Vincent Van Gogh once said: “I often think that the night is more richly colored than the day.” If you ask anyone who has worked an overnight shift, they would probably agree. For some reason, the night brings out a whole new world of strange, odd, and sometimes, downright dangerous occurrences. Keep reading for some terrifying night shift stories that may prevent you from ever becoming a night owl.
I worked nights at a gas station located in a pretty good neighborhood. It was usually boring...until one night, my faith was tested to its limits. I was getting ready to close the store when a little old man came in. He was pretty unassuming—small, dressed in khakis and a button-down shirt. I made the usual small talk.
As I was handing him his change, he firmly grabbed my wrist, made direct eye contact with me, and said the most terrifying thing: "Hades is real and he has already got his hand on you girl, be careful." It creeped me out.
I had been working long hours when a guy walked up to me and asked, “ Do you sell eggs by the half dozen?" I replied that we did not and that he would have to buy a full dozen. He told me he only needed six. He was starting to get on my nerves, so I told him, "I don't care. You get 12 or you get zero!" Without saying another word, he walked back to get his dozen eggs, paid for them, and walked out.
I thought that would be the end of it, but I was wrong. He then proceeded to throw his six unwanted eggs at the store window before driving off.
I worked nights as a Safeway courtesy clerk. We had two entrances, both on the same side of the building, one on each end. One of the sets of doors was supposed to be locked and blocked by the manager after a certain hour. We were having a slow night when suddenly, we heard a commotion at the set of doors that should have been locked earlier in the night.
I looked over and saw a man in a chicken suit running into the store, clucking and flapping his bent arms, followed by a man in a biohazard suit, holding a walkie-talkie, yelling into it, "Code 40! Code 40! We've got a chicken on the loose, shake and bake in progress!" The chase went right between the registers and the aisles, down to the other end of the store.
They circled back and ran past us again, and back out the doors from which they came. The whole time, the cashier and I stood at the register and watched, not moving, or saying anything. After they were gone, the manager came out, looked around, muttered something under his breath, and went to lock up that set of doors. It was very surreal.
I watched a truck pull up to one of our pumps. A guy got out to pump gas when all of a sudden, a Durango came speeding out from the back of the building. Another guy got out with a pistol and aimed it at the first guy. I was on the phone with a friend of mine and I said, "Someone just pulled something at the pump, I'm going to have to let you go."
I called for help immediately. Later on, I learned the surprising truth—turns out, the guy pumping gas had robbed a store three towns over and the Durango was an undercover officer who had been in pursuit.
One night, a woman came in and put a bag of Sour Patch Kids on the counter. She reached into her pocket and put down what she thought was money and slid it towards me. But it was not what I expected at all—it was white Mentos. I kept telling her that she couldn't use that to pay, as it was candy. After the fourth attempt, she looked down and seemingly realized her mistake. She grabbed the white Mentos, and with all the confidence in the world, dug into her other pocket. This time, she pulled out GREEN Mentos and put THEM down.
I used to work at a gas station in a really small town. There was this old homeless guy with a weird glass eye who would walk around with an uncovered five-gallon bucket of pickled pigs’ feet. The pigs’ feet were submerged in this pink picking juice that would splash all over the place whenever he took a step. Not to mention that, during the summer, this bucket would just reek.
On one of my first days on the job, he came into the gas station to buy a tallboy. I rang him up and he did the most peculiar thing—he plunged his hand down in the bucket to pull out a pig’s foot that he then slammed on the counter. After a bit of back and forth, explaining that pigs’ feet were not a form of currency, I just gave in and let him have the $2 booze, paying for it myself.
About once a week, he would walk in, and we would have this pickled pig foot/Bud Ice understanding. Other customers in line would lose their minds after seeing this deal go down. I'd throw the pig’s foot in the woods out back where the stray cats would eat them. It was a whole ecosystem of weirdness.
I used to work the graveyard shift at a gas station. One time, a woman in her mid-30s came in with a little boy. She was in tears and her clothes were torn a bit. She came up and asked to use the phone. There was no answer, so when she got off, she asked if they could stay for a bit. I told her it would be no problem at all.
About 20 minutes passed, so I gave her and her kid some free drinks and a sandwich. About ten minutes later, her "boyfriend" came in and found them. He was pretty calm at first, but then he totally flipped—I knew it was bad when his eyes went blank. He started screaming at her and telling her she needed to come with him.
Luckily, before anything crazy happened, a cruiser pulled up to the front. Two officers came in, intervened, and took him in. I was glad I was able to keep her safe for at least a little bit. It was a scary night!
I worked in an adult video store that was below a low-rent apartment. The floors were not very thick, so if there was fighting going on, which happened all the time, you could hear most of it. One night, right above the cash register, which was in the back of the store, I could hear constant constant brawling coming from upstairs. I ignored it as usual.
Then I heard sirens. An officer in full SWAT regalia came in through the front entrance. He told me they just got word there's an armed situation upstairs, and we all had to evacuate immediately. I was standing by the front entrance at the time talking to the officer. I was in shock. The officer asked for the keys to my store.
He wanted to use it as a base of operations to deal with the situation. Right then, I heard two shots come in through the ceiling and hit the counter where the cash register was. I was on my way out the door when suddenly one of my customers blocked the entrance and asked me where I was going. He demanded I go to the back and fetch him his adult videos before I leave.
He was soon joined by two other customers who said they too were standing their ground and not going anywhere until I got them their smut. The officer threatened to arrest all my customers if they refused to leave immediately. Every single one of them stood their ground and said they were not leaving without their videos. I handed the officer my store keys and said, "Bye. Go ahead and arrest them." He did.
One night, around 4 am, this guy cruised up in one of those electric rascal-type carts and asked if I could help him with the TVs. I took the guy back to the wall of TVs and started answering his questions. He was sitting on his scooter looking at me, listening intently to what I was telling him, and then without ever breaking eye contact, he reached into his coat and pulled out a full turkey leg. He just started smashing it like it was a normal thing to do.
One night I had a customer come into the 24/7 convenience store where I worked. He was clearly inebriated and asked where the bathrooms were. I directed him to the bathrooms, which were inside the store, but he kept saying, "Oh okay, they're around the back?" I kept correcting him saying, "No, they're right there." He insisted, "Okay, I'll go around back."
He left through the front door. I figured he was just going to go on the side of the building, so I told myself it was not my problem anymore. Then, I looked up and he was behind the cash register looking for a toilet. That's when I realized my co-worker had made a big mistake—he left the back door unlocked. I was across the store stocking shelves, so I yelled to my co-worker to get him out.
The wasted dude was nice enough about the mix-up and pretended it was just a joke. Then my co-worker guided him to the actual restrooms. I started stocking near the restrooms to kind of keep an ear on him. Suddenly, from inside the restroom, I heard, "Oh forget it. I'm peeing everywhere! I'm gonna pee on the sink, the toilet, even this hand dryer! I'm just kidding clerk guy, I'm only peeing in the toilet!"
The guy came out laughing so hard that he was crying. He bought some Funyuns and left.
I worked at a 24/7 gas station in a small college town. One night, the club across the street had a fight break out and about 50 people were pepper-sprayed by officers. Then, absolute chaos ensued—50 angry club-goers burst into the store, running to the dairy cooler, dousing themselves in milk, and then they ran back out. I just stood there in utter confusion and told my boss I didn't want the late shift anymore.
A huge guy came in and asked to use the restroom. I'm not one to stand in the way of nature, so I told him where it was. Twenty minutes later, he came out in a huff and said, “Dude, I'm really sorry, I messed up your toilet." I told him, “It's all good man, I'll get it." I expected him to shrug his shoulders and leave.
Well, instead, he looked back to where the restroom was with a look of disgusting concern and said, "Man it's really coming out. Like it's coming out into the backroom." I rushed back, thinking I had to at least stop whatever happened from becoming some kind of biohazard event. I rounded the corner and I didn’t see anything...but little did I know, the worst was yet to come.
However, I could smell an unholy, overwhelming stench. I continued back, expecting to ruin my shoes at any moment until I reached the men’s room. At that point, I had to cover my face with my shirt and focus on breathing through my mouth, but I reached the door with no issue. Frustrated from the mind-numbing odor alone, I pushed the men’s room door open—my jaw dropped to the floor.
I was ready to find at least an inch of gas station dooks all over the floor. As I swung the door forward, I saw nothing but the water that was filling my eyes and the black and brown human paint the guy left against the back of the bowl. I round the corner again to see him with a big grin spread across his face, "Stinks huh?"
It was around midnight when a van pulled up with California plates and peace signs in the windows. The full-service portion of our gas pumps would get shut down after 11 pm. A woman got out, moved the traffic cones, and pulled up to full serve. I used the intercom to tell her that she would have to use self serve if she wanted gas.
She didn’t respond. I went to the door and tried to wave her over. I couldn’t see any sign of her. I shrugged and went back inside. I wasn’t allowed to leave the store unattended, so there wasn’t much I could do. Ten minutes later, the woman got out of the van and came in. "I've been waiting for service for over an hour," she said.
I decided not to argue about the time-lapse and just said, "I'm very sorry ma'am, but we don't offer full-serve after 11. Perhaps you noticed the traffic cones and signs to that effect?" She replied, "You expect to pump my own gas?" I reiterated, "Again, I'm sorry. I'd be happy to help you, but I can't leave the store unattended. I appreciate your understanding."
She snorted, dug a twenty out of her purse, and tossed it on the counter. She went out, moved her van to the self-serve aisle, and pumped her gas. Then she came back and asked, "May I use your restroom, please?" I told her she could and pointed her in the right direction. She was in there for about 15 minutes, so I started to worry. Finally, she came out and over to the counter. Her next words sent chills up my spine.
"I know all about you," she said. "You're the one who brought the Black Plague. You brought it all the time forever. It was always you. You caused all those deaths, all that suffering. Did you like hearing the babies wail and scream? I bet you loved it. All the demons love it. That's you. You're a demon. You are evil. I can tell. And I'll tell you something else, you skunk me up, I’ll skunk you back."
I stared at her, moving back speechless. She got in her van and drove away. I went back to work for about 30 seconds before I thought I should check the bathroom. I walked back and pushed open the door. There was poop everywhere—on the walls, the floor, the mirror, the sink, all over the toilet lid, the tank, and on the door. It had been clearly smeared by hand. It stunk!
As I turned to get the cleaning supplies, I muttered under my breath, "You skunked me back all right. Yes, you did."
I was working the graveyard shift at a big grocery store, monitoring the self-checkout registers. I was the only person around other than the stock crew and maybe two or three customers. I got a call from the fuel center. The attendant was freaking out and he gave me a startling update: someone was flipping over the Coke machines.
I assumed the guy would just leave after that, so I held tight and waited for law enforcement. A few minutes later, this young blonde guy walked in and calmly walked past me. I tailed him for a few aisles and once he turned the corner on the baby aisle, he took off running and grabbed a big display of Dr. Seuss books and flung it to the ground.
In high school, I worked at a 24-hour pharmacy that also had a small selection of booze. One day, at about 2 am, this guy walked in three sheets to the wind. He sauntered over to the booze, grabbed two 12-packs, then came up to the counter and slammed it down. His behavior was odd enough, but he got even weirder—he reached into his pocket and pulled out a half-eaten taco and put it on the counter.
I couldn't say anything because I was so perplexed. I just let him walk out with his suds and told my bosses I thought he might have also been armed. It was the strangest thing I had ever seen. A couple of weeks later, I found out that he tried this at the family-owned gas station across the street and got shot.
One night, around 11:30 pm, I was standing behind the counter watching cars pass under the overpass when six guys in ski masks ran into the store. Two of them stood on either side of me and opposite the counter, but facing towards the back of the store. They were barking orders at the others, telling them what drinks and snacks to grab.
I was standing there, watching this unfold for about five minutes, then the ordering stopped and the masked men lined up between the two guys who were on either side of me. They finally turned around to face me and my blood ran cold. I thought, here comes the demand for money, or something. Nope. The guys stepped up to the counter in an orderly fashion, and the two men who had been giving orders took turns paying for the stuff they had grabbed.
I have no idea who these men were, and it never happened again after that.
I always got the graveyard shift when I worked at a gas station. By midnight, the clientele was almost exclusively homeless people buying booze. All the other gas stations and convenience stores turned them away, but we were a small, independent gas station and the change they panhandled was the lifeblood of our business.
They would introduce themselves with names like "The Wolf," "Vietnam," or "Big Chief." One time, this guy came in and bought two 40-ouncers; one for himself and one for the first guy outside. I watched from the window as he handed it to one of them, which made the second guy mad. Rather than sharing it, they decided they were going to fight for it. A brawl ensued, and things just got crazier from there.
They were in the middle of the road, and a car almost hit them. The guy who bought them the drinks was watching all this as if it were a game of golf. He had a half-bored expression on his face. Finally, one of them got the idea to grab the bottle and run away. The other guy chased after him and I never saw them again.
I worked at a beach town gas station and convenience store combo. During the summer, it was notorious for tipsy partygoers coming in and getting food on Friday or Saturday nights after the last call at the beach bars. There was a group of girls that went out every weekend and came in every weekend. One night, they came in and got their sandwiches.
While they were leaving, they fumbled up big time—their car crashed directly into one of the gas station islands. I ran outside to make sure they were alright. The driver started panicking and backed up to go around it, but she ended up crashing into it again. At that point, I decided to go back inside because she was being way too reckless. She ended up knocking a gas pump over and driving away.
One night this guy in a bright, yellow Mustang came in to buy gas and drinks. I ran his credit card and the register flagged it for being stolen. So I told the guy, "Uhh, your card won't work. It says I have to keep it." The guy freaked out, left his booze, hopped in his car, and sped off. I called law enforcement because he already pumped his gas, and he left without paying for it.
Later, I was walking home at 6 pm. As I was walking, I suddenly froze in fear—I saw the yellow Mustang parked at an apartment complex across the street from my house! So I went back to work and called officers again, explaining that I knew where the guy lived. I presumed after that, they found him and took him in or whatever.
A few days later, I had to take a friend to visit her boyfriend who was incarcerated at the time. On our way out of the pokey, some guy walked up to her. It was the guy with the yellow Mustang! I sped up to walk ahead so that he wouldn't recognize my face. She gave him a bogey and he proceeded to complain about how he got taken in because he found a credit card, so of course he was going to buy some gas and booze with it.
A heavy-set woman with stringy hair and no teeth came into my store one night. She walked to the cooler and grabbed a soda, but the whole time she was in the store, she was looking at me all wide-eyed. She came up to the register, looked at me straight on, hardly blinking, put her soda on the counter, and then she said three shocking words: "I BIRTHED YOU.”
"Excuse me?" I replied. "I BIRTHED YOU. YOU CAME OUT OF MY BODY," she continued. I told her, "Um, I'm pretty sure my mom gave birth to me." She was persistent. "YOU CAME OUT OF MY BODY. I BIRTHED YOU IN THE MOUNTAINS OF TENNESSEE." I just took her money and then she left.
I worked at a pizza delivery place in a really bad part of town. After 8 pm, we only delivered and the door remained locked. One night, it was pouring rain out—lightning, thunder, the whole deal. This massive guy walked up to the door and started knocking loudly. I went to see what was going on and he yelled through the door to give him aluminum foil.
I ask why he wanted the foil and his response left me speechless. Apparently, he wanted to make a lightning rod. I looked at the only driver who was in the building and he just shrugged. He walked over, ripped about five feet off the roll, folded it up so it would fit through the mail slot, and slid it through. This guy unfolded it in the pouring rain as we watched.
He wrapped it once around his head and made the rest into a big rod sticking out the top of his head. He looked like a cross between a unicorn and those conspiracy theorists with the tin foil hats. He ran off down the middle of the street. Ten minutes later, some lady came by to ask if we had seen someone like that guy. I said, "The one who made a lightning rod and stuck it on his head? He went that way." She replied, "Oh God."
I had a guy fill up with fuel, then come in to pay. He got a coffee and a few other items and he said he was going camping. He started talking to me about his plans for the weekend. After a few sips of coffee, he headed back out and loaded up his truck. A few minutes went by and I looked out the window at the most disturbing sight—I could see 1-2 foot tall flames in the back of his truck.
They were coming up from his truck bed right next to the gas pump. I hit the emergency shut-off for the gas pumps, grabbed a fire extinguisher, and headed to his truck. The other half dozen people trying to fuel were either yelling at me or the truck. I arrived at the truck and told the guy to stand back so I could put out the fire. He was in the back of the truck when he spun around and yelled, "No!” So, I paused.
He had a propane grill of some kind and was checking it to make sure it worked. I yelled at him to turn it off or I would put it out for him. He argued some more, but I ultimately pulled the pin and extinguished his grill. I yelled at him for a couple more minutes and told him to get out. He was mad and covered in white powder, but he eventually jumped in his truck and drove off.
That whole ordeal was bad enough, but he made it worse—he called the complaint line said I went nuts, and sprayed him with the extinguisher for no reason. So on my next shift, the store manager and his boss showed up to fire me. I told them my side of the story and I was sent home while they checked it out. Luckily, three other employees saw what happened, and there was security footage of the whole crazy thing.
I worked at a pizza place in an area with many bars. We were the only place still open after the bars closed, and it would get really busy beginning at about 11 pm and on. It was about 30 minutes past closing time one Friday night when I went to give the bathroom a once-over. They were thoroughly cleaned every morning, so at night, all I had to do was take a cursory glance for anything exceptional.
Well, this particular night, I definitely found something exceptional. Lying on the floor, completely in the buff, smeared in poop, was an incoherent, totally smashed, but absolutely stunning young lady in her mid-20s. I didn't know what to do. Her clothes were nowhere to be found, and when I say smeared in poo, it was in her hair, on her nose, in her belly button, between her cleavage, you name it.
I tried to wake her up by calling out, "Hey, are you okay? Wake up," and so forth. I did NOT want to touch her. Finally, she opened her eyes a little, rolled over onto her back, spread her legs, and mumbled something along the lines of, "I'll let you sleep with me if I can sleep here tonight." I just shook my head, closed the door, and called her an ambulance. The paramedics came, carried her off into the sunset, and I never heard anything about it again.
I worked at an adult video store while I was going to university. One night, at 10 pm, I was just sitting alone in the store when this big guy ran in and dumped a whole pile of pocket electronic dictionaries on the counter. He told me to put them in a bag and he looked pretty nervous, so I assumed he had taken them from another store.
I put them in a bag for him, and he grabbed the bag. He then started walking around, looking at the videos. He was dirty and acting really weird. I started to get nervous. He was just giving off a really bad vibe. He took off his jacket as he walked around and just left it on the floor. We had a "viewing room" and he told me he'd give me a pocket dictionary if I let him view a movie. I told him no.
I was just sitting there behind the counter, watching him walk around all tripped out on whatever it was he was on, and all of a sudden he just stopped in front of a wall of videos and started scratching his butt over his pants. I gave him a few seconds, but he was still going, just staring blankly at the wall. Then he put his hand into his pants and continued scratching.
At that point, I was freaked out because he had been acting so strange. I was also thinking to myself that if he was willing to take those dictionaries from a store, what would he do here, where all the windows are blocked out and no one can see inside? He still had his hand down his pants, so I picked up the phone and called for help.
I spoke into the phone in a low and relaxed tone and told the lady who answered that there was someone in the store who was making me really uncomfortable. He never even noticed. He was still in space scratching his bum. She asked me what he was doing, and I looked over again and he was fully doubled over, digging for gold.
He was going so hard at his behind, that his pants were falling down. I looked away for a couple of seconds while I spoke on the phone with the operator, and I turned back around to see a shocking sight—him with his pants completely down, with everything hanging out, sitting on the big yellow mop bucket in the back of the store going to the bathroom.
At that point, I freaked out and told him to get out of the store. He ran towards the front and for a brief second, I thought he was going to come behind the counter to do who knows what, but he ended up just running out the door. I told the operator on the line to send someone quickly and I locked the door to the store.
Although I didn't want to, I went back to look in the bucket. It was full of dark red blood. I don’t know what was wrong with that dude, but he was in really bad shape. When officers got there, they essentially laughed at the story and then went out looking for the guy, but never found him. I opened the back door of the store and kicked the mop bucket as far into the back alley as I could.
One night, this dude came in, walked right up to the counter, and asked for Marlboro Reds. The door was right by the counter, so I barely had time to see him when he came in. I saw nothing out of the ordinary right away. As I set his stuff on the counter, I was caught completely off-guard by how he looked—I saw that he was wearing a red crop top with D cups under his jacket.
I’m pretty open-minded, so I thought, “Okay, that's interesting," and I wanted to see what bottoms he had paired the crop top with. As he left, I leaned over the counter to see and found he had nothing on the bottom other than his shoes. I couldn't stop laughing about it for the rest of the night. I told one of my regular officers about it and he asked if I wanted to file a complaint.
I told him I wouldn't bother since I didn't know anything about the little half-naked dude anyway. He came in again the following week, but without a jacket on. He was wearing a red tank top and earrings, and, one unassuming accessory to tie it all together—a doily around his waist. Once again, I gave him his pack. This time, I thought I would be clever and follow him out, pretending I was going on a break, and get his license plate number.
No sooner did I light up, when he turned around and asked me for a light. His parts were all completely visible and hanging out from underneath the doily because the doily was just that insubstantial. I locked eyes with him to keep from accidentally looking down again. I told my regular officer about it and he was able to find out a little about him.
I had already decided not to file a report and he wound up becoming a semi-regular customer for a few years. His appearance never ceased to amuse me.
I worked at a 7-11 in a rough neighborhood for years. Most of the customers were regulars including these three addicts who came in one night. They were clearly high, so my co-worker said, "Watch this." He proceeded to change the music to Michael Jackson's Greatest Hits. They immediately began ballroom dancing around the store.
I'm talking foxtrot, waltz, jive, quickstep, samba. This went on for all 12 songs on that playlist. During that time, customers would approach the store, see the three of them dancing up a storm, and immediately turn and walk away. It was one of the most entertaining things I had ever seen.
It was pledge week, which meant that all the fraternities were holding parties all week long. We were a special store in this town because we were open 24/7 and were located right across the street from fraternity row. My manager and the entire store were considered sacred ground and were never to be messed with, as we provided all their late-night subs.
However one night, one pledge came in and acted like a huge moron. He was knocking stuff over, being super sloppy, and just interfering with business. My manager asked which house he was from and, even though he wasn't an official member yet, he proudly said it. My manager then went to the back office and called the frat house.
"One of your pledges is causing some trouble over here. Can you take care of ... oh, you are on your way. Thanks!" She was like a goddess to all the frats and they came running if someone made her life a little bit difficult. Five minutes later, the pledge went pale—his fraternity brothers arrived, grabbed the pledge, shoved him out the door, and said, "Sorry, he'll be taken care of and he's banned from here now.”
It was about 3 am and there was nobody in my store. Then, I saw a car pull up in front. It stayed there for a couple of minutes until both doors opened and two guys got out. One of them was wearing what looked like a nice suit, while the other was wearing nothing but a garbage bag. He had poked two holes for his legs and had the drawstring pulled tight just below his armpits.
As they were getting out, they were clearly arguing with each other, but they were still outside, so I couldn't make out any of the words. Suddenly, the guy wearing the garbage bag did the unexpected—he went full Hulkamaniac, ripped the bag off of himself, and stormed away from my store. He was completely naked walking into the night. The guy with the nice suit just got into his car and drove off in the other direction.
I worked as a clerk throughout high school and college in a low-income area of a rural, economically depressed former mining town. Weird stuff was a weekly occurrence, but my favorite happened one day when I got called to the courtesy desk. I assumed it was to help a customer find something, or clean a mess. I was handed a pair of neatly pressed pants and jockeys by the girl behind the counter.
She told me that a gentleman in the men's room needed them. I entered the men's room and I was immediately taken aback by what I saw—a 300+ pound man standing in front of the only two stalls looking like his dog had just jumped from a moving car. It was obvious he had to go badly, but the handicap stall, which was preferable for a man of his size, was occupied.
In a fit of desperation, he grabbed the handle of the handicap door and jostled it lightly. A small whimper came from the other side. He then jostled it again, no response that time. The third time he grabbed the top of the door as well and shook it as hard as he could. Meanwhile, I was standing still with ironed pants and underwear in my hand watching this.
From behind the handicap stall, I heard a moan. The large man, feeling nature's call getting too close for comfort, shouted and cursed at the top of his lungs. He proceeded to back his oversized torso into the normal stall. He got stuck twice on the way down, as the walls were too narrow for him. As he proceeded to destroy the normal stall with gusto, the door left open, I slipped by and knocked on the handicap door. A man answered. I passed him the fresh clothes and left the room, contemplating quitting.
I was working the late shift at a motel. A middle-aged woman came in near the end of my shift and asked about the town and other random things. She was kind of weird, but I like weird people, so I didn't think much of it. When I came into work for my next shift that night, the person I was replacing was visibly freaked out.
She told me an odd lady had come in dressed head to toe in full colonial garb, including a bonnet. She couldn't pay for a room and said she'd be back in an hour with a credit card. The co-worker said she followed the lady outside, but she disappeared into the darkness. About twenty minutes into my shift, the colonial lady came back, and it was the same lady I spoke to the day before—but a million times weirder and creepier.
She had darting eyes, fragmented thoughts, and an unpleasant and unsettling tone of voice. She said she had been trying to reach her mom for a credit card number, but hadn’t been able to, and asked to use the phone to try again. So I let her. I dialed and gave her the handset, but no luck. I hit redial and got the same result.
"Weird, she always answers," she said. I wasn't sure if I dialed correctly. I thought maybe I didn't hit the area code right or didn't dial 9 to get out, so this time I tried again, making sure. The number had been disconnected. I gave her a weird look and she repeated, "She always answers!" I told her to pay or leave, so she left. I followed her and she disappeared into the darkness.
I was working the swing shift at a gas station. At around 10:30 pm, I was eating some corn nuts while I was sweeping up the parking lot when a white Cadillac pulled in and started doing circles in the parking lot. The driver was blasting some weird chanting music and when he finally parked his car and got out, he was wearing a flowing white robe.
I went inside to get ready to ring him up, and he slowly glided up to the door like he was on a mission. When he got inside, he didn’t buy anything and just asked me if I read. I told him that I do read. He asked me if I had ever read the Bhagavad Gita and I said no. He seemed disappointed but then asked if I would like a free copy.
I said why not, and he began his glide out to the car. As he walked back, I met him near the door where he handed me the books. As soon as I touched it he yelled, "Wait!" I was a little taken aback. "This is the Indian holy book and I can not just give it to you. A donation must be offered!" I told the guy he offered me a free book and I was not going to pay for it.
He said it was not payment, but a donation! He said anything would do and he began listing off acceptable donations—$100, $50, $20, $10, $5, $1. I said I didn’t have a dollar, but this guy was persistent. He said whatever I had in my pocket would be good enough. So I reached into my pocket and pulled out a handful of ranch-flavored corn nuts.
He swiped them quickly and gave me the book. As he turned around to leave, he put his arms out to the side, palms face up, and began to chant as he glided back to his car. It was then that I recognized his chanting and realized that it wasn't his radio playing as he entered the parking lot. This dude just drove in slow circles while singing in his car.
When I was 18, I used to work as a night auditor for a pretty nice hotel. It was the kind with a huge lobby, motion-sensor doors, big fancy elevators, etc. I started my shift as normal; around 9 pm. It was usually quiet, so I would bring a book with me to get through the night. All other departments were closed, and the only staff remaining were myself and the night manager, who was taking a nap in an empty room.
I was sitting in silence for about three hours, all by myself, when I heard a tapping noise. I looked up and saw a young child, maybe five or six, wearing what I could only describe as a costume from M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village. She was peering in at me from the large windows adjacent to the main entrance. From the thick fog and darkness behind him, there slowly emerged a tall bearded man in similar attire.
The bearded man immediately made eye contact with me. He pointed at the door and gestured for me to open it. Terrified, but aware that it was my duty to welcome all guests, I stepped out from behind the front desk and began to make my way towards the front door. Now I know I should have never done that. I shouted through the window to come inside, as I was unable to leave the hotel.
He simply stared back at me, one hand on the child’s shoulder, still and quiet, always keeping eye contact. For about 30 seconds I stood in the middle of the reception, watching as this man pointed at the door. I was about to break the rules and step through the threshold when I heard whispers behind the glass. About three dozen more became somewhat visible through the dense fog.
I thought “GHOSTS!” I turned around and ran up the stairs to the manager's room. I cried nonsense to my half-asleep colleague. After about a minute of my fit, he snapped up and shouted, "Holy moly, the Jewish people!" and he barged out of the room. It turned out that weekend was the Sabbath. Without any prior knowledge, or information provided to me, a very large party of Orthodox Jews had been booked into the hotel.
They were in town for some sort of pilgrimage tour. They are forbidden to use technology and they just wanted to get inside, but couldn't use the automatic sliding doors. The boy and his father had run ahead to see that someone could let everyone in without complications. Boy did I feel dumb.
I used to work for a Taco Bell near OSU. The place was always packed on party nights. It began as a night like any other. We closed the doors at 2 am, and as customers eating inside left the restaurant, the place eventually cleared so that only employees were left. The main restaurant was locked, but we still served food to customers who used the drive-thru.
We continued serving cars like normal until sometime around 3 am. Some lady ran up to the window (which is a big "no-no") and started asking us to help her find her friend. We kept trying to tell her to leave the drive-thru since she was holding up the line, and if she didn’t comply, we warned her that we would have to call law enforcement. That's when she lost it.
She started hollering that she was going to sue us if her friend was hurt, but when we told her that officers were on their way she left. An hour later, at around 4 am, a lady in the drive-thru was screaming at us through the speaker saying, "Tell me where my friend is!" It was that woman again, and now she was in a car.
She said that she and her friend were in our restaurant a few hours ago and that she lost her friend there. We agreed to send someone out to scout the tables, but sure enough, there were no customers in the place. We apologized and told her we had no idea where her friend was, and assured her that her friend must have left.
The woman was angry, but she eventually left. At 6 am, I left and went home. I was sleeping, until my phone finally woke me because it was ringing like crazy. The morning manager was demanding explanations from us because he discovered a passed-out and vomit-covered girl in one of our dry storage cabinets. "OH MY GOSH! We DID have that crazy woman's friend after all!"
In my first year of undergrad, I worked at a convenience store near two large universities. We had a button behind the counter that would make a loud "buzz" to signal to the other employee that we needed to man both cash registers. Two impaired kids came in. I knew right away they were high because they walked in and just stopped.
They looked as if they had been transported to a different universe and had no idea why. At that moment, I saw the perfect opportunity to casually mess with them. I pressed the button every few minutes, making it buzz. They started to freak out and asked each other if they heard the same thing. They started asking us, and we just gave them a puzzled look.
We told them we had no idea what they were referring to and continued acting normal the whole time, which made them freak out even more. The one guy just bolted and the other bought his stuff and left. We ran into them a few months later at the store. This time they were sober, so I pressed the button and their eyes just widened and I said, "Did you hear that?"
I worked at a desk overnight that had a large wall of floor-to-ceiling windows immediately in front of it. One time, a raccoon trotted over outside the windows and hopped up on its hind legs. It was minding its own business until something magical happened—it put its single palm against the glass and looked at me. I very slowly slipped out from behind my desk and approached the glass. I placed my palm against its palm, with only the window between us.
We sat there in silent union for about 30 seconds until someone walked in and saw us. The raccoon bolted.
About an hour before closing, a man came into the store and asked what I knew about the new Playstation 4. We talked for about 30 seconds, and in that time, I realized that he was not in his right mind. He started talking about how we, together, were going to bring down Sony because the PS4 was a bad product. Then, he started to talk to customers about if they played Call of Duty.
If they said yes, he would challenge them. If they said no, he would tell them he would stick their heads up their butts. Then, he started going off about being Jesus and Santa (it was just before Christmas) and how he taught Bruce Lee kung fu. Then he started doing kung fu around the store. It was just him flailing around.
He took off his shirt to show me the shirt he was wearing under that one, then took IT off and spun it around his head like a helicopter. He was becoming uncontrollable...until he messed up. He proceeded to pull out his ID and threw the contents of his wallet all over the place. Luckily his ID landed in front of me and I took a picture. He went outside for a minute, so I called law enforcement, who apparently knew him.
I worked at a store in an area that was infamous for being pretty shady, so we saw a lot of characters. One night, just before closing, (we closed at 11 pm), I was walking up to the front door to lock it when, out of nowhere, the door opened and a tiny, wet, furry thing came flying at my face. I panicked and jumped back into a display, smashing a few bottles. Dripping in red booze and furious, I turned back around to the front door to see a little dog.
It was dirty and it had been raining that night. It started lapping up the vino while a homeless man barged into the store yelling, "My dog was in before 11 pm, you have to serve me!" The man then did the totally unexpected—he THREW HIS DOG INTO THE STORE before him so he could get drinks before we closed. According to the authorities, if someone is in the store before we lock the doors, we have to serve him, so I had no choice.
I worked overnight at a gas station in a small Arkansas town. A huge, sweaty man walked in wearing cut-off jean shorts and a hole-filled polo shirt that was a couple of sizes too small for him. He smelled. It was a sensory overload, but I am a nice person, so I did the usual, "How ya doin' this morning'?" He shuffled over.
He started explaining why he was 'walking weird' (something I'll admit I noticed but didn't ask about) and also why he was wearing jean shorts. Everything made sense after his explanation. He told me, "I got this big growth on my sack. It's about the size of a grape, it's bluish-purple, and reeks to high heaven. And boy I'll tell ya’, it hurts. I'm not even wearing undies right now. Doc ran some tests, waitin' on hearin' back from him. Anyway, how are you doin'?"
Talk about too much information. The expression on my face was a combination of not wanting to be rude, wanting to puke, and screaming in terror at the same time. He continued, "Sorry bud. I don't have many friends and no one to talk to about my ball problems since my ole' lady passed away. Thanks for listening. I'm sure I'll see ya around." He paid for his Little Debbie snack cakes and walked out.
I worked the graveyard shift at a mom-and-pop grocery store. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I had to work the register because there were only three of us, and I was the only one that spoke English. One night, at about 3 am, a guy who looked like Refrigerator Perry walked in and shouted, "Alright! First things first!" I'm thinking, "Oh no, what's about to happen?"
He said, "Where's the bathroom?!" I directed him towards the bathroom and he sauntered out a little bit later, saying, "I need to get a bouquet. A bouquet that says 'I messed up.'" I asked, "Well how bad did you mess up?" to which he replied, "Bad enough to where I have to buy flowers at three o'clock in the morning!" He seem nice enough, but then he started to get annoying.
He repeatedly asked me to give him a two-for-one deal, even though I repeatedly told him that we don't do that. He then told me he worked at a car dealership. He said that he could get me a free dinner and he handed me a business card. I didn't know what to think at this point. I eventually got sick of him asking for the two-for-one deal, rang him up, and told him to have a good night.
He responded by saying, "Hey man, thanks for being so cool. I know what you're thinking. It’s 3 am, a big black guy, probably a thief." And I said, "Not at all, man. I saw Crash." He replied, "Hey! The white guy took out the black guy in that movie. I should be afraid of you!" We both had a good laugh and he took off. I then checked out his business card. He had circled his name— it was "Slaughter."
I worked at a 24-hour print shop. It was 2 am and some guy asked where the bathrooms were, so I told him right around the corner past our computers. But, to my surprise, that's not where he went—this guy got on the counter, and before I could stop him, dropped a perfect log right on the keyboard of a computer while making direct eye contact with me. He then pulled up his pants, looked puzzled for a second, and asked, "Where's the toilet paper?"
I had an elderly woman come in wearing her bathrobe and nothing else. That was weird enough, but then she made the strangest request. She asked if she could eat the flowers outside. I told her that it probably wasn't a good idea and that they might make her sick. To be clear, there weren’t any flowers outside. I offered to get her a sandwich, as there was a little grill and restaurant area in the store.
So she took the sandwich, sat at one of the tables, and began watching TV. About an hour later, one of the workers from a nursing home down the road came in asking if I'd seen a woman matching her description. I just smiled and pointed to where this nice lady was sipping on a soda and watching cartoons. As it turned out, she was notorious for eating the flowers at the nursing home.
So much so, that they had to replace all the flowers to be sure that they were all edible, just in case. It seems she had gone outside to eat flowers, got confused, and wandered to our store.
There was a guy who started coming into the store pretty consistently. He was around 6 feet tall, lanky, with dark patchy facial hair, and messy long strands of oily black hair that contrasted with his extremely pale skin. He spoke in a creepy whisper-like voice. He would drag every word out for way too long with movements that were slow and drawn out to match.
The first time he came in, he asked me for my name. Then, each time he came in after that, he would stop, look at me, and then just say my name in his creepy voice. He gave me bad vibes, but I didn’t think much of it as he wouldn’t cause any issues. He would just buy a drink and leave. One night, he came in and didn’t stop to say my name. At that moment, I got chills.
He quickly walked right past me and went to the restroom. His shirt, his arms, and his hands were covered in what appeared to be blood. I was in a state of shock and confusion. No one else was in the store or parking lot. It was just me behind the counter and the guy in the restroom. He wasn’t in there long. Before I knew it, he came out, walked quickly by me, and back out the door.
He didn’t even attempt to wash up. I walked over to the restroom door and pushed it open. As I walked inside, the first thing I noticed was the toilet. There was a dead blackbird in the toilet. There was another one laying on the top of the trash can. The next morning, he was taken in for smashing open the ash collector bin by Walmart and searching through all the used butts. I didn’t see him again after that night.
One Friday night, the club by our store closed early for some reason, so our store was full of people. I was the only one there. Two guys started arguing. It wasn’t noticeable at first because everyone was talking and loud. Then, all of a sudden the store went utterly quiet. The two guys started getting into it, threatening to off one another.
Everyone’s attention was on these two dudes standing next to each other and staring daggers at each other, waiting for someone to make a move. I was behind the register. I looked at both of them and said, "Fellas...Fellas...YO FELLAS," and they both looked at me. "Take it outside," I finished telling them. One of the dudes looked at me, then looked at the other dude, then back to me and said in the calmest voice ever, "You right. We'll take it outside."
Off they went. The whole store breathed a sigh of relief. Then, thirty seconds later, everything turned upside-down—shots went off and everybody who wasn’t checking out left in a hurry. A few people just stood still. Minutes later law enforcement, ambulances, and fire trucks all showed up. No one came into the store the rest of the night. I never found out what officially happened, and sometimes, you just don’t ask.
At the gas station where I worked, Sunday nights were always the slowest nights of the week. On nights when we didn't have an officer standing by, we had to lock the doors and serve customers through the little window and dropbox on the side. This one night, I was completely alone. A light fog had drifted in and coated the street and parking lot.
This gas station was in a small, somewhat isolated country town. I was watching something on my phone and was connected to Wi-Fi when suddenly, the scariest thing happened—the power went out. The store didn’t have a backup generator. The lights, inside, outside, even the street lamps were out. The entire surrounding area was plunged into total darkness.
The only illumination was coming from my phone screen. The video I was watching stopped since the Wi-Fi went out. There was no light, no sound, except for the cooler motors winding down. Now and then, the cooler doors would creak and crack. It was like I was in a Silent Hill game or something. Every step I took to go outside seemed deafeningly loud.
I could feel the blood pounding in my ears as I made my way towards the exit to unlock the doors. I could see a little better from ambient lighting coming from the moon behind the clouds. It was silent outside as well. There were no cars in the distance, on the road, no bugs or crickets, no frogs, just the ambiance of the air.
I'm not scared of the dark, being alone, robbed, or anything like that. There was just something about it all, this unsettling, isolated feeling like the shadows were swallowing me alive. The power came back on a few minutes later, but it was one of the longest few minutes I’ve ever had. I’ll never forget it.
I worked the graveyard shift at a Walmart Supercenter. There were these two guys that would come in every Saturday. One of them would wear a trench coat each time, and the other guy would always get in the electric cart, despite being able-bodied and mobile. They would go straight to our fish section and put around 40 fish in bags. Something was definitely fishy about them.
The majority were 10-cent goldfish, however, while the others would be our more expensive fish. They would take the same amount, every weekend. When they would go to pay at the self-serve, they would mark all their fish as the 10-cent goldfish. Every single time the overseer would come out and tell them that they must've "accidentally" put in their fish as all $0.10, to which they would reply, “Whoops.” They would then leave the expensive ones there.
I worked at a convenience store when one night a guy came up to the counter with about $15 worth of junk food and his clothes splattered with blood. Then two other guys came in with the same deal. I thought, “Great, I am about to meet my doom!” Then, three more guys walked into the store, also with blood on their clothes. It turns out, they were chicken catchers. I warned the other clerks so they wouldn't have a panic attack like I did.
I worked at a small convenience store. It had one of those fry delis that had chicken, corn dogs, burritos, etc. This particular night, I had run out of burritos and chicken. I also shut the thing down and cleaned it all out about an hour before closing. Five minutes before I was about to close, a guy walked in and asked for some burritos.
I told him I was out of them. I said that I was just about to close the store and that the fryer was shut down. He walked around the store for a minute, and I assumed that he was looking for something else to buy. Then, he came up to me gave me the shock of my life—he pulled out a knife and told me if I didn't cook him some burritos he was going to cut me.
I freaked out but told him I had none to cook. I showed him the freezer and told him I would happily cook anything he wanted from it, but I was out of burritos. He looked in it for a minute, turned to me, and said, "You really are out." I replied, "Yeah." He then put the knife away and left the store.
I worked at an electronics store and we were closing up at 10 pm. A customer walked in at around 9:50 pm and all of us collectively groaned over the radios. We went about our closing duties as much as we could while still having someone in the store. At 10 o’clock, we made an announcement saying, "We are closing, bring your stuff up," but no one came up.
So, we started looking for the customer aisle by aisle. No one could find him. We checked the bathrooms, storage closets, break rooms, everywhere and we couldn’t find this guy. We figured that, somehow, he got out of the building without us noticing. We decided to close up the store and I told everyone to stand still while I set the alarm.
I went to set it and it said, "Motion detected,” so I told everyone to quit moving and I tried again. Once again, it showed “Motion detected." This wasn’t necessarily unusual, as the air conditioner might have been blowing a sale banner or something. So, I started to set the alarm zone by zone to see where the motion was occurring.
FINALLY, I set it to the stockroom and BAM, "Motion detected.” I started thinking about the vanishing customer. We all headed to the stockroom carrying broomsticks, fluorescent lighting tubes, and whatever else we can get a hold of to defend ourselves. We crept into the room and did a sweep of it. All of a sudden, we heard a loud noise; but the creepiest part was...it was coming from above us.
We looked up and there was the guy that went missing. He was sleeping in the cross beams. We had been making a lot of noise, and it hadn’t woken him up. I was afraid that if we startled him, he would fall, so I climbed up there and gently rocked him. He woke up, I told him he had to go and he climbed down without incident.
The next day, I went in to watch the cameras with the opening manager. For about a week the same guy had come in at about 8 pm. He had stayed up in the rafters until the store opened. He would casually stroll out around until about 9 am once he could get lost in the shuffle of people. He never took anything; he just slept and left.
A beat-up kid came to us at 3 am. There was blood everywhere, but oddly, he didn’t want us to call an ambulance. Our policy said if they don't want us to, we can't. So he was just chilling there, bleeding. When we said we were going to call for help, he bolted. Later on, I discovered what happened and everything made sense—he had a warrant out for his arrest, which is why he didn't want any medical attention, but who knows.
I had a guy pull up to the pump and unhook it, wanting to post-pay. Our policy was that customers could only prepay between midnight and 5 am. I announced this to the dude over the loudspeaker. Suddenly, he started getting belligerent. He started beating the pumps with the nozzle, so I called law enforcement. But it gets worse—after a few minutes, the guy started to bang on the door.
It was locked. He continued to get even more frustrated, and at one point, he whipped out his junk from his pants and started wagging it in the general direction of the store. The CCTV was getting all this, so I just started laughing. Officers pulled up, and the two deputies put this poor junk-wagging man away in the back of their cruiser. I quit a few months after that.
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