17 People Share the Story of How They Let a Stranger Have It in Public

We all like to think that we have it in us to be the hero of the hour if we witness someone being hurt, someone hurting an animal, a crime happening in the streets, anything like that. I think we’re all asking ourselves what we would do in certain situations now more than ever…at least, I know I am.

Here are 17 people who didn’t hesitate to make a move when they saw something amiss, and that really kind of makes them like Superman, without the cape and the flying and the changing in a phone booth.

17. There are days you’ve just had enough.

I have always hated how people talk down to fast food employees. One night (9 pm or so), some lady starts yelling at the guy at the Subway I was eating at, about he screwed up her sandwich. The guy behind the counter gets a quizzical look on his face, but doesn’t say anything. She goes off on him for 20 seconds or so, and then throws the sandwich in his general direction.

I just couldn’t sit there and watch this guy take it anymore, so I walk over, real calm with my hands in my pockets, and tell her she’s disrupting my dinner and she needs to stop yelling. She yells at me that she’ll stop yelling when he makes her a sandwich the right way, yada yada yada. So I ask her, real calm, “were you not standing right here when he made your sandwich for you?”

“Of course I was!” she replies.

“Did he not ask you what you wanted on the sandwich while he was making it?”

“Well, yes..”

So he put stuff on the sandwich that you didn’t ask for?”

“Well, no…”

“Then shut the fuck up, lady.” I said. The guy starts grinning.

“You can’t talk to me like that!!” She yelled.

“No, he can’t talk to you like this. I don’t work here. You are being rude, loud, bitch, and you are interrupting my dinner. Now shut the fuck up.”

She sputtered for a minute about the half sandwich she threw at the guy, and the guy replaced it (I wouldn’t have, but he didn’t want t o get in trouble, so). She was quite polite, and took it to go. He brought me a cookie and said thanks, no one had ever stood up to a rude customer like that for him before.

16. She’s lucky no one killed her.

I actually was arrested (not charged) for assaulting a woman a few years ago. Once I had witnesses and surveillance tapes to prove that I did it because she was beating the shit out of her 3 year old (literally, banging the little girl’s head against the pavement), they let me off.

I have never been in a fight in my life, but I didn’t hesitate for one second when I came out of the grocery store and saw that. She even lied to the police at first and said that she had “dropped” the child when I tackled her “for no reason” (they found tons of evidence of previous injuries on the child including poorly healed broken bones).

She tried to file charges against me for assault and they were dismissed almost immediately.

I really hope that little girl has better parents now and has forgotten most of her early life.

I’ve never been violent, but I didn’t want to risk her getting away and taking that little girl home again and my instincts took over.

15. Big guys should definitely use their bulk for good.

When I was younger me and my dad were walking in a busy part of London (I think it was leicester square) and some chavvy teens came out of a mcdonalds and threw some half used ketchup packets on the floor.

My dad went up to them with a proper psycho look (also hes 6 4), had a go at them and told them to pick it up and throw it away which they did whilst looking pretty shit scared, it was awesome.

14. Sometimes people need to be told what everyone else already knows.

I was having lunch with a friend at a local restaurant that we would frequent in those days, so we got to know the servers pretty well. This one afternoon we had just ordered with our server and she turned around to head back to the kitchen. On her way there she passed another table she was serving where a single man was sitting. He stood up right in her path and at the top of his lungs screamed in her face, while waving his hands in the air “Where’s my sandwich?!?!?!”. Immediately without even thinking about it I yelled back “Sit down and shut up!”. I surprised myself, my friend, the server and the man, but I’ll be damned if he didn’t do what he was told. The server escaped back into the kitchen area holding in her laughter.

13. He remembers you when he thinks there is no one good in the world.

As a kid, i was playing with this other kid i had just met there in the local playground. He had brought his two action-figures with him: Batman and Dr. Freeze. We were playing around with these action-figures when these mean looking older kids came towards us. Without hesitation, i hid the action-figures in the sand. The kids then started to push us around and tell us we had to tell them where the action-figures where. We both refused, and the mean kids eventually gave up and walked of. I then dug up the action-figures and gave them back to the kid. I never met him again, but i’m sure i’m with him in his dreams. TL;DR: I saved Batman and Dr. Freeze from a gang of thugs. Edit: It’s supposed to be “Mr. Freeze”, not “Dr.” from what i’ve seen in the comments. Still leaving it “Dr.”, since that’s what we were calling him in my neighbourhood (didn’t live in the US).

12. I want to know what happened to her!

A few years ago, I got off work at 1am and when driving home found an old lady in a hospital gown and shower cap lying in the center turn lane of a 4 lane road in a really bad neighborhood. I had forgotten my cell phone, so I had to go back about a mile to use a pay phone. I then went back and parked my car in front of her body with my high beams on to wait for medics.

Even at that time of night, there were a lot of people flying by while at the same time crack heads were walking too and from trailers near by. I was scared shitless. Eventually, a tow truck driver stopped and helped. Turns out he was a paramedic, but he didn’t have a cell phone either. We waited with this unconscious lady for about 15 minutes before the ambulance finally found us.

I was terrified all the cars driving by would say I hit her. Turns out NOBODY bothered to call for this lady. She was still alive. I left before they loaded her into the ambulance. She will never know I was the one that watched over her to make sure no one ran her over.

11. This is not a story that encourages one to travel.

Once while riding a bus in Algeria a militia forced everyone off, separated the men and women on either side of the road and made everyone lay down. One woman my companion and I befriended was wanted in her home town which we happened to be passing en route to somewhere else. As we were getting off the bus she told us that these militiamen would take her away.

We were concerned but didn’t know what to do. My friend and I laid there and we could see ou friend looking at us. Then the shots began. They were moving down the row of males and shooting them in the head. I thought we were all going to be killed and thought “fuck it.”

I stood up and began waving my hands yelling. I waved my passport and some bullshit IDs I had that were in German and in ghani. What I can only assume to be the head of the group ran up to me and pushed me on the ground while the others covered the men and women. The head was screaming at me while he held a pistol at my back and went through my pockets and looked at the IDs. It seemed obvious he couldn’t read and kept asking me who I was and why he shouldn’t kill me. He pulled me up and as I was making up some bullshit about escorting our female friend to a tribal leader I read about the week before there was a scuffle near the end of the row of the remaining men. My buddy saw the head turn and started to move towards him on his belly. I pushed the guy forward onto his face as shots started ringing out at the end of the line. I don’t know who was shooting but can only assume someone else didn’t want to lay down for it either. My friend and I and the girl saw our chance as two of the women ran towards the head guy and were hitting him with their shoes. We took off over the berm and kept running for hours taking breaks as we could the whole time my friends yelling at me. “how could you be so stupid?!?” “they’re going to kill us!” when night came we lucked out and a herder and his son took us in.

The end

10. You have to be pretty badass to take on a guy with a knife.

I was seeing The Exploited in Portland. The band Virus 9 was their opener.

This huge, like 6’4″ bulky guy, was being crazy, like he was having a bad trip on acid or something, and it made him really aggro. A bouncer was trying to get him to leave, and this guy pulled a knife on the bouncer (I was in between them, back up against a table with no where to go, not a good place to be) then BAM the singer from Virus 9 slaps the knife out of dudes hand and kicks the crap out of him.

In the process he knocked my camera out of my hands and the batteries spilled out. After the guy was dragged out, the singer came back, had a mini flashlight and helped me find my batteries. Cool fucking guy.

9. I have no idea what’s wrong with people.

I work at the Mall of America. I love my job and most of the time I love the customers in my store, because it’s a pretty small store that caters to only certain people, realistically.

However, a lot of the stores are an utter shit storm in terms of customers. The “destination” stores, stores that aren’t always in smaller malls, especially.

I was at delia’s buying shorts this summer during their summer clearance. It was a Saturday and it was busy. People were queuing in random areas of the store, and one of the associates was attempting to get the line to shift to a more logical area. This associate happened to be physically disabled. I followed her instructions and moved to the correct area, as did most people. However, this one bitch of a woman decided that she didn’t want to “lose her spot” (she wasn’t in a spot, she was standing in a random ass area of the store). Rather than asking if she could get in front of someone in line (I’d have let her in front of me to shut her up) or being mature in any way, she says something about how she’s not moving and isn’t going to lose her spot in line, and finishes off her statement with, “maybe if your parents hadn’t fucked up while they were pregnant, you would understand that.” The salesgirl looked like she was about to burst into tears. I set down my shorts on a table. I went up to the salesgirl and told her to take a break, if possible. Then I walked up to the woman and told her off- “It’s people like you who make this girl’s job hell. You’re not better than her in any way.” And then I exited the store.

…I went back 4 hours later and bought the shorts and the girl and her manager thanked me.

8. That kid definitely had it coming.

I was on the bus when this idiot teenager decided to start throwing out parts of his lunch on the floor, including his coke can that wasn’t quite empty. The lady beside me got fed up and picked up his shit and dumped it right onto his lap without saying anything. About 5 minutes later the kid (probably took him the whole 5 minutes to think of this) said:

“You’re not going to save the world with your Green Peace shit lady.”
To which the lady responds quite angrily with:

“I wasn’t trying to save the world dickhead, your drink was spilling out onto people because you were too fucking lazy to hold onto it, so shut the fuck up.”
I guess that kid got embarrassed enough that day, and spent the rest of the bus ride looking at the floor.

7. She should really have known her audience.

This wasn’t me that did the saving but rather someone else told off a stranger in place of me.

I was working as a lifeguard on a military base, when a random spouse of a high ranking officer comes to the pool. She decides that she is above rules (and logic) and takes one of the six foot long lounge chairs (The long ones that people sunbathe at pools with) and places it on a 3 foot sidewalk, leaving the last three feet to hang over the pool. Now as a lifeguard, my job is mostly to enforce safety, and that breaks the fire codes, blocks a walking path, and most importantly, it’s hanging over the pool (no matter how opposed to rescuing this lovely lady from the pool, I’d still have to rescue her). We inform her that she cannot do that, and that it is a safety issue. She ignores us, and after three times of telling her she cannot do that, we kindly inform her that she must leave the facility.

Now, this pool is a free service, so there is not any need to worry about a refund or anything. We just need to get her out of the facility. It is at this point she decides that she is above any of our rules and starts yelling at us. She has several kids, all are to young to stay at the pool by themselves, so we do not wish to call the cops on her at this point (having mom escorted out of the pool in handcuffs would be rather traumatizing for a young child, at least we guessed so). We try to calm her down and explain that she cannot stay at the pool and must leave now, by this time the head lifeguard is directly involved in talking to her. She gets more and more aggressive, and starts yelling even louder.

It is at this point my supervisor decides enough is enough, we need to call the cops to get her escorted from the building (remember this is a military base, so we’re calling the military police, this was a huge decision on our part). As my lead is dialing she starts trying to guilt trip us, and starts spouting off the usual “My husband is colonel so and so, you better respect me” and that line of bullshit. She then decides it’s time to play things up a notch and screams at us, rather loudly, “My husband is currently deployed to Iraq, you are supposed to support the families of people deployed!”

This got the attention of another guest in the area. This guest had a booming drill sergeant voice, and to add to it the facility had a nice echo to it as well. He says one line to her: “Fuck you lady. I’m going to Iraq next week.” She stops dead, watches him walk out the entrance. At this point her mouth is agape, and she walks to her belongings, gathers them, and walks out the door with her kids. My supervisor tells the cop that everything’s solved, and hangs up the phone.

6. I’ve never wanted to be someone when I grow up so badly.

I used to work at a Panera Bread in a very affluent neighborhood, and one of the regular customers, Mark, would always order the most time-consuming, off-menu items. He was known for being condescending and rude, and he’d bitch about how long it was taking, and he always complained about how we messed up his order. Every Wednesday and Saturday morning we had to deal with this prick.

One busy Saturday morning, a new girl had to take and fill his obnoxious order. So, of course she messed up a lot, considering it was her second day, and Mark launched into the most atomic dick-rage I have ever witnessed. One of our other regular customers, this sweet old (and I mean old) lady we called Aunt Mary, sauntered over to him, and smacked the shit out of him with her cane. Right over the back of his head.

“You say another word to her, I whack you in the fuckin’ balls,” she says. Mark was totally stunned, speechless. He dipped out, and we never saw him again.

5. Who on earth thinks that’s okay?

When I was about 15 or so, was driving home from a holiday somewhere and stopped in a country town (this is rural Australia). We stopped at a cafe next to a park and were having lunch; in the park next to us was a Chinese family having a picnic while their little girl (who was probably about three) was picking flowers.

Some old hag was walking down the road, saw the little girl had picked about two flowers, and proceeded to call her a ‘stupid chink’, ‘foreign brat’ etc.

So us and everyone else in the cafe proceeded to stand up and call her all sorts of lovely things to the point where she drove off.

tl;dr racist old woman was abusing a three year old

4. Well if that’s not walking the walk I don’t know what is.

This is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen: I was in church one week and a new person walked in. He was around 25 or so, dressed in jeans and a short sleeve shirt and clearly uncomfortable. He sits down and people start giving him the stink eye. I quickly realize that they are staring at the copious amounts of tattoos he has. People start whispering to each other and the poor guy looks like he’s about to just get up and leave.

All of the sudden, one of the church elders gets up. He’s a very conservative guy, say about 75 years old. The type of guy who is always wearing a suit, even in the dog days of summer. He walks over to where the guy is sitting and says hello. I thought he was about to ask the guy to leave. The old guy says, “Don’t let them bug you. You’re not the only one with tattoos.” He then takes off his suit coat and rolls up his sleeves. His arms are almost a solid block of ink. Apparently, when he was young, he was in the Navy and got a tattoo in almost every country he visited.

He spent the rest of the service hanging out with new guy and talked to him after service. The new guy has been coming ever since and no one judges him for his ink.

It was one of the ballsiest things I’ve seen someone do for a complete stranger.

3. Kind of makes you feel like maybe the world isn’t so bad, after all.

I was on a train heading home and had just had a really long day. I was tired, nothing went well that day (got bitched out by my boss for something I wasn’t responsible for) and was just done with the day. I sat down, put in my earbuds and closed my ears for awhile. After awhile, I could hear a growing ruckus coming from a few seats ahead of me. I rip out one earbud and hear three gentlemen (read: thugs) giving an old man a hard time.

For over 10 minutes I listened as these punks berated this old man for literally everything and anything. They said he was too old and should just do the world a favor and kill himself, claimed to have sex with his grandchildren, said he contributed nothing to the world and that he was so weak that they’d probably kill him with one punch. After awhile the old man decided to speak up and said that he was a war veteran and had fought in Vietnam and had accomplished more in his life on this earth than any of these three fine scholars would ever hope to do.

That’s when I reached my tipping point with these kids. After saying this, one of the kids retorts: “I don’t give a fuck about Vietnam, I hope you lost friends back there. I hope you realize that you’re responsible for their deaths”. That’s when I lost my shit. I got out of my seat and stormed over there. Now, I’m not a big guy by any means but I was tired, pissed off and just finished listening to a healthy dose of death metal so I was a wrecking ball of hostility, rage and fortitude.

I got into these kids’ faces and said, “You are perhaps the most ungrateful, selfish and despicable pieces of scum fuck that I have ever seen. The fact that you have the audacity to question this man’s service to your country, let alone belittle him for as long as you have shows me that you have no redeeming qualities as a human being. You are vile, degenerate trash and if you say another word to this man, I will personally throw you off of this train. You are a disappointment as a member of my species and I hope that you realize one day that this ‘tough guy’ attitude that you’re flaunting accomplishing nothing and will one day result in a similar situation like this, but with you getting your face smashed in. Now take a seat and shut up or get off at the next stop. The choice is yours”.

Now, right after saying this, I realized that I was outnumbered 3 to 1. However, these three punks were taken aback at the verbal lashing I had just given them and said nothing for what seemed like an eternity. After awhile, I realized I had won: the especially heinous one just looked to his feet, turned around and sat down. His two buddies followed suit. The next stop they got off. Old man thanks me, I thank him and I go about my day.

2. The proudest day of any parent’s life, surely.

When I was I guess about 18 or 19 I was home visiting my parents. I’d been out in the yard playing baseball with my little brother.

I was sitting on the porch when I saw our neighbor’s wife run out the house with her child, her husband chasing her. As I’m watching the husband grabs her by the hair, punches her and starts dragging her back towards the house while their child watches.

My dad tells this story and says, “All I saw was you step into the house, pick up a Little Slugger and walk out the front door.” By the time my dad got outside I had walked up to the guy, had the bat over my shoulder and was saying, “Let her go or I start swinging.” By this point my dad and a couple other neighbors have run over and are standing with me. I said again, “You have till the count of three. I’m a state champion softball player.”

The guy dropped his wife and ran back to the house. Police were called, the guy was arrested and the wife eventually left him.

My dad said seeing his teenage daughter threaten a grown man with a baseball bat was one of the proudest days of his life.

1. This kind of sounds like the beginning of a really weird Penthouse article.

My mom and I have a knack for being in these situations. We honestly don’t look for them, but we have a lot of weird stories. In high school I was a lot like you. I was shy, ate outside the library at lunch while reading. I saw 3 girls on my right a few yards away yelling at another girl. The girl being yelled at seemed to be really scared and the 3 girls loved it. They started grabbing her by the hair and punching her in the face. I ran over and started pushing them off of her. They were confused for a second, but started at me. I’m 5’2″, 110, and the only fights I’ve ever been in were fake cage matches with my cousins and brothers. Apparently that was enough, because I was able to fight them off well enough for them to run away. I went to my next class with a swollen lip, beginnings of a black eye, and some bruises, but otherwise fine.

There are more stories, but another time I saw a girl getting beat up in her boyfriends car behind me while I was stopped at a red light. I wanted to get out and beat the shit out of him, but I couldn’t as I had my 2 year old in the car. Instead I had the cars around stop, blocking him in (it was easy since everyone saw what was happening). I called 911 and started describing the man and the girl and giving the license plate number. Once he saw me on the phone he stopped choking his girlfriend and got out of the car to tell me to stop. I hopped back in my car, locked the doors, and watched as another passerby saw that he was coming for my car and started to kick his ass. After the smoke settled I asked my hero to give me his address. I delivered some baked goods as a thank you. As an ex marine he seemed to like them.

These are the people we should be looking up to in society, y’all!

Have you ever stood up to a stranger who had the nerve to do something terrible in public? Tell us the story in the comments!