In general, it is bad to break the law. But sometimes, doing something illegal may actually be the right course of action.
Here, people reveal a time they broke the law to do the right thing.
1. When I worked at Golden Chick, I would stuff boxes/bags full of chicken when it was almost time be thrown out. People’s 2 piece meal turned into a 8 piece family meal and then some.
2. I supervise student workers. I give them their full hours even when I let them go early. They don’t get paid enough and I really depend on them and they’re great people. I wish I could pay them the what they deserve. I’m working on getting that changed but it’s a slow process.
3. I stole a dog.
I went to a friend’s house one night and we were hanging out in his front yard. A super friendly dog came up to us. I asked my friend if he knew the dog and he told me the story. It belonged to his neighbor who were kind of scaring everyone else in the neighborhood. They would hit the dog in the streets, it clearly wasn’t fed enough, and my friend said when the neighbors would try to get him to come to them he would run away every time. I took him home and within a week you couldn’t see his ribs anymore and he was one of the best dogs I’ve ever had.
10/10 would dognap again.
4. I worked at Sears Auto over college summer vacations. A lady came in once with a dead battery. She was visibly distressed. She said that she had to bounce her rent check to get the battery. No battery, no car, no work. She asked what the cheapest battery was.
I sold her the $50 cheap-o battery, but pulled the $300, super-cranker, with reserve power cell, out of stock.
5. I use to work at a CVS. After Halloween, all their candy goes on sale, up to 80% off. After 3 weeks though, no one wants candy corn flavored chocolate or bat shaped gummies. So they told me to throw it all away. This was about 2 shopping carts worth of candy. None of it was expired or damaged, just out of season. Instead of taking it to the dumpster, I placed it all in the back of my car. The next morning it all went to the local food drive.
About 2 months later I am called into the head office. They have it all on video me putting the candy in my car. They told me I owed them $500 in damages or they would press charges. I got a lawyer and argued that dumpster diving isn’t illegal in my area, which since I was told to throw it away this is what I did. In the end I was just fired and banned from the store, charges dropped.
6. When I worked at a pet store, I let a homeless man take dog food and dog treats for free because I didn’t want his dog to starve. When I left my shift that day, I saw him eating the dog food along with his dog in the parking lot. Seeing that nearly made me break out in tears…
7. I work at Valvoline and we had a customer come in who could barely afford an oil change (even with a 19.99 coupon) well after we finished the oil change her battery wouldn’t crank, we tested it and it was completely dead. Upon hearing this she broke down in tears and explained there was no way she could afford a new battery any time soon.
Now policy dictates that we call a tow truck and have her towed. But we said screw that, and gave her a brand new battery for free and cleaned her fuel line. The look of gratitude on her face is something I will always remember. Two weeks and counting with no repercussions.
8. I stole a bag of apples from the farmers market because I saw some kittens that looked hungry. I was 4 and thought kittens would like to eat apples. Also, I got caught and my mom paid for the apples.
9. The only album I ever pirated was Everything Goes Numb by Streetlight Manifesto because they specifically told people to pirate it because their record label is a huge jerk. Great album and band.
10. When I was 11, I used to be friends with a kid who was always hungry because his parents were addicts and spent all their money on drugs. So, being 11 with no money, I used to steal food from the supermarket on the way to his house whenever I went over there. I’m glad I did it because it meant he got to eat a meal for the day and I’m lucky I was never caught.
11. I used to work at Starbucks. And we’re supposed to throw away the breakfast sandwiches after 2 days. Well I thought that was total bull. As I left, I would take them and bring them to the homeless that would always congregate at the mall next to where I lived. They were always very grateful. Screw you, food industry.
12. Was driving a little fast on highway, had my wife in hospital expecting our first baby. Got pulled over by police who wanted to know why was I going 110kph in 80 zone.
Bluffed that my wife is in delivery and I gotta get there fast, arrest/fine me later if they wanted.
Police dude looked at my license, took a quick peek inside car, nodded and said follow me.
Spent next 10 minutes driving 150kph behind police that escorted me to hospital. Once there, they turned off their lights and waved me goodbye.
13. I worked at a camp for kids with type 1 diabetes (I’m a nurse) and at the end of one summer we had a giant surplus of test strips. Test strips for testing blood sugar are incredibly expensive and can be a huge expense for uninsured or underinsured people with diabetes.
So after giving away as many strips as I could to staff and campers, I still had two giant trash bags worth of boxes, we’re talking tens of thousands of dollars worth of strips that would expire in a few months. No organization would take them because of the close expiration date and I couldn’t bring myself to throw them away like I was told. So I squirrelled them away in my car, basically stealing from camp and OneTouch, and decided to make a post online and send them to people that needed them.
I asked only for people to pay for shipping and I received some donations for people to cover the shipping for others. It took me maybe a week of my time to get them out to people and it restored my faith in humanity.
I became a nurse to help people, I wasn’t about to let dumb red tape prevent me from doing so.
14. When I was younger, I used to dabble in the weed biz quite a bit. My dad ran with a bunch of pretty tough bikers so I could get it really cheap.
Well, one day my grandma called me out of nowhere. She tells me that she’s lost her job and is on the brink of losing her house. She says to me, “Brad, now I know you got them biker buddies. Will you talk to them and see if they would let me run some of that marijuana for some cash? Who would ever pull over an old lady?” Long story short, I told my guy the story to get a laugh out of him, and he LOVED THE IDEA. That summer my grandma picked up all of our shipments for us and made enough money to not worry about work and even bought a new car.
15. Run a red light. It was 3 am and I was trying to go home after visiting the folks. Arrived at an intersection that spent way too long red. Drove a little foreword and reversed a couple times hoping to trip something in the lights. I put the car into park soon after. Sitting there for nearly 8 minutes, I saw the perpendicular lights turn yellow. I popped back into drive while they turned red. After a few seconds of hesitation, they turned green again. At this point I just said screw it, and carefully rolled though. Still avoid that particular intersection at night.
16. I pirate my textbooks. Like, hell I’m choosing between buying food for the week and paying for overprices textbooks.
17. Ran a red light at 3am taking an Uber passenger to the hospital.
18. I use to work at a thrift store, not a small none profit ones but those big multi-store for profit ones. Anyways, we would get homeless people all the time in the store and many of them would be missing shoes or jackets, etc. So whenever they ask if they can have some items for free I just let them walk out the store.
Besides that place is so susceptible to shoplifting, the items might as well go to the people that ask.
19. When I was five, I stole one of those small paper packets of tomato seeds while we were out buying groceries. My mom’s birthday was the next day, and I felt like I should get her something–tomato seeds. I made it out the store and halfway home, without getting caught.
My mom found out when she realized I was walking funny. I was hiding the seeds under my armpit inside my jacket. I now realize that simply putting them in my pockets would have been much easier and I probably wouldn’t have gotten caught.
Mom made me bring them back and apologize to the cashier. She didn’t get a present from me that year.
20. It was December a good few years ago and I was working in retail. You could spot them a mile off, the grannies and granddads that had saved up their measly pension all year just to buy the grand-kids those fancy sneakers or jeans. They would come to the till knowing they had just exactly enough to cover the cost, the look of surprise on their faces when I informed them that that very item was reduced by 40% was one that would have warmed the coldest of hearts.
I used my staff discount, I never used it for myself. I did the same for people that were clearly not very well off. I’ve been in financial difficulties myself (still not totally out of the woods yet but definitely on the up) and I know how much of a difference even a few dollars can make.
21. I’m an OB/GYN, so in my country induced abortions are punished by law. On one occasion, a woman was brought to my practice escorted by two policemen. She just had a miscarriage and they wanted to find out if she had induced an abortion. While I was interrogating, she told me she was single, worked as a janitor in a small office and had three kids already waiting for her at home. She seemed desperate and was facing 5-to-10 years in jail. So I ruled out the induced abortion…
22. I don’t know if this is illegal but I went to the bank thinking that they were still open since the doors were all unlocked. All the lights were off and no one was there. So I called the cops. The cop told me to walk inside to see if someone was there. Nope. But someone left a pair of bank keys on a desk. So, with police consent, I trespassed. An hour later, after I had left and gone to buy lunch, I saw four cop cars stationed outside the bank. I’m hoping that no one got fired for the wrong reason.
23. I married my friend’s sister so her and her daughter could stay in the country.
24. When I was in the volunteer fire department, I was trying to access the front door of a structure fire to put a knock on it with the hose line, a deputy from the sheriff’s office was standing on the front stoop blocking the door telling us it was too dangerous to go in, so I pushed him off the stoop and went in to put the fire out, we saved 2/3 of the house that day, I got called out to see the sheriff and county fire chief arguing about arresting me for assaulting a deputy, but the CFC and my chief were reminding the sheriff that it was a FIRE scene, not a law enforcement scene, and if I was arrested, everyone would walk out of their stations and let the Sheriff’s department handle all fire and EMS for the county, since they know more about it.
25. I drove through like 12 red lights and 5 speed cameras because I had a guy in the car who was having a heart attack. The police weren’t lenient at all but I’d do it again anytime, never am I watching someone die before my eyes without at least trying to save them.
26. I used my company’s client’s personal customer data to tell the police where a vehicle was, resulting in a little girl that had been abducted being rescued.
I didn’t think twice, and I fessed up when I got back to work. Everyone told me I did the right thing but not to talk about it.
27. Growing up we were really poor. I did something illegal and the lunch lady used to help.
I was in Seminole Middle way back when in Florida. I used to steal lunch wraps and salad from the health bar during lunch in the cafeteria. The lunch lady knew.
She wouldn’t charge me. I would have a backpack full of wraps and salads that I’d take home and share between my brother.
14 years to this date, I chat with her every Sunday. She is old now and nobody really visits her. I tend to go see her from time to time, when the opportunity arises. I bring her Thanksgiving dinners, Christmas dinners. Sometimes I cook breakfast for her and I maintain her garden. I love her. When she passes away, I’d have lost a mother and a friend.
28. Conspired with fellow officers and senior enlisted to give one of my sailors 2 months off after the birth of his son. His boy was born extremely sick and we though he might be gone at any moment. My sailor had no leave left on the books but I didn’t want him to miss what time he has with his son. So he phone mustered (checked in so we knew he was alive) for almost two months. All of us made sure that if anyone senior was looking for him they “just missed him.” The story ends on a high note as the baby survived and now, 13 years later I still see his pic from time to time on Facebook. As it happens, his wife talked to me last night and said thanks. I’d do it all over again.
29. I worked at a furniture store in the electronic department. We had a promotion going on where you could get free stuff (really rare) or 10-25% off. All you had to do was scratch The silver stuff off of the scratch tickets we gave out.
You could see through the back if you held them up to the light. We checked every ticket for prizes and I found a free 800 dollar surround sound system. I brought the ticket home with the intent on keeping it and using it at another store. The guilt caught up with me that night so I brought it back in and kept it in my pocket.
We had so many well off people come in buying 2000 dollar TVs and 3000 dollar laundry pairs that I just couldn’t give it to them.
A week later a single mother who was down on her luck (she was a friend of one of the co-workers) came in to buy her 10 year old son a 32″ tv for Christmas. One of the cheap 200 dollar brands. I gave her the ticket even though it wasn’t my sale and said “I have a good feeling about this one” and traded her tickets.
Her son got one hell of a Christmas gift for his PlayStation set up.
30. Not illegal but it was something I wasn’t supposed to do.
Baghdad in 2006. We were on an overwatch. Heading up a 6 story building to the roof we passed a crying woman in her 20’s. I asked her what was wrong and in perfect English she said that Iraqi and American soldiers had kicked her door in and she was all alone and scared without a door. We continued up to the roof and setup the overwatch.
I was first on rest so I laid down. As I was laying there I started to feel really guilty. I made up my mind, popped up and told the sniper section leader I was going down a few floors to fix her door.
He gave me a dirty look and said something along the lines of that being a stupid decision as we had no security except on the roof. I reiterated that I would be fine and he reluctantly said I could go.
As I started heading down the stairs I became aware of how vulnerable I was. Once I got to her apartment she greeted me with a smile and I told her why I was there. By this point I was getting kinda nervous at my decision to leave the roof in the hostile area. She could see me looking around and took my hand and looked me in the eyes and said “Don’t worry soldier, you are safe here”.
I ended up fixing her door and we talked about the war and our lives. I apologized to her that we had came in and wrecked her home, knowing full well I really wanted to apologize for being in her country in the first place. When I left she smiled thanked me and told me to stay safe.
It was the one moment of humanity that I experienced in the entire deployment and I wonder if she’s still alive.