In 2013, a medical receptionist mistook the line “shooting some b-ball outside of the school” for “shooting people outside of the school” on a teen patient's voicemail message, prompting county-wide school lockdowns.
A pediatrician named Yvette Cloete in Britain was once forced to flee her home after some local residents mistook her job title to mean she was a pedophile and vandalized her home.
During the Falklands war, the British Navy mistook whales for submarines and torpedoed them.
4Battle of the Chosin Reservoir
The battle of the Chosin Reservoir during the Korean War was lost, due to Tootsie Rolls. A code reader mistook the code for mortar shells (“snacks”, they were called), and literally sent hundreds of crates of Tootsie Rolls to the marines who were out of mortar rounds.
Wrestling legend Davey Boy Smith, also known as ‘The British Bulldog’ was given his middle name, “Boy”, when his parents mistook ‘middle name’ for ‘gender’ on his birth certificate.
During the filming of Leon: The Professional, a robber mistook a scene for actual cops and "gave himself up" to a bunch of paid extras.
Bill Murray only agreed to do "Garfield" because he mistook the movie's writer--Joel Coen--to be that of the Coen Brothers.
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The Tollund Man, a 2000-year-old corpse found in a Danish bog was so well preserved that those who found it mistook it for a murder victim and called the police.
Greek playwright Aeschylus was killed when an eagle mistook his bald head for a rock, and dropped a tortoise on him, thinking its shell would break.
10Samuel L. Jackson
Samuel L. Jackson was supposed to have an afro in Pulp Fiction. He was losing his hair so he needed a wig. A PA went to get an Afro-style wig. The PA didn’t know the different between Afro and Jheri curls and bought Jheri curls. Before they were able to return it, Jackson convinced Tarantino to keep it so he ended up wearing Jheri Curls.