April 11, 2022 | Eul Basa

Embarrassed Folks Describe When They Were Accidentally Jerks To Other People

Most of us try our best to be nice to the people around us, but we don’t always succeed. Whether it’s making an innocent little comment without thinking about how it will be interpreted by the other person or going to splash around in a pile of mud without realizing there’s someone standing right beside you who is about to get soaked, no matter how we unintentionally became a jerk, it’s never a pretty picture. Not only that, but the shame and guilt over the things we did can often stay with us for years to come. Here are 50 of the most memorable accidental jerk moments that folks have ever caused.

1. You Only Get One Chance To Make A First Impression

There is one incident that always comes to mind when I try and recall moments where I felt like a true jerk. “What’s your name?” I once asked someone I had just met. The girl responded, “Shara.” I was trying to be playful, so I jokingly responded: “Oh cool. It’s like ‘Sarah,’ but with a lisp.” Her face immediately turned sour and she replied: “I do have a lisp. My name is Sarah.” Oof. That was awkward…


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2. Music To Their Ears

I was intoxicated at a pub one time and aggressively shouted for the band to play the song “Free Bird.” After several minutes of my pestering, they stopped in the middle of the song they were playing, started up “Free Bird,” and called me up on stage to sing it. I froze up, forgot all of the lyrics, and made an absolute jerk of myself in front of a large audience.

Props to that band though. They did a great job with the song, and taught me a life lesson in the process!


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3. Wrong Place, Wrong Time

One time, back in fifth grade, I blamed my fart on a mentally challenged boy in my class, causing a bunch of people to make fun of him. I didn’t have anything against the kid. I just saw him as an opportunity to escape some personal embarrassment, so I threw him under the bus and didn’t think about the consequences. I’ve felt like a jerk ever since whenever I look back upon the incident.


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4. A Special Kind Of Rudeness

This story happened back when I was in the army. For some reason, I was making fun of a guy in my unit, and I said he couldn't even get a medal for something in the Special Olympics. He then pointed out the fact that his daughter was an athlete in the Special Olympics. I profusely apologized to him, and he accepted my apology. But remembering what a jerk I was still keeps me awake at night.


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5. Not Bringing Your A Game

One time, I was making fun of this old guy that I had seen outside of our school during a basketball tournament to some friends in the locker room. He looked and talked like this weird farmer character from a movie we all liked. The guy turned out to be the dad of one of the guys I was talking to. I still can’t even think of that movie without it bringing up endless amounts of shame.


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6. TV Time

Just a few hours after I learned that a guy's wife had passed, I had a bit too much to drink and I quoted the worst possible line from The Office that I could possibly have quoted at that time. "I'm gonna dig up Scarn’s dead wife and I'm gonna hump her real good." The realization of how awful this reaction was hit me as soon as the words left my mouth.

The guy was cool about it, thankfully, but my guilt over the memory of this incident still keeps me up at night from time to time.


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7. Things Were Heading In The Wrong Direction

My best friend and I once got insanely intoxicated. We're both good people and tend to avoid drama, but she started this massive argument about what direction my house was in and would not let it go. I told her over and over again for 20 minutes that I wasn't going to engage in this discussion and that she needed to stop.

I added that I didn't care what direction my house was in, as Uber didn't need to know. And then, a few weeks later, I noticed that she hadn't talked to me since that night. I had assumed that she was just in the honeymoon phase with her new boyfriend, which was totally normal for her. But then, our mutual friend informed me of something shocking.

Apparently, she had been telling everyone that I hit her in the head during an argument about what direction my house was in. I had no recollection of that whatsoever, but I was extremely intoxicated and extremely annoyed by the whole argument. My instinct was to say of course I would never hit someone, let alone somewhere like the face, but I remember being frustrated enough that slapping the idiocy out of her might have been what I was aiming for...


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8. The Ways Of The World

One time, I was driving down a road and a whole bunch of people started honking and yelling at me on the street. Naturally, I got angry and flipped a bunch of people off before I started aggressively honking back. At the end of the street, I saw a one-way sign and realized that I had been going in the wrong direction the entire time.


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9. Use Your Indoor Voice

When I was in high school, my friends and I used to put together these scavenger hunts where, instead of finding things, people had to complete various challenges and tasks. We were inspired by Viva La Bam, so the tasks were mostly just pretty dumb stuff like eat six raw eggs, chug milk, argue with a street sign for five minutes, etc.

Anyway, one day we had a hunt planned, but it started raining. So we went into the Water Tower Place in downtown Chicago to wait out the storm. While we were in there, we got the idea to play a giant game of tag since we couldn't do the scavenger hunt. There were about ten of us in total, just chasing each other around throughout all of the stores and floors. And we were having a blast.

About 15 or 20 minutes into the game, me and a couple of other people that were around me got stopped by a security guard. They were kicking us out of the building for what we were doing. This was pretty serious, like they had a guard on every floor looking for us. One rule of the hunt was that everything you did needed to be documented in some way, so I had a digital camera on me.

This was back before everyone had the means to record on them like we do now with smartphones, so the security guard had no idea that I was videotaping him as he escorted us out. That’s right, this entire incident is documented on video. We all, of course, thought it was hilarious and a bit unfair that we were being kicked out for having a little fun.

Fast forward to several years later and I'm working as a cashier at Borders. A couple of little kids start chasing each other in the store and end up knocking over a display. I had to go and clean it while these kids ran away laughing, which annoyed me. It was then that it hit me: "Holy cow, we were being such little jerks!"

We had definitely knocked over quite a few displays that day, which was part of the reason they had security guards escort us out of the building. We were probably such a huge pain in the butt to a lot of people that day, but we just didn't see it that way because we were dumb teenagers. Ever since then, I have felt very bad about some of my past behaviors.


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10. Not What They Want To Hear

For many years, I used the “The same thing happened to me” line whenever someone opened up to me instead of just shutting up and listening to them. When I eventually did some introspection and realized that I was being a total jerk by doing so, I started to feel really bad about it. It’s a pretty hard habit to change, but I’m actively working on it now.


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11. Staying In Touch

I’ve never felt like a bigger accidental jerk than I did in the moment when I first realized that the reason I've lost so many friends over the years is that I'm so lousy at getting back to people when they make an effort to keep in touch with me. The realization just hit me all at once, and I feel absolutely terrible about it. I hope some of the people I’ve been a jerk to can eventually forgive me.


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12. Band On The Run

Years ago, I went into a novelty shirt store and, as I was at the register, the girl working there started telling me about all the new Metallica shirts they had just gotten in. For some reason, I told her that I wasn’t really into wearing band shirts anymore. This was mostly true. Even though I didn’t mean for it to, this comment came out sounding very snobbish.

I could see on her face that she was offended. At the time, I thought her reaction was kinda strange, even accounting for my accidental condescension. However, shortly after I left the store, the full extent of my rudeness hit me. I was wearing a freaking Nine Inch Nails shirt. I have never felt like a bigger jerk in my entire life.


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13. Good, But Not Great

Not long ago, someone I hadn't talked to in years came up to me and started telling me all about how they haven't been doing too well lately and how they found out they have cancer. Well, I was at work and only half paying attention, so after he stopped talking I absent-mindedly said, "That's good." Haven't seen the guy since…


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14. Just Following Friend’s Orders

A long time ago, I once told my friend that she shouldn't use medication for her mental illness because I was convinced that she could just use sheer power of will to get through it. It was a complete jerk move of me to make her second guess getting professional help to address her mental health issues. I was ignorant and immature at the time, so I believed a bunch of nonsense when it came to this issue.

I just wish that I had instead offered her support instead of trying to "fix it" when she mentioned the side effects. Especially since I had no idea what I was talking about. This was when I was a teenager and thought I knew everything. I told her that if we faced it together, then we would find the root of why she felt so anxious and depressed and we'd squash it.

I thought that medication was just a temporary solution and that it wouldn't help her get better in the long run. Yet for some reason, I thought that the assistance and advice of a 16-year-old with no medical license or background could? I just didn't want my friend to suffer, but it was so wrong of me to try to substitute myself for a medical professional.


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15. Keeping To Yourself

My friend group tried to stay close after high school, but we all fell out of touch as typically happens when everyone forges their own path in life. Well, mine led me down a path of depression, anxiety, and failure. So every year or so, they would hold a get together to reconnect and hang out. I attended a couple of these at first, but that slowly changed.

As time went on and my downward spiral got worse and worse, I stopped responding to their calls, texts, and invites, because I thought that no one would want to hang out with this version of me. I was invited to two weddings which I didn’t even respond to because of this negative loop. But that's not the thing I'll never forgive myself for...

When my best friend from that group was diagnosed with cancer, I couldn’t even bring myself to face him. I never got to see him again before he passed. I tried to go to his funeral, but couldn’t enter the building because I felt that I didn’t deserve to be there. Finally, a few months ago, the parents of one of my friends saw me at work and wanted to talk to me.

They told me that my friend group was really broken up and hurt over the fact that I ignored all of their attempts to reach out to me. It was then that I realized that in all of my stress about being miserable to be around, I had become a jerk to those who had tried to care about me.


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16. On The Ball

One day while I was walking on the street, some kids kicked a ball in my direction. I was going to pass it back to them, but then I thought that one of the kids closer to it would just get it. I decided to just keep walking and leave their ball alone. I looked back at the kid and I could see a look of utter disappointment on his face. I immediately felt like the biggest jerk on the planet for a few days. I still feel bad thinking about it.


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17. The Silent Treatment

The time when I was unintentionally a jerk to someone was when I was a teenager in high school and I "broke up" with my first ever girlfriend, who was really attached to me, just by ignoring her for days on end until she got the message. I feel so bad about it, even to this day. It was a huge jerk move. I mean, I realize that I was just a kid but that was still such a harsh and uncalled for treatment.


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18. Spicing Things Up

Every time my young kid asks to try whatever I’m eating, I always say that it’s spicy and that he won’t like it so that I don’t have to share. Needless to say, I’m usually lying and it’s usually something perfectly good that he would, in fact, like. But he falls for my scheme every time. And every time, I end up feeling like a jerk afterward.


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19. A Figure Of Speech

I once told a girl that I really liked her accent and I asked her where she was from. She then told me that she was from the same town as me, but she simply had a speech impediment. I not only felt like the biggest jerk on the planet, but also like the biggest idiot on the planet. I could never show my face in front of her again. That was not an easy incident to live down…


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20. All Dressed Up And Nowhere To Go

When I was 16 years old, I worked in a retail store and was in charge of the fitting room. You see people come in and out so much that you sometimes don’t pay too close attention to them. One time, a woman walked in with her preteen kid, so I pointed her towards the ladies’ side. Needless to say, I wasn’t paying close attention, and only side glanced at her kid.

I saw that the kid was wearing a baseball cap with their head lowered, and really baggy clothes. I immediately assumed the kid was a boy and pointed towards the men’s side. They looked super awkward and uncomfortable, before their mother corrected me and said, “She’s my daughter.” I apologized profusely and their mom decided to nag her by saying, “See? With the clothes you wear, people think you’re a boy!”

I felt even more terrible about the fact that I put her into this weird conversation with her mom. For anyone wondering, this happened in 2007 in the New England area. Back then, non-binary wasn’t exactly discussed or regularly talked about among teenagers; so at the age of 16, I definitely panicked because I didn’t want to offend customers and possibly get fired.

If this had happened today, I probably wouldn’t have said anything at all and just pointed in whichever direction they’d like to go. Even though I feel like a jerk for what I did, at least we can hopefully all agree that the mother was the real jerk in this situation! Either way, you can bet that I paid closer attention to the people coming in before pointing them to a room from that point on!


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21. Off To A Flying Start

A lady that I met once told me she was hospitalized for months after she fell asleep at the wheel and drove her car off a cliff. She said she woke up right when the wheels were starting to go over, and I asked her “Was it worth it?” She stared at me, wondering what I meant, so I continued, “Now you know what it’s like to fly in a car!” She was not amused. I felt like a huge jerk.


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22. Always Think Before You Speak

I never felt like a bigger jerk than when I absentmindedly asked my dad, “Do you regret how much of my life you’ve missed out on?” My parents got married when they were 20 years old, they had their first kid at 21, and had four kids by their early 30s. My dad always worked while my mom was at home with us, but he also chose to be gone drinking with friends many nights.

Meanwhile, my mom had almost no social life for at least 20 years of her life before she finally went back to work full time. They both basically gave up everything to raise me and my siblings, yet I just callously diminished my dad’s entire life. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I regret having made that stupid comment.


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23. Inspecting The Inspectors

I’m a teacher. One time, I walked into my coworker’s classroom, loudly and obnoxiously mocking a man from the district government who was supposed to help us with instruction and provide support. As soon as I started speaking, she ushered me out of her room immediately and started laughing, because the guy was sitting in there to observe her next class.


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24. An Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living

This entire year, I have felt like a jerk. I’ve been recovering from my divorce last year and the experience has forced me to take a long, hard, and honest look at myself and all the garbage that I used to do. This process has made me realize how I actually treated those around me. A lot of tough to swallow pills, but a lot of much-needed reflection has now taken place.


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25. Save The Whales

I had an accidental jerk moment a few years ago. I was very heavy at the time. I still am, but thankfully less so today. Either way, I was in the car with my mom and I was waiting for this somewhat overweight lady to walk across the street so that we could continue driving. As the girl is walking across the street, I absentmindedly said: "Get a move on, land whale."

My mom turned to me in shock and disbelief, and angrily said: "Look who's talking! She's thinner than you!" You know you're fat when your mom doesn't let you make fat jokes anymore…


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26. The World Wide Web

Just three seconds ago, I had to stop myself from responding to a Redditor on an online parenting page. I was planning on telling them that their child's Halloween costume was really darn ugly. Why did I want to hurt a total stranger’s feelings who had worked hard on the costume and never did anything to hurt me? I have no idea, but I feel like a total jerk for having even wanted to do that.


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27. Ain’t That A Kick In The Leg

I once rang and paid for a mowing service. When the guy from the service rocked up, I started telling him that I couldn’t mow the lawn myself anymore as I had twisted my ankle and wanted to rest so that it wouldn’t hurt for the rest of the day. Just after I said that, the guy got out of the car, instantly revealing that he was an amputee from the knee down...


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28. Don’t Hurt My Little Sister

I beat the actual daylights out of a kid who was a grade below me and about a foot shorter than me. This was back in middle school. I did it because he had hit my sister and I wanted to give him payback. Granted, he was a little jerk too, but I literally held him against the wall and punched him in the nose repeatedly until he was bleeding everywhere. That's when I learned that I have anger issues.


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29. Rolling On The River

When my son was about three months old, I was out taking him for a walk one day in his stroller. My anxiety was high and I had some pretty bad postpartum depression. This kid on a skateboard was skating toward us. He was maybe about 12 or 13 years old. He was skating like he was just going past us, and he was really going fast.

He came within inches of the stroller, just flying by. If he had lost control, he would have crashed right into my newborn. Once he got just barely past me, I spun around, locked eyes with him, and growled, “You son of a you know what!” I’ll never forget the shocked look on that kid’s face. He had meant no harm by it. I cried when I got home and felt terrible.

This was something like eight and a half years ago. If you’re reading this, skateboarding kid, I’m really, really sorry for being a jerk to you.


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30. Out Of The Past

My longtime girlfriend recently dumped me. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to cope by looking around my room and seeing all the things she bought me and thus being reminded of all the things she did for me over the years. During this process, I slowly realized that I had hardly ever done anything for her in return. That was the moment I realized that I had become an unintentional jerk.


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31. It’s All In The Game

I grew up fairly poor and, as a result, the concept of money didn’t mean very much to me as a child. I just knew that we always had less things than the other kids in my class did. So, when the Nintendo gaming systems started getting super popular, I asked my mother to buy me one. She obviously refused since we couldn’t afford it.

But apparently, later on that evening, I had drawn a picture of a Nintendo along with a comic strip of me and my mother playing a game on it together. Apparently, she spotted the drawing and stayed up that entire night crying because she had felt so guilty about not being able to afford the system. My dad told me about this story years later, and I felt so terrible about it.


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32. Grazie

At my high school graduation, a friend of mine was a foreign exchange student from Italy, and her parents were at the ceremony. It was the first time I was ever going to be meeting them. I went up to them and just abrasively shouted, "HI, I LOVE ITALIANS!" I don’t know why, but I just felt like a total jerk in that moment as soon as I made the comment. They just looked so confused and uncomfortable.


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33. A Hair-Raising Story

I feel like a jerk remembering the fact that, as a kid, I always used to tell my hairdresser that I didn't like my haircuts. I don’t know why, there was nothing ever wrong with the haircuts. The hairdresser was a super nice person, too. So I would have had no reason to want to hurt her feelings. I guess for some stupid reason, child version of me thought that this was being funny when it was actually just being a jerk for no reason.


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34. Weighing Your Options

My buddy wanted to set me up with a new coworker of his. I got to his apartment early and started getting intoxicated with his roommate. At one point, he gave us a call and told us that they were going to be late. He said, "She's a bigger girl. Don't mention her weight." He had told me about this previously as well.

Unfortunately, by the time they showed up, I was pretty intoxicated and I wanted to make a good first impression. So the minute I laid eyes upon her, I said maybe the worst thing possible: "You're not nearly as fat as they said you were gonna be!" She immediately turned around and fled. And that was the last I ever saw of her. I still feel bad about the incident to this day.


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35. Clowning Around

One time, I was driving back home from work after a long day. I was stuck in some terrible rush hour traffic. My wife was in the car with me and she pointed out one of those dancing clowns with the advertising boards standing right outside of our window. He was loving his job, dancing with not a care in the world, even waving at us poor shlubs.

I thought he was great. He actually lifted my spirits up, so I figured I'd wave at him too. Yeah, I flipped him off. I have no idea why it came out of me that way and I didn't mean for it too. It just pretty much happened as traffic was starting to move again. I could see him in my mirrors. He was holding his hands out as if to say, "WHAT THE HECK, DUDE ???"

The poor fella must have felt so defeated. I honestly didn't mean to do it. And my wife called me a whole bunch of nasty names for doing it. I really felt terrible about it, and still do. But I have no way of apologizing or making up for it. I sincerely hope that the guy doesn't turn into the Joker or some other kind of evil clown just because of little old me.


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36. Stopping The Show

One time at the movies, it was just me and friends and one other group sitting in front. The rest of the theater was completely empty. There was a guy from the group up in front who kept slurping on an Icee really loudly. Like, he just really, really wanted to get every last drop. After a few minutes, I got really agitated.

I started to make a super obnoxious and loud slurping sound of my own, to make them aware that I could hear what they were doing and that it was annoying me. Literally, as soon as I made the noise, I saw that the guy up front was a disabled man. He was with his parents, and they were feeding him from a suction tube. I was so ashamed of myself that I walked out of the theater quietly, whispering to them “I’m so sorry.”

I never went back in.


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37. Lost In Translation

I once asked these two foreign ladies at work what language they were speaking. I am really big into languages and I felt like I hadn’t heard the one they were speaking before. English. They were speaking English and they just both happened to have really thick accents. I felt like the biggest jerk of all time, and I couldn’t show my face around them again.


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38. Just Kidding Around

One time, I was meeting up with a friend. While we were hanging out, I casually asked her about whether or not she was planning to have kids. Mind you, I'm a new mom of two, staying at home, and kids are basically my entire life now. Most of my friends are also parents. She wasn't yet, though. So I casually asked her that question, and didn’t mean anything by it.

But she rightfully replied to me with, "You know that's a very personal question, don’t you?" I suddenly had this moment of epiphany where I realized that I probably shouldn’t be probing into the most personal and private aspects of other people’s lives simply because it related to something I was interested in. I'm never asking anyone that question again. I'm very sorry, old friend!


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39. Next In Line

I used to tend bar. One time, I was very busy at a freestanding bar. I was literally surrounded by customers. I went to wait on the next customer. I made eye contact and asked what I could get him as I turned to throw something away. He gave no response. I asked again as I started wiping up a spot someone had vacated. Still no response.

This kept going a couple more times. As customers were building up, I turned towards him with a bit of attitude and said something to the effect of "Sir, I'm getting deeper in the weeds and all these other people are getting annoyed, you need to order or move aside so that others can." He then informed me that he was deaf and, as I kept turning away, he couldn't read my lips that whole time.

Me: "Oh no. I am a jerk."


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40. Father’s Day

My dad's a prankster and, whenever we complained about his jokes, he would always say: "But after I’m gone, you will miss my jokes." So, this one time he was acting dumb and I was tired of him. So I told him to stop and he began to say, "But after I’m gone..." and I cut him off and replied: "Everyone will be happy." He went silent and looked extremely hurt. This was not my proudest moment...

My relationship with my dad has not always been the best ever since I was a child. It wasn’t the worst, either, compared to some of the more extreme stories out there. But I always had an issue with the silly kinds of jokes that he made. They usually consisted of making fun of people, including me. Often specifically about how I dressed and about how I was a weirdo since an early age.

I haven't ever apologized for that incident, but I probably should while I still have the chance. In fact, I think I will probably do it right now. Unfortunately, he was indeed hurt by my response, but that still didn't stop him from continuing to be a prankster. I believe I have matured since then and now I'm way more careful about what I say to him and the people I care about.

We are still working on our relationship and trying to become closer to one another, but I doubt we will ever be 100% close because we have both said and done very hurtful things to each other throughout the years and decades. I hope that all of you out there have a better and more loving relationship with your parents!


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41. You Can Count On Me

Many years ago, I was working the front cash register at a restaurant and the guy paying for his meal jokingly asked, "How much is this gonna cost me?” I absent-mindedly responded, "An arm and a leg!" I then looked up to discover that the guy was missing half of his arm. He was staring back at me in utter shock. Never in my life have I felt like a bigger jerk than in that moment.


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42. The Voice Of Reason

My best friend once asked me to pull into a Burger King drive-thru so he could grab a bite to eat. It was really late and I was positive that they would be closed. He was sure that they were open. To prove my point, I pulled up to the speakers and yelled a whole bunch of inappropriate profanities into the microphone at the top of my lungs.

I then looked at my friend and went “See? They’re closed!” In the midst of me saying that, I suddenly heard a voice start saying something over the speaker. Turns out my friend was right. I sped out of there as fast as I could. Not only did I feel like a jerk towards the employee that I insulted for no reason, but I also cost my friend a snack when he was hungry.


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43. Sounds Like Someone Is Feeling Blue

Vegas. Second to last row for a Blue Man Group show. The people behind us were talking loudly throughout the entire show. They were basically giving a play by play of everything that was going on right in front of us. It was extremely irritating and it was ruining our entire enjoyment of the show. We shushed and glared at them repeatedly, but to no avail.

By the end of the show, we were so mad that we were going to throw some harsh words their way on our way out of the theater. The lights come up. We turn around—and instantly felt like the biggest jerks on earth. There was a group of people and their obvious chaperones sitting with them. Turns out this was a group of blind people. Many of them had NO EYES! We slipped away feeling just awful about our behavior.

We really should have apologized. But at least we learned our lesson for the future about patience and treating people nicely.


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44. An Outstretched Arm

So when my husband and I were first starting to date one another, we once went out to a super fancy restaurant. It was one where, at the end of your meal, they take your plate, box your leftovers up for you, and bring them out to you in a bag to take home. A few nights later, we went to another restaurant for dinner. This one was not as fancy as the first.

We were lost in conversation when the waiter came over to ask us if we needed boxes for our leftovers. So I, completely not thinking, lifted up my plate to hand it to him, thinking he was there to take it, box it up, and bring it back for me. Not. That. Kind. Of. Restaurant. Definitely one that would bring you a styrofoam container to pack up your own stuff.

This poor waiter, so kind and confused, took my plate and walked back to the back room. He brought it back out a few minutes later nicely boxed. My husband, who was only my new boyfriend at the time, was absolutely shocked. Like “What kind of a snobby jerk am I dating??” He literally stopped in the middle of a sentence and just stared at my antics.

When it dawned on me what I had done, I had never felt more embarrassed in my entire life. To this day, I still wonder if that guy spit in my food.


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45. Silent Protest

I felt like a complete jerk when I realized that I had picked a side that benefitted me more over the one which I actually considered to be the correct side multiple times during arguments, fights, and every other kind of situation you can imagine where such kinds of decisions can be made. I regret not standing up for what I knew was right.


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46. Mutiny On The Bounty

At one time in my life, I developed a pretty serious drinking problem, and one day everyone finally had enough of me. That was the day I realized that I had been a jerk to everyone around me for a long time. On the same day, I got fired, kicked out of my apartment, and disowned by my friends and my family. I was left utterly alone and homeless with just $2,000 and a 1986 Volvo Station Wagon to my name.

I found out later that this wasn’t all just a big coincidence. It had been coordinated between everyone in my life to get back at me for the way I had treated them. And it really hurt. But I wouldn't take any of it back for the world. Things are far better now, but that was the sort of life event that is supposed to change you, and I let it do so for the better.


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47. Voice Of Reason

In early high school, back in the late 1990s, if you got a girl’s number it was the house number. So, one time, I called a girl’s house and her dad answered. She was out, but I noticed his speech was a bit slow and garbled. The next day at school, I mentioned to the girl that I had called, and I asked her if her dad had been drinking.

Well, it turned out he didn’t drink much since his stroke. I still feel awful about that!


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48. A Less Than Grand Return

It was eighth grade. I was in a speech class. A kid had been absent for a few days and, when he came back, I started razzing him a bit. We were friendly, but not friends. So I felt okay kidding around, claiming he was just pretending to be sick to get out of class. That sort of thing. Nothing intended to be really mean, though. I still think about what I said to him—it's one of my biggest regrets.

The guy took the jokes for a bit, then turned around, looked me directly in the eyes, and said in the flattest voice I’ve ever heard, "No, my mother passed." He then turned back around as if nothing had happened. If God had struck me down with a bolt of lightning at that exact moment, when I stood before him at the Pearly Gates, I'd have said "Yeah, fair enough..."

This happened about 35 years ago for me. While it doesn't keep me up at night anymore, it still constantly serves as one of those little reminders in the back of my head to maaaaaybe not treat every little thing that happens as an opportunity for joking. A little personal growth, y'know? I’m happy to report that I haven’t repeated the mistake ever since.

As a bit of an epilogue, though, I went to my 30th high school reunion recently, and who should be there but that poor, unfortunate kid from speech class!! We actually hung out and talked for a while. His wife and I got along great! We're Facebook friends now too, and he seems like a pretty cool guy. But I bet you can all guess what memory I have not and never will be bringing up around him. EVER!


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49. The Keys To Her Heart

About 20 years ago, I had some friends over at my place for a party. At some point in the evening, a girl spilled her drink all over my keyboard and all the keys got stuck. I checked to see if it was still okay, but it didn't work. Somehow, I got irrationally angry. She tried to apologize to me. But for whatever reason, I judged the effort to be too feeble.

I made a big show of the whole thing as I tried to clean the keyboard. I was swearing out aloud, which made her feel miserable. I finally slapped a big "out of order" notice on the keyboard right next to her. She finally got fed up and left the party. Walking. In the snow. To her home, which was more than five kilometers away.

When my friends just stared at me silently, I realized how big of a jerk I had been to this girl. I suddenly felt bad about what I had done, and I had a change of heart. I ran after her and got her to return to the party. Things went great from that point on, and I’m so glad they did. We've been married to each other for nine years now!


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50. Race To The Finish

I was running a bit late for work one afternoon, and traffic was oddly heavy for part of the drive. All these cars were driving like fifteen under the speed limit. As soon as the road opened to two lanes, I slammed on the gas pedal and flew around this ridiculously slow line of cars. Until I got to the car in the front and realized what had been going on…

The car in front was driving super slow, but when I caught a glimpse of it, my stomach dropped. It wasn’t just some slow jerk holding everyone back. It was a hearse, and I had just flown past a funeral procession. In my defense, every funeral procession I had ever seen before always had the cars turn their hazard lights on and put little flags on each car so that this sort of thing wouldn’t happen. But nevertheless, I still felt awful.


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Sources: 1, 2

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