Let’s face it: Some people are just rude. Call them ignorant, call them malicious, and the end result is the same—their social unawareness or downright vicious streak leaves us feeling offended and hurt. These people took to Quora to let it all out about their worst encounter with a rude person.
1. Small Town Time
At Six Flags, I bumped into an old classmate from high school. It had been a decade since our high school years. I was hanging out with a group of friends, while she was there with her husband and their two kids.
The kids looked to be around 8 to 10 years old. She asked me if I was a parent. I told her I wasn't, and also that I wasn't married. Her response just took me by surprise. She peered at me and asked, “What’s wrong with you"?
Her audacity rattled me. I thought, how can she ask such a disrespectful and prying question? Still, I calmly told her that I was selective. I probably should have asked whether there's a deadline for us to wed and have kids post-graduation, as I definitely didn't get that memo.
Just for context, in our hometown, most people either start families immediately or strike out for new horizons. I just picked the second option.
2. The Writing’s On The Wall
It was me; I admit I was a bit rough around the edges. I had my mind set on a pair of Redwing boots. I was after a particular type of boot, with a specific sole and style. Heck, I'd be walking in Redwings for more than ten years, so I knew what I was looking for—those white crepe soles.
You see, I work in remodeling, and the black soles tend to leave marks on the floors. The white ones, while not perfect, are far less noticeable. The sales lady insisted that Redwing boots wouldn't leave any marks and that I should opt for the black soles with a heel.
But I wasn't after a heel; they're a nightmare to clear off when they get muddy. I tried to coax her into bringing out the version I was interested in, but she was pretty stubborn, recommending the black sole in another style. Our conversation turned into a bit of a tug-of-war.
She repeated, "These are Redwing boots—they won't leave any marks on your floors". That's when I decided to prove my point. I took a boot, made my name on her wall using the sole as a crayon, and even dotted the 'i.' I handed it back and said, "From where I'm standing, those boots do leave marks. Now, could I check out the white-sole pair, please"?
Her reaction was predictable: "How in the world am I going to clean that off?" To which, I replied, "Well, the bright side is, they're Redwing boots—they're not supposed to leave marks". Didn't have another option in our small town for Redwings, so I started ordering them online. A hefty price tag of more than $200 a pair; I'd say I should be able to get what I want.
3. Pretty Ugly
In my military days, I had a fellow soldier who, let's be gentle, was a real piece of work. She was stunning, just like a Barbie doll, but her inside? Not so nice. She had a knack for belittling and criticizing anyone she thought was below her.
One evening, while we all were enjoying ourselves at a club, she somewhat clumsily approached me and blurted out, "I don't understand. You're not that attractive, yet you're never without a partner. I'm extremely beautiful and these guys won't even glance my way." I was absolutely at a loss for words.
Shaking off the initial shock, I met her gaze and replied, “You're not wrong. I may not be the best-looking individual on earth, but I possess something you lack—a likable personality. You're undoubtedly attractive, until you start speaking, that's when all your inner ugliness spills out like a gushing volcano of unpleasantness.”
What she said hurt me profoundly—so much so that even after three decades, it's fresh in my memory like yesterday's events. My response probably hurt her too, but I genuinely wish that it stung her enough to make her reconsider her behavior and strive to become a better person.
4. It’s A Free Country
Back when I was in my early 20s, I used to enjoy roller skating at the beach. Throughout my adulthood, I've never been exactly skinny, but back then I had a pleasantly full figure. One particular day, I decided to relax on the beach while my boyfriend was roller skating.
As I was soaking up the sun, a gentleman came up and knelt next to me—and right away, I had the creeps.
"Hey, how's it going?" he asked.
"Erm, okay," I responded.
"I just wanted to let you know, I'm part of that group over there," he indicated a sizeable group of people around my age, possibly a bit younger. "They chose me to approach you and say that overweight people shouldn't hang out at this beach."
I was utterly stunned. I hastily gathered my belongings and said, "Well, impolite people shouldn't be here either, but it seems you got a pass." But it wasn't over just yet.
Embarrassed and furious, I made my way to my car, tears welling up. Much to my dismay, a bird flew overhead and let its droppings land on my arm. It was quite evidently not my day.
5. Crossing A Line
My ex-boyfriend and I once invested in a small property with the idea of renovating and selling it. Despite his family's background in real estate, he didn't seem to know the first thing about it. The whole project ended up being an absolute disaster, and we constantly ended up in arguments over everything – no task was too small to cause a fight.
A large part of our problems came from him abandoning our initial goal of selling the house and instead, amusingly enough, using it as a love nest for his numerous other romantic interests. His behavior towards me turned seriously nasty. We each knew a bit about the other's past, and in my case, I'd recently split from my husband after more than a quarter-century of marriage.
It was a long-lasting marriage, and even though it didn't end well, we never wished harm on one another. Sadly, my ex-husband took his own life, which was incredibly hard on our youngest child, who was just nine at the time.
One day, we were in the middle of yet another argument about the house renovation when, in an attempt to hurt me, my ex-boyfriend cruelly said, "Now I know why your husband killed himself". I was utterly shocked that he'd dare to say something so hurtful. I was left speechless for a moment.
After regaining my composure, I told him, "Actually, no. You don't know a thing about him or why he did what he did. That tragedy hurt my children deeply, which is something I despise more than anything. If you know what's good for you, you'll never bring this up again". I'm still gobsmacked that he had the audacity to bring it up.
6. Some People Have No Manners
Back in 5th grade, when I was around 10 or 11, I often found myself staying a bit later in school because I didn't need to catch a bus home. One day, as I was packing up, only one other student was still in the room, our teacher having left once the majority had left.
Suddenly, an unfamiliar woman walked in. I'd never seen her before and never saw her afterwards; perhaps a parent. She asked for the teacher's whereabouts, to which I suggested the office might be the right place to check.
Her gaze intensified on me as I responded. But things went south real quick after that. She began by doing a double-take and then exclaimed, “Oh my goodness, your face! Are you deformed or something?". Can you imagine someone saying that to a 10-year-old they never met before?
Who on earth would think that's okay to say?! I have a mild version of a condition known as Romberg Syndrome, or sometimes Perry-Romberg Syndrome. It essentially leads to the breakdown of tissue on one side of the face during childhood.
The condition can affect both fat and bone, changing the appearance of the face—the eye socket, cheek, nose, mouth, and jawline on the affected side. The breakdown generally decreases after puberty, but the consequent effects are there to stay.
In extreme cases, individuals might undergo surgical reconstruction to correct the facial asymmetry caused. But my situation is mild, to the point that most people don't even realize my face is slightly less symmetrical than average. Most can't pinpoint it even when I mention it.
When this unfamiliar adult asked if I was “deformed or something", I knew about my condition (I was diagnosed at age 4 or 5) but didn't remember its technical term or think much about it. This sudden question led me to respond with something like "Yeah, sort of, I guess."
After she left, my classmate, dumbfounded exclaimed, “Was that your mom?" He thought maybe she'd have the right to say that if she was family. I quickly denied, packed my things, and cried the whole way home. When I told my parents about this incident, I hoped they would talk to my teacher and find out who this woman was, and give her the piece of their mind she deserved.
7. Get Over Yourself
About six months had passed since the heartbreaking loss of my newborn daughter, who was born with a terminal illness. On one particular day, I received a scathing phone call from my boss that lasted a solid thirty minutes. He was accusing me of a mistake that, ultimately, wasn't even mine to begin with.
Within that lengthy tirade, he pointed out that several months had elapsed since my daughter's untimely departure. In his view, I should have been over it already, and he sternly warned me against using my grief as a reason for any potential work inaccuracies.
8. Makeover Moment
My dad's so-called "buddy" once chuckled as he told me, "You're as unattractive as your mom." Saying something like that to a kid already having a tough time at school was seriously wrong.
Yet, I managed to shake off his harsh words—and I got the ultimate revenge in the end. When I next bumped into him as a blossoming 17-year-old, he was caught off guard to see that the once "ugly kid" had turned into a real beauty. I had a golden tan, a curvy figure, and sported a stylish vest alongside my vibrant 80s' blonde hair.
I strutted past him, flipping my hair scornfully, wearing an immense smirk on my face. A few years later, his liver gave out. To be honest, I wasn't particularly heartbroken.
9. Oh, Mother
On Mother's Day, my mother-in-law to shared her opinion that I wasn't yet a mother. Here I was, about halfway through my challenging pregnancy at 21-25 weeks, carrying my miracle rainbow baby, while managing gestational diabetes. I was facing complications that were putting both me and my baby at risk.
Every day, I necessitated injecting myself with medication twice, just so my baby and I could overcome the journey. This was nothing short of a miracle, considering my struggles with infertility due to stage 4 endometriosis.
I mustered my courage and told her straight, "The moment the first pregnancy test was positive, I became a mother". Bearing in mind all I'd been through, I wholeheartedly believe I deserved to celebrate my impending motherhood on Mother's Day.
Sign up to our newsletter.
History’s most fascinating stories and darkest secrets, delivered to your inbox daily. Making distraction rewarding since 2017.
10. Do You Praise God With That Mouth?
I attended a private Catholic high school that was managed by a group of nuns. They were generally pleasant, and 40 years post-graduation, I found myself at the funeral of one of these nuns. The new mother superior, a lady I'd never met before, made her way to our table where eight of us sat. She loudly pointed out to me, "I don't know you, it seems like you've put on a lot of weight over the years." I had the perfect response to keep her quiet.
My reply was, "Well, I only weighed six pounds when I was born." My friends found it hilarious… She, however, did not.
11. Let The Haters Hate
Here's a tale from a long time ago, back when my adopted daughter—a lovely young African-American girl—was just a tiny tot. Just to clarify, I am a white man. We were patiently waiting at the doctor's office, when suddenly another woman there blatantly asked me, "Are you her father?" She said it with such a questioning, critical tone that it took me aback. Without hesitation, I replied, "Absolutely, I am her father and I consider myself the luckiest man on Earth."
I understand the woman had her own curiosity. But honestly, there are far more tactful approaches to quench one's curiosity! Fortunately, my daughter is an incredibly resilient individual who recognizes her worth and place in the world. She has developed the ability to overlook rudeness, understanding that it reflects solely on the person being rude, and has nothing to do with her own worth and stature.
12. Car Trouble
My boyfriend and I had an interesting encounter in the supermarket parking lot recently. While we were there, we bumped into a pal of his. We somehow got onto the topic of cars, chatting about it right next to my own car, which is a 2004 model Cadillac. Obviously, it's not top-of-the-range, but it's a pretty reliable ride.
Truth be told, it's the best car I've ever owned. I put in a lot of hard work to get it and I'm so proud that I was able to buy it single-handedly. Then his friend did something that really got under my skin. He patted my car and blurted out, "Well, it's better than nothing". Even now, my boyfriend and I laugh about it from time to time.
13. No One’s Laughing
Back in the 80s, I used to wait tables at a popular eatery. We had a regular who popped in a couple times a week. He had a habit of attempting to charm the staff with his humor, thinking he was a regular comedian. The problem was, his jokes were often prejudiced, and I never found them funny.
Eventually, he asked one of my co-waitresses why I never chuckled at his one-liners. She questioned him, asking if he knew anything about my family or personal background, to which he predictably had no answer. The thing is, my family is a melting pot reflecting every race, culture, and religion!
Despite being white, I was irked by his jokes. However, I opted not to confront him, instead just ignoring his humor and hoping he'd inquire why. Doing so would give me an opportunity to respond in a way that might make him ponder his words. From that point on, he steered clear of my section, which suited me just fine. He could keep his generous tips to himself!
14. It’s All About Me
My then-closest friend confronted me, accusing me of being "extremely unkind and self-centered" for not showing interest in her new apartment or engaging with her social media posts about it. During that period, I was dealing with overwhelming challenges: my father was critically ill, his life hanging by a thread, and I was battling depression and anxiety. Her behavior left me gobsmacked and in disbelief. Sadly, our friendship is now a thing of the past.
15. Real Enough
"Where'd you get that? Almost looks genuine." So there I was, filling in some secretarial tasks to fend off boredom in between lucrative freelancing gigs. This one company boss was a bit of a show-off and he somehow convinced himself that my fancy watch must be a knockoff. He couldn't wrap his head around the fact that a 'mere temp' like me could have a real Rolex.
16. Here Before You, Here After You
I'm from South Texas. When my office closed down, I stuck with the same company but moved to the Chicago branch. There, I had a colleague who frequently commented on my Mexican heritage, often making distasteful Mexican jokes.
He'd say things about what Mexicans were good or bad at, spouting stereotypes of illegal immigration, you know – all those painfully unfunny “joke” topics. He pushed it to the limit one day, cracking a cruel joke about Mexicans swimming over to the US and even using a derogatory term.
One day, I'd finally had enough—and I decided to risk my job. I called him out in front of everyone. I told him in no uncertain terms, "I've traced my family tree. The Cadenas have been in America, in South Texas, from as far back as 1568 – just 76 years after Spain discovered the Americas."
Keeping my cool, I added, "The Cadenas were here before there was a border to swim across. We were here before the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock in 1621, and even before the Declaration of Independence was signed."
I then leaned in and said quietly to him: "If you can't accept that truth, we can settle this outside with a fist fight." Taking a step back, I loudly reminded him, "By the way, Mexicans have an impressive record in boxing, but don’t just take my word for it."
He never brought up my heritage again. I quit after a year at that office. He had no idea that I'm, firstly, left-handed, and secondly, a pretty impressive boxer—who could have further humiliated him.
17. Have A Heart
"What's going on? You're looking like a total panda," my so-called "best friend" chimed in when she saw me right after I found out about my friend Pam's passing. Simply put, eyeliner, mascara, and tearful crying don't go together.
18. Girls Do It Better
When I was pretty new to my culinary career, my first audition for a fine-dining restaurant job was an interesting experience. It all happened a while ago. To test the waters and get a feel for my culinary abilities, I was assigned to assist the team at their sister restaurant. In professional kitchen terms, this experience is known as a "stage".
The team started me off at the salad and dessert preparation area, because that's typically where newcomers begin. My companions at this station were the station's lead and a new guy.
Before we started, he leaned in to share some advice, suggesting that I might find the kitchen daunting and should consider applying at another restaurant where more women were employed. The irony of it all? I ended up outperforming him and getting the job.
19. You Don’t Own Me
As an Assistant General Manager in a restaurant, my role encompassed overseeing both customer service and kitchen operations. One morning, our only cook was noticeably unwell with what seemed like the flu. Since I have experience in kitchen operations, I thought I could step in, but it wasn't sing with the law.
I reached out to the restaurant's owner, proposing that I take over, allowing the sick cook some much-needed rest. However, he disagreed and insisted on my presence in the front of house to supervise the servers, who were quite competent, and abruptly ended our conversation before making his way down to the restaurant.
Upon his arrival, he led me to the office, and we had a private discussion. The essence of this talk revolved around him emphasizing my duty to follow his instructions without objection. His next statement shocked me. He went on to say, “You must realize that when you're clocked in, you're under my authority.”
Quite distressed but unable to quit due to financial constraints, my priority became finding new employment quickly. Currently, I work as a personal chef and have made strides in the field, with several challenging roles in various restaurants adding to my repertoire.
20. All The Rage
My niece experienced repeated negative remarks about her choice of clothing from a rich school-fellow who only wore chic, designer attire. This girl was also envious of my niece's achievements in school and her self-assured character.
There came a time, though, when my niece couldn't take it anymore. She showed up at school one day wearing off-brand boots that looked like Ugg but were actually a brand called "Bears". The snooty girl couldn't resist making a snide remark, calling out to the classroom, "Look at her cheap boots, they're not Uggs"!
Unruffled, my niece had the perfect comeback. She knew this girl was self-conscious about her sizeable nose, so she played that card. Looking at her straight in the eye, she shot back, "They're Bears, you large-nosed weirdo"! And just like that, she was never bothered by her again.
21. Your Time’s Up
In 1970, my dad came back home from his Vietnam duty tour, and gave me a special watch he had used out there. It had a green strap and a face that didn't reflect light. I remember taking it to school once, and a teacher said, "How many lives did your father have to take for you to have that watch?"
That comment made my dad so upset—he had to gather every bit of restraint not to schedule a one-on-one meeting with that teacher.
22. I Can See That You’re A Jerk
I used to help out at my mom's workplace as a volunteer. The organization would pay each of us a stipulated sum for every day volunteered. As this was my main source of income then, I did my best to volunteer every day possible.
A little detail about myself: I'm legally blind and was still getting accustomed to having my first guide dog around at that time. However, I've had pet dogs over the past decade, gaining considerable experience with canines.
I arrived for my volunteering shift one day, settling in at my usual spot at the lengthy countertop, between two fellow volunteers. We were anticipating the opening of the event to start selling tickets. My guide dog stayed put under the counter, while I dug into some dry Nesquik cereal.
Curiously, the volunteer to my left inquired, "What are you munching on? Is that cereal?" I was about to reply when the volunteer to my right interrupted with, "She's probably having dog food, wouldn't know the difference anyway."
I couldn't believe my ears. These were people who'd known me and my mother for years—we'd been working together for quite some time. Just because I'm visually challenged doesn't mean I can't differentiate the taste and smell of cereal from that of dog food.
The hurtful comment left me speechless, and even now, four years later, the memory remains fresh and bothersome. What's even more disappointing is that I'm unsure who made that snide remark, meaning I may still be working with the offender.
If my hunch is right about the individual involved, they are no longer working back here as they used to. It's disappointing that such comments emanate from volunteers of a reputable organization dedicated to aiding the blind in our community. I've experienced or heard several comments that made me feel undervalued or like a burden.
Ultimately, I've decided not to let it bother me too much. I'm not there to please anyone or make friends. I need to stay active when I'm not at University, and the extra money doesn't hurt either.
23. Telling On Yourself
As a customer service rep who has spent countless hours speaking with clients over the phone, I've become the target of about every possible derogatory comment and explicit language people can produce. While it's difficult to select the singular "worst" exchange over time, I remember a recent incident that struck a chord.
Due to confidentiality rules, I can't go into detail about my employer, role, the customer’s identity, or the entirety of the conversation. What I can share is that the caller was a woman who was upset because her request couldn’t be fulfilled. She was speaking to me, a man who happened to answer her call. The conversation went more or less as follows:
She angrily asked, "You can't do what I asked because you're clueless, right?"
I started to respond, "Not at all–"
But she interrupted me, insisting, "Your whole family must be simple-minded, just like you!"
I attempted to explain, "Well, actually–"
But she didn't let me finish: "I hope your mom falls ill!"
I tried to steer the conversation back on track, "Listen, we can discuss this matter maturely–"
But she grew more outrageous, "I hope your mom gets sick and dies! Your whole family, too, including you!"
With that, she abruptly ended the call.
As luck would have it, she was chosen to participate in a customer feedback survey about my performance. She graded my service as zero out of 5 and commented that I was impolite, aggressive, and used inappropriate language.
24. I’m A Survivor
As I was strolling through Pittsburgh, I was clad in my Desert Storm chocolate chips field jacket, a beard gracing my face, and blue jeans. All of a sudden, a cheeky backpack-wearing man approached me close to Carnegie Mellon University and rudely remarked, "Hey you old man, why don't you just kick the bucket already?" However, I had a great comeback.
"I don't have that luxury," I replied, "With the Veteran Care I have, they won't allow me to just go like that. I intend to leave this world due to old age.
25. Read The Room
During the birth of my first baby, I was on an Army base. The midwife was stationed between my legs while I was struggling with preeclampsia symptoms and the onset of kidney failure. Amidst this, my stepmother chose to question, "What happened? You've really let yourself go."
I felt a surge of relief when the Army major-cum-midwife stood up and threatened to ban her from the base. Even though my rapid weight gain was due to preeclampsia, her comment was just plain disrespectful.
26. You’re Out Of Order
My spouse and I once took part in a program where an elderly man moved in with us for several months to help him better his English skills. I prefer not to mention his place of origin. He shared quite a few misguided opinions, but one of them keeps looping in my mind.
Direct to my face, he bluntly stated that if I were in his homeland, I'd be sequestered in a hut, maybe to be wedded to a cousin. My husband was shocked into silence, his mouth agape, though his supportive arm remained around me. I should clarify that I have a physical disability and require support to move around.
His words, though born from lack of knowledge, deeply affected me. There exists a concept that implies all people with disabilities should be hailed as heroes, seen as brave and resilient. But in reality, we're just going about our everyday lives.
27. So, That’s A No?
During my college years, I mustered the courage and asked a strikingly beautiful girl out. Her response was an amused, "Do you seriously believe a girl as gorgeous as me would ever date a guy like you? You're not particularly handsome, and honestly, you don't have many impressive qualities. You don't flaunt huge sums of money, nor do you own an attractive car. I won't be throwing my time away on you".
28. Not A Conscious Uncoupling
In early August 2019, I was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia, also known as CML. I separated from my ex-partner back in 2009, and since then, he's been persistently causing trouble over our child, who's now 18 years old.
The reason we split up is because he's a very self-absorbed individual, a trait which persists to this day. I gave him plenty of warning (almost 90 days) to remove a car he left on my property, otherwise, it would be moved to the street for the city to tow. He chose to ignore this, so my housemate and I had no choice but to move it as promised.
When he realized what had happened, he retrieved the car. However, the next time we met for our teenager's visitation exchange, he took us completely by surprise—he unleashed a tirade against me in the middle of a gas station parking lot. His yelling and cursing got so severe that an attendant felt the need to intervene.
Just as the attendant arrived, my ex-partner shouted at me, "I hope you die!" Keep in mind, at this point, I was fresh off a cancer diagnosis given merely three months prior, and all this happened while we were transferring custody of our kid.
So yes, our son unfortunately heard his father wish such a horrible thing upon his cancer-stricken mother, all over the inconvenience of having to retrieve his car that had been at my place for over a year.
29. Typecasting In Action
"You think you've got me figured out."
I was around 22 at the time and had planned to catch up with a colleague at a beachside pub when he introduced me to one of his lady friends, who was roughly our age.
With just one glance, she boldly asserted, "Oh, I've got you all figured out! You’re pursuing a business degree. You're part of some fraternity. You see yourself as entitled and superior". The judgement didn't stop there, and I was slightly taken aback. Clueless about how to respond, she then tossed at me, "Go ahead, try to contradict me! I bet I hit the nail on the head, didn't I"?
My recollection of the incident is patchy at best. I sought assistance from my friend but he was occupied elsewhere in conversation and hadn't caught a word of her statement.
My response may have been something along the lines of: "Do you honestly believe Neil would befriend someone of that sort? Why don't you ask him about me?" I started to feel that she may have had a bad experience and felt it would be better if she spoke to our mutual friend instead of arguing with her.
Feeling unwelcome, I decided to leave. I had no desire to either engage in a debate or expect apologies. The mood was ruined. What was more unfair was that her assumptions were far from the truth. I was a theatre major, barely making ends meet with a minimum wage job while putting myself through college.
Fraternities held no appeal for me and I largely held an aversion towards the common 'buddy-buddy' attitude. That being said, my blond hair, blue eyes, neat appearance, and 50's throwback attire might have had her fooled.
30. Don’t Come For Me
After my divorce, my ex-husband remarked, "Now that we're not married anymore, I can finally tell you, you're overweight." I responded, saying, "That's quite an insight, Jim. You see, I can always shed off my extra pounds (which I did), but sadly, you're stuck with your limited intellect forever."
31. The Green Eyed-Monster
While I was a paralegal at a sizable company, I found myself engaged. My fiance gifted me a stunning 2-carat pear diamond set on a thick gold band, and I opted to use it as my wedding band, too. One day at the reception desk, a curious individual requested a glance at my ring.
On revealing it, the receptionist’s response was, "Isn't that a bit showy?" Another lady, a friend's mother, made a similarly rude comment. Both remarks left me speechless. I've complimented engagement rings even with noticeable flaws, so why such negativity? It just shows that jealousy can prompt unkind behavior.
32. Have A Little Faith
I grew up in a conservative city, located in a conservative state, and was brought up a Catholic. I had many friends who were either Catholic or of the Christian faith. When I was in the 6th grade, news of a classmate taking his own life sent shockwaves through our little community. It was a heart-wrenching time and brought back memories of a similar personal tragedy.
When I was just 4 years old, my entire life changed for the worst—my dad took his life. My memories of that day as a little girl are still vivid. I don't remember him being cruel, but my mum did tell me he was harsh to her.
She had separated from him, against the desires of our deeply Catholic family; she was worried that he was being abusive towards me. Although I don't have any memories of him physically hurting me, if he did, then my mom managed to shield me from the harsh memories.
On the day my dad died, I recall a disagreement between him and my mom at our apartment. I remember trying to calm the situation by letting him know I loved and missed him. I even offered him crackers from our pantry as a peace offering.
But, he wouldn’t acknowledge me. Undeterred, I hid the crackers in his jacket hung on the back of our distinctive 80s-style floral velvet couch. The argument escalated and he became physical with my mom. I shouted at him to stop. I still remember the fear mirrored in her eyes. I think my screams made him aware of the terror he was causing us.
Despite his dangerous outbursts, I know that he didn't intend to cause hurt in front of me. He shouted at my mom to call the police and furiously grabbed his jacket and left, ignoring all my attempts to engage. It was a sudden and terrifying ordeal, one of the scariest moments of my life.
When things calmed down, I found my crackers, untouched in his coat. It broke my heart, not knowing if he understood how much I loved him. Parents are special to their children, regardless of their flaws. Soon after, our worst fears were confirmed when officers called to his apartment and discovered what he had done. His funeral was a closed-casket ceremony, making it harder for me to accept that he was really gone.
I still grapple with a complicated mix of emotions for my dad, ranging from feelings of abandonment and anger, to acceptance, and empathy for his mental health struggles in an era when there were limited support services.
Now let's go back to that tragic day we heard about my classmate. That catastrophe stirred up a decade-old trauma. An insensitive remark by my supposedly "best friend" about suicide victims going to Hell, hit hard. When I pointed out my dad had died the same way, her cold retort was that "God doesn't love him anymore either". That incident cost me a friend and compounded an already traumatic day.
While I don't identify myself as a Catholic now, I do know some truly compassionate Catholics who are wonderful people.
33. Working Girl
One of my husband's female friends, who had gone to university on a full government scholarship to study medicine and then chose not to pursue paid work after giving birth to kids, once asked me, "Why did you have a child if you wanted to continue working?"
I didn't shoot back with, "Why did you go to university if you never intended to work?" No, I did not say that. Fast forward ten years, and her husband went through a mid-life crisis, leaving her in the lurch. Predictably, he didn't acknowledge her contributions to their marriage and tried to claim all their assets—a move which, fortunately, didn't pan out.
Out of the blue, at the tender age of 50, she found herself job hunting. I treated her kindly and never brought up that conversation we had had years before, but I've never really been able to let it go.
34. Mistaken Identity
When folks ask me, "Is that really you?" while checking out my professional fashion modeling snaps. Nope, I'm just backing a random person. That comes across as a bit offensive, implying I can't possibly be that person. I'm aware most folks don't pay close attention to traits like facial contours, eye shapes, jawlines, noses, thinking a skilled team could transform anyone into a model lookalike. But that's not how the modeling industry operates.
35. Never Feel TOO Good About Yourself
Just a couple of years back, I decided to change my lifestyle: I picked up weightlifting and began to eat healthily. The results were amazing—my body became fitter and I shed some extra pounds that had been bothering me. On achieving a new personal record for leg press in the gym, I couldn't resist sharing my excitement with my then-partner.
However, his reaction was shocking to me.
He stared at me and said I should stop lifting heavy weights. According to him, it would make me look bulky and unattractive, and I would end up despising my own appearance.
36. A Vote Of No Confidence
During a business meeting, a team member suggested that I lead a workshop for one of our other branches. I was the most suited for the task. A client with a rather unpleasant personality looked at me and stated publicly, "Her? She doesn't have the power to run a workshop."
A dead silence suffused the room. The person that recommended me was taken aback, clarifying, "Uma has extensive experience and a history of producing excellent results in brand workshops." Unfazed, the client retorted, "She lacks the vigor and dynamism to lead a workshop."
This client was a mid-level manager at Google, notorious for her rude behavior and broadly disliked. Her superior, who was present at the meeting, did not reprimand her, despite the fact that I had created successful campaigns for him that had boosted his image with upper management.
I decided then and there to make a bold move. I resigned from the job, without offering a reply. In the months that followed, I moved on to a higher-paying job that I preferred. As for my successor, she quit in less than six months due to dealing with such difficult clients.
37. Good Things Come To Those Who Wait
I once assisted in penning the second installment of a textbook for a publisher who, quite frankly, deserved bankruptcy. Working on the first edition was a total disaster. The editor was indifferent, so I had to step up and helm the editing process.
Despite being told to cut down on content for it to reach its desired length, the editor lambasted me for extending the deadline instead of appreciating my meticulous work. Once completed, the book clinched a national award for outstanding visuals.
However, the editor failed to highlight this achievement on the cover, perhaps a sticker of some sort? Further, both the editor and the publisher disregarded any marketing efforts towards educators who leaned on other books from the same publisher.
Ultimately, the book was undersold, similar to its representation with another publisher. Despite investing countless hours into the project, I found it impossible to navigate the inertia of the academic publishing industry.
We eventually decided to explore self-publishing, to sideline the non-contributors. During a telephone meeting with my lead author and the editor for the second edition's preparation, I could sense the editor seemed irked. Perhaps he felt threatened, considering I was doing his job far better than him.
At the end of the call, the editor, out of nowhere, declared the awaited arrival of his second child. I, along with my wife (who is seven years my senior), had one child due to my battle with severe depression during grad school, which ruled out parenthood during key fertility years.
The editor wasn't privy to this backstory, apart from knowing I had one child. Then, he insensitively exclaimed, "Ha ha, John, I’ll have *two* kids, I’m ahead of you"! This comment completely blindsided me. Who behaves in such a manner?
Asserting my stance, I responded, "It’s not a race.”
Fast forward a few years, and the blames for the book's sales performance continue. I get a call from the editor home, with news of him resigning from his role. Surprisingly, I kept it together and did not break into a victory cheer on the phone. Instead, I thanked him and ended the call with a beaming smile.
38. Rude In Every Language
I've known for a while that some folks can be pretty self-centered and rude, so for the most part, I just let that negativity roll off my back. I don't give it too much of my energy, unless the person keeps pushing.
But one thing I won't stand? Disrespect towards my family. I've experienced this a handful of times, but the moment that really stands out is back when I worked at our family restaurant.
My mom owns this great Thai spot located in a city where Cantonese is widely spoken, and I used to work there full time. My mom is Thai and is fluently bilingual in both Thai and Cantonese.
One day, a customer walked in for some takeout. My mom and I were behind the counter, chatting about work stuff, so we both welcomed her and took her order in Cantonese.
For some reason, the customer replied to my mom: "Hmm? I can't understand you. You don't speak Cantonese very well, do you?" We were both taken aback for a moment. I was a bit scared, because I know my mom, and she can be either the sweetest soul or feistiest, depending on the situation.
"She just spoke Cantonese to you," I said, trying to defuse the situation.
"And yeah...I CAN'T speak Cantonese," my mom shot back, her words dripping with sarcasm as she replied in perfect Cantonese!
39. A Low Blow
So Sven and I, from my team, were at this really high stakes meeting. Everyone there was a big shot, holding at least a vice president title. I knew everyone, and went ahead to introduce Sven to the group.
Out of nowhere, Sven looks at me and asks, "Did you shave today?"
I was taken aback by his question. To be honest, I hadn't shaved that morning. I had overslept, showered in a rush, and had sprinted to office just to make it in time for this crucial 9:00 am meeting.
Sven's comment could only have a negative impact on my work life, and he'd just used his chance pretty well. Thinking on my feet, I shot back a reply, “Maybe, but that's the first time I'm seeing a tie that doesn't match a white shirt.”
Our division president entered the room just then, and the meeting kicked-off. For the next thirty minutes, Sven seemed distracted, constantly checking his tie, his shirt, and giving me these looks.
A bunch of VPs managed to conceal their chuckles while sneaking sidelong glances at me. Their smiles As our meeting ended, however, everyone seemed to be on board with our proposals.
40. Missed Connections
I had a bad allergic reaction to a brightly-hued soap I tried and it caused my skin to peel off my face. A co-worker of mine approached me carefully, gave me a direct look, pointed at my face—almost touching my cheek—and softly asked, "What's your problem"?
My first thought was to retort, “I don't have a problem, but you do," and to smack him, but then I remembered that we were in our workplace's global training center. There, understanding body language from various cultures and the subtle meanings in English is vital.
The guy is really nice and it was kind of him to show concern for my situation!
41. Me First
"I don't do charity"—the impact of such words can be quite harsh, especially since she made this comment about a fellow employee. I'm quite proficient in Portuguese, although with a slight accent. The person in question was a Brazilian lady who was as fluent in Portuguese as a native speaker.
She often found herself swamped with work and I'd lend a hand, pitching in on multiple tasks. I like to think that I'm the guy who jumps in to help when someone's in need. Sometimes I fall short, just like everyone does. One day, the topic of work-sponsored Portuguese classes came up in our conversation.
I expressed an interest in attending, but wished I had a bit more free time. That's when she stunned me with her response. According to her, these classes were a convenient way to grab a break from work while still being paid, but only needed by those learning the language. As a self-proclaimed fluent speaker, she felt no need for such 'charity'.
Her reaction left me and the others who heard her, speechless. She was known to be assertive and brisk, but the shallowness of her comment was unexpected. We no longer speak much, mostly because I switched jobs, and our relationship never really progressed past that incident. She crossed a line that day with her rudeness.
42. The Mother Of Insults
As a military spouse, we moved to a new base. During that time, my twin boys were participating in t-ball. I found myself seated next to the base commander's wife at one of the matches. It's worth noting that I am a light-skinned Irish woman.
My husband, who she hadn't yet met, is a dark-skinned Hawaiian. During the match, she turned to me and inquired about the age of the twins "when you got them". Misinterpreting her question, I responded, "Well, right when they were born".
I had assumed that she might be implying they were premature and could potentially have required incubators after being born. She responded, "You mean they let you have them right away"? Chuckling, I confidently told her they would have found it quite challenging to prevent me from taking them.
At that moment, she recognized my boys were biologically mine. She was noticeably embarrassed, but I just laughed it off, assuring her not to fret about it. Keep in mind, this happened in 1969 when interracial marriages weren't as common.
43. Don’t Take It As A Compliment
For three decades, I worked as a high school teacher. One time I found myself greeting students at the doorway of my classroom when an aide from the computer lab adjacent to us walked past.
She commented on the black jumper I was wearing, noting how cozy it looked. Happy, I accepted her seemingly kind words. But what she said next suggested otherwise. To paraphrase, she questioned, "Don't you wish jumpers were still trendy?"
Perhaps it wasn't the crudest comment, but somehow it remains imprinted on my memory.
44. Mind Your Business
I was around eight months into my pregnancy, sauntering through downtown towards my obstetrician's office for a routine check-up. A well-dressed gentleman, seemingly my age, was approaching from the opposite direction.
As he crossed me, he threw out a remark that shook me to my core: "Wow, you have quite a bit of weight to shed," in an unfriendly tone. I ignored him, but that experience scarred me for quite some time.
45. Act Your Age
Here's a story about my roommate, not me. One time, she was shopping for a drink at the grocery store. It's worth mentioning that she was 25 years old then and was carrying her ID, but she has a form of dwarfism that means she appears small all over, which can sometimes make her seem younger than she is.
Unlike some other types of dwarfism that are easily noticeable, my flatmate's condition could lead to misunderstandings about her age if you aren't looking closely at her features. Nevertheless, this particular incident was completely out of line. The cashier checked her ID, which confirmed her actual age, and then had the audacity to say, "You look about ten years old".
What's even worse, another customer in line started to join in and agree with the cashier's comment, as if being short is some kind of crime. It should be noted, while my roommate is small, she doesn't look like a ten-year-old. At most, she might look like a teenager, but she definitely appears older than just half her age.
Also, it's important to emphasize that she's a fully grown woman, not a child. A friend of ours who was present that day told me that she instantly recognized it as dwarfism because my roommate resembles a small adult rather than a juvenile. It was quite ironic considering the cashier was hardly taller than my roommate herself.
46. A Helping Hand
When I was just a young teenager, around 14 or 15, my best friend's older brother joked about my large hands, suggesting they'd be handy for certain, somewhat suggestive, tasks. Trust me, it's something you don't easily forget. I'm 64 now and to this day, that memory has always made me feel slightly embarrassed and self-aware.
But looking back, I see that my hands weren't just large, they were strong. They've had quite a journey, those hands of mine. 50 years full of strength, love, and self-reliance. They navigated raising my daughters, pretty much on my own. They've managed car repairs, handled tasks around the house, and much more.
47. Stay In Your Department
Throughout my life, I've encountered my fair share of harsh words, but it's not often that a stranger goes out of their way to humiliate me. This time, however, I was browsing in a sophisticated department store, the kind that includes a plus-size section.
A lady suddenly appeared, maneuvering from the regular-size section, crossing the floor, heading straight into the plus-size division, and zeroing in on me. At that point, I could sense something was about to happen. She came over, standing uncomfortably close, and with a somewhat haughty tone, she asked, "Have you considered working out?"
While it's none of her business, many plus-size individuals do engage in fitness routines. For instance, I am active in swimming and weightlifting.
48. We All Lose It Sometimes
I'm part of a military family from Canada, presently living in Montreal, Quebec. During our first winter here, a neighbor confronted me on my own porch, blocking me from entering my house and shouting, "Go home! Return to your birthplace!"
I explained to him that military families don't have the luxury of choosing where to live and suggested he should return to his own home since he doesn't reside in our building. It's worth noting that in our 23 years of service, we've only received one assignment that matched our preferences.
I didn't utter a word about this incident for a long time, until a few weeks ago. Eventually, I reached my breaking point—it was when his wife gossiped about me feeding the birds to another person, forgetting that even though my French and Italian speaking skills aren't flawless, I understand both languages perfectly well.
Overwhelmed, I threw an epic fit and relayed the incident from three years ago to her. Now I can't help but believe that my outburst was worse than her husband's actions and I'm keen to relocate to anywhere else. *sigh* I can attempt to rationalize my display (I am starting menopause), but I know that won't truly fix anything. I've chosen to keep to myself indoors for now.
49. Shut Your Mouth
A colleague from my office was recently diagnosed with cancer, and sadly, our supervisor seemed to enjoy sharing all the harsh details about it. I happen to know this individual outside of work too, and she had confided in me about her situation.
She specifically asked me that if anyone inquired about her health, I should simply respond—'I'm sick, but I'm managing.' I'm still in disbelief about how anyone could act in such a manner.
50. If You Don’t Have Anything Nice To Say…
My late partner and I started trying to have a baby after two years of being together. Honestly, I was frightened of the prospect of motherhood, whereas he was thrilled with the idea. We struggled to conceive for about four years, and eventually, I learned that his family had a history of fertility issues.
Before my partner's untimely death, I helped him relocate to San Francisco for a job opportunity in gaming, a field in which he just achieved his bachelor's degree. Meanwhile, I stayed behind, managing relationships with my in-laws. Tragically, while he was in San Francisco and I was here, he committed suicide.
Learning about his death, I made a regrettable decision and ended up having a one-night fling with a friend's brother—someone I got close with while my partner was away. Later, I discovered I was pregnant from this encounter.
Fast forward, I'm now a single mother, and the father of my child disappeared as soon as our baby was born. My 7-year-old child has Autism, ODD, ADHD, and a heart murmur. Also, I had been trying to maintain a connection with my late partner's mother.
On Facebook, I had asked for parenting advice from my friends. This prompted a shocking response from my former mother-in-law. She suggested that I "should have aborted the kid" while I had the opportunity. After that, I just couldn't continue speaking with her.
51. Good Riddance
A few months after my wife and I lost our first baby, someone we know well made a comment that struck me. She reckoned that my wife should be over it by now and we should try for another. And it didn't end there. She even added, after hearing our grief was still raw, that she herself had moved on swiftly after three miscarriages. According to her, we should've been doing the same, moving forward with our lives.
Truth be told, I'm more the type to argue with words rather than fists and hitting a woman? Never. But that day, I was brought to the brink. On a brighter note, she relocated not long after that with her husband who was moved for his work. What a relief.
52. Rough Day, Rough Reply
I just got word about a car accident involving the daughter of one of my colleagues while she was on her way to school. That day later, I happened to see this colleague when I walked up to our main desk to drop off some paperwork. I felt compelled to ask about her daughter's condition.
Her response was bitter and brisk: "What right do you have to know? And even if you did, what makes you think I'll share it with you?" To be met with such negativity, especially since I'd always demonstrated respect and friendliness to her and everyone else at the front office, left me feeling hurt and weepy. I couldn't bring myself to talk to her again after that instance.
53. Get Him While You Can
Around eight months ago, I noticed a dark spot on the bottom of my right foot. Initially, I assumed it was a wart, and even tried trimming a bit of it away. Against my better judgment, I became my own doctor and looked it up online. Bad idea. The research I found led me to believe it was a skin cancer called acral lentiginous melanoma; a type so rare, it only affects two in a million people.
I booked an appointment with my doctor who redirected me to the hospital for a closer look. The specialist there recommended a punch biopsy. So, I underwent the procedure and anxiously awaited the results. Through all of this, I had only told three people that I knew, with one of them living in the same building.
This friend of mine is a straightforward, Yorkshire man from Leeds. I had shared with him my deepest fears – that this cancer could be the end of me within five years. Later that week, while we were in his flat with some others, my technologically averse friend held up his phone.
Usually, I'm the one who tops-up his pay-as-you-go phone as he struggles with it. That night, he turned to me and said, “You need to teach me how to do this; you're not always going to be here.” His words stunned me, and I thought to myself, “How dare you”.
In the end, the hospital confirmed that the spot was indeed acral lentiginous melanoma (the same one that claimed Bob Marley's life). However, thankfully in my case, it was not malignant.