There are a lot of reasons we should all try our best to be patient and kind when dealing with strangers or friends-of-friends. We don’t know these people, so shouldn’t they get the benefit of the doubt?
Another reason, if you need one, is that by judging others by their covers, we just might end up feeling more than a little silly ourselves, and no one likes that.
Just ask these people, who were immediately embarrassed after assuming the person they were speaking to was too dumb to understand.
1. This assumption always makes me cringe.
This didn’t happened to me but to someone else My step mom used to be an occupational therapist and would help the elderly in the hospital.
One patient she had to work with was Vietnamese so he didn’t know English. He came with his son so my Stepmom decided to ask him about his father but her coworker interrupted her saying “I don’t believe he speak english”.
This whole time the son hasn’t said a word while my stepmom was working with his father. When they were done the father and son left and as soon as the were at the door, the son turned around and said “Remember, I don’t speak english”.
The coworker was dumbfounded when he said that and all my stepmom could do was laugh.
2. Color me surprised.
Had a friend in college who was VERY full of himself. One morning while eating breakfast in the cafeteria someone said, “I wonder how bagels are made.” I said, “I’m pretty sure bagels are boiled.”
The pompous friend then said, “What are you stupid?! Bagels aren’t boiled. That’s f***ing ridiculous.” Someone did a quick Google search to find that bagels are, in fact, boiled.
People seemed genuinely intrigued by this information.
3. Both sad and hilarious.
I was a service desk technician at a hospital helping a doctor reset his password. He kept misspelling the temporary password (it was welcome12345). Turns out he thought welcome has 2 L’s and freaked out at me citing his education and my (at the time) lack thereof as evidence that he was right.
After going back and forth he got frustrated and handed me off to his nurse and left, she got it on the first try then apologized to me for her boss’s behavior.
Funniest part was as she was hanging up I heard her talking to another nurse saying “yeah Dr. Dumba$$ couldn’t spell welcome again.”
4. At least he could admit it.
When I was in 8th grade, we’d just learned about the seasons and earth’s rotation and all that; to my surprise, my teacher taught us that the Earth is actually closest to the sun during winter! But it’s cold because of the tilt on the axis, not because of proximity to the sun. The tilt determines the seasons.
And then soon after that I went to math class and my math teacher said something about how it was freezing because we are so far from the sun. And of course I piped up to tell him he was wrong according to what Mr. Science Teacher had just taught us. My math teacher went off ripping into me so hard in front of the class! (It was lighthearted— he was known for being funny and making fun of kids all the time).
Him and I were going back and forth for a while, and I specifically remember him saying “oh yeah, cuz when I’m cold I move away from the fire!! Yeah that makes perfect sense!” And I kept arguing “No no it’s because of the Earth’s tilt!” And so finally he googled it and I was right!
He at least gave me credit and admitted he was wrong after that lol.
5. You always check the plug. And the power strip.
I had a boss who thought everyone was an idiot.
One morning, the computer in the office wasn’t working. She asks me if I know anything about computers. I tell her that I’ve used one before. She tells me to check the computer in the office and see if I can figure out why it stopped working. I press the power button and she calls me a moron, telling me that she had already tried that herself.
I get under the desk for a moment then come back up. I tell her to press the power button again. It comes right on.
She asks me what was wrong with it.
I tell her it was unplugged.
6. The teacher.
We had the 17-year cicadas making an appearance where I live and I was explaining to my science teacher how I had tons of seagulls by my house, eating the cicadas.
She proceeded to tell me over and over that we do not have seagulls in our area because we do not live by a body of water. Lake Michigan was 45 mins away. I said, well I definitely have seagulls in my yard eating cicadas.
A week or so later, she comes back with a newspaper with a big picture of Seagulls on it. They were hanging out in the suburbs to eat the cicadas. She admitted she was wrong. But like, my entire life… cicadas or not we’ve had seagulls in parking lots… this lady must not have been from around here. We just had more because of the cicadas…
7. It doesn’t get more cringe than that.
I film and edit promotional videos, then post them on my company’s YouTube channel.
The day after I uploaded a particular run-of-the-mill video, my manager calls me into his office because one of our douchebag directors (who hates our department and loves undermining me in particular) sent an email to my manager and a few higher-ups. In the email he stated that I had messed up the promo video, because there were “all of these other disgusting videos attached to it.”
As proof, he included a screenshot of the end of the video, where all of the recommended videos appeared to star scantily-clad Asian women in suggestive poses.
Neither he nor my manager knew how YouTube algorithms worked, and that the videos were suggested because he (or someone on his account) viewed that kind of content before. I have no idea how my manager explained this to him.
8. So gross.
A Dutch couple visited my workplace (tourist visitor center) and insisted that the French translation on our map was wrong. The reasoning was that “Groenland” shouldn’t be there because it was the Dutch word for “Greenland”, not the French one. I told them that “Groenland” was also the French translation, to which they chided back, “And how would you know?”
“I’m bilingual. I speak french.” I informed
“Clearly, not very well!” they insisted, then proceeded to ask for the wifi so they could use google translate.
Well, I gave them the wifi, and to google translate they went. Sure enough! “Groenland”.
They didn’t even apologize, they just said “I guess the map is correct then” and left.
9. What possessed her to comment?
I’m profoundly deaf, so couldn’t use the telephone to ring the bank (this was pre-internet banking), so all my banking had to be done in person at the counter.
One day I went to the bank to change my address and asked the assistant to please look at me while she was speaking as I was deaf and a lip-reader, then explained I needed to change my address with the bank. She looked at me, tutted and said “You could have done this by phone.”
We stared at each other for a few seconds before I said “That would be a very one sided conversation.” She went bright red and changed my address.
10. This makes me uncomfortable.
Didn’t necessarily make anyone look dumb, but certainly made some people feel bad. I lived in Germany for a year after high school as part of an exchange program, and there were several times where I had to make phone calls. I had to call doctors, employers, program coordinators, etc. so I got fairly used to the whole telephone garb in german.
I could speak pretty fluently on the phone, but since it’s not my native language I would of course make small grammatical errors and stuff like that. This led to the unfortunate situation where people would assume I was german when on the phone because I spoke well enough, but since I kept making mistakes I was also stupid. People were quite rude to me over the phone, assuming that was due to the assumed stupidity.
After revealing I was actually a foreigner they always sounded so surprised and complimentary of my German and were much more helpful and polite afterwards.
11. She just had to wait for it.
Our school’s schedule got revamped which meant that one of our classes that was two periods long was cut in half to accommodate for all the changes. When I brought this up to the teacher I was co-teaching with, she called me an idiot and told everyone sitting in our table group that I wasn’t very good at math as everyone laughed.
A few minutes later, the principal cleared up the new schedule, only for her to realize that she was wrong in the first place. Felt so good to see the look on her face when she realized she was the dummy and not me.
12. Very little satisfaction if you ask me.
I used to work at a courtyard Marriott hotel, which is a hotel oriented for business people who have to up early and work late. You know, real work horses and road warriors. The hotel was a sprawling 5 stories tall with around 200 or so rooms. It was also right next to LAX so we always got a lot of business people flying in thinking they were hot sht because their company flew them out to do business in LA. Whatever.
This one day I’m working front desk and it’s kind of late, around midnight maybe, and one of our guests comes in kind of drunk and asks for me to reset his room key before he heads to his room because, “ we always do them wrong”. So I’m like yeah sure thing not a problem, have a good night!
He comes back down 5 min later, visibly agitated and says “ what the heck man? I thought I told you to remake my keys. Can you Do your fcking job right ?“ and In the hospitality industry you’re not allowed to talk back, raise your voice, or really stand up for yourself. your one and only goal is to make the guest feel welcomed.
So, I apologize, take the blame and say it won’t happen again, and make him an extra key. He snatches them from my hand and storms off to his room. 5 minutes later he comes back down, again! “ what is wrong with you ? Are you stupid? Are you wasting my time on purpose? I’m heading to my room and you better come up with working room keys!” And he throws his keys at me.
My manager sees this all happen and is like you know what, let me handle this – you deserve a break. I’m fuming of course, I go to the break room and just pace ,wondering what gives people the audacity to act like that. My manager eventually comes back, he enters the break room with a smile and clearly something to report.
He says, “ he was going to the wrong floor. His room was actually one floor up. He said he’s sorry.” I WISH I COULD HAVE SEEN HIS FACE.
13. A scary comeuppance.
As a lifeguard we had a rule that young kids needed an adult in the water within arm’s reach.
I saw this mom and her 5 year old walk in. Mom is wearing jeans and on her phone, clearly not planning on swimming. I anticipate the issue and go to talk to her before the kid gets in.
I explain our policy, that the pool is 4 ft deep minimum and that the policy is for the safety of the child, that having a parent close by who can respond in case of drowning immediately is by far faster than relying on the lifeguard to get down, jump in and swim all the way out for a rescue.
She says it’s a stupid policy, that her kid is a fantastic natural swimmer, that they take him to the lake and he swims just fine, that I’m just harassing her, that I just don’t want to do my job, all the classic offended parent BS.
Literally while she’s telling me this, the kid runs and jumps into the pool, dog paddles about 10 feet away from the edge, and then goes into active drowning, requiring a rescue from my other lifeguard, who thankfully was basically already there to catch the kid.
She signed the refusal of care and left quicker than anyone I had ever seen. Felt bad for the kid, she seemed almost mad at him for making her look like an idiot.
14. Don’t drink and hotel, friends.
As a very young woman I was staying in a cheap hotel with my underage sister overnight after a concert when a very drunk and belligerent man began pounding on the door demanding to be let in. It was maybe 3 or 4 am and I called 911 when he began screaming threats of violence if I didn’t open the door. The operator could over hear it and promised an officer quickly. Suddenly the man disappears, pure silence for maybe twenty or 30 minutes. I’m falling back asleep. Suddenly I hear the door handle jiggling and the lock unclicks.
It’s the hotel concierge, unlocking the door and he’s got a tool to open the weird bar inside door lock thing as I’m screaming bloody murder. He tells me to “let my drunk brother sleep it off” and suddenly I hear Police don’t move, there’s a commotion, the police tell me to close and lock my door and we won’t be bothered again tonight. The concierge assures everyone there was a misunderstanding and I’ll be comped in the morning.
The next morning at check out the front desk claims no knowledge of this and tell me there’s no way I’m getting a discount, again I was young and just accepted that at the time, but older and wiser I now wonder if they were working together, if it was an honest mistake and what the hell would have happened if I hadn’t called 911.
15. No big loss.
Guy tried to tell me he knew my job more than I did because he “went to school to be an engineer” and I just sell the machines.
Emailed him info directly from the manufacture on why he was wrong. He’s not my client anymore. Don’t care, Eff him and anyone who uses education as a reason to be a jerk.
16. That had to feel good.
I just started to work on the production line of an auto parts manufacturer. I was hot pressing rivets into the base plate of an emergency brake base. According to production logs, a days run was 300 pieces. Acceptable errors were 3.
I worked there for two weeks before the line supervisor advised my managing consultant that I was not meeting production requirements. According to my logs, I had zero errors and exceeded my 300 quota every day.
Another line supervisor confided in me that I was being replaced with my supervisors cousin, just arrived from The Philippines. I did not argue or protest. It would have done me no good. The managing consultant knew as well but had no pull.
After re-examining my resume and seeing I had a degree in computer science and certification in technical manual writing, I was brought back to the very same production floor in a different role. As part of QA compliance, every workstation needed the production one-offs documented with illustrated inspection reference guides.
When I arrived at the office, my former line supervisor demonstrated the quadruple take. Patrick Stewart had nothing on her. No one told her what my role was. My presence there resembled that of a site inspector. I walked the entire floor borrowing templates, taking measurements and photos. Looked very official.
My former line supervisor thought I was put on her production line as a ringer to inspect her. She worked every day worried I was preparing to give her the axe. She shared that concern in confidence with others who knew better. No one corrected her. Just told her not to worry.
17. No one feels sorry for you, sir.
A tour group had a dad in it who insisted on trying to give his 2 cents on my animals and proceeded to put his fingers in the tank (despite my warning and practically yelling at him not too) with our stunted gators saying how hatchlings couldn’t hurt a human.
The male to shoot out of his favorite hide and latch onto his hand…. yea I had to bite my tongue to stop laughing.
18. When they double down is the worst.
Oh working in retail has those moments constantly. People don’t read the signs right and one guy didn’t get the right chips for the deal and was getting mad at me and told me to come and he’ll show me the sign.
I had already dealt with people not reading the fine print on that deal so I told him “I’m not going to look at anything, you can go look for yourself and read it then come back with the right product”.
He cane back without an attitude because he knew he was wrong and from that point on I always had my guard up when I saw him come in and I was ready for a fight each time.
19. The face I am making right now.
At work one day writing a menu board for lunch specials. A couple comes in and start chuckling behind me. The lady gives me this snide look and says “What’s a SAND-wich? It’s spelled SAMWITCH, honey. Hahaha she wrote SAND, like in the desert!”
I just smiled and didn’t even correct her. That cocky stupidity was truly a sight to behold.
20. That made her sweat.
Corporate trainer came to our offices to provide training. I popped into the room to say hello and see if she needed help. She was having trouble setting up the projector before the session. I started trying to help but I’m not really savvy with projectors. She was getting frustrated with me as she assumed I was the IT dude, and obviously not a very good one.
We eventually got it fixed, and I offered her a coffee. She was a bit rude to me by that stage. I got her one anyway.
Fast forward to the session itself, and I introduced her to the room of 40 people and thanked her for coming. She realised I was the head of the division and was the one paying for her to be there.
I felt very smug at that point.
21. The absolute hubris.
I am an application developer in the public sector. I have made many of the computer programs where I work such as the Human Resources, incident reporting, and some of the case management systems.
Several times I have had people try to tell me, wrongly, how to use an application that I made. I especially like it when they tell me I should “ask the people at the company” uh, what company would that be? I tell them that it is very flattering that they think that the software was made by an entire company instead of by me alone in my office.
22. You can always learn something new.
Oh sure but… I find the opposite a better teaching environment.
Playing street fighter in a 7-11. We had been playing it for I think years and felt pretty confident in the game. Some 14 year old comes in and starts telling us about the “guile handcuffs” We scoffed and laughed at him. Guile doesn’t have handcuffs.
And holy crap he showed us the dang move. Granted it was a bug but I never forgot that.
I use that story whenever I need to.
23. That’s a good moment.
Reminds me of the time we had a PM and his crew come in and brief our group on a migration they were about to do. What he laid out made no sense to anyone and I figured Id ask a few questions to maybe help him see the error in his ways.
He got all pissed off that anyone would question his wisdom and asked who the hell I thought I was. The look on his face when I said the author of the procedure and code they were using was priceless.
24. Just for a while, though.
My wife and I were traveling with a couple we worked with in South Korea. We weren’t best friends with them but they were nice enough so we rented a car and travelled around the island of Jeju.
Now, this is a small island and you could drive around it in 4 or 5 hours but we were taking our time seeing the sights. The guy was a bit of a know-it-all but they had been in Korea 6 months longer than us so I always tools his advice. Anyways, I’m driving the car and we are trying to find the place that we want to eat, I say something like “we are going the right way” this guy responds with “no we are going south, trust me I majored in geography.”
I look straight ahead into the the setting sun and respond with “weird we found the one place on earth where the sun sets in the south.” Well that shut him up for a while.
25. I wonder if it was worth it.
I’m French and live in France, but I grew up in the UK and consider English to be like a mother tongue. When I was seventeen I had to change schools, from a private one to a public one, and this was for personal reasons but my new classmates assumed the reason was because my grades were too low and I got kicked out (the private school had high standards).
Anyway, it’s the first day of school and we have English class. The teacher hands out a list of sentences we have to translate, and asks us to compare translations with our neighbour. The first sentence is rather hard to translate from French and the teacher, after having walked around and looked at our answers, announces that only one person in the class has got it right.
We compare answers with our neighbours. The girl next to me sees my translation: ‘How long has it been raining for?’ And she bursts out laughing. ‘Has it been??? Has it been??? I’ve never heard that in my life that is SO stupid’ and she makes fun of me for a good while to the other girl sitting next to her. Being new and also knowing that she was going to feel stupid in a couple of minutes, I didn’t say anything.
Sure enough, the teacher announces I was right, and my classmates quickly discovered that I was actually a fluent english speaker with excellent grades pretty much all around. It made making friends really hard, but I hope that girl learned her lesson to never make fun of someone without knowing the full story. Or never make fun of people ever, that would be better.
26. I love/hate this.
When I was in the Army, me and a group of specialists were standing in a circle, taking a break in the motor pool. A lieutenant came out and said he needed a forklift driver, went around the circle, pointed at each male and asked them if they had their license. None of them did; he huffed and walked away.
He had clearly, obviously skipped over the other female and I in the circle. That was fine; we were the only 88M (heavy vehicle operators) and forklift licensed people there; the dudes were all paralegals and HR specialists.
Everyone laughed. What an embarrassing moment for him.
27. Well actually…
I had a paper returned to me this morning because I didn’t write out all the names of the authors in the manuscript. I took a screenshot of their submission guidelines detailing AUTHOR NAMES MUST BE FORMATTED WITH THE FIRST INITIAL FOLLOWED BY LAST NAME and sent it back. Got an apology e-mail and an “submission received” notification a few minutes later.
Academia, I swear to God…
28. Never assume, people.
I’m currently a junior in college and a couple of weeks ago when the semester started dying down I left the dorms to come back home and finish things out online. I also started working at the local grocery store as well. Around a week ago as I was checking out two customers when they told me they wanted to pay 50/50 with two cards.
Our system requires us to manually enter the price so I did and the lovely gentleman told me my math was wrong and said he’s a sophomore engineering student at a school nearby to help justify why he was correct.
I respond “Oh cool. I’m actually a junior at (insert much much better engineering school). What are you studying?” while also pulling up a calculator and showing him he was wrong.
Everyone always assumes the workers here are dumb so it’s always nice to show them otherwise.
29. This is why we have Google, friends.
Was asked by my brother and girlfriend which planet is first starting from the Sun. Was then belittled for twenty minutes after answering Mercury because they were adamant it was Venus.
I was just disappointed because we are in our twenties.
30. Stop being s**ist, people.
Some years ago some guys were talking about cars and engines and I don’t even remember what. One of them was really condescending to me (F) and said, but you probably don’t know anything about that do you? My husband set him straight and said, “she knows more about cars than I do so don’t be so sure.” Then of course he tried to prove he knew more.
He did not.
I grew up around race cars, and auto mechanics, who also thought everyone should understand their own car.
I have to admit I know less now that they are all electronic and computerized. But this was back in the day.
31. Stop yammering.
When I worked as a cashier in a grocery store people would always want to argue about their produce. They would bring up heads of iceberg lettuce and then argue with me that they were green cabbage, or vice versa. I would always just smile, void the product, and then charge them for what they thought it was. The best was seeing people come back later pissed that their cole slaw didn’t work.
The best, though, was the “sweet potato vs yam” argument that I would have with people several times during the week leading up to Thanksgiving. Most of what we sell in the U.S. are sweet potatoes, though some sweet potatoes grown in one state (Louisiana?) are the “yam” variety of the sweet potato. But people often call them yams and will fight you over it, even though true yams are hard to find unless your store stocks stuff for Latin American customers. We did, but yams were rarely in stock and always more expensive than sweet potatoes.
Anyway, sweet potatoes would go on sale for the holiday and people would buy lots of them. Every time I rang them up, I would get told that they were yams and that I was dumb for not knowing that. So I would void them and ring them up as yams for four times the price. When customers would want the sale price I would kindly remind them that I had tried to give them the sale price but that they had asked me to ring them up as yams instead.
32. Hopefully he learned his lesson.
Used to drive for Lyft while I was in grad school. Picked up an undergraduate college kid.
Me: what’re you studying? Him: computer science.
Me: oh awesome! What kind of projects are you doing now?
Him: it’s pretty complicated, but I do some pretty amazing things. You wouldn’t get it.
Me: like what? I’d love to hear about your projects.
Him: super intense database stuff and web app stuff like HTML. I just learned about the NodeJS framework. This is probably all over your head. What about you? Have you ever gone to college?
Me: I am currently a computer science graduate student, with a dual bachelor’s in computer science and computer systems engineering.
He was awkwardly silent after that, but I still asked him about his projects and he was more than happy to share his experiences knowing that his conversation was definitely not over my head.
Be good humans, y’all. I promise it’s worth it.
Has anything like this ever happened to you? Tell us the story in the comments!