When One Wrong Move Ruins Everything

August 20, 2023 | Sammy Tran

When One Wrong Move Ruins Everything

We make decisions every day. Most of the time, those decisions are as simple as deciding what to have for lunch. But sometimes we make a decision that can ruin our lives or the lives of someone else. These people shared their stories of decisions made and lives ruined. Moral of the story: always wear a helmet.

1. Always Follow The Law

I'm a lawyer. Another well-respected lawyer in my jurisdiction was involved in a huge property settlement involving dozens upon dozens of deeds, side agreements, financial documents, yadda, yadda, yadda. The whole lot (presumably involving a hundred or so signatures) had been signed off by her client.

In the early hours of the morning–having no doubt slaved away for untold hours getting everything ready for the settlement the next day–she must have realized that she had missed getting one signature on one minor document from her client. In her desperation, she threw her morals out of the window—she faked it.

I can see the pressure she was under and how she probably thought, "It doesn't matter, my client would have signed it anyway and only didn't because they overlooked it, no one will ever notice".

Someone noticed and she went from high-paid property lawyer to never being able to practice again, just like that.

People occasionally ask me to sign things off, as a lawyer and suggest I overlook minor irregularities such as wanting me to witness a signature even though I didn't see the signatory sign. Then they get all offended and act like I'm being a stick-up-the-butt perfectionist when I won't do it.


2. The Skateboard

A close friend of my best friend grabbed his eight-year-old son's new skateboard and took off down a hill in Georgia. 

He hit a rock, landed on his head, and had permanent brain damage. He lived years before he mercifully passed. He had to be restrained the whole time because the damage made him erratic and dangerous. 

Wear a helmet!

Person getting on a  skateboardMESSALA CIULLA, Pexels

3. Just One More Round

I watched a guy gamble $30,000 away in a night and then he cried about losing his life savings. Security had to get involved and kick him out because he started to get angry at the dealers. All they could offer him was a free night’s stay at the hotel for playing so much but he wanted free play at the tables/slots and they refused.

Men in casinoDrew Rae, Pexels

4. Should Have Known Better

I saw a pilot without an instrument rating take off into IMC conditions. Instrument-Meteorological Conditions is a flight category that describes weather conditions that require pilots to fly primarily by instruments rather than use visual cues to maintain controlled flight.

He had his whole family on board. Bad weather was closing in. He agreed that it was impossible to get home, but wanted to make it to a larger municipal airport so they wouldn't have to stay in a motel. The fuel attendant and a bunch of old veteran pilots hanging around the airport office all said they'd drive him to a nicer place, but he thought he'd have a better chance of getting out the next day from the other airport. Conditions weren't that bad when he took off, but we all agreed later that no one without an instrument rating would/should have flown that day.

So the last time anyone saw that whole family (pilot, wife, two adult sons) alive was all of us watching him take off and fly just under the cloud base to do a "scud run" in the direction of the nearest municipal airport. 

It took fifteen minutes for this guy to make the worst–and last–decision of his life.

They crashed in full overcast skies ten miles out. No survivors.

This was over 30 years ago, but it's haunted me ever since. What could/should I have done differently that might have convinced him to not fly? I was a newbie pilot at the time, but even I knew it was a bad idea. There were at least three other pilots there that day. Did he feel ganged up on? Could we have appointed the most grizzled, straight-shootin’, gravel-voiced veteran to take the guy aside and give him an "I'm not your dad, but" talk? Should we have tackled him and taken away his keys? Called the authorities? What would we even have told them? I've long since come to terms with it, but there are still the occasional moments where I feel like I failed.

Small old plane wreckPeter Gudella, Shutterstock

5. Road Rage

I had a friend with a promising career. He got upset and went into full road rage for a woman who forgot to turn her blinker on and he slightly bumped her back bumper on the freeway, causing her to lose control and flip over. Neither the driver nor her two daughters survived.

It was all caught on his car’s dash cam and there was also a trucker with his dash cam that was behind him.

He is now doing 40+ years in prison.

Red car accident in a ditchDominika Kwiatkowska, Pexels

6. At Least He Still Has His Kids

I watched a buddy spend his entire life savings betting on the Paulo Costa versus Adesanya MMA match. I begged him not to do it. He lost his and his wife’s entire 60K nest egg. She left him immediately with the kids and now he lives at his mom’s house.

He had been betting on prize fighting for a short while and winning. Nothing outrageous and heck, I even bet with him on a time or two because it was smaller bets. He had probably made a few grand, not sure how much but he was always saying he won and showing off his bets. So I can confirm he had been winning and his luck was pretty impressive.

As far as I know, he doesn’t gamble anymore and is just trying to rebuild his life. He lost his wife but does spend a lot of time with the kids.

Businessman using smartphone to betwavebreakmedia, Shutterstock

7. Just Say No

My sister started doing illicit substances and she went from super smart to completely dumb. By the age of 19, she was already a felon. No one in the family wants to help her anymore cause each time we tried, either sending her to rehab or tried getting her sober she would just go back to it. 

She was supposed to go to college but now she's 22 and stays at different houses and begs people for money. She completely cut me and everyone else off from her cause she thinks us trying to help her is us being jealous and not wanting her to be happy in life.

Sad woman  at sea  sitting on beachPixabay, Pexels

8. Can’t Stay The Course

This was an acquaintance. He had a good job, a nice truck, a mortgage on a nice home, minimal debt, in a relationship with someone out of his league. Before I knew him he'd had some charges, but his attorney got him a plea deal that dropped everything down to a minor charge. A real lucky break. All he had to do was stay the course.

He could have walked home that night; it was less than two miles. But he was too proud to leave his truck at the bar. The result was catastrophic—the crash was so bad that the truck was wrapped around a power pole. No one was hurt, including him. The judge who got his case was furious to learn his previous charge had been pled down. The judge rejected a plea deal and vowed to throw the book at him.

There was a prison, then a year on house arrest. His job required a driver's license, so that was gone. I don't know at what point in his house arrest he could have started working, but he refused to. His former employer offered him a non-driving job, less money but still good money. He turned it down because it was beneath him. He said the same thing to two jobs his girlfriend singlehandedly secured for him. Even after his house arrest, he refused to work. He said he didn't want to. Yelling at his girlfriend to pay his mortgage was better than working.

She finally got the courage to leave.

Angry man in black hoodieCraig Adderley, Pexels

9. The Motorbike

A friend of mine drove his bike without a helmet.  He had the helmet but didn’t bother to wear it. It was late at night; we were having a party at my home and he was coming to join us. It had rained earlier so the roads were wet. His motorbike unfortunately slipped and he fell, hitting his head on the curb. 

Some passersby called the ambulance. We got to know about it early in the morning from his parents. His head trauma caused him to go into a coma. He never came back from it; he was in a coma for a few months and then sadly passed. He was a chill dude; if only he wore the helmet while driving.

Photo of helmet and motorcycle on road after an accidentosobystist, Shutterstock

10. There’s Bad Memory And Then There’s This

I wound up having to change the number for my first real cell phone because the previous owner of that number still kept giving it out. 

She had just moved, and her old job couldn’t get a hold of her to send her her last check. Her new job couldn’t get a hold of her to get her schedule. Her vet couldn’t get her to pick up her cat. I got calls from her leasing company who needed documentation to secure her apartment. 

Every single day was some new way this idiot was mucking up her finances, her housing, her job, her pets, her social life…all because she couldn’t remember her new phone number. After a month I finally got fed up and had the number changed.

Angry man speaking on the phone in pink shirtAndrea Piacquadio, Pexels

11. Put It Away

15-20 years ago, an ex worked at a dream job type of place. If you make it professionally in that field, this employer was/is the absolute peak. There is no better place to go.

A new guy started there, on my ex's team, right out of university. On his first day, he went to the company store and got ALL the gear with the company’s name on it–T-shirt, hat, socks, et cetera–and proudly put it all on.

After work, the team took the new guy out for drinks to celebrate his first day at his dream job employer. The new guy got way too inebriated, went outside to smoke a cig, and then took his johnson out and pressed it up against the bar’s glass window. 

His new colleagues, all the bar’s patrons, and all their staff see his Johnson. My ex closed out their tab and got him home but the bar called the employer the next morning, complaining about the new guy’s antics, banning him and anyone wearing company gear. 

The guy was fired before lunch, on day two. A cautionary story.

Young businessman sitting behind the desk and being worriedB-D-S Piotr Marcinski, Shutterstock

12. Narcissist In Love

My father-in-law is 65. He was married to his wife for 37 years and has three daughters. The picture-perfect family from the outside looking in. He was well-respected in his career field and was also an interim pastor/deacon at our local church. 

After he retired, his health started to deteriorate drastically and he started drinking. This past November we learned that he had fallen for a “love scam” on Facebook and had spent his entire life savings, took out a second mortgage on his home, and opened up numerous credit cards, to send this fake person money. The amount of money he wired was insane—all in all, he sent them roughly $300K. He was truly convinced “she” was going to move here from overseas and they were going to ride off into the sunset, leave everything behind, and live happily ever after. 

Now he is divorced, lives in a crummy apartment about 45 minutes from his family, and is miserable. He can barely walk and has essentially zero control over his bowel movements. To make matters worse, he has very narcissistic tendencies and thinks that none of it is his fault, and instead blames his ex-wife, claiming that she didn’t love him and show him any affection. 

As you can imagine, this has affected my wife, her sisters, and her mother immensely, and caused all sorts of problems and stress over the last eight months. But long story short, he lost everything. His assets, his family, his health, and his happiness.

Angry old man hitting  the wallNicola Barts, Pexels

13. Good Reason, Bad Choice

My lawyer took out a loan by forging my signature. He’s doing 15 years in federal prison. I would have given him the $5000. His kid was very sick and I would have gladly helped him out.

silhouette of a  man in prisonDonald Tong, Pexels

14. He Needed Credit

An old customer got fired from Uber and DoorDash for being slow/arriving with cold food way too often.

He came into my bar the next day with a limited edition XO Weeknd sweater and jeans, a new Apple watch, and a new iPhone, all paid cash.

He told me he took out a payday loan for $10K and didn’t intend to pay it back. He would just cancel the bank account.

His exact words: "Who needs credit anyways"?

He stopped showing up to the bar after about 3 months. I never saw him again.

It was a very stupid decision by a reckless individual, with no way to pay any of it back so instead he incurred crazy debt/interest at 22 years old.

Man drinking at a barJohn Matthew, Pexels

15. Evil Knievel He Was Not

In Germany, there was a contestant on the show Wetten Dass (translated as 'Bet That') a few years ago.

In the show, statements about crazy talents and activities were presented by the participants.

The contestants bet on things they could do and got a prize if they could perform the self-proclaimed tasks/talents.

One participant bet that he would be able to jump over moving cars. It went wrong and he was left a paraplegic.

He has since largely recovered (psychologically, not physically) and is handling it great as far as the public is concerned, but the situation will probably always stick in my mind.

person using wheelchairMarcus Aurelius, Pexels

16. The Divorce

A girl’s divorce sent her into a manic episode. Her friends understood, but she lost her medical license (that she had less than a year) because she posted patient information on social media. Then came the devastating ripple effect—she lost her job, which made her lose her income, so she lost her home. She decided to stay in nice hotels (from the mania) and was in debt by the end of two weeks.

woman holding divorce documentRDNE Stock project , Pexels

17. Sounds Like They Were Made For Each Other

A colleague started great at a new job, got through probation, then got out of control at a company party. She made out with the boss's date and hooked up with another colleague while her husband was there.

Fast forward, she was dating this colleague and their relationship was causing disciplinary measures at work. They decided to double down and signed a new lease together anyway.

She then lied about getting poached by a customer to leverage a raise and when it didn’t work she had to quit. Her boyfriend then followed suit by not showing up and ghosting the company.

Now he's a stay-at-home stepdad (oh, did I mention she has three kids??) after being with this girl for only six months and they both don't have a job. Kind of a two-for-one.

girl in green top drinking at office partyBearFotos, Shutterstock

18. A Complete Spiral

My coworker was dating a woman in our QA lab who was married but supposedly separated. They hooked up and dated for a couple of months, then she called him while he was at work one day and admitted to him that she slept with her husband the night before. He raged out, punching inanimate objects in the locker room and screaming. That was about six months ago.

Fast forward to a week ago, we had our first-ever company awards party. It was a very nice shindig: everyone is dressed to the nines, plus the President and VP of the company are there. He showed up seeming okay, but within an hour and a half, he was absolutely off his face. The woman he was dating is sitting a table away from him, and they were both yelling and wooing at inappropriate times. He then went up behind the head of Maintenance and Engineering, bear-hugged him, and picked him up off the ground.

Management asked him to take a couple of days off (since we make drinks, they're always very patient and give second chances when employee behavior involves booze) but he refused. They called him the next morning and told him he was fired.

I can't imagine throwing a fantastic job away because of your constant, belligerent behavior. In this case, it wasn't a super quick way to lose your job, but a series of seemingly unstable behaviors.

Fired male employee  reading the notice of job terminationtommaso79, Shutterstock

19. Look Both Ways

My old friend ran across the street without looking because her dog was being menaced by a snake. The car was probably going over 60mph and it ran into her. She's alive to this day but she did suffer serious and permanent injuries. This happened years ago by the way. It was traumatizing for her and everyone (including me) that saw it happen. At that time, I lived in a 3rd world country so the streets were busy as heck.

It was also a rainy day so it was hard for drivers to see. It was truly no one's fault. The driver also took responsibility.

photo of woman sitting on concrete barrier next to short coated white dogMarcelo Chagas, Pexels

20. This Ain’t The Wild West

About 16 years ago, the company I worked for wanted to expand into America. To do so they sent me and several of my coworkers abroad. We lived in the US for several years to set it up.

When we were there, one of my coworkers became fascinated with, I guess what you’d call US gangster culture. He started dressing like a stereotypical gangster, got tattoos, said a certain word with a hard r constantly, and even got a gun from who knows where.

So it was a nice night, about three weeks before we were due to go back. We had set up chairs in a park to drink and were pretty buzzed. Suddenly some dude started shouting at us from a distance, and my friend, with all his logical thinking, concluded that it must be a threat, so he pulled out his pistol and opened fire.

He had no idea what he was getting himself into—that guy was an officer.

The officer understandably returned fire. The rest of us dove to the ground and my friend was hit twice, one in his shoulder and one in his leg.

It turned out that there had been some kidnapping nearby by some people that matched our general appearance, which was why the officer started hostile. I didn't blame him, and it was both his and his partner's testimonies that protected us from any legal trouble. The next few weeks were a blur, but I remember my coworker still being hospitalized when I flew back home.

I don’t know what happened to him after that. My boss told me he’s still alive but he got fired. I never saw him again.

Man holding a gun in his handssvnash, Pixabay

21. She Warned Him

My husband had a nice job as a high-level retail manager before his store closed. He became a lead for less money in an inventory company. He was generally considered to be nice, but quiet. You'd see more of his personality when he was working on computers (self-taught) or video games or pool. The consensus was that he was a good guy, always ready to game with the kids.

Less than a month after our sixth anniversary, I found a video on our tablet from a hidden camera in our bathroom that showed my 14-year-old niece in a state of undress. It looked like he kept the image on the cloud and would add it to whatever device he was using and then delete it. He just missed that last step this time.

I called the authorities immediately and he never came home again. They found more images on his computer and a 20-minute video, a full front view of his face, as he tried to hide the camera.

He pleaded guilty and received 40 years with 34 suspended. He will have to register as an offender when he gets out and has some pretty stiff rules to follow: no drinks, no items that can connect to the internet unless he pays for a company to put monitoring software on every internet-accessible device.

The day I found it, I sent him to work with a kiss. I found the images around 11:30 am and surrendered the tablet and got the case started with the authorities by 11:45.

I have told every relationship I’ve been in, husband included, that this is the one thing that will make me turn you in and walk away and never look back. He truly thought I would never leave him and was all ‘surprised Pikachu face’ when I kept my promise. His actions caused him to lose everything he took for granted.

Our daughter was five at the time, and for her, he just disappeared one day. Now I am watching her grow and mature into a beautiful person and he doesn't get the privilege of even knowing this beautiful child. I'm sure that separation has hurt him a lot, but you don't get trusted with any child, even your own after you do something like that.

Good riddance.

Surprised shocked woman with tabletbaranq, Shutterstock

22. Five Seconds

A guy I worked with at Papa Johns's when I was in college bought a weapon from a coworker. Our other coworker got robbed while delivering a pizza. He told me he wants to see if it works. He went and shot it into an empty but developing neighborhood, into some trees. 

The bullets hit a house behind the trees with a family and kids. Nobody was hurt but they were scared. Officers immediately came and took him in before he could even pull off. They were camping out in that neighborhood already since people were coming at night to cause trouble. 

He was shot three times and got 25 years in prison for attempted murder and reckless endangerment. It was his first time firing a piece. We were only 19. I think about him a lot. We weren’t close, but he’s still in prison 17 years later over a five-second mistake. 

He was a nerdy kid too. His first time in trouble. I follow his sister on Facebook. He’s unrecognizable now. Imagine McLovin from Superbad who now looks like Jason Momoa with tats on his face. Sad.

A person in orange shirt in prisonRDNE Stock project, Pexels

23. Wear A Helmet Here Too

A friend of mine had a girlfriend that was notorious for tying men to herself by 'accidentally' getting pregnant when things weren't going well in the relationship. At that point, she already had three kids from different guys while in her early/mid-twenties. 

Said friend was lucky enough that things ended before she could do that again. However, his best friend caught feelings for her too, and had an on/off relationship for a couple of months. To no one's surprise, she got preggo, and he now has to pay for a child he hasn't seen once.

Pregnant woman in white dressLeah Kelley, Pexels

24. Big Brother Is Watching

I work for the Canada Revenue Agency. When you're hired, they tell you never to plug your phone or other storage device into your work computer, or you will be immediately flagged and booted.

This one girl was like one month into the job, and I watched her pull out her phone and plug the charger into her computer. The next 10 minutes were chaos—our head of security RUSHED over to her, fired her, and loomed over her as she cleaned out her desk. She will likely never be allowed to work for the government ever again.

At least once a year, I see an email reminding existing staff of our rules because somebody went and plugged their phone in.

Office white collar worker with things collected in a box leaving the office after being firedKekyalyaynen, Shutterstock

25. New Girlfriend Has It Right

My older brother was in high school and had already secured a full baseball scholarship. One of the best players I've ever seen. His "friends" who were in the neighborhood gang told him that they would let him join if he took a 12-pack from a gas station.

He did it, of course, and the authorities found him walking down the road with it. He got a tap on the wrist after a night in juvie, but that scholarship went out the window. Not long after, he dropped out, shaved his head, got caught up in the actions of the gang, tattooed his face, got half his teeth replaced, and had a few kids with different girls.

He rode that life for almost 10 years until his new girlfriend set him straight and has spent the past few years trying to be a good dad, got off the substances, and got a steady job. We don't talk anymore, but I'm still rooting for him.

A man in black shirt arrestedKindel Media, Pexels

26. Time For Separate Bank Accounts

I worked at a bank years ago and helped a customer who was just married open an account with the gifted money from their wedding. A few weeks later, I helped them open a CD for six months with a 6-digit check. Seven months later I saw this person's spouse walk furiously toward my counter asking for a balance. 

As they did that, the person who originally opened the account tried to slyly hand me a note that had a balance written on it that they wanted me to read. I froze. Over that last month, this person would come in every Friday with their friends and they’d be scheming ways to beat a casino. They lost. The account was negative. 

I couldn’t bear the burden of telling this poor spouse that their entire account was negative and all the money from the wedding and from the account’s buyout check (a check an employer gives you to voluntarily leave the job) was all spent at a casino over one month. I walked away and went straight to the manager to explain the situation. My manager had too big of a grin, in my opinion, but they went and spilled the beans. This was followed by a bunch of screaming, crying, stomping on the floor, and pounding on counters. My coworkers seemed to get a good laugh from it but, to this day, I get anxious thinking about it.

Sad woman  at the bankZivica Kerkez, Shutterstock

27. Keep Your Mouth Shut

Singapore here.

One Chinese lady ranted on Facebook about a nearby Malay wedding in a public space. According to her, divorce rates among Malay couples are high due to weddings which cost, according to her, only 50 SGD (30 USD).

She posted that rant on a Sunday afternoon. The backlash against her was fast and furious. By Monday morning, four government ministers (including our Prime Minister) had spoken out against her.

She was out of her cushy directorial position at a major government agency by lunchtime Monday.

We take racial harmony in Singapore very, very seriously.

Portrait beautiful young Asian woman smiling  with computer laptop  in pink dressLifestyle Travel Photo, Shutterstock

28. The Breakdown

It took me about two days to ruin my life and change things forever.

When I was 21, my fiancé, who I'd dated for over a year, abruptly left me and ghosted me. I found out the shocking truth why—she'd cheated on me with at least two different men and had been pregnant. It took me a week to find out.

As soon as I did, I broke down. I spent about $3K in savings in two days. I quit my job. I made all of my friends hate me. Then I got absolutely off my face and went to her apartment and beat up the guy she left me for.

I spent 14 months in custody and another seven in prison over two days' worth of bad decisions. I'm 30, it's been almost 9 years, and I'm still picking up the pieces of my life.

Lonely man sitting on a kitchen table in a gray sweatshirtAndrew Neel, Pexels

29. He’ll Never Really Get Over It

I knew a guy who was all set with a football scholarship for college.

So before he left, he and his buddies threw a huge going away party in a field by his house, including a bonfire.

It started to get out of hand and alerted the local authorities, who started to show up to take people in.

The guy, his girlfriend, and a buddy of his tried to escape in his truck and ended up hitting a stump and crashing into his barbed wire fence.

None of them were wearing seatbelts.

His friend survived, albeit with a massive concussion that years later affects his memories.

His girlfriend was thrown from the vehicle and passed on impact.

He wound up tangled in the barbed wire and an infection developed in one of his legs that lead to it having to be amputated.

He went from a bright-eyed 17-year-old heading to college to a guy struggling to adjust to life without a leg while spending a year and a half in prison.

For almost two decades after that, he was really into illicit substances and just generally destroying himself until finally his girlfriend’s mom visited him and convinced him to get on the road to recovery by pointing out that his girlfriend would've never wanted him to do this to himself.

He's been clean for years and has a steady job, a wife, and two kids but you can look into his eyes and still catch that haunted look.

lonely man in shirt  sitting at an abandoned houseDownload a pic Donate a buck! ^, Pexels

30. Getting Your Life Back

I was off the wagon for years. It was widely known but I held down a job and was a "successful" functioning alcoholic. More and more small cracks were becoming bigger cracks in my foundation until the only thing I didn't lose was my car. My father, who I lived with at the time, gave me the ultimatum of basically either going to rehab or never talking to him again, and given that he was the only person left I could even talk to I had to do the right thing.

I spent 97 days in a facility and got out in November of 2021. It took me a couple months of to adjust to my new lifestyle outside of rehab but now, I have a job working the third shift. I have the majority of people I love/loved back in my life although I know I won't get all of them back and that is 100 percent my fault.

Every day is another day I can try my hardest to avoid being the person I became and I am going to do that every single day until my body gives out because I have too much to live for without drinks. I lost years of my life, people, money, property, and even my freedom and self-respect but I am slowly gaining all of it back.

Man working on a laptop drinking beerKetut Subiyanto, Pexels

31. Caught In High Definition

I worked for a company that designed camera systems for a while.

One of the stories a particular sales guy would tell to customers to get them to upgrade to the newest digital hotness was about the hotel heiress.

I wasn't with the company when it happened, but we'd used one of her properties, a beautiful boutique place in California, as a test site. For the low, low price of putting up with light construction, repeated intrusions from our engineers, and a marginally working product at first, she got the finished one for nearly free.

One day the engineer was trying to find a problem with MPEG2 macro blocking causing fast-forward to look like full-screen oatmeal and he saw the owner's husband get out of the owner's convertible, with a woman who is decidedly not the owner and walk into a building.

And here's the catch: he wasn’t at their hotel. He was at the hotel across the street. It would have been impossible to pick out with the NTSC stuff but easily visible on the new 1280x960 cameras we were playing with.

Which was something he didn't know because he was blindsided when his wife used it (and over a dozen similar recordings) during the divorce.

The recordings saved her low eight figures thanks to a prenup, and then she plunked high six figures into buying finished systems (with the nicest cameras and the biggest storage, of course) for her other properties.

Which was kind of a shame. We had to go find somewhere else to do real-world testing, what with her already owning all of our latest and greatest and being rather rabidly attached to them all of a sudden.

We ended up testing at a no-tell motel in Cleveland, Ohio. It wasn't "carry a weapon" bad, but you smelled like urine and diesel exhaust after a few hours there.

Camera and fiber optic network installingSakura Image Inc, Shutterstock

32. Take Care Of Your Brain

My wife worked at a mental hospital for long-term patients. Most of the people there were going to be there forever and wouldn't get better.

One patient she had was a lawyer. He was a super smart guy, who had just finished up his law degree at some highly respected school. He was scheduled to take his bar exam and spent the month leading up to it in super-study mode, studying 16 hours a day, etc.

The day of the exam he woke up and didn't feel super great. But he manned up and went to the exam anyway. He was totally surprised by his marks—he had crushed it; passed with flying colors.

He went back home and his roommate offered to take him to the doctor because he didn't look good. The guy said he was just exhausted from all the weeks of studying and just needed a good long sleep. He self-medicated with sleeping pills and went to bed, but he ended up spiking a huge fever that cooked his brain while he was in bed.

He now has permanent brain damage that resulted in severe schizophrenia and he constantly hears multiple voices that speak to him and tell him what to do. He’s not aggressive in any way, but he can't focus at all because of all the voices constantly talking to him. The staff has to herd him around where he needs to go all the time because he literally can't tell the difference between real people talking to him and the voices in his head.

This 20-something guy with a bright future whose life was ruined just because he didn't go to the doctor when he had a fever.

Male doctor and displeased male patient arguing at clinic.Ground Picture , Shutterstock

33. A True Hero

This was more like a day that altered my life. I was a teacher and coach. For a field trip the principal "could not afford two buses". So I had to walk about ten girls to the field trip location, and back to school, while the single bus was filled with the rest of the junior high students and faculty. It was about a mile each way. 

I chose the girls of my team because they would listen to me outdoors, unlike lots of middle school kids. We were crossing the street in the crosswalk, with the walk signal in our favor. All the kids went first, and like most girls, they were clumped together and chatting while walking. I noticed a woman make a left turn into our crosswalk and never saw us as she tried to accelerate to beat an oncoming car. I knew she was going to run right through the girls. 

I pushed the kids forward, very forcefully. Most of the girls fell onto the pavement in front of other vehicles waiting at their red light. They were badly scraped up, like road rash from me pushing them. But no hospitals or doctors were needed for their scrapes. 

I don't remember the impact. I remember seeing a Pontiac symbol between the headlights. I came to, and I was in a whole different lane, facing where I had just come from. I could not get up. They say my body went up the car and off the driver's side, tearing the side mirror off the car and breaking her windshield. 

I remember the horror and sobbing of my student-athletes. The girls raised me onto a backboard when the ambulance came, which must have been awful. Now, 20 years later, I am still an ambulatory wheelchair user. Can't teach or coach. Can't work at a desk. I have chronic pain. Yes, my life can be sucky, but I would not change what I did that day. 

When I get low emotionally from all my limitations, I remember those girls. I watched them go to college, get married, grow into mothers, and hold impressive jobs in their fields. And when they show a photo on FaceBook of each happy moment, it recharges me to know they are safe, healthy, and happy. And it reaffirms my decision to save them from harm.

Yellow School bus waiting to pick up studentsMihai Vlasceanu, Pexels

34. Karma Will Come For You

Some kid in our senior year of high school pulled the fire alarm every day. He was getting away with it for a while. The school had town officials, the chief of the fire department, and officers come in and talk about the dangers. The town would send trucks and be without them if there was another emergency. None of that worked. 

When they offered a reward, the kid’s friends ratted him out. His family had to pay for all those calls, and he was expelled from school and didn’t graduate.

Fire alarmSrattha Nualsate, Pexels

35. Vegas Takes Another One

My old coworker went to Vegas, felt good about his odds due to the drinks he’d imbibed, and ended up betting his entire life savings on roulette and lost. He ended up losing his house, his wife, and kids, and from what I've seen he now lives in a tiny apartment and works a minimum-wage job.

Men in suits at a casinoJavon Swaby, Pexels

36. Hopefully He Learned His Lesson

A friend of mine from a wealthy Middle Eastern family didn’t quite ruin his life but messed it up for a while. He was in Canada on a student visa but was working after graduating and had applied for permanent residency. He got rejected, and thinking he had nothing left to lose, he decided to go ALL out—he took out every credit card he could find and ran them all up because he was leaving the country forever that week. 

He told his parents he was coming home and why. His mom made a few phone calls and it turned out the kid had just screwed up some paperwork, and it was no problem to get it fixed up and approved. 

That was 15 years ago and he still lives here, but his credit card debt was more than his annual salary and his parents (correctly) told him he was an idiot and to pay it himself. He also lost out on a job opportunity the next year because his credit was such a disaster.

A man holding a credit card in blue jacketCup of Couple, Pexels

37. The Husband Is A Good Person

My friend's wife was diagnosed with cancer. The doctors said she had about a 10% chance of surviving.

She scheduled her surgery for a month out, and without telling him, took out several credit cards in just her name. She ranked up $100,000 in debt in that month flying around the world and doing everything on her bucket list.

She had the surgery and chemo after and…lived. She was fine. That debt completely messed up their lives for about 10 years.

The husband, my friend, knew she was traveling. He saw the roughly $10,000 added to their joint credit card. He did not know she had taken out credit and was hiding an additional $90,000 in debt.

His wife honestly thought she would die, and then the credit card companies would close the accounts and the family would owe nothing. Which is not exactly how it works. So luckily that did not happen.

He lost his DoD security clearance because of it (people with a lot of debt, can be bought). And he took a lower-paying job as a federal contractor, where I met him. But he honestly does not regret it and is happy to have his wife and kids all alive.

Couple calculating their billsMikhail Nilov, Pexels

38. The Truth Will Out

My dad used a dirty needle while doing illicit substances and got HIV. In 2008 he told us he was living with AIDS because of that one day. We have helped pay for the meds or his bills (because he paid for his meds and didn’t have the money) ever since. Last summer he got Covid and when the doc was talking to my sister on the phone, she asked what special treatment he would need to have due to having AIDS. 

His doctor of 20 years said, “What? He doesn’t have AIDS”.

At the time, he said he had been living with HIV for years and that it developed into AIDS for not treated it. I was 16 and dumb, so I believed him. The doctor clarified. It wasn’t a two-minute conversation. He had been seeing my dad as a patient for 20 years and knew his medical history. He was as upset as we were that he lied. After finding out, me and my sister confronted him and he admitted to it all. HE NEVER HAD HIV OR AIDS. IT WAS ALL A LIE.

We haven’t talked to him since.

Young man is meeting his girlfriend's fatherVGstockstudio, Shutterstock

39. Putting On His Clown Costume

This clown I knew was a senior married reserve Naval officer who also had a job at a nuclear power facility that required a Top Secret Clearance. He got deployed as a reservist to do classified work in Europe. Nothing James Bond but still not something the US wanted people to know about. 

It was plenty cushy too–living in a luxury hotel with lots of paid time off base to check out the sights. But the clown decided to hook up with a German woman and have an affair. The big guys don’t care about that so long as you're above board with them about it so you can't be blackmailed. They don't even tell the spouse. This is spelled out once you get a security clearance. He didn't tell them–they found out another way.

But the unit went easy on him. His commander told him to either tell his wife or stop seeing this German woman. If he did that, there'd be no consequences; if he didn't there'd be trouble. This warning was repeated to this clown on multiple occasions. The clown said he'd stop. Then he went off to Germany on vacation to, you guessed it, hook up with this German woman.

The commander took it personally that the clown ignored his warnings, disobeyed orders, and lied to him. Go figure. The commander fired him from the cushy job and revoked his security clearance which ruined the clown's reserve career. Because he needed a security clearance at his civilian job, he lost that too. And of course, his wife found out and divorced him.

I suppose the clown recovered from this and is doing okay. But I imagine it's just as possible he's living in a van down by the river.

Fired Employee in suit With Box of his stuffAndrey_Popov, Shutterstock

40. Ruining Multiple Lives In An Instant

"Jim", a kid I went to high school with, gave a bunch of other kids a ride home in his pickup truck. The other kids rode in the bed as he drove each of them home.

You can already see where this is going, I think.

Anyway, Jim tried to make a light but he came up way short. Traffic on the opposite side already had a green light. Jim's truck hit a car in the middle of the intersection, sending the kids riding in the back flying through the air.

Two of the kids passed from their injuries while one of the other ones got helicoptered to the ICU.

Making matters worse, the car he hit was driven by "Erin", a girl we went to high school with. All she did was proceed through the intersection when the light turned green. Like, nobody blamed her at all. But she was only 16 and had just started driving. But she never signed up to be involved in a crash where people lost their lives. The incident sent her over the edge. She had a nervous breakdown and I never saw her again.

Life wasn't easy for Jim after that. The other students in the school were merciless to him. He felt horrible about what happened. But self-flagellation was not enough for the other students—Eventually, Jim had to leave the school because his safety was legit in danger.

Jim's situation might've been exacerbated by some VERY forgiving parents [of the deceased teens]. One of them said words to the effect of, "He's already suffering and he'll suffer even more in the future. I can't bring myself to add to his pain". I don't think the other kids took kindly to the parents just letting it go. But I can't prove that.

I have no idea what Erin or Jim is up to these days. But I hope they're both better.

Accident on the roadSKT Studio, Shutterstock

41. Temper, Temper

This dude (who was blacklisted from working at a lot of local businesses) threw a chair at the assistant manager. The head manager tried to play it off with HR to save him (it was a buddy of his) but HR didn’t listen. 

He was told to leave the property that day (usually they have to provide notice before letting people go unless under extreme circumstances) and he was banned from the store for six months. He ended up moving because no one would hire him.

finger pointing at fired signDaniel Schweinert, Shutterstock

42. The Only Hot Single Here Is His Bank Account

I had a friend who was a compulsive spender. He bought a $9,000 sports motorcycle and then spent $1,200 getting it customized. He traded it in 9 months later for $3,000 towards another new one. This guy could probably have a house and be ahead on a mortgage with all of the money he's spent on stuff he was stupid about.

Well, one day, he must've put his credit card number into a "Hot Singles In Your Area" scam. He woke up and his bank account had been cleaned out. He needed to move back into his parents' house and declare bankruptcy.

He also borrowed $1,000 from me that I never saw a cent of before he ghosted me. The sad thing about the situation is, even though I did want the money back, I had no intention of disowning his friendship.

shocked and disappointed man in blue shirt   files for bankruptcyMarina Tynik, Shutterstock

43. Et Tu, Mama?

I didn't believe my mom when she said she'd kick me out at 18, so I never bothered to get a part-time job to save money. My 18th birthday came around, and I said "nope" to her when she asked if I'd gotten a job or had living arrangements figured out. I had no idea what was coming.

The next day, I came home from a friend's place to a laundry basket of clothing at the door. She drove me to a homeless shelter and never let me come back home.

Lonely man on a street in brown jacketMary Taylor, Pexels

44. Taken Down A Peg

I have an acquaintance that was always overconfident, approaching arrogance. I could tolerate him as he was charismatic and not far into arrogant territory.

One day he thought he could keep something he found at work. There were cameras everywhere. The owner knew where it was and was able to track the item to him.

He was fired when the investigation showed him carrying it out. 30+ years with the company.

Sadly it wasn't the first time his ego got him in trouble.

Sad fired businessman in suite sitting outside meetingbaranq, Shutterstock

45. The Accusation

A friend of mine married his love and they had a daughter. But soon that woman found someone "better" so she accused him of a variety of things. Of course, the new guy backed that up. 

So my friend lost his job, his house, his daughter, and his wife (even though this seems to be better for him in the end). A lot of his friends abandoned him too but I’ve known him long enough to know that he would never do that and she made that up. 

She didn't have any proof other than the new guy stating that he saw it. Because of this the judge did not plead him guilty but said he couldn't visit his daughter till she turns 18 as a precautionary measure. This didn't matter to other people though because they heard something about him harming his wife so it must be true.

Sad man in black sweater sitting on a bedMART PRODUCTION, Pexels

46. How Is It Not His Fault?

I had a friend who was awarded a full scholarship to an Ivy League school but was in love, so decided to go to a school in Chicago to be near her man. Four years and 110K in student loans later, it turned out the school is not accredited and the boy had been cheating. 

She stayed with him, got a retail job, and lost everything. It's been 15 years and they are still together living in a single-wide trailer, he won't marry her, she is in more debt than I could imagine, and he has two kids by other women. She's dedicated her life to him and refuses to believe it's his fault he got those women pregnant. 

She's gotten a bit of a better job but he doesn't work and she's just trying to keep up with their cost of living. The thing is, she is really smart and nice, she just loves a man that's bad for her.

Sad woman outside in white top looking at rightMasha Raymers, Pexels

47. Playing The Long Game

My mom’s best friend. This technically didn’t all happen in one day, but I feel this story still fits.

They had been friends for pretty much my entire life (I’m 20), although now and then they stopped talking to each other. However, they always ended up rekindling their friendship somehow. My mom’s friend had a daughter when I was about 6, and she and my sister (who is 3 years younger than me) have also been best friends their entire lives. I hung out with them now and then, and I was also considered her friend.

My mom’s friend (who I’ll refer to as MF) had a serious boyfriend for a large portion of her daughter’s (I’ll call her D) life. He lived with them for a long time and was basically a father figure to D. But that all changed in an instant—MF had an affair with her boss, or maybe it was her coworker. I don’t exactly remember, but she cheated on her boyfriend and they ended up splitting shortly afterward. He remained a part of D’s life though.

Fast forward to recent years, MF was talking to my mom again after they ghosted each other for a while. D would come over and hang out with me and my sister while my mom and MF would hang out. Everything seemed like it was gonna work out…and then I got a letter from the IRS saying someone tried to file a tax return in my name. 

My mom looked into it and found out it was MF, who tried to file one in my sister’s name as well. After looking into it more, my mom told us that MF had been taking money from not only us but a bunch of people in her life tracing back who knows how long. I was so shocked I honestly didn’t know what to think.

My mom and MF are not friends anymore, and I’m pretty sure this time it’s for good. The last I heard, D doesn’t live with her anymore and instead lives with MF’s ex-boyfriend from earlier.

woman filling form of Individual Income Tax Return in white sweaterchayanuphol, Shutterstock

48. Really, Dude?

I worked with a guy that was using his shift manager/keyholder status to take the money and make it look like new hires did it. I had caught on to him and approached the owner when the owner was contemplating firing yet another new hire, convincing him to hold off until after this dude's next shift. 

The owner turned the cameras to face the desk area where the drawer was counted, which also showed the safe (before this he used the cameras to make sure we were safe, he was a good boss). Before his next shift though, the shift manager showed up early during one of my shifts "just for a glass of water" and disappeared to the back for a second before leaving without another word. 

I called up our boss, he checked the cameras, and sure enough, he went into the safe. The boss said, “Don't touch anything, I will be there before your shift is over with a locksmith”. 

An hour or two later, some officers showed up looking for this guy because they found his wallet in a building that had been broken into and vandalized the night before. Our boss showed up then and they had a long discussion. 

I found out later it was an elementary school, he had taken pretty much all the money out of the safe, and had also wrecked his frat brother’s car. These officers were basically on a crime spree scavenger hunt at that point. He got kicked out of the frat, lost his scholarships, and had to drop out.

Man opening a safeFreedom Studio, Shutterstock

49. Burned His Bridges

Before my time, an employee at an old job went to a job interview somewhere else, radically misinterpreted it, drove straight back to his office, went full Jerry Maguire, and stormed out. Then he called up the hiring manager at the other company saying he could start right away, but the hiring manager said a mistake had been made in interviewing him as another candidate had already been given an offer letter the day before and so the opening had been filled.

He tried begging for his old job back but he got laughed out. A coworker told me that this guy's marriage was already on the ropes. But when his wife found out he ragequit without having something new lined up, she moved out the same day and filed for divorce two or three months later.

Young man in suit sitting at the desk at job interviewfizkes, Shutterstock

50. At Least Go To The Second Page

My brother broke up with his girlfriend when they were both 21. On the surface it looked like an amicable breakup—he even volunteered to move back in with our parents temporarily so she could keep the flat they were renting. About a month later, she sent him two pics: an ultrasound and a positive pregnancy test.

She told him she didn't want him to have anything to do with their baby but if he'd give her a few thousand now to help her through the pregnancy and to get ready for the baby's arrival, she'd release him from any future obligation to pay child support. She laid it on thick that it was going to be a very hard pregnancy since he'd left her and she now had to pay for the flat alone and even hinted he'd known she was pregnant when he broke up with her.

When he ignored the message, she then sent it on to everyone—her family, our family including parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, his employer, his colleagues, some old college teachers they were still in contact with, and their friends (they met in school so almost all of their friends were mutual). She even posted it on her Facebook for good measure.

He then replied to her, and to everyone he knew of that she'd sent the message to, and also on her Facebook page—with two screenshots from Google, showing that the pictures she'd sent him were the first that came up when you searched "ultrasound" and "positive pregnancy test". She didn't lose her job over that but did a few months later, and most of their friends cut ties with her.

She set out to take a few thousand off him and instead outed herself as crazy to everyone she knew.

Man in blue t-shirt  working on a laptopBuro Millennial, Pexels


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