We all know the "quiet kid." They are equally strange and fascinating. Often times the "quiet kid" is quiet for a reason and if their buttons are pushed hard enough, they'll eventually snap. Be careful though; the "quiet kid" is always a force to be reckoned with. These students share what happened when the "quiet kid" at their school finally had it. Content has been edited for clarity.
Don’t Mess With Mad Dog Mike
“So this isn’t so much what he SAID. The seniors played ‘locker pinball’ with the underclassmen. It’s exactly what it sounds like. They bounced one little guy constantly. Made him late for class a lot because they’d keep him bouncing so long.
Well, one day they were bouncing him and he super politely said, ‘Please stop, you’re hurting me.’ Obviously the seniors bounced him harder. Apparently, that was this kid’s breaking point because he leaped onto the nearest senior, who just happened to be our star basketball forward. The little freshman BIT into the senior’s neck and literally tore a mouth full of skin off. He just stood there…with this piece of bloody skin on his shirt…GROWLING at everyone.
Needless to say, no one ever messed with Mad Dog Mike after that.”
“This dumb kid who constantly messed with people was in line with the quiet kid and the quiet kid’s friend. The quiet kid is a bit overweight so when he gets up to the lunch lady and gets his chicken nuggets, the guy says, ‘You don’t want extra nuggets, big guy?’
The quiet kid out of nowhere just starts ranting: ‘No, I am all set, but what are you up to this weekend? You wanna hang out? Grab some food? Maybe do it a bit? I like to be on top and you look like a bottom, what do you say wanna go tonight?’
The entire line is dead silent. The guy starts getting all angry and acting like he’s gonna start a fight and the quiet kid says, ‘Ok fine you can be the top, baby.’
The kid leaves to the entire line laughing at his expense. No idea if the quiet kid was gay or he just knew that even jokingly suggesting the kid was gay would upset him more than anything. But I do know he left the line with his delicious chicken nuggets and a huge smile on his face.”
“When I was 13, I was friends with a quiet, Brazilian boy who usually preferred to fill his head with knowledge than play with other people. I was the real only person he could talk too freely without feeling self-conscious.
We got bullied by these five ‘top dogs’ repeatedly. It was all the stereotypical ‘hey, wimp, give me your lunch money!’ nonsense.
Basically, there was this one time when I ran out of lunch money the second week running. The Toppest Dog pinned me to a wall, spitting some more stereotypical bully-isms in my face when we, and everyone else in the cafeteria, hear a loud ‘HEY!’
‘Look. The other wimp.’
Toppest Dog rolls eyes and let’s go of me to walk over to where friend is
Toppest Dog’s friends follow him
Friend was ticked. Everyone could see.
‘You lookin’ for a fight, wimp!?’
Toppest Dog holds up his arms as if to say ‘here I am’ and he spins around in a circle. People were watching now. The first mention of the word ‘fight’ and people are already betting their lunch money. Friend’s hands close into violent fists. Seeing this, the five bullies make a circle around Friend.
‘Well, you got one now, pal…’ Toppest Dog goes in for a sucker-punch when Friend is watching the other bullies. Analyzing.
Friend does a sort of retreat, which he later explained to me was called a ginga, if I remember correctly.
Then, he goes ham. Do you know how long the fight lasted? 15 seconds. The bullies didn’t even land a single blow! My friend only used kicks! I was laughing and crying at the same time– it was glorious, seeing those morons sit flat on their butts while Toppest Dog was clutching his groin for dear life!
It turns out that Friend had been doing Capoeira (a Brazilian martial arts) for almost 10 years and was…particularly good at it. The reason he didn’t beat those pricks to a pulp earlier was because he was told by his teacher/coach/whatever-fancy-name-he-gave-it that he was only allowed to use his skill in life-threatening situations. Apparently, he got so ticked off that he couldn’t hold back and (I’m quoting here) ‘had to put those bullies down in the dirt where they belonged.’
All of a sudden, everyone wanted to be friends with my Friend. Everyone wanted to be friends with me too because of my association with him. To pay him back, I took the blame for the bullies’ beating and received the week of after school detentions for him to not mess up his perfect behavior record.
It was totally worth it though.”
Needs More Trumpet
“I was in marching band in high school, probably 7 years ago now, and we had this huge muscular guy as our brass instructor. He would always yell at us to ‘NAIL THESE CHORDS’ or ‘YOU ARE NOT PLAYING LOUD ENOUGH!’
There was this little Asian trumpet kid that was so innocent and nice; he barely ever spoke a word. One really really hot afternoon, our instructor was being especially loud, and said, ‘WHY DON’T THE TRUMPETS BLOW HARD ENOUGH?’
Dead silence across the field as all the brass are waiting for next instructions. Then we hear:
‘Why doesn’t your mom blow this package hard enough?’ from quiet trumpet kid. Needless to say, we all laughed, got push ups and laughed some more.”
“I will never forget this as long as I live – it was like perfect cinema in real life.
This quiet, weird girl in 10th or 11th grade always wore this giant coat and looked messy. She was a bigger girl and had a sister who was super pretty and skinny and popular.
Anyway, this big, awkward, quiet, friendless girl shows up at a talent show at the school. People weren’t being obviously mean, but there was definitely an air of what the ef? when she came out on stage in her big messy coat and disheveled clothes.
She sat at the piano and started to play, and sing, and just, my god… It was surreal. She sang this haunting bluesy song no one had ever heard before and the auditorium just went dead silent. I distinctly remember tearing up and I’m tearing up now 20 years later just remembering it.
Who the heck knew…”
Not Bad For An Idiot!
“We had Billy, a kid with down syndrome. He was three years younger than me and I coached him at the local baseball park – we had a program where the travel team guys coached and helped with the special league kids on Sundays when we could.
Well one day we’re playing our travel game at another park and Billy and his family came to watch the tournament and support us.
It was between innings and Billy was over by our dugout saying hey to the guys he knows. One of the local kids from the opposing parks team was walking by and says something along the lines of ‘stupid idiot.’ We’d been there the whole weekend, so I don’t know the backstory there, but we were also south of Atlanta so this wasn’t exactly unexpected behavior, unfortunately.
We had this game in hand so in a no pressure situation we brought him into the dugout to hang with the dudes after this dirtbag showed his true colors. We won handily and after games you typically go to the outfield or somewhere and the coach talks to you, win or lose. Billy gets invited by coach.
Coach is going over the game, where we need to improve, where we excelled, etc. When you win, somebody gets the game ball – he gave it to Billy and everyone erupted into cheers, we chased him off the field towards the families.
We exit the dugout and Billy pulls coaches sleeve and tells him he has something to say to folks so coach gets the crowd together (when I say crowd, baseball and football in the South draw a lot of people at any level).
At this point, the story about the dirtbag kid had made it through the stands. It’s little league– the stands and the dugouts are attached so people heard. Billy proceeds to hold up his game ball and endearingly tell coach he’s so happy and thanks him repeatedly.
While still holding up his game ball at the top of his lungs yells ‘pretty good for a stupid idiot!’
I don’t think I’ve heard people pause and then burst into gut wrenching laughter in such harmony. It was a beautiful moment that still gets talked about years later!”
Don’t Mess With Steven
“In middle school, the quiet kid, Steven, had an arch rival named Robbie. In class Robbie always seemed to come out on top of their little scuffles, mostly because Steven couldn’t really formulate or execute a ‘burn’ or a ‘comeback’. He just rolled over and let Robbie get his insults in until the teacher stepped in.
One day I was walking behind Robbie after that class and Steven quietly crept up behind him. Before Robbie could even turn around, he got as close as possible and said, ‘If I was to come into your house and kill you while you were sleeping, I doubt anyone would even notice…’ then he disappeared into the darkness of the science hallway.
I don’t remember the exact words, but that was pretty dang close. I was about 55% shocked, 30% laughing hysterically on the inside, and 15% terrified. Robbie never made fun of ol’ Stevie again.”
Out Of Left Field
“We were having an elective course and we ran out of stuff to do so we wound up having story time. My friend walked up to the front and started telling us about how he once got pretty badly injured. Basically, he was walking into his friend’s house, slipped on some black ice, faceplanted on it and his front teeth tore off most of his front lip and broke off. He ran into the house babbling and bleeding (he was like 11 and was missing part of his face so he wasn’t 100% coherent at the time) and his friend’s mom took one look, ran into her bedroom, locked the door, and didn’t do anything until my friend’s dad arrived and started screaming at her. My friend said he still has no idea why the grown adult woman couldn’t handle the situation any better.
So then we all started making guesses and an analyses.
Cue the quiet kid raising his magnificent head and blessing us with enlightenment:
‘…maybe she just needed to finger herself real quick…'”
Watch What You Say
“I was (and still am) a geek and I got bullied a lot in school. The Columbine Massacre happened when I was in 8th grade, and all of the sudden everyone started thinking a bit more carefully about the ramifications of spending years physically and psychologically torturing kids who were too small or afraid to fight back.
I didn’t make the connection at the time…the bullying kind of fizzled out for me in high school, and I just thought it was because everyone was getting more mature and empathetic and growing less cliquey. I was delighted that some of the popular people were suddenly being so generous and friendly with me.
It wasn’t until one of these people asked me if I’d kill her if I brought a weapon to school and shot everyone… I realized that a lot of the recent ‘kindness’ the popular kids were suddenly displaying towards me was not necessarily coming from a genuine place. I was deeply insulted that anyone ever thought I would do anything like that, and deeply hurt that the other kids didn’t actually like me…they were just afraid of me and were being nice to me out of fear.
A lot of the other established nerdy kids were in the same boat as me, including this one kid Pat. I didn’t know him very well, but he was frail, pale, bespectacled, highly intelligent, and quiet as a churchmouse, so he was already on my radar as a potential ally. We were in a SAT prep course together, and I started sitting next to him. He didn’t say much of anything to me or anyone for a few weeks.
Then, one day as we were all settling in and waiting for the teacher, one of the popular girls who was particularly bubbly and not particularly gifted with intelligence said, ‘Pat, I USED to think you were going to come to the school and SHOOT everyone, but NOW I know I was WRONG.’
Pat looked down towards his desk, stroked his chin thoughtfully, and said…
And the rest is history. Pat and I are still close friends to this day.”
Karate Does Wonders For One’s Self-Esteem
“When I was in high school, I was the fat kid, but also a social chameleon. We had one kid who everyone called ‘Karate Joe.’ KJ would just walk from class to class mumbling random karate movie lines. One day, I had brought a ton of donuts for my ROTC Officer meeting at 5:30 and there’s KJ doing his thing. I walk over to him and offer him his choice of donuts before my meeting. He took a Boston Crème and just kept going on.
A few days later, some jock thugs are bullying me while in uniform (as an officer, I wore a ‘suit,’ also known as dress blues, that paired with the price of the uniform and all the decorations we had to wear– fighting back was…difficult) knowing I wouldn’t put hands on them. Cue a blurry and loud ‘WA-TAH!’
KJ straight up flying kicked this kid in the head like Kung Lao (Mortal Kombat…not Bicycle Kicks). The bully and his friends took off as he screamed ‘Stay away from my friend!’
We became best friends. Turns out he’s autistic and growing up, martial arts movies were the only thing he would watch. His dad put him in karate to help with self-esteem and self defense from bullying. It worked.”
Thank You For Everything
“There was this guy, named Carl. He was a middle-aged Asian man who was graduating from our rehab program. We didn’t even know it was his graduation day until he stood up to say his goodbye. We all got nervous because of all the things we’d been open about, even the worst things that had happened to us and the worst things we’d done. Meanwhile, this diminutive man in thick glasses had literally never said a word.
He said something like, ‘I feel like each and every one of you is my family. No one has ever understood my pain and my struggle the way you people do. I love all of you. I mean that. I love all of you, so much. Thank you for everything.’
Blew my 22-year-old mind right out the front of my face. I have never since doubted that the quiet ones are participating in their way as much as the rest of us.”
His Secret Spiteful Humor
“When I was in football in high school, the varsity team (all the juniors and seniors) went to a ‘boot camp.’ During that boot camp, everyone camped out on the property of a cabin owned by one of the coaches. We got divided into teams, and there was a running competition for the duration of the camp; we would have various events or activities where we would compete for points. Most of them were things where we would have physical competition, such as races or tug of war, etc.
One day, the coaches decided to do something a little different and we all were tasked with having our teams perform some kind of skit with the coaches as judges. My team really had no idea what to do, but someone came up with the idea of having a guy, let’s call him Mike, give a speech.
Mike was one of the most soft-spoken guys I had ever met. I had played football with the guy for years, and he averaged about a sentence per week. We figured this would be brilliant because no one would see this coming. When we suggested it, he just grinned and said, ‘Ok, let’s do it.’
So, we went up to the ‘stage,’ and the rest of the team and I introduced Mike as a real stand up guy who was just awesome. Mike came on stage and proceeded to rip on us as lousy teammates who were incompetent and annoying. Everyone was so shocked at this, that they laughed until they cried, and we ended up winning first in that event.”
I Bet The Teacher Felt Like An Idiot
“This was when I was in my first semester of college. There was this girl who never said a word. The teacher would ask her questions, she would just not say a word. I can honestly never remember her even making a noise.
One day the teacher got upset, he felt like she was ignoring him and that she was being disrespectful so he, like a dirtbag, said, ‘Did no one teach you how to speak?’
She stood up, walked up to the whiteboard, grabbed his marker and wrote: ‘I am mute, you foolish moron.’
Apparently, no one ever told the teacher that she had a disability.
But she was one brave girl for taking his marker out of his hand and writing that.”
She Wasn’t Taking Any Of His Attitude
“There was this one quiet girl in my class. She would never say anything (this was around 3rd or 4th grade) but I would always try and get her to talk. I would be nice to her like when she had no paper in her binder I’d take notice and give her some before she could ask. When she was searching for a pencil in her bag I gave her an extra one I had. It was like small little acts, like picking up her pencil when she dropped it, etc.
Then at lunch, this kid was picking on me (I was short, weak, and very emotional back then) when she came out of nowhere and told the guy, ‘I’ll give you three seconds to walk away.’ I was stunned because those were the first words I’ve ever heard her say. The guy slapped me, and she did a straight kick to his balls after that. I was honored. And shocked she ever said anything. She never said anything after that but I did say thanks.”
There’s No Point
“There was a quite kid in my algebra class. He would talk if you mentioned computers or video game so naturally, I got along with him pretty well.
One day, 3 upper-classmen were talking to him about why he was so quiet. He wasn’t saying much of anything and I couldn’t even hear him a couple desks away.
Here’s what I heard.
Upperclassmen: ‘I’ll give you twenty dollars if you yell at the top of your lungs… ANYTHING.’
Quiet kid: ‘What? Why?’
Upperclassmen: ‘…because you’re so quiet…I just want to know if you can raise your voice.”
Quiet kid: ‘No, there’s no point.’
That kid literally turned down twenty dollars to challenge the norm about himself and all he would have had to do is yell.”
The Year-Long Assignment
“The kid was quiet but joined Forensics (not the crime kind… the ‘do a short bit of acting for competition’ kind, usually goes hand-in-hand with debate). The kid was so quiet, that my teacher actually told me my year-long assignment would be to talk to him to get him to start talking.
The kid was funny. I thought he was insanely awesome. I’d heard about him from other people but never met him. He did cartoons and stop-animation and had the DEEPEST voice I’d ever heard. He had a bunch of elephant jokes on his calculator that made me laugh. I actually had a bit of a crush on him and thought he was cute, but I had a boyfriend and we were VERY different (I was a stoner/drinker, he was pretty straight-laced).
Anywho. He didn’t talk much. No matter how much I annoyed him.
I ended up spraining my ankle at some point and was sitting there, bugging the heck out of him, trying to get him to react. He and I were the only ones in the room for some reason. In the midst of my annoying him, he grabbed my crutches and hobbled around the room, saying, ‘Oh, hello, I’m Kate and I’m so super annoying! I just talk and talk and talk and talk and no one can make me quit talking. Isn’t that funny?’ This went on for about two minutes, I’m rolling because it’s so out of character and he’s funny even if he’s making fun of me (I WAS JUST DOING MY JOB, DANG IT!). He stops. People come back in the room.
No one saw it! Except me!
We talked more TOGETHER after that, not just me blabbing at him with no reciprocation.
We are FB friends now and I will bring it up every now and then. He says he doesn’t remember that really, but I think he’s messing with me.
One of my favorite people ever.”
Turn It Up!
“I was the quiet kid in this scenario:
I was a skinny, white kid and I was working at Jimmy John’s with a bunch of outgoing and loud black kids. While we were closing, I was doing the dishes and everyone else was doing their jobs. When we would close, they would blare rap music through the restaurant speakers. They would always rap the words and be really loud during the songs. So during one of the songs, when it got quiet, I randomly just yelled at the top of my lungs, ‘WOOOO!! THIS IS MY SONG!’ And then I just went back to doing the dishes.
Everyone looked at me as if I had lobsters crawling out of my ears.”
The Signs Were There
“I took a class with Seung-Hui Cho, the Virginia Tech shooter, one semester before the shooting. The class was called Contemporary Horror. It was a one-time elective offered by my favorite professor; We read horror novels and watched horror films and discussed the craft of creating scary stories, but also how they reflected or represented their era’s fears. It was a great class. There were only about 15 students and it was discussion heavy.
Cho was one of them. I honestly never noticed him, even in that small class, until halfway through the semester. He wasn’t quiet; he was silent. So on the day we all finally noticed him, our professor asked him something directly…and Cho just stared at him. I can’t remember the question, but the nature of it meant silence was potentially an acceptable and funny response. So we all laughed…Except for Cho. He just kept staring at our professor. Our laughter awkwardly died, and after a few moments of uncomfortable silence, our professor just said, ‘Oookay,’ and moved on. It was so strange. But I forgot about that weird moment until after his rampage.
That professor later told me that Cho’s papers had been disturbing, but the nature of our course meant the envelope was being pushed a bit, and it had never been bad enough to suggest he’d do what he did. That professor was a good man, and he admitted he struggled with not blaming himself on some level for 1) not identifying how severe Cho’s mental health problems were and 2) for the graphic and terrible nature of some of what we watched in that class which may have inspired Cho. He knew that was bull, but a part of him couldn’t help but feel some blame. It was terribly sad.”
“I went to middle school and high school with this boy named Daniel. Never once heard him say a word, a friend of mine said he would whisper sometimes.
The night of our senior party we heard some music coming over from the corner where the karaoke machine was set up. At first, no one really noticed him because people had been singing on it all night and most people stopped paying attention. But this was different because no one was singing and the music was playing, the DJ stopped the music and started the song again.
Daniel was standing there looking frightened but this time around when the song started…he began to sing. Everyone in the room stopped what they were doing and just crowded around him. He wasn’t a great singer by any means, but 99% of the people in the room hadn’t ever heard him talk. When the song was over everyone started clapping and cheering and he walked away with a big smile on his face.”