'Everyone Just Stopped And Stared.' Proud People Share A Time They Stood Up Against A Bully in Public.
Everyone has had an experience with a bully at one time or another. There will always be people who choose to make others lives miserable. That's why it's so satisfying to hear stories of people actually standing up to one of these jerks.
Here, proud people share stories of when they actually stood up to a bully in public.
1/23. A few years back, I was riding a subway train back home.
I see this girl sitting down minding her own business, and a group of three slightly older guys sitting a bit further off. One of the guys starts throwing some derogatory comments at her, and is getting louder and more aggressive by the minute.
The other passengers in the train are watching the entire scene unfold. But they don't do anything, either because they don't care enough or too scared to get involved.
Finally, the taunting guy snickers and tells his two friends, "Watch what I'm going to do next". He starts walking over to the girl.
Being physically larger than him, I intercept him before he reaches the girl and yell at him to stand down. He slides over in an attempt to sit next to her, and I squeeze in between them. For the remainder of the ride, I sit between the girl, and the guy, who is now visibly uncomfortable at having been put in his place.
2/23. This story is not my own; I merely was witness to it. I share it here because the person this story belongs to is seven years old and cannot share it herself.
I am a special ed teacher-- I am the case manager for nine students, all of whom have the academic label of "autism" (different than the DSM diagnosis). They're all young (1st and 2nd grade) and can all participate in the general education setting with minimal supports for most of the day.
On the second day of school when I am still getting to know my students, I witness one of my students smelling a mural in the hallway. His sense of smell is one of his preferred ways of learning about new places, people, and activities.
Just then, I see a cluster of 8th graders rounding the corner (our building goes K-8). One of the boys in the group says something like "what are you doing, freak?"
I rush over to "handle it," but before I can speak up, one of my student's new 1st grade peers, a soft-spoken little wisp of a girl, all freckled and missing teeth and small even for her age, interposes herself between my student and the older kids.
She crosses her arms on her chest and lowers her eyebrows menacingly . In a voice I am sure everyone in the entire hallway could have heard, firm, in control, she said, "He is just being himself, okay?"
The older boy looked cowed, actually APOLOGIZED to HER and then to my student, and then got teased by his friends the rest of the way down the hallway for being a jerk. I never had to open my dumb teacher mouth.
3/23. My Dad had a habit of snide little comments and the odd implied physical threat when he wanted to belittle you or put you in your place, which was often in our house.
He was a total hockey nut and put all of my brothers and I into hockey as soon as we could fit skates and was one of those prototypical sports fathers who was a total moron on the side of the field or rink. By 17, I'd had enough of sports even though I was good at most of them, so I announced at a family dinner that I was quitting hockey for good because I wanted to become a runner instead.
He launched into a tirade about quitting, how I would be a loser my entire life, how he knew that this was what I was going to do, etc. so I interrupted him and said:
"Dad, you're the deluded one. None of us will be in the NHL, none of us will play professional soccer. None of us will play professional baseball. The only loser in this room is the one that browbeats his children into trying to fulfill dreams they don't even want."
He made a move to come at me, so I pushed the table out to give me room and told him to come on down because I wasn't 12 any more and I was tired of taking his crap. He backed down and took off to his bedroom. A few months later, my younger brother quit hockey, too, and he barely yelped. It was awesome.
4/23. When I was in High School I was the biggest person, no joke 6'6" and 350 lbs. Starting line of the football team etc. My parents had raised me to be an open minded person, so when I would see people pick on a good friend of mine who just so happened to be gay my response was to make them as physically uncomfortable as possible. I would start heavy petting them and all other sorts of creepy things, then when they call me a 'gay' I would explain to them that I was indeed straight, just comfortable enough with myself that I didn't get freaked out by homo-erotic actions. All of these people quickly learned that being a bigot only put them in a very uncomfortable situation.
And thanks to me being a giant I have never had any problem standing up to people or for people. I went to college in Iowa City, which has a concentration of the 'bro' mind set. There were multiple nights that would have some guy trying to pick a fight with me for no apparent reason. When I would simple laugh as they knocked themselves over trying to push me around, their friends would quickly realize I am not a person you are to mess around with.
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5/23. Not sure if this is really public, but it was the high school locker room.
I took Judo all through high school, and was on the wrestling team for three years (until this incident). I had a lot of issues with many people on the wrestling team. There was a significant amount of bullying that went on. The school faculty seemed to ignore it, and the wrestling coach actually encouraged it believing it made you tougher (I had many more issues with him, but they aren't relevant now). I was 5'11'' and 171 lbs, big enough that I didn't have to deal with it myself, but many of the smaller underclassmen were consistently hazed and abused.
One day I walked into the locker room and found two members of the team ganging up on another kid. One held him down on the ground, the other had his shorts around his knees and was sticking his junk in the victim's face.
They were trying to teabag him. I just lost it. I came up behind the guy holding the kid down, put my left hand on his shoulder, and nailed him as hard as I could with my right fist as soon as he turned to look at me. The other bully had left himself defenseless, and tripped over his shorts when he saw me hit the first guy. I grabbed his face, smashed the back of his head into the locker with all my strength, and then left before either of them got up.
I never went to another wrestling practice after that. In fact, I don't even know if the two bullies were seriously injured, or if the kid they were attacking was okay. Nobody ever approached me about the event, and I didn't see any of them again the rest of the school year. My hand hurt for weeks afterward.
My mother is still angry that I quit wrestling in high school. I never told her why.
6/23. I have an older sister who is not able-bodied. She and I and some friends were up in Vail Colorado because, despite her troubles my sister LOVES nature and life and tries to immerse herself in it. We were walking in the town square area outside of these posh bars and really expensive restaurants when this group of young women brush by us in their fur Uggs, pearls and Louis Vuitton getups. I was telling a hilarious joke to my sister and she was laughing. She has a REALLY distinct and contagious laugh, and one of the girls starts mocking her for her friends amusement calling my sister a donkey, a yipping dog etc. I looked at my sister and her momentary laughter was gone... She was looking down, like she used to do in high school when kids picked on her. Without thinking, (because I WAS SEEING RED) I grabbed the closest most frozen, poop-brown oreo-looking snow chunk I could find and whipped it DIRECTLY at the ringleader chick, blasting her in the back of the head (since they were walking away from us). Silence hung in the square then a bunch of people burst out laughing and clapping. Seeing my sister's expression after that made any possible legal action the women might hit me with worth it and then some.
7/23. This is my story of how someone stood up for me. Not sure if it counts.
Well anyway, my friend and I were biking and I decided I had to go to the bathroom, left my bike outside of the McDonald's and told him to wait for me. For some reason he decides to go in and get a McChicken while I'm in the bathroom, leaving our two bikes unlocked in a shady neighbourhood. So coming out of the bathroom I just so happen to catch the guy taking my bike. I start sprinting after him but he was going to fast. I ask a middle aged lady in a car if she can help. (I was flustered it was a brand new bike!) She instantly does a screeching 180 turn in the parking lot chases after him shouting "GET OFF THE BIKE!!" "I'M CALLING THE COPS, YOU THEIF!" This kid was determined though he just kept going and going. The lady swerves onto the grass and around the corner of a school me exhausted from running come walking around the corner to see her grinning with my bike and him running and hopping a fence. Being speechless I just gave her a hug. She hands me my bike and says "I told him I was going to call the cops but I didn't" and giggles before getting in her car.
8/23. I was in a biker club in a medium sized town with some friends recently. The place was full to capacity and I was one of two Pakistani/Indian people in the whole place - there were probably 5 or 6 other non-white people floating around, if that many
Anyways, I got separated from my group and started looking for them in the dance floor. Some guy grabbed my shoulder and turned me around. Looked me straight in the eye and said "Shouldn't you be driving a cab or something?"
I walked up to him, gave him a huge hug, and said "Oh my god, I can't believe I found you. Your mother probably never told you, but I'm your father. That's right. I was sleeping your mom for a while."
I turned around and walked away. He couldn't respond.
9/23. Got out of a club in a downtown area and needed a ride. I had no cash and I didn't have a cell phone at the time. It wasn't an area of town that one goes "looking for things" at 3:00 AM. Fortunately, there was a phone booth across the street about half a block away. As I approached the phone booth, I realized there was a young woman using the phone. I slowed up the pace and hoped she would wrap it up before I got there. Her back was to me so I kept my distance, not wanting to frighten her.
I stood there about a minute before I got an uneasy feeling in the back of my neck. This phone booth happened to be on a corner surrounded on three sides by planters about 3 feet high and bushes coming up another 2 feet or so. I took a look around and realized out of the corner of my eye there was a guy standing, slightly crouched, behind one of the planters, staring at the girl (story continued on the next page...).
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Her back was to the guy as well and I could tell he hadnt seen me yet. I realized pretty quickly by the look of him what he had in mind for her once she got off the phone. So I circled around to the side of the phone booth, about ten feet from her, leaning up against the opposite planter, making sure both he and the girl could now see me. When he noticed me, his eyes locked with mine. We stood there, staring each other down for almost five minutes while the girl (oblivious to him, and basically ignoring me) gabbed on the phone for another 5 minutes.
During the second five minutes, the guy bobbed his head to the side in a kind of get-outta-here gesture a few times, while the girl started to glare at me like I was creeping her out. In fact, Im pretty sure she was at this point starting to wonder what my problem was since I no doubt had a very serious look on my face. I was scared. Im thinking this guy has a blade or a gun or something when the guy comes out from behind the planter and walks to the sidewalk. He circles me and the girl, by this time looking like hes about to slit my throat. He walks the full 180 degrees around the corner (staying on the sidewalk), onto the lighted portion of the street and disappears past the intersection. My heart starts to beat normally again, and I hear the girl hang up the phone. I turn to her. She has an indignant look on her face. She puts her hands on her hips.
Whats your problem?
Sorry, needed the phone I replied
Pfft, whatever freak!
And as if right on cue, a cab pulls up and she gets in. By the time the cab pulled away I was laughing.
10/23. Jock decides to make fun of a mentally challenged guy. this jock was messing with the normally very quiet kid. Just generally acting like a fool trying to get laughs. There was no need for anyone to step in on this one. The kid took it for a little while and then just snaps. I mean, he went full on after the jock. The jock tried to fight back once he realized that a line had been crossed and it had gotten serious.
It got broken up fairly quickly but nobody ever messed with that kid again.
11/23. I went to a very conservative high school.
Senior year, for two weeks we completely had our schedule re-arranged so that we could do a study on a Shakespearean play. Apparently some friend of the school and her husband were "experts" so first and second period were bunched into a single period for this Shakespeare-in-depth-study. Bible was not taught for two weeks, and English was essentially a two period class. The play we studied was Macbeth.
During a History class that took place during this two week period, my History teacher was going on and on about the dangers of rock and roll. He had some stupid book that outlined the occult-like activities and debauchery of all these famous bands, saying how hedonistic they were.
As he's going on, I raised my hand and asked, "Mr. Anderson, you're saying that these bands are a bad influence and dangerous because of their occult-like activity, right?" "Yes," was his reply. I ask, "and you're saying that listening to these bands opens the doors of your soul to the devil because by accepting this music and allowing it around you, you are inviting demonic influence?" "Yes," was again his reply. "So why," I asked, "are we enthusiastically canceling Bible class for two weeks to study, voluntarily, a play by Shakespeare whose entire plot is based around witchcraft and the occult? Why are we studying a play that contains murder, and hedonism? What is the difference between Shakespeare and Led Zeppelin?"
As soon as I'm done asking this, the look on his face was pure terror. The entire class was silent as he stammered for a response, but couldn't even put half a sentence together. Then the class erupted in laughter. I got pats on the back, handshakes, "good job man!" from everyone. I felt like I just slayed a dragon.
12/23. I was in a coffee shop and the woman in the line in front of me was letting her 5 or 6 year old kid run amok in the store. He was knocking shit over, breaking stuff & annoying people.
The last straw was when he kicked the granny in the line behind me. The mom saw it and just grinned so I said the following loud enough for the entire store to hear:
"Excuse me ma'am, it's blatantly obvious that your nanny has the day off so would you mind if I showed your kid what a firm smack feels like that way you can continue to not act like a parent."
She stormed out, people shot me grins of approval and the granny gently grabbed my arm and said "I though there was no hope for your generation but I guess I was wrong."
Made my day.
13/23. I like to go to one of the campus bars to have a drink while I read, mark students' work, and so on, and some evenings that bar hosts a trivia contest. Teams of people answer questions to win free beer and food and stuff. Fair enough. Last winter I was there marking, and there was a team of middle-aged to elderly men sitting at the next table. They had chosen "The Inklings" as their team name, after the well-known drinking/writing group comprised of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Charles Williams and others. By their talk they seemed to be professors in communications, information tech, and that sort of thing; I'm in English, for my own part, and the Inklings are one of my areas of interest. I was pleased by their name choice, anyway, though unsure why they chose it.
As the contest went forward and the empties piled up, one of them started to get really aggressive. A lot of sloppy cursing and vulgarity, loudly accusing other teams of cheating, denouncing as bullshit any question that he got wrong, that sort of thing. I had no stake in the contest, not being a participant, but this professor's noisy rudeness was becoming annoying. The tipping point came when he started ranting about the endless cheating perpetrated by "those b--tches over there" - a small group of young female students who weren't doing anything more egregious than occasionally getting a question right (story continued on the next page...).
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I stood up in as quickly as I could (I actually managed to make my chair fall over as I was doing it), walked the two paces over to their table, slammed my hands down on it and looked him right in the eye.
"You're a disgrace to your name. Any one of the Inklings - even Hugo Dyson - would punch you in your mouth for what you're doing here. Stop it."
He was pretty shocked. One of his companions turned to him and muttered, "you know he's right, Tom." He shut up after that.
14/23. High School Algebra II: My teacher starts yelling at a shy kid in the class because he doesn't understand how to factor binomials. The kid tears up. But she doesn't stop until he is all-out bawling, so some other kids jump in and tell her to stop. But she makes them quiet down by threatening to call their parents.
So I stand up and say, "That's enough!"
The teacher threatens to call my mom, and I say, "OK, do it."
Then I walk over to the school phone, dial my mom's cell number and put it on speaker. The teacher doesn't want to back down, so plays along and tells my mom everything, and ends with how my mother should ground me for a very long time.
After hearing this long story, my mom says, "Please say to my son I so proud of him."
15/23. I was sitting with my friends, the "lame kids", in HS during lunch on afternoon. Our click sat next to the "Bros". One day a mentally challenged student walks by our two groups and someone from the "bro" group decided it would be funny if he jumped on this kids back and start riding him like a raging bull. Some people were laughing but most were in shock. For some reason I, 5 foot 11 & 125 pounds, decided to throw the guy, 6 foot & 170 pounds, off of the kid. I start yelling at him and telling him that he is a piece of crap. I then proceeded to get my butt beat, broken nose and all. Out of nowhere a group of kids ripped the bully off of me and saw that I wasn't hurt too badly. They thanked me for actually doing the right thing. To this day my nose is still crooked.
16/23. I went to a religious high school and from time to time this guy would come in and tell us how abortion was evil. I have a mixed opinion on the subject but at the time I was dating someone who had been very affected by her own.
He was getting through his speech fine before he said something that set me off,
"I'm sorry but if you've gotten an abortion, you're going to hell."
I raised my hand politely and asked,
"If there's a girl who has an abortion and she feels great remorse for her actions and repents to God... but then she goes to church and hears you speak about how she's going to hell for her abortion so she goes home and kills herself...are you guys still pro-life?"
He stood there silent to open mouthed gasps and my biology teacher in the back commenting softly,
17/23. ASU Geology II class... sophomore year? Early junior, perhaps?
The professor was pretty cool, and I took a liking to him. There were these three kids who were always a little troublesome from the first day, whispering incessantly or giggling inappropriately, etc., but not really anything special.
One day, in the middle of the semester, they were being really obnoxious, looking at a laptop between them and making comments at a normal audible level, completely disrupting the lecture.
The poor professor tried to ask them if there was anything wrong and if they had any questions or concerns that was causing them to be so disruptive, but they played it off, "Naw, dude," and kept mucking around. He got flustered and quiet and didn't know how to proceed, so I stood up from the front row and said loudly, "I don't know about you three, but I'm paying for my education, and I come to lecture so I can reap value for the effort I'm putting in. If you want to screw with your degree, you are welcome to; stop screwing with mine."
Everyone in the entire class applauded, and it shut them up for the rest of the semester.
18/23. I don't know if my story qualifies since i didn't really talk to the other person.
I was at a bar with a lot of my friends in July. Basically you could hang out in front because it became too hot in there so there were at least 50-70 people talking in front of the bar.
This 30 something bodybuilder type (A little shorter than me but more massive, I'm 6'1'') comes out and goes into his jeep, and when he backs up out of his parking spot, he almost runs over two of my friends. At first I just quickly told him to be careful because there are people outside everywhere and the guy doesn't say a word and just tries again the same way.
Obviously I shout at this guy to learn how not to drive like a piece of crap. He stops his car and comes out towards me. I don't make a habit of letting people intimidate or push me around so I just knock this guy out, one punch. He slowly starts to get up, at the same rhythm as my hands are going up in a fighting position, just staring at him. He looks in my eyes and then just backs away to his car and leaves quietly.
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19/23. For a variety of reasons that are irrelevant to this story I started going to Catholic HS in 10th grade.
So were in Theology class and the priest-teacher is talking about the evils of homosexuality and how you shouldnt allow you gay son to have their lover in your house because blah blah blah. I raised my hand and asked him why he would advocate the classroom to treat their potential future children with contempt for any reason whatsoever. So he started asking me oh so you would want to see them kiss? and a bunch of other questions along those lines. I told him that I would want to see my children happy and following his advice would surely lead down the exact opposite path. I also didnt say it respectfully so he sent me to the principal who then started asking me the EXTACT SAME QUESTIONS (so you would really invite his gay lover into your home?). So I told him I was leaving. He told me that was technically illegal w/o permission. I told him he should probably call the cops because he and his administration werent going to be able to stop me. I got home and my Dad was outraged that I skipped school until I told him what happened (his brother is gay).
20/23. I was at a Dollar Tree Store and this woman was harassing the cashier. The cashier kept telling the woman she needed her receipt if she wanted cash back. But she could offer her a store credit.
I mean, this poor cashier was doing everything not to say anything that could get her to lose her job as this woman was swearing at her. So I started to clap. She turned and was like "What the heck do you want moron?" And I told her she was putting on a beautiful performance and that she needed to shut up and stop being rude to the cashier or get the out of the store. She went to go say something nasty to me, but I held up my hand and said "Conversation over." She was pissed. Called me a couple names and stomped out. Everyone clapped and the cashier thanked me. I told her no one should be treated like that. Then I went next do to the food store and bought all the cashiers cake.
21/23. I have two, the intellectual one first, physical one second: I stopped going to my church fairly early on, I just couldn't reconcile what I was reading in the Bible with what pastors were telling me. The only reason I tell you that is to explain why, through High School, every couple of weeks I would switch to a different religion, studying it, trying to follow its tenets, and explaining it to others.
It was a fun thing to do, and I went through a lot of religions, from Asatru(Norse gods) to Taoism to Cthullu. For April Fool's week sophomore year, I decided to become a Satanist, and pass out bright red and black fliers titled "Satan is your buddy!" outside the doors to school. Now, there's a medium-sized religious population at my school, and they handed out fliers on their faith every once in a while in the same manner. This was supported by an evangelical teacher who most of the students hated, because he constantly tried to convert students, and gave harsher grades to non-religious students. When he caught wind of what I was doing, he made the principal call me to the office, and demanded I be expelled, or at least suspended, for bringing a (heathen) religion into a public school. I said, "If I get suspended, then every other student who's handed out religious fliers should be too, and you should be fired."
The principal agreed with my last statement, and fired the teacher a week later.
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22/23. I was eating at a restaurant once with my mom and this guy at another table with some woman was talking loudly about illegal immigration. There were children nearby and he was beginning to get loud and use a lot of profanity. The woman was talking too, but she was very hushed and I couldn't hear her.
I figured it wouldn't be long before he started talking about Mexicans. I'm half Mexican and I resolved myself that if he did, I was going to speak up.
Sure enough he suddenly gets really loud and says "...and DON'T THINK I WON'T TAKE EVERY ONE OF THOSE, MEXICANS BACK TO MEXICO MY DAMN SELF!!"
Everyone in the place got quiet and I shot up and walked to his table. He was looking at the woman... she glanced up at me with an "uh oh" look on her face. I said "I'm Mexican, you gonna take me to Mexico?"
Still looking at her, he turned and started to get up from his seat, but turned his head and saw me when he was almost to his feet. He was about 100 lbs lighter than me and the top of his head came to my chin.
The funniest part was when he was starting to get up he said loudly "MAYBE...", then when he saw me he trailed off with a quiet "I will".
I said "No... you won't. There are children here and you need to keep your voice down and your racist comments to yourself or I'll drag YOU to Mexico! Now, SIT DOWN!"
He said something about not meaning me, but the illegals, blah blah blah and I just told him to "Man, just shut up!"
He sat there quiet and murmured a little, then they both got up and left.
23/23. I worked in a dollar store as an assistant manager so it was technically my job to tell off jerks but I was generally quite shy and never really had to do it before.
One day a jerk came in that I just could not abide. He was making my 15 year old cashier cry. She was the sweetest little thing and in no way deserved the verbal lashing he was giving her.
See, we had two types of ramen. The bricks and the cups. Bricks were 4/$1.00 and cups were 2/$1.00. Captain Literacy grabbed the cups thinking that they were at the 4/$1.00 price. He said absolutely nothing to contradict my cashier when she told him the price. He paid and left and then returned to argue.
Instead of listening to her telling him that she was sorry and totally taking the blame and offering to get me to fix it, he continued to bust veins in his face screaming at her and calling her a moron.
I stepped in acting cool and polite from my place working in the office acting as though I was on his side to get the story. Another customer pipes up that "the lady did nothing wrong, this guy is a jerk" and I politely shut them down, all professional like. Jerk is so happy that he is being vindicated that he is about to do a little dance right there on the spot.
Then I start repeating the story back to him, you know, just to make sure I have it straight. All the while walking him slowly towards the food department and the noodle shelves. The clearly marked and delineated noodle shelves. The ones I shelved myself. And I turn and look at him and just say, "It looks like the only illiterate here is you, sir. You will not be getting a refund, you will not be getting an exchange, and you will not be getting an apology. What you will get is my demand that you never set foot in this store ever again because you, sir, are a full on jerk and we don't let jerks shop here. We only like nice people. The kind that don't make people cry. So get the hell out and stay the hell out."
He attempted a rebuttal with some gibbering bull but the applause from the other customers drowned him out. I got a halfhearted lecture from a grinning DM later that week for using profanity and yelling in the store.
Nothing special but it was my first real shutdown of a real big jerk.
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.