Have you ever wondered if you were in the wrong? Or had the sneaking suspicion that you were the villain in the story? Reddit users talk about the time they found out they were ones causing pain.
Comments have been edited for clarity. The source can be found the end of the article.
I used to work security at a college bar and we would typically ask people to leave who were too intoxicated. One night I was posted up in the DJ booth because it was our normal shoulder to shoulder level of busy. I watched this guy start stumbling and drinking his beer in a really weird way. I make my way over to him and tell him he has to leave because he is too drunk. He tries to tell me something, but I can’t understand what he said because the music is so loud and he was slurring his words. We get outside and he tells me that he has cerebral palsy which was pretty obvious after the fact. He was cool about it and I let him back in but I don’t think I have ever felt like a bigger dick than that night.
Pulled out from the gas station and this jerk was riding my bumper, honking his horn and waving and pointing. I pulled over, throwing my arms up, getting ready for an altercation because I did nothing wrong. Turns out I drove off without closing my gas cap. Wasn’t really such a big deal for how he was acting, but he was still just trying to help. I apologized and thanked him.
In high school there was a kid who I unwittingly bullied. I actually thought he was a cool dude, and my friend group and I rough housed a lot. Headlocks, finger circle game, dead legs etc… I was just doing what I did with everyone I get along with. One day I came up behind him and did that thing where you kick someone’s back leg into their front leg while they’re walking to make them trip on their feet. He turned around with fear and anger in his eyes and yelled, “Why do you have to be such a dick to me all the time?” My heart sank to my feet. I didn’t realize that what I saw as friendly bonding play, he found really intimidating. We talked it out, and I spent the rest of my high school days being really nice to him. The weirdest part is that he was a pretty popular kid, not small by any means, and on a couple different sports teams. Goes to show, anybody can feel bullied.
I was at a restaurant doing a coworker dinner thing when I noticed the woman at the next table was staring me down. Like, barely blinking, full-blown eye contact. After a while, I started getting pretty agitated when my subtle social cues to stop staring at me went wholly ignored. After about 20 minutes of this, I had enough of this lady’s unsolicited rudeness, and I did the whole “come at me, bro” arms in the air move, thinking surely THAT would get my point across. I made a fairly big production of it. Only then did I realize that the lady was completely blind.
Went to a friend of a friend’s house to chill. Nice kid, but his house is crazy dirty- dishes stacked to the ceiling, laundry strewn like carpeting, old take out food bags from a ton of places everywhere, bags of garbage just laying in piles in the kitchen. The place stunk to high heaven and I had trouble getting comfortable. Later I commented on how dirty the place was to my friend. Turns out the guy’s mom has cancer, and the guy has to help take care of her and his younger sibling… all while trying to be a typical teenage boy. I felt bad for judging.
It was my mom’s moment, but whatever. She was driving me and my brother home from the store when we were young when she drove through an intersection when she almost hit someone. She leaned out the window and screamed, “You got a stop sign, lady,” out the window at a person she nearly hit. Ten seconds later my mother realized that she was in fact the one who blew through a stop sign. All she said was, “Oh….” Like any good kids, we still to this day yell, “You got a stop sign, lady,” at her.
Used to think it was funny to quote from the movie Dodgeball and say Youre adopted, your real parents dont even love you.” Wish I could say that I learned my lesson the first time that I said this to someone who responded with …actually I am adopted.” Won the jerk lottery twice.
I was in 5th grade and there was this fat kid in class who had a very distinct and funny way of running (he waddled like a penguin). Everyone made fun of him but I always felt sorry for him, so I didn’t. His name was “Dino.” Yeah, like in the Flintstones.
One day during PE we played “Shark.” The class has to run from one end of the field to the other while a few of us “sharks” tagged as many as we could. Usually only a few kids make it to the end.
That day, I was a shark. Most of the kids already got tagged or made it past the sharks, until I spotted Dino. He was near the end of the field. You could see he was running his hardest, really trying to make it, like his real life depended on it. Normally, all the kids made fun of Dino, but this day and that moment, everyone was CHEERING for him. Me, being a huge jerk, run up to him but didn’t tag him right away. I jogged along next to him, smirking, keeping pace, looking at him in the face as he waddled his fastest. All the kids were cheering for him but I knew he wouldn’t make it. Just as he was about to cross, I tagged him.
I still remember his face to this very day. The way his face crumpled like a paper bag. This silent but incredibly sad, intense, quiet sobbing. I felt so bad. I should have just let him go. Everyone felt bad. Everyone felt bad about everything we’ve said to this poor kid.
The next day, no one made fun of Dino anymore.
One time I was in a high school assembly, and a bunch of kids in pajamas started walking into the auditorium. Pajamas were against my schools dress code. Me, thinking I was funny, yelled, Hey thats against the dress code! Turns out it was the special ed class. Really felt like a horrible person. Couldnt make myself small enough in that crowd.
I was a freshman in high school. I don’t know why it occurred to me, but I figured out that if you rubbed the little cage that held your books under the desks the right way, that it would resonate and make this loud humming sound. I would sit there and wait for the teacher to turn her back and start. She would turn around and look at the air conditioner vent that was right above me, of course when she did I would stop. She would look bewildered then turn back around, of course I would start up again. Being the quiet kid no one in the class suspected it was me. It was hilarious… until they closed the class room down for a couple days because they had concerns about the air conditioners malfunctioning.
Two weeks ago, I was dropping someone off at Union Station. As I was exiting the parking lot, there was one of those gate things where you insert your ticket.
I inserted my ticket and the person behind me began honking. The gate was literally in the process of lifting up. I laid on the horn, screaming, “OKAY OKAY I’M GOING,” but they kept honking. I hit the accelerator and zoomed off, flicking them off for good measure in a very obvious way (I drive a convertible so I put my hand right out the top), furious at them for honking at me to go when there was no way I could have gone any faster.
I exited and turned left. A few moments later, the same car exited and also turned left, and pulled up to me.
They put down their window, and I put down mine, and was like, “What the do you want, huh?!“
The lady in the other car said, “You left your coffee mug on the back of your car.”
She wasn’t even mad.
I was totally shocked; I looked behind me and sure enough, I had set my tumbler on the top of the trunk, and she had been honking to try to let me know.
I turned red, burst out laughing, told her I was so sorry for being a jerk, pulled over, and got my cup. Could not BELIEVE what a jerk I had been and how coolly she responded to the whole thing.
Oh man, I still feel bad whenever I think about this.
So about a year ago, I was on a long international plane flight. I always book the aisle seat because I have a GI disorder that means I sometimes have to get to the bathroom with very little notice, so being trapped in a middle or window seat is suboptimal.
I get all seated for my flight, which is the second leg of probably 12+ hours worth of travel, and I’m so exhausted I start to nod off before boarding is even finished. I’m awakened by a man politely asking if he can have my seat. Groggily, I explain that, no, sorry, I set it up this way because of an illness I have, and I get up so he can have the window seat (it was a small flight, so no middle seat, at least). The nerve of some people, right? If you wanted the aisle seat, why didn’t you just choose it beforehand, random dude? The world doesn’t revolve around you!
Well, about three hours into the flight I wake up again, feeling slightly more human, and end up in conversation with my rowmate. And within about five minutes, I discover that, no, he wasn’t asking to switch seats, he was telling me that I was in his seat. Apparently the airline had switched who was seated where so that he could be closer to his wife and daughter, who were sitting across the aisle. I hadn’t looked at my electronic boarding pass since going through security, so I didn’t notice the change. I apologized profusely and offered to switch immediately, but the poor guy just said it was okay and declined. Augh.
tl;dr: I accidentally stole a dude’s assigned seat on a plane, then got annoyed at HIM for trying to point out the discrepancy and proceeded to stay in said seat for the entire flight.
I was at a Starbucks, sitting outside, along with a number of other people.
A gym-rat looking guy starts drawing attention to himself and pointing at people saying: “Is that white carover there your car?!” After a couple of these, a guy sitting near me says, “Yeah, that is my car.”
Gym rat (righteously): “You are a royal jerk for parking in a handicapped spot! How can you be so selfish when someone who needs that spot might show up at any time? For all you know, he already drove through the parking lot, couldn’t find a space, so he headed back home emptyhanded.” Blah blah.
Car owner: “Sorry. I’m handicapped, but I forgot to hang the tag when I left the car.”
Gym rat: “Oh, really?”
At this point the car owner, who had been sitting down and showed no signs of handicap, stands up. The guy is bent in half, like his spine is fused in a 90 degree angle. He looked perfectly normal sitting down. “OK, OK, I’ll go to the car and hang the tag.”
Gym rat, upon seeing him stand: “Oh, ah, sorry. You don’t have to do that.”
The car owner slowly and uncomfortably walks the 40 feet to his car, opens the door, fumbles to hang the tag, then ambles his way back to his seat, rigidly bent the entire time.
When I was 10 or so, a friend of mine got appendicitis, so the teacher asked us to write letters of support to her. Little me thought I could troll her in the same way I could do in the internet (which isn’t even justified there), so I wrote an entire letter joking about her condition, wishing it got worse, saying in the end it’s all a joke and I wish she got well.
The teacher came to class mad and disappointed, and proceeded to read my letter without saying my name. I instantly knew I had screwed up and never did it again.
In middle school, I was really creepy to a guy I liked. As in, an insane amount of physical stalking. I memorized his schedule by following him everywhere, and I always appeared in the same places he was. Took one of his jackets that he forgot somewhere, and took an assignment of his that was posted on a class cork board because I just wanted his stuff.
At the time, it didnt even occur to me that what I was doing was messed up. All I thought about was How can I be around this person without having to interact with him?
Its been over half a decade since then. If I did any of this as an adult I would have been arrested with at least a few restraining orders. My friends told me it was messed up but I refused to listen.
I probably did some serious, permanent mental damage to the poor kid. I hope hes managed to recover and I hope he never has to worry about anything like this again. He deserves the relief.
My best friends younger sister had a weird headband on one day. We were in high school at the time so she was in middle school. She and my friend didnt really get along, and she was kinda mean to me too, so I saw an opportunity to tease her and said, Nice headband.
Turns out she had had cosmetic surgery of some kind to make her ears stick out less, and the headband was there to cover her surgical wounds. I sure did feel like a real jerk.
Actually happened yesterday. It’s not that bad of a thing, but I was driving on a road and saw someone on a side street pull out onto my road. This was right in front of a girl that was trying to cross the street. Immediately I got pissed that this guy almost hit a girl just to save 10 seconds, so I followed him until he parked. I drove up right next to him, stopped, and said “Hey idiot! You almost killed that girl back there! What are you thinking???” He looked confused and said “Dude, she waved me ahead and let me go, what are you talking about?” Immediately I apologized, telling him it looked bad from where I was. But yeah, I went from hero to zero real quick.
Made fun of a friend for wearing dog tags, turns out he used them to help others identify his epilepsy in lieu of an identifier bracelet.
In first grade, I was making fun of a short boy without realizing I was hurting his feelings. It got to the point where I had upset him so much, he buried his tiny first-grade fist right into my stomach.
I was left lying on the playground trying to catch my breath.
Sort of an eyeopener then and there to treat people the way I wanted to be treated.
My dog was barking for no reason. He wouldn’t stop, even after I yelled at him 3 times. I turn around to yell at him again, and he’s at the door looking at me with his derpy face… while the neighbors dog continues to bark. Sorry bud.
My brother met his future wife when they were both in high school. She happened to be one of my best friends at the time, and I really resented the shift in our friendship once they got together. They were really incredibly private and didn’t like hanging out with other people, so I wound up almost never seeing my brother or my friend anymore, and when I did see them, I was acutely aware of how much of a third wheel I was. Our group of friends took issue with this, and together, we all wound up treating my brother and friend pretty poorly (although, to be fair, they handled some things immaturely as well).
It wasn’t until I graduated high school and got into a serious relationship myself that I realized that many of the accusations we leveled at them were totally unfair. I felt horrible for not defending them both to our friends more, and sometimes actively playing a part in talking badly about them. Thankfully, I was able to apologize to both of them, and they were both really gracious about it all. There were still some areas where they were at fault, and they eventually apologized for those too. Our relationship was never the same, but it became infinitely easier and closer after I was able to recognize that I was the bad guy throughout a lot of our high school years.
Guy kept bumping into me in line at a theme park. I kindly asked him twice to back up a bit and give me some room. Third time I turned right around and raised my voice a little and started to show some irritation….
Guy was clearly autistic. Parents/family shuffled him back a few steps and apologized to me—I about cried from embarrassment.
I was in a right turn lane and this SUV would not make the turn even though the light was green. Naturally I leaned on my horn in rage. The SUV was simply waiting to let a guy in a wheelchair cross the street. I saw the SUV driver’s face in his side view mirror. He shook his head and looked very disappointed. I certainly was the fool that day.
I used to have a very bad fear that someone would break into my house, especially when my husband was away. I would obsessively peep out of my windows making sure no one was doing anything suspicious around my house. Like if I heard people talking outside I would sprint to the window and spy on them until they had passed. Then one day I thought, “What would someone think if they spotted me doing this?” That’s when I realized that I was, in fact, the scary one here. No one was trying to sneak around my house, I was literally just creeping on everyone in the neighborhood like a weirdo.
My first job was at Taco Bell. This dad comes in with three kids, all under the age of 10 or so. He orders nine items, and I let him know that if he orders one more thing, I can give him a discount due to one of the promos we were running.
But what did I do? I forgot to apply the discount. He didn’t notice, probably didn’t notice til he got home and looked at the receipt, but I still feel awful about it every time I think about it. It’s such a minuscule thing, but for some reason, that’s what gets me.
I really hate when people cut in on a line – fast food, the bus, anything. I always call people out on it amicably and usually they pretend they didn’t realize and go to the back of the line.
One time, this jerk cuts in front of me in the line for coffee, so I tell him, “Hey the line starts back there”. He ignores me, which makes me even more annoyed, “Not sure if you heard me, but the line is back there, maybe you didn’t realize.” He ignores me. I’m starting to get angry now and go to tap his shoulder and lay into him, when he gets called forward for his order.
Before I have time to rage over the injustice, he turns to the side. That man? He had Down syndrome. Everyone gave me the stink-eye like I was some sort of monster for verbally abusing him. I didn’t know!!