We're all familiar with the old adage, "don't judge a book by its cover." These stories couldn't prove that to be anymore true. Here, shocked people share the time they realized they clearly underestimated someone.
1/26. My grandmother was sort of my idol. At 80, she still had her license, wasn't your typical "old lady" and was pretty damn tough. (Had lived through breast cancer twice, double mastectomy, and choosing divorce and single motherhood in an era when you didn't do that.)
We were in the grocery store together when I was about 10, so that would have been mid 90's. There were three other people in line ahead of us, a very obvious gay couple couple of guys, and a big, tough, bodybuilder type, and then us. And the bodybuilder guy is just spewing all the hatred he can. The couple is trying to ignore him, which is just firing him up more. Finally, my grandmother, a very tolerant woman, taps the bodybuilder on the shoulder, and says, "They aren't hurting you, Leave them be."
To which he answers, "What they are doing is disgusting and they shouldn't be around normal people." My grandmother stares him dead in the eye, deadpan expression, and says, "Sir, I know you don't agree with me or them, but a good stiff one in the bottom might lighten you up."
You could have heard a pin drop. The cashier froze, I froze, the bodybuilder froze, the couple froze. My grandmother just held eye contact. After about 10 seconds, he dropped his eyes, and everybody there realized they were seeing a sort of crushing of his soul. He quietly stepped out of line. My grandmother never said another word about it, except when we got to the car, she looked over at me and said, "Being a grown up bully is a sad thing to be."
The guy could have squashed her like a fly. I was never able to look at her the same anymore. She was an even more mystical type of figure after that.
2/26. Mullet man.
I met this guy, a construction worker. He was gruff, older, and rocked a long, long mullet. The 'party in the back' was thick and went aaaalllll the way down his back. I thought he was just a crusty, kinda white-trash dude, and started calling him Mullet Man, in my head and to my coworkers (we worked for a competing firm, and saw him at industry events.)
Fast forward a few months, and I overhear him telling someone how his niece has cancer, and he's growing his hair out for her to have a new wig made. He heard that untreated hair works best, so he figured his would be ideal.
I've never felt like such a jerk. You go, Mullet Man, you beautiful human.
3/26. Worked with this kid who was kind of pudgy. He wanted to be a Navy Seal. Everyone laughed. He did it. He became a Navy Seal.
4/26. He was eight years younger than I was and I'd known him for five years. He never showed any interest in me. One day he walked up and asked, "Will you be my girlfriend?"
I laughed in his face. We've been married ten years.
He's stubborn. I'm glad.
5/26. When I was going through college I was put into a group for a group project with a guy that I'd been paired with before. He'd done nothing. It was awful. We ended up picking up all of his slack last time, and I wasn't looking forward to doing it again.
Well, long story short, apparently he had a little "come to Jesus" with his adviser and realized he needed to put effort into graduating. That dude carried us. 11/10 stars. It was amazing, group leader asked him to do something, he knocked it out of the park. We literally got a 100% on the project. Top grade in our class.