It's no secret that there are some odd ducks out there walking amongst us. You'll know when you encounter one because they make you scratch your head and say, "That was a little off." Sometimes they genuinely have some sort of condition that makes they behave a little different, while others are just a bit eccentric.
When you work in a profession that has you dealing with lots of people on a day-to-day basis, the odds are even greater that you'll encounter some kooky characters. Whether it's an Uber passenger worked into a manic frenzy or a family of moviegoers who act like their spaceship just landed, it's pretty common to run into these people from time to time. Here are some of Reddit workers' wackiest, most curious stories about the strangest human beings they've ever encountered. Content edited for clarity.
"I work at Starbucks and one time this older man ordered coffee and a butter croissant, so I asked, 'Would you like your croissant warmed?'
This man yelled back at me 'NO! What do I look like?! A LIBERAL?!'
I had never been yelled at before so I just kind of walked away because I was really confused. My condolences to all the true conservatives out there who have never been able to enjoy warm croissants. You all are the only thing keeping the Republican dream alive. Also, I was only about two months into being hired, but now I get yelled at on the regular. It's a good job most of the time, but when it's bad, it can be really bad."
"I'm an Uber driver and one time I picked a guy up downtown in the middle of the day. He was in his early 20's, redhead, and tatted out. He was also extremely nervous and jittery to the point where I wasn't sure if he had a condition or was on something.
He sat in the front and was all over the place, telling me wild stories about how he makes all his money climbing dangerous construction sites around the world and posting videos to Youtube. I believed him! We were on the highway heading to a nearby town when he reached in his backpack, took out a towel, unwrapped it, and was suddenly holding a shiny black Glock. I froze up and felt cold and hot at the same time. He looked at me with a smile and said, 'What do you think of my weapon?
I couldn't tell if he was being serious or if I was being held up or what, but I tried to smile and said, 'WOW man, that's so cool, what is it? I love it, but while we are on the highway, can you put it away?'
I could see the realization cross his face that he had been foolish, and he put it away sheepishly, explaining that it was his grandfather's and we were on the way to a shooting range. The crazy part of the story is that when we got to the shooting range, it was surrounded by cops and crime tape because there has been a SHOOTING AT THE SHOOTING RANGE, so we turned back around and drove to his hotel and he gave me a cool $20 for a tip. It was scary though."
"I was at work one day a few months ago and this massive man came up to the register. He was like 6'8" and morbidly obese. He was also dripping with sweat, his shirt totally soaked. I went up to him and the following interactoin transpired:
Me: 'Hi, what can I do for you?'
Guy: 'Yeah, are you Taylor Swift?'
Me: 'Uh...no, I'm not.'
Guy: 'Oh...well...you know Shawn Mendes? Everyone's talking about Shawn Mendes.'
Me: 'I...I don't know who that is.'
Then he stood there for a few seconds, turned, and left the store. I still don't understand what happened. I don't even look like Taylor Swift, and I'm still not sure who Shawn Mendes is."
"I worked at the deli section of a grocery store, cutting meats for people, putting olives and salads in containers, stuff like that. I actually have two stories, and I think they happened within days of each other.
One day, this woman comes in and asks for a medium coleslaw. Okay, easy enough. I package up the coleslaw, am about to close it, and she stops me. 'Actually, you can just put a few pieces of ham right on there?'
'...Sorry, ma'am, that's not how it works. Each product is priced differently and how much you pay depends on the weight. We can package a few slices of ham separately for you, though!'
She nods and my coworker chimes in that he'll slice the ham for me. He slices a piece and brings it to her, to check that it's the right thickness (Sometimes it won't be, so we have to check). She throws up her hands, seems very upset, and says very loudly, 'I'm not used to buying food this way!' and walks away. I don't remember if she took her coleslaw or not. My coworker and I just kind of looked at each other and went back to what we were doing. My dad suggested she was on something. She didn't seem used to being a human on earth.
I was also tasked with putting pre-packaged salads at the front of the deli cases. Whilst I was doing this one day, an old man in a cowboy hat with a very strong southern accent, so strong that I almost couldn't understand what he was saying, starts talking to me. This is weird, because I live in the middle of Canada. He has a pie tin in his hand. He asks if I can fill it up with potato salad. Since we do it by weight and would otherwise use a plastic/cardboard container, I see no reason why I couldn't. If it costs him more, it's his choice. I say yes. While adding potato salad to the container, he asks if that amount would feed four people. 'Well, it depends on your portions,' I say. He grunts. I turn around to put the container on the counter to put the price sticker on it, and when I turn back around, he's gone. Nowhere to be seen. I went out of the deli to look for him, but couldn't find him. I go back and put the container in the cooler, just in case. He returns about an hour later, asks for the potato salad, and leaves."
"One night I was delivering pizzas out to this house out in the boonies. I was halfway down the driveway when I came to a line of tween girls, all facing away from me and deathly still.
I stopped the car and started to walk the rest of the way, but as soon as I passed them they started circling me while singing 'Ring Around the Rosie' like a funeral dirge. When they got to the final line, they all dropped to the ground and lay still as if they were dead. After one of their mothers paid, they asked how they could have been creepier... Delivering to slumber parties, man. You never know what to expect."
"I used to work at a movie theater and one time, on a fairly busy weekend, I had just cleared out my line in concessions and was waiting for the next customer to notice me and come over.
Instead, this family of six marched over straight from the entrance. They were all wearing shades of orange, but none of the shirts actually matched. They all looked at the menus above me together, then all looked at me in unison.
The mother and daughter up front ordered for the entire group in unison. After I'd gathered everything for their order and was about to take payment, the father in the far back left of the group extended his left hand awkwardly through the others with a clump of bills. I counted them and it was almost ten dollars more than they actually needed to give me. I also noticed the only two people looking at me were the mother and daughter; everyone else was staring at the menus above me.
I offered back the extra money and the old man in the back grabbed it without looking. Then, out of nowhere, I got this overwhelming odor of glue that overpowered the sickly scent of popcorn and soda. I gritted my teeth and nodded at them, saying to enjoy the show.
The group turned without breaking formation and shuffled down the hall to their movie. I've never seen them again and I don't want to."
"There's a woman at work who seems to me like an animated body. It's like the real her is somewhere deep down and it's just her body walking around with her inside pushing levers.
She has dead eyes where a fully interactive human being should be. It's hard to describe it; I'm not saying she's psychotic or malevolent, but definitely absent. She might be one of those psychopaths who have to feign human interaction protocols, except she doesn't try to hide it.
When she wants something, it's suddenly like she's your best friend who you haven't seen in decades. Then the next day she'll walk past you without acknowledging your presence. The next time she wants something, it's the same thing.
Simply not being a people person isn't what I'm describing, and people are a chore for me as well. It's a kind of looking-through-you dead eye. It's not open hostility, but the lack of effort to mask it seems hostile. It's like your existence is a pesky intrusion because of the effort it takes to acknowledge it."
"I used to live in San Francisco and work in Menlo Park, but it was a finance job and I worked east coast hours so I would leave SF and drive south each morning around 5 am. Now, 5 am is not a particularly 'nice' time to have to walk to your car in the Mission District of SF. The only people outside are people like me going to work or some crazy person, so chances are not good for a normal human interaction.
One morning I was walking to my car a few blocks away and as I neared my vehicle, I noticed another man walking toward me from the opposite direction and on the same sidewalk. I glanced at him from 20 feet away or so and by all accounts he looked like a normal guy. As we drew nearer and were about to pass each other (I was looking down at that point), I noticed him turn and open his mouth slowly at me as if he was going to say something. I looked at him and he simply smiled and said, 'Hey man, do you want to suck me off?'
I legit did a double take as I passed him and just gave him the most puzzled look as I tried to process what he had said. Despite his inquiry, I didn't feel threatened by him and he sounded as though he was just out and hopeful looking for some action. Once I realized he wasn't going to attack me or anything, I just replied, 'Uh, no man, I'm good,' and kept walking.
He started laughing and then in a last ditch effort yelled, 'Well, then can I suck yours?'
I also started laughing and said, 'Nope, sorry dude!' and we continued on our separate ways. That was definitely an odd way to start the day."
"I'm pretty bewildered by what just happened on the way to work. I'd sat down at the back of the bus like I always do, and a dude sat in the seat in front of me. He looked pretty normal: t-shirt, jeans, seemed awake and not on any substances.
Then he turned around to look at me and said, 'Hey.' Not like, 'Hey! You took my wallet!' or 'Hey, got any gum?' Just a regular, 'Hey. I am acknowledging you as a person I am in proximity with.'
I responded with the same, 'Hey,' figuring he'd carry on with whatever he had to say.
But then he replied with another, 'Hey.' I was thrown at that point; my parents didn't prepare me for such an interaction.
I respond with, 'Hey?' trying to convey the phrase, 'Do you want something?' with a single syllable.
The dude just broke into a smile and said, 'Hey,' then turned back around and sat quietly until he got off the bus 15 minutes later."
"I once worked a comic convention event for my company where we would hand small plastic-wrapped chocolates out from top hats that we walked around with. I relieved one of my guys for a break and was stood next to the walkways, holding the hat against myself and looking around.
As I was looking away, I felt someone reach into the hat and start rummaging in there right up against my junk, so I tried to lift the hat as I turned to them. I was facing a young woman cosplaying as Ventress from Star Wars (very pale, black makeup).
She kept her hand in the hat so I couldn't move it, then after a few seconds she slowly withdrew her arm while maintaining total eye contact and placed the chocolate in her mouth, with the plastic still on, and walked off. I didn't know whether to be aroused or find a responsible adult to hold me."
"I'm a CNA at a nursing home, and almost all the residents have some form of dementia. This one woman, in particular, comes to mind. Every time I ask her something she shoots it back at me:
Me: 'Hey, would you like a shower today?'
Granny: 'Would you like a shower?'
Me: 'Uhh, is everything okay? Do you need help?'
Granny: 'Do YOU need help?'
So either she's lost it or she's the most sarcastic person I've met. Cut to seconds later where she would then start spewing random phrases like, 'What is this all? Why is the zebars?' (The what?) and 'Donald Trump...he's adorable. Very much, yes. Oh yes.'"
"Coming back to my office from an IT run, I encountered a woman who, if I'm remembering correctly, was on her way back down from the registrar's office following a discussion about her transcript.
I have one of those faces, see, and that was the only reason she singled me out. People like to talk to me because I look like I'll listen, and I do, but for the life of me I cannot remember exactly what she said because it was just all over the place. It started with her not getting the help she needed because of cultural bias, and then somehow jumped into the origins of our last names and what they mean or something. I think she might have read my name off my badge and rolled with it.
It was a weirdly cheerful rant/tangent, complete with intentionally dramatic gestures like the fists-on-hips, kinda Captain Morgan-ish explorer pose that went with some relative's very Viking surname.
I wound up pulling out the old nod and smile method because I had no idea how to comment on any of that, other than to throw in a gentle defense of the registrar folks. Meanwhile, my coworker was watching the whole thing through the glass door to my office like ten feet from me with his face looking about as 'what the heck' as I felt.
Afterward, he asked me what it was all about and all I could say was, 'I don't...really...know...' in that slightly shell-shocked tone of bewilderment you drop into when you start questioning your sanity."
"I once had a man in my checkout line who asked me what he should do about his girlfriend that he was madly in love with. I said, 'I don't know, marry her?'
He replied, 'I would, but she's in prison.'
I asked why (thinking to myself that I had already made a mistake) and he went on this big rant about how she beat the crap out of him and got it on with his best friend. Then he told me that she tried to kill both him and herself.
He told me about how she asked him for help carrying a few things in and then when he turned around, she was naked and they banged and that's how they met. He also proceeded to tell me about his other life experiences and issues.
He talked for so long that I told him that there were other people who needed to check out (terrible idea). Of course, he had to get back in line and buy more things to keep talking without holding up the line, from his addiction and things he did for money to childhood memories to craziest stuff he's seen, like his cousin who fell in the bath and got a bottle stuck in his but. He laughed, he cried, and I was just along for the ride."
"I used to drive Lyft and all of my 'strangest human interactions' have happened while driving people around. For example, Martha, the old lady who was recovering from a concussion and mistook our conversation about business ideas for an actual proposition to start a business together and then left her daily planner in my car so I had to bring it back to her (she kindly gave me $5 for returning it on my own time). She thought we were going to grab lunch and hang out, but I'm a 25-year-old dude with other stuff to do. Side note: Her business idea was an obituary writing service marketed towards people her age or older. It was a strangely awesome idea, so I decided to name it 'RIP Martha' in her honor when I put it in my Million Dollar Ideas list, so now I'll always remember her name (but that doesn't mean I have to cut her in).
But the STRANGEST was this one guy who definitely seemed a bit off but harmless and kind. He was like a 40-year-old man who was still kinda stuck with the mind of a 12-year-old. I was driving him to dance lessons and he was telling me all about the lessons and how much he loved them. It was very wholesome and sweet.
Then it got a little weird when he started telling me about the restaurant that has salsa classes every Wednesday and how the lady who leads the class is an absolute goddess. All in all, it was sweet that this guy was getting out and doing something that was both productive and social. He even said that he was taking the dance lessons so that he'd be able to impress the ladies with his moves when he goes downtown. He said he rarely gets to go downtown, so he has to make it count when he does.
After this long and seemingly wholesome conversation about how he wants to impress girls by being able to dance well so that he can find a girlfriend, he casually ended it with, 'Yeah...because it's really starting to get depressing to pay for girls to get with me.' That was about 15 minutes before the ride ended, and I had no idea what to say from then on out."
"I worked retail (Hot Topic) for years a long time ago. Before it was more socially acceptable, some men would come in and secretly try on women's clothing/shoes in private, even if the clothing wasn't really their taste. They figured we'd be the most accepting of their 'deviant' behavior. I caught one of these guys, who had repeatedly come in to try on shoes but never bought them, beating off into a pair in our dressing room. That's not the only chicken-choking story or dirty story.
Another strange one that literally happened last week: I work on a community college campus and I smoke, so I went to the smoking section with my headphones on and commenced with my bad life choices. A girl started talking to me, so I took my headphones off, assuming she saw my staff badge and had a question. Nope.
'Oh, please tell me if, like, I'm bothering you. I just like to meet new people. Um, what classes are you taking?' I pointed to my staff badge and she again said, 'Oh, please just tell me if I'm bothering you...' which I brushed off because, again, I'm staff. I don't have the luxury of telling people to sod off, even if they're being...slightly off, which this girl definitely was.
We continued to have an awkward 5-minute conversation while I smoked and literally every sentence started with the 'if I'm bothering you, let me know' spiel. When I finished, she pulled out her phone and said she really enjoyed talking with me and asked for my number 'so we can continue the conversation.'
I apologized and told her that since I'm staff, it's not allowed, and she slowly (I mean, sluglike slowly) approached me and gave me am awkward hug as she told me again that she enjoyed our conversation and hoped to see me around."