Crossing the border can be pretty stressful. Normally, it goes off without a hitch, and you’re on towards your destination in no time. But in some very rare cases, things can get… weird. Recently, a thread was started on the popular answer-and-question website called “Quora.” The question was simple: “What is the weirdest question you were ever asked when crossing the border?” The reaction from the Internet can only be described as hilarious. Hundreds of people all posted their craziest border-crossing stories, and these stories were taken and posted on various other websites. While other websites only mentioned one or two, we collected 15 of the most shocking , funniest, and downright weirdest stories, right from the source.
These people are just regular folks like you or I, and they only wanted one thing: to cross the border. Their attempts were met with varying success, and their biggest obstacles were the border guards. Most of the time, these men and women are usually very polite, nice, and normal. But anyone who travels a lot can tell you that there’s always the risk of running into that one border guard. You know the type. For whatever reason, they’re going to make crossing into their country something that you will have to work for. Whether they’re just bored, angry, or just extremely weird, they simply refuse to make it easy for you.
At the time, it can be pretty harrowing to deal with border guards and agents like this. But there’s one silver lining: You get to tell a pretty hilarious story to your friends after it’s all said and done. So without further ado, here are 15 of the best real accounts from crossing the border:
15. “Is Your Sister Single?”
I chose this first-hand account to start off the list to show that not every border crossing ends up being funny. Like all people with power, border guards have the potential to become very nasty people. They can often use their power to make people feel extremely uncomfortable. Such was the case when a brother and sister tried to cross the border from Mexico. These young adults were constantly going back and forth between Mexico and America, because they lived in Mexico and went to school in America, which is actually quite common for kids living on the El Paso/Juarez border. Most of their crossings went smoothly, but as the Quora user explained in his post, one of these border guards took a liking to his sister. Now, border guards are fully within their rights to ask people questions. In fact, it’s part of their job. But this border guard started staring at this boy’s sister, and began asking him personal questions about her, such as, “Is you sister single?” Needless to say, this left the sister feeling very creeped out, but they passed through the border without much trouble.
14. “Why Are You Wearing That Jersey Here?”
For anyone who’s ever been to Europe, you know that they take their soccer (or as they call it, football) incredibly seriously. This was something that a guy found out the hard way when he was passing through Amsterdam’s Schipol international Airport. He was making his way up to the desk of the border guard when he was met with a hard glare. He didn’t know what the problem was, until the border guard asked him a question: “Why are you wearing that jersey?” This traveler, who posted his story on Quora, looked down and realized he made a huge mistake. He was wearing a PSV Eindhoven jersey, the soccer team of his hometown, and the most hated rival of Amsterdam’s team, Ajax. “Why aren’t you wearing an Ajax jersey?” The border guard asked. The traveler stuttered, and managed to conjure up some excuse about not actually supporting the team, only admiring certain players on the team. The border guard begrudgingly let him through.
13. “Sir, Will You Please Relinquish Those Lemons?”
It’s a well-known fact to anyone who has crossed a border in their life that they are extremely strict on letting certain foods through the border. This makes sense, as certain foods can prove to be invasive and completely destroy a country’s agricultural system, potentially. Although it’s an important law, many people seem to forget it exists, and carry fruit and other contraband foods across the border. One such person was a man driving across the US border. He pulled up to the border crossing, and opened his side window. The border guard stuck her head inside, looked around, and spotted something which made her very concerned. You see, this man had a few lemons resting in his cupholder. In his Quora post, he explained that he always had some lemons to squeeze into his water to make it taste better while he was driving. This did not go down well with the border agent, who said in a very stern voice, “Sir, will you please relinquish those lemons?”
12. “Were You Involved With Nazi Germany In WWII?”
If you’ve ever flown from one country to another, you know that about halfway through the flight, the stewards come around and hand out little form which you have to fill out in order to enter the country. These forms have questions like, “Are you bringing firearms into the country?” Or, “Have you contracted Ebola in the last 6 months?” But in Finland, there’s one question you have to answer in order to enter their country that really confuses a lot of people. The question is, “Were you involved with Nazi Germany during WWII?” They still have this question on their form. This is made even more strange because they ask this question to everyone, not just people who were alive during WWII. The Quora poster who shared this story was pretty amused by it, seeing as he would have been 1 years old at the time of the second world war. Still, he says he wishes that Finland would get rid of this pretty unnecessary question.
11. “Is This Your Weasel?”
Along with fruit and contraband food, countries are also understandably wary of animals entering their countries. Like Weasels. And border control agents are not happy when you try to sneak Weasels into the country. This was what guy found out when he was passing through border security at an airport. You see, the man ahead of him tried to smuggle his Weasel through the scanners. He hid the weasel in his jacket, and then tried to put it through the scanner. When it got to the other side, it obviously ran free, and had to be grabbed by the border agents. Then he went around to the people waiting in line, and asked each one, “Is this your weasel?” Before he finally found the man responsible. He was obviously in for some serious consequences, and the person who posted this story was thankfully allowed to go on his way.
10. “How Many Pornographic Videos Do You Have?”
Of all the borders to cross into, the Saudi border is probably the most tense; even more so than the American border perhaps. Its state of the art fences and radar technology, along with helicopters and response vehicles ensure that ISIS will never make it into their country. Security is intense. It’s one country where you want to be as polite as possible when entering. So when a border agent asked a businessman the question, “How many pornographic films do you have?” he tried to answer the best he could. He explained that the films he had on his computer were not pornographic, they were merely corporate training videos. The border guard demanded to watch the videos, so he showed them to him. Time ticked on, and the business man was in danger of not getting to the airport in time. Luckily, the guard finally came to the conclusion that the films were not porn, and let him pass.
9. “Are You Sure You Want To Go To Russia?”
Border guards have a lot of power, including the power to ruin a perfectly good trip. Put yourself in the shoes of one Quora user who was crossing the border into Russia. He had everything planned – it was going to be an amazing cycling trip through Eastern Europe and he couldn’t wait to get started. That’s when he ran into one border guard who seemed intent on destroying this guy’s morale. The border guard started with the normal questions: “How long are you planning on staying? What is the purpose of your trip?” etc. When the border guard learned that this guy was planning on cycling through Russia, his demeanor suddenly changed. “Why do you want to go to Russia?” he asked. He started telling the man that Russia was not a safe place, and that it was not a good idea for him to go. He even tried to convince him to turn around. When the man refused and demanded he be let through, the border guard shrugged and said, “Maybe I’ll read about you in the newspaper.”
8. “What Country Is This?”
It’s always a bad sign when the country you’re trying to enter doesn’t know that the country you’re from even exists. Such was the case with one Quora user from Nicaragua, who was passing through China’s border security. “What country is this?” asked the border security guard when she was handed the Nicaraguan passport. The man almost couldn’t believe his ears. How could they not know what country Nicaragua was? The border control agent actually had to turn around and ask a superior if Nicaragua was a real country. Thankfully, her boss was a little more competent than she was, and he went through without a further delay. But ever since then, he always handed people his passport with his thumb over the “central” part of the word “central America,” so that Chinese people thought he was from America, not Nicaragua. Less trouble that way.
7. “Do You Have Any Noodles To Declare?”
Apparently some countries have really started cracking down on instant noodles. This is yet another type of food to add to the list of contraband items. But as one Quora poster explains, sometimes the law regarding instant noodles can become a little muddled. She was crossing into the border when a man asked her, “Do you have any noodles to declare?” She said no, and the man then asked if he could look inside her bag, on a hunch. He looked inside, and grabbed two packages out of the inside. He looked at her with a triumphant look on his face and said, “What are these, then?” She answered in an innocent tone, “Those are instant noodle-flavored chips.” He asked her if she was giving him attitude, and that he knew what instant noodles looked like. She then had to convince him that instant-noodle flavored chips were actually a thing. Finally he believed her, and let her through.
6. “Why Does Your Country Make Such Crappy Passports?”
American border control agents have a reputation for being mean, more so than any other country perhaps. They are especially cold towards Mexicans coming across the border. When one Quora poster tried to go over the border from Mexico, an extremely ticked off border control agent really gave him a hard time. This is another example of how weird questions when you cross the border can sometimes be weird in a bad, potentially scary way. The border guard, upon being handed the Mexican passport, asked the man, “Why does your country make such crappy passports?” The reason she was so ticked off was that the passport was taking a long time to scan. According to her, “All these Mexican passports are the same.” Luckily, on the third try, it worked, and he was allowed to pass. She then said in the most forced voice possible, “Welcome to America.”
5. “Is This Woman A Prostitute?”
Border guards are known for being pretty rude sometimes, but sometimes it really is just a huge misunderstanding. Sometimes their obtuseness and brashness is completely unintentional. Such was the case with one Quora poster who was passing through the US border. He stopped a businessman who was traveling with his colleague, who happened to be a female. The border guard asked him what the purpose of his business trip was. The man replied he was at an ABA conference. “What’s that?” the border guard asked. The man then explained that it was the American BAR association. “BAR?” The border guard asked. “Have you been drinking?” The man then tried to explain that the BAR was about law, not about liquor. The border guard then accused the man of getting smart with him. “Who is this woman?” the border guard asked. “Is this woman a prostitute?” The woman got pretty offended, and the border guard actually had to google the ABA conference before he let the two lawyers pass.
4. “What’s A Holiday?”
One of the biggest barriers to crossing borders can be the language barrier. And according to one Quora poster, barriers can exist even when both parties speak the same language. As the story goes, a family was crossing into the US and was asked a few questions by the border agent. “What is the purpose of your visit?” he asked. When the family replied that they were visiting America for a holiday, the border guard became a little agitated. “What is a holiday?” He asked. When the family confusedly told him, he had a strange reply. “Vacation,” he said. “What?” asked the family. “You’re not here on a holiday, you’re here on a vacation.” The family was at a loss for words. Why was this border guard making such a big deal over this one word? The family was left with no choice but to agree, “Uh, yes.” But the border guard wasn’t satisfied. “I want to hear you say it,” said the border guard. “We’re here on vacation,” said the family. The border guard then waved the family through.
3. “Are You Being Kidnapped?”
This story goes to show that border guards really are looking out for your best interests, even though it might not seem that way sometimes. The person who wrote this post on Quora was a young French teen at the time this incident happened, and she was an unaccompanied minor at the airport she was passing through. The border guards spotted her and pulled her aside. They brought her into a room and interrogated her for what seemed like forever. They asked her a series of questions, including, “Are you being kidnapped?” Turns out they were concerned that she was part of a child sex-trafficking ring, and they only let her go once they were absolutely sure she was going somewhere safe. This might have caused her some inconvenience, but it’s heartwarming to hear that border control agents are on the lookout for this sort of thing.
2. “How Did You Afford That Leather Jacket? Are You A Rapper Or A Drug Dealer?”
While border guards have their good qualities, they also certainly have their bad sides as well. This is what another Quora poster revealed when she faced some pretty harsh racism from the border agents she was dealing with. For one, the border agents at first found it hard to believe that she was black, because her hair was straight, not curly. The woman managed to convince the agents that she actually was from Africa. That was racist remark number one. Then the border agents became very suspicious of her leather jacket. Seems they were pretty mystified as to how a black African woman could afford a leather jacket. They even asked her, “How did you afford that leather jacket? Are you a rapper or a drug dealer?” I guess to them, being a rapper or a drug dealer was the only conceivable way to them that a woman like her could afford a simple leather jacket. Wow.
1. “Are You, Or Have You Ever Been, A Member Of The Crips Gang?”
Sometimes the border agents ask some pretty ridiculous questions. That’s what one guy found out when he tried to cross the border into America. Now it’s important to know who this guy was: An older, middle-aged white guy with a very white-sounding name. Pretty much the definition of an average Joe. So you can imagine his surprise when the border agent interrogating him suddenly sprang this question on him: “Are you, or have you ever been, a member of the Crips gang?” This guy was at a complete loss for words. For those who don’t know, the Crips are one of the most notorious gangs in America, and essentially all its members are black. Our middle-aged, slightly balding traveler definitely did not fit the bill of a hardcore Crip gangster. Who knows why the border guard asked him this question. Maybe he was new on the job. Maybe he was asking everyone this question, not just black people, so that people couldn’t accuse him of being biased and racist. One thing’s for sure though, this guy was left with one of the funniest border crossing stories ever.