People From Around the World Share the Worst Decision They Ever Saw Someone Make

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Life is full of choices, some more difficult than others. There's a handful of monumental decisions that can alter the course of your life, like deciding where to go to college or asking someone to marry you. Other smaller choices may not seem so consequential in the moment — until you to look back and realize they were huge.

Every day, people are constantly making decisions like this, and unfortunately, their choices are not always the correct ones. Just take it from these people, who share stories about the worst decisions they’ve ever witnessed other people make.

The Scariest Swim

I was in Yosemite doing a hike up to the top of (I think) Vernal Falls. A kid from a large church group decided to swim at the top in the (seemingly but not really) calm water. I saw him get swept away over the edge.

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The water has been running there for thousands of years, so the rocks are smooth and there’s no vegetation. There’s literally nothing to grab ahold of. I was not in the mood to see a kid lose his life that day. Read the signs and please stay the heck out of the water like you’re told.

Sad Symphony

I know a guy who was supposedly recruited to be part of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra not even out of high school. He saw his girlfriend dance with another guy at graduation and, in an inebriated fit of jealousy, he punched a brick wall and shattered a dozen bones in his hand. He never played an instrument again.

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They Were Framed

My fiancé’s cousin was donating $50 to THON. THON is a fundraiser held by Penn State where they dance for hours and hours to raise money for causes; it's like a running marathon, but with dancing. He was donating to a friend and did it in coins that he hot-glued to a cardboard backing to form a big Penn State logo. It was cool looking. Well, his girlfriend decided it was so cool looking it should be framed.

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She went to a frame shop and got a custom frame that ended up costing over $600 — for something that was to be taken apart (the dabs of glue were small, and he engineered it to come back apart easily) shortly after it was given.

He was mad. And they couldn’t even return it because it was a custom frame. So, they ended up keeping it (as to not totally waste $600) and he wrote a check for $50 for the donation. Now they have a silly framed $650 Penn State logo on their wall…and neither of them even went to Penn State.

Striking Out

My cousin dropped a full ride baseball scholarship in a college in a town he grew up in because he wanted to move for a girl he started dating his senior year of high school. She was two years younger than him. He went to a state school instead that’s 40 minutes from his hometown. She cheated on him and they broke up not long after school started. Ouch.

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Horrifying High Tide

Our English teacher told us about this incident that happened a few years ago. He went to this beach with his family, but it was high tide (the warning flags were up and everything) so they couldn’t swim. This lady came along and let her three kids go into the water. He tried to stop them and tell her it was high tide, but she wouldn’t listen and the kids went into the water anyway.

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Of course, the worst came to pass and the kids started drowning. My English teacher and a few other men swam out and saved the kids while fighting against the tide. When all the kids were saved, he gave the woman a proper scolding (he is a teacher, after all). He said it still terrifies him to think what would have happened if the tide had been any stronger.

A Terrifying Handstand

When I was about 7 years old I was in the car with my parents going across the bridge from Niagara Falls, Ontario, to Niagara Falls, New York. The deadly Niagara River was right below. There was quite a wait due to traffic, so we were pretty much stopped.

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A bunch of teenagers were goofing around, hopping out of their car and play fighting. One guy hopped up on the railing of the bridge and did a handstand. It was terrifying. His friends yelled at him and he hopped down.

Then he did it again and fell over the railing to his end.

Real Estate Regret

My friends sold their beautiful home at a huge loss because they were concerned about the way things were going with the local real estate market. Later that year, gentrification took root and their house was worth almost three times what they'd recently sold it for.

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Accident in Australia

I slowed down from 100 kilometers per hour to about 80kph on a highway because I saw a large kangaroo at the side of the road up ahead. A young guy behind revved his car at me. He drove really close and held his horn down, obviously annoyed. I had gently put the brakes on, so I couldn’t understand what his problem was. He just kept revving, too.

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I put the brakes on again when I saw the roo start taking off in front of me. It would have safely passed in front of me – until the idiot behind floored it around my car and absolutely destroyed the poor animal right in front of me. It went up and over his bonnet and rolled down the side of the car, finishing under the back wheel.

He pulled over farther ahead and I drove past him with tears in my eyes, shocked. He had a really nice, expensive-looking car and the roo was large, so I really hope it did some exceptional damage to that loser’s car.

Take the Free Cab

I was outside a bar. The bouncers offer to pay for a man's cab. The guy says no and calls his girlfriend. She won’t pick him up because of the baby. He says he won’t drive, walks off, gets in his car, does 80 miles an hour down a side road and gets busted for a DUI. He was offered a free cab ride home and instead messed up his life — and could have hurt someone.

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Terminate That Sale

A colleague of a friend came into work excited about having bought a new house. She thought she’d gotten a great deal because the sellers took like $50,000 off the original price. Why? Because they found out the place was completely infested with termites. Really all she bought was a very expensive piece of land.

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Piece of (Pan)Cake

This happened at a family birthday party at a pancake-themed restaurant. Some cousin-of-a-cousin (18 or 19 at the time, I think) decided to try and impress the cute waitress by ordering eight pancakes, saying he could totally eat them all. Everyone warned him off it, saying it was way too many – even big, burly chaps can only do four. He went ahead with it regardless.

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Unsurprisingly, he threw his guts up. The waitress did not give him her number.

Burnt Out at Work

An old coworker at a fast food place where I used to work wanted time off. He was worked to the bone and knew he would never get it, so he decided the best way was to go for some compulsory sick leave. He stuck his hand in the fryer. The only problem was that, when he claimed it as an accident, they reviewed the camera footage that clearly showed it was 100% intentional. He lost his job and had a decent medical bill.

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Not a Fan of This Injury

One of my sister’s deadbeat boyfriends was fixing an industrial fan. After fixing it, he switched it on with the cover off to see if worked. It worked, but then it started to fall forward. He put his hand out to try and catch it. The blades took off two and half of his fingers.

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Pathetic Parenting

I watched a woman let her little boy pass away from cancer. She noticed a lump on his leg but ignored it for months. It was only when it had grown so large that other people were starting to ask about it and it was causing the boy a lot of pain that she took him to the doctor. It was bone cancer, and it was quickly spreading.

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They ended up amputating his leg and giving him chemo. The thing was, she dragged her feet at every step, like her son’s cancer was the biggest inconvenience to her. She ended up not taking him to half the chemo treatments he needed. It was no surprise then when scans came back showing cancer had spread to all parts of his little body. He passed shortly after his seventh Christmas.

Ski Slip

A friend went off the "large" (think X Games) ski jumps at a ski resort when he had no right to even hit the small ones. He didn’t clear the landing and slammed into it, fracturing his spine and every other important bone in his torso. He’s still in the hospital, paralyzed, over a year later. That move cost him his life.

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Forty-Foot Flop

When I was in the Boy Scouts, I walked into an aquatic center for our pack’s recreational day and saw this huge diving board set they had. They had 12-, 20-, 30- and 40-foot diving boards. The moment I walked in, our diving instructor immediately told us that there was no need to worry about the 40-foot jump because everyone had done it safely and there had never been an injury or fatality from the jump.

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Seconds after he said that, at the same diving board, a young teenager ran to the end of the platform and visibly changed his mind at the last second, just to then slip at the edge and hit his head, spilling blood immediately and then falling 40 feet into the biggest belly flop I had ever seen.

Tragedy in the Mountains

I was on my way home with my parents from a day out and we were driving down a fairly steep and winding mountain road. A car passed us with all the windows open and four teenagers hanging out yelling and swerving around — horseplay, you know.

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They disappeared down the road, but about 10 minutes later we caught up to the place where they had gone off a bridge and landed upside down in a gully. My mom was an EMT, so we stopped and she started to climb down when the car burst into flames, like an immediate fireball. We could hear the tires pop, and the screaming, which didn’t end quickly. There was nothing we could do. With the way the car was wedged into the rocks, no one could get close enough to have even a chance of extracting those guys.

We waited for the emergency personnel and we were cleared to go home finally about an hour later — an hour of watching that car burn itself to ashes as people futilely tried to help. I still hear it. I still smell it. Those kids were only a few years older than me. It’s been 20 or more years, and I’ve lived probably about double their lifetimes. Drive safely, people.

Jeepers Creepers

My roommate took out a $10,000 loan to buy a Jeep, even though he’s 19, didn’t go to college, has plenty of other bills, has a $350 monthly insurance payment and works a minimum wage job three days a week. Mind you, the Jeep had 150,000 miles on it.

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Not the Brightest Bulb

My dad tried to repair a lamp, except he forgot to unplug it from the mains. There was a loud bang. There was a flash. There was smoke. There was a horrendous burn where the screwdriver he was holding had melted to his arm. There was much laughter from us onlookers.

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Stamped Silly

My stepbrother inherited our family’s old stamp collection that was valued at a minimum of $50,000. He ended up selling the whole thing for $1,500. Dad got very angry and said that he could have sold JUST ONE of the valuable stamps for $1,500.

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Too Far Gone

I had a best friend of over 20 years. We lived in different states, and he got engaged. He would get inebriated every weekend and call me, telling me that he was sure she was cheating. I encouraged him to call off the wedding. This went on for months.

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Finally, they got married. I was the best man. After the wedding but before the reception, she sneaked off with her boyfriend. My best friend got very inebriated, and I encouraged him to get an annulment. They made up, and I lost the best friend I ever had.

Real Pizza Work

I used to work in a pizza shop. The number of inebriated people (and not-very-intelligent sober people) that would walk in, order pizzas, pick them up and promptly turn the pizza boxes on their sides to carry them out the door under their armpits was astounding. We called after people, but by then it was always too late. I could see the sauce dripping onto the floor.

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Wa-sobbing

One time a friend of mine tried to prove that she loved wasabi. She ate a spoonful of it and then walked around with a red nose for the rest of the day.

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Bombs Away

While vacationing at Dale Hollow in Tennessee, some of my friends decided to take turns jumping from cliffs of various heights into the water. One of my friends (who underwent a chest procedure not even six months prior) wanted to show off to a bunch of guys on nearby boats. She jumped off one of the highest cliffs not thinking about the pain that would ensue once those new accessories hit the water. She had bruises in places people shouldn’t have bruises.

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Sending It at the Slots

I watched a person spend $4,500 on slots in 10 minutes. These were $150 spins. I could hardly watch.

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The Heat of the Moment

I used to work at a cafe, and one time, our microwave door broke. It wouldn’t shut properly and, thus, wouldn’t turn on. This was bad because we used it to pre-heat things that we were going to toast, so one of the boss’ friends decided to try and fix it.

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He had no idea how microwaves work. I walked into the kitchen and he had the door open, with his head in it, manipulating the sensor so the microwave thought the door was closed. And the thing was running. With his head in it. It was facing everyone else in the kitchen and they didn’t bat an eye.

Track Meet Mishap

I was at a track meet and I watched a guy warming up with his arm by throwing his shot put directly above him. About three throws later, it came down and clobbered his skull. He had to be rushed to the ER.

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The Music Hall of Shame

My friend didn’t read an email in which he was asked to join a band. The band is now one of the biggest in the world, and he works in a call center. I guess the bad decision here was him deciding to ignore his emails.

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One Bad Burn

A friend of mine harvests and processes firewood. Prior to the incident I’m going to describe, he would save stumps and have a huge bonfire each year (now he mulches them). By huge, I mean a 30-feet-high by 75-feet-wide pile of wood. The fire was stoked with a forklift.

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Now for the bad decision. The stumps would burn — not on the tops, but mostly just smoldering on the bottom halves. So this idiot thought it’d be funny to run to the top. I have no clue how hot it was; the air was probably above 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

Before he even made it to the top he was overcome by the smoke and heat, and others had to run up after him and get him down. The guy was pulled down safely, but one of these guys who ran in to get him tripped and landed hand first into the fire; he was severely injured. No more big bonfire parties.

Last Stop

I used to hang out with these guys in my neighborhood when I was 18 and in community college, just for laughs and partying. These were guys I had known since kindergarten, and for reasons I won’t go into, they’d dropped out and had no plans for their future.

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We use to go to this wooded area near the freight train tracks to mess around and yell and play heavy metal music. One day, a train was lumbering by really slowly. No, they did not get on, which they could have. Instead, they were egging each other to slap the rails between the cars, which they did.

Nobody lost a finger or a hand that night, but they did lose me. I was just absolutely horrified at such stupidity. I walked away without saying a word, never hung out with or called any of them again and said nothing about it to anyone until now. I still cringe about that night. Even 30 years later, I am ashamed I ever kept company with such idiots. 

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