Everyone has a breaking point. Controlling anger is easier for most people, but pushed buttons and tested patience eventually brings out the worst in a person. It’s unfortunate when things just so happen to fall apart on the job. Here, people share the time a coworker lost their cool on the job.
All stories have been edited for clarity.
“I was doing carpentry work in a rough part of town with another seasoned carpenter. As we were trying to work, some local kids were there cracking wise jokes and poking fun at us. All of them behaved poorly and didn’t appear to have any home training. The children were giggling as they mouthed off and kept saying foul things a child shouldn’t say.
Honestly, the kids were annoying the hell out of both of us. My coworker was older and didn’t have much patience. He snapped at the kids and told them several times to get lost, but this only fueled them. The more the kids taunted my coworker, the redder he got.
Then the kids thought it would be funny to walk right up to my coworker and talk smack right in his face as he was trying to work. My coworker listened to maybe two of them before he’d heard enough.
He grabbed the first kid he could reach and hoisted him up against the wall. My coworker then grabbed his nail gun and nailed through the shoulders of the kid’s jacket. The kid’s eyes grew wide as he literally hung on the wall, dangling from his jacket like an ornament.
I was too stunned to even react. My coworker then got one inch from his face and screamed at him for a few minutes. The kid cowered as he dangled helplessly in his jacket. His friends ran away and left him there. He suddenly wasn’t the little smarty pants he had been a minute earlier. It was obvious the kid was scared to death, hanging from a wall with a screaming madman right in his face.
My coworker had a meltdown that lasted for a full two minutes. By the time he was finished, tears were streaming down the kid’s face.
Finally, my coworker got a pry bar, pulled out the nails, and let the kid drop down off the wall. As soon as the kid’s feet hit the ground, he took off running for everything he was worth. It seemed like he just sort of instantly vaporized the instant he hit the ground.
An hour later, the cops showed up.
With a sigh, the cop said, ‘I’m sorry but you can’t nail kids to a wall.’
In the end, my coworker had to pay for the kid’s jacket.”
Not So Thrilling
“When I worked at a theme park, we had one girl who was a problem from the very moment she got there. By the end of her first week, she was already been written up several times for the way she talked to people. The girl was still in high school and had a bit of a princess mentality. She was always bossing other people around, including people who had worked there for ten years or more. But if anyone asked her to help them she would say that since they were equals she didn’t have to take any direction from them.
In two months’ time, the girl received two more serious write-ups and made massive ordeals trying to fight them. This was also around the time our yearly survey came out. A part of the survey involved writing a few things the park could improve upon and she sent in a six-paragraph essay calling out everybody she hated. She said she felt like our work environment was toxic and didn’t feel safe because everyone was always picking on her.
Even though I was her supervisor I personally never had a problem with her. She was a good worker whenever she was under my supervision, but I could definitely see how her personality would rub people the wrong way. However, she was one of those employees that needed to be constantly told to put their phones away.
In our section, employees sometimes got drenched by some of the attractions. After spending time in the section employees eventually learned the timing of the rides and avoided splashes most of the time, but there was always a chance of getting hit by a stray burst of water.
One day the girl got splashed by one of the attractions. To be frank, she should’ve known how to avoid them, but she disregarded the cues and was in the area anyway. She was completely soaked. I watched her body tense up in shock as she slowly pushed her dripping hair away from her face.
Her phone happened to be in her pocket when this happened. Not only did her phone lack a case, but it already had a ton of deep cracks in it. When the girl was splashed, the water seeped in the cracks and fried her phone.
After she realized her phone was busted, the girl made a huge scene. Her screaming and sobbing was followed by her demanding to see every higher-up from our manager to the CEO. The girl even demanded that the park reimburse her for the phone because it got damaged while she was on the clock.
Once she got ahold of our manager, he told her that her property was her own responsibility and the park wouldn’t be paying for it since she probably shouldn’t have had it in her pocket in the first place knowing the risk of potential water damage.
Being the sixteen-year-old princess that she was, the girl couldn’t handle hearing this. She started trashing one of our storage rooms and we had to send her home early. While the department heads were trying to figure out what to do with her she beat them to the punch and quit over the phone right before her next shift. Her dad harassed the park for a couple of weeks about paying for the phone but they basically blew him off until he stopped calling.
She was a mess.”
Who Runs The Show?
“During my college years, I worked part-time retail in a fairly large department store that eventually was eventually taken over by Macy’s. I was your typical, lowly floor salesman that worked in a different department every day. Each department had a supervisor, and their higher-ups were the department managers, and their superior was the district manager. Most of them were really nice people. I actually got along well with my department manager.
In one particular section resided a crazy, entitled supervisor. This supervisor of mine had a tendency to be horribly abrasive to any and all employees, including the managers. My department manager loathed her. She was known for throwing people under the bus in front of customers or higher-ups to make herself look better.
One of the rules on the floor stated that we weren’t allowed to have drinks. Because drinks could spill and damage clothing and other merchandise and it supposedly looked ‘unprofessional’ this rule was put into place a while back. However, nobody except the managers obeyed the rule, but they wouldn’t call anyone on it. The only one who gave a rat’s ass was the district manager, but he was in maybe once a month. Twice if you were unlucky.
Even though the rule was rarely enforced, my widely disliked supervisor was always ready to be ‘that person’ so I had to hide my drink in the break room whenever she was working alongside me. There were numerous times my supervisor threw a fit for whatever reason. Each time my supervisor did catch me, she reported me to my department manager who, for the sake of his job, would sigh and reprimand me in the slightest way. Even he found it ridiculous that I was expected to make an annoying two-minute trip to the breakroom whenever I wanted a sip of water.
One day our district manager was in, and everything HAD to be perfect. My supervisor had just clocked out for lunch when I saw my department manager. He had a mischievous grin on his face as if he had a plan. He went into the back storeroom and brought me out a can of cherry Coke.
‘Drink half of it before she gets back,’ my department manager winked at me. That’s when I knew he was up to something.
So I cocked my head back and chugged the soda. Five minutes before my supervisor’s lunch was over, my department manager called the district manager’s phone and asked him if he could meet him by my department in ten minutes.
Before I could say anything, my department manager said, ‘Stand up for yourself this time.’ He then grabbed the Coke can I was halfway through and put the Coke directly in the middle of the counter at the cashier station. Like clockwork, my supervisor got back and started raising a fit about the drink. My department manager, from a few meters behind my supervisor, shot me a glare. So I stood up to her and started right back at her in a calm, defiant manner.
This set her off. My supervisor started getting red in the face and called me names. She went on about how I didn’t deserve to have my job and that part-timers stole her customers. My supervisor then claimed I was hurting her chances of moving higher up.
Her tantrum continued in front of customers who tried to play it cool, but you could see the discomfort in their faces. My department manager had gone and was out of my sight. At first, I began to wonder if he had simply set me up. Then I saw him rounding the corner and heading straight for my department with the district manager in tow. They both stopped dead in their tracks to watch the scene unfolding. In the department manager’s hands were a bottle of Tylenol and a timesheet.
Needless to say, the district manager was not amused by my supervisor’s antics. When she tried to explain the drink situation, the department manager interjected by handing me the Tylenol bottle and said in the calmest and most fatherly voice I’d ever heard him say,
‘Thanks for waiting patiently, I couldn’t find the Tylenol. We really appreciate you coming in on short notice, even though you’re sick.’ He made a quick mark on the timesheet and smiled at me. I smiled and immediately popped two Tylenol with my drink.
‘Thanks. I’m gonna go put this in the break room.’
‘No need. We have enough to cover for the rest of the day. Go ahead and go home.’
I left and the three of them were still in the department after I had collected my things from the employee room. I never saw my supervisor again.”
“A friend of mine worked at a fitness club. One of the perks was having a free membership and guest passes.
One day he invited me to hang out. We were both relaxing around the outdoor swimming pool which was the best perk of the club.
While we were there, one of my friend’s co-workers, slipped and fell into the pool while bending down to retrieve a hat floating in the water that appeared to belong to no one.
Everyone around the pool burst out laughing and we were no exception. Out of nowhere, my friend’s coworker flipped out. He screamed at the top of his lungs and started pointing at people on the deck in lounge chairs.
‘SHUT THE HELL UP! SCREW YOU ALL!’
The funniest part was the fact that his coworker looked like he was just a young teenager with. a summer job. He was so berserk that his voice has passed beyond the normal range and had evolved into a shrill, shrieking sound.
Naturally, some of the older patrons weren’t laughing anymore, but my friend and I, along with a few other older teens, and people in their early twenties were still dying of laughter in the corner of the deck.
Seeing that we were all still laughing, my friend’s coworker stormed over and screeched at us, but this only made us laugh harder. Finally, the boy completely lost it. He tried to grab a much bigger guy in an attempt to throw him into the pool.
As you can expect, the boy failed miserably. The guy swatted him away like a fly and pushed him into the pool instead. Of course that only made the boy even more upset.
An older employee and the lifeguard approached the kid and hauled him out of the water. The boy kept aggressively thrashing his arms and legs like a five-year-old throwing a tantrum.
Seeing that he was a risk, the lifeguard and the older employee backed up and decided to let the boy thrash around by himself. Soon after his tantrum was over, the boy stood up and took off down the deck. He snatched up random people’s belongings and started dragging deck chairs from around the edge and throwing them into the pool. He was completely out of control.
The boy eventually tired out after a bunch of chairs and other random items were floating in the pool. Pool staff had to escort him out.
Here’s the cherry on top: As we saw the boy being escorted outside to the parking lot, the club manager was there waiting for him. We watched as the boy stood with his arms crossed on the curb as the manager lectured him for about ten minutes.
Then an SUV pulled up and the boy’s mom stormed out from the driver’s side. The mother was fuming and screamed at him to get in the car. She seemed to then apologize to the manager. The second she opens her driver’s side door she starts screaming again, still screaming inside the SUV as the kid started crying. The mother rolled her eyes heavily and threw her hands up in the air when his waterworks started, then sped out of the parking lot with a little tire chirp.
I found out a few weeks later from my buddy that his dad was an OPP officer and arranged for him to spend the rest of the summer with a community service crew cleaning up parks for no money.”
Was That Necessary?
“When I first started working retail, I got a job as a cashier for a family-owned grocery store. It was fairly decent-sized and had many loyal customers. One of my coworkers was an older lady who had worked there since it opened twenty years ago.
There were certain things I could and couldn’t do. I didn’t even have keys to my register. My older coworker never ran the register. Her role was to keep the store stocked because I was better at being ‘the face’ of the store when people entered. Each time I needed to make change or process a refund, I had to call her up to help.
This annoyed my coworker even though it was one of the reasons she kept her job after customers kept complaining that she was rude to them. Well, one day I came in for my shift, and right off the bat, I got hit with three customers needing returns. I had a purchase that required me to break a one-hundred-dollar bill so I quickly ran out of change as well. I pinged for my coworker to come to help me multiple times that morning, but it was completely unintentional.
The last time I pinged for her for more change, my coworker stormed around the counter, threw open the safe where we kept more money and just threw the tray of money on the counter. My coworker threw it with such force that it slid across the counter and landed on the ground, scattering money everywhere for customers to pick up.
Luckily, the customers were decent people and handed me all the money and the broken till. I got myself set up and, despite being young I decided to chastise my coworker because of her childish behavior.
All I got out was; ‘Was that really necessary?’ before my coworker pulled the lanyard with the keys around her neck off and chucked them at me with a resounding, ‘SCREW YOU!’
And that was how I got promoted to keyholder.”
“Right out of college, I started working as an administrative assistant. There were many other AAs, my age, but quite a few of them were middle-aged women. The older women often acted like they were supervisors and lived to get the younger AAs in trouble.
They also could use computers very well. Rather than making them do their job, the bosses would just dump it on one of the younger AAs. This one woman sat next to me and was constantly trying to get me in trouble.
One rainy day, I came into work and was surprised to see a pair of wet, dirty, disgusting sneakers sitting in the middle of my cubicle near my space heater.
‘What the hell?’ I said and looked around, but everyone was focused on their work and hadn’t even noticed my outburst. The only thing I could think of was that my friend, one of the other younger AAs, was probably pulling a prank on me.
The office was freezing, and this girl and I often used space heaters under our desks to keep warm. Anyway, the shoes were hideous and didn’t seem to be something that my friend would wear, but she was the only person in the office that I felt close enough to ask. She sat catty-corner to me in the next row and over the wall from my other coworker.
So I’m asked, ‘Hey, are those your shoes in my cube?’
‘What are you talking about?’ my coworker asked.
I explained the situation, and she said, ‘What? That’s so weird. Who would do that?’
My older coworker heard us talking over the wall and flipped out.
She started screaming, ‘Screw you! You freaking children! This is company property! I can use it for whatever I want! I am so sick of you freaking children! You don’t own the office! It’s not your space heater!’
We both looked at her with stunned looks. The heater was most certainly mine that I paid for. This was all coming from the same coworker that complained about the heater causing her to have hot flashes.
Before I could object, my older coworker started stomping up and down the aisle as she screamed and threw stuff around. The woman who sat on the other side of me was on the phone with an important client. The coworker having a tantrum was so loud, she had to quickly get off the phone.
People were coming out of their offices to see what is going on, and my coworker kept raging. Finally, she grabbed her ugly shoes and stomped off down the hall muttering about ‘freaking children who think they can tell her what to do.’
My friend looked at me and said, ‘Well that was super inappropriate.’
See You Never!
I worked at a thrift store a few years back. My coworker and I were the most flexible workers. We legally couldn’t work full-time at the time because we were under eighteen. We were often closers and had the same work schedule because she and I were both still in high school.
After 8 PM, when we would lock the doors, the manager for the night would simply just tell us to ‘clean things up’ while he counted the drawers. Keep in mind, there were four closers every night. The two other closers were best friends that went to the same school.
The other closers were fixing the shoe rack together and talking. My coworker and I were working in what we called ‘hardline’ which was where all the knickknacks were. We also chatted while we tidied up the section.
Suddenly the loudspeaker boomed with the voice of my boss. He demanded to see my coworker and I in his office right away. Confused, we walked to his office and stepped inside the office. My boss was there with a frown and crossed arms.
‘Do you guys think you can just sit around and gossip when you have work to do?!’ he snapped.
My coworker and I exchanged glances before she said, ‘We were just talking while cleaning up.’
‘I have high expectations of you both, you guys are here almost every day and I allow it! You aren’t even supposed to be working 8-hour shifts!’ My boss said.
That’s when I spoke up. ‘We never asked to work 8-hour shifts. You make it so we are a few hours under the forty-hour mark, but we have school.’
‘I’m not talking about that!’ My boss snapped again. ‘You shouldn’t be talking to each other when you’re working! That’s unprofessional and you’re lucky I don’t fire you. This is your last and final warning!’
Frustrated, I threw up my hands and said, ‘But the other two girls were talking and they were standing shoulder to shoulder working on the same exact thing!’
‘They aren’t you guys,’ my boss said without skipping a beat. ‘You need to understand that you cannot talk back to me or you will lose your position.’
After that conversation, my coworker and I went home. We texted a few other coworkers in our group chat about what happened. The next shift we all worked together, we pulled our aside and told him we quit on the spot.
He lost six people in one day.”