“Ask Me Anything” message threads on Reddit, also known as AMAs, have become a sensation on the Internet. Louis CK, Aziz Ansari, Joss Whedon, and many other celebrities have moderated their own Q&A sessions through this medium, and at this point they actually have the power affect a star’s reputation (remember the Woody Harrelson AMA fiasco? We bet he wishes you wouldn’t).
Although stars’ AMAs understandably attract lots of media coverage, non-celebrity threads don’t get nearly as much publicity, which is a shame. Some of the stories regular people share on Reddit are among the most compelling we’ve ever read — sometimes horrifying, sometimes hilarious, and always fascinating. Here’s a list of a few of our favorites, by everyone from a Disneyland cast member to a religious cult escapee. Add to our list of must-read non-celebrity AMAs in the comments.
Don’t believe the hype: there isn’t an elaborate series of tunnels under Disneyland (under Disney World, maybe). This Alice was required to come extra early to get into costume without pay, though, and had to stand around by the work clock so she could “clock in” exactly on time. Still, she has some amazing stories about some of the kids she met, so if you enjoy a good cry, scroll through the part about Make-A-Wish!
Ever wanted to know what it’s like to work at America’s most infamous fast food restaurant? Well, you probably didn’t, but in case you’re curious, check out some of the insane stories in this AMA. Don’t worry, though, it’s not all bad! As the poster points out, “We really don’t have enough time to jack off in your burger. Sandwiches need to be assembled in 30 seconds or less.” So you can feel safe about that, at least.
For the uninitiated who have never been to a sporting event ever, the “Kiss Cam” is a phenomenon during breaks in a game when the scoreboard switches to a graphic like the above, and the camera scans for couples to kiss in front of everyone. This Reddit user and her husband operate the cameras together at their local arena. When asked whether or not she worried about focusing on non-couples, like siblings, she replied, “We don’t. And we don’t usually care. Sometimes the most awkward reactions are the best.” Amen to that!
Being a thief isn’t all glamorous work, though this anonymous user definitely falls into the badass honorable-thief archetype. While he never got caught, he believes that “if a person has broken into your home, their life is forfeit,” and he also refused to steal wedding rings or anything that was clearly of sentimental value. Jeez, when’s this guy going to get his own gritty film noir? Well, if that doesn’t pan out, at least he can keep providing everyone on Reddit fail-proof tips for securing their homes against burglars.
We’ll let the user speak for herself on this one:
“I was born and raised in a small communal Bible-based cult in the US. I was a part of the cult until I was 27. Daily life revolved around a church and the pastor’s wife, who ran the cult. The children were raised to be workers in the church and to give their lives for what the leader wanted. My siblings, mother, and I were once one of 9 families and other single people when the group originally started, but that has now dwindled down to roughly 3-4 families. We were not allowed to have friends outside the church, to live anywhere except a church-owned house, or leave the church without escort or express permission.”
She’s been out for four years and boy does she have a lot of stuff to talk about.
At last, the truth of what goes on behind the scenes at West Coast Customs! Though this guy is happy about the work that they did, he admits that “they don’t fix any of the mechanical issues, and my car was a piece of shit. What they did was make my piece of shit sound exceptionally awesome, which is great. Just not great enough to drive on roads.” It wasn’t a total wash, though, as he has some awesome stories about Xzibit! Apparently they’re both big fans of Cheetos.
In addition to providing you with the best advice on what to do when calling 911, this user’s also got plenty of utterly fascinating stories about what it’s like being on the other end of that line. He’s answered his own cellphone as 911 more than once, for example, and he’s gotten calls from people he knew, too.
This surprisingly well-adjusted dude was sent to an ex-gay camp in Iowa against his will after his Mormon mother read his diary and found out about all of his crushes on boys. At the camp, they would force him to take part in “manly” activities and electroshock therapy, none of which worked. Some of their “manly” non-sexual activities were pretty hilarious, as he notes: “I had to lie on a couch while a guy played with my hair and told me I was beautiful. They never really explained how that was supposed to make me less gay…”
“With the exception of milk and the occasional bag of crisps, every piece of food I eat comes out of a bin. I eat like a king. All my toiletries, lots of my possessions. Ask me anything about my finds and the shocking shocking amount of waste businesses throw out which is perfectly good to eat or reuse.” Who knew?
Colonel Chris Hadfield has been to space twice and will be commanding the International Space Station. His son moderated this thread, so you get the perspective of the astronaut and his family. Double awesome! The guy himself is incredibly eloquent, too. When asked what the greatest discovery might be before he dies, he responded, “The beauty of exploration is that you don’t know the discovery until it is discovered. [So] I don’t know.”