Morality and legality are sometimes very different things. In some cities something as universally moral as feeding people without homes is a crime in some circumstances, yet most people would say that such behavior is, if not uncontroversial at all, a deeply moral act. These situations happen frequently, and like them or not these stories aren't going away anytime soon.
These stories detail people who, for some reason, broke the law in service of greater moral good. Their stories have been lightly edited for clarity.
His Coworker Was Missing Out On Most Of His Job’s Benefits
“About 15 years ago, I was working at a manufacturing plant. One of the guys at my station had been working there for four years as a temp, while I was hired from temp to full time in just six months.
I asked him why he hadn’t been moved to full time yet and he told me it was because he didn’t have a diploma or a GED. He had two kids at the time, and a third child on the way.
So after work one night I brought him to my house, scanned my own GED, and then photoshopped his name in place of mine and printed him out about 40 or 50 copies of it in color, not black and white. The whole process took about two hours to make sure it looked as perfect as a real GED, and in the end, it did.
He took a copy to HR the next morning and told them his mom had finally found his GED so he made a copy of it for them. He was hired on as a full-time employee within two weeks.
Though what I did was surely illegal, it didn’t seem right that my coworker had been working for four years as a temp while everyone else around him kept getting hired on full time (which gave a $3 per hour raise, insurance, paid time off, sick days, paid holidays, etc). I had to do something to help him, especially since he had two (soon to be three) children to provide for, so I’d say it was for the right reason.”
Monsters Like This Shouldn’t Be Allowed To Run Pet Stores
“I used to work at a veterinary clinic that had a partnership with a local pet store. The pet store was one of those places where the top of the ‘cages’ are open so anyone can reach in, pet the puppies, and move on to the next, which is also a real easy way to spread diseases between animals.
The place was run by the scum of the earth; they would pull a puppy off the floor on a Friday, put it in the back until around lunchtime Monday, and then bring the dog to us. By that time, the puppies were usually too sick to save. I can’t tell you how many puppies a week they would bring us with parvo.
One day they brought us a Corgi puppy who had previously had a kennel cough. He was sick for so long that his lungs were permanently scarred, so he would have a cough for the rest of his life even though he wasn’t sick. They asked us to just put him down since he was deemed unsellable. We falsified the paperwork to say he was euthanized, and one of the other techs took him home.”
They Never Even Reported Anything
“One time I dropped by my addict tenants’ place to pick up a late rent check. I believe in second chances, but these two had been messing up at my expense for two years. They had three months left on the lease at that point and I wasn’t going to offer them a new one. Anyway, I knew the lady was about ready to have a baby the last time I’d seen them, but I was not ready for what I saw when I got there.
The door was wide open and the place was trashed. The parents were passed out, one on the couch, the other on the floor. Paraphernalia was everywhere. I found the baby in a car seat on the kitchen floor. There were flies and roaches everywhere, even on the baby, who was only a week or two old at most. The baby was obviously not well and was in a disgustingly old and dirty diaper with nothing else, practically stuck to the car seat.
I grabbed the baby and ran; I knew exactly what to do. I drove to the ER, parked at a public park across the street, and dropped that baby at the hospital door. I ran away and never looked back.
I never contacted them about the rent because the gravity of what I’d done was sinking in. I knew the couple didn’t have any family and that I’d done that child a huge, life-changing favor, but I could absolutely go to jail for it. They were gone a month later and never reported the baby missing.”
She Was His Saving Grace And He Considers Her A Mother
“I went to Seminole Middle School way back when in Florida and my family was really poor…like, REALLY poor. I used to steal lunch wraps and salad from the health bar during lunch in the cafeteria. The lunch lady knew. There were three different lunch periods, all hosted at different times of the day.
She wouldn’t charge me until the third lunch, and even then it was next to nothing. I would have a backpack full of wraps and salads that I’d take home and share with my brother.
14 years to this day, I have spent every Sunday talking to her for at least two hours. She is old now and nobody really visits her. I tend to go see her from time to time when the opportunity arises. I bring her Thanksgiving dinners and Christmas dinners. Sometimes I cook breakfast for her and I maintain her garden. I take her for walks (she’s in a wheelchair). I love her. When she passes away, I will have lost a mother and a friend.”
They Actually Wanted To Press Charges Over Donated Candy
“I used to work at a CVS. After Halloween, all their candy goes on sale, up to 80% off. After three weeks, though, no one wants candy corn flavored chocolate or bat-shaped gummies, so they told me to throw it all away.
This was about two shopping carts worth of candy, none of it expired or damaged, just out of season. Instead of taking it to the dumpster, I placed it all in the back of my car. The next morning it all went to the local food drive center (in all honesty, I did keep two bags for myself). The food center sent me a thank you letter saying I donated over 50 lbs of candy.
About two months later, I was called into the head office. They had me on video putting the candy in my car. They told me I owed them $500 in damages or they would press charges. I got a lawyer and argued that dumpster diving isn’t illegal in my area, which since I was told to throw it away is what I did. In the end, I was fired and banned from the store, but the charges were dropped.”
He Just Wanted To Make Sure His Mother Was Alright
“I woke up one night to my mother screaming bloody murder. A week prior she was involved in a work accident (ironically she works at the hospital) where a crazy patient lifted her up and dropped her on the corner of a desk. Nothing broke, but the bruising was so bad and intense she’d formed internal clots and was at risk of a big one breaking up and running through her circulatory system.
The night she woke up screaming, well, it happened, and she was in a ton of pain. My old man was carrying her to the car and told me to get her to the hospital ASAP. Before I even got out of the driveway, my mother was losing her mind from a combination of pain and worry. Her worry was that one of the many clots that were stuck would make it to her brain or heart, and that was all it took to make me drive 100 mph through every red light on the way to the hospital.
I ultimately ended up with four red light camera tickets and a cop trying to pull me over in the last block before the hospital. The officer was nice enough to let me go, seeing as how I pulled into the emergency side of the hospital and was scrambling for a wheelchair before he had a chance to say hello. The bureaucracy still made me pay for the red light tickets.”
He Had A Nonaddictive Remedy For His Cousin
“In high school (and after), I sold weed. I really only did it to have a perpetual supply of my own stash, but then it got to be more than I could ever smoke so I ended up dropping out my senior year to grow, sell, and supply because the money was good. I guess I didn’t start selling for the right reasons.
However, not too long after I dropped out, my younger cousin got diagnosed with Crohn’s disease around age 14-15. He went through the gamut of treatments and the last one was called Remicade. Remicade has some pretty bad side effects and his quality of life was pretty bad. He could hardly eat and when he did he vomited most of it up. During the first few months, he survived off of IV bags and orange juice. He had to drop out of school and start homeschooling, and even then he could hardly do his work.
After almost a year of the Remicade treatment, doctors started talking about surgery to remove multiple feet of his intestine and giving him a colostomy bag. I convinced my family that weed could actually help him. At that point, he was about 16-17 and I smoked with him for the first time. Not too long after his first three hits, he said he was hungry for the first time in nearly a year. We ordered pizza and he ate a whole medium pie by himself and went to bed without getting up in the middle of the night, which was rare for him. I stopped focusing on my ‘business’ and started focusing on sourcing products for him.
He has been in remission for almost two years now. I moved away to a different state, but I still ship him the goods. He can now get by on a low dose and it’s enough to keep the disease at bay. He’s also starting his first job soon! Plus medicinal weed is newly legal in his state, which it wasn’t when I started my operation.”
His Friend Almost Ended Up In A Very Sketchy Situation
“When I was 18 and had just moved away to college, my best friend was 16 and still in high school, we’ll call him Jake. He is a gay man and we’re from a small town, so he was having a rough time back home with being accepted, plus he had just broken up with his boyfriend. Once Jake called me, very distressed, in the middle of the night and told me to come get him because he was running away from home after a fight with his parents. I told him, ‘What the heck? It’s 2 am, it’s a 3-hour drive away, and I’ve got school tomorrow, so sorry buddy, no can do,’ and hung up.
He called back an hour later and told me he’d met a guy on the Internet that will come pick him up and drive him to the city…five hours away from home. The guy was 31 and on his way. ‘No, Jake, you wait right there.’ I got up, got dressed, and started driving in about three minutes time.
I made the drive in two and a half hours, picked my friend up, and drove right back home. We got back around 6 am and his parents were already blowing up my phone. I told them 300 times I hadn’t seen Jake but they wouldn’t stop crying. Then the school principal called me and said that the police were on their way.
I packed Jake in my car and we went to the mall while the police searched my entire house while my roommate was home. One day and several lawsuit threats later, we finally called Jake’s parents and told them he was with me, and he went home. He wasn’t allowed to contact me for a year or I’d get sued for kidnapping (I was considered an adult at 18).
A year later, we moved in together and he’s still my friend. I wouldn’t change anything I did because God forbid he had left with the strange man that night and something had happened to him, I would’ve never forgiven myself. I did what I thought was right.”
His Poor Dog Didn’t Deserve The Abuse It Received
“My last year of college, I moved into a house with two guys. One I knew really well and had lived with before, and the other guy I kinda knew. A few months before we moved in but after we signed a lease, the second guy, who I’ll call Al, bought a dog from a shelter. It was rude to get a dog without talking to us since we were then forced to live with a dog we never agreed to, but we let it go.
Well from day one, the guy was a horrible dog owner. He left the dog out on a chain all the time, he forgot to feed him, and he put the dog’s cage in the basement where there was no light source. One weekend, two months in, we all left and Al decided to leave the dog alone all weekend with no one to take care of him. I came home to piles of dog poo everywhere and a very hungry and sad dog. I fed the dog, took him on a walk, and called Al to tell him that he needed to get back and clean the place.
That night he got home while I was gone, beat the dog in the basement for forty-five minutes, and then locked it alone in the pitch black basement. He sent a text to me and our other roommate saying to not look at the dog, not let it out, and not interact with it at all. The next day, Al worked until eleven. A bad storm hit, so the other roommate and I took the dog to my parents’ house about an hour away.
When Al got home, I told him that I’d let the dog out and he ran away. Al tried to fight me, but our other roommate intervened. My mother took the dog to the vet where we learned that Al had busted an eardrum and caused permanent nerve damage in the dog’s face. We went to the police and Al was arrested and convicted of animal abuse. The dog still lives a fat, happy life with my parents where he steals my father’s side of the bed every night.”
A Government Employee Who Went A Bit Rogue
“I work at Valvoline, and we had a customer come in who could barely afford an oil change (even with a $19.99 coupon) well after we finished the oil change her battery wouldn’t crank, we tested it and it was completely dead. Upon hearing this she broke down in tears and explained there was no way she could afford a new battery anytime soon.
Now policy dictates that we call a tow truck and have her towed. But we said forget that, and gave her a brand new battery for free and cleaned her fuel line. The look of gratitude on her face is something I will always remember. Two weeks and counting with no repercussions.”
This Woman’s Son Is Going To Be Ecstatic Come Christmas
“I used to work at a furniture store in the electronics department. We had a promotion going on where you could get free stuff (really rare) or 10-25% off. All you had to do was scratch the silver stuff off of the scratch tickets we gave out.
A few of us soon learned that you could see through the back of the tickets if you held them up to the light. We checked every ticket for prizes and I found a free $800 surround sound system. I brought the ticket home with the intent of keeping it and using it at another store. The guilt caught up with me that night, so I brought it back in and kept it in my pocket.
We had so many well-off people come in buying $2,000 TVs and $3,000 washer/dryer combos that I just couldn’t give it to them. A week later a single mother who was down on her luck (she was a friend of one of my coworkers) came in to buy her 10-year-old son a small TV for Christmas, one of the cheap brands. I gave her the ticket even though it wasn’t my sale, saying, ‘I have a good feeling about this one.’ Her son got one heck of a Christmas gift for his PlayStation set up.”
She Has A Bad Feeling About This Young Woman’s Fate
“When I worked at the psychiatric hospital, there was a young woman who was a frequent flier, in and out of the hospital every couple of months due to chronic mental illness and substance abuse.
Her mother called me one day and asked if I could tell her whether her daughter was in the hospital on that particular day because she hadn’t been seen for a couple of weeks and the family was worried about her. I knew her mom because I had worked with her before during this woman’s previous hospitalizations.
It was a HIPAA violation to say anything at all to this woman, but I erred on the side of humanity. I broke the law and looked on the hospital-wide census. She wasn’t there, and I told her mom as much. For the rest of my time working there, this particular young woman never came back.
About two years later a man was convicted of murdering two women who had the same general demographics as this lady and who lived in the same county. So while I would like to believe that this young woman got her act together and moved to Hollywood to become a star or some other positive thing, I have a sick feeling about what happened to her. I wish I could’ve given the mother better news, even though it was a violation of the law.”
She Was Rewarded For Being So Selflessly Kind To Animals
“I used to work at a farm supply store, the sort that carries all sorts of knick-knacks including pet food. Well, every time the truck came in, there was always a few bags of dog or cat food that were torn open, so they got tossed. I always had the closing shifts, so I started taping the rips closed and then pulling them from the dumpster after work.
I was prompted to do it when a lady came into the store and bought 25 bags of cat and dog chow. She lived out of town along the grid roads where there was a smaller hamlet and said people always dumped their unwanted pets out there. She would take care of the dozen dogs and who knows how many cats that were abandoned out there until she could rehome them.
When I first met her, I gave her my employee discount and asked for her phone number. After that, I made weekly deliveries of the ‘no good’ pet food to her. I’d also pin up pictures of pets needing good homes on the store bulletin board. I still wish I could’ve done more.”
She Was Really Between A Rock And A Hard Place
“When I was 16, I took a traffic ticket for my mother’s piece of trash boyfriend. I was working at a grocery store when the manager told me I had a call. I walked over to the phone and the boyfriend was on the other line.
He told me he’d gotten into a wreck and was driving on a suspended license. If the police caught him, he would go to jail. Unfortunately for me, he and I were the only ones working at the time and I knew I couldn’t pay the bills on my own. I told my boss it was an emergency and drove my car down to where he was. He had convinced the trucker he hit to let him tell the police I was driving, so the police came and wrote me the ticket.”
Venti With A Side Of Waste
“I used to work at Starbucks. We’re supposed to throw away the breakfast sandwiches after two days. Well I thought that was total garbage. So I would put everything in a trash bag and throw it away like normal at the end of the night. But then as I left, I would take them and bring them to the homeless that would always congregate at the Safeway next to where I lived. They were very grateful, and eventually would know me by name. It was the most gratifying feeling. Eff you food industry.”
Man’s Best Friends
“I stole a dog from a cop.
Last year, I moved into a new neighborhood and noticed one of my neighbors had what looked like an elderly dog tied up in their back yard. After about a week of moving stuff into my house at all hours of the night, I realized that this dog was actually under a year old, severely underweight to the point he could barely walk, and covered in mange. He had no shelter and I could tell from the rain water in his bowls that he hadn’t been given food or water in over a week. Not once did I even see anyone go in the back yard to look at this dog, let alone feed him. And he was the sweetest dog ever. All wags, never barked. No way l was I going to let this happen right under my nose. I couldn’t sleep at night knowing I could see this poor, sad little being through my bedroom window suffering in near freezing temperatures, but I knew I had to be sneaky about it. I didn’t know at the time that his owner was a cop, but I knew there were eyes everywhere on my street.
So I started getting up at 3 am every night to sneak over to his fence to feed him. I wanted him to associate me with good things, and to get in the routine of expecting me in the middle of the night. I didn’t have a plan yet for where he would go or how to get him off his chain, so all I could do was get him ready. This went on for about a week until one night, my chance came. I showed up at the fence at 3am, and noticed the dog was standing a few feet further to the side than his chain usually let him. I reached down and grabbed the chain, and realized it had broken. You can bet I sprinted inside, grabbed my car keys, and got him in my car as fast as I could. I was already out of the neighborhood before I realized I had nowhere to take him.
I ended up spending the night on the floor of my friend’s shed curled up in a sleeping bag with this dog. They ran out to a 24/7 Walmart and bought him food, a collar and leash, and the first toys he ever owned. It was the smelliest, coldest, and most joyful night of my life. We didn’t know if his skin condition was contagious yet, and he reeked, but those were the best cuddles ever. He was such a good boy.
Long story short, I was able to find him a temp foster the next day who donated vet care, and he now lives a wonderful life as a spoiled only dog with a wealthy family in another county who has no idea where he came from. They let me name him after my grandfather who had just passed, and I still get to go visit him and take him on hikes. I found out a short time later that his owner was a cop, and wealthy enough to drive a Beemer. This guy had absolutely no excuse to treat this dog like that, other than being a complete monster. I have absolutely no regrets.”