Being bullied in school has long-lasting effects. People that are subjected to it almost never forget it and sometimes, the memories can be downright debilitating. But what happens when you run into that bully long after graduating from school?
We found these stories from men of Reddit describing what it was like to confront a bully later in life. None of the stories are what you expect! The results are usually incredible.
"I ran into a high school classmate a while back.
A guy in high school that just didn't like me, nor I him. We got into a huge fight (he broke my nose and I knocked a couple of his teeth out) off campus. No police were involved but about 10 years later, I saw him sleeping on the street near where I worked. I woke him up and asked him what was going on. He told me about his life after high school. He knocked up his girlfriend, her parents made them get married, though they divorced a year later. He got into some pretty hard substances and ended up alienating everyone in his life.
I asked him if he was still using and he said no, he couldn't buy a dose anyway. I felt bad for him so I asked if he'd like to stay in my guesthouse (a one-room cottage, set up like an efficiency apartment) for a while. He took me up on it and got a night's sleep in an actual bed for the first time in years (his words). I bought him some clothes and fed him for about a month until I found him a job with a contractor I was doing some work for. Long story short, it's been six years, he now owns a contracting business, has a wife and a new baby boy, and just bought the house down the street from me."
"When I was a kid, I was chunky. I used to get picked on all the time by this kid at church named Rusty. He was about five years older than me and every couple of weeks, he would beat me up.
I moved away when I was about 14 and, thankfully, I didn't have to deal with him anymore.
When I went to college, I decided to get my act together and get healthy. To that end, I started taking mixed martial arts. I did it for about two years and lost about 40 pounds.
When I graduated, I moved back to where I was from and started looking for a new MMA gym. I went to the most reputable one, and who should be there but Rusty. It sounds too good to be true, but I swear to God, it happened.
He hadn't changed a bit. The first thing he said to me was, 'Finally trying to learn to defend yourself, huh?'
I had called ahead and the instructor knew my deal and had arranged for me to just come to watch. I left my gear in the car. At the end of class, they do free rolling; Ju Jitsu sparring.
Rusty comes up to me, having no knowledge that I am the least bit experienced, and starts begging the instructor to let him spar with me so he can 'show me the ropes.' After all, he's been in MMA for three months now, AND he never misses a UFC pay-per-view.
I went outside and changed and, long story short, we sparred, and I choked him out three times. Afterward, I signed up for classes, he grabbed his bag, left, and never came back.
This is my favorite story out of everything that has happened in my life thus far. I'm the only person I know that got to beat up my childhood bully as an adult."
"I go into my mechanic to change my brakes one day and the usual cashier offers me coffee, I make small talk. I've been going there forever, they're an honest car repair shop, believe it or not. Then I notice the guy hunched over a Honda.
I call out. He turns, squints his eyes, and calls me by name. I immediately call him out on his behavior. He tells me he's straightened up after mouthing off to the wrong person nearly cost him his life, he showed me a wound 3cm under his heart. He's apparently finishing a course in auto repair and had just been hired at the garage.
He turns out to be a nice guy, having sorted out his issues. I routinely bring him donuts when I bring the car in and he gets me rebates because dude, I brought donuts."
"I've got two - I was picked on a lot.
About 10 years ago, I got a temporary job at Kroger. It was just stocking shelves, and I had another restaurant job lined up but needed something for about 2 months while I went through a lengthy hiring process there. So I go to get my check on my first payday at Kroger and find out the manager at the front is one of the guys who used to bully the crap out of me in high school. He made small talk for a minute, 'Hey how you been, good to see you!' He clearly remembered. Once everyone walked away he leaned in and said, 'Hey, man, I'm really sorry for all the stuff I did to you in school. I was a stupid jerk of a kid.' I smiled, held out my hand, thanked him and told him it's all in the past. That was really cool.
The other is less cool, but hilarious to me.
This girl was 'the prom queen.' Basically - the stereotypical mean girl dating the football player. My opinion of her was always that she was just spoiled, worthless, and dumb. I don't usually take joy in other peoples misfortune, but I felt schadenfreude in unparalleled amounts the day I walked into Buffalo Wild Wings and saw her standing behind the counter. This is maybe 10 years out of high school, she looked exactly the same. Put on some weight, maybe, but hair still done the same, etc... You can tell at a glance that she's never mentally moved past 8th grade. I asked how she'd been, tried to politely talk to her because hey I want people to do well. She was still mean. She was like 'Ew, you're that guy from high school!' I just raised my eyebrows at her and let it go.
Long story short, her boss was my roommate. I asked him about her. She was a single mother who just got kicked out of her mom's house. He just hired her like two weeks earlier.
He confronted her about talking down to customers and wound up firing her. It felt like justice. Hopefully she's doing better now and has grown up at least a little."
Lisa F. Young/Shutterstock.com
"I dealt with a serious jerk in high school. Smaller guy, made up for it by being really, really aggressive. I was kind of small, too, so he could push me around. Not really a lot of constant bullying, just random acts of being a knucklehead.
Fast forward a few years. I'm bigger. Much bigger. I'm tall, I'm no longer rail-thin, I've lost my glasses because of LASIK, and I'm happy. I've almost entirely forgotten about this guy until I see him across the dining room at a restaurant.
His appetizers have just arrived, and my bill has just arrived. I pay up, leave a generous tip, and wander over to this guy. Stopping next to him at his table, I say 'Hi.' He looks at me, and I can see recognition flash across his eyes. He's eating wings. I reach down, take one, and calmly eat it. I toss the bone back onto his plate. 'Nice seeing you again.' Then I leave.
The look on his face at my random act of being a knucklehead was pretty amazing."
"This is kind of morbid. In the 6th grade, I was friends with this kid. I remember one day telling him about an episode of Rescue 911 that I saw where a guy was driving an ATV in a field and didn't see that there was a barbed wire fence.
Fast forward a year, and this kid started to make really mean comments about me. He would make fun of my appearance and how my family had no money in front of everyone. I am from an immigrant family and he would always tell me to 'GO BACK TO YOUR COUNTRY.'
Middle school was really tough on me because of kids like him but I held back from fighting him because I knew nothing good would come from it.
Fast forward to the summer after high school graduation, that kid was driving an ATV in a field, didn't see the barbed wire fence and was decapitated.
Weird that seven years prior, I had described to my future tormentor exactly how he will die."
"Kendal was the little jerk of a bully. His older brother Adrian was my good friend, though.
Kendal made my life in high school horrible with lots of teasing and stuff. He beat the crap out of me in the gym locker room one winter; he even took my clothes and left me to walk home naked once.
Adrian and I joined the Army together.
Years later, Adrian was in my unit, different platoon, and was killed in Iraq. I volunteered to fly with his body back home for his family. Kendal never showed up, not even to the funeral. I heard that he was shacked up with some floozy downtown, so I went over there, kicked in the door, dragged Kendal out by his hair, and pushed and kicked and dragged him the two and a half miles to the cemetery where I had buried his brother that morning, berating him on how horrible of a person he was. Kendal was a bloody mess by the time we got to his brother's grave. I beat the ungodly snot out of him, right on the freshly turned dirt, then I left him there.
A year later on the anniversary of Adrian's death, I returned to his grave. Kendal was waiting for me. He was cleaned up and sober and apologized to me incessantly. After lunch, he asked me to take him down to the recruiter's office to join up and make his brother proud.
This was one of the greatest moments of my life."
"When I was bouncing, I saw my ex-bully walk into my bar. This guy made my high school life horrible through every method except violence because I was bigger than him by a fair margin.
I knew he lived a couple towns over, this was small-town New Zealand after all. I also knew he was driving. I looked for his car and it was parked in a tow away area. I gleefully called the company who handles this for us and they towed it. He was in the pub at the time, he was none the wiser. I also got one of our barbacks to follow him around and take his glass every time he put it down for more than five seconds, it was pretty busy that night and he wasn't overly bright, so again, he was none the wiser.
After a few hours of this, he came outside for a smoke, where it was pouring rain, and afterward turned around to go back inside. I blocked his way and he tried to shove past me. I told him he was acting aggressively and I wouldn't be letting him back in. He starting shouting that he'd left his wallet inside, I told him that if he'd thought of that before trying to shove past me, maybe I would have gone to get it for him.
At this point, in his eyes, I stopped being a bouncer and was again the scared little 17-year-old from seven years earlier. He took a swing at me, missed, and fell over in the gutter; he wasn't trashed, it was just that the ground was wet and he slipped. We had a couple of cops who used to come in for a few drinks off duty every now and again, and they happened to be smokers. They saw what had happened and called their buddy on duty and he swung by, picked this jerk up and threw him in the tank.
I am not proud of my feelings about this, but seeing the guy who destroyed high school for me getting thrown into the tank after being ripped off at a pub, getting humiliated while trying to look like the big man, being sober enough to be hugely frustrated over this whole thing and knowing that when he gets out of the tank in the morning, his car won't be where he'd left it made me feel great.
I never messed with him again after that, I felt we were even."
"I moved to a new school in 7th grade and was doing fine, I was making friends and getting good grades. Then somehow I ran afoul of this bigger kid. He was a typical bully. He pushed little kids into lockers, loved to torment girls and ran with a pack of acolytes who adored and aped him. In Texas at the time, if a kid didn't like you, he 'called you out,' challenged you to a fight after school. Well, 'Zed' calls me out one day, because I was a 'fairy from New York.' Clueless me, I said, 'Sure, ok.'
A few days later, in front of his acolytes and a small group of my friends, he proceeds to beat the snot out of me. It was 7th grade, so the damage wasn't excessive -- mostly to my pride. I spent the rest of middle school known as one of the guys 'Zed beat the snot out of.'
Fast forward about seven years, home from college and going to the grocery store for mom. Who should I see bagging my groceries but Zed.
Taking a look at him, I see a horrible scar running from the top of his head down around the back of his skull and neck and under his shirt. His face lights up when he sees me, and he says, in slightly slurred speech, 'Hey! Didn't we go to school together? We're friends from school, right?' He walks with me out to the parking lot, and as we walk I learn that he had been hit by a car in high school while biking home one day. The accident required a half-dozen surgeries and had left Zed mentally impaired and a completely different person.
He put my stuff in the car, shook my hand for a good 30 seconds and kept asking me to 'come back and see me sometime!' I avoided going to that store after that, it made me sad to see him or think about him. And I didn't really live there anymore, just trips to see my folks. I never saw him again.
I had hated a few people in my life to that point, and no one more than him. I almost cried driving home, I felt so bad for him and disgusted with myself for my previous hatred. "
"My dad is a very large man. Were talking 6'7" 300 lbs big. He would always tell me this story to cheer me up when girls would be nasty to me:
He was pretty chubby in high school, so he played football and was good at it, but what he really loved was playing basketball. His freshman year he tried out for the team and didn't make it. The coach, who was a history teacher at the school, stated his weight as an issue. Fair enough, he worked hard to lose some weight over the summer.
Enter sophomore year: he ends up having the coach as his history teacher. Great, he thinks. He can be a good student and hopefully get on the team. Wrong. This ADULT MAN decided to call my father names related to his weight and harass him in front of the class. Not cool but my dad was too proud and never said anything. He ended up making varsity his sophomore year because of a coaching change.
Fast forward about 5 years when my dad was working as a bouncer at a bar in a nearby town. It was a regular night when who walks in? Jerky history teacher. Perfect. He thinks, 'I'll let it go, be professional.'
Until he recognizes my dad as 'the chubby kid who was a coward.'
My dad looks at him and says, 'Sir, I think you've had too much to drink, its time for you to go home.'
The teacher keeps saying, 'No, no I'm fine etc.'
My dad grabs him by his shirt and says, 'No, no. Its time for you to step outside, you have had to much to drink.' The teacher decides to take a swing at my dad and that's when my dad loses it. He states, 'This is for all the kids you've called fat, you piece of trash,' and beats the tar out of him.
A long story I know, but my favorite by far. My dad and his old bouncer friends always tell it when they got together too. Ah, revenge."
"For years, I had a hard time moving past the depression and worthlessness I experienced in high school. I concocted all kinds of revenge fantasies, centered specifically on the comeuppance of one particular relentless bully, 'Sid.' (Name changed. Sorry to the real Sids out there!)
Sid was the king of the school: you paid homage to him or else you got beat down while everybody else watched helplessly. From then on, you would get mercilessly insulted while everybody else laughed nervously.
I decided one day that somebody needed to stand up to this tyrant, and that person was going to be me. Maybe I thought I was going to be a hero. All I knew was that I just didn't want to be part of this schoolyard arrangement anymore, so one day I refused to lick his boots. Sid told a joke and I didn't laugh. He noticed: 'What, you didn't think that was funny? The heck is wrong with you... Come here, dude!'
I knew what was coming but I thought I could take it. And I could at first. I could hold my own, and I didn't back down. I never gave in to Sid again. But day after day, week after week, having to physically fight for my life and endure insults not only from Sid but now from the entire school who just went along with whatever Sid said--it all became too much for me and I broke down emotionally.
I dropped out of high school and became a recluse. I had no friends and a family who didn't know how to deal with me. I was like a zombie shuffling his way through life. And I stayed that way for years, not knowing how to get myself out of the hole.
Eventually, I turned to writing as an outlet. It worked: it enabled me to work out my feelings and go over them again and again until I understood why I felt the way I did. So I kept writing. Of course, I decided I wanted to become a writer. I started submitting my work to various places, and one day, I stepped out of my house and into the real world: I had been hired as a magazine journalist.
As a journalist, I became committed to two things: seeking the truth and helping the downtrodden. I'm sure you can see why. Both of those passions eventually led me to Jesus. I know I lost some of you there, but this is my life and I can't tell it any other way. As a newly recommitted Christian, I poured myself into efforts to heal from my past and mature into my present.
I realized that I had a lot of room to grow: even as a high schooler when I was so busy painting myself as a victim, I was dealing with a lot of anger and immaturity within myself. I had to confront the idea that there were probably days when I was the one who went out looking for a fight.
When I realized the severity of my own flaws and the fact that I could overcome them, I was able to reflect and realize that that must have been true for all my high school classmates, too. Whoever we were back then, we could be different now.
I told myself that yeah, Sid was a jerk, but hey, maybe I was, too. To take a page from Rocky: 'If I can change ... everybody can change.' I let go of my anger and my pain. I was at peace. I even prayed for Sid!
Fast forward a few years: I move and need to find a new church. As I walk into the first one I visit, I hear a voice: 'Wow, is that you?' I turn around and see Sid standing there with a big grin on his face. I feel myself clinch a fist. Force of habit.
'It's so good to see you,' he says. After the shock wears off, I manage to say the same and actually kind of mean it though I don't know why.
'I know we couldn't always say that before,' he continues, 'I'm sorry...' He starts to say something else, but can't find the words.
His lips start to tremble, and he lets out a long sigh. His eyes get watery.
'I... I'm really sorry for the things I did back then. To you, to everybody. I didn't think I'd have to deal with this again, but here you are staring me right in the face. In church, of all places.' He lets out a half-hearted chuckle.
That's when I realized that he did still have to deal with this again because I still needed to deal with this. This was my last step.
I reached over, put my hand gently on his shoulder, and told him, 'I've changed a lot since then. And I can see that you have, too.' He broke down crying.
I never thought in a million years that Sid could be affected by our high school experience even more than I was. That got us talking, not just about high school, but about finding Jesus, about finding growth. Once, we were filled with hate for each other, but now we were fellowshipping as brethren.
Over the years, we've actually become good friends. I used to dream about gouging Sid's eyes out and kicking him down forty flights of stairs. Now I call him over to help me move some furniture and invite him to stay for dinner.
Revenge fantasies are fun in their own time, but the greater reality is good-willed reconciliation. President Lincoln said it best: 'Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?'"
"One of mine was this kid named Patrick. One incident led to two of my ribs being broken when he jumped on my chest with his knees. Another resulted in a broken eye socket after being kicked in the face by him and two of his friends. Eventually, I moved in with my father and didn't see any of my old bullies again except for a few. Some have been relatively nice and some are scumbags.
During high school, I filled out a bunch and took some martial arts classes (tae kwon do). I was always a larger kid but too timid to fight back, but martial arts helped me overcome that.
Fast forward to a year or two after high school when I went to visit my mother. She had moved in with a real loser who was into who knows what. And guess who it is? Patrick. He's now almost a foot shorter than me, skinny as a middle school girl, and was undoubtedly on speed. I later found out he also did smack and a myriad of other substances.
We end up talking and I tell him about how I have sinus trouble because of the beating I got from him and his friends. He laughed.
I looked around at my younger brother (who had gotten VERY skinny from not eating) and sister, the environment they were in, and right then I made a decision. I turned to my mother and said: 'I don't care if this is the kind of people you want to be around (indicating the piece of trash next to me) but we are leaving.' I piled my siblings in my car and brought them home with me. They later moved in with my father officially and have been much better off since.
Patrick made a comment about me 'disrespecting him and my mother' and I told him he had no respect for himself obviously so who is he to talk like that. He went to hit me and I just stared at him. He dropped his fist quickly after I stared him down for what felt like an hour. Beating the snot out of him wouldn't have made me feel any better.
Plus it's a lot easier on the knuckles."
"I had a grade 11 history teacher who picked on me, insulted me in front of the class and gave me terrible grades. He told me he would never send his own children to public school with such morons.
Fast forward 5 years or so, I'm almost finished my first degree and have made all A's in university so far. The mean teacher comes into the physiotherapy clinic where I'm working. My coworker deals with him and after, I tell her the story.
When he comes back to book his next appointment, my coworker started talking about me as if she didn't know he had been my teacher. Bragged about how she loved mentoring students who are doing so well in school and how successful I had been at work so far. He never returned for his third appointment."