It's amazing the ripple effect one decision can have. One decision we make can cause some truly wild events, and we have no idea what's going to happen when we make it. Sometimes it's for the best, other times, not so much. Just as these people.
People on Reddit and Quora share the decision they made that caused some wild chaos in the long run. Content has been edited for clarity.
"When I was eight, I broke a glass cup and spilled orange juice all over the floor at my uncle's house. It got under a quite heavy cabinet. It was sticky, and my father moves the cabinet a little so my uncle's wife could clean it. Behind the cabinet, there was a small box and inside that small box, a cellphone.
So that's how my uncle's wife found out he had a second phone and was cheating for a long time. It was a whole thing. They ended up getting a divorce."
"When I was in middle school, this one girl mailed the whole school about a pencil case she lost via our school's website. Some other kids, who were already famous for being exceptionally annoying, took the reply all button as an opportunity to link their social media accounts and ask everyone to follow them. It got out of hand and in a couple of hours, there had already been around a hundred emails sent.
Everyone got annoyed and asked the ones who started the whole thing to stop, once again by mailing the whole school. They didn’t stop, and this cycle continued FOR DAYS, resulting in more than a thousand emails sent. Eventually, the school staff was able to stop the spam by blocking the ability to send and receive emails on the accounts of the worst kids and punishing everyone who sent emails with detention, up to two months for some.
Additionally, we got a very long, very thorough series of lessons about every possible form of abuse of social media.
It was worth it."
"When I was 5, my two older siblings and I were at home with a babysitter. The babysitter got us a magnet that was too high for us to reach. After a while, we figured out the magnet turned on the treadmill. My brother turned it on and was playing on it when I decided to stick my hand under it.
After my hand went under, I have no memory of what happened until we drove into the hospital parking lot. Thirteen years later, and my right middle and ring finger still have big scars."
"When I was in high school, I had to dig up a dead tree in our yard. I lazily didn't fill in the hole like my dad requested, because I was exhausted after moving everything. So, I left it for a couple of days and my mom ended up breaking her ankle after taking a nasty fall from that same hole.
She went to the hospital where they did surgery on her ankle and she caught gangrene. No big deal, it was treatable at first. They did some minor amputations and gave antibiotics. Nothing they gave her did anything but slow it down.
So when they finally found one that worked well for her, what they didn't realize is that in a week's time she would have several heart failures a day because of it and eventually it got to the point we had to let her go."
"I work at an antique store and collect medical antiques. On one of my shifts several weeks back, I saw an antique blood pressure gauge and associated kit with cuff and tubing for super cheap, like $20. I almost didn't buy it because I didn't have anywhere to put it yet as I needed (and still need) a new shelf, but I bought it anyway. Since I didn't have anywhere else to put it, I kept setting it, still in the bag, on the floor, or on various horizontal surfaces, moving it as needed. Somewhere along the lines, the gauge itself broke, spilling the equivalent of several dozen mercury thermometers in my apartment. I still don't know when exactly the leak started, but best case scenario I was exposed to a relatively high amount of mercury in a small indoor space for several days, at worst a couple of weeks.
When I finally discovered the leak and the mercury, it turned my life upside down. A state hazmat team was called, and then I had to have my apartment professionally cleaned by an emergency spill crew designed for (and priced for) industrial spills (most of those crews won't even take on residential cases--there are shockingly few resources for people who spill hazardous chemicals at home to get safe, effective cleanup). My insurance also wouldn't touch the incident, so it cost several thousand dollars out of pocket for the cleanup. Then my landlord mandated an additional several hundred dollars worth of home repair in response to the damage the spill cleanup crew was forced to do when removing the mercury from hard-to-clean spots. I evacuated on 8/6 and moved back in for good two days ago, on 8/25.
All of this would have been prevented if I had just gone with my initial, Nah, I don't need this thing yet, I'll wait until I have a proper shelf for it, and left the gauge at the shop."
"I missed the train to work one day by one minute about six years ago. I'm a head chef, so being on time and present is extremely important. Because I was an hour late, my team messed up a table that was a well-known food critic and her family. They had strict dietary restrictions my team didn't take into account without me.
The review came out, and it was so bad, so bad that people stopped coming to our place and the company went under. I firmly believe that if I didn't get stuck in traffic that day, I would have saved over 127 jobs. It still keeps me up at night!"
"My parents decided that we were going to Colorado to visit our grandparents. My mom wanted the house to be clean before we left, so she vacuumed the house the day before we left. In the process, she caused one of the rugs to become flipped over so it wasn't flush with the ground.
My brother (age two) and I (age four) decided to play tag because we were bored while getting ready for the flight. We were running around the house, and my brother tripped over the rug, causing me to trip over him, breaking my arm in the process.
Eleven years later, I still have a scar in the place it was broken."
"I was an intern in one office and I had made friends with some of the interns in another city. At the end of the summer, our company scheduled us to take an industry certification test in hopes that some of us may have learned enough to pass it. My friends were scheduled to take this test a week or so before I was.
They took the test, didn't do so well, but hey they were basically done with their internship. I looked into sending them flowers (live flowers are expensive!), then into balloons, and ultimately decided to send them a balloon animal kit off of Amazon ($13ish). I marked it as a gift, wrote 'Happy end of summer, from your friend,' put in the address of their office, and moved on with my life.
A few days later, my friends mention that they randomly got a balloon animal kit, and they had no idea who sent it to them. Their (awesome) boss suspected someone at the corporate office had sent it since he had casually mentioned how much he hated squeaking balloons and so this person clearly wanted to torture him by sending balloons to his interns. Apparently, I either didn't actually write the note, or the note never made it into the box!
I let it go for another week or two before I told them it was me. By that point, their (still awesome) boss had interrogated everyone who had even thought of the word 'balloon' in his vicinity, and everyone denied having anything to do with it. Balloon animals were now casually taking over his office and I was getting daily updates on the chaos, as I had shown an interest in this bizarre mystery.
I fessed up on the last day when their boss had taken my friends out to lunch. They spent some time laughing and their boss dubbed me 'Intern #1.'
Definitely worth the $13!"
"In my senior year of high school, I went to school and had a slight stomach ache. At first, I played it off, and I was like it’s nothing probably just hunger or something I ate.
The next morning, I had a full-blown stomach bug in which I spent the whole day throwing up. I recovered by the evening and I was able to return to school the next day, which the school had one of the lowest attendance rates. It almost reached the level in which school would’ve been forced to shut down because too few people showed up. In one day, I infected almost 60-70% of everyone at the school with the stomach bug."
"About ten years ago during a holiday weekend, we discovered a bedroom window on our home had been shattered. By Monday afternoon, a bunch of neighborhood kids had already come by to tell me who did it (our house was fairly well known as a safe space, so kids would often come by when locked out, needed food, cleaned up after crashing a bike, etc). It was a kid in my child's class. He knew it was our house and it was targeted because he didn't like my kid.
I worked with local law enforcement to just have the window replacement paid for. It was a fairly new window, double-paned, with an environmental film. It wasn't cheap. I didn't want any further trouble for the kid, hoping it would just be a learning experience and he would make better decisions in the future.
He came by with half the amount in cash and said he would return the next day with the remainder. Didn't happen but I waited. A month later, an officer called me to verify the window was paid for and had the boy and his grandma (his guardian) in the room. The child had told them both he paid it all, but he actually kept half.
He came home from school shortly after to discover his grandma had sold some of his game systems to cover what he stole/pay off the window. Child goes off the deep end and beats the heck out of her. She surrendered guardianship and his parents still didn't want him, so he ended up in a group home. He was arrested for vandalizing our house, and it took years to come to an end."
"In college, I had interviewed for an internship at a large company near Seattle (I lived in Michigan). I had already started a summer job at an amusement park while I was waiting to hear back about the internship.
I did not get the internship, and I went to work at the amusement park for the next two summers. Met a girl while working there. Ended up staying in Michigan for a few years after college while she was finishing up. She got a job in Seattle, so I started looking for one too.
Got a job at the company that had originally rejected me. We broke up shortly after.
I could have saved a lot of time and heartbreak if I would have just done a little better in that original interview."
"Back in January, like a lot of people, I decided, 'It's a new year, I'm going to try new things.'
I ended up trying (and really liking) the rowing machine at the gym which, unbeknownst to me but surely known to someone, I was using incorrectly. I was using it in a way that would leave me severely injured just a couple of weeks later.
At first, I did not take it seriously at all. I took the normal painkillers--Ibuprofen, Advil, etc., which helped a little but not enough.
Over the course of January and into early February, my pain became unbearable. I went to the doctor's twice--both times they prescribed painkillers, muscle relaxers, and rest. Because of my job, I could only take the medications because I was close to using up what few PTO days I had as it was.
By mid-February, it felt like Wolverine was ripping my right butt cheek off pretty much 24/7 with his buddy, The Hulk, reaching over to twist the muscles in my but at least a dozen times a day. I couldn't sit, stand, lay down, do anything without feeling as if my butt cheek were being ripped off. Through it all, I continued to do my job which involved heavy lifting (at least 50 pounds) nearly every single day. I was trying to put all my weight on my left hip/leg, but it made my left hip/leg begin to really hurt also.
The entire time, my boss didn't believe that my pain was real or if it was, it wasn't that bad. Our relationship went sour because I was (understandably) INCREDIBLY grumpy and she kept insisting that the pain wasn't that bad and that another coworker also had sustained some injuries, and SHE was still coming to work so I couldn't be hurt THAT bad. That I must have a super low pain tolerance because I couldn't possibly be in pain that was worse than labor pains all day, every day for the last six or seven weeks.
By the last day I worked for her, March 10, I had had it. I completely lost my cool, and ended up walking out the door. I was scream-crying at my horrible boss and limping out to the car, crying so hard I was shaking and I was honestly shocked that I made it home without having a wreck.
It took almost three solid months of barely moving any farther than from my bedroom to the kitchen and back, taking MASSIVE amounts of painkillers and muscle relaxers, before I even started feeling even a little better. It's only within the last month or so that I've been mostly out of pain. The pain flares up if I push myself too hard when I exercise, mostly to remind me to not be stupid again.
I'm incredibly talented when it comes to injuring myself, so I'm not surprised that I quite literally broke my butt. That's what I get for stepping out of my fitness lane and trying something that wasn't walking, yoga, or barre. As much as I enjoyed using the rowing machine, I will NEVER look at one again without feeling the smallest amount of sheer terror and anxiety."
"Last month, I caught a fish and made ceviche with it. My husband doesn’t like fish, but reluctantly eats my cooking. We both got sick immediately (about two hours) after eating it. I threw up first. He held it in because he was on hold with ATT and was 45 minutes into solving a phone problem.
It passed his stomach and into the duodenum because he waited, holding down his puke. He tried to throw up so hard after ending the phone call that he gave himself an umbilical hernia. Couldn’t throw up the fish though. Stayed sick a whole week before going to the emergency room to figure out why he didn’t want to eat and felt so bad. About $1,200 of imaging later, he needs surgery to repair it."
"Just over a year ago now, I was working in the food and beverage department at a hotel that was a 40-minute drive from where I was living. I absolutely hated it, it was stressful and I always got night shifts. I decided I wanted a change and enrolled at the trade school that was a ten-minute walk from my flat. An old co-worker was actually a supervisor at a restaurant near where I lived and I thought, Perfect! I can walk to school and work! So he got me a job there.
It was AWFUL. Within three months I was the longest employee on the floor aside from my supervisor, the boss HATED me. I’d walk through the door and he’d roll his eyes at me, he spoke to me as if I was scum on his shoe, nothing I did was right. This was funny because any shift I had when he wasn’t there, the supervisor said I was amazing at my work. The bullying was so bad I was starting to collect everything he had done to report it.... then I got fired.
I luckily got a job the same day. But they broke their contract and weren’t paying me the correct wage, or giving me hours.
Long story short I couldn’t pay rent, I ended up moving back with my parents and my partner joined me. Lo, and behold my father's mental health that he refused to properly treat deteriorated. It got so bad I had to get my boyfriend to stand in the kitchen with me whenever I cooked because I was too scared be alone with him.
After a few months of this, my mother-in-law calls and says she and her partner want us to come and stay with them. They even bought us a ticket. I have two days to pack my life up. We move state.
My mother-in-law's partner hates us. They both agreed we wouldn’t pay rent for the first month or so until we got settled, but her partner calls us a freeloader. He thinks my boyfriend left a box in the fridge when he didn’t so we’re liars. Threatens to remove our bedroom door because it had been broken for three years, started to get paranoid about us. So we left back to our home state. Currently, we're in an Airbnb and are now homeless.
All because I quit my job to study."
"When my friend, 'Claire,' was about eight, she decided to make up a story about one of the teachers to make the other kids laugh; she announced that he took all his clothes off and ran around the classroom undressed, whilst singing in a silly voice.
You can probably already see where this is going.
The rumor spread and it eventually reached the ears of a grown-up, who believed that the teacher had exposed himself to the children. The teacher was pulled out of the school and an investigation started. All of the children in his class were questioned, but for some reason, they never figured out that Claire was responsible for the rumor (She never owned up to it, either).
The investigation went nowhere, and the teacher was allowed to return to the school, but... yeah. Claire's 'joke' lead to a huge black mark on his file and a completely pointless police investigation that wasted everyone's time, freaked out a bunch of parents, and traumatized almost an entire school of innocent children.
That was 19 years ago, and she's never forgiven herself for it."
"Back when I was 14-15 years old, MSN messenger was all the rage. I was chatting with a group of girls quite regularly that I had met over a drawing forum. One evening of us chatting, I was spacing out a bit, and clicking around the window to see the different functions.
Anyway, I tried to click somewhere and for some reason, I got a spasm of sorts in my finger and double-clicked. It accidentally added every one of my online contacts to our group - which was a handful of people.
As an awkward teenager, I was absolutely mortified! Thankfully most people just left the chat immediately - except for one guy.
He was a few years older, we were in the same school, and he was a friend of my sister's. He started just .... making conversation, asking how we knew each other, and what we were talking about, etc...
I didn't stick around for long, still quite embarrassed. Before I logged off, he had started chatting with the oldest of the girls, who was around the same age as him.
Fast-forward a few weeks; apparently, they had kept talking since then - and then met up - and then started dating. And then a few years later she wound up getting pregnant, at 19 years old.
I only met their son once quite soon after he was born, but we lost contact over the years. He's now almost 14. His parents broke up a few years after he was born, and she's now married to someone else. I see her often posting things on different social media accounts about her life and children.
And it kinda makes me giggle that this boy exists because I double-clicked somewhere I wasn't supposed to."
"Asked out a cute woman. She said yes. We date for several years and eventually I graduated from college. A year later, I’m struggling and I still can't find a job for more than minimum wage.
She suggests that I use that computer boot camp that I took for fun a while back, and use it to apply for a job. I don't take it seriously, but she says her sister will hire me to do a website or something.
I do the website and apply for jobs for programming. Who is going to hire me? Yeah, right this is going to happen.
Get called in for an interview at a major company. My interviewer is from the boot camp that I took years earlier and remembers me. I get hired by the company, and with good compensation.
Another 2 years later the cute woman and I are married and have bought a big house together. We are now hoping to start a family together.
I am under no illusion that if I hadn’t met my wife, none of this would have ever happened. I would still be working minimum wage right now. Nothing she asked me to do, is something I would have done myself."