February 1, 2023 | Andie Wood

Escape Room Employees Share The Weirdest Things They've Witnessed People Do While Trying To Escape

Escape Rooms are relatively simple in concept: You go into a room, solve some puzzles, use the provided clues...and escape. But they're actually much more than that. They're totally immersive experiences—from a Victorian, Sherlock Holmes Escape Room in Paris to Mission: Mars in Orlando, each new company tries to out-theme and out-smart the last. With so much competition around the world, Escape Rooms have begun creating more and more complex puzzles to solve.

In fact, depending upon the difficulty of the Room, fewer than 20% of people actually manage to escape by solving these puzzles. It's no wonder that customers sometimes resort to strange, often ridiculous means to get out. There is nothing like the sweet taste of victory. Here are a few of the top Reddit stories of Escape Room shenanigans, told by those who participated or the employees who watched them do it.

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Don't forget to check the comment section below the article for more interesting stories!

#1 Family Problems

The most awkward is when you see legitimate borderline verbal abuse in families, usually from the dad to the children. Some people forget that this is just a game. This stuff hurts my soul.


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#2 Straight To The Source

Not an employee, but one time my group of friends walked into Breakout KC, and my friend proceeded to turn off the main circuit breaker. All the doors and some of the traps were locked electronically. So basically we beat the escape room in a record 9 seconds.



#3 Have Hammer, Will Escape

Escape Room employee here; we have a game that has wooden floors and guests regularly try to pull up the nailed down floorboards with a hammer that's in the room, thinking they'll find clues.



#4 You, Me, And God...And The Employee Watching Us Through CCTV

When I started the job, my manager was like, "You've got to be extra careful with the Jews." At first, I thought he was being a real bigot. But it turns out that 90% of our customer base are full on Hasidic or otherwise orthodox Jewish families. We don't know why—perhaps, as a tight-knit community, we're just deep into a chain of personal recommendations. Regardless, they are lovely people, but they've many proclivities. A Jewish couple will come in and explain that they can't be locked in a room together for religious purposes (a man and a woman that aren't married can't be alone in a room together) so we need to come in and 'check' on them every few minutes.




#5 Always Be Prepared

I had a group pull out a toolkit. They unscrewed all the furniture to find some combinations. They didn't escape and I made them fix everything—took them about an hour.



#6 Brawn Over Brains

Not an employee, but participated in an escape room in which a key was stuck to a filing cabinet by one of those weird little metal puzzles. The key was to open a drawer in a desk on the opposite side of the room.

No one could get the metal puzzle undone, so the guys just picked up the filing cabinet and carried it over to the desk. It was a mob-themed room so we received a phone call warning about rearranging the furniture that was hilariously in character.

We escaped the room.


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#7 In Google We Trust

Someone took out their phone and Googled "how to get out of an escape room?" It was so funny that we all started laughing on the floor, and accidentally hit a switch that opened the next clue. So, I guess that's how you get out of an escape room.



#8 Never Always Leave A Man Behind...

Not an employee, but I'm sure my friend group looked pretty weird to them. We did the one where you get stuck in handcuffs and have to unlock them, but we couldn't get the key to work on one of my friends. We assumed that there was another key to get the last person, for some reason, and left her attached to the wall for like twenty minutes.

It turns out her cuffs were broken and we had to pause the game so the employees could come and get her out with bolt cutters.

They were shocked that we'd just left her there but we thought it was part of it!


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#9 The Child Groom

So we do proposals. A ring in the final puzzle box, proposal signs, whole package deal, people love it. A dude calls up to set up a proposal, I ask what room he wants, etcetera. So, then I tell him the total price to book out the entire room for the proposal. He says he just wants to buy the two tickets for him and his girlfriend. I tell him we can't have strangers playing a game that their experience is impacted/altered by the fact that there's a proposal going on. The proposal happens in an Escape Room, there's no longer a game, it becomes about the proposal. I know this because I've seen it happen a hundred times.

Anyway, the dude refuses to buy out all of the tickets. He says he wants strangers to be there, he's not going to buy the other four tickets. I hand the phone to my manager, they hash out details together.

Over the next three weeks leading up to the proposal, this guy calls every. Single. Day. There's nothing else to figure out, we've got it all set up, but this guy is constantly badgering us.

The big day rolls around, he arrives early so he can hide out, and this dude is a kid. Like, pimple-faced, voice-cracking, hair-growing-in-weird-places kind of kid. Everybody in the control room is talking about him, because he's been a thorn in our collective sides for weeks and we're speculating about telling him marriage at his age is a horrible idea, but whatever, it's too late.

So he hides, the girl and her friends show up, they get started, and we stash the dude in the second hidden room that they'll eventually end up in. Everybody crowds around the monitor to watch and this guy pulls out a bouquet of flowers and unfurls a sign that says "NAME REDACTED, will you go with me to PROM?"

And the entire staff loses their collective minds. Weeks of constant pestering, endless phone calls, and the most stressful proposal deal we've ever put together, for a freaking PROMposal.

She said no.


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#10 Fight Or Flight Or...

One room is a ransom type room where your child has been kidnapped. When the people (all 30's and 40's) popped open the secret room where the kidnapper was hiding, a lady literally pooped herself when she saw the mannequin kidnapper. Straight up pooped herself right there. I let my manager deal with it—I'm no poop toucher.


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#11 No, Bro

Two guys were doing a room and thought the next step they needed to 'appear to be gay' so they ended up sitting down on the floor and staring around (since you aren't allowed to have your phone) for the last 30 minutes of the room.

I can't give away too much because of my employee agreement, but it had to do with blowing on something in the room. I think it was funnier because of the fact that they wouldn't do it because of their pride, rather than it actually looked not straight.



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#12 Dumbest Genius

A customer opened a cryptex at the beginning of the game, figured out how the mechanism was set, then reset it to a secret word and closed it. I guessed P E N I S... I was right.

Case closed.


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#13 You Know What Happens When You Assume

One time a family came in. I'm not sure which country of origin they had, but they seemed Asian-American to me. But I am an uneducated buffoon, so I couldn't tell you what language the parents spoke. They spoke very sparingly in their original language, and the children spoke in accented English. They went through the room, the children solving most of the puzzles, and the father following them around silently with a notepad and pen, nodding and writing things as they found clues.

They got out, I took their picture, and they left, and everyone seemed to have had a good time.

I reset the room, then get to the notepad only to find on the first page in perfect English: "What if we can't get out? Do we die in here?"

I burst out laughing, realizing this man was hilarious and I wanted to chase him down and take his family to lunch. Then I flipped to the next page: "Day 56, our rations are running low. We fear for our lives. We are thinking of cannibalism."

It was my best experience working there and I'll never forget it as long as I live. My racist rear-end got owned in the funniest, most heartwarming way possible.


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#14 To Quench A Thirst

We have cameras and microphones inside the rooms—that way we know what hints to give out. Another important thing is that the room they were in had a small fountain, and since the particular aesthetic of this room was dusty, that water was filthy. I'm talking about murky, brown-yellow, mud-water.

At one point one of the guys says he is thirsty and proceeds to stick his mouth onto the fountain's stream and take a hefty gulp of the mud-water. We spend a second in shock/guffaw and tell them that drinking the water isn't part of the puzzle. The guy reads the hint and just says "that's alright". He proceeded to do the same thing four times and drank the whole fountain (small fountain, but still like a gallon of mud-water).

We've had more inconvenient things happen, but that still remains as the worst thing I've ever seen.


istock-173256386-1530321910603.jpgCullingan Denver

#15 Must Have Been One Good Actor

Escape room employee here. In one of our rooms, we have an actor pose as a spy, and the people in the room had to solve a case to figure out who the traitor was. After they finished the puzzles, it turns out the traitor was actually the spy the actor was playing. The spy then pulls an obvious prop gun (orange tip and whatnot), and the group has to defuse a fake bomb. One of the groups that did this room was a police squad, as a bonding activity. When the actor pulled the fake gun and said some cheesy lines, the actor was promptly tackled and restrained until the cops realized it was all a game.


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#16 Red Scare

Actual escape room employee here! The weirdest thing I saw was a young couple, in our hardest room (they asked for our hardest) who, when they couldn't solve our puzzles took off their shoes and just sat down and talked. When I would send them hints (to get them to start playing again), the lady would call me a commie. It was weird.

For example, the lady would pick up a red clue paper that goes with a pyramid puzzle. They would stare at it, then put it to the side. I type in a hint: "the red papers go with the pyramid!" She looks up the screen, "we were getting to that, commie!"

I'm not a communist, and the room isn't communist themed in the slightest




#17 You Rotten Child!

How can I forget this one: a little 12-year-old kid came up to me before the room and asked: "Are you in the room with us?" I replied: "No but I'll be in the control room." To which he replied: "Okay, good, so we can torture you when you don't give us any good hints."

When they were in the room he proceeded to say: "Give us some good hints you rotten child."


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#18 When In Doubt, Drink!

Employee here. One group gave up after 5 minutes and decided to drink alcohol rest of the game. They paid 120€ for the game.



#19 Please Keep Your Clothes On

The guy gave some rules to us when we were doing the room. The first rule he gave us was, "Please keep your clothes on."
Take off clothes, get kicked out, room escaped. Winner!


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#20 Groupthink Is A Thing

The weirdest thing is the waves of groupthink. It's noticeable to everyone, my boss even warned me about it my first day. A meaningless picture might be hanging on the wall, completely ignored by every group for months, until suddenly you have a wave of ten groups in a row who take it off the wall and dismantle it because they've become convinced it means something. They'll draw new conclusions from a note that have never been drawn before, and the game makers never intended. They'll follow the same, incorrect process for solving a puzzle that we haven't seen before or make the same arithmetic/decryption errors. They'll MISREAD things the same way, even mishear audio clues the same way (as in, repeat the same nonsense words to describe what they heard). They'll physically destroy the same props, locks, or set pieces game after game. And then it will stop, and no one will do that thing again for months.

Maybe it's confirmation bias, maybe it's little factors like how I deliver my speech that day or the weather...I don't know. But, it is undeniably weird.



#21 Now Everything Is Super-Glued

"One of our rooms is set in a serial killer's basement," Cody said, "and there are jars with severed feet in rusty water that look like formaldehyde. Even though we tell people that anything glued or screwed down doesn't need to be moved, one group pulled all the jars off the shelf (which they were glued to), pulled off the lids (which were glued shut), reached into the gross water, took the feet out, and spread them in a row on the ground."

The group was huddled together so closely that the monitoring staff couldn't see that they were throwing a necrophilia-themed pedicure party. "The host finally overheard one of the customers say, 'Maybe we're supposed to drink the water' in a completely serious tone." And suddenly, the behavior of every horror movie victim makes sense.

[reposted from From this Cracked article.]


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#22 Shawshank Redemption

At our establishment, we have a room called "Jailbreak" with a fake door towards the very end (it's covered with plywood). This girl takes one look at it and says "Jail...break...." and charges the door full force and breaks through.




#23 Putting Fires Out In Space?

I did a space station-themed room. We got paired with a mother and her adult sons. The sons did just fine but mom was clueless. There was a prop fire extinguisher on the wall that she was CERTAIN had to be for something. For an hour she wandered around aimlessly carrying a fire extinguisher.



#24 Is This How Cults Begin?

At one point, the phone in the room rang and our friend picked it up. He said that we have to step away from him while they talk so we cant hear. Weird, but OK. After he gets off the phone he starts clucking like a chicken and circles the table in the middle. The employees mentioned something about sacrificing one member to get a hint, and we thought this was it. So like some cracked out  cult we all started clucking like chickens and circling around the table with him. He was just messing with us.


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#25 I CAN See Why

My friends and I did one escape room that had a bunch of tin cans scattered across the rooms. Like 25 of them. Not sure who got it in their heads that we needed them, but for some reason we started carrying them from room to room. Each of us with hand-fulls of tin cans. They served no purpose. There was never anything about needing tin cans. The guy running the thing was killing himself laughing at us once we got out.

Of course, he then had to go out them all back.


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#26 Good Tales

Breakout games employee here, two of our rooms start you out blind folded and hand-cuffed. You'd be surprised how many older ladies make jokes about being turned on by it as I'm putting them in handcuffs.

I've also seen a group of kids one time who couldn't figure out how to open a door in the room, so this kid winds up and kicks it open which busts the frame.

One woman tried sticking her car keys into an outlet because she thought that would tell her something.

The funniest moment was probably when I had a group of 8 police officers who were seriously jacked, like veins popping out of their eyeballs muscular. The room that they played had a startling event and when they triggered it every single one of these guys jumped up and screamed like little girls it was hilarious.

I've had a woman threaten to kick me in the balls if they didn't break out, which they didn't. She didn't end up following through though thank god.

Oh man there was one time that I had been there for 10 hours and a group was playing a room with a locked door as the main focus of the first half, and I kind of stopped watching the screen for a few minutes only to look back and see that they had used a handcuff key to remove the door hinges and took it off the frame. I couldn't really do anything at that point so I just kind of had to let them continue.


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#27 Escape Room Fires

I see a lot, but most of it is in good fun. The usual stuff is just friends yelling at each other, maybe a couple strain their relationship with a fight.

I've had successful proposals in rooms, this one kid once stuck a prop into a power outlet and caused a tiny fire, and once a guy was rummaging through the ceiling and got electrocuted. Both the fire and electrocutions were fine, but those were the dumbest things for sure.


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#29 Don't Drink And Escape

On a work's night out a couple of weeks ago, one of my co-workers got blackout before we were supposed to meet up at the venue. When we all got there, it was pretty obvious how tipsy this guy was as he was stumbling across chairs and slurring his words.

Anyways, we all got split into groups to go into our separate rooms. We entered the room and the lights were turned off, then this guy starts declaring how much he needs to piss. This was one of the horror rooms, loosely based on the Saw movies, so there was an empty toilet with a key to open one of the padlocks for a puzzle inside.

He literally pulls his pants down to his ankles and starts urinating in this standalone toilet. Everyone is looking in horror at what was happening in front of them. Pee is flowing from the bottom of the toilet onto the floor now. Everyone is backed up into a corner to avoid the ominous trickle of doom. Children are screaming.

Somehow, the employees never noticed until we had made it out of the room and he was left behind sleeping on one of the mattresses cuddling with a bloodied dead body.


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#30 Blind Dates, Etc.

Had a blind date come in and do one of our rooms, guy and a girl. Thirty minutes in, the guy leaves the room passing by the front desk yelling "This chick is crazy!", leaving. The poor girl stayed in the room, attempting to finish by herself, seemingly un-phased. Sadly our rooms require at least two people to finish.

I also had a game in which a guy continually kept hitting the 'emergency escape' button, thinking it was the hint button. This happened so many times I had to go into the room, walk him over to the hint button, and then to the emergency button, explaining the difference. We point these things out in the brief before hand, in a not so hard to understand way.


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#31 You're Pretty!

My friend and her sister went with a group of friends to an escape room with a paranormal theme. They were partway through the escape room and was stuck, so trying out everything to find clues. The sister picked up a doll, and the doll had a voice recording that said in a creepy manner "Am I pretty...?"

Thinking that it was part of the room escape, the sister started yelling at the doll "You're pretty! You're pretty!!!" He thought it was voice activated for a clue. Of course, nothing happened, and he just kept trying all kinds of variations in an increasing volume. The room escape employee had already fallen down laughing in his observation booth.


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#32 Smarty

My boyfriend is banned from one of these because he was the guy who skipped a bunch of steps and figured out if he blew on the pressure valve thing the door opens. He now has his picture hung on their wall and has caused them to create the rule that nothing in the room can be put in your mouth.


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#32 Kissing

I work at an escape room in a pretty small hipster city in New England. One of our rooms has two other rooms that participants unlock throughout the puzzle, and these rooms unfortunately don't have cameras. In one room you can shut the door and be totally unseen from other participants. A lot of people go in there and to kiss and make-out.


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#33 Brutal Girls

We used to have people constantly tear pictures off walls in their glued on frames even though we clearly told them at the beginning if you have to use more than two fingers pressure, it's not supposed to move. Breaking ornaments in our Christmas themed horror room because they thought clues might be in them. And one time these two girls lasted all of one minute in the horror room because her friend tripped over something and made them scream, so they repeatedly hit our panic button and we had to put them in another room.


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#34 BOO!

I've had people pee themselves when the zombie comes out of the cabinet. The lady kept playing with soaking wet jeans for a solid hour. They failed to escape the room in time.

This one guy busted his face open on our door lock when he tried to jump over the table, but tipped very good afterwards.


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