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10 of the Most Bizarre Mistakes Ever

6. In 2010, United Airlines had promised a blind woman that one of their employees would help her off the plane but only after the other passengers had gotten off. However, once everyone had exited the aircraft, they forgot about her and left her alone in the locked plane.

Jessica Cabot
Jessica Cabot (Image to the left), Image to the right is used for representational purposes only. Image credits: cbc.ca, Shutterstock

On April 7, 2010, Jessica Cabot, an 18-year old blind woman from Vancouver Island, was flying to Jacksonville, Florida to meet her fiancé. The flight was scheduled to make a stop in Chicago where Ms. Cabot was supposed to receive assistance to get to her connecting flight to Florida.

When she was informed by the flight crew that she would need to wait until the other passengers had gotten off the plane, Ms. Cabot stayed in her seat and did not think much of it. However, to her dismay, she soon heard the unmistakable sound of the aircraft doors being shut with her still on the plane.

She was abandoned on the flight for a good ten minutes until a maintenance crew found her by chance. Luckily, Ms. Cabot was still able to catch her connecting flight to Florida. As a token of apology, United Airlines later gave her a $250 voucher and issued a public statement apology. (1, 2)

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7. In 2001, a stock trader made a mistake while filing a sales order at the Tokyo Stock Exchange and sold 610,000 shares at six yen when he was supposed to sell only six shares at 610,000 yen. This resulted in a loss of US$100 million for his company.

UBS Warburg
UBS WMA Headquarters in Weehawken, NJ. Image credit: Arnapoli via Wikimedia.org

A Tokyo-based trader, working on behalf of the Union Bank of Switzerland, Warburg, accidentally filed an order to sell 610,000 shares at six yen when his intention was to sell six shares of 610,000 yen each. The shares belonged to a company called Dentsu, a Japanese international advertising and public relations company.

Although Dentsu’s shares opened at 420,000 yen, they soon slipped to 405,000 yen, and the Tokyo Stock Exchange had to step in. However, eventually, the stocks were able to close at 470,000 yen, the maximum allowed daily rise.

Nevertheless, the Tokyo Stock Exchange could not reverse the order, and UBS had to buy back the shares at market value, thus incurring a loss of $100 million. It is believed that when the trader realized his mistake, he immediately resigned from his job. (1, 2)

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8. The Berlin Wall came down by mistake. When the East German government planned to slowly open the border, they announced it at a press conference without including their complete plan. When a reporter asked when it would be opened, the party spokesperson mistakenly said “Immediately, without delay”, causing hundreds of East Berliners to run to the wall.

The Berlin Wall
The Berlin Wall. Image credits Shutterstock.com

The Berlin Wall was a heavily guarded concrete wall that ran through the heart of the city, completely separating the Eastern Bloc from Western Europe. As the years passed, anti-wall sentiments among East Berliners continued to grow and the East German government was forced to ease some of the restrictions along the wall.

In November 1989, the government finally warmed up to the idea of allowing travel between East and West Germany, but only after completing a visa application process. To announce this new policy, the East German leaders called a press conference where the party spokesman, Gunter Schabowski, would inform the public of the changes.

Mr. Schabowski, however, made the mistake of announcing that these changes would go into effect immediately when they were meant to be effective the next day. So, as soon as this press release reached the public, hundreds of East Berliners flocked to the wall to witness its opening. This then kicked off the fall of the Berlin Wall and eventually led to the reunification of Germany. (1, 2)

9. In 2006, Haldis Gundersen, a Norwegian woman living above a pub, suddenly found that the water in her kitchen sink had turned to beer. It was later discovered that a bizarre plumbing error had led to a new barrel of beer being connected to her kitchen pipes.

Beer in Tap
Image is used for representational purposes only. Image credit: Pixabay.com

One weekend in 2006, a Norwegian woman named Haldis Gundersen turned on her kitchen tap to do her dishes, expecting water. However, what came out instead was beer.

Two floors below her, a worker in the Big Tower Bar had accidentally connected a new barrel of beer to the water pipes that led to Ms. Gundersen’s apartment. A surprised and amused Ms. Gundersen later remarked that if given a choice the next time, she would like to have her favorite coffee liqueur from Baileys pouring from the tap.

She also noted that the beer lacked the usual fizziness it has in bars and seemed to taste strange. The bar workers, however, weren’t as ecstatic to find that their beer tap was now spewing plain water. (1, 2)

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10. On 4 October 2013, a company called Tweeter witnessed its most active stock trading ever, nearly six years after it had been shut down. Traders mistook this company’s shares for that of Twitter Inc., causing the stock value of the defunct company to rise 1,500%. 

Tweeter
Image credit: legitreviews.com

The day after Twitter Inc. filed to go public with their shares, using “TWTR” as their ticker, the stock market witnessed a rather strange occurrence. Another company with a stock ticker “TWTRQ” went up 1,500% in their share value, although it had nothing to do with the social media giant.

It turns out, a few of Twitter Inc.’s investors were quite confused between the two companies and spent their money on the wrong one. Further probes revealed that “TWTRQ” belonged to a now-defunct electronics company called “Tweeter” that had gone bankrupt in 2008.

At the time of this incident in 2013, Tweeter had been closed for nearly six years. Later, as more reports of this error came to light, the stock ticker of Tweeter was changed to “THEGQ”. (1, 2)

Also read: 10 of the Biggest Mistakes Ever Made in History

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