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To ask if anyone has ever met a Walter Mitty type character?

166 replies

Mrspoopoohead · 28/03/2021 12:47

Just that really it always amazes me to hear how people manage to get jobs impersonating doctors for example. Has anyone had any real life experiences?

OP posts:

echt · 28/03/2021 13:00

But Walter Mitty doesn't do that. He has fantasies that make him do odd things, but the whole point of the story is others don't know what motivates his actions, he just behaves strangely.


echt · 28/03/2021 13:07

Do you mean people who lie on their CVs to get jobs ( got quite a few thumbs up on a recent thread on MN Hmm, or do you mean people with mental health issues who really think they are doctors?


Leakinglikeacolander · 28/03/2021 13:13

I knew someone who pretended he was more qualified in a medical field than he was.
It started to unravel when a colleague became suspicious, sadly the person killed themselves.
Also recently discovered that someone involved with my family who has since died was not who he claimed.
He was 10 years younger than he said and completely made up his life story. It was a big shock to us all but fortunately no real damage was done.


Spied · 28/03/2021 13:14

I know a guy who makes all sorts of lies up about his life.
He's currently getting his HGV license ( he isn't)
He works for the NHS (he doesn't)
He earns X amount ( impossible)
He has a Range Rover in the garage (untrue).
He will also do odd things like start small fires in gardens so that he can discover them and look like a hero.

He keeps his family at arm's length away from friends and colleagues.
Makes me wonder what lies he tells and he must worry so much about being discovered.

Don't know about Walter Mitty but this guy is a complete nutcase.


JackieWeaverFever · 28/03/2021 13:22

I worked with someone who was totally delusional but not catch me if you can style impersonating a professional. Just totally ignored reality.
When she clearly failed to do a job she could with a straight face deny it and blame it on others or as a "misunderstanding" despite factual evidence.

She also painted this amazing jet set life ALL. THE. TIME.
She would always talk about how people weren't nice because she was too beautiful and how she was too smart to be a model (she was 5"6 at best)
She was also always banging on about a doctor in her lux apartment block who would marry her if her boyfriend hung around too long Hmm
And how she was "thinking about a baby" but there was no rush and she had ages to decide.

The reality was she 38 and was dating a fairly ugly lookong divorced guy in his 50s for over 10 years. He didn't even live in the same country as us... Confused

By the end I concluded she was mentally unwell as did some co workers
The best perhaps was when she resigned
She shrouded it in mystery and wouldn't tell anyone where she was going as "They asked her not to due to conflict of interest" and intimated it was a global blue chip company role (think global head of marketing for Nike) and "wasn't sure what country in the world she would live in, new york was a strong option"
After she left it turned out she was a deputy manager for a tourism board for a small european country (her homeland). Ie a company so small we likely never even work with that wouldn't offer a package big even to live somewhere expensive like NY.

That's fine and there is nothing wrong with the job it but it was all just too weird.
I also know in her head if she read this she'd think I was jealous - I'm not I just think you are a weirdo !!!!


UnderHisAye · 28/03/2021 13:26

I worked with someone in a shitty customer service job; he told me on the QT Grin that MI5 had been so impressed with him that they'd tapped him up to join.

I didn't believe half of what he said.

unfortunately he then had a very dramatic and made-for-tv-movie incident happen to him (genuinely) but I couldn't muster the sympathy because he was such a bullshitter.


RumJerrySailorRum · 28/03/2021 13:28

Yes, albeit through a friend.

He's currently in prison.

Lied about his military record, which is a huge fucking no no. And used that and his non existent cancer to raise funds which he spent on himself.


Chanjer · 28/03/2021 13:29

I've met some pure fantasists. Used to work with someone who couldn't open their mouth without lying. I think it's an illness when it's past a certain point


HelpfulBelle · 28/03/2021 13:29

My dad was at school with someone who had delusions of grandeur/was a Billy bullshitter. There are loads of stories but the one I remember best is that one day they were hanging out and he started nudging everyone and looking at the sky. When they asked what he was doing, he said, ‘that’s my best mate flying that plane’. When asked how he knew, he replied, ‘just dipped his wing at me, to say hello, didn’t he?’.


BloodyHellAudrey · 28/03/2021 13:30

A member of my family. Just makes up shit, lies, evades the truth and then runs. It's a shame but I think the reality is he got through on his charms when he was younger, and then age caught up with him. He's a drinker which doesn't help. Life and soul of the party, humorous and good company but no real depth or relationships.


thenightsky · 28/03/2021 13:31

Many years ago, I worked with a Locum Consultant Psychiatrist who turned out to be a fake doctor. She was from Hungary and had a vile temper, which made people very wary of challenging her. About 18 months after she moved on, there was a big article about her in The Telegraph as she'd been found out.


JaceLancs · 28/03/2021 13:31

Yes quite a few spring to mind
A friend was dating someone who lied about their job, income etc quite convincingly until it all came out when his real employer contacted as he had an accident at work
As an employer I’ve had quite a few people lie about their qualifications, job history or experience which we always check and treat fraud very seriously
I’ve also sadly come across a few who fabricate illness on themselves or their child


Chanjer · 28/03/2021 13:42

I remember answering the phone for someone looking for said colleague, I was surprised to hear from this person as colleague had spent the last month telling us they were in a coma after a car crash and their absence from work at that time was because the caller had since died and colleague was away arranging their funeral.

The depth of the lie was immense, incredible detail down to what flowers they were choosing for the wreath and organising different parts of the family etc

The caller's reaction: 'has "colleague" been telling stories again?'


TigerDroveAgain · 28/03/2021 13:45

I worked with a fantasist once. She just told lie after lie about her jet set life style while showing no signs of jet set anything. In the end everyone felt sorry for her. She said her sister was a travel agent and had got them both an amazing deal to somewhere exotic. On her return she was bright orange, obviously fake tan badly applied.

She had a boyfriend who was the son of an aristocrat who had renounced his family and now had a minimum wage manual job. He had enough money to go to charity auctions and buy her ridiculously expensive things. He then had a terrible road accident and was horrendously injured.

Eventually she went out on the piss with a nosey colleague, stayed the night at her place and then did a complete disappearing act the next day. I expect nosey colleague asked far too many questions and the answers didn’t add up. It was quite sad and I do sometimes wonder what happened to her.

The worst fantasists - and I’ve come across a couple of these - have lied about family members dying. I remember our office manager ringing someone who’d understandably taken a lot of time off after her mum had died, only to have her call answered by the very alive and well mum. It was awful.


Ladsladslads · 28/03/2021 13:52

I worked with someone years ago who fabricated a former medical career. Very detailed and very convincing for quite a while but the longer we worked together the more she embellished, and eventually it all came apart at the seams. I don't think there was anything malicious in it, just a middle aged woman who'd was a bit of a fantasist and in reality led quite a dull life


Mrspoopoohead · 28/03/2021 13:54

Yes I guess I was talking about fantasists someone who lives their life on pure lies!

OP posts:

MySocalledLoaf · 28/03/2021 13:59

We had a neighbour who pretended to have terminal cancer for about 15 years. Even to her husband and 6 children. People in the street drove her to chemo regularly and she would just sit somewhere in the hospital for a while. Other people babysat for free when she wasn’t feeling well.
Finally her husband insisted on going to the doctor with her and it all came out. Her children said they would never speak to her again; it had been a shadow over their whole childhoods.
I suspect it started out as a one off lie for attention and spiralled.


Snowsquonk · 28/03/2021 14:02

I knew someone for several years. She turned up for a party with a small dressing on her arm and when asked if she'd given blood kept saying "not exactly" until I asked her what she was on about and she said she had a brain tumour but she didn't want anyone to know. She said the dressing was where she'd had chemo. Only her boyfriend knew and now me. This story carried on for ages despite not a day off work, no hair loss despite talk of chemo. Then one weekend she disappeared. Her partner was frantic and rang round all the local hospitals thinking she must have been admitted as an emergency. No sign of her. She turns up later saying she'd been in hospital for surgery for secondary tumours in her breast. Nothing added up. She avoided letting her partner see her undressed for ages but they started to get suspicious because not evidence of dressings for wounds, or follow up appointments. It all just stopped. Never referred to again. Since then she's had children (funny, she told me the chemo had made her infertile)....


Onairjunkie · 28/03/2021 14:07

I met a bloke like this in the pub. He was a friend of a friend. He told me he was an extremely highly paid assassin. He then passed out on the pool table. I obviously knew he was full of shit and subsequently learnt he was known for it. He was married to a supremely patient woman and had always been desperately jealous of his younger brother. It must have messed him up. Weird guy.


ddl1 · 28/03/2021 14:12

Not IRL, but at least 2 people in internet groups who probably are. (Not referring to MN). People who claim to know everybody, have done everything, and make totally incompatible claims!


Lucent · 28/03/2021 14:19


But Walter Mitty doesn't do that. He has fantasies that make him do odd things, but the whole point of the story is others don't know what motivates his actions, he just behaves strangely.

Yes, he does no actual harm, and actually even all his heroic daydreams — being a fighter pilot etc — end in failure when real life gets in the way.

But I gather ‘Walts’ is forces slang for people who pretend to have served when they didn’t, and this is actually an offence.

ToddlerTrainer · 28/03/2021 14:20

NC. Yes, a prep school headmaster. He had manufactured an upper crust accent and persona but actually came from very humble beginnings. He charmed or at least convinced most people but was outed as a thief, bully and serial cheat and quietly made to move on - twice. I think somewhere even employed him again, although as a teacher not a head.


JustLyra · 28/03/2021 14:24

I’ve told this story a few times on here.

I worked with a guy who had a baby girl with his wife. She had a difficult pregnancy and he had a lot of time off. People bent over backwards to help him/cover shifts etc. Shortly before the baby was born we did a big collection and bought a big ticket item (that was generally the way - we were a close team and the bosses were generous) for them.

After she was born he brought her in and sometimes when his wife was struggling he’d bring her in when he was working and people would keep an eye on her in the break room.

When she was only a few months old he came in, in tears and said his wife was pregnant again. He was upset because his wife wasn’t coping already, but couldn’t face a termination. Over the duration of the second pregnancy he had loads of time off. He changed shifts, people covered for him, people babysat and everyone did everything they could. He announced the birth of a second baby girl and because he had said they were skint the second collection was given in cash (nearly £700!).

For the next three months he had time off, left early, came in late and made excuses about not bringing the new baby in to see us (blamed his poor wife by saying she was over protective etc).

Then someone new started. She mentioned where she worked before, he went as white as a sheet and walked out at lunchtime. Didn’t come back for a week.

Turns out the second pregnancy and baby was a complete lie. He’d just realised in the first one how much free time off he could get. He had planned to say she miscarried, but then another girl on the team did miscarry so he felt bad and waited. Then waited. Then felt he had to continue with it.

Bosses sent him for counselling and expected people to accept him back!! Eventually someone said they felt the acceptance of the collection was basically theft so the bosses said they’d look into transferring him to another office.

Eventually when someone realise that him claiming paternity leave, and then claiming the money for it from the government, was actually a fraud thing they sacked him in case they got in trouble.

I have suspicions that lots of other things about his life were massively exaggerated or outright lies as well.


Firstinlastout · 28/03/2021 14:24

There's a bloke in our town who has been in the army ,but hasn't done as much as he's made out.Every Rememberance Sunday he sits in the pub wearing medals that he's bought off ebay!Heard a few people calling him Walter Mitty.


purpledagger · 28/03/2021 14:27

I have a relative who had a fantasy life. They were friends with famous people and were hanging out with them in Central London.

Relative is a lovely person and wouldn't say boo to a ghost, I just think they weren't satisfied with their otherwise dull life and so wanted to portray a more glamorous life to family members.

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