Have you ever felt you had to make sure that you heard someone right? Or have you ever thought that you read something wrong? Sometimes, a situation can be misread or a thought misspoken that can cause a brief moment of awkwardness. Other times, it can be embarrassing and bizarre enough to be immortalized on Reddit. The following stories are from people who did just that with their own hilarious misunderstandings. Content has been edited for clarity.
How I Ruined Fifth Grade Camp For One Kid
“I was 17 and a guidance counselor at a fifth-grade camp. While instructing the kids, I told them it would take too long to remember their names. Instead, I would address them by what they were wearing (‘Red Shirt,’ ‘Blue Hoodie,’ etc).
One of them was wearing a water bottle backpack. I knew them as ‘Camelbacks,’ so I went on throughout the class referring to the kid as ‘Camelback.’
That night, one of the other counselor’s came up to me and told me that, apparently, the kid has a severe kidney disorder and had to stay constantly hydrated. He was really self-conscious about it, so his parents told him to just wear it like a backpack so that no one would notice.
He went home early from camp. I felt like the biggest dirtbag.”
What He Should Have Said Was Nothing
“One time I saw a little girl from the other side of a counter from me hopping around.
‘Aren’t you a cute little hoppy bunny?’ I said to her.
Then I looked over the counter. She only had one leg.”
Not The Best Choice Of Words In Front Of a Cop
“My cousin, who lived in Egypt his entire life, was visiting me. I’ll be frank when I say that the dude looks scary – 6’2”, dark, big beard. Truly, he is the sweetest guy you would ever meet. He is very polite, very respectful, and he loves Katy Perry.
We went to a farm because he wanted to slaughter a sheep. I told him that in the US it was a bit more ‘red tape’ than in Egypt and that one could not just slaughter an animal to eat on the rooftop of an apartment building. We went to this farm so he could show me to ‘proper way to kill, so the animal has no hurt, and is clean.’ His English not very good.
We talked with the owner, bought the sheep, and slaughtered it. It was all surprisingly humane. The fun part was that we had no preparations for what the heck to do with this dead bloody animal after. The farmer gave us a huge sack, we threw it in the back of my truck, and drove home.
We were stopped by a cop. He approached slowly and asked us to get out and put our hands on the car. He asked me if I realized that blood was dripping from my car. I said, ‘No.’ Then he saw my cousin, wearing a big white shirt and bloodstained jeans. The cop freaked out. He saw the bloody sack in the back of the truck and called for back up.
I tried to explain the situation to the cop, but he yelled at me and told me to shut up (which really annoyed me) and get on my knees. All I remember saying to him was, ‘It’s not a person!’
‘YOU!’ the cop said, directed toward my cousin. ‘Why do you have blood on you?’
It was a fair question. My cousin, to my horror, turned to the cop, crosses his neck with his finger, and said in terribly broken English, ‘We was slaughtered a MAN-il. I’ve to fart.’
What he meant to say was, ‘We were slaughtering an ANIMAL. At the farm.’
I simply put my head down and waited for the handcuffs.
They checked it after we were taken to the station and my truck was towed, which I had to pay for. Apparently, we were breaking some laws by transporting the meat in an unsanitary manner. A load of bull if you ask me. They put us in a holding cell. They didn’t want us sitting around the station so they put us in there…scumbags. I don’t think what they did was correct protocol but I was too young and scared pantsless to know any better. We paid a fine, took our sheep, and went home.”
A Trick Of The Mind That Was Far From A Treat
“It was around Halloween when I saw this young family with a kid wearing a scary mask. I made an exaggerated scream of horror and flailed my hands around in a display of mock terror for the child’s benefit.
The kid’s parents didn’t laugh or smile at me however. They actually kind of glared at me. At a second glance, I realized that the kid was not wearing a mask at all. He had a terrible deformity of the face.
I felt so freaking bad.”
Think Twice Before Asking Such A Personal Question
“I was at a baseball game in DC enjoying a hot summer afternoon. I had just moved to the city and only had one buddy from college close by. He invited me to the game since he and his girlfriend had both lived in DC for a year or two and had a bunch of friends coming. He thought it might be a good way for me to meet people.
I sat down with my drink and just kind of relaxed. I did not really know anyone I was sitting by, but I was having a great time meeting people. Another group of people joining us finally got to the game in the middle of the second inning and sat down in the row right behind us. I had had a couple of drinks at this point and was feeling pretty social.
I could tell the guy sitting directly behind me was gay. I had finished my drink and was going to turn around, introduce myself, and see if they wanted to make a run to the bar. Being polite and all, I decided to wait until their conversation was over to interject.
Before I could say anything, I overheard the gay dude saying, ‘Hey guys, I have a serious question for you all: should I do five guys?’
My general smile turned instantly to a look of confusion. I slowly turned to him and asked, ‘Don’t you think that is a bit excessive? I mean, five guys at once? Or are we talking five dudes over a period of time or what?’
I stopped to apologized for the interjection and introduced. But, then, everyone got quiet. Somehow, everyone around us heard this dialogue. I was butting into a conversation that I had no business being in, with people I had never met. I was met by some pretty shocked faces and confusion all around. That was, until the gay guy slowly turned around and pointed toward the food court.
‘A burger,’ he said. ‘Should I do Five Guys’ burgers?'”
A Casual Stroll With Gum In Her Hair
“I used to be a meter maid. As it was a lovely warm day, I was out walking around my ‘beat.’ I saw this little girl walking with her dad, but she had an oval-shaped pink blob in her hair that was slightly covered up. I had quickly glanced at it while I walked past them and thought it was gum.
I was always trying to be helpful, despite my job). So, I said to the man, ‘Sir, I believe your daughter has gum in her hair!’
He turned around and bristled at me, ‘That’s part of her cochlear implant.'”
Nice Texting Prank… Right?
“A girl whom I had casually gone on a few dates with and had known a long time invited me to a Pittsburgh Pirates game. When she picked me up, there was another guy and girl in the car.
Double date. OK. No big deal.
Despite a rain delay, the game began and thus far, our group was having a dandy time. Then, I got a text from another girl who liked me. The girl I was with saw this and pointed it out, but I just kinda brushed it off.
‘Yeah, she texts me sometimes,’ I said, ‘Kind of annoying.
It was a bit of a lie but, whatever. In no way were this girl and I serious so, frankly, it was none of her business. Then, things started to get weird. The other guy with us started awkwardly whispering back and forth with my date while I was sitting right next to both of them. Three seconds later, I got a text from a random number that said, ‘Hey cutie.’
Clearly, this kid sitting right next to me was the one texting me. He would put down his phone and I got a message. I would put down my phone and he would pick up his. This was all very bizarre, but I decided to not let on that I knew what was happening and see how it played out.
Over the course of the next hour, I got a nonstop slew of ‘Your feet are freaking hot’ and ‘I want to suck you off,’ etc. Eventually, I decided to bust him.
‘Okay,’ I said texting back, ‘but if you want to blow me on the way home, you’re going to have to make the girl you’re with sit in the front passenger seat.’
I waited for an expression of realization to wash over his face. Instead, he paused thoughtfully for a minute before texting back, ‘Really? :).’
I read that over and over in confusion as I could feel his leg start to rub against mine, only the denim of his designer jeans in was between he and I.
That’s when it hit me. Homeboy was gay. His absurdly aggressive anonymous solicitations were sincere. I went to the bathroom and texted him, explaining what had happened. He pretty much just begged me not to tell anybody. Despite not knowing him a lick, I didn’t tell my date that night what happened.”
The Only Thing He Was Dealing Was Tunes
“In middle school, I had a small start up business in which I sold mix CDs of whatever my classmates wanted. This was when CD burners were just forming and business was booming.
One day in my language arts class, a guy who wanted me to make him a CD turned around and handed me money. I took it and continued to do class work. Toward the end of the period, the teacher asked to speak with me outside he classroom.
What could she want?
‘Why did he hand you money?’ she asked. I reply,
‘For a CD I’m making for him,’ I replied. For some reason she didn’t believe me.
‘So if I ask him the same thing, he’ll tell me the same answer?’
Now, I was actually offended. I gave her a grin and said, ‘Yes.’
I don’t remember if she interviewed my classmate or not. Looking back after it happened, I know she was just watching out for distribution of illicit substances. It was funny to imagine she thought I was a dealer.”
His Clever Way Of Asking Out The Girl Of His Dreams Backfire
“I really hate thinking about this story. I get embarrassed every time I think about it. But, oh well.
In the tenth grade, I kinda liked this girl who I had known for years, but had only talked to a little bit. I decided to ask her out. While getting to know her, I learned that she really liked Korean soap operas to the point at which she taught herself Korean. Being the stupid teenager that I was, I thought to myself, I have an idea! I’ll ask her out in Korean!
The next day, I did some searching and decided only to write it on the note. I did not want to create a misunderstanding if I said the wrong thing. I very carefully used a translator and wrote down exactly what I saw. I double checked my writing and waited for the next day.
The next morning, when she arrived at her locker, I walked up to her and gave her the note. She read it, looked at me, and said ‘Yeah!’
I was actually kind of shocked she said yes. We walked to the cafeteria and sat with some of her friends while we ate breakfast. I got her number, which I did not have prior. The next day came and things continued as normal. Then, after school, she called and said that she wanted to break up, saying she ‘didn’t mean for it to happen.’ Obviously, I was rather angry at such a vague reason, but I decided just to move on and not worry about it.
A couple days later, a mutual friend of ours and I were talking when she slipped that what I wrote down in Korean was wrong. It didn’t say, ‘Will you go out with me.’ It said, ‘Will you go eat with me,’ hence the breakfast.
After that, I wanted to die of embarrassment.”
A Life Changing Mistake
“I think this is my earliest memory and I also think it contributed to the painful shyness and agoraphobia I dealt with until puberty set in.
I was running around my driveway, playing with sidewalk chalk while my mother and a lady neighbor chatted nearby. For one reason or another, I decided to run to my mother and give her legs a big old hug squeeze.
I was too young to know any better, and sort of dug my face into her crotch. It seemed like a comfortable resting place to a toddler, probably. I was mortified when, mid-squeeze, the woman I thought was my mother turned around and revealed herself to be my neighbor.
She pushed me off, briefly glared at me with surprised disgust, and laughed.
‘Kid can’t even recognize his own mom!’ she said.
Her glare scared me so much and I was so embarrassed that I ran inside, crying. I hid under a beanbag chair for the next two hours. For years afterward, I buried my face in the crook of my elbow whenever I met new adults.”
Grandma Still Has It, Apparently
“I met my high school friend’s mid-80s German grandmother for the first time relatively recently. It was at a party that comprised mostly of family members and close family friends, many of which I was meeting for the first time.
I had a few drinks at one point and walked into the room when she said, mid-sentence, ‘I don’t need a man. I’ve been alone for over 20 years. I think I’ve learned how to take care of myself.’
‘What’s so funny?’ she asked.
‘I guess I didn’t expect someone your age to be talking about stuff like that to your family,’ I replied.
Another guy started laughing because he knew what I was referring to, which was followed by an awkward silence. Another girl said, almost inaudibly, ‘She was talking about her gardening.'”
The Carnival Turned Into A Total Circus
“Every year, the town where I live holds a large carnival with the proceeds going to support the town’s athletic teams. Several nights are capped with fireworks displays that typically last about 20 minutes. I take my daughter to this every year and try to time our activities there so that we would be on the ferris wheel when the fireworks go off, giving us a great seat for the show.
One year my timing was off. We got on the ferris wheel a little too early. When the ride was over, the fireworks show was still going on. I decided to stand next to one of the ticket booths along with a number of other people watching the show. My daughter ran up to sit on the fence while I leaned up against the booth.
About a minute later a boy, maybe 10 years old, came up to me and asked me if he could buy some tickets. I told him that the ticket booth was right behind me. He walked away. About fifteen seconds after that, another boy about the same age came up to me and asked the same thing. I gave him the same response. About 25 different people came up to me to ask me if they could buy tickets and I told all of them that the ticket booth was right behind me.
It had gotten annoying. At one point, I had moved to the other side of the ticket booth. But, that didn’t stop people from asking me. Rather than be rude, I just told them where to get the tickets and let it go.
When the show ended, my daughter came back to me and we turned to leave. As we started walking away, a bunch of people started shouting behind us. I turned and saw a long line of people staring at me, shouting very angrily. Some of them threatened me not to walk away. One or two men in line actually stepped out to approach me. I had no idea what they were talking about until I noticed that I was wearing the same color outfit as all of the carnival staffers.
All of the staff and crew were wearing tan shorts and aqua blue shirts with ‘STAFF’ on the back. While my shirt didn’t have ‘STAFF’ on it, it was otherwise the same color and style. I realized that everyone had mistaken me for an employee who worked in that particular ticket booth and had taken a break to watch the fireworks. They had all waited for ‘my return’ so they could buy tickets for the rides and were ticked off when I walked away.
I put my daughter behind me and called out to the crowd, ‘I do not and have never worked at this carnival.’ I turned and walked away with my daughter in tow.
There was a commotion behind me, but I decided turning back would not be a good idea. A few days later, the local newspaper arrived and there was an article in it about how some people at the carnival were arrested when they trashed a ticket booth because a carnival employee wouldn’t sell them any tickets.”
When Gaming Gets Too Real
“I came home from dinner with my mom and found the door unlocked. We lived in a gated community in a house that had, not only a front door, but also a front WALL outside of it, which was locked. I didn’t really care and went to play Kirby on the Nintendo 64.
My mom, being paranoid, decided to call the cops. When they got there, they routinely searched the house for any robbers. Mind you, I was playing Kirby at this time. Those who have played it may know the form of Kirby in which he/she/it turns into a black pin-looking thing and shoots electricity out of its head making a huge BANG sound. I got this combo and kept using it to make thunderous BANG sounds.
Suddenly a cop came storming downstairs, weapon freaking drawn, and found my 6-year-old self playing N64 like an imbecile. What was kind of funny was that I wasn’t even scared. I just found it mildly amusing.”
Right Place, Wrong Occasion
“I work as a server for a catering company that primarily does weddings and parties that are generally happy occasions.
I had showed up early, in my uniform, and was talking to a woman who appeared to be in charge of what I thought was a wedding. She gave me a tour of the building and pointed out where the chapel was.
ME: ‘Oh, is that where they’ll be getting married?’
LADY: ‘Actually, this is a funeral.’
ME: ‘Oh dear lord, I am so sorry.'”
Substitute Thought She Found A Packet For A Different Sort Of “Flavor”
“Those who have ever eaten ramen probably know that it often comes with flavor packets that come in a rectangular foil wrapper. I brought some ramen to school to eat, but it was the ‘authentic kind, which didn’t have any English text on it, just Asian characters. Also, I should mention that I went to an all-boys school.
One day, we had a substitute teacher whom, through a mishap, finds one of my flavor packets in the garbage.
‘WHOSE IS THIS?!’ she asked, holding it up.
‘It’s mine,’ I said, without realizing that the reason she was freaking out was that she thought it was some sort of Japanese rubber or something. Given that it was in the garbage here, it meant I must have been using it on school property and must have been having man-on-man relations with one of the other students.”
He Asked For What Again?
“I work at a campground. One day, one of the people staying there came in to the kiosk.
‘Do you have any insulin?’ I heard him ask. He looked remarkably calm to be asking such a question, so I figured it was not a huge emergency.
‘I’m not sure,’ I replied. ‘Let me check.’
I went down to check the first aid kit. I had no idea what sort of container insulin might come in, but I did not see anything marked ‘insulin.’
‘Hmm, I don’t think so.’
He said, ‘I asked if Dean is in.’
Dean is the manager of the campground. I looked at him dumbly for a second before saying, ‘… Oh.’
To this day, I don’t know if I am actually deaf, or if he was pulling my leg, because I swear I heard him ask for insulin.”