If only there was a way to bottle the feeling that comes from triumphant moments as epic as these. From brutal clapbacks to harebrained schemes that actually worked, these everyday conquerors know better than anyone that nothing tastes as good as sweet, sweet victory.
1. Mind Games
My old boss tried firing me because I was better than them at their job. I tricked them into saying it out loud, in front of the CEO. Let’s just say they don’t need to worry about me being better than them anymore.
2. Blood-Red Righteousness
Eighth grade, entire class against me, saying blood is blue until it oxidizes and turns red. Our teacher came in and literally asked “Are you all stupid? Blood is red, inside and outside. Wanna see my colonoscopy video?” I want to say I wasn’t smug…but I totally was.
3. Foam Shooter
I had someone do that thing where they tap the top of your beer bottle to cause it to foam up and explode everywhere. I just pointed my bottle at the person and let it explode on them. Sure, I lost a beer, but they were covered in it and smelled like it for the rest of the night.
4. A Crucial Clerical Error
I was in an accident a few years ago. It was definitely the other guy’s fault. He got a ticket for an unsafe left turn, and I got a ticket because I wasn’t wearing my seatbelt. In the section on the ticket, the cop inadvertently wrote, “Did wear seatbelt while operating motor vehicle.” When I got to court, the judge asked how I wanted to plead, and I decided what the heck, go for broke.
I asked the judge if I could ask a question first, and he said sure. I stated, “The ticket says I did wear my seatbelt while operating my motor vehicle, and if that’s the case, I want to plead guilty.” The judge looks down at the ticket, and looks back at me and says, “Case dismissed! Have a good day.”
5. Party Supplies
A friend and I once snuck 15 people into a Warped Tour concert by giving them some bracelets from a party supply store and clipboards full of paper. I walked up to the side gate and said we were with Rock the Vote. The security guard waved us right in.
6. Moving Metal
I was once on a US military ship, having breakfast in the wardroom (officers lounge) when the Operations Officer (OPS) walks in. This guy was the definition of NOT a morning person; he’s still half asleep, bleary-eyed…basically a zombie with a bagel. He sits down across from me to eat his bagel and is just barely conscious.
My back is to the outboard side of the ship, and the morning sun is blazing in one of the portholes putting a big bright circle of light right on his barely conscious face. He’s squinting and chewing and basically just remembering how to be alive for today. It’s painful to watch. But then zombie-OPS stops chewing, slowly picks up the phone, and dials the bridge.
In his well-known I’m-still-totally-asleep voice, he says, “Hey. It’s OPS. Could you…shift our barpat…yeah, one six five. Thanks.” And puts the phone down. And then he just sits there. Squinting. Waiting. And then, ever so slowly, I realize what was happening. The big blazing spot of sun has begun to slide off the zombie’s face and onto the wall behind him.
After a moment it clears his face and he blinks slowly a few times and the brilliant beauty of what I’ve just witnessed begins to overwhelm me. By ordering the bridge to adjust the ship’s back-and-forth patrol by about 15 degrees, he’s changed our course just enough to reposition the sun off of his face. He’s literally just redirected thousands of tons of steel and hundreds of people so that he could get the sun out of his eyes while he eats his bagel. I am in awe.
He slowly picks up his bagel and for a moment I’m terrified at the thought that his own genius may escape him, that he may never appreciate the epic brilliance of his laziness (since he’s not going to wake up for another hour). But between his next bites he pauses, looks at me, and gives me the faintest, sly grin, before returning to gnaw slowly on his zombie bagel.
7. A La Carte
I worked in a huge hotel by the airport. We had a layover with over 400 people, and I think we had only three employees working at the time. They had a buffet for dinner and then left to go to bed since it was 1 or 2 am. Rule was, we should always go to the room and pick up as many plates as we could and then bring them to the cleaner. It took ages and I wanted to go home.
I decided to roll out the cart and collect the plates and put them on the cart. The guests were seeing it and started putting their plates on the cart when they left. All of a sudden hundreds of people cleaned up their own stuff. My duty manager saw it and I thought he would blast me, since the hotel was a 5-star place.
He just looked at me, smiled and said, “That’s why I like to hire lazy people, they think of ways to finish work faster.”
8. A Bloom of a Different Color
In senior kindergarten, I had an activity for Mother’s Day to color some pre-printed card with three tulips. The teacher told us to color them red, yellow, and orange. 6-year-old me colored one purple because I didn’t like orange. My teacher told me I was wrong, and to redo it—for a ridiculous reason. She said, “Purple tulips don’t exist.”
I told my mom when I got home, and she cut the purple tulip out of our garden so I could take it to class the next day and prove my teacher wrong. Not gonna lie, it felt pretty amazing bringing that flower in and seeing the look on her face.
9. A Drink for the Lazy
The guy who wanted a drink but didn’t want to get up/go downstairs…he logged into his router and blocked access to his mom’s laptop, knowing she would come to his room and ask what was going on. While he “fixed it” (simply reset the MAC filtering), he asked if she could get him a drink. He removed the filter while she got the drink and it was “fixed” by the time she came back.
When I think about it, that’s maybe the smartest thing I’ve ever heard of.
10. Little Toilet Engineer
A few years ago, my mom was tasked with fixing my grandparent’s toilet while we were visiting for the holidays. The toilet reservoir was constantly filling and running, and thus flooding the bathroom, because the buoy arm wasn’t lifting high enough from the water in the reservoir to switch off the water flow. My mom (who is normally a very practical person) had been tackling the issue for hours.
She was pretty distraught, thinking we would have to order a new buoy arm, maybe even a new sensor, or switch and pull the whole assembly apart to replace everything. She was planning out a trip to Lowes and pricing things out when I walked in. I took one look at it and bent the metal arm the buoy was attached to, down, so the arm had a slight upward curve. The buoy still reached the same level in the reservoir but registered on the sensor as “higher” because of the curve in the arm.
Problem solved. Rangers lead the way. I watched it dawn on her what I had done, and she just looked at me like I had a third eye and said, “You little freaking jerk! I’ve been getting my butt kicked by this thing for 4=four hours and you fix it in four freaking seconds?!” She was very happy I saved her from more work and spending more money.
She calls me “her little toilet engineer” from time to time. I work on Aircraft. It’s mildly demeaning.
11. Printer Professional
I worked a summer at a mortgage company as an assistant to the underwriters. My only job was printing documents and then hole-punching them to put in folders. They had a super fancy xerox printer that basically did my entire job for me, but the underwriters at this company didn’t know how to click through printer settings to make the machine hole-punch as it was being printed.
I showed them how to do it, and they resisted it super hard (like they didn’t trust it). So, I got to keep my job, but what was supposed to take me all day literally took me about 20-30 minutes first thing in the morning. So, they started assigning me real tasks, and even offered to keep me on to eventually become an underwriter, too.
Because I was “so sharp” (i.e. I knew how to use the very expensive printer they already had). I was just about to start grad school, so I had to politely decline…but I’m pretty sure they didn’t hire someone to replace me when I left.
12. Heartless, But a Good Shot
Third grade. We were reading Where the Red Fern Grows and we got to the part where the boy’s dog passes and everyone in class started crying. I was sitting there waiting for the next kid to read and some girl across the room called me out, saying, “Why isn’t he crying like the rest of us?” To which the teacher lady replied, “Because he doesn’t have a heart.”
I threw my book at her from across the room and smacked her right in the forehead. I was suspended for a week—but it was so worth it.
13. HR Nightmare
I was on a team of two, and when the lady I worked with quit, they decided not to replace her. This meant that if I needed to use my paid overtime (PTO) to take time off, which I often did because I have a young child who gets sick every now and again, it was a real problem. I would give my manager, who worked at a remote office, lots of ways to fix this issue, but she never would hear any of it.
She finally sent me a very angry email basically telling me I could not use my PTO when my son got sick. I wrote back a long, detailed list of every method I suggested to fix the issue, along with the fact that I was the only person in my position for months, and that our company policy states in bold letters that using PTO because a loved one is sick is not only acceptable but encouraged.
My manager responded to my email by stating she would forward my concerns to HR and that I should probably polish up my resume. But HR was in our office that day. For the first time in six months. Great coincidence, right? So, I went in, asked if I could speak about an issue concerning my manager, and explained everything as it happened.
The HR rep had this look on her face like she was going to murder someone. She then asked me to forward the entire email chain to her, which I did. Then she called me back. Apparently, everyone told the HR rep that the entire office can’t function without me and that I’ve been doing the work of three people for nine months.
Later that day, my manager sent me a very angry message saying I was fired because I was causing a hostile work environment. I forwarded this to the HR rep who looked at me, and in a single, sweet sentence said, “Not a chance, she’s royally screwed.” And that’s basically how my manager went from making $80k a year to being fired on a Wednesday with no compensation, no benefits, and no way to collect unemployment.
It was an all-around productive day.
14. Board Game Grudge
In a game of Risk, there were three of us left. I was obviously not going to win the game, but I could survive a bit longer—so I came up with a devious plan. I kamikazed against the guy who was in the lead, and weakened him enough that the guy in second was able to finish him off the next turn or two. This was over 20 years ago, and he is still upset with me. It was worth it.
15. The Paint Marker Broom
A supervisor wanted me and another guy to mark the hydraulic hoses in this pit, so the second shift could jump right in and start replacing. Fine, but that involves someone getting a harness, waiting for security to come sniff the pit for gasses, fill out confined space forms, and get them signed, etc. I asked do they have to be marked in any order or way?
The supervisor said no, they just need some kind of identifying mark. So, I said ok got it. I told the other guy to hop on my cart “to see what we need” and to bring a broom. He was like ok. So, on my way over there I said, “You see how I asked if he just wanted them marked?” Well using this yellow paint pen, that broom handle, and some electrical tape, I bet we can mark them through the floor grate…
Sure enough, I drew a yellow line down a section of each hose. We came back and the supervisor was like, “Well?” I said, “Well what? We marked them; it’s done.” “WHAT HOW?” I showed him my paint marker broom and he just kind of stood there then laughed and shook his head.
16. Terrible Teacher
In high school, I had an absolute jerk of a teacher. He gave me a binder that had the name, address, phone, of every student in the entire district including the names off all of their siblings. I was to type this in, even though it was already printed out. I asked if it was already printed why was I typing it? He said they paid an outside firm a bunch of money to do it but the state pulled the funding and the firm refused to provide the files and now the district didn’t have the money to do it again but they still needed the data.
I was super peeved about how tedious of a job I was given and complained to no end. He knew that I was the winner of a typing contest and agreed that this one project would be my entire grade for the semester. If I could manage to get it all entered into the computer by the end of the year, I’d get a passing grade, if not I’d fail.
After about two hours of data entry, I decided it was a stupid job and downloaded OCR software, scanned the whole thing in and spent a day or two correcting scanning mistakes. My plan was to spend the rest of the semester goofing off and pretending to work. That lasted about a week before the teacher caught on. He then proceeded to start giving me more stupid tedious work and said the previous deal was now off.
Then I learned his secret. I found out that part of the reason the deal with the consulting firm ended badly was his fault and told him I was going to the school board with this information. We decided on a new plan. My grade for the semester would pass as an A. But I had free time to take on other classes the teacher offered. I used this free time to complete one and a half other courses.
17. The Spin Feature
For the last few years at the beginning of December, I’m in charge of decorating the tree. “In charge of” meaning I have to do it, not I have any new holiday authority over said process. It’s a fake 8-foot-tall one with pre-set lights that spin. We have to put it on a 2-foot stand so the dogs don’t mess with it…most of the time.
I stood there thinking of how many times I’d have to move the ladder to decorate this now 10-foot-tall tree with all of our ornaments, garland and shiny bead strings. After 10 seconds I decided to turn on the spin feature and it took me 20 minutes of placing ornaments (which I had to pay attention to) and 15 minutes of holding the beads/garland while the tree spun, as opposed to the normal 2ish hours it would’ve taken otherwise, which I did basically watching YouTube videos.
9/10 would lazy again.
18. Work Smarter Not Harder
My boss hated Excel to the point where he didn’t want us using formulas because “you can’t trust them to be right” so we needed to “do all the calculations by hand or on a calculator.” He would give me a spreadsheet once or twice a week that required, let’s say, 45 seconds to do, but maybe seven hours by hand, and he told me to “go to Starbucks or something and crank it out.”
He thought that since I pasted as values and he couldn’t see the formulas that I did it by hand, when really, I just did it in 45 seconds, sent an email on delay for seven hours, and studied for the next semester. Dude was the poster boy for failing upwards in your career. The first day of my internship he told me with a straight face he was a “work harder not smarter kind of guy.” The best part was that he once gave me a 50-page printout of Excel pages and asked me if I could type it up because they lost the digital copy. He told me it was probably going to be a week of work.
Luckily, the pages were printed really well so I just used five different PDF to Word converters. Then because each page had the columns averaged and summed up at the bottom, it was super easy to check to make sure that the PDF to Word converter worked properly. After that I just ran a program to compare the five different PDF to Word converters, and they all came out identical so I did a very quick scan, then after about an hour, I concluded a week of work.
I turned it in a day earlier than my boss was expecting and acted exasperated when I turned it in. He was like, “Man I’m sorry you had to go through that, thank you for getting that done so quickly.” Dude was aggravating.
19. Chocolate Covered Revenge
Mrs. Danner, my third-grade teacher, was the WORST. She talked about her migraines constantly instead of teaching and explained how chocolate and Taco Bell triggered her migraines and explosive diarrhea, and told us that anyone who drinks diet soda would immediately get cancer even if they drank it because they have diabetes and can’t drink regular soda.
She picked on different students and loved to have loud, patronizing conversations with her teacher friend next door about students in her class as a passive-aggressive way to get on to students. She was particularly mean to me because she wasn’t from what would be considered a “good” family in the area but married well.
In her new social circle, she wound up rubbing elbows with my grandmother, who absolutely despised Mrs. Danner and was not shy about making that fact known. So, when she saw my last name on the first day of class, she decided to get her revenge. It all culminated in one incident in which I had an altercation with a boy outside of school hours and not at a school event.
On the Monday following the event, Mrs. Danner and her teacher friend pulled me into the hallway and said things like, “Looks like the Pandersons aren’t as wonderful as they pretend” and “how ashamed your grandmother must be” and other things that turned poor, sensitive Dan Panderson into a teenaged, sobbing mess.
I went home and my tears turned my mother into a bear ready to attack. The following day, my mother put on her best suit, donned her pearls, pulled her hair into an elegant chignon, and stomped her high-heeled feet into that school at 3:00 p.m. and stepped into the classroom. I’ll never forget the next few moments.
Mrs. Danner said, “Hello [Mom First Name].” My mother said, “Oh, you may call me Mrs. Last Name, my friends use my first name,” and then laid the most gloriously condescending smack-down on that jerk that the world has ever heard. Eventually, the principal came down and Mama said, “Well, I’ve said my piece.”
“Mrs. Danner will finish the year being much nicer to Dan or I will be forced to have a meeting with my cousin (the school board president) and see how he feels about renewing her contract.” Mama flounced out leaving shattered remains in her wake and it was honestly amazing. Mama, being a grade-A jerk, proceeded to sign up to make all the baked goods for class, and only made chocolate because Mrs. Danner can’t have chocolate.
20. God Bless Us, Except This One
At my little sister’s confirmation. I was her sponsor. I was 18 and she was 14. The woman next to me got all nasty because I was nodding off, and said I should be ashamed and that I was being disrespectful. But she didn’t know the awful truth. I had end-stage liver failure and was on a lot of pain meds that made me sleepy.
Afterwards, I told my mom about it (sponsors were seated separately from parents) and she was peeved. She cornered the woman in the bathroom and just ripped her a new one. The lady skulked out very quickly after that. Glad to say a year later I got my transplant and am now healthy and doing great. Turning 27 in 10 days!
21. An F for Effort
Oh man, when I was in school, I got teamed up with a girl to do a presentation on a country of our choosing for a government class. She wouldn’t let me choose the country or even compromise, she insisted on choosing. She then did nothing. Not one single thing, but dodge my attempts to work on the project with her. Finally, I did it all myself.
I silently seethed and let it go. A few days before it was due, she asked, “What’s going on with the project?” She almost died when I told her it was done and didn’t need her help anymore. I watched for days as she got more nervous knowing she was going to have to stand in front of everyone and not know a single thing that was going on.
The day before, I gave her a copy of the report, presentation, and notes for her to go over. We were the first people called in class. I thought she was going to puke she was so nervous. It was bad for her. I was breezing through the presentation when the teacher noticed my partner hadn’t said anything. She started asking her questions, and it went downhill fast.
She was questioned why she knew nothing, what did she contribute exactly, etc. The entire class squirmed in their seats; it was so uncomfortable. I said nothing, just smiled and watched her crash and burn. I got an A, she did not.
22. Get Your Quarter Back
In high school, I played quarterback and was on the starting line-up during my freshman and sophomore years. When I moved up to varsity during my junior year, I was a back-up and I didn’t see eye to eye with our new coach. He said he’d give me playing time, but one day pulled me into his office and said he wouldn’t be doing that.
He gave me an ultimatum; either I go down to junior varsity again and be their quarterback, or I don’t play and stay on the bench. I said cool, I quit. His assistant coaches were begging me to stay and said they’d start me at any position I wanted, but at that time I enjoyed running track more anyways. Now here’s where the “taking you down with me” comes into play.
The next game or so, the starting QB gets hurt, and guess who has no back up QB? The coach was subbing in random players, and was so desperate my friends told me he considered looking for a QB in the stands. Needless to say, they lost that game badly. He apologized to me years later.
23. Corrupted Files
When I was in eighth grade, our final English project was to make a movie in teams. This project was going to take half a year to make and was worth A LOT of points in our grades. I was pretty hyped up because I love doing amateur movies, and then I got paired up with three slackers. The whole process was a nightmare.
We had a shared account on google to keep the script and video clips so we could all work on the project even when we were not at school. I wrote the whole script. We filmed it on weekends, but it went incredibly slowly. One day, I had to miss school because of a dentist appointment, and those idiots decided to take advantage of my absence.
They told the teacher I was messing up the project. When I got back to school in the afternoon, I was promptly told by my teammates and the teacher that I was out of the project and would get a zero if I did not give a complete script and a five-minute movie. It was due the next Monday, so I only had a weekend to make a half-year project. I couldn’t do it and ended up with a 0.
I was unbelievably angry at them, but that’s when I remembered the shared account. I went back into the Google account, deleted the entire script, and replaced the movie with a corrupt file, which they didn’t check before handing it in. On presentation day, I got to see my old team’s confused looks as their movie didn’t play.
When the teacher checked, there was no script, and no movie, so they got a zero too. I might’ve failed my English class that year, but I made sure they did too.
24. Pray for Her
I ran into our local vet and her very religious younger sister. As the vet and I talked, her sister looked out into the store parking lot and saw an older man staggering to his truck. The little sister said, very primly, “There but for the grace of God go I.” I said, “Actually, he is a very well-respected man.” She replied, “He is obviously drunk before noon.”
My next words totally crushed her. “No,” I said, “He has MS. He’s my father, and your sister’s pastor.” Big sister just looked embarrassed.
25. Wake-Up Wars
One time my sister wouldn’t stop waking me up early on the weekends for no reason for like three months straight. I finally had enough, and started waking her up on weeknights, so at like 3 am on school nights. Every time she would start to fall back asleep, I’d wake her up again. After two weeks she told me that if I didn’t stop, she’d tell mom.
I went, “Then I’ll tell her about the weekends.” We both stopped after that but MAN was she angry.
26. Get Paid
I once worked for a startup company, and they missed one of my paychecks. It wasn’t a gigantic deal to me, because they were a bit strapped for cash and we had a big release coming soon, so I just said “Whatever.” They then fired me two days before release, making it sound like I had been inadequate, despite zero indication from them that I was such before that day.
So, I made the proper legal arrangements to recoup my missing paycheck, and told them I’d be going to Labor and Industry to file a complaint. If they were going to fire me after I worked 70 hours a week for over a month to try and meet their deadline out of nowhere, I sure as heck wasn’t going to cut them the slack of an entire paycheck.
I got my paycheck, they went out of business because they were corrupt and had been misusing investor funds for years before this (unbeknownst to me), and I laughed my way to the bank.
27. Photo Evidence
When I was stationed in Korea, my sergeant threatened to tell command that I was drinking underage. Unfortunately for him, I had pictures of our squad drinking, and my sergeant was present in all of them. So, I told him I would show them to command if he told on me. He backed off very quickly after that.
28. Sweet Sweet Revenge
Once, in first grade, I took off my shoe because I had a rock in it. Fo no reason other than this kid was a huge jerk, he stole it and took off running. I chase after him and he eventually throws my shoe down a hill into a field of tall grass and just looks at me with a huge grin. In a stone-cold first grade timbre, I say: “Go find it” and shove him down the hill into the grass after it.
He starts crying and we run to the teacher. After explaining what happened she made him go into the field and find my shoe. He crawled through the grass for about an hour before it finally turned up.
29. Going Mental
When I worked as a case manager as an MHMR (mental health services), we had a new department supervisor come in, and she was the worst. Every single person but myself and another case manager quit within the month of this woman starting. Since so many people quit, this lady ended up hiring a department full of people she had personally chosen (surprise, surprise, most of her hires were awful, just like her).
On top of being an awful human, she also had very little background in mental health and gave truly awful “supervision.” Since I wasn’t one of the new people she hired, I knew she would try to get rid of me, so I made sure to document everything. Any time I staffed a client with her, I would document her advice in that person’s chart as well as the actions I took due to her advice.
I also kept a detailed paper trail and would email her questions about policy so that I’d have a record of her answers, which usually were the opposite of what our policy actually was. Months later, I staffed a very troubled kid. My supervisor disagreed that this kid needed hospitalization, and told me to refer him to another agency.
I documented what she told me to do, and referred him out. Then, the worst happened, just like I’d predicted. Literally a day later, this kid brings a firearm to school and gets in a ton of trouble (thankfully, he was stopped as soon as he stepped through the metal detectors). My supervisor’s supervisor is furious, as this is a PR nightmare. He yells at my supervisor, who blames everything on me.
I ended up getting fired for my “negligence” about the situation. However, the higher-ups carefully went through this kid’s records and saw all of my documentation regarding my supervisor’s awful decisions. As they investigated more, they realized that this lady was a full on criminal, committing major fraud. So, she was fired as well.
They begged me to come back after that, but I politely declined. Screw them.
30. The Nutty Professor
When I was in University, I did a six-month exchange program in Spain. I was getting As in all of my classes, except one class where I was really struggling. The professor was the worst. It was an intermediate Spanish class, but he was marking us like he thought we should all be writing Shakespeare. Everyone hated him. It was easily the worst class I ever took.
A couple of days before the final exam, teacher evaluation forms came around, and I could tell by how long it took all of us to turn them in that I wasn’t the only one in the class unloading on this guy. This was his first semester teaching at the university, so if his teacher evaluations didn’t go well, he wouldn’t be invited back.
After we got our final marks back (I passed, but just barely), the professor was allowed to see his teacher evaluations. He sent an email to the entire class that night and lost his freaking mind. We’re talking sections with all caps, multiple exclamation marks, telling us how stupid we all are, and how we don’t know what we’re talking about.
Complete meltdown. The next morning, I found another email. It was from the university this time, stating that the professor is no longer with the university. That email felt so good, I can’t even tell you.
31. Classism in the Classroom
In my school, about 95% of the kids are middle class to upper-middle class, and many were really wealthy. Unfortunately, I wasn’t one of those kids, and both my parents had undesirable, low paying jobs. So, one mean teacher was very, VERY against me. She would deliberately ignore me because I was poor. She would always comment about money and once she said, “(character in book) has a very large amount of wealth due to (circumstances) unlike (my name).”
She would be touchy with the other students, not in a creepy way, like touching their shoulders when she looked over at their work, asking for high fives, etc. But when she came to me and looked disgusted. I wasn’t dirty or anything and still washed regularly. Anyway, she would deliberately give me a bad mark and because I did so badly, I had to go into school services for a day.
I thought, screw it, and I went to the head with my problems and told him about it. He had a neutral teacher re-mark my latest work and it was a lot higher than what it was before. Although I couldn’t get out of school services (something to do with records) they were super apologetic and fired the teacher. Sweet Justice.
32. Stinky Finger
In third grade, my friend told my crush I liked her, so I told everyone that he put his finger in his butt. He didn’t, but I had a reputation for never lying, so they believed me. Don’t mess with me folks.
I am notorious in my friend group for having a fear of water. Some friends ended up renting a boat, and wanted to take it out on the lake. They begged me to come out. I kept saying no, but eventually, I caved because it seemed super important to my friends. Even though I didn’t plan on getting in the water, I wasn’t going to wear jeans to the sunny “beach,” so I left my wallet, keys, and phone in the car.
Within 10 minutes of getting to the middle of the lake, my buddy suggests that I “face my fears” and his brother asks me if I have the time. I shrug and tell them I left my phone back in my car. They both lunge at me and start throwing me overboard. I latch on for dear life and fight as if the river is lava, because to me, it essentially is.
I eventually realize that I’m 100% going overboard, and there is nothing I can do except let go of the railing I was gripping onto and instead grab them both, as I pulled back and forced all three of us into the water. Getting back on the boat was easy, it had a little ramp and ladder for climbing in/out and you can bet your butt I was the first one climbing back up.
The brothers got mad at me because they had their phones in their pockets, and I ruined them. But everyone quickly pointed out that they pushed me in the water knowing I hated it and that they deserved it. They argued that they intentionally tried to make sure I didn’t have anything electronic on me, but everyone shut them down.
34. Boating and Gloating
I work for a boat rental company on the lake in my city. I don’t own a boat license, which in general is not really important for the job (because our boats are used for things like picnics, which means they are drivable without a license). What is important however, is that the speedboat we use doesn’t fit that criteria, so to drive it, we need a license. It’s used for rescues and whatnot.
Back to the story, there’s this one kid who went to my school at the time who was a goody-two-shoes and had a jealous streak. Except for being overly good and bragging about it, he would brag about drinking at school. He applied for the same job I did, but I ended up getting it. He wasn’t pleased. I ended up talking to my friends about the job, telling them that I didn’t have my boat license at the time, and apparently, he overheard.
Anyway, eventually he came with his group of friends about a year later to rent a boat for the day. After they set off, I get notified that there was trouble with the boat so I went to help them using the speedboat. I head up to them within a couple of minutes. I fix the issue (issue with the tiller handle) and conveniently the water police for the lake drive by, and this kid who still is annoyed about not getting the job said, “He has been working here for a year and doesn’t have his boat license.”
That made me mad, and they were about to fine me when I said, “This kid underage drinks.” I got fined, and he got in big trouble with his parents. At least I didn’t lose my job.
35. All-Out Revenge
I was bullied by an entire grade at one point in school. There were primary instigators, sure, but everyone else joined in at the drop of a hat. So, it’s fair to say I was not happy with pretty much all my peers. At one point, we all went on a class camp trip. A group of us went into the woods as part of a supervised activity, and almost everyone broke the rules on going out of bounds.
I didn’t want to because I was a bit of a rules person, but I got attacked and physically pushed out. Of course, the adults found out everyone broke the rules and started asking questions but everyone clammed up. I ratted all of them out. No one escaped punishment. It was the nuclear blitz of ratting out. I had names. I had places they went. I had details!
And they were kids, so they lied badly. So, I got many of them caught in lies too. The adults chose not to believe me when I said I’d been dragged by everyone else so I took the fall too, but it was worth it. We all lost privileges and a taste of freedom kids like us otherwise wouldn’t experience again. I ruined that. And I loved every second of it.
36. Blue Shell
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe comes out, and I have my friends over to play it. They don’t all play Nintendo as much as me, but we are all pretty equal in Mario Kart. We do a tournament and it comes down to the final race. All four of us had been practically neck and neck in the races, and I was about to claim victory on the final lap. With two friends behind me and one in last place, the last place friend gets a blue shell and launches it to take me down.
So, I do the only action I can. I wait a tad, then I stop, and I back up. All three of us ended up in places behind fifth, and I was the only one who ended with a smile still on my face. Losing never felt so much like winning.
37. Gotta Hand It To Him
When I was about 13/14, there was this kid on the school bus who was about a year older than me and used to pick on me a lot. He was a total arrogant jerk. One time he came and sat next to me and tried to pull the old “Hey, did you know if your hand is bigger than your face you have cancer?” (basically, the idea is you get the person to then hold their hand right against their face, and then you hit their hand causing them to hit themselves in the face)
I wasn’t falling for it, so he puts his hand against his own face in order to try and show me what to do. What do I do? Turn his own prank against him and smack his hand into his face. His nose starts bleeding quite badly. God that felt good.
38. Small Fry
When I was four and my brother was six we were on our way to my great-grandfather’s funeral. My parents stop at McDonald’s and out of my brother’s small fry bag he pulls an 11″ fry. Impossible right? He yells to my parents to witness this awesome fry but before they can turn around I snatch it and eat it. He is upset. Whatever, that’s the end of it…or so I thought.
Cut to 12 years later. My brother and I are at the table and our friends are in the other part of the kitchen. Out of this bag of Wavy Lays, I pull a potato chip that is literally the size of my skull. No idea how this thing didn’t break in transit. I’m like, Oh my God! Guys, look at this chip! Before anyone can even turn their heads, my brother reaches across with his right hand and crushes the chip to crumbs.
I have crazy eyes bearing down on him and he simply says, “That’s for the fry.” 12 years later, he got his revenge.
39. Lawyer Up
I worked for a corrupt business owner of a business that had a reputation for being bad. I had to work for him because I didn’t have another job. After years of watching him rip off his clients, I finally caught him in the act. I quit. He threatened to sue me for breach of contract and stealing clients (I hadn’t stolen anyone).
He went so far as to have papers served on me and my new employer. I called his attorney and reminded him I knew what my boss had done and would love to have the opportunity to ask him a few questions about his billing practices. The lawyer said he’d call back. Half an hour later, the lawyer told me it was over.
40. Distraction Dance
So, it was my mom’s birthday: we’re barbecuing, and we got her to stay inside and prep food so we can decorate the front with balloons and streamers. Well, we got the whole thing done in secret as we hoped, but then we realized there was no way we could get all the left-over decoration material and balloon pump inside without her noticing—so we came up with an ingeniously stupid plan.
Now, there are two ways into our house: the back door that leads into the garage and then into the kitchen where mom was, and the front door which is visible from the kitchen sink. So, I told my brother I would go in from the back door and distract her while he brought the stuff in through the front, and down the hall past the kitchen. Once I got in the kitchen it had occurred to me that I had no plan of attack, so I just said, “Hey mom look at this dance I made!” and started like swaying and bopping up and down and doing jazz hands.
Mind you, I’m like 17 years old in this scenario. So, she’s just watching me when my brother comes in and is sneaking through the hall behind her with all the stuff. I keep telling her, “Wait it’s about to get good!” and she kept watching in confusion. The second he was in the clear, I stopped and said, “Ok that’s it.” and that was that. We succeeded.
41. Bounce Physics
When I was seven years old, I was playing in my back garden with those incredibly bouncy little balls you got, just bouncing them high off the house and letting them bounce randomly before trying to catch them. One time I went for this huge throw off the wall, and it bounced crazily off various surfaces so fast I completely lost track of it.
So, my seven-year-old logic was to stand back in the same place and throw another ball the same way. I watched it bounce this way and that about 10 times before finally hitting a plant and coming to a rest in a flower bed. I went over to pull back the foliage and sure enough, there were both balls literally lying next to each other in the mud. At the time I was like, “Yep, makes sense…”
Over the years since then, I’ve often thought about it and how the heck it worked!
42. Tire Pressure
Our power was out due to a storm. I had a camp stove to use for boiling water to make a coffee pour-thru, but I couldn’t use my electric grinder for the coffee beans. I tried fashioning a mortar and pestle, but it was taking too long. So, I put the coffee beans in a couple of zip-lock bags, placed the bag right behind a car tire, then ran over it back and forth a couple of times to crush the beans. Worked like a charm.
43. Jesus is the Answer
Put Jesus in as a Wi-Fi password in church. It worked.
44. Make-Believe Marriage
In college I was taking a class that required me to purchase an online textbook and workbook that was registered under your name, basically ensuring that each student would have to buy a new online copy each semester instead of buying used textbooks. I had a friend who took this class a semester before me so we came up with an idea that we thought would never work.
I messaged customer service and explained that I had recently gotten married, so my last name had changed and that I’d also legally changed my first name so that I’d need them to change it in their system. It totally worked, and the rep even congratulated me on my marriage.
45. Showing Off Your Stolen Goods is Never a Smart Look
My mum was a personal injury solicitor, and she was basically trying to prove that the car that hit her client and caused life-changing injuries (brain damage) belonged to X. X at first pretends not to live where he does, then the car is found abandoned and all wiped down. The trail seems to end. Then, my mum has a hunch and checks X’s Facebook profile.
He had a public profile, and his profile picture was him standing right next to the car in question. She screenshots the photo and sends it to the opposing counsel with a slightly more politely worded “Your client is a total idiot.” She’s retired now but she considers it to be one of the most satisfying moments of her career.
Needless to say, she won the case and her client got a million-pound settlement and is now living in Spain. All for the want of a simple privacy setting and a touch of common sense.
46. Full Circle
This idea could’ve easily gotten me fired if it went wrong. I was working as an art director at an animation studio, making videos for clients. One client was especially pesky about the use of yellow in the background. They wanted it to be the yellow of their logo, which was this horrible neon-pee yellow. We advised against it, but after numerous calls, we had to cave and gave a version with that color.
They hated it, and asked for a change. What followed were 12 versions with numerous calls in between, and time spent tweaking the color over and over. Eventually, I got tired of it and just sent the original version again, I didn’t even bother to rename the file. The client said, “This looks exactly the way I wanted, thank you!”
How that ever worked out I still have no idea.
47. Creative Problem Solver
I forgot to bring a resume to a job interview, but I had an index card in my bag. I cut the index card in half and wrote my name, my contact info, and “creative problem solver” in my best handwriting, and gave a copy of my “business card” to both the interviewers. I got the job.
48. Playing the Empathy Card
I once got an extra day to work on a video project in high school by coming to class with a video that was just a quarter second of blackness. I eagerly volunteered to go first, then acted confused and scared when the file “didn’t work.” The teacher took pity on me, and told me to just bring it the following day, and I got to finish it that evening and still got full credit as if I did it on time.
49. The Cocky Bird Gets the Worm
I was really, REALLY desperate to leave a past employer after 15 years. I had been applying and interviewing and striking out. Finally, I got an interview at a place where, at the time, I felt, “Meh, I am not really sure this is right for me, but anything is better than where I am at.” Instead of prepping for the interview, rehearsing answers, etc. I pulled an “office space.”
I was cocky, brash, unconcerned, and made it seem like I was happy where I was at and didn’t really care if I got the job or not. They called me back the next week, and I waited a week to return their call. Same deal with the second interview. When they offered me the job, I hemmed and hawed, said I needed to think about it really hard, and that it was a “big move” for me, etc.
I came back and demanded well over $15,000 above what they were offering in salary. They accepted.
50. Mystery Box
In university, I was late on an assignment that was supposed to be in my T.A.’s drop box by noon that day. I didn’t manage to get there until almost 3 PM, so I was sure he had already emptied it. Now, the drop boxes were literal boxes in cubbies with a slot on the front and a lock on them that prevented them from being pulled out.
The rack holding them was just a basic metal frame with about 5 rows of boxes. My T.A.’s box was somewhere in the middle of the shelf. So, I figured, “I’m late anyway, why not take a chance?” and slipped my assignment into the box below my T.A.’s box. I got my assignment handed back a few weeks later than everyone else.
It had a note from another T.A. scribbled on it that said, “Looks like this fell into my box by mistake.” I got full marks on the assignment.
51. A Young MacGyver
Breaking into my own house through the kitchen window, using a piece of wire and a wooden table after I was locked out. I arrived home with my mom and my little cousin and we realized we forgot the keys at my grandma’s house, way the heck across the city. Mom calls my dad to bring his keys. He was working at the time and he’d take an hour to arrive, so we’d have to wait outside.
I went full “Heck no” mode and kept looking for other ways in. Turned out that one of the tiny back windows was open, but there was a safety pin that kept it from opening all the way up and the only way to remove it was unscrewing it. So, I grabbed a wooden clothespin that was lying there, broke it, and removed the wire that kept it together because it was just the right size to unscrew the window pin.
I did it, pulled a table underneath the window so I could climb inside, and just like that I managed to successfully break into a house at age 13.
52. Booze Smugglers
I was really poor when my future wife and I exited college. We went on a cruise with friends and didn’t have a lot of money to spend. The cruise wouldn’t allow you to bring alcohol onboard and we weren’t willing to pay for drinks due to budget. We purchased a liter-sized sealed bottle of water and some cheap rum, drilled a hole in the bottom to drain the water and funnel in the rum, then super-glued the bottom again.
The water was caught by ship security scanner but the guards said, “It’s just water” and let us through. We had cheap mixed drinks for the duration. We look back on those days fondly. We would never think of doing that today, but it was funny back when we were young.
53. Two Wrongs Make a Right
Back in the flip phone days, I had dropped mine and the screen stopped working. I could make and receive calls, but the screen was just completely blank. I put up with it for a couple of weeks because I couldn’t afford a new phone, but one day I had the thought, “Well, if dropping the phone made the connection loose, maybe the same thing can fix it,” and threw my phone at the ground.
I picked it back up and the screen was working.
54. Good Dog
I was seven years old and had a loose tooth that I couldn’t pull out. I tied a string from my tooth to the door and swung. It didn’t work. So, I tied a string to the tooth and tied the other end to my dog’s collar. Threw a tennis ball. Bye-bye tooth.
55. Facts Don’t Lie
It was a fraud trial. The prosecutor gets right to the point. This was pretty much the third question in to the defendant: “So you earn £45,000 a year, have no properties, no other source of income, no inheritance and as far as I’m aware have not won the lottery yet you have foreign bank accounts with £x million and a Ferrari. It must simply be a coincidence that the defrauded entity has an accounting black hole pretty much equal to those riches.”
The defendant pretty much gave up at that point.
56. A Misplaced Identification
When I was in law school, I clerked for a criminal defense legal clinic. We had an assault and battery case where there was only one witness to the crime: the victim. I was sitting at the defense table with the actual attorney, another law student that worked on the case with me, and the defendant. We were all in similar-looking suits as a matter of unplanned coincidence.
The victim was asked to identify the person who committed the assault in court and she pointed to me and not the defendant. Our attorney asked several times if she was really pointing to me and if she was sure, and she said yes. The prosecutor was visibly upset and the trial pretty much ended there as this was a bench trial and not with a jury.
It was never discussed or admitted to, but I suspect our attorney purposefully had me there at the trial because I did have a passing resemblance of the defendant.
57. Hot Idea
I had a video card die on me. I thought that maybe the solder had melted away from it overheating, so I had the idea to stick it in the oven briefly to melt the solder into place. Looked it up online and it is apparently a normal thing to do. It worked like a charm!
58. A Bumpy Fix
Something broke on the front wheel of my car while I was on a cross-country trip, and it made a terrible noise and smoke. It was the middle of the night and the shops in the town we pulled into were all closed. I jacked it up to see what was wrong, took off the wheel, and then the jack tipped over and the car dropped onto the exposed brake disk.
I did it again and the same thing happened. I jacked it up again, still couldn’t figure out what was wrong, put the wheel back on, and whatever it was had been fixed by the jolts. I drove that car for years with no further problems.
59. Quick Thinking
During college, I was at a friend’s house on the other side of town. It was very late and the buses had stopped, so my only way home was to call a cab. This was before Uber. I was also really hungry, and because I only had about $10, my choice was either get some takeout and walk for an hour to get home at night, or call a cab and go hungry.
Then…eureka! I went into the Chinese takeout place and asked for delivery to my home address and asked for a ride home. They protested at first, but I explained that my hitching a ride was no extra cost for them. They agreed and I got a free ride home, and Chinese takeout!
60. Freshman Fraud
In my freshman year of college, my grades were really not great. My parents were really strict about getting good grades. When my dad asked to see my grades, I panicked and did the inspect command on the computer where you can change typefaces on the screen to read different words and letters. I changed all of my crappy grades to good grades.
My dad was so happy that I did “good” in my first year of school. He asked me to print my results. I did, and it turns out he had to send them to our car insurance company for a “good student discount.” Ultimately, I committed insurance fraud by accident. But I got a discount.
61. Bubble Boost
Back in high school, I stopped by one of my teacher’s rooms after class to ask him some questions about our homework. When I walked in, I noticed he was grading some of our tests. Of note, all of his tests were made up of multiple-choice, true/false, or matching, and all of the answers were bubbled in. What I noticed was that instead of using an answer key to grade, he was just placing a stencil over the paper with the correct bubble punched out. The stencil wasn’t transparent, so all it showed was whether we bubbled in the right answer or not.
Flash forward to our next test, and I’m stuck on a T/F question. Knowing how he graded, I figured I’d bubble in both T and F, and if he caught it, it would be easy enough to claim it was an accident. Well, he didn’t catch it, and I used that trick the rest of the year for a little extra boost on all of his tests.
62. No Salad for You!
We had a customer who got a salad and when she was finished she placed one of her hairs in the bowl to try to get it refunded. She got the complimentary “I’m sorry” free bakery item. She did this every day. Finally, the manager sat down at her table and told her this was her last day eating in the cafe, as they would refuse her refund today and refuse her service in the future.
She started to say something about the customer always being right and he just put up a hand to cut her off and said dropped an absolute bomb on her: “You cause us to lose money every day. You’re absolutely not our customer, you are a liability, and you are no longer welcome here.”
63. Win Win for Us
I live in a small town and worked in a Fish and Chip shop—one of two in the town. We were a tourist town, and one of the main attractions was the award-winning fish and chips. People in the town believed we were in massive competition with the other shop, but we weren’t. We had 25 plus staff and they had around seven, so we were serving thousands more customers than them.
So, on the rare occasion whenever a customer got angry, they would simply exclaim “Well I’m going to [insert competitor’s name here] AND I WON’T BE BACK.” Like it was a big deal and would really hurt our feelings and business. We would simply tell them that we don’t want them back, and they should enjoy the food from the other shop. But that’s not even the best part.
The truth was that we owned both shops.
64. Non-Verbal I Told You so
A buddy of mine was serving a table with an eight-year-old kid. He gives her an adult glass for her apple juice. The dad pipes up and says he doesn’t want her having all that sugar so he needed to take it away and come back with a kid-sized one. My friend replied that the glasses are the same size but the adult size just looks bigger because they have thick bottoms.
The dad responds that “the adult glass is clearly bigger and LIKE I SAID I don’t want her to have all that sugar.” My buddy is a jerk. He gives a super deliberate exaggerated nod, says nothing, and marches to our little service alley behind the bar. He re-emerges with a kid’s cup, sets it down beside the glass, picks up the glass and pours the adult glass, lifting it progressively higher until the last drop is dropped from like a foot over the glass. I died.
65. Old MacDonald Had a Farm
My brother was a waiter and he was working with a really difficult woman. She ordered the salmon and when it got to her table, she asked if it was farm-raised. She got mad at him because he hadn’t mentioned that the salmon was farm-raised when she was ordering it, even though it clearly stated that it was farm-raised on the menu.
She ordered the chicken to replace the salmon. That’s when my brother said to her, “I have to warn you, it’s farm-raised.”
66. Daddy’s Little Girl
When I was 15 and working at my family’s restaurant, there was a Christmas party and they booked out the front room. This one old guy kept complaining every time I brought him food and took it away. When dessert came, he made some snide comment and I burst into tears. When I got back to the kitchen my dad saw me crying and asked what was wrong. I said it’s okay and not to worry.
Next minute, my dad storms out of the kitchen and asks the entire front room who made his daughter cry. The room goes silent and everyone points him out. Dad rips into him for making a child cry and told him he’s not welcome back. Old guy tries to defend himself saying I wasn’t doing my job. Dad said something along the line of him not doing a good job as a human. I miss working with him!
67. Repeat That in the Form of a Question
I’m working in a grocery store part-time right now and I had a woman walk up to me and say, “chicken breast.” I looked at her and said, “okay.” She just left and I was still not sure what that was about, but a co-worker who overheard said, “Oh, she wanted to know where it was.” To which I replied, “I know, but she’s an adult who can use her words.”
68. It’s in the Description
I had a customer harassing me over a product he bought and wanted to return. There was no receipt, it was over the return date, and he claimed he paid for it in cash. I told him that the return policy was within 30 days and he had to have a receipt. He said, “You’re just paid to say that.” I replied, “As a matter of fact, I am paid to say that. That’s how jobs work.”
I never saw his scamming face again.
69. Taste Test
I work in an ice cream shop and one day a man ordered a shake, drank the whole thing, and then demanded a refund because he claimed the whipped cream tasted sour, which is impossible because we make it in house every day. My manager, a 53-year-old Indian man, proceeded to take the cup from him, then grabbed a spoon and ate the whipped cream right out of the cup, then says, “it tastes fine to me, get out of my store.”
Maybe it was a little overkill, but it was one way to deal with it.
70. One for You, One for Me
I had a girl order a Pina Colada and then complain about the coconut. She didn’t like coconut. So I got her another drink and she goes, “What are you going to do with that one? Will you throw it away?” I just looked at her, told her that I liked coconut and took a sip.
71. Unwanted Attention
A regular at the place I work will tap her martini glass with a fork, wait for me to turn and make eye contact, and then call across the room, “MORE MARTINIS!” or “WE’RE READY FOR OUR FOOD NOW!” Sometimes I’ll see how many times she taps, because I know she knows that it’s trashy, and she’ll start to get uncomfortable but still keep going.
So it’ll go—tap, tap, tap. Silence. Tap, tap, tap. Someone will point out that she’s trying to get my attention, but I’ll tell them to give it a few more taps. It’s hard to not acknowledge her, but I wanted to make sure everyone hears her tapping before I ask “More martinis?” By then, she usually has the whole dining room looking at her sideways, which is enough for me.
Small victories are the best victories in the service industry.
72. Self-Burn, Those Are Rare
I worked part-time at a thrift store. I got cursed out by a customer yelling, “Why don’t you get a REAL job?!” I replied with, “Why don’t you go yell at a real store?” in the most tired, deadpan voice. This happened a few times.
73. That Was Slick
A woman complained about her cocktail, saying she couldn’t taste the alcohol and asked if we could make it stronger. It was already a double, but we added a splash. She still couldn’t taste it, could we add more? She was obviously drunk when she arrived and angling to get more drunk as cheap as possible. That’s when I came up with an ingenious plan. I took her cocktail, apologized that it wasn’t to her liking, and said I’d take it off her bill, effectively cutting her off for the night.
74. A Man of Many Names
There was a customer who said he knew the manager to one of my buddies who was working as a waiter. Usually this just means that they’re trying to get something for free—because they never actually know the manager—but I guess my buddy wanted to have some fun on this particular night. I heard the waiter exclaim, “Oh, you know Dave!” to the customer, all excited.
I couldn’t help but eavesdrop to the rest of the conversation. The waiter basically strung this customer along long enough to bring out the manager and pointedly say, “Hey, Steve, I didn’t know you went by Dave!”
75. Honest Mistake on Purpose
The host sat me at a table with a couple and their toddler. The two sat on the same side of the booth, kissed, etc., so I knew they were a couple, but the woman looked much older. Like she looked terrible. I’m sure it was substance abuse of some kind, but it was noticeable. So she’s super rude to me the entire time. She asked for her eggs over easy hard.
I explained to her that her eggs could either be over easy and over hard, and what both meant. She then got really patronizing, saying things like “Bless your heart” and asking for a real server. I told her that I know how eggs are cooked, and asked if she meant over medium. That’s when she got verbally abusive and asked “How hard is your job? Honestly, how hard is it to just serve people eggs?”
I’d had it. I gave her order to the cook, and of course, he asked me what she meant. I told him to just make them over medium, as I felt like that was what she meant. I gave her the eggs and she sighed real heavy. She said, “I’m sorry, was my order too hard? Did you not understand me? What the hell kind of place is this that nobody can make me eggs?”
I took a deep breath, and went all in with a brutal insult. I said, “Ma’am, I apologize to you, your son, and your grandson. Let me go ahead and comp your meal.” Her face twisted up and got so red I thought it was going to pop off of her face. She yelled, “THIS IS MY HUSBAND AND THAT’S MY SON!” Oh boy, it was so worth it. She began screaming for my manager.
I got my manager. He yelled at me in the office, but couldn’t prove that I was purposefully disingenuous. So I didn’t even get written up. It was awesome.
76. Better Luck Next Time
Not at a restaurant but at a ski resort as a parking attendant. I don’t remember all the bad customers, but I’ll never forget my most satisfying clapback. A guy asked why he couldn’t park in the school bus area, and I explained why. He wheedled and said there was no other parking, and I explained that there was, it was just further from the ski lift.
He said, “But I don’t want to,” and I replied “Too bad.” I leave for the bathroom and come back finding the guy and his family getting ready where I told them not to park. The guy smirked at me, so I filled out a parking ticket and place it on his windshield in front of him. He acted surprised, so I topped it off by saying: “Move your car now, or I’ll have it towed too.”
77. It Hits the Fan
I worked at my local district attorney’s office as a prosecutor when I was freshly minted lawyer. We had a special setting trial on a case that had been reset too many times. The week before, it became clear that this particular case was going to finally be tried. I was ready at the State’s table waiting for defense counsel when he walks in and tells me he’s going to ask for a continuance.
I’m pretty sure I laughed, thinking that it was never going to happen. So the judge walks in angry that he has to sit through another continuance request. Meanwhile, I get the aroma of something foul in the courtroom and I can’t place where it’s coming from. The judge asks the defense attorney why he needs another continuance and the defense attorney pulls out his briefcase, opens it, and pulls out a ziplock bag with soiled underwear inside.
Turns out he defecated his pants that morning in court. He was an elderly attorney and was taking stool softeners. The continuance was granted, and in fact, the entire courtroom shut down for the day to allow maintenance time to clean and shampoo the seats he was sitting on. I have no idea what ended up happening in that case, I never tried it, maybe another prosecutor did, but this was one of my more memorable “I rest my case” stories that I’ve seen a lawyer pull off.
78. Honest Question
I had one of those women that complain about their food, hoping to get it comped, which she did. But then she asked for a take-out box. I said I thought you didn’t like your meal, are you sure you want to take it home? She got pissed. I should have refused to give her the box but I was new so I boxed it for her. No tip, of course.
79. Gimme Gimme Never Gets
I work at a small breakfast cafe in Florida and we get a lot of older people who are mostly from up north and can really have a bad attitude about not getting what they want immediately. One old lady rudely exclaimed asking what she had to do to get some coffee around here and without skipping a beat I responded that you ask politely.
All the people sitting with her at her table got a good laugh in and I felt pretty smug about putting her in her place.
80. Fighting a Good Fight
This is going to sound crazy, but in college, I got a ticket every day of the week for parking in my driveway. Same cop every day. My girlfriend’s car, too. It was a small apartment building, which had a blacktop parking lot along the side of the building. The police ticketed every vehicle parked in our assigned parking spots for “blocking the sidewalk.”
There was no sidewalk. It was a blacktop parking lot. I was an aspiring student of the law and knew I could argue this. Plus, I didn’t have the money to pay all these tickets. I plead not guilty, got a court date, and continued to collect the tickets. I got the cop on the stand and showed him a series of pictures and asked questions about this “invisible sidewalk.”
He contradicted himself several times and then admitted he ticketed every car he saw parked there whether it was blocking the invisible sidewalk or not. I was up there for about half an hour. For parking tickets. The judge was laughing a bit and finally asked me to approach. He asked me if he dismissed all the tickets and told the cop to stop, would I stop asking questions and leave the court. I agreed.
The next week my girlfriend went in with her stack of tickets and I tagged along. It was the same judge and the same cop. They were both looking at me. As we walked in, I said, “Watch this, baby. I’m going to make the judge dismiss the tickets.” When it was her turn to argue, I walked up with her. She said, “Your Honor, I…” Before she could finish, the judge said “Tickets are void. Next case.”
I was proud. She was baffled at the black magic I’d just sprinkled on her.
81. Spinning Wheels or Spinning Lies?
I’m not a lawyer, but a friend’s sister went to court over a moving violation. She’s an engine tuner and had built herself a beautiful first gen Mitsubishi Eclipse with 6 or 700 horsepower at the wheels. This car, inevitably, attracted the attention of the local law enforcement, who pulled her over with no fewer than eight cruisers after some slightly aggressive acceleration around a left turn.
During cross-examination, she asked the officer who’d made the call and why exactly she had been pulled over. “I heard the engine revving, and I saw you spinning the tires and sliding around the corner.” “To be clear, officer, which tires were spinning?” “The rear tires.” “So I was spinning the rear tires, and it was the back end that swung out?” “Yes ma’am, that’s correct.” “And you’re sure that’s what you saw?” “Clear as day, ma’am. The light turned green, you stepped on the gas, and the rear tires broke loose under power.” “The rear tires broke loose under power? There’s no doubt in your mind that’s exactly what happened?” “None at all.”
To which, she finally concluded with, “Your honor, this officer is either lying or hallucinating. My car is front wheel drive.”
82. The Mister Softee Defense
I once got out of a noise violation ticket. I was driving around and had my music in my car up. Cop pulls me over, gives me a ticket for the noise violation. It wasn’t even that loud—you couldn’t really hear it from outside the vehicle, but I guess my windows were down. I go to court. My defense was, “If the ice cream man can drive around blaring that creepy music, I can listen to my radio.”
The judge tried to keep a straight face, but I got out of the ticket.
83. Justice Prevails
My mother left my dad and hooked up with this piece of crap who would beat her. She had him arrested and got a restraining order. He called her one day from the hospital and said he was jumped while riding a bike and if she didn’t take him back he would say she did it. A few months later, she is in court after he claimed his injuries were from her beating him with a frying pan.
He doesn’t show up. The judge asks his attorney where he is and the attorney asks if they can reschedule because he is temporarily indisposed. My mother chimes up, “He is probably in jail again.” The judge just straight up asks his attorney if he is in jail. The attorney responds, “Yes.” The judge immediately dismissed the case.
84. Pushing Up a Case
As a young attorney, I had stated a claim that an insurance company was dragging out a case in bad faith, in hopes that my elderly client would die before they had to pay him. I was requesting that the trial date be given priority due to my client’s advanced age. The judge was no spring chicken himself and seemed skeptical when he asked exactly how old my client was, maybe thinking that he was in his 70s and must merely seem ancient to a baby lawyer like me.
When I responded that my client was 92 years old, and that the case had already gone on for five years, the judge was visibly shocked. He immediately granted my motion for priority, completely shutting down the insurance company’s attorney’s attempt to respond. They wrote us a check for a million dollars the next week.
85. A Pretty Embarrassing Mix-Up
I was representing a woman with a severe neck injury. Opposing counsel presented a test result that showed her cervical exam was normal. I felt almost bad when I pointed out he had the wrong cervical area in mind…
86. Took Them a Second to Get It
I had a large table at the end of the night. They were okay, except for one incredibly annoying guy. He was the guy that was so sure he was the funniest in any room and kept being obnoxious and would make jokes at my expense. They were not hurtful or rude per se, but obviously he didn’t care how I felt about it and knew, as a server, I couldn’t say anything.
So, near the end of the meal, everything had been going well but he kept up his schtick and someone commented about their group and “funny guy” says, “oh, I bet jester hates us! Am I right?” To which I replied, “No sir. I love all my tables. Some when they sit down and others when they leave, but I love them all.”
To which everyone at the table laughed—then a few seconds in, as they realized that I might be talking about them, it turned into nervous laughter.
87. Quick Witted
I had an older couple I was waiting on once and the husband asked me if I was stupid. I told him I was stupid enough to not come back to his table and walked away. He flagged me down a couple of minutes later, apologized and told me he liked that I didn’t take his crap.
88. That Escalated Quickly
The complaining witness accused my client of harassment/stalking. My client claimed they were dating, but whenever she got mad at him, she’d call the police and say he was harassing her. On the stand, she testified that she’d never dated him, never invited him into her home, wanted nothing to do with him. She presented a photo on her phone of him sitting on her porch to prove that he had come to her property.
I asked the judge permission to look at the photos before and after the porch photo for context. Girl had dozens of photos of the guy, who was clearly her boyfriend. I showed her one such picture: This is Mr. So-and-so, right? (yes) In this photo, he’s on a bed? (yes) The bed is yours? (yes) The bed is in your bedroom? (yes) You took this photo of him? (yes) He’s smiling in the photo? (yes) And in this photo, he’s wearing your brassiere? (yes)
No further questions, your honor.
89. An Incredible Plot Twist
My client just needed to not lose her housing, I was trying to get her on one-year probation (but would agree to two) instead of termination. On the day of the hearing, I had six summer associates come with me, each carrying huge binders. When my hearing was about to begin, I had them all bring them in and set them in front of me.
The opposing lawyer was a very overworked NYC housing attorney who had budgeted an hour that day for my hearing. She instantly goes, “What is this?” I told her it was my arguments. She said she didn’t have the time. I started off on a two-minute opening I had prepared. then grabbed one of the binders and she was like. “Let me stop you there. What do you want?” I said three months probation, she countered with a year, ended up agreeing on six months.
The binders were all empty.
90. Not a Good Idea to Say Something Dumb Over the Radio
My client and his wife were woken up one night because people were trying to break into his house. He fired two warning shots as his wife called 911. The neighbor also called 911. When the police got the neighbor’s call that there were shots fired, the police sergeant radioed the other officers and said, “He’s going to jail tonight,” referring to my client.
So obviously, even with signs of someone trying to break in and his wife calling 911 for help, the officers arrest my client for endangering his wife by shooting inside the house (nowhere near her). It gets to a jury trial and I start to go off on the police sergeant about why she would say that before an investigation and before she even had any idea what happened.
The sergeant had no idea how to respond and literally just sat there staring at me for a solid two minutes before saying anything. Even the bailiffs were audibly laughing.
91. Seeing is Believing
I’m an attorney in Southern California. My client was charged with being under the influence of a controlled substance. Officer is going through the usual signs and symptoms. Cop testifies that both of client’s eyes were red and bloodshot. Testifies that both pupils were dilated and moved slightly to exposure of light. In my opening, I had hinted that the officer will testify to some falsehoods.
The client gets up on the stand and pops one of his eyes out. My client had a fake eye that could obviously not be bloodshot or have pupil dilation. He was found not guilty.
92. Curb Appeal
I had one where I pretty much knew the jury was on my side by the end. I had prepared my closing statement the night before so I was ready to go. There was a break where the jury was out before receiving their instructions. I noticed that the opposing counsel was writing his closing statement during that break and would likely continue while the judge was reading the jury instructions.
His table was a mess—papers and books everywhere. He was frantically scribbling on a notepad and shuffling through papers, adding things up in a phone calculator, etc. I decided to clear everything off of my table and put it out of sight. When the jury came back in, I just sat there with nothing but a brand new, clean yellow legal pad and a pen.
Opposing counsel was still scribbling and shuffling and his table was still a mess. I sat back and crossed my legs and pressed my fingertips together and listened while the judge read the instructions to the jury. I like to think that made a good final impression on the jury. They came back with a verdict fully in my favor.
93. Remember, Remember the Fifth of May
It was a lawsuit against the owner of a Mexican restaurant for not paying his employees and keeping the waiters’ tips. He was just a terrible all-around guy. He created these fake handwritten schedules and payroll records going back years to try and prove that his employees didn’t work but a few hours each week and were paid for what they did work. It was difficult to prove they were fakes, but we managed to trap him during his deposition.
I made the guy go through random bits of his work schedule and asked him to confirm they were correct. We did a random week in February, March, April…then we got to May. “So here in early May, you had two servers working every night, one hostess, one bartender, and two cooks?” “Yes.” “And that didn’t fluctuate. You didn’t have a need for extra staff on, say, weekend nights?”
“No. It was very steady no matter the day.” “What about on this Wednesday? How much staff did you need?” “Just the two servers, my hostess, the bartender, and two cooks. The same as every other night.” “And if you would indulge me, what date are we looking at?” “May 5th.” “Okay. So it’s your testimony under oath that you had the same staffing needs on May the 5th as you did on May 4th and May 6th.” “Yeah.”
Opposing counsel’s head begins to hang while shaking. “So you are comfortable telling the judge you didn’t do extra business on May 5th.” “Yeah. Or June 17th or whatever date you pick. It was always steady.” “You have no problem walking into court and telling the judge and the jury, under oath, that your Mexican restaurant didn’t need any extra help on May 5th. That these schedules and payroll records you’ve produced are 100% accurate. For Cinco de Mayo? You are totally comfortable with doing that?”
“Yeah, I… Oh.” The case settled within a week.
94. What are the Odds
When I was around 16, I worked as a test shopper, so I’d end up in court sometimes to testify that someone had sold me cigarettes. There was one time where a man was claiming he had sold me cigarettes because the compliance officers never tried to properly train him as a store owner. The officers told him they tried to call him several times, and he was being incredibly difficult to get a hold of. The officers even had a ridiculous amount of notes that described all the times they tried to contact him.
When they pointed out all this to him, his defense turned into, “I don’t own a phone, so it was up to them to try something else to train me.” With absolutely perfect timing, his phone started audibly ringing in his pocket—the second he finished saying he didn’t own one. Our side’s lawyer is now a judge, and she still says that was one of the most perfectly timed things that’s ever happened to her.
95. Major Facepalm
My mom is a lawyer and was representing a black woman who was accused of stealing. My mother is also black and this is how it went down.
Plaintiff’s lawyer: “Please point out the accused.”
Officer: points at my mom
Mom: “I’m the lawyer, officer.”
Judge: dismisses case.
96. Sound Legal Advice
I once litigated a case against a party who chose to represent himself…and I managed to have objections sustained against every single question he asked my client on cross-examination. When the other party realized he wasn’t even going to be heard in this dispute that he had no doubt been thinking over and preparing for years, he just stood there in the well and actually wept.
Don’t try to represent yourself, kids. Lawyers’ knowledge on a lot of matters may be pretty superficial—but we know how proceedings in court go.
97. Incredible Gamesmanship
Two high school kids spend their day pissing each other off so they decide to drive to a fast food restaurant to fight. They park, get out, immediately approach, and swing. Kid A connects the first blow squarely and solidity across Kid B and instantly drops him. The whole fight was one punch with a total elapsed time of a few seconds. The restaurant is sued for failure to protect its patrons.
The case is weak. Unfortunately, Kid B hit the pavement hard and had severe brain damage. Attempts were made to settle, but they were after millions. We knew walking in they had two former employees testifying about large crowds building up after school. The plaintiff attorney aimed to prove the restaurant had a reasonable expectation of trouble and should have had armed guards in the parking lot.
At best, their witnesses wildly exaggerating to the point of perjury. Their credibility was shaky in being highly disgruntled for being fired. We had a list of witnesses ready to refute their claims. At trial, the plaintiff attorney presented first. He spent a long time building up the bad blood between the kids, the serious damages of Kid B, and his potential earning capacity.
A lot of foundation work to build sympathy for his client. We break for lunch on day two, after which it would be the defense presentation. As we were talking through where we were and how we should proceed, we realized the restaurant was not really mentioned at all. Plaintiff held back his “star” witnesses to rebut the defense presentation the restaurant was safe. So when we reconvened, we say, “The defense rests your honor.”
The plaintiff attorney fell out of his chair. He begins frantically shuffling papers on his table and was stammering. The judge says, “I take it you will need a few minutes for your close?” After that break, the plaintiff’s attorney gave one of the worst closing remarks I’ve ever heard. The jury’s verdict: Kid B 10% at fault. Kid A 90% at fault. Restaurant 0%.
98. Weird Flex, But Okay
We were in mediation on a case and were close to settling, but we were just far enough apart that it looked like it wasn’t going to resolve. The mediator comes in and tells me the Vice President of the company I’d dealt with all this time, who was this like 270-pound burly guy who my associate swears resembled pro wrestler Bam Bam Bigelow, says he will arm wrestle me for the difference.
So essentially if he wins, we take his final number, if I win, he pays ours. The mediator, who is a character, says it’s crazy but I should just do it! Then my client jumps in and says he wants to see this too and he doesn’t care about the money. Now, I am 6’0 and 185 pounds, so I was going to have a severe weight disadvantage, but I have always been weirdly good at arm wrestling.
So I say, screw it, tell him it’s on if he’s serious. Mediator leaves, I put on some DMX and start bouncing around a bit to get worked up like a fighter about to enter a ring. Go into the room, we agree we are doing this, shake hands and get set up. The mediator is bouncing off the walls and we have my client and two other attorneys watching.
Mediator says “Go” and I just lock my arm and absorb this guy’s initial push, then feel his arm give slightly when he realizes he isn’t moving me and then I just go full force and had him down so fast my associate initially thought I lost. We shook hands again and went back to our caucus room, and my client was ecstatic that I not only did that for him, but I won too! The mediator came in still giddy saying it was the craziest thing he’s seen in his career as a mediator.
He then said the guy is red-faced and frantically texting because he thinks he didn’t have authority to pay that much and did not contemplate actually losing. However, sure enough and true to his word, minutes later we had the signed agreement. Then we went out for some drinks to celebrate, and within a day I became a legend in the office.
99. Eat Your Words
A while ago I decided to treat myself to some Burger King. I was having a bad day and had a headache coming on. So I was waiting in line at the BK, when suddenly this woman comes in with a monster of a child. He was out of control, screaming, punching his mother, throwing things around. The mother didn’t pay any attention to him and he continued yelling, “I want a PIE.”
My headache turned into a full-blown migraine. I calmly turned and asked if she could please calm her child down. Immediately she got up in my face, telling me to mind my own business. I nodded and turned around, when the child cried out again how he wants a pie. I then decided to ruin their day in the most devious way I could think of.
When I got to the front of the line I asked the person at the register how many apple pies they have left. They told me and I bought all of them. I ate one and made sure the kid saw me throw the rest in the trash.
100. Don’t Stop Believing
My dad is out of state on business driving through some no-name town when he goes through an intersection. Suddenly, a cop pulls him over and tickets him—stating that he ran a stop sign. My dad insisted that there was not any stop sign, but the cop did not listen. Pissed, he went back to the intersection and saw that there was indeed a stop sign hidden behind a tree and twisted in the wrong direction!
Even more pissed, he went into a convenience store and bought a disposable camera. The clerk laughed because he saw what happened and knew what was up.
Luckily, my dad had to be back there in a few weeks for work. The cop assumed that someone with out of state plates would just pay the ticket, and was shocked when my dad turned up in court, calmly presented his evidence to the judge, and strolled out in five minutes scot-free.