Everybody makes mistakes at work, but not everyone becomes “that guy” who did something totally unforgettable.
Many thanks to all the Redditors who responded. Check out more answers from the source at the end of this article!
16. Hungry hungry hippo.
Another mate of mine was working as a safety boater for a rafting company on the Zambezi river, Zambia. One of the hazards of working on the Zambezi is animals getting pulled over Vic falls during high water, and collecting in the eddies below. Usually they’ll only circle around for an hour or two before the current moves them on, and the raft guides get to freak clients out by pointing to the dead elephant in the shallows.
One such example of road (river?) kill was this huge hippo that wouldn’t leave the eddy, just kept circling around and round for a few days, with the African sun beating down on it. So sure enough, it started to swell and stink, and it was putting off the clients. So the raft guides had a pow wow, and tried pushing it out with sticks – no joy. They tried pushing it with rafts, but it’d only find its way back in to the eddy. A rope around it didn’t work either.
So one lad, Doug, said that he’d sit on top of it with a paddle, and paddle out in to the flow, and once it was moving off, he’d slide off of it and get roped in to shore. The rest of the guides were a bit dubious, but let him off. So Doug waited until the hippo circled around to a large rock that he was standing on, and he stepped out on to its back, paddle in hand.
…And promptly sank straight through the hippo up to his shoulders, with a large wet messy filthy fart of an explosion from the Hippo. He paused, in shock. Everyone paused. He vomited all down the side of the animal, and everyone else fell about the place laughing, until the stench of the animal reached them. Apparently it was nearly visible, a widening shockwave of people stopping laughing, and starting to puke. It had cooked in its juices from the sun, and was nearly liquified inside. Doug had only stopped sinking in to the animal because of the paddle in his hands. He eventually had to use it as a sword, and chop his way out of the animal, and kick his legs and try and swim out of it.
15. Some people are just cursed.
My first job was at Old Country Buffet when I was 14. I worked my way up from busboy to dishwasher to prep cook to line cook over the course of almost 2 years.
For those who don’t know, Old Country Buffet is a hot/cold all-you-can eat place with a carvery station and lots of items. Food wasn’t all that great, but they had a solid organization and the kitchen and food handling guidelines (in our store at least) were immaculate.
Because of this, our store got chosen as the final “exam” for Old Country Buffet college’s Manager In Training program (M.I.T. for short). a couple times a year we would get a bunch of fresh faced incredibly cheerful M.I.T.s who would work every station in the store over the course of a weekend and show that they had the necessary knowledge and temperament to get a manager position in one of the many OCB’s around. Not everyone got placed, so there was a competitive element as well. M.I.T.s were monitored and scored by existing managers as well as regional managers (intimidating to say the least, every store manager was freaking out too).
So one of these M.I.T. days came around and a somewhat portly and cherubic man named Mark came in to the cold prep area to work there for a few hours making jello, salads etc. I was right around the corner on the hot line. Not 3 minutes pass and I hear a “FUCK FUCK FUCK”, I go around the corner to see a mini geyser of blood and our mixing bowl the size of a children’s pool filled with coleslaw and blood on top. Mark had not put on a glove and cut himself horribly across the thumb.
We threw away the coleslaw, bleached EVERYTHING and Mark went to dress his wound with the help of our manager Tim. Mark came back a little pale with a fake cheerful grin and a finger cot and a glove over his bandage. We all watched sort of amused as the glove filled with blood. Tim made him go change dressing again, despite Mark protesting he could work one-handed and wanted to prove his worth. Second glove filled with blood at the same rate. Mark needed stitches.
So off Mark went, we all went back to work and had a laugh at how long he lasted. 3 minutes was a record. The shortest we had seen before was 4 hours, when a guy had a meltdown in the dishroom and was asked to leave.
Surprisingly, Mark came back from hospital a few hours later.
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9 fresh stitches and no more bleeding, he was ready to prove he could hang. His scheduled shift was on hotline with me and other cook named Ox. We decided to put Mark on frying the chicken. Pretty much the easiest hotline task. Slowly drop battered chicken into deep fryer and set a timer and then just watch the magic happen. Ox and I go back to handling the rest of the menu and literally 10 seconds later mark is screaming.
Mark slipped while putting the first piece of battered chicken into the deep fryer.
He had fallen forward and shoved BOTH of his hands into the deep fryer up to the elbows. He screamed, flopped back and hit his head on the stainless steel counter, cutting his head open a little.
Off to the hospital again.
He didn’t get the job.
14. Always be careful when using Reply All.
Used to work at a firm where one of the partners sent a note to another partner.
“You’re an amazing person. Days like today remind me why I love you. Can’t wait for you to leave your wife so we can be together.”
REPLY ALL is a heck of a drug.
13. Walmart is an interesting place…
At a Walmart, about 15 years ago, one of my not-so-competent coworkers was moving two stacked pallets of white latex house paint with a forklift. This is a lot of cans of paint, hundreds of gallons.
Well, he was driving with these pallets in the side parking lot, near the Garden Patio area, and took a turn too fast….and both of the shrink-wrapped pallets tipped over and crashed on the ground. Most of the cans of paint busted open, and by the time we finished digging out all of the packaging detritus (cardboard, cans, broken pallets, etc) the result was basically a giant lake of white paint about 35 feet in diameter.
But here’s the funny part: while we were cleaning up, some idiot drove through the paint before we could wave him off. One of the more weakly-back-boned managers apologized profusely and promised the guy that Walmart would compensate him by paying for a new paint job and tires for his truck.
Well, turns out the guy lived in a trailer park less the half a mile from the store, and he immediately went home and told everyone there about the “opportunity.” About a dozen trailer-trashers drove through the paint lake on purpose over the next hour, all looking to get free tires/paint job for their vehicles.
You can imagine the white-latex carnage.
Paint was everywhere. In the end Walmart was liable for dozens and dozens of paint-damaged cars, because the trailer-park people spread the paint all over the main parking lot and side street, and we could never prove who did and didn’t drive through it on purpose. They were also responsible for the damage to the parking lot itself, because retail stores actually lease such property, rather than own it.
12. The untrained leading the untrained.
I worked at a fast food restaurant for about 4 hours, because I knew practically everyone working there. The thing is, while I was getting trained, there was another new guy who came in an hour later. They told me to teach him what I knew so far. They didn’t tell him that I was new.
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I acted like I had worked there for years, and everyone went along with it. He and I are mopping, taking out trash, washing dishes, cleaning the ice maker, and he suddenly sees the red button at the top right of the ice maker. He asks, “What’s that red button?” I simply said, like I was told by the guy who trained me, “That’s what you push to clean this.” But… Before I could tell him I was joking, the kid was overzealous and slammed the button. It’s important to note that the red button does not clean the ice maker, it, in fact, releases a catch and empties ALL the ice/water in the machine out the bottom. Which wasn’t over the drain at the time.
Apparently they do not like it when two new guys training each other flood the kitchen and half the dining area forcing the place to close 6 hours ahead of schedule. The guy who was supposed to train me, the guy that was supposed to train the other kid, the kid, and I were all fired.
11. I have so many questions…
A patient got an entire bucket of blood that wasn’t the right type. Dead.
Probably not the “worst”, but one of the more easily avoided.
10. That is not a minor error…
Doctor wrote prescription for 80mg of blood pressure meds instead of 20mg. Lady came into the pharmacy because her husband couldn’t get out of bed and his blood pressure monitor wasn’t giving a reading. Called an ambulance right away and thankfully he was ok.
9. Why would you be trying to so that?
One of my co-workers bear maced himself while trying to spray at a beaver.
8. That’s so, so sad.
As a military police officer I had to respond to a vehicle accident. I get to the scene and half the Humvee is fine, the other half has been completely crushed.
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The guy in the passenger seat was still sitting there, shaking and crying but fine. Basically what happened was that an M1A2 Abrams tank and this Humvee were both doing night driving on the tank trail (no headlights on), and heading right for each other. The tank absolutely crushed the Humvee, killing the driver instantly. I went down the tank trail and found the tank about 3 miles away. I stopped the tank, and talked to the crew and driver. They thought they had hit a pothole or something. No clue that they just killed a man.
7. You will never be trusted again.
I worked at a nice Chevy Dealer a couple years back. It was right when The Corvette ZR1 was just getting released. We got one in that was a pre-order from one of our wealthier clients. It was one of the first off the line. (Jay Leno actually has the first)
Anyways one of the salesman thought it would be a great idea to take it for a quick spin. I dont know what he was thinking! How he would account for the miles on the car. This by the way is unheard of and never really happens. Well you guessed it, he crashed it. A $120,000.00 car (at the time), super charged v8, ordered a year in advance for a customer…
6. How are you gonna get them out of there?!
I used to work at McDonalds. One day I was working with a new girl who was on her second week of training. We were running low on fries so my manager told her to go drop a basket into the fryer. This is a super simple process, you literally stick the basket in the oil and push a button.
She proceeded to turn the basket upside down and dump all of the fries into the oil. Everyone just looked at her _ and she had no clue what she had done wrong.
5. Again with the Reply All.
Coworker of mine was on a big project.
The client sent us an email with some request which resulted in some re-work for us. She mistakenly replied-all and said “Client is such a anal-retentive jerk. He needs to just make up his mind from Day 1”. You guessed it, client was on the reply-all.
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This was a multi-million dollar account too. Luckily the client thought it was hilarious and replied to all of us with — “My wife calls me a jerk all the time!”
We kept the account (by some miracle).
4. You have to live with your mistake.
I work at an entertainment company in LA where every executive has an assistant. The head of the company has had floor Laker tickets for the past thirteen years. The waitlist for those tickets is over a decade long. Executive told the assistant that he also wants four non floor tickets for a certain game.
Assistant thinks he means instead and switches his floor seats for non floor seats releasing these precious tickets forever. The executive screamed so loud that the floor above us came down to make sure everyone was ok. (I am not joking.)
Apparently the tickets were worth over a million dollars and he gave them away for free. The exec had to shell out for other tickets but not the same ones so now every game he goes to he has to stare at the people in his precious seats.
3. How do you let that happen?
I was a sales associate at a mom and pop hardware store. It was a slow night so the cashier taught me how to run the register. It was great, because now I could cover register when needed and I figured it was something I could bring up next time they were deciding on my raise. Fast forward to the end of the night, it’s late and the cashier had gone home early, just me in register and a manager in the back.
An older man who didn’t speak English was shopping for nails. he comes to the register and lays down a handful. I told him it would be 70 cents and he raised his eyebrows and gestured at the nails. I told him again, 70 cents. He paid, I bagged his nails, then he bent down, grabbed the assorted shovels and rakes he had leaning on the counter, and walked out the front door.
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Easily 100$ of crap that I let him walk away with. I guess I could have told him to stop, or a million other things but I was dumb and young and I was afraid the manager wouldn’t let me run register any more if he knew I messed up. Worst part is, that was my biggest mistake but I could write a book with all the crazy, stupid and illegal stuff that went on there. Good times.
2. I imagine it would…
Working at a hockey rink and you use hot water to fill the zamboni up, well sometimes you forget the hose is still in the machine and drive onto the ice and turns out hot water melts ices fast.
1. Things could have been so much worse…
I was working at a max security prison in the disciplinary confinement area. One night we had this ditzy new girl working the control room. I don’t know how she managed it but she accidentally opened every cell on one wing.
Rapists, murderers, and the like who won’t behave were now roaming freely. I had to go down the wing alone and lock all of the cell doors manually. I was terrified but played it cool. Thankfully, none of the inmates took advantage of the situation. She was never allowed in a control room again.