Most of us have had that “oh crap, this is it” moment at some point in our lives, be it as kids, at work, or with the law – that moment when you’ve done something terrible and you’re 100% sure you’re about to be busted.
When that moment is followed by one when you realize you’ve gotten away with it, well…there’s not much sweeter.
And so, please enjoy the secondhand relief enjoyed by these 17 almost-fired employees.
17. Kids never change.
when I was about 17 I used to internship at a bank through a school program. It was a small business bank so there wasn’t any glass like you see at big banks. The set up was 4 desks lined up next to each other with small walls separating them almost cubicle style but shorter. My desk was all the way at the end next to the wall.
Anyways, so I’m sitting at my desk bored one day with nothing to do so I grab a paperclip and start flicking it paper football style at the wall separating my desk and the one next to it. Everytime it bounced back I would flick it again.
Well one time I flicked it a little too hard and the paperclip flew right over the small wall and hit a customer right in the head that was waiting to be attended.
My heart sank and so did my head down to the desk as I tried to go unnoticed in hopes that they wouldnt know who did it. Looking back it was probably obvious that the 16 y/o boy was the one flicking paperclips and not the 40+ old ladies next to him.
Luckily I don’t think the customer knew what hit her and I was never blamed for it.
16. Oh man I can feel the panic.
I used to work for a big box pet store taking care of the animals that lived in the store. There was a rotation of the animals getting their accessories changed out and cleaned (i.e. water bottles, food bowls, plastic huts) every day. So each day the morning person cleaned that day’s habitats and the closer did the “dishes” in the sink and set them to dry and be put back in rotation for use.
It was sometimes difficult to complete any of these tasks while also dealing with customers. The sink we did dishes in was very deep and company policy stated that the dishes had to soak in a cleaning solution for a certain amount of time so it took a long time to fill up the sink with the solution to soak everything.
It was common to turn the water on to fill up the sink and go see if anyone needed help in the store while you waited.
Not long after I started working there I was performing this task and got pulled into a long conversation with a customer. Normally I’d duck in the back and turn off the faucet if I thought the conversation would take a while, but this night I just completely forgot the sink was on. Cue like 20 minutes later walking in the back to ankle deep water. The sink had overflowed and was filling the back space. The door had a rubber stopper at the bottom keeping it from going into the store
I took a squeegee thing and started herding the water into a drain on the floor on the back side of the fish wall but it took a long time. I was so frantic and still had to pay attention to customers out on the floor. Luckily no one else ever went into the back unless you worked in that department and I was working alone. So I managed to herd most of the water into the fish drain and the rest dried over night before the opener came in. No one ever knew I flooded the back space.
Few months later I realized flooding was a common occurrence and my manager flooded it at least once a year.
15. I’m guessing he really didn’t NEED that job.
One day everybody was working from home except me so I just left and went to Six Flags with my friend, praying there wouldn’t be any spur of the moment video calls.
14. Why isn’t there an undo doom button too?
I auto-archived 2500 records from our database with one button push. This removed them from active status and cancelled any associated reservations and services.
I had to click into each record and reinstate it. Took me 6 hours. I admitted my folly at the next team meeting to ensure no one else had to go through the sheer butt puckering terror I did when those records disappeared.
We call it the doom button now. Why there is a doom button I have no idea.
13. You’re probably not even the first apprentice to do it.
First day as an Electrical Engineer intern, I blew up a power amplifier by hooking up a power supply incorrectly. I was pulling a lot of current (2 A for a small power amplifier) and sparks and smoke were everywhere.
I went to tell the Engineer I was working for, fully expecting to be reprimanded or fired, but he didn’t seem to care too much which surprised me.
12. Poor woman probably thought she was in the wrong.
When I was 18 I worked for Menards (like Home Depot). It was a small store with an outside yard that you couldn’t drive into so we would pick what you wanted with a forklift and load the customers out in the parking lot.
So this lady came in to pick up a bunch of special order bricks. I loaded two pallets of bricks into the back of her very nice new truck, she signed the paperwork and the transaction was done…. Until I sat in the forklift filling out my part of the paperwork and she backed into a forklift tine and punched it all the way through her tailgate!!!
I was 100% in the wrong as anyone who has ever driven a forklift knows that unless you are actively using the lift, you keep the tines on the ground if you’re parked, and a couple inches above while driving.
I had seen a guy get fired once for driving over a piece of cardboard instead of stopping to pick it up, so I was beyond screwed… but she just put it in drive and took off. She didn’t even look back at me. I expected that she was going to pull up to the front of the store to report it, but she just left. As far as I know she never reported it, and no one ever knew it happened. That was 21 years ago and I think about that incident pretty often.
11. I guess some good deeds really do go unpunished.
Working at a high end tour company, I backed a bus hitch into a guest’s BMW. Broke one of their tail lamps. I picked up all the plastic remnants from the ground and taped a note to their window to find me when they returned from their tour to discuss the damage and go speak to the owner with me about insurance, etc. I’d been breaking down my trip to make way for the next bus arriving, so I hadn’t had a chance to go tell my boss before they returned. The guest came and found me, laughing. Said someone had hit it a few weeks prior and it was already being processed through the insurance of the other person who had hit him, and not to worry about it. He hadn’t realized that I’d done additional damage because it was the same tail light, nothing else was damaged and I’d picked up all the broken pieces from the ground, so it didn’t look that bad compared to what damage had already existed. I never had to fess up to my boss about the incident and learned to never attempt to park the bus near the fancy cars again.
10. The local ruffians are always convenient scapegoats.
Had a lorry turn up 15 minutes before the end of the day and in my rush/pure fucking anger to just get him unloaded ASAP so I could go home I drove through the roller shutter doors as they were still opening and “caught” them with the top of the mast.
I got the guy unloaded and on his way and tried to lock up hoping to explain it all away the following day.
The door was that bent it wouldn’t lock, as it wouldn’t lock I couldn’t set the alarms, I was essentially trapped at work and now an hour late from leaving.
In a moment of pure desperation I lifted the doors again and drove into them from the other side bending them enough to lock them up, set the alarms and get home.
I’d hit them a little too hard so they were now bent inwards and the bosses assumed someone had reversed into them during the night – the estate we were on was a notorious cruising spot for the local boy racers and there was always tyre marks or bits of car scattered round the place so they got the blame
Edit – Lorry = truck/semi/wagon/artic
Also, thanks for the silver yo
9. I’m sure they were good.
A lot of things were changing, and company growing, blah blah blah the usual.
And at a certain point, I just got tired of being thrown into something with no direction, so I just made up stuff how I wanted it to go and started referring to it as “policy.”
I’ve since left that job, but they’re still using my policies. That I made up. Half the time on the fly as things happened.
8. Not because of that, though.
Dropped a slab of steel on my toes, couple hundred pounds, during my probationary period, but since I was wearing my steel toes (PSA: wear your PPE) and no one else was around, I got away with a slightly bruised foot after I wiggled out.
Still got let go, but that’s because I was a slow welder.
7. This is sort of epic.
Our muzak hold crap system was out of whack, so since I’m IT, I was tasked to fix it. Stupid proprietary audio files, stupid codecs, stupid hold music.
To pass the time, I ripped a GWAR cd that I received as a gag gift a million years ago to the proprietary format and amused myself by throwing “Meat Sandwich” on loop for testing.
Finally got everything working, called it a night and went home for the rest of the weekend.
Monday morning, around 11am, I get a call. “Hi, Coyote? I think our muzak system is still broken. People are complaining about the songs and the sound?”
What? WHAT? Call my work into question? I tested it MYSELF. I personally made sure the audio format was working with my OWN MUSIC and…
….and fuck. I left Gwar, Meat Sandwich, as our only muzak for hold for our entire company.
I ran to the Datacenter, put everything back to default and the told them that it was “crossing channels” or some bullshit and everything was fine.
But we open at 6am. So for 5 glorious hours, Meat Sandwich was the music playing after the soft voiced woman told you to “Please Hold”.
6. Sounds like a match made in heaven.
Knocked a soldering iron off of its stand while I was working as I was getting up to take a piss. Came back and it had burned a hole dead center in the plastic table my boss just bought. I’m thinking I’d have to pay for a new one but my boss comes in and sets a box down hard on the table and it knocks the iron over and burns another hole near the old one.
5. Rules are there for a reason.
Spilled soda in our lab near a test system I was working on. They were very expensive. Some soda got to the unit before I was able to stop it.
I dried everything thoroughly, but was very scared because I had only been there a year or so and these things were very expensive to produce… but when I left that company 8 years later that system still was fully functional and in use. I did start listening to the lab rules about no open containers after that though.
4. This is plain awful.
Okay so I’m running a summer camp and half way through the day I’m comparing our bus attendance to the group attendance and I notice there is a little girl who was marked as being on the bus but not in her group.
I go and check the group, no sign of her. Other groups, nope. No one has seen this six year old girl and we are out in bumblefuck nowhere and I am losing my shit. I have lost a child. We’re gonna get so fired and gonna need to call the cops and they’re gonna have to search the woods. My life flashes before my eyes. After fifteen minutes of oh my god my life is over my coworker pulls up with the news that she spoke to the girls mom and she did not come to camp that day at all, the bus attendance was an error.
I was five minutes from calling my boss and instead I collapsed in the dirt with relief and tried not to cry. Holy fuck.
3. If no one trained you I suppose they can’t complain.
A year and a half ago my company hired me back after my internship. They gave me a new role, but no one explained it clearly to me. I wound up doing all this compliance paperwork stuff wrong for months. But no one ever said anything. And now, starting next week, they’re trusting me with some of the most important duties in the company. Better hope they teach me better this time.
2. No one ever questions the pilot.
When I was a brand new airline pilot we landed at an airport that required a long taxi back to the terminal. During the taxi the captain made a wrong turn onto a narrow taxiway that led to a small private hangar. As soon as he made the turn we knew it was the wrong taxiway, but it was very narrow with trees on both sides so there was no way to turn around. I had no idea how we were going to deal with this.
He thought for a minute, then said, “McGonogle, can you see the tower from here?”
I looked. “Nope.”
“Good. Then they can’t see us.”
With that, he reversed both engines and slowly backed onto the main taxiway. I guess the passengers thought it was normal because no one asked any questions and we never heard anything about it.
1. If that doesn’t make you believe in fate…
It was university.
They had this really expensive piece of equipment and I can’t remember exactly what it measured, or how it worked. What I remember is this:
you completed a “circuit” to power the thing, meaning you plugged a wire into 5volts or whatever came out of the wall, and another wire into the ground, and plugged both of them into the device (alligator clips baby).
what you got out of the wall was wayyyyyyyy too much current, so you had to put a resister between the wire from the wall and the device
the thing cost something ridiculous like 25k at the time. It was made out of diamonds or gold or something else fucked up.
Anyways, I got really pissed at my lab partner, just took over the experiment. And plugged the thing directly into the wall without a resister…
I basically fried the thing in a second.
I smelt burning and could see smoke come out of it immediately and knew exactly what I’d done.
As I literally thought “Oh fuck, I’m dead” and started realizing the gravity of my actions, this dude in a huge ass trench coat thing walks by my lab table, gets his coat caught in it and pulls the thing off the table. It lands on the ground and smashes into a million pieces.
Dude was walking with the guy who ran the labs, and that dude loses it on him.
I just sat in silence. I felt guilty but like I dodged the biggest bullet of my life.
I didn’t know definitively that I’d broke it, but I knew definitively that that dude had.
And I was too much of a coward to say anything.
These made my heart race!
Do you have a story you could add to this list? Share it with us in the comments!