21 Bilingual People Reveal The Worst Thing They Accidentally Overheard.
Bilingual people on Reddit were asked: "What have you heard that you weren't 'supposed' to?" These are some of the best answers.
1/21 Some little girl on the ski slopes was laughing at me in Italian because I'm a man with hot pink snowboard boots. B*tch I own those boots.
2/21 Once heard my boss tell his wife in German what he was going to do to her when he got home... It was disturbing to say the least...
3/21 I'm Asian and I live in France so my French is pretty fluent, spoken at least. I was visiting some friends in London last summer and on the tube, there were a group of 5 French tourists standing around and pretty much [complaining] about EVERYONE else in the tube.. saying that Brits are so ugly, dissing how they dressed, really petty sh*t. I was already side-eyeing the crap outta this group but pretty much kept to myself and my friends.
Then the tube started getting really crowded, and we had to move in nearer to said French group. I accidentally bumped shoulders with one of the guys in the group and he proceeded to groan loudly then turn to his friends and say "All these f*cking Asians, they're everywhere... Go back to China, what a b*tch". His group started laughing and looking at me. At that point I saw white and COMPLETELY LOST IT.
I turned around and addressed his whole group calling them out on their ignorance and racist bullsh*t, telling them off for being the exact stereotype of French tourists that ruin the reputations of the decent French people out there, and assuming that no one else can speak their language while travelling around in EUROPE ffs. Ended by saying if you don't want to see any other races or ethnicity you should probably stay in that hole you call a home and not travel abroad if you're gonna act like a massive douche.
Everyone was looking at me at this point, my friends were like wtf and trying to get me to stop. I just said loudly in English to everyone else that this group of French people were making racist statements and deserved to be called out. They all pretty much turned red and one of the other people in the group mumbled a quick apology and they got off the tube at the next stop.
4/21 I used to go to lunch with my asst manager to a Mexican restaurant next door to where we worked. My asst manager is Cuban and would usually have small talk, in Spanish, with the waiters. One day he tells them about how he is the manager and I'm his assistant. This conversation gets more interesting when he tells the waiter about what a lousy worker I am. This is when I interrupted to say, in Spanish, that he, my assistant, is full of sh*t and I let them know that I speak Spanish. The waiter laughed his a** off and my asst manager was very embarrassed. Ah, good times.
5/21 In high school my dad and I went backpacking through the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California. We were in this small town named Lone Pine, which is about 4 hours north of LA. There were tons of German and French tourists there who had been visiting the redwood forests. I speak both English and French fluently and I overheard these two French girls talk about me in a convenience store.
One of them nodded in my direction and said "What about that one?", to which the other one replied "He seems kind of dumb, but he's cute, so yeah I'd probably sleep with him". I thought I would try my luck and approach them about it. In French I said "So, I'd like to take you up on that offer if you're up to it". They were clearly pretty embarrassed, and just walked away giggling.
6/21 U.S. citizen here. I've lived in Georgia for two years (the country, not the state), so I have a rudimentary grasp on Georgian. I was at a hostel in Istanbul a few months ago and fell deathly ill within a few hours of arrival. I'm the only person in my 4-bed room. I proceed to spend the entire next day in bed - never left the room. Day three, I'm both still deathly ill and starving. I have a transatlantic flight the next day. F*ck.
For the first time, the cleaning staff come in to the room - two women. I want to somehow get them the message that I'm sick and need an English-speaking staff member to come to the room. Unfortunately, I don't speak a word of Turkish. But then, in my half-conscious state, I hear some chatter that sounds like "smells bad." I see the other worker glance my way. Then I hear what I'm absolutely certain is "Yes, he smells bad."
Praise jeebus, they're Georgian! And you should have seen the look on their faces when I rolled over and blabbled "I'm extremely sick, I need medicine from a pharmacy." I had exactly what I needed an hour later, soup on a regular basis, and fresh hot tea every 30 minutes until I left. They were awesome. Good times.
7/21 I held open a door for two Dutch girls in Portugal and one said: "Ooh the Portuguese are so courteous" in Dutch, so I said "Ehm, the Dutch are too..."
8/21 I speak English and French and I live in Quebec. Everyone knows how some french Quebequers don't take too kindly to the english. So I'm at a caf ordering in English because I'm in between classes and f*ck it, it's 7:30 AM and latte is pretty much the same in both languages. The cashier looks at me like I had puke all over myself and walks over to her manager and says in French, "Take care of that Anglo. When will they understand that it's french in this province?" At which point, I turned bright red and I said in French, "Pardon? Can I not order a coffee without having to have a political debate? Would you not serve travellers or immigrants?"
Free coffee for a year.
9/21 I speak both English and Dari and you'd be amazed at the places that you see Afghan people at.
One time I was at Macy's trying to grab a pair of Levi 508s but they didn't have my size in the color. So, in the Levi's area there were 2 women that had the Macy's nametags on that were speaking to each other. As I got closer, I noticed that it was Dari but didn't want to say anything. I came up to them and said "Excuse me, but can you check if you have this in this size?" One of the ladies turned to the other and said (in dari) "Wait a second while I show this idiot we don't have what he wants".
I didn't say anything and turns out they did have it in my size but it was in another spot. Once I grabbed them, I turned to her and said in Dari "thank you very much for the help." Her and her friend both turned bright red and asked if I was Afghan and apologized multiple times; in the end they hooked [me] up with some secret 40% off code so it all worked out.
10/21 About 10 years ago I was on a night train, going from Rome to Naples. These 2 addicts were discussing robbing me with a knife while I was sitting in the same cabin with them. I told them I spoke Italian, and that if they wanted to rob me, I wasn't going to make it easy for them. They actually apologized, told me they thought I was German, and moved on down the car.
11/21 I speak fluent English and German, plus a few other languages where I can speak the basics. I was sitting in a hot tub while on vacation in California. These two German girls came a little while later and got in the hot tub. The hot tub overlooks the pool and the public beach since the hotel was on the water.
I made some small chat in English when they got in and they assumed I only spoke English. So they started talking among themselves in German, they started commenting on people that would walk by with all sorts of things "I bet she has breast implants, he is probably her b*tch, etc" I was just listening and holding anything back, then they started narrating this seagull who kept asking for scraps and were making some horrible remarks "Hey you fat c*nt, you're already fat enough! Throw me some food you fatty!"
They cracked a few good jokes (considering they were German humor I still found them really funny), before I knew it I lost my sh*t and started cracking up. They knew instantly, their faces turned bright red from shame. I just laughed even harder. I then said "Thanks for the laughs, I'll leave you two. Have a good day" in perfect German.
12/21 A few months back I was standing in line at the cash register (during the busiest moment of the day, with all the cash registers open) and some girl was complaining loudly on the phone about how long it took and that it would have been so much quicker in the Albert Heijn. So when it was her turn I said: "that didn't take that long, now did it?" Giant red [face] happened... :)
13/21 I was once at a grocery store with my mother, as we were browsing through to fruits and such, I overheard a conversation between a Hispanic mother and her son, (He seemed about 10) His mother was telling him to go to the next isle and to buy some chips and soda pop so that they would look more "American". I felt so bad after hearing that because obviously they were illegal immigrants and I remembered my mom and brother doing the exact same thing when they came here (they're all citizens now)
14/21 I speak primarily English but my family comes from a bilingual/French part of the province (New Brunswick), so many of my family members communicate in French primarily. During one visit to my grandparents' house, I was looking over the shoulder of my cousin as she wrote a note to one of her friends.
She made no effort to hide her note from me because she didn't know I could read French. She was writing about me and my brother, writing that I was annoying (her exact wording was "man, il est tannant". Frenglish FTW), and she wrote that my brother was cute.
So I proved her right in judging me annoying by abruptly shouting out "Hey, I'm not that annoying! And you think my brother is cute?! That's gross! He's your cousin!" Priceless reaction.
15/21 I am white and I live in an Asian country so while I was walking in the supermarket I had this kid point at me and tell his dad in Chinese "Look a white person!" So I waited till his dad left and I walked past the kid and hushed in a jokey way in Chinese "I know I am white." He looked terrified.
16/21 In France (Paris) I was travelling with some friends (also Portuguese) and we ordered in English in that restaurant because I am the only one who understands a bit of French in the group, and since we saw other tourists talk in English, it was easier for us. When eating we proceeded to talk in Portuguese and then I hear a regular looking French family say "Damn Portuguese, they are all dirty and thieves, and so poor, I bet they had to work for like 2 years just to come here" and other insults along the lines that all Portuguese women are prostitutes and etc. When we left I said in the most perfect French accent "Well, at least Portugal isn't known for surrendering and being rude, do you want to repeat all you said about my country outside, 1 on 1 !?" You should have seen his face ... I did not know French people thought of us like that... Seriously that left me wondering what the hell did we Portuguese people do to be seen like that ...
17/21 I was on holiday in Moscow, and in the subway I heard another tourist tell his mate, in my native tongue, "You know, when we speak Dutch, nobody here will understand a word of it. It's kind of a code language here!"
To which I replied, "Yeah, about that. It's not as effective as you might think."
18/21 I live in LA and take metro, so I get to hear someone talk trash behind my back in Spanish on a daily basis. Usually it's just some tired guy who's racist or hates me because I'm white, but sometimes it gets funny. The best one was when I walked by a bunch of girls and one said "Look at this white boy! Hey white boy, you like this pussy, don't you?"(I'm literally one of five Caucasians in my neighborhood) I looked up at them and said "I'm hungry, but I want something fine, not that street meat." They all turned either white or red and looked at their friend like they were gonna die.
19/21 I'm white, but I speak Mandarin and Japanese fluently. I've overheard a lot of things. The most memorable was when I went to the Yokohama Chinatown with my Japanese friends. A group of Japanese tourists and a group of Chinese tourists were in an argument, so my friends and I tried to diffuse the situation. While we were listening to each side's story in Japanese, there was talk on both sides about me from both groups, in their native tongue. So once we finished hearing each side's case, I tell the Japanese group in Japanese the other side's point of view. Their eyes bulged. Then I told the Chinese group in Mandarin the other side's story. Everyone's eyes bulged, including my friends. I didn't tell them I spoke Mandarin too.
20/21 Arab here, one time I was at Costco and I over heard a lady talking to her husband (in Arabic of course) about her yeast infection in the line for the food court. Needless to say I lost my appetite.
21/21 Apart from English, I natively speak Italian and Slovenian. The first time I brought my girlfriend to Italy to see where I grew up. The main city I showed her was Venice, as I was born there.
There was this one time, when we had walked all day in the "secret passageways" of venice, so we both were naturally tired and a little sweaty. As we hopped on the train, two guys besides us started oggling us two and making fascist comments about us ("I wish Mussolini was still here, he would show these f*ckers to speak their own dirty language")
Blood boiled up until we stepped off the train, as I approached them, and loudly said "NEXT TIME, YOU SHOULD PROBABLY KEEP YOUR NEOFASCIST AND RACIST COMMENTS TO YOURSELF". The whole car heard me and immediately turned to look at the blushing guy, who just replied with a "Y-yes." Needless to say, I triumphantly walked off the train while my gf turned around towards the window these guys were sitting at, with a big smile stamped on her face.
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Minimum wage is often paid by some of the most physically and emotionally intensive work—service industry jobs. Having to work in a hot kitchen all day or deal with irate customers while being paid less than you need to survive is not exactly the best situation to be in.