November 21, 2023 | Dancy Mason

The Most Embarrassing “Brain On Autopilot” Moments

We’ve all had time where our brains just stop working. Still, nothing compares to these Redditors’ stories of the mortifying moments they went on autopilot at the exact wrong time.

1. Thanks For That, Bud

At a party, my friend gave me her phone while I had a red cup in my hand. Weirdly, I just looked at her and dunked her phone into my drink.

Betrayed By My BestieShutterstock

2. No Use To You Now

I grabbed a new roll of TP. I strolled over to the john to swap out the finished roll… and whoops, dropped the whole thing right in the toilet.

Out of toilet paperKapustin Igor, Shutterstock

3. You’ll Pay For This

I used to work in a shop where I had tons of customers pay with gift cards. Once those cards were done, we'd chop 'em up and toss them in the garbage. This routine led me to a MASSIVE mistake. Without even thinking, I grabbed a dude's CREDIT CARD, sliced it in two and dropped it in the trash! The customer just stood there looking totally baffled.

Thankfully, they got how repetitive retail can be and didn't blow a gasket or anything.

woman hand holding credit carddean bertoncelj, Shutterstock

4. Cold Storage 

I attempted to stash my laptop in the fridge. There wasn't any space though and it was such a bummer. Like, for real, if that ketchup bottle and pickle jar weren't hogging the shelf, my laptop could squeeze in there. Wait a second...

Young woman is looking something at fridge at night.freepik, Freepik

5. Gotta Make It Extra Clean

So once, I felt a cold coming on and thought, "Hey, I'll whip up some killer chicken broth for soup later in the week." Tossed in chicken bones, carrots, onions - you get the picture. It simmered for a solid three hours.

Finally, I strained it...straight into the sink. Bye bye broth.

Gamed The System FactsRawpixel

6. She’s Just Like That

So, I tossed a banana into the silverware tray in my dishwasher. But wait, I'm just getting started. I then proceeded to switch the darn thing on. Imagine mashed banana splattered everywhere. And the best part? I've done that more than once. At around the same time, I kinda misplaced my two-year-old at school while picking up my eldest. 

Panicked, I asked some folks standing around. And they helpfully told me that the kiddo I was scrambling to find...was actually snoozing in a carrier on my own back.

You Are Not The FatherShutterstock

7. Way Harsh, Teach

I'm a professor. One day, I was tidying up my workspace when this kid who's usually trouble comes by with his final paper that he needs to pass. I take it from him, say a half-hearted "Thanks," and toss it in the trash.

I see the guy's about to cry as he's leaving. That's when it finally hits me what I've done. I swear, I've never run so fast in my life to catch up with him.

Professor is giving the test results to his students at school.RDNE Stock project, Pexels

8. It’s Not What It Looks Like

I had just clocked out from work and I hit up a gas station. I parked on the side, popped inside, and bought my stuff. When I came out and jumped in my car, I was very confused by some random junk hanging from the rear view. Then it hit me - this wasn't my car! I hightailed it outta there before anyone pegged me as a thief.

This car had 2 doors. Mine's got 4. Different shade, different everything. Didn't look at all alike. Still makes me wince.

Gas station and people in blurred distanceLightField Studios, Shutterstock

9. You Got Plans Tonight?

I was going to a party with my friend Marc. His plan was to drive and leave his car there, and but we had to grab a bottle at his place before we got there. We park and he dashes in while I chill in the car. 

Marc takes a while, but I'm thinking he's probably catching up with his fam or doing some bathroom business. No way was I gonna disturb that. Then, about twenty minutes in, his dad comes back from walking the dog and spots me just sitting there in his son's car, engine still on.

Dad goes in and gives Marc a heads up. When he came out, he looked so embarrassed. I asked him where he'd been—and the answer made me burst out laughing. Apparently, as soon as he stepped inside, he totally spaces out about our party plans. Instead, he whipped up a sandwich and took it upstairs to bed.

Young puzzled embarrassed  Caucasian man wearing blue shirt and  white t-shirt scratching his  headViDI Studio, Shutterstock

10. What A Keener 

I'm in Sweden. During winter, we barely get 6 hours of daylight. So, one day after class, I went home, took a short nap, and when I woke up, it was dark outside, and my clock showed 7.

I thought I'd slept through the night, so I rushed to shower and get ready for university. It wasn't until I got to campus that I realized it was still the same day, and I'd only napped for an hour, not the whole night.

Old Alarm clock on top of nightstandJamie Niederer, Pexels

11. Sister Sister 

I was on a road trip through Yosemite with my girlfriend and her sister. We paused to soak in some views, and I remember my girl stood by my right side. Later, they both returned to the car to find something to wear, while I was busy gawking at the sights.

Once they got back, for around half a minute, I flirtatiously patted my supposedly-girlfriend's behind, suggesting we should hit the hotel sooner for some... fun. Bless my soul, I was in for a horrifying revelation. It wasn't my girlfriend's behind, but her sister's! They had swapped caps and thrown on hoodies, messing up my side glance.

Thankfully, they both cracked up while I went tomato-red. My girlfriend had been chilling behind me, enjoying the awkward moment. Truthfully, they're pretty much clones, unless you're checking out their faces or detecting their voices.

Photographer at Yosemite National Parkzephyr_p, Adobe Stock

12. The Gods Are Smiling On Him 

Showed up to my new place to start moving in, right about 1am yesterday. Long and short of it, I forgot and left my car door wide open all night, with my TV, PS4, laptop, record player and soundbar just sitting in the back. I can't describe the relief when everything was there the next morning. Needless to say, I dodged a bullet.

Young couple are packing their stuff in boxes.Ketut Subiyanto ,Pexels

13. Up Is Down 

A couple years back, I had a daily routine of catching the train to work from an underground station. This was my thing for around 4-5 years, always using the same path.

Well, on a rough day while I was fighting a vicious hangover, they flip-flopped the escalators - the one I used to go down was now an "up" one. Not sure why, probably some repair work or something.

So, naturally, I hit the down escalator out of habit. Total autopilot. But, when I stepped on, instead of realizing the stairs went up, not down, I still attempted to walk down...against the moving stairs.

I must have kept at it for a solid 10 seconds before realizing my mess-up and stepping off. In a crowded place too...I probably looked pretty clueless.

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished Pxhere

14. Going Whole Hog 

This was a close call. A few months ago, I flew to San Diego. I hit the skies about 1-2 times a year, so I know the drill but I'm not exactly an expert. I'm queueing up at the Atlanta airport, ready for that TSA fun. It's Monday morning, so naturally, it's packed.

My tech goes in the bin. My luggage, onto that moving belt. Off go my shoes, glasses, keys, and watch. I lose my belt. Then I unfasten my jeans, hook my thumbs in the waistband of my jeans and boxers and GET READY TO DROP THEM...Could the brain maybe get in the game a smidge earlier next time?

Passenger holding plastic bag with liquids above container personal itemsJaromir Chalabala, Shutterstock

15. Wash And Dry Not (Usually) Included 

Man, I'm a wildlife biologist who traps rodents to study disease. Just wrapped up snagging a tissue sample from what felt like mouse number 4,000 today. But I still can't believe what I did. I chucked my forceps back in the trap and accidentally gave the mouse a disinfectant bath.

Then I'm just sitting there, holding this super mad, dripping wet mouse, while the intern taking notes is looking at me like "what the heck?" Just so you know, we rinsed the mouse off, dried him up, and let him go. He was super annoyed but totally fine. And likely the cleanest he's ever been.

Kid is holding a mouse in his hand and smiling.Sergey Bezgodov , Shutterstock

16. And Baby Monitor Makes Three 

My son used to be the world's worst sleeper as a baby, and it drained me. One night, I was jolted awake by his wails coming from the baby monitor. So of course, I rush to soothe him. I'm there, holding him against me, swaying, and softly shushing.

Strangely, I can still hear his cries echo around the space. It took a second before it dawned on me that in reality, I didn't grab my son at all, I'd been comforting...the baby monitor I felt a tad embarrassed.

Nanny Cams factsShutterstock

17. Dude, Where’s My Car?

I once met up with my buddies at a nearby diner. I drove there, snagging a spot right out front. Once we were done eating, we strolled past my parked car on the way to Dairy Queen.

Afterwards, I walked home from the DQ. When I got there, I started to freak out. Why wasn't my car in the driveway??? Yeah, my friends laughed at me after that...

Chilling StoriesPexels

18. Knee-Jerk Reaction 

While working on a plane, I had to squeeze my head into a tight space to check a plug. I brushed against a sharp chunk of metal, which made me jerk my head out, only to smack it on the opposite side of the hole.

I ended up doing the same thing another two times before I managed to keep myself from reacting like that.

Chad Lowe as  John Denver pilotingGranada Entertainment, Take Me Home: The John Denver Story (2000)

19. Go Big Or Go Home 

When I get up in the morning, I'm pretty much a zombie until I step out the front door. As part of my a.m. routine, I like to tidy up my beard. I usually have to attach my preferred trimmer length each morning, but for some reason I'd left it on from the day before.

I was still half-asleep. I didn't realize I was making a terrible mistake until it was too late. My brain knows there's a step between grabbing the trimmer and switching it on, but apparently it didn't care what that actual step was. So, it seems I decided to remove the attachment before firing up the thing.

By the time I snapped out of my morning daze, I'd already swiped twice and realized I'd chopped a big hunk out of my beard. There was no putting that genie back in the bottle!

Screenshot: Bill Hicks with beard is performing on stage - from American- The Bill Hicks Story (2009)Jackamo Productions, American- The Bill Hicks Story (2009)

20. And The Darwin Award Goes To…

I messed up cooking today, big time. First, I dumped hot pasta water over my feet instead of the sink - floor's a mess. Then, I snagged some chicken nuggets straight from the oven, no mitts. Yep, got all 10 fingertips scorched. I wasn't thinking straight today.

Woman is looking surprised at kitchen, making a hand gesture.senivpetro, Freepik

21. This Food Is Garbage 

I zapped my TV dinner in the microwave. Took it out, ripped off the lid, spun around....and chucked straight it in the trash. Obviously, I had to find something else for dinner that night. The lid on my plate wasn't too tempting.

Thanksgiving FactsFlickr

22. Seeing Double 

So, when I was around 18, I saw this guy hop into a car just like mine. Not too many folks had a car like mine and it was a funky color, so I'm thinking he's made off with my ride. Yeah, I got into a chase with him...let that sink in.

After a short pursuit and lots of horn blasting, I finally realized how stupid I am...I'm in my own car!

Insta-Karma factsPexels

23. Do Sleep On This 

I work nights, so I'm always a bit out of it, but I've had some gems recently. Not long ago, I opened the door for someone behind me...totally forgetting I was going into a single-person bathroom.

Then there was that time I said "Come in" when someone knocked on the bathroom door. Thank God they didn't. A couple days ago, I was unloading my dishwasher and dropped a santoku knife. I instinctualy tried to grab it mid-air.

Thankfully in the nick of time, my brain yelled, "It's sharp, dummy!" and I let go before slicing my hand. Later, I was about to toss out the water from my cup but nearly poured it in my trashcan. The joys of sleep deprivation, huh?

Discouraged ManAhmet Polat, Pexels

24. Calling All Idiots

Chatting with my friend, she was in a hurry and told me to hang up as she needed to find her phone. She doesn't own a second one. I thought she was just joking, but she really ended the call. I just waited for her to realize what she'd done. She never called back though, so I've got no clue how much time she took to figure it out...

Romantic BetrayalsShutterstock

25. Can’t You See? 

I was whipping out my contacts before hitting the sack. Popped out the first one, popped it in the overnight case. Tried to get the second one out, but it was being super stubborn. I'm there for 5 minutes, yanking harder and harder.

I'm thinking, "One last strong tug. That'll do it." But then, boom! Lightbulb moment. Just as I'm about to yank, it hits me - the contact's in the other eye.

Patsy Cline FactsPiqsels

26. Working Round The Clock 

I got home from a long workday around 6 in the evening and hit the sack immediately. After sleeping for about an hour, I woke up and saw the clock said 7:20. Freaking out, thinking I overslept for work, I scrambled into my clothes and raced to the office.

Arriving at work, I was surprised to find everything locked up. After a quick glance at my watch, I finally realized what was going one: It was actually evening, not morning. Feeling embarrassed, I made a U-turn and headed back home.

Man sleeping beside alarm clock on iphoneAndrey Popov, Adobe Stock

27. Just Let It GO

Sometimes I stick my leg out as a knee-jerk reaction when I drop something, like my phone. It usually ends up a little scratched-up but in one piece after landing on my shoe.

One day while cooking in college, I temporarily placed my meat cleaver on the counter. I accidentally knocked it off and my go-to leg-reflex kicked in.

This cleaver was incredibly sharp. In fact, I once accidentally cut my thumb with it when reaching for something else. My roommate saw me reacting to catch the falling cleaver. He let out a terrified yell, certain I was about to impale my ankle.

Lucky for me, it hit the top of my shoe, whittled off a bit, and bounced onto the floor. It all happened so fast that I barely had time to process it. I looked at my yelling roommate and yelled back, "WHY DID I TRY TO DO THAT?"

Understandably, he was speechless. I picked up the cleaver, cleaned it, and continued chopping with a safer tool. Since that day, I've learned my lesson and I keep it securely where it cannot fall.

Dating An IdiotUnsplash, Dev Asangbam

28. A Childish Mistake 

When I was about 16 or 17, if all the regular cups were dirty, I'd resort to an old sippy cup from my childhood. But one day, that bit me in the butt. My mom saw me go to the kitchen, fill the sippy cup with milk, and then spill it all over myself. Totally spaced on putting the lid on.

Kid holding a milk cartonSerhii Yevdokymov , Shutterstock

29. Don’t Listen To Him, Good Girl 

My cat's a busybody. He'll start causing drama when I'm swamped and can't stop him, like hopping on something off-limits to him. I'll keep yelling his name, all strict and scary-like, saying he needs to back down immediately.

One time while I'm doing this, my dog's anxiety level was going through the roof for some reason, with this nervous look on her face. The cat's just brushing me off. I was actually calling the cat by the dog’s name for pete's sake. Major guilt trip right there.

Dog lying on the carpet at homeCreative Workshop, Pexels

30. Making Your Own Bed

I was holding a glass of water in one hand, phone in the other. Strolled into my room, planned to fling my phone on the bed, but ended up chucking the water instead. I just stood there in shocked silence. My sleep-deprivation now stopped me from going to bed.

True Medical Plot TwistsPexels

31. On Ice 

Once, my iPod went MIA for two weeks. Seriously bad timing - a hurricane hit and our power was out, with only our fridge running on backup.

Eventually found the friend...inside a double-bagged grape bag. Ended up there 'cause I had no pockets and too many grocery bags. Totally slipped my mind until I found it chillin in there. After a few rice spa days to zap the moisture, it still works like a charm.

Classic iPod for the win!

Off-The-Wall BossesUnsplash

32. What Were You Thinking? 

So, I was gearing up to make some pizza rolls. Got the oven ready, tossed them in a pan, set a countdown and ducked out. The alarm went off—but, uh oh, no rolls in the oven, pan's gone, and the rest of the bag's not even in the freezer.

Next day, my brother uncovers the pan in a cupboard, bag of rolls and all.

Man Putting A Pizza In The Ovenantoniodiaz, Shutterstock

33. Don’t Take Your Work Home With You 

I was on the tail-end of a 36-hour shift working on the ambulance. Relief crew shows up and I give them turnover, then head home and promptly pass out on the couch. I wake up to a pounding on my door. I look at my phone for the time and I've got about 20 missed calls. What they revealed shocked me.

Guess who drove the ambulance home and parked it in his driveway?

Heartbreaking HospitalShutterstock

34. A Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

So, this one day, I overslept for work and had like, 10 minutes to split. Rushed into the shower with my toothbrush, then poured some face scrub on it. Almost choked to death when I got a mouthful of that...yeah. But I wasn't finished. Then, thought I'd whip up quick cereal.

Ended up with cat food in the bowl. Got in my car and just sobbed.

Enormous Red FlagsShutterstock

35. It’s A Secret Recipe 

I whipped up some pasta and tomato sauce. Then, my landlord called saying for some reason, my rent didn't go through and I needed to pay ASAP. Normally, I clean my pots right after cooking, using dish soap.

But this time, the call got me all mixed up. I served the pasta but slipped up, squirting dish soap on it and accidentally used the sauce to scrub my pasta pot, washing it with my pasta sauce instead.

Trashiest Holiday factsFlickr

36. Calling It A Day 

Just wrapped up a meeting and hit the road back home. This was at 11 am. As soon as I stepped in the door, I realized what I'd done. Flew back to the office in a panic. The pups weren't too pleased that I wasn't sticking around home.


37. Self Doubt 

So yeah, believe it or not, I was totally sober at the moment. But man, was I super concentrated on what I was doing. Anyway, saw this chick from a distance who looked so much like me, I was like "Wait, why am I there?"

That one still makes me chuckle.

Dumb Things Believed As A Child FactsShutterstock

38. Feeling Hot Hot Hot 

Back in the day, 20 odd years ago, I worked at Pizza Hut during high school. We were supposed to plop our lasagna into an empty 9" pizza pan that could be comfortably held with tongs. But, in a pinch - when the restaurant was swarming with customers and there were no extra pans handy, we'd just throw the lasagna in a glass dish and pick it up using the tongs. 

I had stuck to this routine for a good year and all was good until, inevitably, it wasn't. I learned my lesson the hard way. One fateful night, the dish slipped from the tongs, right out of a 475-degree oven, and on impulse, I caught it.

And just like that, my thumbs and first two fingers on each hand were scorched. Got blisters within a few hours. My boss wouldn't even let me leave early, so I gritted my teeth and powered through my shift - that five bucks an hour paycheck was super important to me at the time.

Pizza guysFlickr

39. It Doesn’t Go On Everything 

I was having breakfast with my fam and ordered French toast. We were all yapping and cracking up when our meals showed up. I was in the middle of a story and kinda zoned out.

As I kept talking, I started to notice the thing in my hand wasn't syrup. But for some dumb reason, I couldn't stop. I yell out "WHAT AM I DOING?" as I'm dousing my mouthwatering French toast...with ketchup.

Had to wipe off my perfect French toast and get rid of that ketchup-y sugar. Silly brain.

Awful RelationshipsPublic Domain Pictures

40. What A Coincidence 

I fix phones, it's second nature now. A Nexus 4 came in, piece of cake. I took it apart, put on the new screen...only to find out it was my own phone! I didn't even catch on right away. I switched it on and thought, hey, we've got the same wallpaper, nice. It didn't hit me until I grabbed the customer's phone thinking it was mine.

A person using a cell phoneA_B_C, Adobe Stock

41. A Morning Pick-Me-Up

I woke up fancying pancakes and coffee. I started to pour maple syrup into my mug. Halfway through, I realized my mistake, looked at my girlfriend and said, "Seriously, if you wanna ditch me now, I wouldn't blame ya’".

Crazy Heists FactsFlickr

42. A Cuppa Doesn’t Cure All  

So I was at this conference for a few days, rooming with a friend of mine. One evening, after grabbing some food, I figured I'd make a cup of tea. Unknowingly, I popped an electric kettle on the stove and cranked up the heat.

By the time I caught a whiff of melting plastic, it was game over. My buddy got stuck cleaning my mess. But here's the kicker. The smell spread so much, it was the talk of the town at the conference next day.

Haunted HousePxHere

43. Here Today, Gone Today 

I was absolutely wiped out one morning, got a terrible sleep. Trying to fix my coffee with some creamer. But after a whole minute, it was still as black as night. Thought I was pouring it in my cup and guess what? I'd been dumping it all in the trash.

Nobody will believePexels

44. The Long Way Home 

After work, I'd sometimes hop on my bike and cruise over to my uncle's, about 25 miles away. Meanwhile, my place was very close to my job, and without thinking, I'd ride right past it and head to my uncle's. Guess it was my way of unwinding after a long 12-hour day.

Usually, I'd snap back to reality just as I was gearing down to pull into his place. Funny thing was, this became a kinda weekly routine for a bit.

Man riding a bikeKelly, Pexels

45. Just Brilliant 

I had just gotten up and picked up my phone. But really, the "phone" I'd grabbed was a comb. I hit the on button and got zilch. So, I reached for a water glass on my nightstand and gently tilted it. My genius idea was that the sunlight from my window would bounce off the water, hit my plastic phone, and fire it up. Funny thing is, I really thought I was onto something with this light trick.

Bizarre ExperiencesPexels

46. Sleep Tight 

I'm a hotel receptionist. Our team works in two shifts — either from 7 in the morning to 3 in the afternoon or from 3 in the afternoon until 11 at night. Sometimes, when I'm on the later shift, I have a goofy habit of saying "night night" instead of "see ya" when hanging up the phone.

It's awkwardly personal to slip up like that with someone I don't know over the phone. It feels even weirder when I realize the guest is in a different time zone, and it's not even their bedtime yet.

Customers Asked To Speak To A Manager factsPixabay

47. A Real Knock-Knock Joke 

So, I was feeling under the weather once and my head was all foggy. This delivery guy shows up and rings the doorbell. Without thinking, I get off the sofa, stroll over and, get this, I knock at my own door. Then I open it up to this slightly baffled bloke, take the package and shut the door.

It only dawns on me once I'm standing there, package in my hands, that I'd done something a little off.

Brown front doorDniel, Adobe Stock

48. The Bin Is My Family Now 

I usually bump into my neighbor when I'm returning from walking my dogs. So, I'm holding onto the leashes as I say hi to the old guy next door and have to tell my dogs to keep moving.

But one day, I left the dogs at home and went out to bring in the bins after they'd been emptied. I run into my neighbor, and we exchange our usual greetings. Now, here's the funny part. As we wrap up our chat, I turn to the bin and say, "Come on, let's go."

Rich person insultNeedpix

49. Some Quick Thinking 

Not too long ago, I was about to pop some popcorn in the microwave. But instead, I accidentally tossed the plastic wrap in and hit start. I had no clue about my goof-up until I glanced at the popcorn bag and thought "hey, this ain't right."

I quickly figured it out before anything bad or majorly messed up went down, thankfully.

Embarrassing Crush MomentsPexels

50. Potty Training, Anyone?  

Came home after a tough day at work. Usually I'd kick off my shoes at the door, hit the bathroom, toss my socks in the laundry, wash my hands, then start cooking dinner.

But that day, my brain was kinda off. Got my shoes off at the door just fine... then I stripped off my socks and tossed them in the toilet, washed up, and got to work on dinner. I didn't even catch the mishap until halfway through my meal when I felt like I was about to burst.

Discovered my socks in the toilet bowl and felt like a total moron.

Disturbing homesUnsplash

51. Going Hard

I run fitness classes and talk through a loud, popstar-style mic. I usually end each session with some fun remarks like, "Way to go!" "You're done for the day" "No casualties!" "You survived!" "Time for cool down," and so on.

One day, I was so zonked that I garbled my words and ended up saying, "Kudos, you've made it dead!" As I sat there puzzled by my weird mix-up, one of my class members replied, "Hell yeah, I am! That's why I quit coming before!" Lucky for me, she deflected the awkward moment with her cool reply.

The Nastiest FriendsPexels

52. The Key To Everything 

Once, I had this job starting at the crack of dawn, not really my thing at all. Even after three long years, mornings and I were never on good terms. But one day took the cake. So, I'm on my way to work and out of habit, I check my pocket. Empty. 

Total freak out mode. That's when I clock I'd left my keys at home. Swiftly, I swing the car around, zoom back to my apartment, kill the engine, and hustle back to my front door. But just as I reach to unlock the door... it hits me. My keys weren’t missing – they were in the ignition this whole time because, duh, I’d been driving!

Car keys with remote left on a grey leather car seat.Modestas Stragys , Shutterstock

53. It’s Always The Last Place You Look

Once, I lost an important class paper. It was the late 80s, pre-PC, so it was written by hand. I had it that morning, but when I packed my bag - it was gone.

I tried to find it quickly, retracing my steps, but no dice. Ultimately, I had to bolt to school. I explained to the teacher, and since I was usually a good student, she gave me a pass for the day.

After school, I tore up the house searching for it. I mean every nook and cranny - furniture, rooms, closets, laundry, even the behind the toilet and the trash. Everywhere.

But, no paper. Frustrated, near tears, and out of options…I hit the freezer. I'd been to the fridge for a drink during my search, but not the freezer. And guess what was there, on one of the shelves? My darn paper.

I guess I put it there while getting ice that morning. Now, I always check the freezer when I can't find something. Even though I've never found another missing item there in 30 years...I still look.

Every. Single. Time.

Revenge neighborsUnsplash

Sources:  Reddit,



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