15 People Share the Story of the Time They Stood up for a Stranger in Public

We all want to believe we would be the person who stands up for someone being bullied in public. That we would say something, step in, not let it happen on our watch, all of that.

The truth is that we never really know how we’ll react to a fraught situation until it’s presented, but I’ve gotta say…these 15 people really rose to the occasion.

15. Good looking out.

Yes, I told off some Guido s**t head at a TGI-Fridays for hitting his girlfriend.

My mother and I had been Christmas shopping all day and stopped at Friday’s to get some food. We were seated right by the bar. When we sat down I noticed two people arguing. The guy was a 20-something tanned up muscle-head wearing a white Puma hat, and Ed Hardy shirt, and white Diesel shoes. His girlfriend was a pretty, small, skinny girl and had tears going down her face.

So for about 10 minutes I watched this guy berate her until he grabbed her ponytail and pulled it. At this point I went to the cashier and told her what happened, and she said she’s keep an eye on them. About 10 minutes later she got off and stormed towards the bathroom. He followed yelling “don’t you walk away from me you bitch”. I looked at one of the waiters and we both nodded and followed. At the time I was 17. I’m about 5’3, and weigh around 115. I look like Nick Jonas.

So the waiters pull this guy away from her, and something in me snapped, and I went off. I called this guy every bad name in the book, and he looked like he was about ready to snap my head off my body. I got a free desert from the manager.

TL;DR- Told of a guido in the middle of Friday’s for being a douchenozzle.

14. Yeah you can’t just let that happen, no matter how short you are.

I was once in Subway and one of the people serving was Eastern European. She had a tiny bit of an accent, but nothing major. There was this guy in front of me who was basically treating her like scum the whole time. He was on his mobile and barking his order at her. Now, I’ve worked in retail and I hate people being jerks to retail workers, so this was really pissing me off.

We’d managed to make it along to the salad bit (he’d made her repeat everything she’d said like 3 times, repeatedly stating how he couldn’t understand her), when the girl was reaching over for something (She was quite small). A tiny bit of her shirt went on his sandwich, but he completely lost his s**t. He started yelling loudly at her, “Get your f**king shirt out of my sandwich. This is ridiculous! We can’t even employ people who speak English and aren’t completely braindead! etc etc…”

I just snapped. I turned to him and said loudly, “Look Mister, where I’m from, people don’t act like complete entitled cunts in shops, especially to hard working immigrants. If you don’t shut the f**k up and buy your goddamn sandwich, I am going to call the police and tell them that you are acting in a threatening and racist manner and I am fearing for my safety.” (I am a 5ft3ins girl, and he was a 6ft tall guy.).

People in the queue applauded, guy went bright red and stormed out (without his sandwich). Girl behind the counter looked really relieved and said, thank you. Guy at the checkout gave me my footlong tuna for free!

TL;DR Stood up for poor Subway girl being harassed by jerk. Instant sandwich karma.

13. You don’t need to speak the language to understand trouble.

When I was 3 weeks into my first year in Korea I was laying in bed covered in sweat. I was not prepared for the sheer humidity. Being unable to sleep I opened my balcony window and hoped the breeze would knock me out. As I was drifting in and out of consciousness I was woken by a woman’s screams. I got up and stumbled out on to the balcony to see where this was coming from. Looking down at street level I just caught sight of a woman being dragged around the corner by her hair.

I was shocked, but I threw on a shirt and my shorts and laced up my steel toe boots. I ran out of my tiny apartment and down the stairs. I could still hear her crying and a male voice yelling. I didn’t understand much of the language at this point either. At the bottom of the stairwell I ran out into the courtyard where a man was yelling at a woman sitting on a swing. Tears running down her face. He was making threatening gestures and the only word I understood I heard her say. “Stop” “Hajuma!” She cried, so not knowing what was up I said “Hey! What’s going on?” They obviously didn’t speak English because the guy started to shoo me away and I just stepped up shaking my head. She took the opportunity to get away and ran in the direction behind me. He just watched her go and looked at me, then he shook his head and walked in the other direction.

There was no ninja fight that day, but I hope I did something good. Maybe she was a thief, maybe she cheated on him, but the only thing I was sure of is that she was hurt, she was scared and he dominated her physically.

12. Some people have no manners.

Did something similar at Olive Garden a while back.

A lady had a few too many glasses of wine and started acting like a loudmouth bitch when a runner brought out their food. As far as I could tell, the order was correct, they (it was a husband and wife) just didn’t like how it looked. She, being the belligerent one, starts in on this poor runner, who is probably about 16 or 17 and was only responsible for bringing the food out. She’s cussing her up and down, dropping f-bombs, just giving her the business for no good reason at all, and the poor runner is in tears trying to apologize and make them happy.. I’m not in the best of moods, and I have a soft spot for anyone in a service position like that. I think almost everyone has worked something like that at some point, and we all know how there are people who talk down to you because of it. I just wasn’t having it.

On top of my mood, there were families and children all around. I looked over at her, slammed my fists on the table, and said “EXCUSE ME MA’AM!” Restaurant goes silent. She looks over with a shocked and inquisitive expression at the 6ft, 215lb bald guy that just yelled at her (meh). I proceed to tell her (in my lowest, someone’s gonna die growl) that she is acting like a fool, being completely inappropriate in public, it’s not the runners fault, and there are children and families present. No key wants to hear you, your attitude, or your language, so zip your trap. I then shoot her husband the look that says “yeah dude, I just told your bitch to shut her mouth. Come at me bro, and I will help you swallow your f**king teeth right here in front of God and everybody”.

They went silent. I got smiles and thumbs up from everyone that was within earshot. The manager came out and asked them to leave shortly after. We stopped by the girl on the way out and told her not to sweat it, as some people just can’t stop themselves from being a**holes. It cheered her up, and seeing her smile after that made it all the better. Knew I made a difference for her that night.

11. Fighting is so dumb.

I was at a pub standing outside having a cigarette and I could hear two big buff guys starting to get into an argument. I kept an eye out, and noticed things started getting more heated. Then, one of the guys just went in and started beating the living s**t out of the other guy who fell onto the ground and his face was covered in blood.

Me and the bouncers at the pub intervened. They restrained the guy who started it, while I went to help the one who got a hiding. I sat down with him and let him rest his head in my lap while I tried to keep him awake, talking to him and cleaning him up as much as I could before the ambulance arrived.

I’m a 5 foot 1 female and was 22 at the time.

10. More people need to stand up for kids like these.

Just today at school.

Me and my friends all sat at a table for lunch and began chatting. Now there’s a really fat first year at my school (we’re seniors) who had left his water bottle on the ground at the foot of our table. He’s ginger and red faced and wears the same T shirt and shorts every day, (even though it’s cold here in Canada) so I try to be friendly whenever I see him. So this kid comes over and picks up his water bottle and my dumba** friend yells “Forgot your water bottle fat a**!?”

As soon as he said this I saw red. Not 2 seconds after the words left his mouth, I reached across the table and shoved my friend off his spot on the bench, sending him flying a good 8 or 9 feet over the floor. I could feel and hear him being winded as my hands made contact with his chest. Everybody around us started laughing as he got up. I looked at the younger kid and said “Don’t listen to that a**hole dude, none of us like him anyway.” I know this probably wasn’t the ideal reaction, but I was just so f**king mad that I didn’t even take a second to think about it.

I remember when I’d just arrived at high school and how fu**king insecure I was. If someone had said something like that to me I probably would have gone home and cried that day.

9. You just do the right thing.

I live in South Korea, a very patriarchal society. “Ajossi” (“Old man”) is basically the default power position. Most of the ajossis that you encounter day to day are, at least in my experience, polite and nice people. But, give humans a structure that says “you’re the boss, not because you merit the title, but just because you’re male and old” and you’re gonna get people who abuse that.

So, one night, from outside my apartment window, I hear a scream – Not a kids playing scream, or an angry scream, but a “someone’s hurting me” scream. I looked out the window to the street (3 floors) below, and see a guy holding a woman by the hair, swinging her round by it, and punching her in the face. I yelled (in English, then Korean) for him to stop, but he was oblivious to me, so i ran downstairs. I found them a few feet away from where I’d first seen them, now at the entrance to the park.

He had her pinned somehow and was extremely drunk. I pulled him off of her and she immediately ran across to the other side of the street and started making a phone call. I began what ended up being about 20 minutes of yelling at him to stop, and putting him in armlocks and a headlock at one point, to keep him from having another go at her. He was constantly struggling away from my grip, and at one point, aside from trying to hit her again, even hit another woman who had stopped to see if the woman was okay.

When the cops finally arrived, the old guy immediately jumped in the back of the police car and started shouting and making gestures as if he was the victim. The cops then questioned me, asking if he’d hurt me, but he hadn’t. I explained and demonstrated what I’d done, in case he decided to fabricate or exaggerate my actions. I gave my name and contact details of the school I teach at (5 minute walk from the scene) in case it turned serious or they needed to talk. Happily for me, I heard nothing more of it. I have no idea if they were married, or family, or whatever, nor why he attacked her in the first place. Having to step in and stop a grown man from acting this way though, made me really angry. In a society that stresses the importance of “respect”, moments like this make the term seem very hollow.

Thankfully though, it’s the only example of this kind of behaviour I’ve seen in my time here. From the stories though, it sounds like a lot of it is simply kept behind closed doors. I remember seeing a co-teachers face bruised on one side – I waited until we were the only ones in the office, and asked her if she was okay, pointing to her cheek, and she just brushed her hair over it, hung her head, and said nothing.

That was one of the saddest things I’ve seen here.

8. Who is parenting these little prigs?

Just did last Saturday.

Went to the laundromat to wash some blankets. A girl claimed the dryer ate about 24 cents. While loading the washers across the building I hear the girl start screaming at the woman that worked there alone. Pretty sure she was mid sixties. Then proceeded to start spitting on her and kicking her etc. her boyfriend that was with her was just egging it on telling the owner she was going to prison and that they were going to sue the place, even to the extent that the girls mom was going to come down and beat her a**. Being a bigger guy at 6-7″ went over to help the owner as soon as I figured out what the hell was happening. Held the girl back and her boyfriend while she was trying to attack the poor woman. Told her to go into the office lock the door and call the cops, which she did thankfully. Get the couple to settle down and leave after the girl kicked some s**t baskets dryers, hell whatever was around her got kicked.

Cops showed up about 30 mins later talked to me and the woman, after everything blew over and the couple left she came and talked to me while I finished folding my stuff. Told me that she was happy that someone there helped and that she had just gotten a pacemaker a week before. Went and bought her some water to help her settle down since she was still crying. Left my number with her incase she needed a witness or anything. Hope to restored some faith in humanity for that lady.

TLDR; senior assaulted at laundromat by 20 something couple. Intervened

7. Something small but something big.

Last year I saw one boy sort of roughing up another, nothing too bad, shoving, grabbing his book bag etc.

Something about it just really bothered me because the smaller little boy was crying. I told the bigger boy that now Santa was only going to bring him coal, and he apologized to the other boy and took off.

Stupid, ya, but the small boy was so happy he hugged me and thanked me.

6. When you know you’ve met the right person.

My SO did once. A group of football players were mocking a clearly autistic/aspergers girl, and he got up and gently led her away while telling them off. It was the sexiest thing I have ever seen a man do, and that was the point that I figured out I was in love with him.

We’ve been together 7 years now.

5. A well-timed joke can turn a tide.

I was in an Indian restaurant and this woman made a wayyyyy over the top scene over finding a hair in her food. I understand if that’s a problem for you, but she really gave the waiter a hard time, and made absolutely certain that everyone in the restaurant could hear what she had to say.

The poor guy she had been berating was also the waiter for my table, and when he looked like he had settled down a bit, I called him over and said “Excuse me, I found a hair in my food, and it was DELICIOUS!”

I got a few laughs, but more importantly I could tell the guy enjoyed the fact that the woman had been embarrassed, without having to risk getting in trouble himself. The woman shot me a few hairy eyeballs, but whatevs – if you’re going to make proclamations to the entire restaurant to hear, then it’s open season for anyone else to do so too.

4. Some kids never learn.

I am usually a coward, and wish I could man up more. But there was an incident once where this teenage brat prob 15 or so was squirting water onto the back of an older lady with shopping bags as she was walking trying to get away from the situation.

He was probably a younger brother of someone, because he was with a group of five older teenagers. Any way he pissed me off so much, I grabbed his his scrawny arm, pushed him against the wall and said “what the hell do you think you are doing to that lady”. The little s**t quickly shut up and got very quiet. The other guys just stood there without intervening.

when I let go of the scumbags’ arm he and the other guys walked off without saying a word. When I was about 25 meters away from them the little dick knob regains his courage and yells something muffled at me.

Let’s hope next time he decides to be a public pest someone someone will leave him in a state of being unable to talk back.

3. I bet they got a free beer.

TL;DR version: I yelled at an underage drunk girl at a concert for being annoying and ruining everyone in our area’s concert experience.

Everyone was happy I did so.

2. This is a very sad story.

Posting in already popular threads usually doesn’t work out too well, but I want to share my story…

When I was 17 the girl that I was dating took me to a party her female friends college aged boyfriend was having. At the time I didn’t drink and was kinda weird, so I felt really uncomfortable around all these older, “bro”, guys. Anyways, as the night went on my sober eyes got to watch everyone get drunker, and drunker.

It was funny at first, then got kinda scary. Everyone is hammered which means they are dramatic, and confrontational.

Then, this really pretty girl was getting made fun of by what was probably her boyfriend or hook-up and his friends. It wasn’t anything too bad at first just calling her a slut and such. It made me uncomfortable but I didn’t say anything.

After about 5min of whispering to my girlfriend, but more so to myself that this was f**ked, and someone should do something, I saw it…he was grabbing her wrist kinda hard and slapping her a** while his friends laughed and slapped her a** too. I watched her switch from, “ok ok ok hahaha stoooooppppp that hurts” to “f**king ow! Seriously! Stop!” and he didn’t let go. I didn’t even think. I rushed up to him, grabbed the forearm of the hand he was holding her wrist with and punched him right in the jaw. I saw jaw because I had read or saw somewhere that knock out punches actually come from the head twisting and severing, for a split second, the nerves in the spine.

True or not, he went down.

Like in a movie, the room went silent and it was awkward. The girl, also in typical fashion fell to his side and cursed at me for being an a**hole, etc… I looked at her and said (half yelling, half in almost tears from the adrenaline), “I honestly don’t care what you think of me, but he is a piece of sh**t. I don’t have much respect for you either, for defending that f**k, but I know well-enough to know that treating a woman like that is never OK.

I’ll hit him again if he gets up and puts his hands on you or any other girl that way ever again.”

2 months later my girlfriend slept with that guy.


1. I assume a new girlfriend was eventually had.

Years and years ago I was dating a girl who had a s**t temper.

She waited at this crappy bar, so I’d hang out there with my friends. Some girl she’s got a beef with comes in and they ended up out front squaring off about ten minutes later (my then-gf still in her work uni, classy right?). I’m just kind of “what the f**k ever, I can’t deal with this” as they get to girl-fighting, but then a second girl jumps on my gf’s back.

I jump forward and wrap her up around the waist, carefully, and pick her up and out of the melee. Little did I know her enormous boyfriend was standing right behind me, and literally lifted me up by the neck like Darth Vader.

That f**king hurt.

Anyway I croaked out “she jumped in!” and somehow he’d missed that. He said “Oh, okay.” and set me down. Weirdest damn thing.

tl;dr kept my trashy gf from getting teamed up on (in a bad way), nearly got choked to death

I hope I can one day be so brave and eloquent in the face of a**holerly!

Have you ever been a random someone’s hero? Tell us about it in the comments!