Life ain't easy and we ALL have a past. Sometimes we do all we can to runaway from and hide the life that once was and the person we used to be. Problem is that person... existed and they'll never not be a tangible presence. Admitting who we once were is an essential part of growth. Case in point...
Redditor wannacomeclean wanted to discuss... Want some advice on how I [29F] can "come clean" to some new friends [32F, 34F, 34M, 38F) I've gotten close to over the last 6 months to whom I've been lying by omission.
I know what I'm going to do, I just want to talk out the best way with some objective parties, I hope that's ok. I will change all names and fudge some irrelevant details just in case...not that I'm super scared anyone will recognize me, just like my anonymity.
I've been through some s***. There is no way to sugar coat it. 3 years ago I was married to the love of my life (Ben) with the most perfect human child that ever existed (Veronica) and I was 5 months pregnant with a boy. We were hit by a drunk driver at 5pm in the afternoon, my husband and daughter died on the scene, and I miscarried my son in the hospital later that night. I was otherwise physically "fine". It has not been an easy road. There were times when I'd have killed myself, except after losing my daughter, I'd never do that to my mom. I took time off work, I spent time with friends and family, I went to therapy almost every day, I grieved. I tried to go back to my old job, but it just didn't work. I don't blame my coworkers at all, but no one really treated me normally. With everything they did there was just this...pity. Every idea of mine is the greatest, every joke I tell is the best. When I walk into rooms people stop talking and focus on me, everyone wants to share my workload and help me out. They are doing what you'd think any wonderful people would do but it felt terrible. I wanted to move on with my life and feel normal.
6 months ago, at 29, for the first time in my life I moved out on my own, to a new state, I got a new job using no connections who knew me.
I moved to this new far away city and tried to recreate myself. I had always wanted to salsa dance so I started going to a salsa night at a bar and ended up seeing 4 people there frequently. 3 women and a man, Brenda, Donna, Kelly and Luke. Brenda, Donna and Luke were a few years older than me. Donna and Luke are divorced with no kids (not divorced from each other) and Kelly is the oldest and is married with 2 kids. I started seeing them at the bar every Thursday night and spending time there, but after a few weeks we exchanged numbers and got together for dinner. The rest is "history", we were fast friends and hung out about once a week, sometimes Donna and I would see each other more often because she was also single.
The last 6 months have been the best and and worst I could have imagined. I needed for people to treat me as a human. I needed to not see pity in their eyes when they looked at me. I needed them to be honest with me and not just tell me everything I did and said was the best ever because I've suffered enough. It felt great for a while. They called me out on my s***, they aggressively loved me, I felt so normal.
One weekend we went to the beach together. Kelly saw me in my bikini and exclaimed "ugh you bitch, you're so thin, that is the body of a woman who has never had a baby!" and laughed. She was complimenting me, I wanted to scream that my body grew the most perfect human that ever existed and that my breasts fed her for 13 months. I suddenly cursed my body for not having stretch marks when before it'd seemed to be a blessing.
Now Brenda has been dating someone seriously and they just got engaged, and is leaning heavily on Kelly and Donna since they've both been married and want advice. Sure she wants my advice too, as a good friend, but she doesn't want to hear about my wedding that I had poured my heart and soul into because she doesn't know it happened. But I guess I didn't think I'd become such great friends with these new people and want them to know more about me, and now I am looking for the best way to tell these people that I am a widow who lost a child and a pregnancy along with her husband. I've known them for 6 months and we've gotten so close in so many ways.
I don't say this to sound bitchy, but I also know that I'll get a pass. No one will be mad that I haven't told them yet, everyone will understand, I just want to tell them in the least dramatic way, and to make sure they fully understand my reasons and that my intentions for lying by omission were selfish, but good.
How To ProceedGiphy
I think tell them some of what you have told us here.
Tell them that you moved somewhere new to get a new start, to be treated normally. Tell them that their friendships have been so valuable and wonderful, and has helped you heal.
Then tell them that as you have become closer, you have wanted to share some of the positive aspects of your past. That you feel compelled to speak up about the wedding you planned, the marriage you built, the child you carried and nurtured. And so you know you need to tell them what happened.
Pity Party Perspective
The impression I got was OP did not want to be treated differently because of the tragic losses she suffered. If she confides this to her friends they will treat her differently. The solution of "just tell them" seems the obvious simple solution, but she may not like the results. Remember, OP moved away and recreated her life to get away from the pity party everyone was constantly throwing for her. It kept her grief alive. If she confides in her friends she may very well end up in the same situation.
And as someone else pointed out, her friends may end up feeling like s*** for the things they said to her in ignorance, like the bikini incident. This will only exacerbate the situation OP wanted to get away from, people feeling guilty and pity for her.
No matter how nice your friends are, most are not equipped to deal with the reality of OP's issues. I don't have any real answers for OP besides do not drop the bomb. Maybe trickle truth OP's past, mention she was married but she doesn't like to talk about it. If one of her friends reaches out to her for more info, OP can share more as the friend is indicating they want to hear what happened, but to keep it to themselves for the time being.
I'm going to tell you something that might sound counter-intuitive given that you're looking to be honest, but: framing is important. If you start your revelation by telling them that you've been lying to them (even by omission), they're going to receive it as a story about how you lied to them.
You have done nothing wrong here. You have done nothing dishonest. You have held back nothing that anyone was entitled to, or needed to know. You did what you needed to, at the cost of no harm to any living person. That's not a lie in my books.
So maybe sit down and tell them "There's a part of my life I haven't been ready to talk about until now, but now we're so close I can't imagine not sharing it with you." And work on thinking about it in those terms yourself. There's nothing to beat yourself up over here.
The Original Poster Had An Update For How It WentGiphy
So I really want to first take a moment to talk about how awesome my experience in this sub has been. I knew that I wanted to tell my friends the story of my past, and I knew they would react pretty well, and I knew they'd be supportive and we'd remain close friends. I really just didn't know how to bring it up after SIX months. I don't know if I expressed it in my first post, but 6 months is kind of a long time, I feel so close to these people in so many ways, so mostly it was just weird to me to not be able to casually mention my family. I absolutely still have days where it's hard to get out of bed and I just want to be left alone to cry in the dark, but so many times I think of happy memories with my family, and adorable things Veronica did that I'm reminded of and I want to be able to pepper those into my conversations. I struggled with HOW to tell people. One on one? Big group dinner? Email? So I actually emailed them all the day after my first post here and invited them over for dinner the next night if they could make it on short notice. I said to please bring their SOs, but told Kelly I'd explain later why I think she shouldn't bring her kids this time. Honestly I was just afraid she'd get really upset and wouldn't want her kids to see her like that. She couldn't get a sitter, so her husband stayed home with the kids, but Brenda and Luke brought their SOs, and I made a huge pot of chili and some cornbread. I feel like they sensed something was up, because honestly I thought the odds of them all being able to come with one day's notice was unusual.
They showed up early evening, we sat in my living room (tight quarters!) and had some wine, and then I started. I'm an awkward person, so I basically said "I have some big information about my past that I really want to share with you. It's not something that I share with everyone I meet and it's hard to bring up, but now so much time has gone by and I feel so close to you all, and I really want you to know this part of my life. I think it'll be emotional for you all to hear about, and I think it'll slightly change our dynamic for a while, but I'm also really excited to share this with you." A couple of the girls were already teary. I didn't know if they'd googled me and already knew what I was going to say, or if they could just sense the emotion in my voice. I wanted the next part to be really blunt and not beat around the bush and first set it up so they wouldn't see where I was going. I said, 3 years ago my husband, 2 year old daughter and I were in a car accident when I was 5 months pregnant. My husband and daughter were killed instantly, and I lost the son I was carrying, but was otherwise physically okay.
Everyone was silently sobbing at this point, including me. I told them why I moved away, why I wanted to start fresh, and why now I needed them to know my story. Kelly got up and came over and sat on the floor by my feet and cried into my lap for a while. I stroked her hair and told her it was okay, and that her kids are the first kids I had contact with since Veronica and it genuinely gave me so much joy to be around them, and that the only thing I would change is that I'd like to share stories about our kids, talk about what Veronica liked to play with or the "words" she would say, diaper rash. We were all still crying, but there was a lot of smiling and joking too. I tried to break the ice a little bit with Kelly and said "you know what this means right? I have had a baby and still look hot in a bikini!" We giggled, she said OMG I can't believe I said that, I said I take it as a compliment and assured them all I would not hold anything against them they said previously that in the light of this new information could now be seen as offensive.
It wrapped up so neatly like a goddamn sit com! I mean, they are good people and I knew it would. With all I've been through I'm choosey about who I let into my life and I could tell they were good people who would react well, but they've also all been friends for SO long, it always kind of feels like I'm the new kid and we aren't on equal footing. I am glad I told them all together though, instead of telling them individually. I honestly don't think I could have handled that emotionally, going through it took a lot out of me.
Brenda actually said that when we first met and she was looking up to see if I had Facebook, she came across a headline about my accident but didn't click on it because the headline was so horrific and she assumed it was just someone with the same name. We finally ate chili around 10:30. I do think they'll tread lightly around me for a while, but I also think this is going to bring us closer. And I don't intend to bring my family up often, but I'm glad now I can share stories about my wedding planning, childbirth, breastfeeding, etc. I never wanted someone that I could cry to about missing my family. Honestly....that's mine and mine alone. I still go to therapy, so I'm not keeping it inside, but it just doesn't work for me to express my grief over my loss to others. Thanks for helping me talk this out Reddit.
Thank you to those of you who sent me PMs sharing your own losses or just wishing me well. I could not have had this particular conversation with anyone in my real life. You were really here for me. That means a lot.
Who's having onions?Giphy
Best choice ever. Now excuse me while I go clean my tears.
yup sitting at my computer crying. good thing i live alone.
Find your Tribe!
I am so happy things worked out with your friends! The way you described them and said they were great people, I knew they would be awesome.
I could tell they were good people who would react well, but they've also all been friends for SO long, it always kind of feels like I'm the new kid and we aren't on equal footing.
THIS. Thank you so much for saying this. It is never too late to make friends or "join" an already established group. An addition to such a longtime group of friends just makes it sweeter and more loving than it was before!
I hope you were able to gain some emotional release from crying. I find that often happens to me. I don't think of it as depressing the days that I might spend several hours crying and shunning other people. Maybe it's the spending time thinking about my family that makes a good crying session feel cathartic, but I also think the physical release of the tears helps too.
I didn't sign my permission slip to go on this feels trip. Still, such a happy ending. Good luck to you, OP.
The Lucky Ones..
Yeah this is going to sound weird, and it certainly wasn't intentional, but this is now something that bonds all of us together. I hadn't spend as much time with the SOS of those who have them since they don't come salsa dancing, and I see Donna (god I think Donna, I'm so confused by my fake names, but the other single lady) more often than the rest so we're pretty close, but now this experience itself is something we are going through together. I'm so proud of the way we were all there for each other last night. I know they care about me, and I know how I would hurt for a friend who went through what I did, so I know this is draining on them as well. I've had 3 years to come to terms with this and they are just finding out about a pretty horrible tragedy that happened to someone they care about. I strangely feel like the grief veteran here, and I can help them navigate these sad feelings.
It honestly just feels really great. I can now go to work and to the local store and to the gym and not get constant pity, but I still have those close friends nearby that know about my family and want to be there for me. This is going to sound so freaking cheesy, but I feel like Ben sent me this group of people to take care of me. He was so much better at making friends than I was. I met everyone through him. And who meets a whole new group of friends shortly after moving to a new city. I never again thought I'd feel "lucky" after what I went through...but I just feel so lucky to have met these people.
Thanks for the smiles...Giphy
I don't know what I could say to add to this perfect, perfect update, OP. Just that I'm really stinking happy for you. Reading through this post brought some genuine smiles to my face. Like, I'm ready to weep tears of relief for a complete stranger. I'm just, gaaah...so glad this worked out good for you.
I'm not a religious person at all, but I feel like these people were put in your life on purpose.
You are not alone!Giphy
You may have lost your family in an accident, but you've gained a new family.
Truly caring companions.
And you still have the option to start a new family of your own again.
Bless you, and your courage, girl.
But - you sound like such a genuine person with such great love in your heart. I hope you continue to find new happiness in your life :).
I'm so glad this went well for you and I wish I could give you a hug.
My grandma (not by blood) lost everyone she loved before she eventually passed away...and while she lived like normal, you could tell that underneath it all, she was very happy to go meet up with her family again. Relieved. It wasn't super obvious, but it was just something you know without needing to be told.
I don't know what you can take from that but you'll meet more family that you didn't know you had, maybe you've found that in your new friends :) Good luck in life, and know that your family is watching your story play out and they'll be there for you at the end.
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.
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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.
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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.
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