Humans are naturally creatures of habit, so sometimes they have trouble breaking free from their routines. Once we learn how to do something, it's often hard to forget it. Most of the time, it's a good thing; but the problem with becoming used to doing something is that you may sometimes do it at the wrong moment.
Have you ever zoned out in a car, thinking about something else other than driving? Before you know it, you arrive at your destination, yet you hardly remember the ride. In cases like that, our brains go into autopilot, and anything could happen. Just take it from these embarrassed people who recently shared the most awkward thing they've done while on autopilot.
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#1 A Champagne Chug
I finally got a job as a wine consultant that I had been trying to get for years. It was just a position at our local grocery store but our wine department was the best in town, so I was pumped. I was doing a great job, getting regulars at my tastings and everything. One day, I got to do a tasting with a fairly expensive bottle of champagne (around $130). I opened the bottle and it started to fizz over (it wasn't cooled enough yet) and my instant reaction was to start chugging it as to not be wasteful. But this was champagne. Expensive champagne. And I was chugging it in the middle of the sales floor, while on the clock, in a grocery store. I still cringe when I think about it.
#2 Can't Catch A Brake
I was parked in a grocery store lot, looking at my phone when I saw movement in my peripheral vision. I drive a manual transmission vehicle, so the anxiety of forgetting the emergency brake is constant. I started frantically pressing the foot brake and pulling on the e-brake (which was engaged), it took me a second to realize that it was the car next to me pulling out, not me drifting out of my spot. I looked over and the driver was giving me pure looks of annoyance.
#3 Taking Dinner Orders
As a teenager, I worked at McDonald's. My McDonald's was open 24 hours and, during the summer, I worked the overnight shift. My sleep schedule would get all messed up. My parents woke me up for dinner one evening. I zombie-walked to the table and sat down. My dad asked me to say grace. I bowed my head and said, "Thank you for choosing McDonald's, may I take your order?"
#4 Sub-Par Performance
I was working the backline at an Arby's, way back in the day. We used to get our sub buns footlong, but all the subs we sold were six inches. I literally reached into the bag, grabbed a sub roll, cut it in half, then put the knife back in the bag and tried to cut another sandwich with the sub bun. My manager saw and I was so embarrassed.
#5 Goodbye Kiss
I kissed my wife's best friend. It was totally innocent and something we laughed about. I took a bus to work every day at about 4 a.m. My wife usually drove me to the stop so that I didn't have to leave my car there for 14 hours. My wife's friend was staying with us while she looked for a job in the area. She got up early one day and decided she would take me and let my wife sleep. When we got to the stop, I just instinctively leaned over and kissed her goodbye. She had a dumbfounded look on her face, and mine instantly turned red as I realized what I'd done. I just said, "Sorry, it's a habit." My wife poked fun at me for days for putting the moves on her friend.
#6 Car Confusion
I was getting my car out of the parking lot, heading back home after a long day. Shortly after I started driving, I passed by a car that was identical to mine and thought. I got out of the car to go to the other car. Halfway through, I realized that what the heck I was doing, looked around hoping to God that no one saw me, and then went back on my merry way. Wasn't my proudest moment.
#7 First Day At Old Job
I was late for my first day of work. By habit, I ended up going to my previous employer of 15 years where I had quit. I realized about five minutes before getting there and had to drive about 25 minutes back in the direction I came from. My new coworkers just laughed it off. Fifteen years of the same commute, same truck, same tools, and just another Monday on autopilot.
#8 Comforting The Grocery Cart
I took my newborn kid to the grocery store with my wife. I had a buggy with the baby, and she had the buggy with the groceries. I had been rocking the buggy back and forth to sooth the kid since he was getting antsy. My wife and I traded buggies, so she had the baby, I had the groceries. Cue me rocking the buggy with groceries in the cereal aisle.
#9 A Key Realization
I was looking all over for my keys and finally thought that I might have left them in the car. I went outside and my car was locked. So I pulled my keys out of my pocket, unlocked the door, and realized how much of an idiot I was. My car keys were inside my pocket the entire time. To be fair, I had just come from an extremely busy day at work, so my mind was all over the place.
#10 Head Of Housekeeping
I work as a housekeeper. When we knock on doors, we yell, “Housekeeping” and when we throw laundry down the chute, we yell, “Heads” (so those below watch their heads). Anyway, one day I knocked on a door and loudly yelled, “Heads!” Later that day, I realized my mistake and I made sure to “correct it” but I "auto-corrected" and stupidly yelled, “Housekeeping” down the laundry chute.
#11 Making Himself At Home
I lived in the same house for 16 years, then moved out. Years later, I did some summer work as a construction worker....on MY old house! The first day, I walked in, mindlessly doing what I ALWAYS did when I came in. I waltzed into the kitchen during the family’s breakfast, opened the fridge and peered inside for a long while looking for something to eat. I came to senses after a few minutes, looked up, and the family was all staring at me from the breakfast table, forks in mid-air. I was so embarrassed I backed out, stammering the whole time and trying to have them understand. “I’m so sorry. I used to live here,” I said. I wasn’t allowed to do inside work at that job site for a while.
#12 Self-Checkout Scammer
Just today, I went to the grocery store, packed everything into my backpack at self check-out and left. As soon as I got home, I remembered I never actually paid. As soon as I noticed, I went back, swiped my card in the self check-out and got it over with. Nobody had even noticed. The store is about 300 meters from my apartment complex.
#13 Getting Sexy With Security
I always take my shirt off after my shoes when I get undressed. So there I was at around 4:30 in the morning, headed through security to fly across the country for a festival. I was nowhere close to awake and I was totally running on autopilot. I threw my stuff on the conveyor, I took my shoes off and started to take my shirt off as well. The TSA lady (she was attractive) was like, "Slow down sir, we just met." I didn't know they came with a sense of humor.
#14 Toothpaste Waterfall
Sometimes in the shower, I fill my mouth up with water and just kind of let it pour out. I was brushing my teeth standing in the bathroom one day, fully dressed before work. I just let the toothpaste pour slowly out of my mouth and onto my clothes as if I were in the shower... Now, every time I brush my teeth, my boyfriend warns me not to spit all over myself.
#15 An Overly Caring Date
I've worked as a caregiver for adults with mental and physical disabilities for more than a decade now. I do basic care, which includes helping many adult men do their daily activities like shaving, buttoning shirts, making sure belts are on correctly, and so on. Once, on a date, I was a bit buzzed. I fixed my date's shirt, then told him he needed to look in the mirror and see if he wanted a shave.
#16 Baffling Blue Signals
On the railroad, you can get verbal permission to pass a red signal or flag, either from the dispatcher or the employee who placed the red flag. You cannot under any circumstances pass a BLUE light or flag, because that protects employees working on, under, or between rolling stock beyond the blue signal. Driving home in the car late one night, I decided to take a shortcut through the local university. I went around a corner and saw a blue light marking a police call station. My immediate conclusion: “Shoot, can’t go that way.”
#17 Early To Work
I used to work in a factory, starting at 6 am, so I'd have to get out of bed around 5:15 each morning. There was one morning when I got up, had my breakfast and left, as usual. I drove around the corner to the garage where I would buy my lunch. It seemed a lot quieter than usual, but being half asleep myself, it only half registered. I got back in my car and noticed the time... I was awake three hours early. I went home and back to bed for a couple of hours.
#18 A Formal Greeting
I had recently been attending a lot of martial arts classes at night. One morning at work, I accidentally bowed at my boss when I entered his office. This was in the US, and neither of us is of Asian descent. Yes, he noticed. It was awkward.
#19 Humiliated By Humming
I was sitting in math class one day, just humming to myself while the teacher explained something at the board. She went to turn off the projector, which was next to my desk. Then, still standing next to me, she gave me this weird look and asked, "Is something wrong?" I had been so deep in thought that I had lost the tune but kept humming, so I was now just humming a long, low "hmm" without any change in pitch. So yeah. That was embarrassing.
#20 Your Dog, Who Is He
I came into work after several extended nights of profound insomnia. I was holding up okay until a girl walked up with a dog in her arms. I always chat people up about their dogs because it's a good way to break the ice. Today though, I didn't have two neurons to rub together. I leaned over the counter like a tipsy person, locked my sleep-starved, unfocused googly eyes on this poor lady, and blurted out: "Your dog. Who is he?" She stared at me and clutched her dog a little closer. I think I probably went a little cross-eyed and tried to salvage the conversation by talking more. I don't remember what I said, but it was definitely not an improvement on the situation. It may not have even been a coherent sentence.
#21 Forgiveness From Food
I stepped on a Cheeto and apologized to it. I have this tendency to apologize for anything, even things that aren't my fault. I guess it's just part of my blood as a Canadian, however, I don't think other people apologize to inanimate objects as I do. On another occasion, I hit my knee on the corner of my bed and immediately said, "My bad."
#22 Letting It Flow
The pipe underneath my sink was broken so I put a bucket below it to catch the water leaking out. When it was full, I poured it back in the sink... and proceeded to flood my kitchen. I don't know what I was thinking at that moment—I guess my mind was on autopilot and it figured that since I had water to dump out, I should dump it in the sink.
#23 Straining The Soup
I was feeling an encroaching sickness coming upon me one time, so I decided to be proactive and make myself a couple of days' worth of the most baller chicken soup I could manage in advance, just so I'd be able to eat well even when I was dying of the lurgy. I chopped the carrots, sorted the onions, stewed the chicken bones, and cooked that stuff down for eight hours into the most delicious stock you could imagine. Then I poured it all through a colander into the sink.
#24 Phone Under Faucet
I put my phone under a faucet to fill up my water bottle. I recognized my mistake. And then I did it again.
#25 Definitely Not Digital
I once tried to zoom in on a paper when I wanted to fix a tiny detail in my drawing. I was very tired mind you, but that was still sort of funny to me because I did it like, four to five times before realizing: "Wait, this isn't my phone." I literally took to fingers, placed them on the image I was manually drawing and moved them apart to try to zoom in.
#26 A Trashy Problem
I went to check the mail, grabbed the keys, then saw there was a garbage bin that needed to go out, I stopped at the mailbox, got the mail, threw away the garbage, threw away the mail, threw away my keys, etc. My neighbor asked if I was going to need those, and I just kind of stopped, looked around a bit and said, "Well, yeah, probably."
#27 A Real Dog Move
My dog's favorite part of the day is dinner time. I pull out her food and she starts wagging while doing the tippy-taps. I got a scoop of food and instead of going to her bowl, I dumped the full scoop into the trash can. She then just looked at me with the saddest eyes and I felt terrible, so she got a little bit extra food that night.
#28 Green Means Garage
I was in college working full-time nights as a security guard. I stopped at a red light, pushed my garage door opener and drove through. Luckily, there were no cars around.
#29 Scared Of The Seatbelt
I was fighting my sleep incredibly hard on the highway on the way to work. Still about 20 minutes away, I fell asleep behind the wheel. I woke up in my usual parking spot, seat belt on and the car still running. I was in such shock since the last thing I remembered was being on the highway. I screamed as loud as I could and started flailing because the seatbelt scared me. Never driven tired again.
#30 Tears Over The Tap
I had a deadline for a project and I was very sleep deprived. I drank a lot of coffee so I had to visit the washroom a lot. One particular washroom break late at night, I went to wash my hands as usual, but the tap wouldn't budge. I kept turning it yet no water would come out. So I did what most adults would do when that happens. I started crying and called for someone to check it, saying that I broke the tap in between gasps. My boyfriend walked to the sink and magically fixed the tap. I was turning it the wrong way.
#31 Flirting With Disaster
My ex-boyfriend and I had this thing where we'd take things out of context and make them mushy. Like, I might say, "Tonight's sunset is really beautiful," and he'd say, "No, YOU'RE really beautiful." Once my coworker sampled one of our coffee creamers, made a face and said, "That's far too sweet." I automatically responded with, "No, YOU'RE far too sweet" imitating his voice and face while still working at my desk. When I looked up after realizing I said it aloud, his eyes were pretty wide.
#32 Baby Food Blunder
Somewhere after the birth of our second or third kid, I went downstairs to heat up a bottle for our crying bundle of joy. After a few minutes, my wife yelled down to see what was taking so long. I stumbled back upstairs with the bottle and handed it to her. I finally came to my senses when she yelled at me for bringing her the baby’s bottle with a giant chunk of leftover sesame chicken smashed into it... and no baby formula. In my defense, I had heated it up so that it wouldn’t be cold...
#33 A School Emergency
Back before cell phones, my high school had a bank of pay phones. I don’t even remember why, but I had to make a call during the day and I guess they shut them off during school hours. So I picked up a phone and a message played: “Calling is currently disabled, dial 911 for...” At this point, I was on autopilot and thought I needed to dial 911 before dialing the number I wanted to reach.
So I dialed 911, then started entering the number when I heard, “911 what’s your emergency?” It still took a solid minute for me to process. I hung up the phone in a panic and walked away. I got called to the principal’s office later, as they had dispatched a unit and then looked at a video that obviously showed me calling. I had to explain that I was too stupid to remember that 911 was for emergencies, not to dial out of the school.
#34 Problematic Patient Encounter
Several years ago, I was working in a clinic doing rehab and osteopathic manual treatment. I had an appointment with a very nice, attractive patient. Anyway, most patients would come to the clinic wearing some sort of exercise clothing under their normal clothing, so rather than use the changing room, they would just strip off their outer layer of normal clothes and go straight into their rehab.
I was super sleep deprived and had been practicing some osteopathic techniques with a colleague earlier in the day. When you practice technique, you generally strip off your clothes as it’s easier to work with the spine that way. So I had spent the hour before this lady’s appointment removing my scrub top and practicing some upper back manipulations with a colleague. No big deal, normal stuff.
She came in and started to strip off her clothes to reveal leggings and tight sports top... and I started to remove my scrub top too. It was over my head when I realized what I was doing. She quickly glanced at me... and I pretended I was investigating a stain and said, "Oh no! I’m not wearing a T-shirt under this!" And pulled it down quickly. I was fairly slow getting the top on again, as I suddenly became 10x more clumsy than normal.
There was a superheated moment where she blushed and stared at me. After the session, she gave me a big lingering hug. I was in a serious relationship at the time, and she was married... but there was a big spark between us after that. I carried on working with her for about three more months until I left the clinic. She was extra flirty with me after that incident.
#35 Constant Work Mode
I used to work at a gas station. While I was paying for something at a different gas station, I swiped my card and it made the same beeping noise that the ones at my work do. Without skipping a beat, I asked the cashier, "Would you like a receipt?" She just kind of gave me a "what the heck?" face and then it dawned on me. I just said, "Wow, I hate my life" and walked out.
#36 Good Intentions, Poor Delivery
My wife is a midwife so we are very used to talking about lady bits and baby delivery things. At work, I ran into a coworker who was just coming back from maternity leave and I asked how her new son was. She then told me he was a big boy and was 9 1/2 lbs at birth. I immediately asked how bad she tore. After a silent moment, I realized what I had said and began to back peddle, saying that I had asked an inappropriate question and she didn’t have to answer. Luckily for me, she knew my wife and what she did for a living.
#37 A Polite Departure
During my last school year, I started waiting tables. I literally did nothing but go to school and work. I would always finish up tables with the phrase, "Is there anything else I can get ya?" Well, anyway, on prom night, I had to work a shift just before, but I was still able to pick up my date and have a good time. I finally drove her home and as we were talking on her porch, I looked her in the eyes and asked, "Is there anything else I can get ya?" I just stopped, said goodnight fast, and speed-walked to my car.
#38 Getting Handsy With Guac
A friend of mine works at Chipotle and was working a double shift. When he was going down the line with a customer for toppings, the customer asked for guac. My friend just skipped using the spoon and shoved his hand in the guac, slapped it on the burrito, and casually said with a smile, "Anything else for you?"
#39 The Almost-Dognapper
I was ill with the nasty flu and drove myself a couple of blocks to the grocery store for medicine and fresh grapes. It was the mid-'90s and I was driving my husband's white, four-door '90 Grand Am. I went inside, made my purchase, then hopped in the driver's seat and paused as I glanced in the rearview mirror before starting the car... I caught a curious sideways glance from a sweet puppy in the back seat. I thought, "We don't have a dog, how'd it get in here?" Turns out, I was so delirious with flu, that I had gotten into some random car parked right next to ours. Not a Grand Am, not a four-door but at least it was white. Yep, I scurried out of that seat like a dog-jacking attempted car thief!
#40 Giving Away Kisses
I just got done putting out some Hershey's kisses in the candy bowl at work. Right after, a copy machine salesman came by. I also had a bowl of lifesaver mints on my desk. He asked if he could have a mint, and I said "Of course! You can have a kiss too!" He just stared at me with a blank expression. At first, I thought, oh, maybe he doesn't like chocolate?? Then I realized what I said and tried to correct myself.
#41 Pausing A Person
I spend my commutes listening to podcasts and flicking through Twitter. When I find a tweet or article I want to focus on, I open the podcast app and pause what I'm listening to. So last week, while reading a particularly interesting article at home, my girlfriend started talking to me about something. I found myself going to the podcast app to "pause" her interruption...
#42 The Cashier's Knowledge
I had to replace the battery in my car, so I went to AutoZone to buy a new one. I was at the counter with the battery, completely sleep-deprived and not paying attention. The cashier told me about a discount or something if I bring in my dead battery. I say okay, give them my contact info, and the cashier reads me back my phone number. I looked at him confused and asked, “How did you get my phone number? I’ve never been here before.” He looked at me awkwardly and I went on my way. It dawned on me in the parking lot that I did, in fact, give him my number literally five seconds prior to him reading it to me.
#43 Hit With His Own Strength
At the gym, there is an arm curl machine. Typically, I do a heavy amount but that day I was tired and pretty brain dead. As I used the machine, I didn’t realize that there was no weight on it, and I tried curling it with effort as normal. I ended up slamming myself in the head with the bar, and everyone in the gym heard it.
#44 Metal In The Microwave
As a teenager, I discovered that macaroni and cheese has microwave instructions. Unfortunately, when I found this out, I was already holding the metal pot that I was originally planning to use on the stove. Since I was standing beside the microwave, I dumped the macaroni into the metal pot and stuck it in the microwave. I didn't realize my error until coming back several minutes later. The plastic handle was half melted and I get yelled at for almost starting a fire.
#45 Time To Zip It
I started unbuttoning and unzipping my trousers while I walked towards the toilet, just like I do at home because I'm efficient like that. Except, I was at work and was walking through the shared office.