Brave People Share A Time They Stood Up To A Huge Jerk And Won.
"Why don't you pick on someone your own size?"
People on Reddit were asked: "Tell me your proudest moment speaking up against a jerk in public." These are some of the best answers.
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 [having sex with] your mom for a while"
I turned around and walked away. He couldn't respond.
2/22 I have an older sisterwho is not able-bodied. She and I and some friends were up in Vail Coloradobecause, despite her troubles, my sister LOVES nature and life and tries toimmerse herself in it. We were walking in the town square area outside of theseposh bars and really expensive restaurants when this group of young women brushby us in their fur Uggs and pearls and Louis Vuitton getups. I was telling ahilarious yarn to my sister and she was laughing. She has a REALLY distinct andcontagious laugh (think laddergoat but as a girl) and one of the smelly Paris Hilton broads starts mocking her for her friend's amusement, calling my sister adonkey, a yipping dog etc. I looked at my sister and her momentary laughter wasgone. She was looking down like she used to do in high school when kidspicked on her.
Without thinking, (because I WAS SEEINGRED) I grabbed the closest most frozen snow chunk Icould find and whipped it DIRECTLY at the ringleader chick, blastingher in the back of the head (since they were walking away from us) ala Calvindouching Suzie type of throw. The girl stumbled face first and grabbed herfriends and they all fell on each other in a spectacular lump. Silence hung inthe square then a bunch of people burst out laughing and clapping. Seeing mysister's expression after that made any possible legal action the women might hitme with worth it and then some.
3/22 Cops barged into the house we were partying in to tell us to turn down the music because neighbors had complained. We turned down the music but they started checking bedroom doors. Since we lived in quite the party house, all the roomies knew to keep their doors locked. The female cop started yelling "WHO LIVES HERE?! SOMEONE NEEDS TO OPEN THESE DOORS!"
So I walk over, beer in hand (over 21), and say, "I'm no lawyer, but we have done what you told us to do, we turned down the music, and unless you can come up with a search warrant, you are breaking the law and I have to ask you to leave."
She gets in my face and starts threatening arrest and shit and I told her I was on private property, obeying all laws, and that if someone did not show me a search warrant I would press charges because they were trespassing.
The oldest cop comes over and grabs her by the arm and says, "We need to go." They left immediately. I felt like a hero!
4/22 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.
5/22 I was sitting with my friends, the "[dumb] kids", in HS during lunch on afternoon. Our click sat next to the "bros". One day a mentally challenged kid 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 proceed to get my [butt] beat, broken nose and all. Out of nowhere a group of kids start beating the bully and sought that I wasn't hurt too badly. They thanked me for actually doing the right thing. To this day my nose is still crooked.
6/22 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 [dumb ones] over there" - a small group of young female students who weren't doing anything more egregious than occasionally getting a question right.
I stood up in as ostentatious a way 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 damn 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.
7/22 My Dad had a habit of snide little comments 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 [jerk] 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 [it]. 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.
8/22 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.
I don't know if they were just teabagging him, or if something even more serious was going on. Either way, 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 defenceless, 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.
9/22 I went to a Christian 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, "Yeah."
10/22 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 [stuff] 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 m'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.
11/22 I went to a very conservative Christian 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 (Bible and English, respectively) 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 (who was also my English teacher) was going on and on about the dangers of rock and roll. He had some stupid book that outlined the occult 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 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 cancelling 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.
12/22 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, "Stop, lady." The teacher threatens to call my mom, and I say, "OK, fine."
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 -- in her thick Asian accent -- says, "Please say to my son I so proud of him." Mom win.
13/22 ASU Geology II class. The professor was a tiny dude who was pretty cool (think Professor Flitwick), and I took a liking to him. There were these three gangsta-ish 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 [mess] with your degree, you are welcome to; stop [messing] with mine."
Everyone in the entire class applauded, and it shut them up for the rest of the semester.
14/22 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).
15/22 I was at a Dollar Tree Store and this woman was harrassing 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 do you want?" And I told her she was putting on a beautiful performance. That she needed to shut up and stop being a [jerk] to the cashier or get 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 [profanities] 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.
16/22 I was eating at a restaurant once with my mom and this redneck guy at another table with some woman was talking loudly about illegal immigration and "libs". 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 GAWL-DAMN MESSCANS 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!"
A couple people clapped and I looked into the kitchen and the Mexicans working back there were all grinning real big and one of them gave me a thumbs up. He sat there quiet and murmured a little, then they both got up and left.
17/22 When I was a freshman in high school, I transferred to a new school. I was very shy and I just wanted to blend in. I was riding the bus home and these two older boys were picking on an awkward kid in my grade. They were several rows away from the kid and I was in between. They were throwing things at him and calling him names and making fun of him about his Dad dying the year before. I was getting more and more angry, so I stood up and yelled "Stop being such jerks! You don't make fun of someone's father passing away! What is WRONG with you?"
I don't know if my righteous anger was so intimidating or if they were just surprised to hear the new girl talk, but they just looked at me in a stunned silence. I sat back down in a huff with my face beet red. When I got off the bus, the sort-of-scary-but-probably-just-sick-of-punk-kids bus driver told me I did a good thing. I still don't know where that courage came from, but I am proud.
18/22 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 spaz.
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 girl did nothing wrong, this guy is an [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 [one] 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 [jerk] and we don't let [jerks] shop here. We only like nice people. The kind that don't make little girls cry. So get the hell out and stay the hell out."
He attempted a rebuttal with some gibbering bullshit 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. But besides that I got to be a damn hero to my cashier and she was the best employee I ever had.
Nothing special but it was my first real shutdown of a real big jerk.
19/22 Boston. North Station Orange Line Platform. ~2004, when the SJC was reviewing the legal status of gay marriage. Dude used to sit there reading the Bible very loud during evening commute, telling us all we were going to hell unless we strike down gay marriage. There's a fine line between free speech and aggravating the hell out of me with your religion speak. As far as I'm concerned, you surrender your rights when you deny others their own.
If he saw someone rolling their eyes or whatever, he would get up and get right in their face yelling the bible verses. He started toward some young Boston coed and I yelled that he needed to leave her alone. Mind you, the platform is packed with people, she wasn't in much real danger, but I was sick of his shit.
So he comes over to me and starts to berate me, and at one point says, "I've never seen a gay person love Jesus," to which I yelled back, "And I've never seen a gay person try to impress his views on others."
The platform cheered.
20/22 When I was in sixth grade my dad taught me a really easy way to do two-digit by two-digit multiplication in my head, so pretty much immediately I stopped doing my times-tables in class and for homework because it was a waste of time.
This didn't sit well with my teacher, who quite frankly was a [jerk]. Over the course of the year he had publicly brought most of the class to tears and once engaged a student in a 45 minute argument during class time because he didn't have the mental capacity to realize that a 50 year old man has nothing to gain from winning an argument with his 12 year old student.
One day he did a homework check and noticed that I didn't hand it in, so he asked me to stand up in front of the class and explain myself. I explained, in so many words, that there's no point to me doing my six times tables when I can multiply big numbers in my head. So this [jerk] says, "Oh yeah, multiply 17 by 21" and gets this smug look on his face for about a half second until I'm like, "Well that's 210+147 so I guess it's 357". His face went beet-red and he just silently stood up and walked out of the classroom and didn't return for about 5 minutes. My smug [self] just took my seat and we never heard tell of it again.
21/22 It was my 15th birthday and I was on the school bus on my way home. First off everyone hates riding the bus because of douchebags like this guy and the utter embarrassment of just sitting on one.
Anyways, this guy who was around 6 foot and at least 250lbs made a habit harassing and tormenting anyone that he could on the bus. It sucked, because I was always one of his candidates (probably because I was 5 foot 9 inches and 135lbs). So this specific day he repeatedly kept calling me names and smacking me in the back of the head over and over and over. I lost it, (its my birthday leave me alone) I turned around and told him to shut up and punched him right in the face. He grabbed his face and blood just started spewing out all over his hands, shirt and floor. He started crying and screaming that I broke his nose.
The bus driver slams on the brakes and flips out saying he is taking us all back to school and we are going straight to the principals office. The principal meets with him and then me. I get in there explain what happened and asked How much trouble am I in? he replies with, None, its about time someone showed this kid that who he really is.
I left with a smile needless to say. Best birthday gift ever.
22/22 My mother and aunt were visiting me in Indiana. My family is originally from New Mexico and despite my warning did not fully understand how hot the Midwest would be in July. So we went to Walmart for some cheap skorts. As we were wandering around I laid my eyes upon a pair of cheap gold hot pants. I held them up for my aunt, as a joke of course, "Hey! Nunu! Wanna squeeze those hamhocks into these?" My mom yelled out something in Spanish to her. I think basically saying she'd look like a foil wrapped pig? I don't know. Something silly. They go back and forth in Spanish when they are talking to each other or are teasing...you know, private family stuff. Other than that, it's English.
Next thing I hear some mouthbreather coming up behind me. I turn around to face some monstrosity straight outta Peopleofwalmart.com. She is a vision in pink, wearing a very loose tank top that shows her straining bra, with BBQ sauce in indiscriminate spots. The short, shiney, spandex shorts strained to fully constrain the FUPA. Her snotty, tow-headed children spill from the cart like a circus act. She gets right up in my face. So close I can smell the PalMal Menthols. "You're in America now. Y'all need to learn to speak American." My mom immediately ran for me because she correctly assumed [the woman] was going to get a beat down.
But I was in a fantastic mood that day so I turned and quite loudly exclaimed, "Listen you piggy-faced, cellulite-oozing, [mean woman] ...not only have we been here longer and are more native than your sunburnt disgusting inbred [butt], but I can guarantee my family is more educated, makes more money than you'll ever see, and is better looking than anything that came out of your sister-mother's vagina. Take all that into consideration and then ponder the fact that the three spics speaking Spanish at least have the damn good sense to know it is call ENGLISH. I guess you wouldn't know that since you probably got kicked out of 4th grade. Now run home and whip up some mayonnaise sandies for this disease ridden crew of yours while we'll be lunching at restaurant that you can only afford on a special occasion. Mom? Please grab my purse that cost more money than this [woman] makes all month as we are now leaving." She didn't move a muscle. The entire store was in silence. Even her brats were stunned into submission. It was a good day.
Racism is an insidious, and unfortunately prevalent, force in all of our daily lives. Maybe we're on the receiving end of it, being treated differently and losing opportunities because of others' preconceived notions.
Or maybe we're on the other side of things. Even those who aren't actively racist or discriminatory still have to process the world through the filters of the things they've been told about people who are different.