If you’re out and about in a new city taking in the sights, you hear these rules all the time: “Don’t feed the animals,” “Don’t go close to the edge,” “Don’t touch that.” But honestly, how many tourists really listen? Tour guides have certainly endured their fair share of poor behavior by the people in their group!
Some rules might seem just downright stupid when you’re in a tour group, but rest assured: they’re usually there for a very good reason. And it’s true that sometimes tour guides are just being sticklers, making rules that aren’t really actually necessary. And can you blame them? It’s easier to wrangle distracted tourists that way.
But at the same time, there are definitely some tourists who deserve to be put on blast for their disobedience. Here are some of the worst things that visitors have done while out on tours.
On this one particular diving tour, this older man, while signing the safety waivers, kept telling us that he had a DNR (do not resuscitate) order. We plainly said to him that we are not bound to a DNR, and if he were to pass out for any reason, we would attempt to resuscitate him by our safety training. Most of the divers assumed that he was going to try something while down there, probably by spitting out the regulator and going quietly into the night….
The dive happens, and everyone is keeping a close eye on the guy. I see him go behind a large coral head, lay down in the sand, and spit out his reg, just as we thought he would. Because he is only about 60 feet deep, I grab him and wrestle him to the surface. He refuses to take my back-up regulator, so I have no choice but to slam it against his mouth and purge air into his face….
When we get to the surface, he is fighting me nonstop and trying to pull all his gear off. I throw a very hard punch to his jaw to knock him out. Three weeks later, he tries to sue my dive shop. Reddit User: Winkus
I Only Wanted One
I was working on a tourist island in Australia; we’ve seen our fair share of visitors, some of whom have done some odd things. The most memorable was when a man from my tour group pulled out almost all the back feathers of a peacock. Why? Because he wanted to keep one….
He did it by sneaking up behind the bird, grabbing a huge handful, and yanking them all out at once. He was immediately escorted off the island. The peacock was left with a huge bare patch. Reddit User: mugsandcoveve
No Bathroom in Sight
The company I work for tours the streets and parks of the city where I live. Before we begin, I always make a point to mention that participants should use the toilets at the beginning of the tour, as they are the only ones for the first 90 minutes of the trip. On a random day while touring a park, just 30 minutes in, I see a man from my group step away to do something unexpected….
He pulls down his pants, squats on the grass, and goes right there. It’s not a big park, basically a big roundabout with a swing set, bench, and two trees. I’m in the middle of my speech and he just squats down and does it like no one is watching.
I was so stunned that I lost my flow, which had everyone looking around only to watch in horror as this guy drops a log in a public place. He wasn’t even ashamed. Reddit User: funktopuss
I work at a brewery taproom, and we take people on tours of the brewery all the time. On the tour, I explain that during fermentation, CO2 (carbon dioxide) is produced, and the excess comes out through a run-off pipe and into a water bucket. One of the attendees, who was already being a pain, asked me what the pipe was for, so I gladly explained, again….
He then asked what would happen if he breathed it in. I told him he would pass out, and that there could be brain damage. He proceeded to grab the pipe and take a deep breath. He was escorted off the premises. Reddit User: tedandrassy
Calling the Coast Guard
Approximately 15 years ago, I worked as a deckhand on a line of boats that took people to and from Fort Sumter. The trip was about an hour each way, and we were one of the few companies that did the service. One day, when we were about halfway to our destination, two teenagers decided it would be fun to jump off and try to swim to shore….
For those who don’t know, this is in Charleston harbor, which has a pretty solid tidal current, plenty of boat traffic floating around, and probably more sharks than you would like to think about. We ended up having to perform a water rescue on them before continuing to the fort.
Once we got there, the Coast Guard came to pick them up to take them back to the mainland. All in all, an extreme act of stupidity. Reddit User: el_schkwappo
I’m a bush pilot in Alaska, and occasionally, the company I work for does glacier air tours when my boss asks, which I’m not a huge fan of. One day while doing a glacier tour with approximately seven people on board, the man sitting next to me just looks at me and says, “I’m the captain now….”
He then yanks the plane 30 degrees to the right by pulling on the steering wheel before letting go and laughing, saying that he was just kidding. I did much more than just yell at him. Reddit User: OngoGablogian5
Stay Away from the Middle
I’m not a tour guide, but I was on a tour with my family in Dominica that took us through a cavern system. The highlight of the tour was a beautiful waterfall that had sunlight peeking through. The tour guide told us a million times before going into the cavern, and when we were inside, to stay on the edge and NOT try to go too close to the middle….
Several people who had done it before had been sucked under, and many did not survive. One man completely ignored our guide in hopes of taking a selfie; the tour guide had to risk his own life to save him. Reddit User: Ms. Serious business
The Merlot Vines
I used to do vineyard and garden tours for a pretty well-known winery in my area. On this one tour, a lady asked to see the merlot vines we had, explaining how much she enjoyed the beverage. I didn’t think anything of it, so I walked her over to where they were growing. The woman proceeded to dump ash all over them….
While doing so, she yelled, “We love you, Nana! Rest in peace!” You are not allowed to dump human remains on food goods. It was an absolute nightmare for the company. Reddit User: cheese_and_krakens
Feeding the Sharks
I’m a tour guide/boat captain in the Caribbean, where we usually have 40 to 50 people on the boat. We would go feed swimming pigs, which occasionally resulted in someone getting nipped by them from doing something that they were not supposed to be doing, but it’s never too serious….
The next stop was at another island where we would hand feed turtles, sharks, and stingrays. We would tell people to hold the food with their palm open near the middle for the stingrays, and they would come over the top and take it. For the turtles and the sharks, put the food in the water, holding it at the tips, and when they come over, let go….
This man decided to do things his own way. While trying to feed a baby shark, no longer than your forearm, he didn’t let go. The shark bit his fingers, making him scream and jump up out of the water. Reddit User: SketchyMedicalAdvice
Checking to See If It Works
I once volunteered at a hospital for patient transport, and one day, I was charged with showing some of the hospital’s largest donors and their guests around for them to see how their money had been spent. The responsibility fell to me because I had keys to all the rooms except the pharmacy (but I still had access to it)….
Among the group was a rich wife and her son, who reeked of alcohol and cigarettes. They acted so stupidly that I thought that I was on a hidden camera show. Not only did she try to open the pharmacy door, but she was very upset when she could not open it. Her son, on the other hand, stuck his hand in cake batter, forcing them to dump 5 gallons of batter because of contamination….
But that’s not all. When we entered the pediatric ward, the alarm went off, and we immediately went into lockdown because the son decided to check how well the baby proximity alarms worked. Security ended up pressing charges for theft. Reddit User: Suitology
Why Are You Here?
I’m a former whitewater rafting guide. As a part of the tour, there’s a calmer section of the river where people can, if they choose to, hop out and swim through. They’re required to wear life jackets so they can just float through it. There was this one woman who decided that she wanted to try it and hopped out….
After a while, she pops up and slowly tilts forward until only the back of her jacket is out of the water, and she is completely still. After 5 or so seconds, I start to realize that it might not be intentional, so I paddle over to check on her. I physically pick her head up above the water, and she’s gasping for air. I haul her in the boat and ask what happened.
She says she didn’t know what to do, as she’d “never been submerged in water before.” Well, 1) why are you on a whitewater rafting trip? and 2) why didn’t your strategy involve moving your body? Reddit User: b771
My cousin is a tour guide and biologist in Africa, and he told me this story. He instructed his group of 20-25 people, including kids, not to wear any type of earrings or collars, especially shiny stuff, since they were about to go into a thick forest to try to see a bunch of animals….
This is very important, because shiny stuff can be spotted from far away. This woman complains about it but decides to wear shiny earrings anyway. My cousin tells her to get rid of them or she will not be going with the group, so she obeys but puts them on a bit later.
A certain species of monkeys in the area LOVED shiny stuff. They ripped the earrings from her ears. When she began to complain, my cousin just ignored her. Reddit User: [redacted]
We were in Australia visiting the wonder that is Uluru on one of my company’s many tours. There was a section where it was so sacred that photographs, among many other things, were not permitted. There were several people in my group, and I thought that it was safe to step away from this one couple to take in the amazing views….
When I came back approximately 7 minutes later to check on them, I saw them, minus their clothing. They were going at it like there was no one else there. In such a sacred place. Reddit User: WindInTheGarden
Snatching It Out of the Water
I’m a boat tour guide in a famous tourist city. I once had an elderly Chinese woman on my boat who was baiting the ducks and geese towards her with bread. As soon as this poor duck got close enough, she snatched it out of the water like nothing I’ve ever seen. She then opened her purse and started stuffing this duck into it!
I start yelling at her trying to get her to stop, and the younger males in her group started shouting at me for shouting at her. In the end, she released it, but not without the duck losing half its feathers! Reddit User: spencerjust
Beating an Allergic Reaction
Back in college, I used to give tours of my campus, which had a dairy farm that made milk for the campus. Usually, towards the end of the tour, the farm would give the visitors some free milk, and they were happy to sample it and get on with the tour….
Fifteen or so minutes after the milk was handed out, a lady tells me she needs her allergy medication or her throat would close up. Concerned about her, I asked what happened after calling for a golf cart for her to be taken to where her medication was. She told me that she is allergic to milk….
I then asked her why she drank it if she knew about the allergy. She shrugged and told me she thought she could drink it quick enough. Reddit User: Veni-Vedi-Defui
I’m not a tour guide, but I was recently on a tour of the Dachau concentration camp, and this family in our group (two girls in their twenties and their parents) started taking selfies in front of the crematorium ovens. It was literally the most emotional part of the tour. The guide was reading witness accounts, and when we looked up, these two girls were having an Instagram photoshoot with an oven in the background.
When our tour guide told them they were being inappropriate and tried to make them delete the pictures, their mom got in his face and started telling him that he had no right to say anything. Reddit User: mellbell13
Ted, Bill, and a Disobedient Kid
I worked at a living history farm museum, where we would get all kinds of visitors but mostly kids. During this one tour, a kid kept climbing on stuff trying to get into the blacksmith shop, while his mother tried to tame him. After the tour, visitors were allowed to roam the grounds. All of a sudden, I hear his mom screaming….
When I look over to see what is going on, the kid climbed the fence into the field where the longhorn oxen were. To make matters worse, he was trying to poke them with a stick. I walk over and calmly tell him to get out of the field before they retaliate, but he looks me in the eye and smacks one (named Ted) on the butt….
Ted jumps a little and whips his head around to see what hit him, but seeing as he’s a longhorn, he wipes this kid out with one of his horns when he turns his head. The child goes flying into the dirt and begins to have a meltdown while the mom is freaking out….
I tell him to hurry and get out before Ted gets mad, and unbeknownst to him, another ox named Bill, who has been watching the entire time, nudges him in the butt; he falls over the fence but is okay in the end. Reddit User: PtolemyShadow
The Everglade Park Bench
I’m not a tour guide, but I was on a tour of the Everglades, and our group (including guide) witnessed a French woman sit on a 16-foot alligator because she thought it was a statue. Thank goodness nothing happened to her, but everyone realized she was doing it as its head started moving….
It was absolute chaos. The tour guide ended up kicking her and her friends off the tour for not staying on the path. Reddit User: lcat729
A Chip Off the Old Block
I wasn’t a tour guide, just one of the people in the tour group. We were at a very fancy museum, and I watched as a kid chipped off a piece of an expensive sculpture. It happened while he was playing within the restricted area, and his parents didn’t bother to remove him….
I didn’t get to see whether the family had to pay a fine for the destruction of the statue. It was such a shame. Reddit User: kaarlsson
A 3000-Year-Old Indian Painting
I’m a teacher of a middle school class, and as part of the curriculum, we were supposed to take them on various tours around the city. One day, I took the class to a museum, and one of my students dragged his dirty hands across a 3000-year-old Indian painting….
Later on, I found out the object was almost certainly a reproduction, but I nearly died of rage on the spot when I saw my student use the painting as his personal hand towel. Never again. Reddit User: AleredEgo
The Accidental Fire
I work at the National Cathedral, and we get all kinds of visitors, but nothing too weird ever happens. There was this one incident when a tourist took a small votive candle inside the church and accidentally lit their friend’s hat on fire. It didn’t spread or set off any alarms, but it got through most of his hat and almost caught all his hair on fire….
The guy whose hat caught on fire was overreacting and decided that the best way to get rid of the hat was to throw it into the organ. We had to borrow a ladder to get it out. Reddit User: not_hacking
Shutting It Down
I’m not a tour guide, but what I’m about to describe happened while a group of people, including myself, were being given a tour of a milk packaging factory where we intended to shoot a commercial. The control was extremely tight, and we needed special permission just to get inside.
Once we’re inside, the director goes over to one side of the factory to check the lighting to make sure that we’ll be able to shoot all our angles. He uses his phone to take photographs of the whole place to keep as a reference, and then it happens. He drops his phone. Into an open vat of milk….
The factory had to shut down immediately because over 150,000 liters of milk had to be dumped. The vats had to be washed and sterilized, and the health inspector had to be called down so that production could restart. Reddit User: Makemistreaks
Losing to a Turtle
I was a tour guide at a university, and my job was to take small groups into the garden to show off our unique turtle pond. This one prospect was really excited when she saw them and wanted to get a close up of the largest turtle in the pond….
She ended up losing her phone to the turtle, then tried to get the university to buy her a new one. She was lucky that she still had all her fingers. Reddit User: Bengmann
I wasn’t a tour guide, nor was I on the tour, but I know the people who were there very well. They were the guys I used to play cricket with on weekends. They once went on a school trip to Auschwitz (the largest German Nazi concentration camp) and decided to steal a few items. It included a small pair of glasses and some buttons they’d found half-buried in the ground.
On their way out, they were detained by Polish police. I don’t know what goes through people’s heads sometimes. Reddit User: manbearnoodle
“Well, I Told You So”
This was not a tour, but a show where there were several mini crocodile iguana type things (I’m not sure what they’re called). There was this kid who decides to take his shoe off and wiggle his toes through the small gate. The presenter says, “Watch your kid, these animals will bite….”
The child removes his foot, then puts it back in when the presenter turns around. He proceeds to wiggle his toes again, and this dragon thing surges forward and clamps down on them. He starts to scream, and the presenter just looks on like “well I told you so” and removes the animal from his toes….
He stops screaming, and no one says anything. That’s what you get for ignoring instructions. Reddit User: Blue_Seas
Saving the Penguins
Where I work, we’re pretty good at stopping tourists from doing too much damage when they come to visit our penguin sanctuary. After being in the industry for a certain period of time, you get a Spidey sense for when people are going to do dumb things and can often stop them from doing anything bad, except this one time….
I was 7 months pregnant, and it was the week before I went on maternity leave. I was driving out to one of our sites, and to get there, I had to drive through our penguin colony. This particular species of penguin burrows underground and stays hidden in their burrow during the day and comes out at night. As I’m driving out to the site, I realize that the parking lot up ahead is full, and people have started parking up and down the road….
All of a sudden, I see a giant SUV pull off the road and drive into the penguin colony. There were approximately 20 non-English-speaking tourists piling out and taking selfies with the ocean backdrop. As calmly as I could, I point out the no entry signs and inform them they may have harmed penguins, and to get out of the colony….
Once I got them out, I started digging out the collapsed burrows to check for penguins. In the last one was a breeding pair. The male reached up and grabbed my top lip with his beak and ripped straight through the middle. I’m fine now, my lip healed without a scar.
As for the penguins, I popped them into a nearby unoccupied burrow. Thankfully none were harmed by being run over. Reddit User: NipponNiGajin
I gave tours of my university to prospective students and their parents very often, and during this one tour with a young woman and her mother, the mom tried to recruit me into a popular pyramid scheme and then, when I tried to change the subject by asking what she did in her spare time, she told me about topics that she gives public talks on….
She went on to describe that the moon landings were faked by Stanley Kubrick, who was shortly thereafter disposed of by the CIA and replaced by an alien clone. I made the tour as short as possible. Reddit User: bluecheese12
Doing Nothing Wrong
I was a tour guide on an open-topped tour bus in London when this woman tried to dangle her toddler over the railing. When I told her that it was not allowed, she said to me that she was going to complain to my manager. I caught her doing it again, and according to the company’s policy, anyone endangering their kids was to be removed from the tour….
So, the driver came up and asked her to leave. She insisted she did nothing wrong. This woman had her kid’s feet on the side rail of the moving vehicle. Reddit User: QuokkaMocha
Taking Some of It Home
I was on a tour of a small cave system somewhere in West Texas. It was really beautiful, and I kid you not, right after the guide told us how long it takes for all the stalagmites and stalactites to form, another guy on the tour leaned over, snapped off a small one, and shoved it in his pocket….
I was so surprised that I just stared at him. He then smiled and winked at me like we had gotten away with something illegal. I felt bad like I was a co-conspirator or something. Reddit User: Sonsea2
Don’t Feed the Animals
A while back, I was invited to a resort on a private island off the coast of Mexico. I didn’t really want to be there, and it didn’t help that everything on sale was way out of my price zone. The only thing that I was interested in was a 20-foot cliff jump attraction. While in the line, we were surrounded by coati (a type of Mexican raccoon)….
A young girl gave it some food, which we’d all been advised against, and was immediately bitten on the hand and was bleeding quite badly. My brother tied his shirt around her wrist and walked her to the bottom. Reddit User: RenandStimulants
While on a tour of Namibia, our Zimbabwean guide was telling us his craziest stories. He told us about a married couple who were on their honeymoon. One night while everyone was sitting around the fire, they got up to go to the bathroom. Then, a few minutes later, the guy ran back alone, crying and panicking….
When they asked him what happened, he said, “I think my wife was slain by a lion.” Everyone is in shock and asking him what happened when his irate wife walks up to the campsite, yelling at him. It turns out that they’d walked off, and at some point near the toilets, they both heard a noise in the underbrush….
The husband freaked out and pushed his wife towards the noise and down to the ground. He then ran away. Not only did they not speak for the rest of the trip, but they got a divorce when they went back home. Reddit User: forty_two42
Different Types of Visitors
I was the curator of a castle in the United Kingdom. The keep was in ruins but it still stood over4 stories high and was located on the edge of a cliff. We had so many problems with visitors that sometimes I wanted them to completely stop letting visitors in….
The number of Chinese tourists that would climb up the crumbling stonework just to have their picture taken was unbelievable. Not only was it a 300-foot drop, but you would land on solid stone if you did fall. When it comes to the Americans, they would try pry bits of the stonework off to take home as souvenirs….
It got so bad that when we did the restoration work, we had to leave the extra chippings in a bin near the gate so people could take them home rather than chip away at the castle. Reddit User: Catsnbears
Survived a Volcanic Blast, Destroyed by Children
While on a tour at Pompeii, the tour guide nearly had a brain aneurysm when he noticed that some American parents let their children start picking rocks out of one of the historic houses. The Italian guide started screaming at the family, “These houses survived a volcano blast, but they are going to be done in by your children while you do nothing!”
The parents watched as the man shouted and still, they did nothing. The children then proceeded to climb and destroy things along the entire tour. Even the other guests were annoyed. Reddit User: [redacted]
Doing More Harm Than Good
I worked at a ski guide industry, working my way up to becoming a lead guide. Some of the guests had a penchant for wanting to cause self-harm, but there’s one that stands out. One day while sweeping a tree run, there’s a man digging frantically in the snow towards a pair of legs….
His wife had fallen head-first downslope. Half of her body was buried in the snow, and only her legs and feet were visible. Her husband thought it was a good idea to stand on top where her face would be and start digging near the exposed part of her body….
I was approximately 3 minutes behind them, so her face had been buried for some time. I told him to stop and move, literally yelling, “STOP YOU’RE STANDING ON HER FACE,” but nothing, he continued to dig. I had to grab him by the backpack and send him hurtling down the slope….
I uncovered her face in less than 10 seconds. After she gasped for air and had a good cry, she proceeded to tear that man to pieces verbally. Reddit User: Chasingsnowflakes
The Stellar Review
A few months out of college and one week into my new job, I gave a tour to an English professor (and his family) who openly criticized everything I said and got irritated when I did not have more information about the items that he was interested in. The tour ended up being much longer than the designated hour because of his comments and rude behavior, but I kept cool….
When the tour was over, his wife came up to me, thanked me, and slipped me a $50 bill. She apologized for her husband’s attitude, and a week later, my boss came in to tell me that someone gave me a stellar review. Reddit User: EpicKri5
Being Scarred for Life
I was a ghost tour guide in Marietta, Georgia, and on this one tour, we had an entire group of girl scouts. There were 13 thirteen-year-old girls with me when I’m telling the riveting story of Hangman’s Alley – a pretty great rendition. But when I looked, no one was listening….
So I got more into it, but they’re still staring off into space. They weren’t ignoring me; they were staring at something right behind me. I turn around and immediately recognized the strange silhouette of a homeless person doing something with his pants that he was not supposed to be doing, and then I remember that there are minors present….
One girl starts crying, and then the parents were mad at me for causing the incident. They insisted that I file a police report and that I be charged with exposing the girls to such a thing. Reddit User: SuchKarmaSoDoge
Blinding the Penguins
I’m not a tour guide, but I spent about 6 months living in Melbourne at the end of a pier where there was a small colony of penguins. This specific breed goes out fishing during the day and comes back once it’s dusk. They’re a huge tourist attraction and always draw a large crowd….
There are several signs everywhere saying to stay on the walkways and not to use flash photography. One night while watching the penguins come in, this woman starts taking picture after picture with her flash on. The many volunteers stationed at the site go over and tell her to stop, but then she begins to run away from them, still taking photos….
She takes things a step further by coming back around and still using flash photography on as many penguins as she could while shouting that she should be allowed to do whatever she wanted. Reddit User: c0nsume0
Ruining This Natural Beauty
I was once on a tour at Yellowstone park, and as my group walked along, I watched as several children and their parents threw rocks and garbage into Morning Glory. There were multiple signs asking people not to throw anything into it because it clogs the spring, causing discoloration….
There are only three natural rainbow pools in the world, Morning Glory being one of them. And it’s people like these that get parks shut down and ruin the beauty of nature for everyone. Reddit User: Swaghunter24
Walking to Her End
For a while, I was a white-water rafting guide in Alaska. After the first half of the tour, we stopped for lunch on a gravel bar; then, we were to continue. While getting back into the boats, this one guest took one step into the boat and then a second step right out at the other side and straight into the roaring rapids…
Just to clarify, she didn’t fall in, she just calmly walked right over the edge and ended up pinned under a partially submerged tree 300 yards downstream. It took 5 guides to rescue her. Reddit User: yzpilot
Trying to Grab On
I work as a guide for a snorkeling company, and guests often do silly things while on the tour, but there are some people who do some really dumb things. On one of my dives, a man in my group tried to grab the tail of a barracuda as he swam up behind it….
Luckily, I was able to hit the guest with a dive fin just in time before he got a hold of it. If he had grabbed on, I’m almost certain that he would have been ripped to pieces by the fish. Reddit User: fkirwan82