Time and time again we learn that we should never doubt our gut feelings on things. Sometimes we save ourselves from a lot of pain and misfortune, other times we're too late to make a difference. These Quora users have shared the time that they trusted their gut, but it was too late.
It Could Have Been Prevented
“Twelve years ago we had two nephews, ages 5 and 7. They were being neglected by their parents, Chad and Krista. Chad is my husband’s brother. My husband’s parents complained all the time about what bad shape the kids were in. They were not toilet trained, not in school, always dirty and always had diaper rash. Oddly, rather than being concerned about the boys’ welfare, my father-in-law seemed more just embarrassed about the situation, and my mother-in-law loved to gleefully snark about what a bad housekeeper and mother Krista was. When they moved to Colorado, my husband visited and saw just how bad off the kids were. They were malnourished and not meeting cognitive milestones normal for their ages so he tried talking to his brother about it. We tried inviting them for visits to get to know them better and see what we could do to help. Chad blew him off about his concerns, said he had it under control and implied it was none of our business. They cancelled every visit, usually at the last minute. During one phone conversation, Chad even told my husband he wished he’d never had kids. My husband and I were horrified, he was at home when he said this and what if one of the boys heard him?
One serious issue that the boys had was related to the diaper rash and lack of toilet training. They had developed a condition called encopresis, in which they were basically either very constipated or had explosive diarrhea. They were apparently being treated with enemas and suppositories, but not in any consistent manner. We later learned that they were being locked in their room (with no access to a bathroom) every day while Chad went work and Krista slept in. So basically they could not be toilet trained in that situation and would be left sitting in soiled diapers until she got up. The older child later told me ‘usually I hold it, because it hurts when I go poop.’ The ‘holding it’ is what directly led to the encopresis condition, and he did that because the diaper rash hurt his bottom so much when he defecated and had to wipe. Obviously, had the boys been kept clean with regular diaper changes and toilet trained on a normal schedule, they would likely not have developed this condition.
After getting nowhere with Chad for a few months, my husband called social services. He told them everything, especially about the encopresis and malnutrition, but the person would not listen. She was very dismissive to my husband, and we later learned that the only thing they did was check the home school registry. Five months after his call to social services and them doing essentially nothing, the younger child died, about a week before his 6th birthday. He died from an obstructed colon; his autopsy report described a baseball-sized ball of feces that was blocking and enlarging his tissue, and turned necrotic. The other child nearly died. This is a whole other story, but the horrible social services department pressured us to foster him even though we really had no means to do what he needed. He was also terribly malnourished, weighing 36 pounds at age 7 years and 9 months. After he was with us for a week he started vomiting because his colon was completely obstructed too. We got him to the hospital and he was there for 3 weeks. They said that his colon had stretched to 3/4 the width of his abdomen because of the encopresis. We don’t know what eventually happened because we insisted that he be placed with a family that lived near his medical care (we were a 2.5 hour drive away) and who could better handle a special needs child, but there was a discussion about removing part of his colon because it was so damaged.
If the social services department had done their job, my nephew might still be alive. Had my in laws been anything but selfish, stupid and spiteful, they might have done something to stop their grand children from being neglected so badly that one of them died and the other one nearly did.”
Brothers Sense Crazy
“My brother had a girlfriend in his twenties. I am a good judge of people and I told him she was trouble. But, big chest and a smile speak louder than a little brother. I tried to at least convince him that she was trouble and to take it slow. So here’s what happened over the course of a few months:
She got him to buy her a car! That was a huge red flag for me because my brother was working hard to get through college – now he had a car note, gas, etc… I thought my big brother was a better judge of character than me, but he was like an addicted man. She arrived one day a few weeks later with a three-year-old girl saying it’s her friend’s kid, then her niece, then finally, it’s her kid. By then my brother loved the kid.
He confides in me that he thinks she’s cheating. She convinces him that she’s not. I know she is, but I can’t push too hard. He finds out that she is still married, but doesn’t care. His power tools – thousands of dollars worth – go missing from a locked storage unit that only he had a key to. The door was re-locked after everything was taken. He convinces himself that the lock was picked.
I’m pretty ticked off at this point, but what really breaks me is when my brother brings her over to my parents’ house and my mother’s jewelry and medicine go missing.
She starts dropping her kid off unannounced for free daycare at my parents’ house. She pushes to get a key to my parents’ house. Finally, after about four months of this I lay into my brother. I curse him out and really push him around trying to wake him up. He is still under the spell. Finally, I go on the offensive. This is after my brief stint as a private detective (another answer) and I spend days gathering information on her. I get his friends to help me.
I present my case – she’s a cheater. I had some guys go in and get her to agree to things for money. There’s a lot more. He finally agrees to break it off. She claims she’s pregnant with his child and the cycle threatens to start over, but she meets a man one night with a ski mask on that puts a weapon to her head and threatens her. She disappears. And as a big thank-you she leaves my brother with thousands in credit card debt he discovers weeks later.
It took years for people to come around and say, gee Dandy you were right. We should have listened to you.”
A Whole Different Kind Of ‘Daddy Issue’
“My now ex-husband and I had four kids all together- Two were mine from a previous marriage, one was his from a previous relationship (he had full custody) and one was ours together. His daughter was incredibly spoiled. When he had first taken over custody of her, she was only a year old. He really didn’t know how to raise a child on his own, and at one point, someone told him something like, ‘as long as she’s not screaming, then you are doing fine.’ He took that literally. When I met him, his daughter had just turned three. He did not discipline her because telling her no ‘upset her.’ For example, one day I witnessed the girl sitting at the table with her crayons and coloring book. Instead of coloring in the book, she was coloring on the wall. I pointed out to her that she was not allowed to color on the wall, but coloring in the book was ok. Daddy Dearest looked horrified and motioned out of her sight to stop trying to talk to her. She stopped momentarily only long enough to frown, shoot me a dirty look, maintain eye contact and then continued to color on the wall. Her gaze was a challenge- ‘What are you going to do about it?’
Daddy Dearest grabbed me by the arm and pulled me out of the room, and out of earshot of his little princess. ‘Don’t upset her!’ he chided me. I was shocked. I have worked with children all of my adult life, and was the mother of two well-behaved children of my own. I knew a thing or two about disciplining a child.
I threw up my hands in frustration, and waited to see how the scene would play out. He simply waited until she was bored with coloring on the wall and when she abandoned her colors, he HID THEM on top of the fridge. Instead of teaching her the appropriate way to use the crayons, he simply took them out of the equation. He explained that it was ‘easier’ than having her upset.
This type of discipline went on our entire relationship. Princess was always catered to and babied. If she, say pulled my daughter’s hair unprovoked, and I sent her to her room, he would ‘rescue’ her immediately and apologize. She was allowed to do anything she wanted, and she knew it. She learned that she didn’t have to listen to me at all.
By the time we divorced, Princess was ten. She bullied her siblings, cheated at games, refused to do any kind of chores, and basically ran the household. She called me ‘mom’ yet told me outright that she did not have to listen to me. Yes, she was a huge reason why we divorced.
The divorce was brutal. It took two years to finalize because my ex purposely dragged it out for the sake of torture. He was nasty and did everything he could do to hurt me. He lied to the court in the custody battle over our son, and this all resulted in a home study along with all the trappings of a bitter battle. I warned the custody evaluator that ‘Princess’ would cause harm to our son sooner or later, as I witnessed her bullying her little brother frequently. No one listened to me. My ex and I were forced into 50/50 shared custody. I was sure this would result in nothing but problems.
Of course, she continued bullying her little brother well after the divorce was final. My ex had lied to the courts and custody evaluator about how many hours he actually worked, before, during and after the process. He left our son in the care of ‘Princess’ during his parenting time quite frequently. She was the boss, and decided that she wanted to go on Omegle chat. This is a video chat service that matches up random strangers for the purpose of conversation. You can chat without video service as well, but she preferred the video component. This obviously has the propensity for abuse. The children encountered teenage boys and grown men exposing their genitals, getting off, and encouraging the children to disrobe and expose their genitals as well. This, according to police records, occurred nearly every day while my son was in her ‘care,’ and continued for over a year.
I only found out about this because my son came to me, crying about how he wanted it to stop, and how he was afraid to tell his father. Unfortunately, my ex berated our son for telling me, and convinced my son that it didn’t actually happen. By the time the police took my son’s testimony, my son had been bullied enough to tell them that ‘it only happened once.’ This was not true.
I was the bad guy. How dare I get Princess into trouble! She is a GOOD KID. She is now 20, and she continues to run her father’s household and bully her brother.
All I can say it I TOLD YOU SO.”
A True Psycho
“One time, about six years ago.
My now former step daughter called me out of the blue to tell me about a new guy she’d met. He was handsome and he made her laugh.
After three years of back and forth with her son’s father, I was glad she’d met someone. At the same time, though…
I called her father, my then-husband, and told him about the conversation but also that something didn’t feel right. Of all his faults, he knew to trust my gut. I asked for his permission to look into this guy and he agreed.
What I found out was that the guy had a long history of arrests for substances. Most recently, he’d served two years in the prison system for domestic violence. This one really bothered me. You don’t get two years unless it’s really serious.
I told my now ex what I’d found and neither of us liked it.
We both tried to talk to Ashley about it and she wouldn’t listen. At one point, I’d said to her, ‘Ash, if it was just you, I’d tell you to go with God and always remember I can be there in 12 hours by car to help you if you need me. But you have a two year old who depends on you to keep him safe and this guy isn’t safe. With his history of substances and getting arrested, what if he has your son with him when he’s arrested and child services thinks you’re a bad mom for being with the guy? What if he uses and, God forbid, hurts or even kills your son?’
She went through the roof, calling me a drama queen, telling me he paid his debt to society and that she trusted him.
I mulled this over for a couple of days before contacting the son’s dad. I shared my fears and told him he needed to do something to get their son out of that house. No judge in the world is going to let a mother keep custody of her child with a monster like that in the household. He, too, ignored me.
Ashley stopped talking to us because we checked this guy’s background. We didn’t hear from her for six months. She convinced everyone else what a great guy he was and what an interfering person I was.
And then the phone rang at 2AM. It was Ashley, crying uncontrollably. Her boyfriend beat her son so badly the doctors were telling her he wouldn’t make it and she needed us.
We live on a small farm so I stayed behind but my husband made it to Colorado after many pitfalls.
Both the boy’s father and his grandmother called me. His father blamed me for not doing more to convince him to do something. His grandmother called to tell me she wished she’d done more. She said she didn’t know what to do. When I told her I’d strongly suggested to the father that he file for custody, she grew quiet. She knew I was right. He had never told her I’d recommended this course.
In the end, just a couple of weeks before his third birthday, the son is gone and Ashley’s boyfriend got life in prison. He was offered a plea for 30 years, out in 15, but he refused it. He didn’t believe he’d done anything wrong.”
They Didn’t Start The Fire
“When I met my husband online he lived in a shared house, it was just him and his job would take him all over the country days and weeks at a time so he thought there was no reason to get an apartment.
A new guy moved in downstairs, and my husband said he looked clean and put together, he introduced himself and that was that.
The next day he was burning stuff in the back garden my husband approaches him and says, ‘What are you doing mate?’ He had a broken umbrella and a piece of clothing on fire in a metal bucket.
He told him to put it out, that evening the landlord came by. My husband said this one downstairs is strange he was out burning things and is a bit awkward. The landlord brushed it off.
A couple of days later he was at it again, this time he set the alarms off. My husband and his friend banged on the door…again, ‘What are you doing mate?’ He had a pot of oil melting plastic stuff like cups in the oil.
My husband has been really concerned about this guy and tells me he isn’t right. He contacted the landlord again, nothing happens.
My husband goes away for a few days and comes back, we are talking on skype he drifts off with a few minutes later the alarm is going off by this time I’m yelling for him to get up, the screen is dark because it’s night, and eventually it cuts out.
Frantically I’m trying to contact him, his family, everything…. I get nothing.
My husband was rescued hanging out the upstairs barely able to breathe the house was on fire and the guy set fire to the hall separating the people upstairs from the downstairs.
My husband was taken to the hospital with smoke inhalation. His buddy who confronted the guy with him was the 3rd guy out.
He saw the pyromaniac with a blanket around him being aided by the fire fighter and with all his force he runs out and punches him in the face and tears him up.
He’s screaming at the firefighters that he started it and there’s people that need to be rescued, and to leave him.
Eventually he was fine and moved into a proper flat, no shared houses for him ever again.”
Truly A Gut Feeling
“A dear family friend gave us mushrooms she’d picked in her yard. I said ‘I don’t want to eat them. They might be poisonous.’
Both my father and mother scolded me severely. ‘X is a dear friend. It would be very impolite to refuse to eat them. You are paranoid — she is not trying to poison us. If you don’t eat them, we will punish you severely.’ I picked at them.
Fast-forward two hours: My parents, in the hospital, narrowly escaped death (with the help of a stomach pump). I was in my twenties at the time; the ambulance doctor said ‘You’re younger and didn’t eat as many, thank goodness. You don’t need to go to the hospital — just vomit into the bathtub for a few more hours.’
Doctor the next day asked my mother ‘Who gave you those poisonous mushrooms?’ My mother didn’t want to ‘tattle’ but the doctor warned ‘if you don’t tell, we’ll get the police to make you tell. Your friend may be unwittingly giving others the poisonous mushrooms, or decide to eat some herself.’ So my mother told before anyone else, so far as I ever knew, got poisoned.
Only a mycologist should eat mushrooms (other than in a restaurant or from the grocery store) — and mycologists have died from a mistake.”
He Saved Her Life
“There was a young lady, who worked as a barista at our local Starbucks coffee shop. She had a boyfriend who had just bought a brand-new motorcycle. I asked her about it…
She said it was a Japanese sport bike. I asked her how old her boyfriend was and how long he had been riding motorcycles. She responded that he was 19 and that he was a new rider. She said he wanted to take her out for a ride that weekend and that she was looking forward to it.
I told her I had ridden motorcycles for over 40 years, and I advised her to please not ride on the bike with him. She seemed like a really smart girl and was open to listening.
I let her know that modern sport bikes and young beginning riders are a bad and dangerous combination. My advice to her was to support her boyfriend and encourage him to take the Motorcycle Safety Foundation rider course, but to not ride with him until he had spent a couple years learning how to safely control a powerful, lightweight sport bike by himself.
Two weeks later I saw her again at Starbucks and asked how she was doing. She appeared very sad and distressed. She said her boyfriend did go riding that weekend with several other friends, but that she told him she wouldn’t go riding with him, as I had advised.
Unfortunately he crashed and died. In this situation, my warning to this smart young girl resulted in her avoiding a tragic disaster. Something very bad happened, but not to her.”
He Tried To Warn Them
“When I separated from my first wife, she moved in with her best friend and her husband.
I cautioned her best friend that that would cause problems, as my ex wasn’t the angel everyone thought she was.
The friend and her husband merely rolled their eyes.
A couple of months later, the friend and her hubby are fighting about when my ex is leaving to get a place of her own. The hubby wanted her gone. He reached out to me over some drinks and I repeated what I had told them before. He agreed with me.
Fast forward to the six-month mark of our separation.
Her friend got called into work. She made it a mile down the road when she realized she forgot her lunch, so she went back to get it.
As she walked past the living room window, she saw it. Her husband and my ex were doing it.
My ex was kicked out that day, and she and her husband struggled to heal the marriage. They miraculously worked it out, but the trust had been banged up pretty bad. They literally ended up being roommates until the day her friend died of cancer. Not spouses, not lovers, but roommates.
Not a good way to have a marriage.”
What Happened Next Was Predictable
“At a hotel pool in Las Vegas, I asked two couples if the toddler walking along the edge of the pool belonged to them. ‘Yes,’ they responded. They smiled, glanced at the toddler, and returned to their phones.
‘He’s awfully close to the edge. Do you have any water wings?’
They smile. ‘He’s fine.’
Three, two, one… I dove in as his toes were about to leave the concrete. I pulled him up and greeted him with a big smile. He smiled back and as I held him, I began walking through the pool back to his parents. It was then that they looked up and noticed he was no longer walking around the pool. Alarmed, they started calling his name, unaware that we were directly in front of them in the pool.
I handed them back their child, left, and returned with water wings from the gift shop.
Toddlers are more important than texts, photos or social media.”
It Still Haunts Her
“A few years ago me, my ex, and our daughter were staying at a nice hotel for a few weeks while we found a house in our new area. His job was paying for everything and we really milked it because there was free breakfast and a hot tub.
One evening I’m relaxing my butt off in said hot tub while my daughter plays in the pool with her little floaties and one of my boyfriend’s coworkers comes and joins me. We chat and drink our drinks and then it’s time for me to get back up to the room. I can tell he’s pretty influenced but I had had a drink or two myself and he’s just relaxing, right? He’s a grown man, he doesn’t need anyone to look out for him. But I had a feeling. ‘Are you gonna be okay? You need anything?’ I asked him. He laughed and said he was fiiine, ‘you two take it easy! Have a good evening!’ Okay so I was just being silly.
After getting my kiddo all washed up and fed and in the bed watching cartoons I peeped out the window (which overlooked the pool area.) He was still in the hot tub. Slumped over to the side. I made a decision to run down real quick to check up on him, leaving my small child in the locked room. ‘I’ll be right back muffin, stay here!’ And I run downstairs.
‘Hey! Are you okay!? Dude!?’ To my great relief he lifts his head and gives me a blurry eyed smile. ‘Yeah! Yeah, I’m.. I’m doing good. I’m fine. Thanks for checking in on me! Haha.’
I start to feel silly again. And I know I have to get back upstairs to my kid. So I go to the front desk and bother the young guy who’s running things that night. ‘Hey, I know this sounds silly but there’s a guy out there in the hot tub who’s really messed up and.. well you guys should keep an eye on him, okay?’ The guy looks at me like I’m an idiot.
I get back upstairs and text my boyfriend. I tell him how I’m concerned about his friend. He affirms my suspicions that I’m being an anxious basketcase and tells me to just get in bed and forget about it. I look out the window one last time. Still there.
In the morning I look out the window again. He’s gone, but his hat is still sitting there by the hot tub where he had been.
At some point that night, he got out, dried off, got in his work truck, crashed it, and died. I should have listened to myself when I knew something was wrong.”
Wise Beyond His Years
“When I was a kid, our father took me and my brothers (and usually a girlfriend, as he and our mum were separated) camping on a beach in Washington State for two glorious weeks every summer. The beach was entirely ‘unimproved’, which is to say that, although it was only 1 km from the trailhead, it had zero amenities: no running water, no toilets, no structures of any kind, nothing. By the time I was 8 or so, I could pitch a tent, split kindling, build a fire, dig a latrine, and read a tide table.
We had pretty much free rein to explore, without adult supervision, all two miles of the beach and the adjacent forest, and we did. We were feral. One evening, my little brother and I were sitting about our camp, when a man in a boy scout hat marched up the beach, urging seven kids, the youngest maybe 6 and the oldest in her mid-teens, on by blowing on a whistle. We waved, they waved back, then marched on about 300 yards or so up the beach and set up camp. Below the tide line.
Where our older brother and dad and his girlfriend were, I don’t remember. Possibly in town at the shops. It wouldn’t have been at all unusual for me and little brother to have been left alone for hours at a time. So it was on me (then 9) and my brother (then 8) to tell this boy scout that he and his kids were going to get washed away even before high tide at 1:30 in the morning.
Skip (that was our boy scout’s name, I kid you not) wasn’t exactly receptive. I suspect that he chose to make camp on the wet sand because it held tent pegs better than dry sand. He never made the connection that the sand was wet because of the water. I don’t remember if Dad got back before little brother and I went to sleep, so I don’t remember if I told him about the 8 people camped below the tide line up the way. I like to think that I did, or that I tried my best to stay awake so I could, but I don’t remember.
I do remember being rousted out of my tent in the middle of the night and put to work helping to salvage what could be salvaged of Skip’s camp from the surf, then having to give up my cozy sleeping bag in my cozy tent to one of Skip’s little ones and sleep in the open. Nobody died, and Skip turned out to be a pretty good guy who wasn’t above having a laugh at his own expense, while I made pancakes in the morning. But sleeping in the open, with hoot owls a-hooting and bugs a-buzzing, never mind that we’d seen bear tracks up the beach a few days earlier. I was feral, but not that feral.
Scarred for life.”