Oh, night shifts. They're not for everyone. It's quite challenging to be wide awake and functional in the dead of night. Sometimes not accepting night shifts doesn't have to do with being awake at such an hour (which usually takes a toll on the body), but more to do with the risks that come with it. From a creepy guy staring at through the window to being followed around throughout the night, night shift food service workers recount their most memorable and disturbing night on the job.
[Content has been edited for clarity.]
The Wrong Place At The Wrong Time
“I volunteered to decorate our restaurant overnight last holiday season. There’s a little Clarke gas station at the other end of our plaza and it’s one of the few in our small city that’s open 24/7. We’re just inside decorating and the people who were working up front, myself included, heard what sounded like a transformer explode. We look out and see nothing but a red SUV peel out of the Clarke station lot and think it’s just some kids goofing off or something. Five minutes later, several police cruisers and two crime scene investigator vans arrive and an evidence technician shortly after. Apparently, the store clerk had his head blown off by a sawed-off weapon. That was what we all heard. The weirdest part was having the detective on the case come on the news the next day and explain that no money or gas was stolen and that the cash register wasn’t even opened. So some lunatic just thought it was a great idea to come by and shoot someone. They still haven’t caught the suspect yet.”
“Then I Heard This Hissing Noise”
“I work at a cafe downtown. Quite a few homeless shelters are in range, and many are addicts. One day I was working behind the bar, and this redheaded kid (probably in his early 20s) sat down in our seating area and started chanting stuff under his breath. After a minute or two, he started moving his hands around like he was casting a spell. He then got up, started yelling and disturbing everyone. I walked over to him and told him he needed to leave for the day. The guy looked me straight in the eye and said ‘This is all a giant game. I’ll kill you with one finger.’ At this point, whatever. I got death threats a lot down here, no biggie. I shooed him on his way and that was that.
Fast forward to when we started closing up around 9 pm. I locked the doors and started heading to the parking garage my car is in. It was probably about 6 blocks away, no big deal. But winter up here is insanely dark, so it’s already pretty creepy in downtown. After about a block or two of walking, I heard this hissing noise.
I freaked out because I couldn’t see anyone around. I picked up the pace a bit, then I heard hurried footsteps in the snow behind me. I booked it to the staircase for the garage because I wasn’t going to wait for the elevator. I was about a staircase up and I heard the door I just went through slam shut. I finally made it to my car and got in as fast as possible. I looked around, and lo and behold, there was the redhead from earlier. Only this time he was furious. He saw me in my car and booked it full speed and started hitting my windows screaming, ‘I’m going to KILL YOU.’ I door checked him and drove away. I called the cops the next morning and they found the guy. Apparently, he thought he was in the Illuminati and completely corroborated my story to the police. Small jail time and one restraining order later, never saw him again.”
Not The Kind Of Room Service She Was Looking For
“I served room service at a semi-swanky hotel next to the airport. One night I was filling in at the front desk when I get a call from a lady in 204. She says there was arguing, loud banging and crying coming out of 206. I check the computer and no one is checked into that room due to maintenance issues. Called the supervisor to see what to do, she tells me to call on-site security and follow them up with a key. I really don’t want to but I decided to be the bigger man and go up anyways. As we get off the elevator we can hear the crying, it’s loud. My heart starts racing as we near the door, so I hand the key to the security guard. The next 5 minutes seemed to happen in slow motion. He opens the door and immediately flicks on the light. As we enter the room the shower is on, steam is coming from under the door. There is only one lamp on in the room, it’s super cold, and there is a lady in a red lacy bra, black panties, with super red hair curled up crying in the bed. She was facing away from us, so as the security guard approached her and asked if everything was okay, she sort of stopped crying and rolled over. When she did a wave of horror came over me – she was super pale, covered in blood and was just staring behind us. That’s when we realized the shower had stopped and the door was open. There was a man about 6 ft 5 in standing in the door way. Quickly the security guard tases him and throws him in cuffs. Turns out he was a serial assaulter who hides in hotel rooms, kidnaps women who stay there and cuts them open. To this day I will never go to a hotel again.”
Never Walking Home Alone Again
“When I was 17, I worked at a drive-in fast food place about a mile from where I lived. The store closed at midnight so I would start walking home usually around 12:30. There were no lights on the street I walked along until I was about 2-3 minutes away from my house; I wasn’t too scared because my dad had bought me a taser and a knife to carry.
I was walking home after an uneventful day when a car passed by – the engine was surprisingly quiet when they passed me, so I recognized it when they circled around and started following slowly behind me with their headlights off. As a rule, I never wore headphones so I could hear when someone said something about ‘behind her’ and ‘music on.’
Trying to calm down and coax my heart out of my throat, I pulled my taser out of my pocket and let it go off loudly for about three seconds. The car flashed their high beams and sped off past me.
My dad started picking me up after that; we lived near the place where the Yogurt Shop murders took place in Texas, so he was done taking chances.”
The Nightly Calls
“I worked the night shift at a greasy spoon diner and deal with lots of trashed people.
The other waitress gets off at 4 am while I stay until 7 am. She leaves only to come back in a few seconds later. She has a weird look on her face. She says, ‘Uh, someone put something on your car.’
Judging by her look, I know it’s not good. I run out to find my car COVERED in naked dolls. Hundreds of them. Cabbage Patch, Barbies, Baby Dolls, etc. All different kinds, shapes, sizes. .. the only thing they have in common is they’re all naked. It took 4 55-gallon trash cans packed to get rid of them all. It was weird.
What came next, was weirder. I proceeded to gets calls at work, nightly, at 4:15 am, asking if I ‘liked my gift?’ The calls started out as polite and inquisitive, and over 2 months turned into yelling and calling me easy, loose, things like that.
Then, one day at 4:15 am like always, the phone rings. I answer and I hear a bunch of popping noise, no voices, then they hung up. I never got a call again. It’s been 9 years, and I still don’t have a clue who or why.”
Saving Her From Something Really Bad Happening
“I worked overnight at a 24hr coffee shop but only our drive-thru was open at night so we didn’t have to worry about the cafe. Our store was right beside a band new, extremely hyped-up nightclub, so when we were slow our favorite pastime was looking out the drive-thru window at the show outside.
One night, two girls left the club and got to their car in our lot. One of the girls was incredibly trashed and upset about seeing her ex in the club and was struggling against her friend to go back to talk to him. She throws a hissy fit and lays down in the middle of our parking lot. Her friend cannot get her to stand up and get out of the drive-thru lane.
So I go outside to pick her up so she isn’t ran over. Now, she was at the club so she is wearing next to nothing, just the flimsiest, tiniest, and tightest fitting dress I have ever seen. She was maybe all of 90lbs so picking her up was easy, but trying not to touch her inappropriately was more difficult. I tried to put her in the car, but she began squirming and pushing back from the car which made it impossible to get her in. At the same time, her squirming was making her dress ride way up her body and made it unfeasible for me to continue to hold her without accidental touching.
So I carried her to the patio and set her down with some water, while her friend tries to talk her into getting in the car to go home. After some time, people begin leaving the club and a group of guys notices two pretty young girls on the patio. They proceed to chat up the girls and try to convince them that they will give the extremely wasted girl a ride home.
They were actually trying to pull the girl up from the seat, but her friend was trying to fight back from them picking her up and carrying her away. I went outside and these guys were being really creepy in not only what they were saying, but how they were saying it. They tried getting me to agree with them that their plan was the right one, and were annoyed when I eventually convinced the trashed girl to go with her friend. The guys skulked around the patio for about twenty minutes before finally shuffling off to god knows what.”
The Bizarre Incident At The Snack Shack
“When I was 17, I worked as a busboy at a high-end country club restaurant. It was the sort of place where people paid all-inclusive yearly memberships. The policy was that the ‘restaurant closes when the members are finished.’ This could mean you got to leave at 9 pm or 2 am, depending on which members were hanging out. This could mean some late nights.
One of the fun parts of the job was hopping into one of the staff carts and driving around the course to restock all the ‘snack shacks.’ These were little stalls that had sodas, chocolates and other miscellaneous crap you could jam into your face while watching a buddy 8 strokes deep in a bunker.
Late one night, after a wedding reception and after we fed the guests, I got shack duty. Everyone else was busting their butts on cleanup and next day prep, so I went solo. It was getting close to 3 am.
So, I’m not sure if you’ve been out on an unlit golf course at 3 am, but it’s a little surreal. It’s not like you’re in the wild. Everything is smooth lines and picturesque – but you are far away from anything. Lots of fencing is up to keep critters and people out too. Never really had any concerns at all being out there late at night…except for this time. I’m at hole 6, heading up to the snack shack (like a porta potty sized pantry) in the cart when the door slammed shut. Before I could really react, someone SCREAMED from inside, ‘I WILL KILL YOU!’
So I lost my wits and bee-lined back to the restaurant at the cart’s top speed, scared senseless and attempting not to think about getting shot in the back. By the time I got back, I had convinced myself it was a prank and everyone was going to be laughing at me. But boss saw my face and I told him what happened. He told me that only a couple people haven’t clocked out so it was not staff. Police came out, took statements, and searched the shack. All the food and soda was gone. The interior was plastered with crap and blood and random letters on the walls.
We eventually found a hole dug under the perimeter fence. I stopped doing night runs to the snack shacks. They tore that one down.”
The Most Unsettling Stare
“I was working alone at an ice cream shop where all four walls were windows. It was winter and it got dark at like 5:00 pm. Around 6:00 pm a car came and parked in the parking lot. I went to the window and was waiting for him to get out. I waited for about 5 minutes and he never got out. A few people came and went and I still saw his car running. I went on with my night not thinking much of it.
About 4 hours later he was still there with his car running. I locked up and started heading towards his car to see if he was okay. I walked up to his window and he was in the driver seat with his head slumped down. No music was playing he wasn’t making any sound, it was just the car’s engine. Where this ice cream shop is located is right next to a vacant store, so no one was there but me and him. I knocked on the window to check on him and right as I knocked, he looked dead at me, just staring. I started to mouth ‘are you okay?’ but he just kept staring at me. About 10-15 seconds later he popped his car in reverse and spun tires out of there. It was the creepiest stare I had ever seen.”
Being Followed In The Dead Of Night
“I work at a fairly busy restaurant. We close at 11:00 pm on the weekend, and we were short staffed this past holiday season, meaning that people who were closing were leaving at 12:30-1 am. I was walking out to my car and I noticed another car parked in the lot (other than mine, my managers, and the other closers). I kept my eyes on the car until I got out of the parking lot, and called my manager (still inside) to let him know about the strange car. I was about a mile from my house when I saw the guy behind me.
I got on the phone with the police and was told that a unit would respond soon. I drove out into the other neighborhoods near mine, ran red lights, sped, and did everything I could, but he kept following me. Finally, a police officer lights him up, and I headed home without being followed. I parked my car in the garage for the next week. Police said all they could do is keep his information since I couldn’t prove he was following me. Still scares the crap out of me when I think about it.”
Lucky To Be Alive
“It was the early nineties and I was working with a skeleton crew of about 15 people in a meat factory in Georgia on the night shift. I was just 18 years old but had recently got my first loan ever from the credit union and as an intelligent (read dumb) teen, I purchased a bright red Porsche 944. At night all the lights in the plant would be turned off except for the section I worked in. One night while leaving, I noticed that one of the company trucks outside had left their interior lights on but thought nothing of it. Not my problem.
The next morning a duffel bag containing 750k dollars was found in the cab of the truck and a box with 50 kilos of coke was found INSIDE the plant. The police promptly came and took possession of it all. A couple of nights later, a trailer of supplies was dropped off and it was discovered to have a false wall filled with more coke. They decided to leave it as bait but no one came for the pickup.
A few days later, my friends decide to just up and leave to go live in Florida and I, as a teen, was totally down with this awesome plan, so I quit my job and moved with them.
Back then I thought nothing of this, but thinking back, I was in a plant at the same time of night some heavy narcotics operations were going down and there could have been a guy in that truck crouched down when I noticed it’s light on. Had he seen me I would probably have been killed.
Then I imagine how I must have appeared to the dealers: a dumb teenage kid buys a bright red Porsche, quits his job and moves to Florida (where coke deals go down all the time) all in the few days they lost millions in supplies and cash while on my shift.
Pretty lucky to be alive!”
Waiting For The Cops
“Once, working gravy at a grocery store, I went out for a smoke. A guy in a pickup pulled up. We were a 24 hr place, so he went in, made his purchase and came back out. He couldn’t get the truck started, and called me over for help. Apparently, the screwdriver he had jammed into the ignition wasn’t working, so I told him I would go inside and call him a tow truck. He bought it and waited dutifully by the truck for the cops I had called instead to show up. After arresting him for GTA, the cops thanked me for calling him in. Turns out he had recently been deported after serving out his assault conviction and had stolen his victim’s husband’s truck after crossing back over the border. Pretty creepy…”
When Nightmare Becomes Reality
“I was working as an assistant manager at Dominos pizza. I was closing up shop as usual and I turned a corner to see someone standing at the window. The man looked astoundingly similar to a man who was apart of a recurring nightmare I have had since I was a kid. Not just a casual scary dream, I’m talking sweating, convulsing, things to bring up in therapy kind of dream. I completely panicked. Not only because I was completely alone at 1 in the morning as a 22-year-old girl, but he just stood there. He just stood there and looked me right in the eye.
I called the driver I was working with to come back and continued to hide in the office crying. After roughly 5 minutes of total fetal position cry attack, I built a bit of confidence and walked back to the window. He was still there. I asked him if I could help him, and he said nothing. Just stared at me. Finally, the driver came back, I told him where the man was and when he went to check on him, he was gone. Nothing to this day has ever terrified me more. I never had that dream again either.”
Like A Terrible Horror Movie
“I am a manager at a fast food store during overnight shifts (11pm-7am). Usually, there is only me and one other person with only the drive-thru open. This particular night, around 3:00 am, we noticed the back door slightly open, so I went to investigate. As I moved the door this man ran towards me, so I quickly shut the door. Moments later, the drive-thru indicator went off and we saw this person go straight past the windows and out of the lane followed by another two. They were all on motorized wheelchairs and they continued to drive around and around my store trying to get in the windows. They eventually sat one person at each drive-thru window shaking them to try to get in. I rang the police and they showed up and told me they couldn’t do anything cause the 4 people (three in wheelchairs and one not) told them they just wanted food and as no one threatened us, we were fine.
It was like a bad horror movie. It was scary weird when it was occurring, but looking back and telling people I was almost attacked/robbed by people on motorized wheelchairs, is kinda a really hilarious story.”
He Completely Lost It
“Working a 10 pm to 7 am overnight shift as an Inventory Management. Stockers come in about 2 am to unload the grocery truck, so we have to move out of their way. One dude came up to me, he happened to be my neighbor, and started a conversation. I’m going along with it, as one does, until I noticed that his eyes were really red and glazed over and he wouldn’t move his eyes away from my chest. Of course, that made me feel awkward so I crossed my arms over myself, he noticed that and remembered that he had a job to do. So he went to unload the truck. Keep in mind, that during our seemingly friendly conversation, he asked me, ‘What time do you go to lunch?’ My reply, ‘Same time as you do, we work the same shift.’ He asks, ‘What are you doing?’ So I answer him with, “Going home and eating.’
Anyway, so an hour flew by and my SO picked me up for lunch, and we drove home. Coming into our driveway, I saw the dude from work standing expectantly on his porch. I was hesitant to get out of the car. So on the way out, I grabbed my SO’s hand, and we made our way to our door. Before we got inside, the dude started THROWING A FIT, flailing his arms and legs around, stomping like a child, all of that. He kicked the door open, kicked a bunch of stuff that was by his door, and went inside, where we heard him screaming at his wife and kids. I called the cops and they dragged him out. Turns out he had been drinking. No clue what his plans were, but he did know that I usually walked home alone, so I’m glad I didn’t that night.”
Rightfully Dealt With Their Dangerous Actions
“I bartend at a local dive that is open until 5:00 am, so naturally, most of the customers are pretty tipsy by the time they even get there. It was a slow night so I spent much of the time chatting with a couple different groups of guys. Everything seemed very normal.
Suddenly, I heard angry shouting coming from the men’s room about 15 feet away from me. I turned around to see a male customer holding a weapon to another male customer’s head. The two were struggling with one another when a 3rd man ran up to them with a weapon as well. The three of them made their way out the front door as the one without a weapon stopped fighting. The bouncer was immediately calling 911 while myself and the rest of the customers were in shock.
We came to find out that the men with weapons are off-duty police officers and were very clearly under the influence. Apparently, the civilian man had offered the first cop some illegal narcotics in the washroom, setting off this chain of events. I’m not sure what charges are, if any, for the man that offered them some, but detectives did come in about a week later to question me about the actions of both officers. The last I heard, they were both suspended, and rightfully so.”
I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream
“I used to work at an ice cream store and we would close fairly late so sometimes I wouldn’t get out of there until close to midnight. Well, we had one last customer of the night come in. He was a middle-aged man and he might’ve had something mentally wrong with him just because of the way he talked and acted.
I handed him his ice cream scoop but he tossed it in the air and started screaming while running around the store. My coworker and I were scared not knowing what to do. And then he decided to make his way past the door, which kept customers out of the back and runs into the freezer. He would not come out. My coworker and I grabbed the money out of the safe and got the phone and called the police and they literally had to drag him out of the freezer. I didn’t close any other time and I quit soon after.”