Transformed People Reveal The One Seemingly Inconsequential Thing That Changed Their Lives
Picking the wrong garbage cost me an eyeball.
Got your attention do I? Most people think of life-changing decisions as incredibly important. If something is going to change your whole life, you'd kind of want to put some thought into it, right? The truth is, we make decisions that could change our whole lives all day every day, and we don't even think about it. The smallest, most unimportant, thing could change the whole game for you. I'm proof.
Imagine this, you're doing arts and crafts with your kid and need to throw some scraps away. You don't want that glitter all over your kitchen, so you walk to the outdoor trash can to throw the scraps away. So far so good, right? Who hasn't taken things straight to an outside trash? Pretty much every parent has.
Because I chose that trash can, there was room for one single small piece of glitter to come blowing back out. Because I chose that trash can, there was plant matter in the air. Because I chose that trash can, the glitter was contaminated by that plant matter when it hit my eye. By the time treatments were over, I had lost my hair, had chemical burns across my face, and no longer had a left eyeball. The doctors weren't able to save the eye because the plant matter, essentially, made it mold from the inside out.
I lost my hair, my eye and half of my vision. I racked up the kind of medical bills you never pay off. I had to relearn life all over again with no depth perception (years later, I still miss most things the first time I try to grab them). Then I ended up accidentally internet famous when a fake story about it went viral. Out of that, I ended up with a really cool job (see? it's not all bad!)
All because of which garbage can I chose.
One Reddit user asked:
And of course I was in there SO FAST. These are my people! Other people whose whole world shifted over something little like this? Yes, please. Here are 20 of my favorite responses.
A Generous Pastor With A Love Of Music
When I was a kid, the pastor of my parents' church happened to hear me practicing Bach on the piano.
He asked if I'd like to try the pipe organ - something that had always fascinated me. I took to it like a duck to water, even though my feet could barely reach the pedals. Right then and there - knowing my parents couldn't afford it - he offered to pay for my complete music education in preparation for college. I learned organ, piano, theory, keyboard harmony, ear training and so much more.
I now have a career in in music.
All he asked in return was for me to substitute for the church organist when he was on vacation or away - something I was honored to do.
My first week of freshman year I lived in a co-ed dorm with a bunch of other engineering students. I was trying to be inclusive and get to know people. We had an open door policy, so I walked down the hall asking people if they want to make tea with me in the communal kitchen.
One guy playing Minecraft randomly said yes. I don't even think he was paying attention to what I asked him, but he rolled with it. Three years later he's my boyfriend and best friend and we're having a blast together.
Sure You Can Watch
Back in 1988 I went to the grocery store with my mom. The volunteer fire department happened to be doing a demonstration in the parking lot. My mom let me stay and watch.
30 years later I'm a firefighter/Paramedic and have been involved in emergency services since I was 12.
A friend & I planned to have a girls night out dinner. One of her friends happened to be visiting on military leave and she invited him to crash girls night out without asking me. I was pretty annoyed at both of them the whole night.
I ended up marrying him 6 years later. You really never know who you'll meet and when..
I had just given birth to my first born and called my adoptive father to tell him he was a grandfather for the first time.
We had a very poor relationship and he was a huge alcoholic. He lived hundreds of miles away, so letting him know seemed harmless. It was 10 am when I called, he was already drunk. When I told him, he coldly responded:
"You should call your biological father."
I'd never met him, but I knew his name. That comment stuck with me and three days later, I found my biological father on the internet. I called the number listed.
I remember the conversation.
"Where you married to (my moms name) in 1967?"
"Well I wanted to let you know, I'm your daughter and three days ago, you became a grandfather."
He was quiet (not surprising) and I gave him my web site so he could see pictures of me and the baby. They didn't even have internet so he went to a friend's house. He called back an hour later and said:
**"How would you feel if we took a little drive up to see you?" **
He and his wife drove hundreds of miles to visit.
That was 20+ years ago. I now know the whole story. He and his wife moved up here shortly after #2 was born. His wife and my mom are good friends. We see them almost every weekend. My kids are their only grandchildren and pretty much are the light of their life.
Never thought that phone call would change my life.
Thanks For Hitting Me With Your Car
When I was 17 I left school with no degree, no money and no idea what to do with my life. My dad managed to get me job in retail and on my way to work my first day I got hit by a car.
The manager gave my position to someone else. With literally nothing left to do I decided to go back to school. That was about 7 years ago.
I finished school with honors, went to university, got my bachelors degree in electrical engineering - something everyone told me was impossible for me. Now I work as an engineer making more money in my first year of work than I ever did in my entire life.
Sometimes I think about tracking the guy down who hit me with his car to thank him.
Dave And Dad
Jr year of high school I was hanging out at my friend Marc's locker, like we all usually did. Another friend, Dave, was trying to convince Marc to join a club called "Junior Achievement" at their first meeting later that night. It's a 'young business leaders' sort of extracurricular club. When I asked what they're talking about, Dave suggested I should give it a try as well.
Later that night, my parents were late getting home from my some event, so I figured it was too late for them to give me a ride to this Junior Achievement thing. I was ready to write the whole meeting off and just skip it! But when my dad walked in the door and I reminded him, he hurried me out to the car so we could go.
I was in the club both junior and senior year of high school with my friends.
The club offered an annual full tuition scholarship to a local private university. A top tier school, but one I was not considering. Marc, Dave and our other senior year friends already had their college careers planned out, so they convinced me to apply for the scholarship.
I won the scholarship and got a nearly free ride into that university. That was amazing, because I wasn't accepted at any of the other colleges I was initially interested in.
So I owe my entire college career, all the friends I made there and probably my current job to Dave bugging us about a club and my dad deciding to keep his word and drive me even though he was tired.
A Dollar From A Stranger
When I was a kid we didn't have a lot of money, so we often shopped at thrift stores. What I loved about that was that you could get 10 books for a dollar, so I would plant myself in front of the book section and make piles of which one I wanted to get and then decided after I'd gone through them all.
One day an older lady saw me sitting with my piles and asked if I liked to read. I told her I did and showed her a few of the books I found that I liked. She smiled and then pulled a dollar out of her purse, handed it to me and said, "Promise me that you'll keep reading." I was so happy and immediately stood up and said that I would. She smiled and walked away and I went back to my piles able to pick out an extra 10 books to take home.
It was just a small act of kindness for her, but for me having a random stranger encourage my love of reading and making me promise to never stop definitely had a lot to do with my continued love of reading. This was over 20 years ago, but I still think of her whenever I buy a new book.
Too Lazy To Drive
I didn't go to my baby cousin's 4th birthday party. It was just really small with family and ice cream and I was feeling too lazy to drive close to two hours. He ended up passing away shortly thereafter.
I don't miss anything family now. I've actually gotten really close to my extended family because I won't miss anything anymore. If you're family, I'm there.
I was struggling in 3rd year of my engineering degree because I never learned how to study. One day I walk by one of the study rooms and see some people from my class I didn't know, finishing an assignment due the next day that I hadn't started yet.
I asked them, kind of as a joke, if I could join in. They agreed.
Turns out they studied in group sessions and had all of the old tests and assignments from every class we took. My GPA shaped up quickly, I learned how to study, and I finally had people to eat and hang out with.
They are the only people I have maintained contact with 1 year after graduation.
There was massive drama in my guild in World of Warcraft. Although it didn't have anything to do with me, it was making the guild atmosphere toxic. One evening, I logged in, clicked Select Server, and randomly choose a new server.
On the new server, I met my partner. Because of her, I moved to a different country, was able to get my Master's degree, and the move literally saved my life.
For 10 years, I had been going to the doctor with various ailments. I was always told I was just stressed out. Turns out it was actually my thyroid causing an irregularity in my heartbeat. Left untreated for much longer it would have killed me.
Married Because Of The Mail
During my junior year of high school, I received a well-crafted mailer advertising an engineering summer camp at a college I'd never heard of in a different state. My mother really liked the mailer, so my parents sent me to engineering camp that summer. On the first day of camp, I arrived late to the orientation and sat on the only available seat. The guy I sat next to fell in love with me instantly. We started dating at camp, then the next year, we both went to that college so we could be together. 4 years after that, we both graduated with engineering degrees and got married.
If my mother hadn't liked that mailer, I wouldn't have met my husband, I wouldn't have gone to that school, and I probably would have had a different major as well. Also, if I hadn't sat down next to him at orientation, we probably wouldn't have started dating. Pretty wild.
I had always thought I was 6'3" until I went to a prison museum with an ex. I stood by the wall and only came up to 6'2". When ex and I broke up, I reactivated my OK Cupid profile and updated the height...
My current girlfriend had her max height set to 6'2". I wouldn't have even shown up for her had I not changed it. Fortunately I did, and we've been dating for a year and a half now.
My husband and I "re-met" 3 years after high school. I was in the neighborhood and drove down a street to take a shortcut. He was outside his parents' house washing his dad's car. I stopped to say what's up.
We will be married for 22 years next month! Best driving shortcut I ever took, ha!
A friend from school was having an engagement party. I'd moved several hours drive away since high school and was having car trouble, so I wasn't sure I could make it.
My friend gave me the name of one other person living in my new town who was also invited, a friend of her future husband. I got in contact with this guy and introduced myself, then asked if he was planning to go to the party and wanted to split the travel costs. Unfortunately he wasn't able to make it to the party either because of work commitments.
Tracking him down still turned out to be worthwhile though. Next year will be our 20th anniversary together.
Back in 2011, I was playing a text-based game online. I got a notification that another player had tried to "break into" my game apartment. I messaged that player with a cheesy joke about how next time they can just ring the doorbell.
We got married and we are now in the (painfully slow) process of my wife moving 11,500 miles away from home to come live with me.
Had she never tried (and failed) to rob me online in the first place we never would have been where we are. Had I never had this sense of humor that urged me to message her, we never would have been where we are.
At age 15, I was forced to hang out with a family member on a vacation I didn't want to be on. We ended up going to the zoo. I didn't feel like walking around with them, so I decided to hang out by the chimps. I ended up seeing one of them make a face of what appeared to be laughter and was surprised at how human-like it was. I went home, did some research, and stumbled upon the discipline of anthropology, which turned out to be one of my greatest passions.
Soon after, I denounced my old religion, and became a proponent of evolution, causing an enormous rift in my family life and sending me on a path of "heathen" adventures.
Freshman year of college, I decided to hike the John Muir trail with my dad and a friend. This trail takes weeks to trek, so e spent months getting ready, prepping gear, physically training, etc. This was a huge thing to prep for. My dad hurt his knee and had to bail out. I was really disappointed, but was going to finish with my friend.
My friends shoes began to fall apart 40 miles in and he needed to quit. This wasn't a trip I wanted to do alone, so I begrudgingly left the trail with them.
When I got home, there was an email from my professor asking for people to work as TAs and to respond by that Friday if you were interested. I respond, and he's delighted to have me.
Worked as a TA and his only grader for two years until he retired. Before he retired, he wrote me a glowing letter of recommendation, which I attached to applications when applying to internships. I got an interview, despite my below target GPA, the interviewer for one particular oil company explained, because of my TA experience and the letter of recommendation. I end up getting an internship at that oil company, and eventually a full time job after graduation. Several years later, the company transfers me to Montana, where I bought a house and met my now-fiancee.
So, if my buddy had bought a little better shoes, I might be in a totally different place in life...
Sand Gets In Your Eyes
I was riding my motorcycle years ago to visit a chick in Tallahassee fl.... it was 1am and i was trying to figure out exactly where she lived. (Pre gps days)
I got sand in my eye from the road and stopped at a redlight to try and clean them out. The light went green but i sat there a few seconds cleaning my eyes. There was nobody around so i wasnt worried about blocking traffic.
Right at that moment an old hoopdie blew the redlight doing almost 100mph.
I am 100% positive i am still here because I got sand in my eyes.
Check Your Pockets
I walked into a hot tub on New year's with my phone in my swimsuit pocket. Doofus move.
It resulted in me missing a call from my mother who was worried about my younger sister and didn't know where she was because she was supposed to be home by 1:00am. She was nervous and my father had gone to bed. Instead of waiting she decided to drive to the house she knew I was at to figure out the address of where my little sister was. On the way to me she was hit by a drunk driver. I went home the next morning to find a note from my father about how my mother had been in a car accident. I went to the hospital to visit her immediately and found my father and sister there. She needed physical therapy for the next few months and I drove her there for every appt because it worked well with my schedule. I then met her physical therapist, who was two years older than me.
I got engaged to that therapist and we have been married for five years now, all because I destroyed my phone in a hot tub.
What's on the menu? What are the specials? What's popular? What's your favorite item?Tell me everything.
Back when I was in hospitality, these are part of the litany of questions I would get from visitors to our country. It became a bit irritating. I should've made a sign with "Regular FAQs."
I didn't have a lot of answers, due to the fact that I find American food pretty run of the mill. I'm going have to be schooled on what is considered extra yummy only in the states.
Although I must admit, the shoe definitely swaps feet when I travel. Tell me everything. The rest of the world is far more compelling with their menus.
Redditor u/Well_shi__-_- wanted to discuss what menu items we all need to discuss by asking:
What common foods in your country are considered delicacies by foreigners?
The closest "delicacy" for America I can come up with is pizza. Right? But only in NYC. And bagels, but only in NYC. Maybe alligator in Florida? And oranges, but only in Florida. Were very centralized here aren't we?
Berry WayThanks Strawberry GIF by DriscollsBerryGiphy
"Goji berries. We put that stuff in our soups and many people pick that out when they drink the soup."
"(good) Olive oil."
"Kirkland California Extra Virgin Olive Oil is white label Cobram Estates, which is the California grown product of the Australian olive oil company, Boundary Bend. They have an unimpeachable reputation for quality and win many awards!"
"It was supposed to be caviar, but now it's also unaffordable for us. cries in Russian."
In the Forest
"Hmm, forest berries perhaps. I live in Finland. We have a lot of forests, so lot of berries such as blueberries and lingonberries. Everyman's Rights mean that you can just go and pick as much as you can find. It's kinda one of those things where if you live near any forested area, and are willing to spent time there come late summer, you'll probably have enough to last until next year in your freezer."
"We have so much berries that people from poorer countries (Thailand is a common one for some reason) are hired to pick them up, because doing berrypicking enough to actually profit monetarily is heavy work. And apparently the pay isn't worth it for most Finns. At the same time, forest berries are considered a superfood around the world, very healthy and trendy. Dunno about actual delicacy status, but definitely a difference in how we think about them."
The Little Lambbaby lamb GIF by The DodoGiphy
"I worked for a charity in Iraq for a year and we'd buy a dozen lamb chops for the equivalent of $5. That's like $60 to buy in the US and it's worse quality."
Ok, now that is what I call a menu. And I actually had a few of these items on my list when I heard the question. Only in Italy can you find true oil. And caviar? Guess I'm flying to Russia. Knock, knock Vlad. LOL
"Hawaii has somehow turned spam into a sought after food, especially by visitors from Japan."
"I would add mushrooms for Finland. Especially porcinis (herkkutatti), chanterelles (kantarelli) and C. tubaeformis (suppilovahvero) are incredible food mushrooms which are sought after e.g. in Italy. We can just go pick them in the forest thanks to our "jokamiehenoikeus", every man's right, which allows anyone to pick mushrooms and berries etc. on public land such as state-owned forests."
When in Mexico...
"Avocados here in Mexico, pretty common and cheap."
"Jamón Serrano, here in Spain is really common and you can find very good product for a very affordable price."
"We are going to Madrid this fall and my husband has already informed me that he plans to eat his weight in Jamón Iberico. We used to get slivers of it from a Spanish importer near our old house for crazy money."
Truth Hurtsbritish crown GIFGiphy
"Englishman here, been scrolling for sooooo long to find my country..."
"Maybe some stereotypes are true."
Spam? Just, no. And I will say, I think the English are in the same boat as the good ole US of A. Empty food treasures. I've been to London... the supermarket sandwiches were good and you can drink in the streets. I guess you make up where you can.
Standards for dating people are definitely very varied, because we as people are varied, and we as people are flawed. Little things might get to us from the get go, causing us to be very very picky about who exactly we let through a couple rounds of dating.
Those things can be really small. Do they wear white after labor day? Are they one of those weirdos that refrigerates their red wine? Have they recently been spotted at a Yu-Gi-Oh! tournament?
"What's the pettiest reason you've rejected someone?"
The answers were as varied as the humans who gave them.
So She's Making Things Up Again
"We went bowling and she started saying the bowling ball was hurting her fingers."
"She was convinced that there were bugs inside the bowling ball biting her fingers and that was the reason for her pain."-Wacky_Sacky
Okay But Only Psychos Cut Their Spaghetti
"I have a friend who has a whole list of petty reasons she's rejected guys:"
"•He cut his spaghetti before eating it"
"•He wore brown shoes with black jeans"
"•He cut his hair too short"
"•He dropped something and said 'whoopsie'"
"•After watching her favorite movie, Ever After, for the first time he said it was 'just Okay.'"
"And then once a month she cries about how she's still single."-Johannes_Chimp
Avoidant Attachment Style
"She smelled funny. Not bad. It clearly wasn't a case of not washing or anything like that."
"She just smelled... Weird. Couldn't get over it."
"For clarification: I didn't know how to broach the whole 'I like you and you're funny and smart and sex is great but you smell weird,' so I just moved to a different country."-BeefPicklesCheddar
It really is pretty interesting to see how people deal with these petty reasons as well.
Hoppy Beer Made Him Hoppy On Out
"I was rejected because I didn't like the taste of his preferred beer."
"That was it, I wasn't asking him to stop drinking it - I just didn't personally want to drink it. We were about to order another round, he asked if I knew the one he had just had, and offered me a taste."
"I gladly accepted because I try to be open to tasting new things."
"I just said I found it a little too hoppy for my tastes and I was happy to stick with what I was drinking. I wasn't rude, I said it was nice, but a little hoppy for me."
"His face dropped, it was almost comical. He then said something along the lines that he had changed his mind and he had better get home."
"That was the end of that first date. As in he literally decided he no longer wanted another round. The date was over. He had blocked me on Facebook before I walked the 100m to the bus stop."
"Pretty sure I dodged a bullet there."-Sharkoslotho
"My ex's name was Simone. She was studying business administration and had a horse."
"We broke up after she f**ked another dude."
"I got over it, and met another girl. Her name was Simone. She was studying business administration and had a horse. Nope."-somniumx
A Taste Log Of The Day
"This dude was super sweet and had a lot of good qualities."
"He was a plumber and casually admitted to me that sometimes he will bite/clean his nails after work and taste the remnants of what he touched that day. I could not get over that and had to move on."
"Things were really going great, like he said all the right things and he was a genuinely good person with similar interests. Up until the point he said that, I was considering moving forward with the relationship."
"Also, I see nail biting as a habit that could be changed, and even practicing better hygiene (which he mostly did, except for those damn nails)."
"Once he said it, and he was serious, my views and feelings for him changed. It's just one thing that completely turned me off from him."-AdmiralPendeja
Half The Fun Of Having Cats Is Having Them Be Bratty
"My perpetually single friend has turned rejecting people into a bit of a sport."
"I'll Tinder for her, which is all sorts of amusing, but one day, I had actually met someone for lunch and thought 'here's someone that's kind of her type, I wonder if she'd be interested!'"
"I ended up pulling up his website and showing her some pictures of the guy. We get to about the sixth photo in, of two of his cats, in a treehouse. She explains 'his cats look bratty.'"
"Yeah, well, that's why you're single. Still. Six years later."-disillusioned
And the reasons people will find just to get away from people and keep themselves alone is also very interesting.
Was It Worth It?
"Went on a first date with someone that was out of my league. Couldn't believe my luck! On our way to dinner, everything was going fine and the conversation was flowing. She seemed really into me."
"Suddenly she screamed at me to stop the car. Not pull over, stop right here right now immediately in the suicide lane of a 4 lane major road."
"Just before I came to a complete stop in the middle of this busy road, she opened the passenger door and tried to jump out. If a cop saw all this it probably looked like she was escaping a kidnapping."
"She jumped out of the car and played Frogger across two lanes of traffic, and I sat there stunned with my passenger door hanging open into traffic. A few seconds later, she came running back with something under her arm."
"I couldn't see what it was in the mirror. She had a huge smile on her face and as she climbed back into the car she squealed with delight as she showed me what it was."
"A f**king hubcap. She said it was to commemorate our first date, and that we could share custody of it. I could have it first."
"That was our first and last date."-Uncle_Baconn
Elton John Would Probably Laugh At This Story
"We spent our first date browsing various record shops in Manhattan and Greenwich Village. I took him to my favorite ones. I told him what Elton John album I thought was best."
"He disagreed and was adamant I was dead wrong. He was going to a party at his brother's after and didn't believe in subways (as his dad had died in 9/11)."
"The party was 100 blocks away in Brooklyn. Decided to walk him to the party despite having mild asthma and severe post nasal drip. Once there at the door he decided it wouldn't work out because he couldn't put our differences aside."
"His last words were, 'Do you really believe Honky Chateau is his best work?' Of course I do. He had this horrified disgusted face on and said, 'Yeah, no. That's just wrong. Not gonna work out since you have poor taste.'"
"Literally got rejected over Honky Chateau, but it's okay. My FIL thinks that album is the hottest sh*t."-intothethickofitoh
Tiny Teeth Committee
"I broke things off once because of the size of her teeth."
"They were tiny compared to the size of her mouth. It shouldn't have been an issue, but it creeped me out. I don't know why, but it was one of those things that I couldn't ignore and gradually became the only thing I could see."
"Grown woman with a mouth full of baby teeth... just weird."-CarrollGrey
It is really a wonder how humans are so easily poked, prodded, and annoyed. But it is part of what makes us who we are.
We wouldn't have fun, funny, interesting stories to tell each other otherwise. We simply have to honor these little, "petty" reasons for not getting with others.
There's nothing funny about having an employee show their true colors after you've already hired them. Upon hiring, they seemed completely normal, pleasant, like they would be a good worker. Then as they get the lay of the land, they show that they actually have a different personality when the manager isn't around to see.
A Redditor wanted to know:
"Employers, what's the most insane complaint you've had about an employee that turned out to be completely true?"
These stories will shock you. The things that these people did were deceitful and, quite frankly, illegal in some cases. How the managers didn't catch them sooner is what makes it so unbelievable.
The hotel party.
"I was the head night auditor at an upscale airport property. Had a youngish night auditor who put a room into out of order status and let his friends in to party and have an orgy that he joined during his lunch break. He got caught because of a noise complaint. Police called, he was fired and blacklisted from being hired back."
"I hope he had a 1hr lunchbreak. If he joined the orgy for 15mins that's kinda disappointing for everyone."
"That is hilarious, I had almost the exact same thing happen at a property I worked at, except:"
"a) It was a tiny 30 room historical property, so it wasn't going to go unnoticed."
"b) He threw his drug fueled party in the "Queen Anne Suite," our most expensive room."
"c) He didn't even have the sense to put the room out of order or even kiiinda clean up afterward, assuming the hotel staff would just not notice or care that a room we didn't rent that night was ABSOLUTELY THRASHED."
"d) He just made keys for his friends that he handed out, and came in through the back or something, rather than just renting the room at a discount or something so it would all be kosher on the books (if you don't have 50 bucks to rent a room at the employee rate then you don't have the money for a party bud)."
"e) He did all this on MY shift rather than his own, thinking I wouldn't catch on that something was fishy on one of our TWENTY FOUR SECURITY CAMERAS."
"f) He really thought he could prevent us from catching him by coming in on my shift, acting like he left something behind on his last shift, then while I wasn't looking, STEALING THE CORDLESS MOUSE TO THE CAMERA MONITOR. IN PLAIN VIEW OF THE FRONT DESK CAMERA. He just. Palms it. Then shifts a guilty lil glance at the camera."
"Surprise surprise, we were able to roll back the security footage and catch all this on tape when we pulled the high tech maneuver of 'Plugging In A Different Mouse.' He was fired so fast. I've never worked with such a dumba** in my life. He really thought he pulled the heist of the year."
"For context, this was not a teenager. He was obviously in his 40's, receding hairline, lanky and always a lil sweaty and dodgy and socially awkward. Not 'quiet and timid' socially awkward, more like... this guy gives me bad vibes, makes inappropriate uncomfortable jokes and laughs too hard, doesn't really get professional workplace boundaries, seems like the sort who would try too hard to impress teenagers because he has a car and can buy them liquor but can't hang onto a friend his own age to save his life. My hiring manager really knew how to pick 'em."
At the bank.
"Working in a bank. Had a teller (about 19 year-old) get pissed about the way a customer (retail store owner) would send in her deposits at the drive up window. The teller complained about the customer on Facebook! Tagged the lady personally, as well as the store! Customer called the bank and told me, furious of course."
"I told the customer we would investigate, I asked the teller. She straight up admitted it, and says "What's the customer or Branch Manager going to do about it? My Grandfather is friends with the bank President." I called HR and Bank President on conference. Girl lost her job in under 15 minutes of me receiving the call from the customer. Breach of customer confidentiality in banking is a MAJOR law violation."
"I love the fact that she thought her grandfather being 'friends' with the bank President was going to do jack for herself. Even if it had been her father being friends with the president she would still be fired. Even if she had been friends with the president she would still be fired. If she was the bank president she would still be fired. The only scenario where she gets out of this untouched is if she had a time machine to slap herself before she tagged the customer."
"This is why it is important to distinguish between nepotism and networking. Networking can look like nepotism but you are actually taking advantage of the fact that you know competent people and thus don't have to play roulette with new hires. The catch is that if you give a bad recommendation it reflects poorly on you and you lose status in the network, and the new hire is not protected at all."
"Though if you break the law even nepotism won't save you most of the time."
Should have run a background check.
"Hired a guy on a trial basis. He was super polite and careful when speaking to me, but several of my female employees told me when I wasn't around he was creepy. After about 5 days, one came to me and said almost verbatim: 'I think he's a rapist.' She just a had a gut feeling about him. So I ran a background check on him... yep, he was a convicted rapist."
"For those of you saying 'This is why you run background checks BEFORE you hire...' this was almost 20 years ago when it was not standard procedure, and I was not in charge of that regardless. HR would make the decision. In this case I requested it specifically because the safety of my employees appeared to be at stake, but not one other time in my career did I feel the need to ask for one."
Subway stamp cards scheme.
"I knew a guy who worked at subway back when they gave out stamps. Basically for every six inches of sub you bought you earned a stamp and once you filled a card with 8 stamps you could get a free six inch sub."
"So this guy started only giving stamps to customers who asked for them. If they didn't ask he pocketed their stamps and grew a sizeable stack of complete stamp cards."
"Then over time he started cashing them in. When a customer paid with cash he would ring it in as a freebie, place his own completed stamp card in the till, and pocket the cash. Customer got their sub, subway's till was balanced, and he had an extra five to ten bucks in his pocket - everybody was happy."
"He worked there for a few years and word was he racked up a few thousand dollars running this scheme. No idea if anybody complained, or if he was ever caught, but he did buy a motorbike."
Innocent retail worker gone wrong.
"So I worked retail and we got this guy named something like Gus."
"My boss tells me, 'Hey this guy's got anxiety, go easy on him OK?' And so I was like, okay that's cool I get it I can relate. I do everything I can to help him make sense of the infernal godforsaken hellscape that is retail."
"It starts off with little forgivable things -- forgetting a task here, forgetting things there, accidentally giving the wrong info and things like that. You know, newbie retail stuff like that."
"He quickly devolved in popularity as his complacency grew over time and his helpful attitude shrank. My guy started messing around during his shift, getting caught on his phone while ignoring backup cashier calls and things like that. He would make stabbing motions behind the manager's back to other employees, tell off new employees, and play it all off like he was some innocent dope who didn't know any better."
"None of this got him fired. Day after day was a new complaint from an employee about responsibilities he shirked or a customer about blatantly wrong info like, 'Oh yeah we have another location up on the hill,' and we didn't. No idea whose son he was, because that was apparently all kosher."
"What ACTUALLY got him fired is the one day he brought a dog and a super expensive dog collar into work. He claimed he almost hit the dog on the way to work and it was running around wild, etc. He tried to sell the dog collar to a customer, then tried to 'adopt out' the dog to a coworker."
"This coworker was competent enough to take the dog to a vet whereupon they found a microchip and contacted the actual owners. THAT'S where the fun started."
"It came out that Gus never found the dog at all. He straight up KIDNAPPED this dog from his neighbor and tried to pawn it off, knowing full well what he was doing. The guy lawyered up immediately, tried to sue Gus and threatened to sue the store and the store manager if Gus wasn't fired."
"Suffice to say, Gus was gone the very same evening. Nothing else came of it, but we talked about him for years and years."
These stories are unbelievable but true. How some of these people didn't get arrested is beyond us!
Thank goodness there were employees who caught these people in the act.
The magical, curated experience for paying guests is only the tip of an iceberg of hard work, dicey ethics, and a robust corporation with all the policies and economic motivations that you'd expect.
Lucky for us, some Redditors were there to see all that goes on behind the curtain.
And my goodness do they have some stories.
Redditor memezdankton asked:
"Former Disney theme park employees of Reddit, what are some dirty secrets or stories you can tell us about your time there?"
Many people were cast members: princes, princesses, people in giant, fuzzy costumes. Those smiles, plastered there for hours at a time, aren't always legitimate.
"My SIL got a the role of Cinderealla at Disneyland Paris."
"She had to practice Cinderella's autograph over and over because although different actresses play her all over the world, the signature of the character has to be identical anywhere it's signed for consistency."
"You have to be in specific height ranges to play the different characters. Because Mickey's height range is so short he's usually played by a woman. Likewise for Donald, although the most successful and best known Donald that I knew while I worked there was a little person."
"When the princess face characters come backstage they have to take off their dresses so they don't get dirty while they're on break so the princesses are usually walking around in a smock and bloomers if you see them back there. There is some serious cognitive dissonance when you walk back and see Snow White in her bloomers on her phone cursing up a storm."
"People sexually harass the characters super frequently. I was working with Ariel and cast members will always count down before they take a photo so people have time to get into position. I counted down and this teen boy decided to try to rip off one of Ariel's shells."
"I had to open his camera and expose his film so the photo didn't get developed and passed around. I found out later that I was supposed to take it to the Kodak shop to have the film developed and that one removed - but I'd always heard the rumors about ruining the film and nobody really trains you on that so I just went with it. The little a**holes deserved it."
The Show Must Go On
"Worked at Disneyland for almost 5 years. I personally haven't gone to see the 'Disney' doctor for cast members but I know friends who have an heard the doctor doesn't give a sh** about the CM's coming in for injuries."
"The time I was there, photographers and other departments weren't allowed to drink water from the water fountains because we are 'on stage.' It was a big issue the last year I worked there and some of the leads were fighting for umbrellas for photographers. It gets really brutal in Carsland where it's 5x hotter. Almost past out from the heat and dehydration."
A Very Hostile Work Environment
"I had a friend who was a gorgeous red head in her early twenties. She got cast to play Ariel at Disney World. She returned home after a few months saying that they were pressuring her into getting breast implants.
"To quote her (quoting her manager), 'There is no way Ariel has such small boobs.' "
Others discussed the employment policies that are sure to leave you scratching your head. Or calling your union rep.
What Can and Can't Be Shown
"Disneyland first interview papers include a blank outline of a person to indicate where you have tattoos."
"It's referenced if you want to change positions internally, to indicate how said tattoos could be revealed, based on what your new uniform would be."
Playing the Part
"I worked in reservations. They give you a name, that is not your own and you better use it. My name is not Robyn Leigh, but in Disney reservations, it was."
Never a Good Sign
"Disney Employees started referring to Disneyland as Mousechwitz due to working conditions."
"Management told them to stop, so they used Duckau instead"
And others shared the obscure and strange stories that only a Disney employee, with a front row seat to a massive institution, could ever know about.
A Big Loss
"During the construction of Pandora at Animal Kingdom, a very beloved superintendent passed away on the project of an immediate heart attack. Mid-sentence and while opening the door to the construction trailer, George Burke just…died."
"The project was very affected by this. His knowledge of the work that needed to be done was deep and irreplaceable. His laughter and personality was loved by all 1400 workers that were there. A couple years after he passed, we were finishing the project and found the perfect way to pay homage to George. They invited his family to the middle of an active construction site to let them view it."
"George's red hard hat, with the black Nordic Cross on top was attached to the rockwork, in the middle of the flowing river, to the left of the entrance to Flight of Passage, and plastered over. The family, friends, and a few Imagineers, were the only people there. Only we can point out where the hardhat is underneath the plaster, theming, and plants. I revisit the spot everytime I go back to Pandora. :-) Peace!"
Truckin' It Out
"Former cast member from the early 90s. There was a central 'bank' near the Magic Kingdom tunnel entrance where all the park gift shops, restaurants etc would deposit the day's cash. Each day an armored truck would drive into the tunnel to haul away the loot. i can only imagine how much cash they took outta there!"
"I worked there for 3 months 2 years ago with my gf at the time and anything news worthy that happens there (usually negative) immediately gets shot down by the official page of Disney (Twitter, insta, Facebook etc) they keep everything hush hush."
"Lighting struck a bathroom building and there was a small fire and my gf and I weren't working that day but we were there enjoying the park for free bc we're cast members and she records it and posted it on her Twitter. News media pages were commenting and asking her questions like when, how, what's being done and before she could reply the Disney page said to disregard the video bc it wasn't true and the video is edited and the media pages stopped asking after that."
"She gets called into the office the next day and was super close to losing her job. The reason she didn't was bc of how much seniority she had but she was basically on probation after that."
It's a list that'll leave your mind wandering a whole lot more if you ever do go to Disney again.