching my back to make sure I was not followed, but this wasn't the first time he slacked on that. Luckily, the inmate saw that I had my hand on my radio to call in backup and he let me continue on my checks.
I went on sick leave the following week until my maternity leave kicked in. Not worth the risks.
Was a Detention Officer in Max / Super-max. I have two bad stories:
Had a guy that got injured while fighting officers. One of his arteries was damaged. It was pretty frighting trying to get this guy under control so we could get him out to the hospital, at the same time as fighting with him, and having him spray blood everywhere.
The other was holding a guy up that had just hung himself for seven minutes waiting for another officer to respond with a 911 tool to cut him down.
Both inmates were saved.
Endearing, yet completely psychotic
My mom was a prison guard for 12 years. I actually remember a lot of stories but I'm pretty sure the scariest day for her was when her boss tried to assign her to be locked in close quarters with a TB infected inmate while she was pregnant with my sister.
This was the 90's I don't know if you can test for that now but back then you couldn't test the baby until it was born. That was her last day on the job.
She had held that job through all three of her pregnancies. It never caused her problems, in fact she used to tell us how amazed the inmates were by it. Some of them rarely see a women, let alone a pregnant woman.
I recall her telling me of one inmate who started reading about pregnancy because of my mother and would give her "fun facts" on the baby. That same inmate had stabbed another because he swore in front of my mother while while pregnant and he had read that the baby can hear everything.
Endearing, yet completely psychotic.
Flashlight And The Aryan Brotherhood
My friend told me this story of his account so I'll share. He was a prison guard in Arizona some years ago. On his way to work there was a monsoon. By the time he arrived the power was out and the backup generator was also out. When the power goes out like that, at least at this particular prison.
So he arrived to no power and open prison cells. It was his job to go around with a maglite and tell everyone to stay calm, stay in their cells and that food would be coming. Most inmates were cool and did as they were told. One particular man though was not so cool. My buddy approached a mammoth of a man leaning on the railing outside his cell with his arms folded. He towers over my friend, he is built like an ox and certainly outweighs him. When told to go back on his cell the inmate says "what if I don't wanna"
So you're not supposed to back down to images obviously. So my buddy is s***ting bricks but has to remain assertive. He tells him one more time to get back in his cell or else. The inmate doesn't care and takes a step towards him. My buddy swings the maglite into his face knocking him out instantly. He found out later that he had knocked out the leader of the aryan brotherhood at that prison.
He promptly put in his two weeks notice and spent the remainder of his time in a guard tower with a rifle.
My first week on the job I was in the unit where the violent offenders and confirmed gang members are housed. We had a mental health offender who got mad at the person in the cell to his left. When we fed him his dinner, he "jacks the slot." There's a small slot we open to put their food tray in. When we opened the slot, the offender put his arm through it in order to stop us from closing it, thereby "jacking the slot."
He refuses to remove his arm, so we sound the alarm system to request backup. As soon as he heard the alarm, the prisoner grabbed a bag full of "fluid" and hurled it toward the next offender's cell. Inside the bag was a mix of his own feces and urine, which spilled under the other guy's door into his cell and, honestly, all over the place.
The mental health offender then reaches back in his cell and grabs two plastic wrappers covered in his own feces and smears them all over the outside of his windows. There was feces everywhere and stunk up the whole wing. Easily the worst day on the job and it was like my 3rd day.
The Throat Scar
Not a prison guard, but spent 18 months in Illinois Department Of Corrections. There was an older dude that was a major jerk, like BAD. He HATED the inmates. He lived to throw them in seg and did his best to get their good behavior time taken away.
He had a scar across his throat. Turns out in the late 80s/early 90s a few prisoners in Statesville got out of control. They took him and his wife hostage then slit his throat. Both lived.
Why he kept being a guard, I'll never know.
Honestly, that the physical test to work in a maximum security prison is so simple a child could do it. I watched a 60 year old/100lb woman pass it. And 350+ lb woman finish it. As well as many people that couldn't protect them selves from a teenager let alone a large grown man.
And these were the people that I was suppose to trust to watch my back if something bad happened.
I was a prison guard in afghanistan in 2011 at the DFIP. I think somewhere around December, we had a Quran burning incident, and tensions were very high between the US and any of the local nationals or the Afghan National Army. People were dying because of riots outside base, this was some serious shit. We were recieving threats from some of the people we worked with.
The scariest day was when I was searching a communal cell some days after the Quran burning. Usually the detainees would put their Qurans in the front middle portion of the cell, near the airlock, laying on a prayer rug. We would leave them alone and ask our interpreters to search them. Anyway, I finish my search and as I'm walking out, I accidently step on a little carton of milk thats hidden under the edge of a sleeping pad, and it explodes all over the Qurans, all 30 of 'em. As I'm looking up and seeing what I've done, I notice 3 Afghan Army guys standing in the airlock. This momemt was the scariest, my adrenaline fired up and I was ready to fight.
They were pretty cool though. I apologized, and they said they saw what happened (one guy spoke english) and understood it was an accident. They cleaned them up and replaced them with new ones. Good people.
Being woken up suddenly is not very good for our health.
Especially for the elderly, it's not something to make a habit of. Sleep interruption can increase blood pressure, cause a worsened self image, and cause a day filled with irritation and confusion.
No one wants to be woken up, but there are definitely some reasons for being woken up that are worse than your alarm clock.
We went to Ask Reddit to find out some of the worst reasons people have been woken up.
Redditor Toothpiicxxk asked:
"What's the worst reason you woke up?"
These truly are the worst.
We love our pets, but sometimes not so much.
"My cat was throwing up right next to me."
"She brought you breakfast how cute."
"I was just about to answer that my cat threw up right on me, specifically my hair, which I had just washed..."
Some horrible news hits you.
"Being woken up to be told someone you know died certainly qualifies."
"Or when you already know, but you wake up in that ignorant bliss that lasts for about a second and then it hits you. And this goes on for a long time."
"It's been about 15 years and I still will wake up on occasion thinking I have to tell my older brother something cool that I know he'd love to hear about. Or have a vivid a** dream about how it was all an mistake and he's still here. Happens less often then it used to but oof does it ever still hurt."
"Woke up at about 3am to a cop repeatedly ringing my bell. my mom had accidentally drowned in the tub. she was really weak from chemo."
"Woke up to a phone call telling me my incredible brother-in-law had been hit and killed by a drunk & high driver, his wife was also expected to pass as her neck had been broken, and their kids were both in surgery. My husband and I were in the will to get the kids, so we needed to fly to Chicago right away. As I sat there in shock, I hung up the phone, turned to see my sleeping husband snoring away, and knowing I would now have to wake him up to tell him the worst news he would ever hear."
2018 false missile alert.
"I live in Hawaii, that time we got the missile scare."
"Oof at least it wasn't real but I would have definitely panicked if that was me."
"Damn, I slept straight through it. My mom literally woke me up, told me; and I still went back to sleep."
"What were you supposed to do? Go outside and witness your annihilation?"
"I think it's the right thing to do to inform people even if there isn't necessarily anything that can be done about it."
"Some people would appreciate being able to conduct prayers, get one last hug with their loved ones, etc."
"Cockroach walking on my lips with no shame. I brutally murdered it as soon as I yeeted it halfway across the room."
"I had a weird dream about a cockroach somehow paralyzing a friend then walking towards me in that same room. Then I awoke to find this a**hole cockroach slowly creeping on my lips."
"When I threw it away, what startled me was it did not panic AT ALL. It even slowly headed towards me!"
"I also mouth washed and brushed my teeth and even disinfected my lips with alcohol. It was a surreal experience."
"I seriously loathe roaches and there's no other way to ensure its death than a brutal one."
Screams in the night.
"One time I got woken up by a blood curdling scream in the middle of the night. I live alone and it also woke up my dog who was freaked out the rest of the night. Searched everywhere including outside and didn't find anything."
"Well that was lucky. Imagine what would have happened if you had found it..."
"Hopefully a fox, coyote, cat, or cougar."
"Being clearly asleep, and then someone wakes you to ask, 'Are you asleep?'"
"Bruh my mom be like [this]."
"The only correct answer to this question is 'yes.'"
"I woke up to my mom calling me sobbing because she thought I had died, I was 10 hours away and my blood sugar was severely low and wasn't answering any calls, that was horrifying."
"We've learned what does and doesn't work for waking me up in a medical emergency."
"Blood sugar can be a b*tch, found my mum having a really bad hypo while sleeping when I was a toddler and for years and years after would wake her up to check she was okay without realizing I was doing it for that reason. Glad you're okay!"
Something so relatable.
"My alarm rung. It's a daily struggle."
We've all been there.
If you're not a morning person, waking up in the morning can already be a challenge, but no one wants to get woken up to horrible news or an emergency.
In fact, we should be waking up naturally with our own personal sleeping patterns.
We all know that's easier said than done.
Want to "know" more? Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again. Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.
People have a habit of excusing crap behavior - honestly because it's often easier in the short term. Long term = flaming dumpster fire.
The excuses people use to dismiss behavior range from mundane and meaningless to the sort of leaps normally reserved for kangaroos and Olympians. It's sometimes amazing that these excuses work - but they do.
Some of them work so well that they're just sort of "accepted." That, obviously, kind of sucks and is something we should avoid - so let's talk about 'em.
Can't swerve around what you don't see, ya know?
Reddit user TMTtasmachine asked:
... and away we go.
" 'That's just how they are.' "
"One of the biggest enablers for tantrum throwing, bullying, etc. is that they get treated with kid gloves to avoid dealing with them." - alexrt87
"Oh my God you hit the nail on the head. Whenever someone says 'that's just the way they are' I say:"
" 'Yes, that's the point! Glad you noticed too! Now is it okey-doke for them to be jerks they have special jerk privileges? Or maybe they are just people and should treat everyone else as such?' " - notatrumpchump
"It depends on how it's said."
"People are the way that they are, and you shouldn't be surprised when they continue to be that way."
"This, obviously, doesn't excuse it - but people also shouldn't be surprised when a bad person continues to make bad decisions. Neither should we waste space in our minds being bothered by it." - unlawfulfoxy
Harassment Isn't Humorseason 2 lol GIF by ShamelessGiphy
" 'It's just a joke, bro.' Harassing people isn't humor." - loading__99
"A guy who says/does offensive things and decides whether he was joking based on the reaction of people around him." - Eatsleeptren
"Dude, legit had someone come up to me and start shouting in my face, calling me Madison, pretending I was cheating on him. Literally the most crowded location outside a theater, everyone staring at us, looking at me like I was some horrible cheater while I was out with my then fiancé."
"I started hyperventilating, my fiancé nearly decked the dude, and then someone shouts 'CUT' like this is some big 'YOU'RE ON CANDID CAMERA' moment and everything's supposed to be okay."
"I burst into tears."
"It was the most humiliating moment of my life, and thank god my then fiancé, now husband is not the type to overreact or jump to conclusions, or be abusive. Imagine how bad that could have been for someone with an angry or abusive partner."
"Prank videos are a plague on the internet and there is a REASON so many of them are fake, or involve actors." - Darkovika
Stay Sober, Then!Drunk Drinking Beer GIFGiphy
" 'I was drunk / high / etc.' "
"Then don't drink?! Stay sober if you can't NOT be an a**hole!" - BasedBenjamin
"Alternately, I hear a lot of 'I'm a happy drunk!' "
"Yeah, according to your drunk a$s. That doesn't mean you're not an ahole. Not remembering is not an excuse either." - PepeBabinski
"I was also loud, obnoxious, and I wouldn't remember sh*t the next day."
"Quitting drinking has been one of my best choices of my life." - TTungsteNN
"Help"new girl coach GIFGiphy
" 'I'm just trying to help you' " - Miserable-Air1234
"Every time I've heard this, they're manipulating me while helping only themselves." - mykittenfarts
"My Mom to a T. Everything she does is better than anyone else's and she always gets pissed that people don't praise her for 'helping.' "
"She's now a certified (by herself) psychic and I have come to the conclusion that she's not a covert narcissist but an obvious one. I really wish I was joking." - Silent_Discussion657
Parenting ProblemsLeave Me Alone Run GIF by TLC EuropeGiphy
"Any variation of 'I'm a Mother/parent.' "
"Had some lady cut me in line at a coffee shop and she hit me with 'I'm a single Mom of 3!' as her excuse."
"Ok? And? I was still here first." - maid-for-hire
"I'm a single mom and I f*cking haaaate when other single moms/parents pull that sh*t to get special treatment."
"Last week, I was having a rough morning, my kid was being difficult, and I was running late. I was rude to a cashier over a minor inconvenience."
"Not only did I apologize for my shitty behavior, I wrote corporate to let them know how professional and patient she was while I acted like a f*cking toddler."
"Was being a parent part of the reason I was frustrated? Absolutely. Was it an excuse for that behavior? HELL no."
"I acted like a b*tch, and I called myself out, and I apologized. I still feel bad about that - I rarely let things get to me to the point I snap at others." - ClusterfckyShtshow
"Wow. I'm a Mom as well and tired but it doesn't give anyone a right to use it as some sort of ploy to get away with stuff."
"Like, mice become Moms about 12 times a year. You're not special 🤣" - SpoonLoops
Believing Your BossThe Office Monday GIF by 20th Century Fox Home EntertainmentGiphy
"I had a boss say some really racist sh*t around me one day and the next day, out of nowhere, he says:"
" 'Don't believe half the things that come out of my mouth!' "
"It was not really an excuse, more like trying to cover for himself after the fact, but still stuck with me." - sirlongbottom441
"Report them to HR. Seriously." - kokichi--ouma
"Looking past the racist stuff for a bit, that's not a very encouraging thing to hear from a boss…" - WonderfulBlackberry9
Bad Day AgainBad Day Reaction GIF by Schitt's CreekGiphy
" 'I'm having a bad day/week' "
"Okay, so you decide everybody that you interact with deserves the same fate? Get out of here, dude." - myordinaryexistence
"We all got stress, don't take it out on me. I get some people have stress bad enough for it to be passable every once and a while (family member passing, etc) but general, stress should not lead to you being a jerk to me." - willsimpforfree
"Damn, I'm definitely guilty of this. Usually I remember to apologize after but at this point I've learned to just avoid the situation in the first place by minimizing my interaction with people if I'm in a shitty mood." - nozzzrul
"Reminds me of when that White boy went on a murder rampage and killed a bunch of Asian women & that a-hole sheriff gave a press conference telling the media that the 'poor boy had a bad day.' "
"My idea of a bad day involves going home after a rough day at work and just staying in the house."
"Apparently, I should change my ethnicity from Asian to White and go on a murder rampage, see if my @ss gets a sympathetic sheriff to say on my behalf that I had 'a bad day.' " - kingkazul400
It's Not An ExcuseSeason 2 Reaction GIF by FriendsGiphy
"This won't go down well, but using depression as an excuse. As someone who suffers from it, it's still not ok to treat others like sh*t" - Rainbowwallstickers
"Could not agree enough. My partner has a 'friend' who treats everyone like sh*t all the time, has no consideration for others and openly mocks people in public."
"She gets so much grace from those around her under the guise of her 'mental health.' It's so infuriating watching an adult woman never have to take responsibility for her actions." - 34boor
"I get there are some things you can't control, but you are still responsible for keeping that sh*t in check and if you're aware of your mental illness, you should be aware of how you approach people and situations."
"I'll admit I used to be guilty of using my mental illness to be an @ss, but now I'm trying to better myself" - VeeSquibbles
Florida Gonna FloridaLooney Tunes Florida GIFGiphy
"People are letting Florida off the hook way too damn much. And I live in Florida."
"Just because it's hilarious doesn't mean it isn't still completely f*cked up." - AlphaWhiskeyOscar
"The phrase 'Florida Man' is almost always followed some heinous way a Floridian is being an a$$hole." - PepeBabinski
"I'm also originally from Florida, and that state has serious problems. We need to pay attention to it." - [Reddit]
Moment of honesty ... as a Floridian ... yeaaaah, I'm gonna have to agree with that last one.
We live in a time where we are critically re-examining how we pay workers. After a two-year-long pandemic where some low-income and "unskilled" jobs were deemed "essential," we now must put our money where our mouth is.
For too long in the world have incredibly important jobs been overlooked or else outright maligned. Teachers in the USA make some of the least money, career-wise, and have some of the hardest jobs. Dancers pay to put their bodies through hell with no guarantee of paid work after training.
So how do we fix this problem? By naming it, of course.
Redditor u/NightReader5 asked:
"What professions are severely underpaid?"
Here were some of those answers.
Our Elderly Deserve Better
"I worked as a CNA in a nursing home and I loved it. It's such hard work for such little pay and that's why I had to leave."
"Not only that but I was a rare person in that I LOVED caring for the residents. Nothing was beneath me such as changing a dirty diaper or spoon feeding."
"Everything helped their quality of life. Sucks they can't keep people that genuinely enjoy it cause I couldn't make over $10 an hour."-Dancer9d9
"Came here to say this: Emergency Medical Technicians. I will never not be just a bit salty about this."
"My husband is one of those people who does this job because it's his passion and he loves helping people."
"It would be nice if he earned more than the kid who just got hired at McDonald's this morning."-ThePotterheadHobbit
High School Bathrooms....
"The janitors at my high school. I walked in the men's bathroom there once and there was a mega-giant steaming pile of crap and diarrhea right in the middle of the floor."-satanic-sex-god
"Anyhow. Are you sure that was a high school? We're talking grades 9-12 here, right?"-VoicedVelarNasal
"Unfortunately yes. Other highlights of my oh so great high school men's bathroom that contains teenagers from 14 to as old as 20 are:"
"A dude bringing a sledgehammer to school and smashing a sink, the toilets being blown up, the toilets being frequently clogged with trash..."
"Smashed beer bottle glass covering the floor, and a centimeter of pee flooding the bathroom whenever you walk in. I hate it here."-satanic-sex-god
You know immediately YOU might not want to do this job--so why is someone else getting paid next to nothing to do it?
The More You Help Others The Less You Get Paid
"Statistically speaking, any job that provides significant social benefit to others, the less you will get paid, something that David Graeber discusses in essays and his work, Bullsh*t Jobs."
"This is so sad. I'm currently in a job that pays very well, I just dont find any meaning or fulfillment with it. I want so badly to do something where I'd be helping others- something with purpose- but I honestly dont think I can afford it."-mko0njo9
"Social workers. Dealing with negligent, abusive parents while trying to help the children while in an underfunded, low-paid system is a travesty."-ZRX1200R
"Can also confirm. I like working with my family's but I don't get paid enough to deal with their crap or most of the bureaucracy."-Altowhovian93
Minimum Wage To Go Against FIRE
"Entry level wildland firefighters. They start them at $15 an hour."-NuclearEyedSquirrel
"I live in a small town in Ohio and I think the lowest starting wage I've seen was 11."
"That's the low side and those places are having trouble hiring because there's so many places paying higher. McDonald's here starts at 13 or 14 an hour."-rjoh4459
One Kid, One Para
"Paraprofessionals. Yea, my town increased the pay rate for paraprofessionals to get more people to apply since they have a shortage but the pay increase was not that good IMO."
"For that job, I think you need to be compensated for the physical and mental demands of the job."
"It's a hard job and they should be paid for the work, the pay rate in my community for the job with 60 credits is $14.50 but I think it should be more than that."-YourQueen2Bee
The question then becomes, why won't the people who HAVE money do something to help the quality of these jobs, and make sure that these people get paid?
"Everything in veterinary medicine. Kennel technicians, Veterinary assistants, Veterinary technicians, Veterinary receptionists, and Veterinarians."-aIsiduous
"Veterinary interns/residents, too. I work 70-120hrs+ per week, am on call about half the days per month, have to pay for my own board exams and accreditation fees out of pocket, and all for ~$33,000 per year."-WyrdHarper
"It's bullsh*t. There's nothing on this planet I want to do more than be a veterinarian, but I simply cannot afford the debt. Hopefully one day we'll get the recognition deserved. Stick in there, I know you got this!"--aIsiduous
In The Classroom
"I work in a special school, I love it but I really don't think we get paid enough for all the times we get yelled at, punched, kicked, bit, spat on, cursed at, have our classrooms trashed, have things thrown at us..."
"And then we also have parents making demands and admin telling us their 'simple' solutions to all of it that we have to carry out while they have zero clue on what it's actually like to spend a day in the classroom."-Sajiri
A Morbid State Of Affairs
"Funeral directors/embalmers/funeral professionals. We didn't get days or holidays off to begin with. Now the pandemic has stretched us to working double overtime, which we are exempt from getting paid for under Florida statutes."
"And forget hazard pay for being exposed to COVID multiple times a day every day via the deceased, the deceased's family members, the general public attending funerals, and the hospital/nursing facilities we remove decedents from."-Lesscute
So why are we holding off on giving these people a raise? Their jobs involve dangerous, mentally and emotionally taxing situations, and yet, we treat them as if society could function without them. The truth is it couldn't.
And society had best learn that as soon as possible.
What causes a small town to die?
Honestly, there can be quite a few factors, but perhaps the biggest one is that small towns often lack the upward mobility opportunities that are more available in urban areas.
As a result, many towns around the United States for instance have lost tens of millions of people as their populations seek jobs and opportunities elsewhere.
And what remains of these places can be pretty sketchy.
People told us more after Redditor RadicalizedSnackWrap asked the online community,
"What's a super sketchy US city that we never hear about?"
"Daytona Beach, FL. Imagine a bunch of alcoholic high school kids who came for spring break in 1984, and never left, and never grew up."
Oh, I don't have to imagine it.
I've seen it!
I lived in a neighboring town for a while and bodies would always turn up in farmer's fields that the cartel in Yakima had dropped off there."
Sounds like Netflix needs to get its hands on Yakima, a new show to go against Ozark.
"I remember a story..."
"Guntersville, Alabama. If I were to ballpark it, over 80% of the population are meth addicts and traffickers.
I remember a story where a man walked into the Walmart, took all the supplies and equipment required to cook, and proceeded to cook meth in the bathroom."
"A run-down town..."
"Reading, PA. A run-down town that is mostly used as a central point to run drugs between New York and Philly."
I am writing this from right nearby actually, and I can smell it from here.
"Small town almost entirely..."
"Butte, Montana. Small town almost entirely comprised of violent meth heads."
"More of a town than a city..."
More of a town than a city, but it's such a weird place, bordering on Twilight Zone. You'll see a meth house right next to a youth theatre."
According to a friend I have who spent a lot of time in Arizona, this sounds about right.
"Used to have..."
"Gary, Indiana. Used to have a prosperous steel economy, but now it's just home to abandoned buildings, failing infrastructure, and lots and lots of crime. Just look up pictures."
"I always said..."
"Amityville. Yes, that Amityville.
I always said the "Amityville Horror" house is for amateurs. You want something scary, put on a nice watch or a gold chain and wander around downtown Amityville after dark."
I went there once.
I have not been back.
"It looks harmless..."
"Harrisburg PA. It looks harmless and maybe a little boring but holy hell that place is a giant puddle of corruption just waiting for someone to step in it. Not just state government, there's a bunch of layers you can use to crawl up the corruption ladder."
"Used to be..."
"Natchez, Mississippi. Use to be the headquarters for the KKK. Not much there besides crackheads, plantation homes, and European tourists. Don't own a nice place if you're black, you'll be stopped by the police and questioned."
It doesn't look any of these are changing anytime soon, and that's sad.
Have some small towns to tell us about? Feel free to tell us more in the comments below!
Want to "know" more? Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again. Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.