Escape Room Employees Share The Most Bizarre Things People Did While Trying To Escape
If you've never been inside an escape room game, it's basically an indoor space, big or small. While the clock is ticking, your team must solve a series of puzzles set up throughout the space in order to a find a key, which then unlocks the door and allows your team to escape.
It turns out, when you lock people in a room together and make them work as fast as they can, all bets are off and people will do absolutely anything to succeed. You won't believe the stuff these Redditors have seen!
[Sources listed at the end of the article.]
At our establishment we have a room called "Jailbreak" with a fake metal prison door towards the very end (it's actually made of plywood).
This girl takes one look at it and says "Jail... break...." and charges the door full-force and breaks through.
The worst thing I ever saw was a tired-looking couple who brought in their bespectacled, NASA-shirt-wearing, 8-year-old son to have a family outing.
The parents couldn't have been more discouraging to him. He was excitedly bouncing around the room pointing out things that he thought were clues while the parents dismissed every idea he had and told him to stop getting so excited. The parents took charge and proceeded to ignore the obvious clues he was pointing out and spent most of the time pursuing dead ends.
The sad part is, his instincts were more often than not correct but his parents just didn't listen, and refused to let him explore and try stuff out.
Hopefully his curiosity and enthusiasm survives them.
Escape room employee here.
One couple couldn't agree on how to solve the puzzles. They were arguing throughout the entire one hour session, and towards the end actually decided to break up while still inside the room. We watched the entire thing play out on camera.
If a group doesn't show up 10 minutes before their start time, we call to ask if they're making their way or not. Well this guy put his home phone number and when we called, his wife answered, but she had no idea what we were talking about. We asked for her name and she wasn't on any booking information, so we assumed it was a wrong number.
A few minutes later, the husband shows up with A DIFFERENT FAMILY. She seemed to be his girlfriend by the way they flirted in the room, and she also had kids. Then, when they escaped, he refused to have his picture taken. We now refer to him as "Affair Guy."
Went to an Escape the Room with some friends on Friday. We were supposed to get the word "Waterloo" from a series of clues and use a dictionary to find out that the Battle of Waterloo was in 1815, then use that 4-digit number to get a key that would let us out of the room.
Well we got the word 'eaterloi' instead of Waterloo. We assumed that it was an anagram and we used a word scrambler to get the word 'aerolite' from it. Using the dictionary we found that aerolite, a stony meteorite, was first discovered in 1815. We used '1815' to get the key, escaped the room, and confidently told the employee how we figured it out. He was dumbfounded.
I'm not exactly sure what the odds are of solving the room like this is. My friends and I have been trying to figure it out since it happened.
One of my co-workers said that a group started getting really destructive in the room, to the point where they literally threw the computer on the floor to see if something was hidden inside (there wasn't anything hidden inside, they needed to use a special magnifying glass to read the monitor). We abruptly removed them from the room after that.
They actually ended up coming back another day and were extremely well behaved. I guess they learned their lesson.
Former escape room employee. People are unbelievably destructive. I've seen people dismantle furniture and electronics, pull vent covers off the air ducts, physically bend back file cabinet drawers to get around the lock. They'll write all over all the clues, even deliberately go against the rules you set because they think you were trying to trick them.
At the escape room I work at, a guy cleared all the boxes and locks off of a table in the corner, laid down on it, and went to sleep until the group escaped. It was a birthday party, so I guess he only came out of obligation to his friend whose birthday it was.
I went to a space-themed escape room as part of a team-building exercise with my class at school. The room we were in was supposed to be a spaceship and there was a space suit, so I put it on thinking that was the idea.
It didn't help us solve anything. When we finished I asked the game master, "do people normally put the suit on?" He said, "It's not against the rules but you're the first person to do it."
Started working in an escape room around 3 months ago. This is not really a weird thing, but more a cute one. One day a dude called and told us he was proposing to his girlfriend and that they were both huge fans of escape rooms.
So my boss and came up with a cool idea how we could change our escape room to make it more romantic, and at the end of the escape they wouldn't find the key of the room but the ring and a bottle of champagne. We also told the dude the solutions of some of the puzzles to make sure they would actually come to the end of the room.
It was the cutest thing I have ever seen. The way these two worked together in the room and how excited the dude was. When they found the ring and the champagne at the end and he asked to marry her, they were both in tears (So were my boss and I). She said yes! After that they stayed with us for a bit before heading their own way. It is still one of my favorite evenings and one of the reasons I love my newfound job so much.
We give people a box for them to bring in, so they can store their belongings while they play.
One time, about halfway in, an inquisitive older man starts going through the box thinking it's a prop that might contain clues. He pulls out somebody's purse and shouts,"Guys! I found a... Oh, this is our stuff isn't it." It was hilarious.
My friends and I did a horror-themed escape room based on the Saw movies. At one point, the phone in the room rang and our friend picked it up.
He said there was a creepy voice on the other line, and we had to step away from him while they talked so we couldn't hear. Weird, but OK. After he gets off the phone he starts clucking like a chicken and circles the table in the middle. The employees mentioned something about "sacrificing" one member to get a hint, and we thought this was it. So like some amateur cult we all started clucking like chickens and circling around the table with him. He starts laughing his head off. Turns out he was just messing with us.
I once had a couple come into our horror-themed escape room and they just sat on the floor and cuddled.
They didn't look scared. They didn't bother to solve anything either. They just cuddled with all the creepy props and sound effects surrounding them. I guess they couldn't find a creepy motel to cuddle in...?
Just started working at an escape room. On the first day, I was told some of the rules I have to explain to people include not jumping out the windows and not sticking keys into wall sockets, because it has all happened before. Do people really think they'd be expected to do those things?
Like most rooms, we have cameras all throughout the game so we can keep any eye on players, give hints based on what puzzle they're on, and watch out for any shenanigans.
So ours is a prison-themed escape, at one point there are 3 cells that need to be opened in order (one of them has a live actor in it that messes with you the entire time, even after you rescue him). Anyway, each cell is pretty much the same, with a toilet, shelf, and a few other items.
One guy was pretty drunk and repeatedly put bones and other stuff in his pants to get a laugh out of his teammates, but they stopped paying attention to him while trying to actually make their escape. He must've gotten bored being so drunk and not caring about the escape room, he leaves the main group and heads back to he prison cell area. I'm watching on the cameras and see he's not with the rest of the group, so I start clicking around trying to find him. Sure enough, he's in a jail cell hovering over a toilet, peeing. There's no plumbing, they're definitely just props.
We shut their game down on the spot, his group was not happy with him at all. After they left I had the pleasure of cleaning it all up, and it was after that night we added the "anyone visibly intoxicated will not be allowed to participate" rule.
People have tried to climb through the ceiling tiles on multiple occasions. We now have to mention in the pre-game spiel that it's not necessary to climb through the ceiling tiles.
We did a horror-themed escape room one time where there were these jars with severed limbs in them. When we got out we commented to the guy running it that we found it interesting that the jars were cement-glued shut, cement-glued to the shelf, and the shelf screwed to the wall. Seemed like overkill to us.
We found out later that the reason they do this was because another group had managed to pry the jars away from the shelf and open the jars. The game master missed this as it was happening on the cameras, and when he rushed in to stop them he hears, "Guys! We have to drink the water!!"
The nasty part was that the water was out of the local river a few blocks away, just to get that dirty murky look.
We had a group reset the password on our computer, which they didn't remember afterwards, so we then had to wipe it and reinstall everything (lesson learned for the game makers, always have an admin account!).
Another woman for some reason decided to throw--literally throw--every non-clue glass object into a trash can, leaving me with 10 minutes to reset the room AND clean up a mountain of broken glass.
The weirdest thing I've noticed are the waves of similar thinking that go through multiple teams in a row. It's noticeable to everyone, my boss even warned me about it my first day. A meaningless picture might be hanging on the wall, completely ignored by every group for months, until suddenly you have a wave of 10 groups in a row who take it off the wall and dismantle it because they've become convinced it means something.
They'll draw new conclusions from a note that have never been drawn before, and the game makers never intended. They'll follow the same, incorrect process for solving a puzzle that we haven't seen before, or make the same arithmetic/decryption errors. They'll MISREAD things the same way, even mishear audio clues the same way. They'll physically destroy the same props, locks, or set pieces game after game. And then it will stop, and no one will do that thing again for months.
Maybe I'm biased towards noticing it, maybe it's little factors like how I deliver my speech that day... I don't know. But it is undeniably weird.
While hosting a game, I had a couple in a handcuffed/blindfolded room start passionately feeling each other up.
I cleared my throat and said over the microphone, "Just a reminder that I can see you guys from 4 cameras in the room, if you need any hints let me know!"
Once a little 12-year-old kid came up to me before entering the room and asked: "Are you in the room with us?" I replied: "No but I'll be in the control room." To which he replied: "Okay, good, so we can torture you when you don't give us any good hints."
When they were in the room he proceeded to yell at me through the PA system: "Give us some good hints you rotten man!"
Escape room employee here! The weirdest thing I saw was a young couple who asked to be put in our most difficult room to escape. They clearly weren't that committed to escaping, because when they couldn't solve our puzzles they just took off their shoes and sat down and talked. When I would send them hints to get them to start playing again, the lady would call me a 'commie.' It was weird.
For example: the lady would pick up a red clue paper that goes with a pyramid puzzle. They would stare at it, then put it to the side. I type in a hint to their computer monitor in the room, "The red papers go with the pyramid!" She looks up the screen: "We were getting to that, commie!"
Im not a communist, and the room isn't communist-themed in the slightest.
Escape room employee here. In one of our rooms, we have an actor pose as a spy, and the people in the room have to solve a case to figure out who the traitor is. After they finish the puzzles, the actor/spy then reveals himself and pulls an obviously prop gun (orange tip and whatnot), leaving the group with a fake bomb that they then have to defuse.
One of the groups that did this room was a police squad, doing it as a team-building exercise. When the actor pulled the fake gun and said some cheesy lines, two of them promptly tackled and restrained the actor until they realized it was part of the game.
We had a group that was evidently high on marijuana. They weren't disruptive or anything, so we just briefed them, and took them to their room. So far so good.
The room they were in had a small fountain, and since the particular aesthetic of this room was dusty, that water was filthy. I'm talking murky, brown-yellow, mud-water.
At one point one of the guys says he is thirsty, and proceeds to stick his mouth onto the fountain's stream and take a hefty gulp of the mud-water. We spend a second of shock/guffaw, and tell them that drinking the water is NOT part of the puzzle. The guy reads the hint and just says, "That's alright." He proceeded to do the same thing four times and drank the whole fountain dry (small fountain, but still like a gallon of mud-water).
Perhaps the most interesting phenomenon I've noticed is just how much age and status factors into the teamwork involved.
We once had a family come in including a mom, her brother, and her two kids, a teenage daughter and younger son, maybe 8 or 9. The whole time, the 8-year-old son was on the right track, but no one of the older folks would listen to him. They would have found the exact missing clue that was stumping them the whole time if they had listened to him.
Felt bad for the kid, but we explained to the family afterwards that he had been right, and now he gets to rub it in whenever he wants.
A guy had called us way ahead of time and said he's going to propose to his girlfriend in the room. We help him set up a custom box in the room and alter a puzzle to make it reveal the engagement ring he had bought.
He proposes early on in the room, and she says 'no' straight up. Then my co-worker and I watch in horror as THEY AWKWARDLY FINISH THE ROOM. They actually escaped, and when they got out I had to go up and weirdly congratulate them and guide them back through the door. Worst 10 minutes of my life.
You really see people's true parenting skills when they enter the room.
My favorite quote is from a lovely family that went into a room together. Five minutes in, as the kids are shouting and fighting over clues, the father gathers them and goes, "You're being jerks to each other. Cut it out, and remember that we're in this together."
Breaking up is hard to do.
And when you get the law involved, it's even worse. But sometimes people don't need the law's help to make things overcomplicated, they just have a grand ole time making that happen themselves.
People on the front lines of human cruelty include divorce lawyers. These are their stories.