Every villain is the hero of their own story. Or so it goes. The following tales are not about those people, but rather the self-aware folks who suddenly realized they were the baddies. What is it like to wake up and realize that you’re your own worst enemy? Find out with these chilling stories of how people figured out their “bad guy” status.
1. Sucker Punching Sucker
Got into a fist fight. We were equally sized and matched, but I came out on top. For those of you who have ever been in a fist fight, you know that line you’re not supposed to cross? Ya know, when the fight should be over, but you throw another punch? I crossed that line. I threw several more punches. I wasn’t proud afterward.
2. Getting Off My High Horse
I used to be insanely shy and thought everyone hated me for no reason because they wouldn’t talk to me. Turns out I was intimidating because I never wanted to talk and was too scared to be around them, so they eventually gave up. Since then I’ve been trying to make an effort to be nice and say hi to everyone but am still struggling a bit.
3. Sounds Like the Real Deal
So, I was driving my car into a roundabout, doing nothing wrong, not cutting up any other drivers, driving at a safe, slow speed, and suddenly HONK!!!! from another driver. I look up, and there is a taxi about to join the roundabout and the driver staring straight at me. These guys think they own the road.
Now you’re not even allowed to enter the roundabout when they want to!? Really? In my own defense, I was having a bad day so I did something I would never normally do. I slowed my car down to a crawl, and gave him the finger, maintaining eye contact for several seconds, turning to look over my shoulder at him so as to keep up the finger and the eye contact for as long as possible.
The look of astonishment on his face at getting the finger from this respectably dressed woman was priceless. As I exited the roundabout, HONK!!! again, but this time I realized the sound had been from a commercial playing on the car radio. The taxi had done absolutely nothing wrong, and I was a complete jerk for no reason. It must be tough, being a taxi driver.
4. The Bitter Flavor of Greed
I was out of town and I went into a frozen yogurt place I’d never seen before with so many flavors. I kept asking for sample cups until I’d tried like 20 of them and was only halfway. It was amazingly fun! I heard a parent giving a lecture to their kids who wanted to copy me about, “How about we don’t act like that man and buy ours.”
That just ruined it for me, so I dropped a $10 in their tip jar and left.
5. From Casual Film Fans to Casualties
I went to the movies with some friends when I was 13. Instead of US being the typical annoying loud teenagers, there were some loud women sitting in the row ahead. I didn’t hear the women, but my friend pointed them out and complained to me. In retaliation, I threw a handful of popcorn at the women and cackled like a madwoman.
Turns out I misread where my friend was pointing, and I didn’t hit the annoying loud women. I hit two quiet old ladies. I felt like such a jerk.
6. Too Young to Get War
I was part of a night raid in Afghanistan, and the targets we were seeking left the site just before we got there. We blew the gate and shotgunned the doors and found that all the adults were gone but had left their kids behind. Our standard operating procedure was to leave one soldier in each room as we initially cleared our way through the compound, which allowed us to move fast but not get surprised later if someone popped out of a hidey hole or something.
That particular night I was stationed in this room with two little kids, probably four and six. There was a little light, but not much. They were understandably crying and being really loud, and I felt bad for them. I used to carry extra food in my leg pocket, and I fished out some cookies and tried to hand them to the kids. The way they freaked out when I reached toward them—I thought those kids were going to succeed in climbing straight up the wall. The screaming was out of this world.
Only then did I consider that I could see clearly because of my night vision devices, but to them I was just a large, scary looking monster in the dark, with antennas and glowing green eyes and black balaclava with all sort of crazy stuff mounted on my head and covered in gear. While I knew these were cookies in a foil packet—it probably didn’t look like anything they would identify as food.
It occurred to me that those kids would probably need therapy for a long time, and it was unlikely they would ever get it.
7. After You
Well, yesterday, I was on a 100 road and a cattle truck was going 60. I got cheesed off and flashed my lights at him, and he put his indicator on and slowed down as we were approaching a turn-off. I thought “Yes he’s going, I can get in front of him now!!” but he instead drove back onto the road and continued going 60, so I flashed my lights again and he put the blinker on again.
We repeated this four times before I realized he was trying to let me go past him…
8. Let’s Be Adults Here
I was screaming at my nephew a lot when he did something bad. I realized I was flying off the handle when I didn’t need to be, when a calm talk would work better and not upset him or make him feel so bad. I realized it wasn’t just that he was being super, super bad—just a bit naughty and kids aren’t robots. I haven’t screamed since that night.
I realized it and while I may raise my voice, I keep that to a minimum and collect myself and calmly discuss things with him as much as possible. I still feel really guilty but I’m trying to be better to him.
9. Not So Gentlemanly
So, when I was a neckbeard loser, I tried asking out this girl. She was hot, but she was also in a wheelchair. I remember thinking how awesome it would be asking her out, since I figured not too many dudes would put up with a woman in a wheelchair. She would be just sooo thankful for me because I’m such a good guy to look past her insecurities!
So of course, I ask her out and she rejected me. At first, I was mad. I couldn’t believe a lady in a wheelchair wouldn’t go out with me. Like, who did she think she was? She couldn’t even walk! But then, I realized I was being a jerk. I thought her being in a wheelchair would bring her down to my level, but the truth was, she was still an awesome person that shouldn’t be taking scraps just because she couldn’t walk.
I was the condescending jerk who was looking down on her. It was a wakeup call for myself and how I thought of women. It wasn’t easy. Had to do some self-reflecting, found out I had no good qualities any lady wanted to date and had to work on myself. I’m not perfect, still catch myself in toxic thoughts, but I’d like to think I’ve improved. Got a wife and she seems happy, so there’s that at least.
10. We Can’t Always Be So Bright
A guy was following me down the highway as I left my college’s parking lot (night class), and he kept honking, flashing his brights, and tailgating me so I gave him the finger about four separate ways. He pulled up next to me and I even mimed looking around inside my bag for something before pulling out a middle finger. I opened the glove box and pulled out a middle finger. I went all out.
Guess whose headlights weren’t on.
11. Put Your Wallet Where Your Mouth Is
I was in Tijuana, drinking it up, and this was in the 90s. I left a bar and when I made it outside, I realized that I left my wallet on the table. I went back in and saw that different people were there and no wallet. I asked them if they found a wallet, and all said no. I got more aggressive with them and started to threaten them if they didn’t return the wallet. I was a big guy in those days, and I could tell they were scared.
By this time, the bouncer is noticing, and I recognize that I’d likely get thrown out soon. So, I told them that I’d be waiting for them outside and would beat their butts. I went outside and was looking in to scare them and plus I was mad. I then reached in my shirt pocket because I felt something there. Sure enough, my wallet was in there.
Felt like such a jerk and still feel like a jerk when I think of it.
12. When You Think You’re the Prince, But You Were the Dragon
This goes back to my first (real) girlfriend when we were 15. We were on and off for three years all throughout high school. She’d had a reputation for being “crazy” because she’d punched a boyfriend she had before me. All the “bros” warned me not to date her. I did anyway. But, in true teenage douchebag fashion, we went through periods where I would hide our relationship because she was “crazy,” and I didn’t want to have a public relationship with her.
In retrospect, she was an absolute sweetheart. Any “crazy” behavior from her was absolutely a reaction to how douchey guys treated her, 100% including me. She was a catch. I was an utter peanut butter-and-jerk sandwich to her. I still feel bad about it. We’re still casual acquaintances today but I really don’t know how to apologize for how I acted 20 years ago.
I feel like the statute of limitations has expired, and it would be super awkward now.
13. The Grass Isn’t Always Greener on Your Own Side
Some jerks kept pulling into my driveway to turn their car around and ripping up a huge chunk of my grass in the process. One day, it’s raining really hard and I back out of my driveway as usual, but I have to get out of my car to move the trash can. That’s when I see my front wheel freshly covered in chunks of grass and mud, along with a huge tire track going straight from the torn grass in my yard to my front wheel.
Turns out I’m the jerk who has been ripping up my own grass for like a year. It was a real Sixth Sense moment. Except no ghosts, just grass-ripping jerks.
14. There Was Only One Bad Guy Here
When I asked my mom to put me up for adoption, I was around six… I realized how awful that was when I was 22… I still regret it to this day (30). For those interested in the context: My father promised something sometime before, and I asked about it. He denied ever making that promise, so I pushed on and said that he did.
He got mad at me for insinuating that he was a liar and smacked me across the face. He then kind of forced me to go to the backyard and pick any bamboo stick from the hedge (this is the usual form of punishment). I had to come back with it and give it to him and lie down on the floor, face down and give him a number depending on the severity of my “transgressions” (usually 3+) the next thing is kind of obvious…
I remember that I felt so unfairly treated that I went to my mom, so she could comfort me and that’s where I kind of begged her to put me up for adoption. I didn’t really mean that I didn’t want my mom in my life; I just wanted to get away from my dad. They divorced while I was in boarding school (around 14). I lived with my mom and she and I have never been happier.
She is without a doubt my best friend.
15. She Was Never His Type
I was a dumb teenager once. My sister was telling me that one of our neighbors was gay. Being the idiot I was, wanting some cheap attention from rumor-mongering, I tried to spread it to a friend. She went up to him that moment and ratted me out. Turns out, my sister was mad at him because he refused her advances. I learned a thing, I guess.
16. The Accidental Stalker
In middle school, I pulled some really creepy stuff on a guy I liked. As in, an insane amount of physical stalking. I memorized his schedule only through following him everywhere, and I always “appeared” in the same places he was. Took one of his belongings that he forgot somewhere and took an assignment of his that was posted on a class corkboard because I just wanted his stuff.
At the time, it didn’t even occur to me that what I was doing was screwed up. All I thought about was, “How can I be around this person without having to interact with him?” It’s been over half a decade since then. If I did any of the stuff I did as an adult I would have been arrested with at least a few restraining orders.
My friends told me it was messed up, but I refused to listen. I probably did some serious, permanent mental damage to the poor kid. I hope he’s managed to recover, and I hope he never has to worry about anything like this again. He deserves the relief.
17. Tag, You’re a Jerk
Made fun of a friend for wearing dog tags, turns out he used them to help others identify his epilepsy in lieu of an identifier bracelet.
18. Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow
Had a coworker come in with a really amateur and bad attempt at a Mohawk, and we’d been really close before so I just straight up said my mind, “Dude, your hair looks like trash.” Turns out he had gone to three barbers because it just kept getting worse and worse and he genuinely got upset and the next day he just shaved his entire head.
19. Your Princess Is in Another Castle
With one guy I dated, I went out of my way to do everything perfectly, to an obsessive level. From dates, to small talk, cuddling, social interactions with his friends and supporting him in any way I could. It was only after we broke up that I realized I wasn’t going the extra mile because I cared, but because I had a deep-seated need to prove I was the superior one in the relationship.
It was then, in fact, I realized I was the baddie.
20. Never Make Them Settle for Second-Best
In middle and high school, I was a sort of proto-incel, before that was even really a thing (mid-to-late 1990s). I had never had a GF and I was convinced that there was some kind of conspiracy because girls didn’t like me. I was super attracted to this one girl in particular, but in true incel fashion I never actually spoke to her; I simply got more and more frustrated over time. Let’s call her “Kara.”
Anyway, out of the blue one day, her (less attractive) best friend and I struck up a conversation, and I saw it as an opportunity. Let’s call her “Tina.” Tina and I developed a legitimate relationship, but in my mind, I would always end up with Kara eventually. Tina was obviously head over heels for me, but I just used her to stay close to Kara.
At some point in all this, Kara did eventually get a boyfriend and I was absolutely crushed. I was so angry. I broke up with Tina (shortly after Valentine’s Day, no less). It wasn’t until a few months later, when I was cleaning out all the notes Tina had sent me, that I realized what a massive freaking jerk I had been.
Tina went on to find a much better man than myself, and I learned some valuable lessons. I’m grateful too, because that incident made me reevaluate myself and my approach to women. There is an alternate universe where I am single and on Reddit, whining about “Stacey” instead of treating women like actual people and not just trophies to be won.
21. The Predator Becomes Prey
Kind of retroactive, but I think it counts. There was a girl who liked me in 10th and 11th grade; she was an alright person, fit, wealthy, not bad looking, I just wasn’t into her though. Her personality wasn’t very interesting, and she always had this kicked puppy “no one likes me or includes me” attitude when all she’d do in social situations is sit off the side looking spiteful. I digress.
Anyway, she would ask me out at least twice a year, and each time I would let her down nicely, say I wasn’t interested and would like to just be friends. The problem is she’d test that as much as she could. She’d randomly send me “hey” on Facebook and if I didn’t respond fast enough, I’d get a rant about how I was ignoring her and how I was a liar about wanting to be friends.
The worst was when I started a long-distance relationship. I kept it kind of on the DL (because of the stigma) but eventually, I let it slip around her that I had a girlfriend, and she lost it. “So, this whole time I’ve been trying so hard all for nothing?!” It was bad. It made me feel so conflicted because I didn’t want to be outright mean to her, but it seemed like the only thing to get her to leave me alone.
And then it hit me. Back in middle school, I thought girls were the evilest people in the world because “they’d be my friend and when I asked them out they’d just stop talking to me.” I was the epitome of r/niceguys for years, and it was only when I was on the receiving end of it that I realized why those girls treated me the way they did.
Up until that moment, my whole narrative had been “middle school sucked because everyone was just so cruel to me!” but now suddenly I was realizing “middle school sucked because I was kind of pathetic and would emotionally wear people down to the point that the only way they could escape was to be mean enough that I would stop talking to them.”
Granted I was already transitioning out of being a NiceGuy™, but not in any kind of self-aware way, I just got really into self-improvement. This experience sealed the deal though. I didn’t realize how much of a NiceGuy™ I was in middle school until I had to deal with a female equivalent of one. Suddenly forgave every girl who was mean to me in middle school because I now understood how bad it must have been to deal with me.
22. Not Everyone Needs an Avenger
It’s not that bad of a thing, but I was driving on a road and saw someone on a side street pull out onto my road right in front of a girl who was trying to cross the street. Immediately, I got angry that this douche almost hit a girl just to be fast, so I followed him for about 30 seconds until he parked so I drove up right next to him stopped and said, “Hey jerk! You almost killed that girl back there! What the heck are you thinking?”
He looked confused and just said, “Dude, she waved me ahead and let me go what the heck are you talking about?” Immediately I started to apologize telling him that it looked bad from where I was, but yea I went from hero to zero real quick.
23. Friendship Isn’t a Service
I “broke up” with a close friend and made up with them recently. I was being emotional and lashed out, questioning their friendship because they wouldn’t drop everything they were doing just for little old me. I know now I’m wrong. My friend has always been there for me. I still feel bad even though I apologized. I’m a bad friend.
24. Ask Before You Hug
In high school, there was a kid who I unwittingly bullied. I actually thought he was a cool dude, and my friend group and I rough house a lot. Headlocks, finger circle game, dead legs etc… I was just doing what I did with everyone I get along with. One day, I came up behind him and did that thing where you kick someone’s back leg into their front leg while they’re walking, and they trip on their feet.
He turned around with pure fear and anger in his eyes and yelled, “Why do you have to be such a jerk to me all the time?” My heart sank to my feet. I didn’t realize that what I saw as friendly bonding play, he found really intimidating. We talked it out, and I spent the rest of my high school days being really nice to him.
The weirdest part is that he was a pretty popular kid, not small by any means, and on a couple different sports teams. Goes to show, anybody can feel bullied.
25. Look at Yourself First
I was at a restaurant doing a coworker dinner thing when I noticed the woman at the next table was staring me down. Like, barely blinking, full-blown eye contact. After a while, I started getting pretty agitated when my subtle social cues to stop staring at me went wholly ignored. After about 20 minutes of this, I had enough of this lady’s unsolicited rudeness, and I did the whole “come at me, bro” arms in the air move, thinking surely THAT would get my point across. I made a fairly big production of it.
Only then did I realize that the lady was completely blind.
26. Some People Take Work Home
Went to a friend of a friend’s house to chill. Nice kid, but his house is crazy dirty: dishes stacked to the ceiling, laundry strewn about like carpeting, old takeout food bags from a ton of places everywhere, bags of garbage just laying in piles in the kitchen. The place stunk to high heaven and I had trouble getting comfortable.
Later, I commented on how dirty the place was to my friend. Turns out the guy’s mom has cancer, and the guy has to help take care of her and his younger sibling, all while being a typical teenage boy. I felt bad for judging.
27. Stop, Drop Your Pride, and Roll
It was my mom’s moment, but whatever. She was driving me and my brother home from the store when we were young, when she drove through an intersection, screaming, “You got a stop sign, lady!” out the window at a person she nearly hit. Ten seconds later, my mother realized that she was, in fact, the one who blew through a stop sign.
All she said was, “Oh….” Like any good kids, we still, to this day, yell, “You got a stop sign, lady!” at her.
28. Adopt a New Set of Jokes
Used to think it was funny to quote Dodgeball and say, “You’re adopted, your real parents don’t even love you.” Wish I could say that I learned my lesson the first time that I said this to someone who responded with “…actually, I am adopted.” Won the lottery twice.
29. Sickness is Not an Excuse
It was the moment I realized that I was, in fact, responsible for everything I did while mentally unstable. I spent years alienating everyone I knew by demanding that they forgive my bad behavior because “it wasn’t me; it was my bipolar disorder.” Everyone else was the bad guy because they just didn’t understand my illness. I was the victim!
One day it just kind of clicked: no matter what the cause, I was the one who was hurting the people around me. It wasn’t on them to understand and forgive my endless parade of insanity, it was on me to get help and stop being so toxic to everyone around me. It was that epiphany that finally helped me turn the corner and get better.
While I’d sought help before, it was always with the mindset that I had no responsibility for (and therefore no control over) my illness.
30. Some Exceptions Apply
So, one time I was in a high school assembly, and a bunch of kids in pajamas started walking into the auditorium. Pajamas were against my school’s dress code. Me, thinking I was funny, yelled: “Hey that’s against the dress code!” Turns out it was the special ed class. Really felt like a jerk. Couldn’t make myself small enough in that crowd.
31. Don’t Judge an Occupant By Their Car Accessories
It wasn’t me, but it was amazing to see. I was at a Starbucks, sitting outside, along with a number of other people. A gym-rat looking guy starts drawing attention to himself and pointing at people saying: “Is that white Chevy over there your car?!” After a couple of these, a guy sitting near me says, “Yeah, that is my car.”
Gym rat (righteously): You are a royal jerk for parking in a handicapped spot! How can you be so selfish when someone who needs that spot might show up at any time? For all you know, he already drove through the parking lot, couldn’t find a space, so he headed back home emptyhanded. All thanks to you! Blah blah blah blah.
Car owner: Sorry. I’m handicapped, but I forgot to hang the tag when I left the car.
Gym rat: Oh, really?
At this point, the car owner, who had been sitting down and showed no signs of handicap, stands up. The guy is bent in half like his spine is fused in a 90-degree angle. He looked perfectly normal sitting down. “OK, OK, I’ll go to the car and hang the tag.” Gym rat, upon seeing him stand: “Oh, ah, sorry. You don’t have to do that.”
The car owner slowly and uncomfortably walks the 40 feet to his car, opens the door, fumbles to hang the tag, then ambles his way back to his seat, rigidly bent the entire time.
32. Mind Your Own Mouth First
When I was in elementary school, I had a serious problem keeping my mouth shut. Basically, if a thought popped into my head, I was freaking saying it. Teachers didn’t exactly appreciate the constant blurting out, but when I really crossed the line was when I made fun of a perfectly sweet girl, just because her mom smoked.
Screw you, young me. I was already a problem child, and while I wasn’t “technically” expelled, I did have to leave and go to a different school. So yeah, basically expelled, but off the record. What’s worse is that it took about two years of sulking for me to finally realize that I had it coming. Every single bit of it.
God, I can’t believe how much of a jerk I was.
33. Filled with Cold Air
I was a freshman in high school. I don’t know why it occurred to me, but I figured out that if you rubbed the little cage that held your books under the desks in just the right way, that it would resonate and make this really loud humming sound. I would sit there quietly and wait for the teacher to turn her back and start.
She would turn around and look at the air conditioner vent that was right above me, of course when she did, I would stop. She would look bewildered then turn back around, of course, I would start up again. Being the quiet kid no one in the class suspected it was me. It was hilarious…until they closed the classroom down for a couple of days because they had concerns about the air conditioners malfunctioning.
34. Fast Food, Fast Words, Fast to Judge
Was the assistant manager of a fast food place in college. A bunch of punk-rocker-looking guys my age came in to eat, around the same time as some soccer moms with little kids. One of the punk rock kids was pretty intimidating: easily a foot taller than me and built like an athlete. They were all perfectly nice when they ordered their food, but once they got their cups to fill up their drinks, the big guy started screaming and cursing at the top of his lungs: “MOTHEREFFING PIG-EFFER SON OF A b!”
The moms all looked horrified. I’m ordinarily quite averse to conflict, so I was quite proud of myself when I marched around the counter and got right up into this big dude’s face. I looked him straight in the eye and told him that if he had a problem acting like a normal human being, he needed to get out of my restaurant.
He looked back at me and almost started crying. He whispered, “I’m sorry” and turned and walked away. He looked absolutely destroyed, and his friends followed him trying to console him. Either that dude legitimately had Tourette’s, or the whole group of them was pulling a prank and were the absolute best actors I have ever seen.
35. The Funnybone is Not the Problem Here
When I was 10 or so, a friend of mine got appendicitis, so the teacher asked us to write letters of support to her. Little me thought I could troll her in the same way I could do on the internet (which isn’t even justified there), so I wrote an entire letter joking about her condition, wishing it got worse, saying, in the end, it’s all a joke and I wish she got well.
The teacher came to class mad and disappointed and proceeded to read my letter without saying my name. I instantly knew I had messed up and never did it again.
36. Almost the Orphan-Maker
Wasn’t paying attention while driving and blew through a red light yesterday. Clipped an SUV. Airbags didn’t even deploy, no one was hurt. Already accepted I was an emptyheaded idiot. And then I see the occupants of the other car tending to the baby girl in the back seat. I’ve never felt so lucky and hollow in my life.
I could have killed a baby or her father, and on Father’s Day to boot. Thankfully, no one was hurt at all. Thankfully, they had everything to keep their child safe from idiots like me. They were surprisingly calm about it. I won’t be driving for a while. And when I do, it’s grandma driving for me. I hope they forgive me.
37. Don’t Judge a Style By Their Follicles
After being a bit of a tear-away and trying to get my stuff together in school, I told off a kid for wearing a hat that the school uniform didn’t allow. I later learned he was wearing the hat because he’d lost his hair to chemo. Did not feel good. For some context, this was in a UK secondary with a blazer-and-trousers-style uniform.
38. The Best Intentions Get Detention
I teach middle school, so I end up having to play the villain a lot. But one time stands out where I actually WAS the bad guy: Last block of the day, we’re working through something that is not terribly interesting. I hear a few whispers and giggles and my teacher sense goes off. Out of the corner of my eye, I see that a note is being passed around the class and that’s what’s causing the distraction.
I muster up my best stern teacher face and boom, “Put that in your backpack or I’m going to have to take it.” Someone had found out it was my birthday—they made me a lovely card and were all signing it.
39. Use Your Head Before Your Sass
My best friend’s younger sister had a weird headband on one day. We were in high school at the time, so she was in middle school. She and my friend didn’t really get along, and she was kinda mean to me too, so I saw an opportunity to tease her and said, “Nice headband.” Turns out she had had cosmetic surgery of some kind to make her ears stick out less, and the headband was there to cover her surgical wounds.
I sure did feel like a jerk.
40. Food Fight or Flight
Once while working as a line cook in a restaurant, a coworker said something to me (I don’t remember what but I do know it wasn’t anything bad) and for pretty much no reason at all, I smacked him in the side of the face with a raw, marinated chicken breast. I dunno, I guess I thought it would be funny. Pretty much immediately I realized I did not live in the Monty Python universe and hitting people with raw chicken (especially for no reason) was generally a jerk thing to do.
It sort of worked out though. Karma came around a couple of weeks later when, through a series of unlikely events, I ended up having an entire chocolate cake fall on my head. Still covered in chunks of cake and icing, I immediately sought out coworker and asked him if we were even; he almost peed himself laughing and we actually became work friends.
41. Parties Should be Accessible
I used to work security at a college bar, and we would typically ask people to leave who were too intoxicated. One night, I was posted up in the DJ booth because it was our normal shoulder to shoulder level of busy, and I watched this guy start stumbling and drinking his beer in a really weird way. I make my way over to him and tell him he has to leave because he is too drunk.
He tries to tell me something, but I can’t understand what he said because the music is so loud, and he was slurring his words. We get outside and he tells me that he has cerebral palsy, which was pretty obvious after the fact… He was cool about it and I let him back in, but I don’t think I have ever felt like a bigger dick than that night.
42. Become the Monster
Y’know when you get in an argument with someone and you come up with the perfect solution for the situation later? About 66% of the trains I get from Dublin to Cork, someone is sitting in a pre-booked seat that doesn’t belong to them, whether it’s been mine or another person, and these people have all been cantankerous old farts who have no desire whatsoever to shift themselves from a seat they didn’t reserve.
I had a man who was probably in his 80s stand up to his full height, a foot shorter than me, and practically bellow in my face that he didn’t care that I’d booked the seat; he wasn’t moving, while his shrew wife looked on with an air of proprietorial approval. It’s pretty rotten. Finally, however, last month I boarded a train, someone was sitting in my seat with his partner, and I was just the right combination of tired and stressed to let him have it.
I’d been waiting for months for this moment. I showed my ticket, told them it was my seat, insisted they move, channeled my inner-Seinfeld for the first and hopefully last time in my life, and finally stormed off up the train when they continued to sit in my seat, full of righteous vindication that I was going to get my way.
Finally! I was going to get one over the train! No longer shall I back down to the petty whims of rude commuters; now it is they who shall yield, to the righteous powers of Reservation! I went up to the staff cabin, asked for an administrator, told him the situation, and presented him with my ticket. This was met with:
“Ah, I see the problem here sir. You’ve reserved a seat on the 18:00 train, this is the 16:00 train.” I’d booked the ticket for 6 PM and become mixed up with the six in 16:00 (four in the afternoon). I was mortified. I meekly took a seat near the opposite end of the train and didn’t say a word to anyone else for the next three hours.
In my quest to defeat Rude Commuter, I had become him.