People Share The Rudest Encounters They've Had With A Stranger.

For whatever reason, some people feel entitled to unload on strangers with impunity. Maybe they think their anonymity protects them. Well, not today. These Quora users break down the most shockingly rude encounters they've ever had with a stranger. What's yours?

I was at a grocery store deli once, and I saw this woman absolutely lose her mind over a Diet Coke. The girl at the counter was obviously new and very nervous. She was also quite young - no older than 16. Apparently, she poured the lady a Diet Coke instead of a regular one and the woman went through the roof.

She proceeded to chew the clerk out, and within seconds she had this girl crying. This only seemed to exacerbate the situation, and the woman suddenly slammed her cup on the counter, and ordered the girl to pour her another one.

I really wanted to help the kid out. She was crying profusely, and the woman was being a complete twit over a soft drink. So I finally spoke up and told her that she needed to calm down. The lady turned around, and looked at me as if I had suddenly grown a second head.

You need to mind your own business, she said very sternly.

Maam, this is my business, I replied.

Again I got the look.

How so?

Because that young lady is my daughter, and youre not going to talk to her like that.

All the color seemed to drain out of the woman's face, and she stammered something about the girl needing to learn how to do her job but I cut her off.

My daughter deserves an apology. I said very sternly. Shes new on the job. Shes only sixteen, and you should be ashamed to talk to anyone like that.

I took a step forward and just glared down at her. The lady's eyes bugged out for a second, but she slowly turned around, and offered the clerk a very shallow apology before beating a hasty retreat.

The clerk wasnt my daughter. I just wanted to stand up for her.

John Brooks

I'm a flight attendant.

My former uniform, when I was with a previous employer, consisted of  traditional Malaysian dress, with less coverage. When we walked, it gives passengers a little peepshow of our legs up to or above the knee.

I remember one time when I was walking up the aisle, a passenger purposely put out his hand by as I walked past. (continued...)

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He pulled on the slit of my dress. I was taken aback, and reflexively slapped him across the face hard. My dress gave way, and I almost flashed my underwear to a cabin full of random people. Furious, I asked the passenger why he had touched me.

He chuckled and said, "Dont you girls like that kind of attention?" He said it as if I should have been flattered that he had groped me, because it meant he thought I was pretty.

So I poured a glass of red wine on his head and blamed it on the turbulence.

He threatened to file a complaint against me to my company. The passenger sitting in the next row piped up. I saw what you did to her just now. 

Then the witness looked at me and said, "Honey, you should make sure your captain knows about the sexual harassment you suffered just now. Im sure this pig wouldnt mind being welcomed by law enforcement officers. Id be more than glad to be your witness".

The offender went red, fell silent, and didn't bother me at all after that.

Nuralia Mazlan

I used to work at Pandora Jewelry as a sales clerk. You wouldn't think  charm bracelets would cause mass hysteria, but you'd be surprised. I once saw someone spit in another person's hair for cutting them in line. 

But I think the rudest encounter I ever experienced was on Christmas Eve in 2009. That year, the snowman charm was extremely popular.

We sold out of them in about a week, as did all of the surrounding stores in the area. We kept restocking weekly, but given the high demand, the charms we received went straight to our wait-list. We dealt with a lot of unhappy snowman-seeking walk-in customers in the weeks before Christmas.

Somehow, I got the Christmas Eve shift. It was about 10 minutes before closing time, and we were winding down, getting ready for family dinners and a day off. Suddenly, a woman RUNS into the store, panting and clutching her purse to her chest.

"SNOWMAN CHARM," she half-shouted into the mostly empty store. A few startled customers turned and stared, and I quickly hurried over with my notepad, ready to help.

"Hi there, welcome to Pandora!"

"I need the Snowman Charm. I called ahead this morning, and was guaranteed a Snowman Charm." (continued...)

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I took all of the calls for the store when I was working, and I knew for a fact that anyone who called and requested a Snowman Charm that day was politely informed that they were sold out. I told her this.

"Well that's not what they told me on the phone this morning!" she screamed. "I was guaranteed a Snowman Charm!"

I asked for her name and offered to check our "on hold" tray in the back. Of course, there were no coveted Snowman Charms sitting in the tray. I even called the other local stores to double-check. 

"I'm so sorry," I said. "It seems that we are, in fact, still out of the Snowman Charms. I'm not sure who told you that we had any in-stock, but we've actually been out for over a week now. I'd be happy to help you find another charm that could be a perfect gift! Have you seen the Snowflake?" 

I thought her eyes were going to pop out of her head. A vein started throbbing in her neck, and her eyes darted around the store wildly, as though she might find a Snowman Charm hidden behind a light fixture. I took a step back.


She flung her purse to the ground, picked up the charms from my tray, and threw them at me. I held up my notepad in protection and shouted for my coworker to call mall security. The woman knocked my tray to the ground, sending a flood of tiny silver pieces rolling across the floor. 

She then started running around and knocking other items off of the counter tops, pulling decorations from the walls, and screaming. The other customers at had fled the store at this point, and my coworker and I maintained our distance until mall security came and detained her. 

Maybe it was the stress of Christmas shopping, or maybe the Snowman Charm was the last in her imaginably extensive Pandora collection. But whatever the case, this woman was definitely not in the Christmas spirit.

Rebecca Weisenhoff

My wife and I were going to dinner one night at our usual place when we were approached by an angry woman who insisted that we move our car. My wife, in her late 40s, is legally blind and walks with a cane. We were parked in the last remaining handicapped space. 

The angry woman looked to be in her 60s, but she practically sprinted 50 yards to accost us. She told us she needed the space because her mother was actually disabled. (continued…)

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I politely explained that my wife was blind and that she has a valid permit and we have every right to park in the space. That is when the angry woman said, Your wife isn't handicapped enough to park there! 

Stunned, I didn't say anything for a second and then replied, Your mother is being let off curbside and once she is, you and your husband can park wherever there is a free space. Youre not handicapped. 

The woman snapped and went off on us. I attempted to deescalate the situation, but she continued to be abusive. My wife and I finally just walked away. The woman asked if were were having dinner at the adjacent restaurant because she didn't want to eat anywhere I was going to be. I told her that I would pass along her regrets to the owner since he was a personal friend of mine. 

My wife has been attacked several times in parking lots because people don't realize she is blind and they want to let us have it for parking in the handicapped space. One person even went so far as to send a picture of my car parked in a space to the police insisting that they arrest me. As my wife always says, not all disabilities are visible.

Gordon Miller

I had a very elderly and sick cat that had started to refuse all food, so I resorted to giving the cat baby food, specifically pureed turkey baby food; if you ever have a sick cat, I recommend giving it a try. 

I was at the grocery store with a cart filled with little glass jars of the turkey goo, behind someone with many items and in front of another woman. The woman behind me kept giving me the stink-eye, and finally, she blurted out: "Your baby would be much healthier if you nursed!"

I waited a beat before answering: "This is for my sick cat. What do you recommend?"

She didn't say a word, and looked away. I'd like to think that she never volunteered such personal and intrusive information again, although sadly, I doubt it.

Eleanor Lang

I was born with oligodactyly; three fingers on my right hand, four on my left, with two of them fused together. I also only have two toes on each foot.

When I was still a child, my grandma never tried to make me hide them. 

At the time of this encounter, I was working as a trainer at a department store, which also had its own supermarket. After work, I usually dropped by the supermarket to pick up some things.

At the register, I was waiting behind a woman whose child was fussing a bit. The fussing was pretty average I suppose, and this is coming from a person who is not the biggest fan of children. The mother didn't seem all that overwhelmed either.

Which was why I was pretty stunned when she decided to single me out. (continued...)

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The mom looked at me, my hands and my feet (clad in low-heeled sandals), pointed me out to her child and said, "Come on, behave yourself - or you might end up becoming like this lady."

Whoa. The cashier was one of my trainees and we exchanged glances. Where did that come from?

Neither of us said anything. The woman finally finished her transaction and left with the child, and still we didn't say anything.

Granted, it is a bit of a custom for people to cast others in a public space into the role of the angry stranger. You threaten your unruly child with a stranger's wrath, in the hopes that your child will be shamed into behaving themselves.

Shirley Thomas

My girlfriend and I had been visiting Toronto from the U.S. for a long weekend, and we were about ready to drive home.  All that remained was to get our car out of a parking garage, for which we'd need $2.50 Canadian.  I had $2.40.  So there was a choice:  either somehow find $.10, or go to an ATM and end up with a bunch of extra Canadian money that I would be unlikely to use any time soon. Being a poor graduate student, I confidently chose the former.

We were in a giant mall, so  I politely approached someone.  I think he was in line at a food kiosk --a captive audience!  I explained my plight in some detail, and concluded with the ask:  "So, would you mind parting with a dime and helping our cause?"

His response:  "I'm sorry. I don't like Americans."

I was a little stunned.  I'm still not sure whether that's technically "rude," maybe just excessively forward.  Or is there a difference?  I don't know, but in any case it was memorable.

Charles Slade

I volunteered at a raceway for a few days during one of their biggest drag-racing tournaments to help my friend earn money for her mission trip to Africa. The days I worked were from before 6am until midnight. Id never had a job of any kind before. I was also in high school at the time, so I wasnt that good at dealing with adults yet.

They put me behind the register of the food stand and it was all fine and dandy until lunchtime. I get that people were drunk and hungry and it was hot and the prices were high, but I had absolutely no control over that. Most people were annoyed but understood this. Most.

During said lunch period, a man shambled up and asked me to get him a burger. (continued...)

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We kept them under heat lamps because this was literally a shack, but all the food was made and prepared there. With the long lines, we couldnt waste time grilling up a new burger for every individual order. So I handed him the burger and gave him a sprite.

The line was incredibly long so I was really focused on my work when suddenly the same man came storming to the front of the line complaining that his burger was cold. Hed eaten almost all of it, but still demanded I get him a new one. So I did. He also said his Sprite was flat, so I gave him another as well.

A couple more minutes pass and this grown man jumps the line again, screams at me for being terrible at my job, and throws the burger in my face.

I was a 15-year-old girl volunteering at a sporting event to raise money for my friend to go on a mission trip to Africa, and a drunk, greedy man thought it was acceptable to throw his half-eaten burger in my face in front of at least 30 people.

I got right back to work and numbly filled orders and exchanged money, but the second the lunch rush was over, I burst into tears. It was very upsetting.

Chelsea Bak

My sister was walking into our parents shop. It's a specialty grocery store with South American goodies located in Chicago. Needless to say we get a lot of people from the Ecuadorian, Peruvian, and Latino population.

As she was walking in she was approached by a police officer. The police officer told her, "A lot of you people go in there. Taken aback, my sister replied with, "Excuse me?" Then the officer asked, "Are you illegal? Are those illegals inside?"

After a little back and forth, my sister walked away angrily.

My siblings and I were all born in the United States. It's upsetting in that the mindset of a public servant is immediately geared towards profiling in a heavily diverse city like Chicago. 

Edwin Romero

My rudest encounter was with a group of American high school students who were on a trip to London. (Im American too.)

I was at the Tower of London to see the sights there, including the building where the Crown Jewels are on display. A British soldier in full regalia was marching up and down in front of this building carrying a very mean-looking automatic weapon. Very formal, very impressive.

A group of about 10 or 15 teenagers, obviously Americans, are taunting the soldier.  "Boy, you look stupid!," one kid says.  Another says, Hey, is that a real gun?" And another says, Why can't you stop and talk to us?"  Very rude, very disrespectful, bad optics.

Incensed, I went up to these kids. (continued...)

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I asked them: How would you feel if a group of kids your age from this country went to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery and started disrespecting the US soldiers guarding it?" They looked at me dumbfounded.  

"How about if they started goofing around like you are at President Kennedy's grave?" I went on to say, Do you think you are giving people in this country a good impression of Americans when you behave so rudely?"  The kids started muttering something.

Then some of the parents of the kids in this group come up to me and one started yelling at me, Who are you to tell our kids what they can and cannot do? 

Madam, if you and your kids cannot behave in a respectful manner at culturally important sites while visiting the United Kingdom I'd suggest you go back to your hotel room and watch TV there until it's time to go back to the US.  Your conduct gives Americans a bad name."

This little cadre of adults and kids wanders off and moments later one of the guards comes up to me. Apparently he saw  my interactions with these folks. "Thank you, Sir, he said. In the old days we just would have beheaded them.

Andrew H Karp

Ive always been naturally underweight. One time, I was zip lining in Costa Rica. I was getting harnessed to go across a cable about 2,000 feet long and over 1,000 feet above the rainforest.

There was a crowd of adults on my left waiting to go. One woman muttered to a friend, My God, shes so thin. She sounded disgusted, and her voice carried.

I wanted to issue some kind of cutting reply, but I had no idea what it would be. I pretended I didnt hear her and I went zipping over the rainforest at forty miles an hour.

I felt a little bit like I wanted to cry, just for the sake of crying. Ive since gained several dozen pounds, but that doesnt mean that the comments have gone away.

No one wants to be judged by a random stranger.

Brooke Schwartz


Edited for clarity. 

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