etiquette

People Told Us Their Most Annoying Interactions with a Stranger

Hell truly is other people.

by Beckett Mufson
10 July 2018, 7:45am

Art by Pedro D'Apremont

Dealing with strangers is stressful, and when you're stressed, it's biologically more difficult to feel empathy. That's one explanation for why everyone has a story of an irredeemably annoying stranger who has ruined their day. That in mind, we asked people for their most aggravating experiences with a stranger, and the answers served to remind us that hell truly is other people.

Last summer, a guy on the subway was eating sunflower seeds and was spitting the shells on the floor. He must have been there for a while since there were piles of shells around him. I considered fighting him. - Emily, 24

When my dog had a cancer-induced grand mal seizure and I thought he was dying, I rushed him to the pet ER. I was so out of my mind that I tapped this guy’s car in front of me at a light. Literally no damage to either car. He started yelling at me and made me get out and exchange insurance info even when I offered to just give him my phone number and I said, “Sir, please, there’s no scratch on either car, and I think my dog might be dying in my back seat.” He said, “I don’t give a shit about your dead dog.” So I did what he wanted and exchanged info and then when I was getting back into my car, I told him, “I hope karma drives a stake through your heart.” I think it was the worst thing I’ve ever said to someone. - Rachel, 41

When I lived in Boston, a dude I didn't know tackled me to the ground in Harvard Square and then got up and screamed THAT WASNT MY FAULT! This was in broad daylight. He ran away. I wasn't thrilled. I think about this at least twice a month. - Katie, 26

A family at a general-admission event tried to save six seats next to where I was sitting. Then they seemed to hold me personally accountable when people took the seats—after the event started and the family hadn't yet returned. This just happened so the rage is fresh.- Kristen, 34

Shortly after moving into my apartment a couple years ago, I came home one night to find a drunk girl flinging full bags of garbage into the street. They were making a huge mess and making the road impassable for traffic. I said something to the effect of "Hey, could you not do that?" which sent her into an even bigger rage. "Are you the sanitation department? Why do you care? Why don't you mind your own fucking business?" - Mark, 33

A woman at a CVS check out asked who would ever marry me while she grabbed my hands and pointed at my tattoos on my fingers. - Ab, 31

My school had an 80s movie marathon and before Raiders of the Lost Ark came on this random neckbeard sat right next to me and mansplained Indiana Jones to me for the full 15 minutes before the movie started, even though I didn’t acknowledge him once. - Angie, 20

Back when I worked retail, a man came in with his young son minutes before closing. When we made the store closing announcement a bit later, his son said they should go, to which he replied, "Do you know how much money I spend in here? I'll stay as long as I want." - Nick, 29

My first concert, when I was nine or ten, was ruined by a fat drunk guy screaming at the performer to sing "Sweet Home Alabama." - MacKenzie, 18

Waiting in line for the Guardians of the Galaxy ride at Disneyland there were two 17-ish-year-old boys bragging about how many girls they had following them on Snapchat and then shared strategies with how to get these girls to sleep with them. The entire time in line, over an hour. - Scott, 28

Once, I was out to breakfast at a little diner by my house, and two white men spent the entire time I was there—they were there before and after me—complaining LOUDLY about Muslims, LGBT folks, and basically anyone who differed from their norm. - Chloe, 17

One time I watched a guy walk all the way across a huge Taco Bell parking lot to throw a cup away, miss from very close, then walk all the way back to where he was without picking it up. - Stanley, 27

NYC subway. Mom sits there, watches, and doesn't stop her kid from taking off his pants and pooping on the seat. They get off at the next stop, no attempt to clean the poop or apologize or even tell the kid not to do that. - Shaq, 30

Getting deliberately splashed by a prick in an Audi who swerved into a puddle next to the bus stop I was waiting at. Inhuman. - Sam, 26

At a Kid Cudi concert there were some super short girls next to me. These two guys built like DJ Khaled rush in front of them. The girls tap the guys saying we can’t see and one guy turns around to the girl with his fist in the air and tells her to shut up or he’ll punch her in the face. - Ariel, 20

I once had a lady approach me when I lived in Chinatown screaming at me for directions in the middle of an intersection while I was carrying a 40-pound Amazon box from the post office. She wasn’t satisfied with my explanation of how to get to Grand Street, and demanded I show her on my phone. I said no, because I was carrying a heavy box and she proceeded to yell at me about how rude New Yorkers are. I dropped my box in the middle of the crosswalk and all my pantry items fell out and she just walked away. - Sarah, 26

Some little kid puked on me at Universal Studios. I never saw it coming. Someone pushed me and I heard it fly. Turned around and my buddy was covered. I started laughing hysterically then a lady tapped me on shoulder and said “It’s all over your back.” I flipped out. Parents never said anything. It was 97 degrees and I never got to see the Miami Vice Stunt Spectacular. - Paul, 41

A man came up to me on the subway and asked for my orange juice. I asked why and he said, “I just want to drink something you have.” I screamed internally and declined. - Anna, 27

I was asleep on a 17 hour train ride in Ukraine. I woke up to an elderly shirtless man blowing on my feet. - Drew, 33

A lady driving in front of me kept speeding up and slowing down so no one could pass her. I finally got past her and she got up close behind, blared the horn and flashed her brights. She pulled up beside me at a light and was screaming at me through closed windows while her passenger hid his face. - Jamie, 33

I had a frequent customer who everyone hated. She was in the checkout line at the grocery store I was cashiering at. A little kid behind her was gently hitting her leg with a toy, which prompted awful lady customer to start scream, “HE’S HITTING ME. HE IS HITTING ME.” And then she kicked him away like an animal. He was probably three. - Jesscia, 25

Someone rolled up to me and just yelled, “YOU GOT A LOT OF MILK.” - Sam, 24

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This article originally appeared on VICE US.