Your instincts aren’t the only thing protecting you from bad situations. Sometimes, we experience things so terrible or backwards that we know we need to escape. From terrible bosses to recognizing toxic relationships, these are just some of the times when people knew they needed to get out.
#1 Work-Life Balance
I remember a distinct time from an old job. I once had an old manager tell me that I had to choose between my family and my job. All of this happened after I'd told her about needing to help my grandmother when she fell ill. Three weeks after I had that conversation with her, my grandfather passed away. On my birthday.
#2 Her Best Interest
My girlfriend once got attacked by a dog. Not too bad, but damage was done. She took work off the next day to recover. Her boss then told her it would "be in her best interest" to be back at work the next day. Keep in mind, she was still really injured at that point. Not to mention, after the attack, her priorities were to call me, 911, her boss , then her mother finally. Leave places that work you like that. That mentality in the workforce is toxic.
#3 Bug Bite
My mom was content living with bed bugs. We lived with a creepy 50-year-old man who might pay our bills as well as his kids and our cousins all in a mobile home. She hadn't been making payments on it. It was in such bad shape, it wasn't even worth repossessing. I could never have any time to myself, I was always surrounded by bratty kids while constantly scratching at the bite marks the bugs left.
I remember that I used to go to bed at night wearing sweats with socks on hot nights just to try and keep the bugs off me. It didn't work, however. When I was around 14, I went to go live with my grandma. Of course, that made me a "backstabber" in the eyes of my mom, but she's not relevant in my life anymore.
#4 Roaming Around London
I was visiting London and just got out of a pub by myself at 3:00 a.m., totally out of it. I decided to walk from the bar (near Leicester Square) to my hotel (near King's Cross), despite not knowing exactly where I was or how to get to the hotel. I started walking in a direction and within a minute, I was walking down a rather wide shopping street.
I saw two bald guys coming the other way, both pretty much built like brick houses. They looked like they wanted to start trouble. They hadn't spotted me yet, but one guy suddenly walked to the side of the street and just flat out punched the steel grate in front of a shop entrance as hard as he could. I pretty much did a straight 180, double timed it back to where I came from, and asked the nice bouncers to get me a cab. The cab dropped me off in front of the hotel and I went to bed without getting my butt kicked.
#5 In the Fog
I go to school in Poughkeepsie. One time, my friends and I were walking along some train tracks by the river on a foggy night (not smart). We could barely see five feet ahead, but we weren’t afraid because it was a popular hangout spot. All of a sudden, we heard loud barking and a guy lunged out of the fog at us, barking like a dog. The fog around him cleared up and we could see more spaced out people lying under some leaves by the side of the tracks, watching us and laughing. I never ran so fast or came so close to soiling myself in my life.
#6 Out the Door
So, my husband came home from a business trip early yesterday and failed to mention it to me. I heard someone jiggling the doorknob and sprinted out the back door. Sorry, but I’m not getting attacked in my own house. I had no plan after that, though. Once he finally got inside, he found me standing outside in the rain. I don't know if I'll ever live it down.
#7 More Dishes
This guy I once met was college-educated, handsome, and had retro digs in Long Beach. He was also articulate, funny, and packed a picnic for our blind date, complete with cloth napkins. We went back to his place and the kitchen was a hoarder’s dream, though. There were at least six full sets of dirty dishes sitting in neatly stacked piles everywhere. Pots and pans, the same thing. Hundreds of dollars worth of iron cookware stacked on the floor, rusting. Instead of washing dishes, he would buy more. I noped out.
#8 Photo Albums
About five years ago, I got way too partied out and ended up going back to this guy's apartment. It was decorated by somebody’s grandmother for sure. There were candelabras everywhere. He lit all of them. He then sat me on the couch and proceeded to go through all of these old family photo albums, specifically looking at pictures of his siblings and cousins as children. Then he asked me if I had any pictures of me when I was a child or my siblings when they were children. I never snapped out of it so fast and booked it right out of there.
#9 Hotel Party
My ex-best friend convinced me to go to a concert with her. I told her I couldn’t because I had a long drive the next morning and didn’t want to waste gas or go to bed too late. She said it was fine, she would drive and would get me home right after the concert. We went to the concert and it was fine. I was ready to go home, but she told me she wanted to go to an after-party with the band because her crush would be there. I agreed because she really wanted to get with this guy, the chances of it happening seemed high, and I wanted her to be happy.
Turns out, the afterparty was at a decent hotel. Underage kids were straight-up walking in and it was really obvious what was going on. The receptionist was eyeing everyone, but nobody cared. My friend and I got to the room and we were the only girls there. There were around 40 college guys and two girls both under 110 lbs.
I’d never experienced being looked at like a juicy steak until that moment. I told her we had to go but she was determined to stay with her crush. I couldn’t convince her, so I called my mom (the most awkward phone conversation of my life) and had her pick me up. Turns out, the receptionist called the cops soon after I left and the party got broken up. I think some people got charged.
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#10 Weekly Rental
I'd lived in the same bad neighborhood for a couple of years and was living further into the worst of it at a weekly rent place. In prior years, my car had been broken into, the house's garage had been broken into, I'd heard a commotion, but I'd never seen anything all that bad. At the weekly rental, we heard a dude get attacked in the lot next door. The police came knocking to interview neighbors. Everyone else had lived there longer and refused to open the door in case of potential retaliation. That was the end of that. I found a place far enough outside the city that rent was still cheap, dealt with the long commute, and enjoyed the country.
#11 Touching Cars
Last week, I was visiting Los Angeles with my 22-year-old daughter. I had to fill the tank of the rental car. I googled the cheapest gas and waited in line. There was a scummy homeless man yelling when we got there. When we got to the pump, the pump was broken. You know, when you fill 10 cents of gas and it stops. It took a full minute to get $1 of gas when the homeless man came up to us.
He was yelling, "Now this is a nice car!" I grabbed the pump from my daughter and said, "Hit the road" and we drove off. Funny thing is, my daughter wasn't scared because she was listening to what the man was yelling about. Apparently, the homeless man was being harassed by another driver. The other driver told him not to touch his car. The car was junk and the homeless man was making fun of him. "Oh! Don’t touch this car? Your car sucks!" That's when he came to our car. "Now, this is a nice car! I won’t touch this one! But yours sucks!” So, it ended up being pretty funny. I panicked for nothing.
#12 Online Haters
I was at a “marketing recruitment” presentation in college and this guy started talking about how we would be able to go to Disneyland and buy Ferraris if we just signed up to his exclusive elite program. We just had to make a small down payment right there in the auditorium. He also said we shouldn't talk about it with friends or family because haters online had damaged the company's reputation.
#13 Running Away
When I was about eight years old, I was in the car with my parents. They were arguing, which they did a lot, but being trapped in that metal box with both of them screaming back and forth became too much. We stopped at a red light, so I unbuckled my seatbelt, got out of the car and started running. My mom, who was in the passenger's seat, ran out after me. After he pulled over the car, my dad did as well. They caught up to me and their attitudes completely changed. They promised they wouldn't fight again, a promise they broke time and time again until their divorce, but they never did it again in the car.
#14 On the Trail
In the fall, I was walking down a trail in the woods during the middle of the day. A raccoon was sitting in the middle of the trail, facing us. It was sitting on its butt, head kind of lowered, bugs buzzing all around it. It didn't move at all. It just stared at us. We decided to turn around. I don't know what rabies looks like, but that's not how I want to find out.
#15 The Oven
I worked in a factory that made large plastic items via filling molds with powder. We’d then send them into a giant industrial oven that heated to 550 degrees F. At the end of the week, I was cleaning said oven and my boss, not knowing I was inside, turned it on. At the sound of hydraulic doors closing, I dove out of the oven just as they closed and avoided free cremation. I both got out of that oven and that company pretty quick
#16 Better Life
I gave my ex a ride to his court hearing for attacking my daughter. I pointed out to him that there was a sign that said “no cellphones” inside. I said that I would run our phones out to the car and be right back. I felt like my heart was going to break my sternum and I had tunnel vision as I called my sister and told her I needed her and her husband to come with their pick up truck to my house. I had a small window to get as much of my daughter's and my possessions out of my house before he was released from court.
Just as we were wrapping up I saw him running down the street for me. I yelled for them to drop what they had and get in the truck and go. Just as I closed my car door, he ran up and tried to smash it open. I fumbled with my keys to get the engine started. He then stood in front of my car, blocking my path. I dismissed my burning desire to run him over. I threw it in reverse and smashed the gas pedal down the block to the next street. That was just the beginning of the worst year of my life. Now I'm past all of that and living a better life.
#17 No Negotiating
I was in New Orleans interviewing for a job. It required driving a company vehicle 10 hours a day that had valuable specialty equipment. The interview was going great and we got to the part about pay. The guy said, “We can offer you $10 an hour.” A big smile came over my face and I leaned over to shake his hand. He thought I was agreeing, but I was saying goodbye. Popeyes pays around $15 an hour here.
#18 In the Park
I was in the park with my younger brother just playing football, having a nice time. Suddenly, I saw a man looking over in our direction. However, I couldn’t be too sure because I didn’t have my glasses and I didn’t want to scare myself for no reason. He was carrying an orange bag, though, so it was easy to see him.
I ignored him. My brother and I started walking around randomly, kicking the ball to each other. The last time I went to this park, a man of the same build followed me, so I felt myself getting paranoid. This man kept his distance but he would come to the entrance and lean against the gate, watching us. He could go behind the trees and follow us, which I wouldn't have noticed if it wasn't for his bag.
I wanted to confront him, but I was with my younger brother and didn't want to cause trouble. I wasn't really scared, but I was more angry and frustrated. The man suddenly started getting braver and walked faster towards us. So, my brother and I decided to quickly run home even though we were only out for 15 mins.
#19 All in a Day’s Work
My second from last job. The company owners are arrogant people who think workers are scum. The management are always blaming the workers for their mistakes and the workers themselves were always arguing and bickering. The place was so toxic for people like me who just wanted to do a day's work without all the drama.
#20 You Go Instead
I have a serious illness. I completed five months of chemo, but my white count has been low since then. So, I’m at high risk for infection. My wife just gave birth a few weeks ago, but had severe preeclampsia and had to be put on blood pressure meds. I went to pick up dinner and on my way home figured I’d also grab her meds at the pharmacy real quick.
Except, a ton of people had the same thought and I found myself 20 people back in line. I was set to wait, my wife definitely needed her meds, until I heard coughing. I looked up and a two-year-old kid was hacking everywhere. That was no bueno for me. Yep, I had to nope out of that line and send my mother-in-law to the pharmacy for my wife’s meds.
#21 Using Donations
The shelter I worked for was pocketing donated money, keeping and using donations for themselves, taking their food, and taking housing products all for their own personal use. These people had well-paying jobs with plenty of overtime, benefits like health life and dental. So, yeah. That place sucked and those people were the worst. It sucks for the ones who have to stay there.
#22 Don’t Forget
I'm black and I live near Alabama. A friend was having a party, but she was using a different friend's house as the venue. The house was deep in the woods and this man at the gas station was being friendly and joking with us. Everything seemed fine until he said something like, "Don't forget the Klan meeting is tonight at 7!" I kind of blacked out for a second because I'm sure he meant something else, but I got a bad vibe.
#23 Writing on the Wall
A company I was working at got bought out by another company. They tried to make us sign agreements that we wouldn't work "in the industry" for two years after working for our company. So, I'm not allowed to have a job in my field for two years if they lay me off? A bunch of us refused to sign it, but nothing happened. Then people in management started getting moved around and they put someone in charge of me who was really incompetent. When a big company buys a small company with a lot of name recognition, I can see the writing on the wall. I got another job and got out of there.
#24 Welcome Home
My husband came home a full two days early from a work trip across the country. He got in the door at 1:00 a.m. Well, me and the dog no doubt heard the garage door going up, and I have a half wall near the stairs in the upstairs hallway that gives me a good view on the stairs. So, that's where he found me hiding with protection and the dog.
#25 Sister’s Payments
I had been renting a house from my sister. I paid my bills every month precisely on time for six years, no delays, no missed payments, etc. About six months ago, my sister lost her job. She decided to blow her savings and not look for a job. When things got tight, she started using my rent check to pay her rent instead of the mortgage on the house I was living in.
I didn't discover any of this until a letter showed up one day from some attorney saying pay up or we foreclose in 30 days. Fortunately, things dragged out long enough for me to be able to afford to move, but that was the last straw. I had to get away from my family. This was not the first time I had been forced to rely on them and gotten backstabbed, but it was definitely the last.
#26 Checking Messages
I've been trying to work things out with the mother of my children for a couple of months now. She had sworn that she cut all contact with the guy she left me for. Well, her phone went off while she was in the shower and I saw his name pop up. I checked the text and sure enough, he was talking to her like they were still together. She had deleted the previous texts. I seriously felt the room spin and thought I was going to pass out. I didn't say a word to her, just left. I messaged her that I knew everything and to only contact me in regards to the kids. But yeah... people like that never change, kids.
#27 Staying with Dad
When I was younger, my dad (who is a widower) worked weekends to keep up with bills and things. So, I had to go to my grandma’s house three miles away for the weekend. When I was over there, I would be in constant misery because my aunt still lived with her. She was in a relationship with a former homeless man she picked up off the street.
The thing was that the man was always rude and thought he could get away with it. He also always tormented me. I didn’t do anything about it when I was younger, but when I turned about 12 I had enough of it and decided to walk home. I called my dad on our landline and told him everything. That’s when I started staying home over the weekends. My dad now has a steady income and can stay home on weekends with me.
#28 Need a Ride
I was walking into a store in a strip mall. It was after dark, but it was busy and I felt fairly safe. That's when a guy got my attention. He said his car had broken down on the interstate at this spot about 10 miles outside of town and that he needed a ride back to it. It would've been a very dark location and at that point in the evening, there wouldn't have been much traffic.
At first, I started going along with it and even got my car keys back out. Then my gut took over. I've never had such a strong reaction before, but I got this overpowering feeling that he was trying to get me out into the middle of nowhere so he could rob me. It was so strong that I felt like I'd been given a zap by an electric fence. I did a 180, told him that I had somewhere to be and that if he was in trouble, he should call the police.
He started shouting at me about what a bad day he'd had, that his wife was pregnant and that he just needed one person to be kind for once. Then he stomped away. I went into the store and was completely fine. When I got back home, though, the fear set in. I got the shakes and had a very strong feeling that something bad would've happened to me had I gone with him. It was a little difficult to fall asleep that night.
#29 A Few Coins
I got mugged in London back when I was visiting there around the year 2000. I was the most naive person in the world, walking down alleyways at 2:00 a.m. Fortunately, as a student, I only had a few coins on me. The mugger looked at me in disgust, threw my coins on the ground, and just stormed off. It could have been worse, I guess.
#30 Mardi Gras
I was a junior sailor in the US Navy celebrating Mardi Gras with my ship in Mobile, AL. We saw other guys from our ship on a balcony, inviting us up. We went inside and I saw a more senior enlisted guy with a glass pipe. I started grabbing everyone I recognized and told them to get out. On my way out the door, I saw the ship’s Master At Arms walking in. Just in time.
#31 White Van
When I was 19 and cute, I lived in a rural area on a dead-end street. I was raking by the road and a white van went down the street slowly. It then just left the road. Then, they came back on the road and parked about 1000 feet down, in front of someone's house. No one got out and about five minutes later, the van went down the road slowly again. There were no other people anywhere, just me, a young woman. I went in and locked the door and saw the van a few more times. I didn't leave my house for the rest of the day.
#32 Gas Station
My family drove down to the US from Canada one summer for a road trip. We passed through this one town and needed to stop to get gas. We stopped at the first gas station we passed in town. It was a bit run down and there wasn't an obvious sign as to how much gas was. But, I think we just figured that gas was gas.
My dad got out, went over to the guys sitting out front and asked how much gas was. One of the guys responded, nice as can be, that we should go to the gas station down the street past the arches. We shrugged our shoulders and took his suggestion. It didn't click in my head until later. The "arches" meant past the McDonalds. He was telling us that we were in the bad part of town and politely told us we should probably go down the street.
#33 What Fools
I went for an interview, it seemed like a great place to work. Then I saw the offer, $12 an hour! I made double that at my current job, why would I accept? They said it’s the “market rate.” I asked how long the position had been open and it was for 18 months! I laughed and said, “Thanks but no thanks.” They countered with $15 an hour and I didn’t even respond. What fools.
#34 Accidental Drive
My girlfriend and I were driving back to DC at night after a weekend in Ohio. But, we missed our turn in West Virginia. Google Maps had us turn down a very dark dirt road lined with a lot of trees, called Accidental Drive. We turned on the road and immediately stopped, looked at each other, and very quickly pulled a U-turn. Now, I don't think there was anything wrong with that road, it just looked like every road in every horror movie where a cult waits in the trees.
#35 Smell of Smoke
I was working on my master’s degree in astronomy a few years back. I needed to get a lot of data for my thesis, which meant operating a telescope on a mountain top for a couple of days straight. It was wildfire season and I woke up in the late afternoon to the smell of smoke. I went outside and it was really smokey. I could see that a wildfire had started across the valley from where I was. The smoke was rising and had started to form this black cloud. I've never seen anything so evil-looking in my life. I got off the mountain real fast that afternoon.
#36 School Cafeteria
I walked into the cafeteria in my school. I saw my friend and she was sitting alone at the table our "group" sits at. When she saw me, she sighed and slumped back into her seat, like she was expecting someone else. I played it off and sat down. When one of our other friends walked in, she shouted her name and patted the seat next to her. I realized no one cared about me.
#37 First Day of School
When my former sales director found out I was thinking about going to school, he called me in his office to give me his employee retention speech. His whole speech included looking me in the eyes and blatantly telling me, "Going to college is a mistake." I quit that Friday. My first day of school is next week!
#38 Boarding House
I was once walking home from work. I passed this house and this scantily clad, overweight woman asked if I could help her. She had gotten locked out of her room at the boarding house. I said sure. So, we went into the boarding house and there was her room, with a kitchen utensil sticking out of the door frame near the lock. I jimmied it and in two seconds, the door popped open, showing a single stained mattress on the floor in her room. I looked at her and realized I was facing her while holding a utensil! Warning bells went off, so I handed it back and noped out of there.
#39 Printed Pictures
When I was 16, I started a job as a receptionist for a small, family-owned company. The owner and salesmen were "good ol' boys", they made comments towards me every once in a while, but nothing too horrible. Until one day, my printer started up and out came a disturbing, inappropriate photo. The owner claimed he didn't mean for that to print on my printer and that I wasn't supposed to see it. But, I noped out of that job right quick.
#40 Creepy Crawlies
I went to a Halloween Party at a friend’s house. He told me to come along and I was down for it. We got there and they greeted us in the backyard. All was good. I had to use the restroom, so I broke off, found the restroom and took a seat. On the wall in front of me, I was greeted by creepy crawlies. I looked around the bathroom and it was infested. I sucked it back in my body, pulled up my pants and washed my hands to leave. I passed by the kitchen and saw bugs crawling on the dishes. I told my friend I got a stomach ache and bailed. It was horrifying to learn people can live like that.
#41 Recruiting Friends
A friend of mine borrowed a few hundred dollars from me. After a month, she asked me to meet her at the ATM. I thought she wanted to pay me there and then. Instead, she asked me to get inside of her car, which I did because it didn't seem shady at first and she was a close friend. During the ride, she said she wanted to bring me into a meeting and pay me there. I quickly surmised that it was probably MLM and the money borrowed was her capital and her act of paying me was for the audience and she was probably intending to recruit me. After the car stopped, I noped out and walked back to my university.
#42 Dutch Barn
I worked at a farm 10 miles from the nearest house. I walked into a Dutch barn, which has the sides clad. I opened the barn to see something large and black jump down from a hayloft. It was cat-like, but I had no idea what it was. This thing landed behind a tractor with an almighty thud. I didn't hang around to find out what it was. I shut the door and briskly walked back to the farmhouse. I had no idea what it was, but instincts took over.
#43 Late for Babysitting
I was walking to my parked car from work and this guy started running in my direction. I didn’t have enough time to get in, so I tried to play it cool. He ran up to me and asked if I could give him a ride to his baby mama’s house because he was late to babysit his kids. He told me where it was. I said I couldn’t do it, I was in a hurry and quickly got into my car. He ran past me. As I was driving, I saw him walking the opposite way of where he said he was going and had a horrible sinking feeling.
#44 Winter Bike Ride
I pulled into a gas station to fill up my car at 4:00 am on the way to work. The station was well-lit and actually pretty busy, so I didn't feel unsafe. I pulled up next to a pump, went out, and just when I put the nozzle in, I heard someone trying to get my attention. I turned and it was a guy who had been leaning against the wall of the station when I pulled in. There was a van nearby him. He asked if I could call his girlfriend to come pick him up. I called one number, voice mailbox full. He gave me a second number. The mailbox was also full.
Then he asked if I had a jumper cable and if I could give me a jump. I agreed, thinking the van he was nearby was his vehicle. Then, after I agreed, he told me the story of how he got there. According to him, his car had broken down at another gas station up the street. He said it was closed, so he couldn't get any help. Therefore, he borrowed a bike from someone and rode it down to this gas station. Then he went into the gas station to leave the bike there.
As soon as he started walking away, my brain started racing and pointing out all the things that didn't add up about this story. First, all I could imagine in those voice mailboxes were a bunch of people going "your boyfriend is stuck at the gas station." Then, I thought about how would he legitimately borrow a bike from someone at a closed gas station in the middle of the night in the middle of winter.
At that point, I decided it was time to get out of there. Thankfully, I hadn't pumped any gas yet, so I quickly put it back on the pump, got into my car, and tore out of there. I actually felt a little bad because what if he actually needed help? But then I reminded myself about him "borrowing a bike" in that situation, how he was trying to get me to a dark, secluded secondary location. This dude was absolutely trying to rob me.
#45 Another Location
I walked into a bunch of my bosses (who are good friends) having an “early lunch.” So, I thought I would join. When I joined the conversation, they all just stopped and looked at me. I said, “Oh sorry am I inte-“ and they went, “We’re having a meeting about another location.” I realized what I did and got out as quickly as possible.
#46 A Sting
When I came home from work, my wife told me the story of how she answered the door to the insistent knocks of a US Marshall. She then said that the driveway we shared with our criminal neighbors was blocked by cruisers from the Marshalls, sheriffs, state, and local police. Apparently, the neighbor's predatory son was suspected to be in the area and this was a sting. His last known address was our address, and the authorities were checking both our houses. Unfortunately, he wasn't caught that day but was apprehended and jailed shortly after, several states away. We've moved since then, thank goodness.
#47 Booking Online
I knew it was time to go when I worked my fourth 16-hour day in a row at a call center. I logged onto our system, feeling terrible at another day of dealing with the kind of people who don't know you can book hotel rooms online. The first call came in and some lady was screaming incomprehensibly in my ear. I immediately hung up, walked out, and never went back.
#48 Young Love
I was recently on a date that my friend set up. I never met this person, but we got along well. When we finally met up on our date, she looked super young. Like 18-19 young. I was so nervous and walked on eggshells the whole time. I wasn’t looking directly at her, sat a little bit away from her and everything. Turns out, she’s actually 25.
#49 Three Stick Figures
When my four-year-old drew a picture, there were three stick figures. The big stick figure had an angry face, the smaller stick figure was crying, and the third was at the corner of the paper. When I asked him what it was, he said that was daddy yelling at mommy and he was sad. I was already unhappy in a verbally harmful relationship and clearly, so was he. I talked to my ex husband about it, but he attacked. That was when we got out of there.
#50 No Punchline
My roommate brought over a self-proclaimed comedian over to our house. This clown told a joke story about Cheerios that lasted at least eight minutes before I left and decided to do laundry. Apparently, the joke didn't end for another five minutes after I left and the punch line was some stupid thing like, "At least there was no punch line."