Nobody’s perfect. However, one grave mistake on the job could open a world of trouble. In this segment, employees share the horrible mistake they could never forget.
All stories have been edited for clarity.
A Watery Grave
“It was my first day at my first job at a pet shop. My family had been friends with the owner for years. I had been asking for a job there since I was ten. I knew a ton about animals but was very nervous on my first day.
My manager, who was supposed to train me, had chipped her tooth a half hour before I showed up for my shift. That meant it was just me, one other employee, and the owner who was tending to other animals in the back.
The other employee asked me to change the water in the fish tanks. So, I went and changed the water for every tank in the store all by myself!
But I forgot to add de-chlorinator to the water.
We realized this when suddenly all the beta fish started turning over dead ten minutes later. I killed probably fifty fish. The other employee working cussed when she realized what happened. She yelled at me to go away and ran with the bottle of Prime to dump a bunch into each tank as fast as she could.
I retreated to the back of the store and sat there crying for like an hour. When the owner came and found me, he saw how upset I was and was wonderful. He said that he knew it was an honest mistake and very obviously I would never forget it again. I was still so upset over killing the animals that I tried to quit. However, the owner stopped me and said to try again.
He never even docked my pay for the several hundreds of dollars worth of fish I killed.
I ended up working there until I moved away for college a few years later. I never killed anything else thankfully, and worked my butt off to be the best employee and animal caretaker I could be.”
Not Quick Enough…
“I worked in a pizza place when I was eighteen. My coworkers were mostly younger teens who ignored the safety protocols.
Despite the constant carelessness of others, our managers were stern when they told us not to screw around when it came to the dough roller. But of course, some people cut corners anyway. Workers were supposed to partially disassemble the dough roller for cleaning every night, but it took a considerable amount of time compared to running a cleaning rag through it like dough. The faster method worked quite well and saved everyone time. The towel would slide it in and be spat out by the roller.
One night I came in from the last delivery of the night. Everyone was gathered up front instead of closing down for the night. It was also scary and quiet. I walked up to the counter and quickly realized what had happened.
The newest kid didn’t let go of the towel fast enough.
His hand got pulled into the roller. Imagine industrial rolling pins about 1/4″ apart from one another with a hefty motor spinning them to pull and squish the dough balls flat. The kid managed to stop the machine about halfway through it eating his hand, but he was stuck.
He couldn’t extract his hand and no one knew what to do. Everyone just stood there staring in horror. The manager called someone from corporate who then instructed him to call the fire department to come help.
For whatever reason we couldn’t disassemble the roller with the kid’s hand in lodged inside. Before the fire department showed up, the kid went into panic mode and ended up yanking his hand out the way it went in. His fingers popped like grapes from all the blood trapped in there. It was a horrific scene. Somehow I was tasked to be the one to tear down and sanitize that machine.
A Grave Mistake
“I used to work as a caregiver at a senior home. One of my coworkers was the absolute worst at her job. She took twice the amount of time to do tasks that should have taken an hour to do. There were way too many times I had to pick up her slack.
One day after checking on a resident, I did a walk around to double-check everything. Being that we offered care to the elderly and disabled, I was extra cautious in making sure nothing was missed. On nights I worked with my incompetent coworker, I felt pressured to be extra careful. Finally, we left.
When we came back at lunchtime, we realized the horrible mistake my coworker made.
She did not close the resident’s front door properly.
This took place in the middle of winter. Because my coworker did not close the door, the freezing cold forced the elderly man to get up. Using his walker, he tried to make it to the front door to close it. Instead, he fell and broke his hip. After finding him, an ambulance had to rush him to the hospital where he had to undergo emergency surgery. Unfortunately, he ended up suffering from septic shock and died.
It took me years to stop blaming myself. It took about 5 years of other people telling me that it was not my responsibility to check if someone could close a door or not.
Still, I made sure to check his medication, food, and hygiene. I checked literally everything, but I didn’t think I needed to check the damn door.”
“When I was a bartender, this weird guy was my manager. He used to collect and bring in dangerous hot sauces that were extremely spicy. One tiny drop could send anyone to the bathroom crying and puking.
My manager would put on a pair of gloves and parade around the bar carrying the bottles of hot sauce. Using an eye dropper, my manager would put one drop of the hot sauce on a plate and dare bar guests to taste it.
Eventually, he began leaving the bottles behind the bar. One evening we had a huge open bar party and I was working with a girl who was only part-time. During this particular shift, she hadn’t been to work in over a month.
Well, a woman ordered a spicy Bloody Mary. The girl wasn’t sure what we were using for hot sauce, and because we were so busy, she didn’t think to ask me. The girl just went with what she was able to find.
Unfortunately, she hammered the woman’s Bloody Mary with my manager’s dangerously spicy hot sauce. Next thing we knew, the woman was outside convulsing. People screamed and panicked while another patron dialed 911.
None of us had any idea what happened at first. The woman struggled to breathe and puked all over the table and patio floor. I looked at the girl and asked, ‘What did she order?’
The girl replied, ‘A Spicy Bloody Mary.’
Over the next 5 seconds or so, my brain put the pieces together/ With a huge smile on my face, I said ‘WHICH HOT SAUCE DID YOU USE?!?!?’
‘This one,’ the girl said while holding a bottle of ‘Death Sauce.’
The woman was carted away in an ambulance.”