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Accidental Hero

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Yakumo: Wow, that's impressive.
Tenma: That's not what was supposed to happen at all!

A character becomes celebrated for heroism. He says he didn't do anything special. Problem is, it isn't modesty this time, or even false modesty. He really didn't do anything special.

Two flavors:

  • The accidental hero blundered in some way that actually caused a rescue or saved the day.
  • The accidental hero was just standing around in a place where it looked like he saved the day.

In either flavor, public acclaim that just won't go away is the main complication. The subsequent plot is a good showcase for examining the fiber of the accidental hero's character and to spin a little yarn about how people ''need'' heroes. Many times he becomes a true hero by the end of the story.

When someone purposely tries to look like the hero without deserving it, there may be overlap with Engineered Heroics.

May be a consequence of Non-Protagonist Resolver. Compare And You Thought It Was a Game, Badass on Paper, Cowardly Lion, Framed for Heroism, God Guise, Nominal Hero, Mistaken for Badass, Spanner in the Works, Nice Job Fixing It, Villain. May result in Broken Pedestal. Frequently overlaps with Accidental Celebrity.

This trope is the spiritual opposite of Nice Job Breaking It, Hero. Contrast Unwitting Instigator of Doom.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Allison and Lillia: Carr Benedict agrees to take sole credit for the history-changing discovery made by Allison and Wil, when he was only present because he'd been trying to shoot them. The newly-promoted Major Carr finds the resulting mass adulation and jealousy deeply uncomfortable. His reckless actions in the next adventure (which he secretly hopes will bring his rank down a notch or two) only cement his heroic reputation.
  • Angel Densetsu: Kitano, the protagonist, half the time manages to do this by just being around and not understanding what's happening. The other half, however, he's actually saving the day.
  • A Bride's Story:
    • As part of his cover to avoid being accosted on his travels, Mr. Smith pretends to be a doctor and helps a man with his dislocated shoulder. Come morning, and everyone is convinced he’s a miraculous doctor and have formed a huge crowd outside his door.
    • In chapter thirty-three, aptly entitled "Azel’s Offensive," Azel’s striking down the Badan in retaliation results in his also saving some townsmen’s lives, which he couldn't tell at the time due to the smoke.
  • In Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Yoriichi never tried to tutor Sumiyoshi on Sun Breathing intentionally, by then Yoriichi felt like a complete worthless person, he only showed all his Sun Breathing techniques to the Kamado's ancestors solely on Suyako's request because she found his techniques pretty to look at, so every time Yoriichi visited them Suyako would ask him to display his art; Sumiyoshi, however, felt Yoriichi wasn't worthless at all, he was their hero, he deserved to leave a legacy behind, with that Sumiyoshi made use of his extreme photographic memory to systematically learn everything Yoriichi could do by just looking at him perform Sun Breathing to them. Yoriichi left Sumiyoshi's family just hoping they live a honest good life with his cherished Hanafuda Earrings to ward evil away, he was completely unaware a secret Sun Breathing legacy was left all the way up to Tanjiro Kamado, to potentially end what he started: the quest for Muzan's death.
  • Doraemon
    • Invoked in one chapter where Doraemon and Nobita use a mind-reading device and encounter a would-be criminal. Since they can't report the guy (who hasn't done anything yet) to the police, Doraemon puts a device on him that somehow causes his attempts at committing a crime to become accidental acts of heroics: him trying to snatch away a child ends up saving her from a falling beam, trying to snatch a bag from someone ends up returning it to its original owner (the guy he tried to take it from had stolen it from someone else), and trying to break into a house to steal end up saving the house from fire. Things end happily when he confesses the truth to the owner of the house he saved (who also happens to own the bag he previously tried to rob, and the father of the child he intended to kidnap), and the latter gave the guy a job so that he wouldn't have to resort to crime to buy medicine for his sick wife.
    • In The Doraemons Special, Doraemon, Doramed and Kid are babysitting for a family. However, the baby crawls away while they're not paying attention, and in trying to find the child, they end up foiling a bank robbery.
  • Dragon Ball, Idiot Hero Goku tends to make dumb decisions that work out splendidly later on, among them being:
    • In Dragon Ball, he lets Piccolo live when he has him dead to rights. In Dragon Ball Z, he lets Vegeta leave when he has him dead to rights. They both become two of his greatest allies.
    • He recognizes Gohan's potential and very stealthily guides him to be the one to defeat Cell. At the moment, it's monumentally stupid to send a child out to fight the Big Bad, no matter how powerful he may be. This leads to him having to conduct a Heroic Sacrifice to save everyone, which doesn't even really work because Cell comes back even stronger than before and kills Trunks — only to spur Vegeta into an unexpected rage that gives Gohan the chance to win the fight for real. Win!
    • When Kid Buu destroys the Earth, instead of saving his sons, Present Trunks, or Piccolo, he saves Hercule, Dende, and the dog Bee. And saving Hercule is the absolute key to allowing Vegeta to use a Spirit Bomb to defeat Buu (and he also made things easier for Gohan and Videl's budding romance).
    • When Beerus comes back to Earth in Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods, Goku just waits and watches him fight everyone else — but this allows Beerus to Dope Slap Bulma, triggering another unexpected fury from Vegeta that becomes his first encroachment into God-tier power.
    • In Dragon Ball Super, King of All Cosmos Zen-Oh had previously expressed a desire to hold a martial arts tournament between all 12 universes but never got around to it. Goku reminds him of it several story arcs later, thinking it would be fun. Only Zen-Oh's plan is to destroy the eleven losing universes, and their inhabitants immediately laid into Goku for being so heartless. But Vados points out that if Goku had not intervened, Zen-Oh would have just destroyed every universe, no questions asked. Goku doesn't care either way, because he loves a good fight, and he's even okay with people thinking he's evil if he gets a good fight out of it.
  • In Frieren: Beyond Journey's End, Stark froze in terror when confronting a solar dragon which was attacking a village, only for it to leave and keep its distance for the last three years. The villagers all see him as their hero whose mere presence has kept them safe, while Stark himself is too ashamed to admit he got lucky. Subverted when it's revealed the dragon realized Stark was strong enough to easily kill it and has been avoiding him ever since.
  • Irresponsible Captain Tylor: While he does not really become celebrated (although he gets quite the reputation amongst the enemy), Justi Ueki Tylor does seem to hit both flavors often.
  • My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!:
    • During her attempts to avoid the fate the original game had her slated for, Catarina ends up affecting things she never even thought of or considered for the better. Her parents' marriage for one — it's the side effect of helping her adopted brother Keith.
    • Catarina leaps from a tree, tensely tells a group of bullies to move aside, smiles gallantly at the victim of their bullying and then leaves before she has a chance to thank her. Or at least that's what it looks like to Sophia when in truth Catarina was simply rushing to get to the bathroom right now before she wet herself after a dog chased her up the tree in the first place and didn't have the faintest idea that Sophia had needed help.
  • No Longer Allowed in Another World: Sensei accidentally slays the Death Tree, saving both his life and Tama's, by passing his "Poison" status effect on it, reducing it to a burnt stump.
  • One Piece, Usopp manages to fulfill both flavors at once in Dressrosa when he is force-fed the Tatababasco-laced bon-bon, causing Usopp to freak out from its spiciness and morph his face so grotesquely that his adversary falls unconscious from shock, undoing her curse on thousands of people, some of whom had been waiting for her defeat for a decade. From the perspective of anyone outside the small room where the battle took place, however, it looked and sounded like Usopp was kicking major butt and emerged victorious after it went quiet.
  • One-Punch Man: When Saitama fights Awakened Garou, a lot of Garou's actions end up accidentally saving people (destroying collapsed buildings so people trapped underground can escape, diverting the lava from a volcano away from an endangered town, and sending a shockwave through the Earth to raise a plateau on the other side of the planet to save a plane that crashed into the ocean). When Saitama points this out, this just makes Garou angry, as he is supposedly trying to be a terrifying villain who everyone fears. It all ends up being foreshadowing that Garou secretly wants to be a hero.
  • In Orc Eroica, Bash's only real goal is to find a wife, yet this leads him around the world and causes him to solve many problems. For example, Bash accepting a zombie-slaying quest (to earn money to buy jewelry) eventually leads him to save the elves from a Zombie Apocalypse, which others assume was his goal all along.
  • In the manga Part Time Otherworlder, Tanaka often finds himself in another world, and saves the day entirely by accident. In the first chapter, he distracts a giant cat monster by playing with it. Another time, he went to a hot spring, but it turned out to be one used by ogres, and the sight of another human there convinced the local humans to overcome their fear and make peace. In another chapter, he biked past while carrying fried chicken, distracting a pack of wolves from eating a father and son. His Weirdness Censor makes him think his strange adventures are All Just a Dream.
  • In the Pokémon Chronicle "We're No Angels", Jessie, James, and Meowth are mistaken for a fictional superhero team by the people of a backwater village. They set the record straight by wrecking what they think is a robot protecting the villagers — only to be told the mecha was about to destroy the village fields.
  • Early on in School Rumble, Tenma tries to send a love letter by Arrowgram to her crush Karasuma. One of her botched attempts results in her accidentally foiling a bank robbery and winding up on the news.
  • In Space Brothers, Mutta accidentally foils a robbery and briefly becomes a celebrity.
  • In Toriko, Zebra is hailed as a hero by a small desert village since his earlier rampages ended the war that ravaged the village (the warring countries decided to suspend their war and ally with each other against him). And by eating 26 species to extinction, he inadvertently saved the ecosystems said species were destroying.
  • In the first chapter of Whistle!, the main character switches schools and is mistaken for a soccer star by his new team. He doesn't have the confidence to correct them, causing him to be outed embarrassingly when they actually make him play, and he's terrible.
  • In the first Yes! Pretty Cure 5 movie, the Big Bad has the MacGuffin in hand... but it's not complete, so it can't grant any wishes. Blame Urara, who still had that last Pinky and hadn't put it in yet.

    Asian Animation 
  • Happy Heroes: In Season 2, Episode 42, Big M. and Little M. are mistaken by Happy S. to have saved the president of planet Xing Xing from other criminals. They were actually trying to capture the president themselves and only fended off the other criminals because they weren't amused with them acting on the idea first.
  • In Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: Mighty Little Defenders Episode 16, the goats are given a surprise visit by Worley and Wolffy gets the idea to close the door behind him to ensure the goats don't escape. He inadvertently crushes Worley's tail with the door, and when the goats cheer him on for it he decides to play along by barking frantically (since he's a dog) at Worley.

    Comic Books 
  • Archie Comics: One comic had Jughead failing as a security guard until he tripped and fell on a guy who turned out to be a shoplifter.
  • The Avengers: In Avengers: The Initiative, Hardball was recruited into the Initiative when he used his powers to save a little girl from being hit by an armored car — at least, that's what it looked like to witnesses. In reality, Hardball was trying to rob the armored car. The rescue was a coincidence. This is one of the first hints that Hardball is a bit too amoral for a superhero-in-training.
  • Batman: Black and White: In the comedic "Batsman: Swarming Scourge of the Underworld", many of Batsman's successes are accidents like falling through a skylight and landing on a villain he had no idea would be there. Some of them do appear to be the result of genuine skill (unless those were also happy accidents that he was quick-witted enough to claim he'd intended all along).
  • Bone: Phoney's scam to have the townsfolk help him capture a dragon ends up accidentally saving their lives when rat creatures raid Barrelhaven and burn the settlement to the ground. Had the townsfolk been present, they would have been slaughtered by the rat creatures all the same.
  • Bouncy Ball Man: How Bouncy Ball Man becomes a superhero. He starts out as a reluctant mascot for a toy company before accidentally saving the day.
  • Captain Klutz: Captain Klutz begins his career (such as it is) by landing on top of an escaping robber following a bungled suicide attempt.
  • Disney Mouse and Duck Comics:
    • Mickey's pal Goofy has been an accidental hero so often that it became a cliche in 1960s comics. Goofy would set out to engage in some hobby or sport, capture a small-time crook by mistake, and then use the inevitable reward money toward the hobby. Every. Single. Time.
    • This is how Fethry became the superhero Red Bat: he and Donald, journalists for the story, were infiltrating a masked party thrown by various rich people, Donald wearing a Beagle Boy-sized gorilla costume and Fethry wearing a red and grey bat costume, and when the Beagle Boys actually robbed the place disguised as gorillas and mistook Donald for one of them he tried to save his cousin-and a few blunders later the Red Bat had defeated the Beagle Boys with the help of a headless gorilla.
  • The Incredible Hulk: Quite often the Hulk isn't actually trying to do something heroic, but he often does a lot of good with his powers anyway.
  • Knights of the Old Republic: During the bombing of Serroco, Slyssk panicked, grabbed Gryph and ran into the nearest ship before taking off. Turns out their panicked escape saved the lives of half a battalion of Republic soldiers who were sleeping in the back. The ministry of defense turned Slyssk's accidental heroics into a propaganda campaign about Captain Benegryph Goodvalor and his trusty Trandoshan sidekick, Heroes of Serroco.
  • Legends of the Dead Earth: In the Green Lantern Annual #5 story "Nobler in the Mind", the badly wounded Green Lantern El'qa Squa Zreenah arrives on Qualar IV and intends to recruit one of the natives, a race of giant chickens, to fight the deadly Statejian fleet in orbit. Unfortunately, the population are extremely skittish and therefore unsuitable to become Green Lanterns. Believing that he will soon die, El'qa has the ring search for someone on Qualar IV with no fear. The ring locates such a person but warns El'qa that he is not going to like it. The chosen individual, Perdoo, is erratic, disinterested in his environment and easily distracted, particularly by his appreciation for flitterbys. However, he manages to defeat the Statejians, someone that no one else in recorded history has ever been able to do, without even realising it. El'qa later learns that Perdoo felt no fear in any circumstances as he was an inmate in an insane asylum and was therefore unaware of his surroundings.
  • Quantum and Woody: Quantum and Woody's first case was an investigation into the murder of Ed Palmer's wife. They follow clues all around the world until they capture Terrence Magnum, a global financier with a stolen computer chip that could decrypt military codes. Unfortunately, he had nothing to do with the murder — Mrs. Palmer was killed by her husband, as the police had originally surmised.
  • The Simpsons Futurama Crossover Crisis: In space, Bender and Homer accidentally manage to get rid of flying saucers pursuing the heroes. How exactly? Bender threw a beer bottle at Homer, the latter failed to catch the bottle, and it hit one of the flying saucers' engine, causing a chain reaction that destroyed all the flying saucers:
    Bender: And so the day is saved, thanks to my lousy throwing and Homer's crappy hand-eyed coordination!
  • Spider-Man: In The Amazing Spider-Man (Lee & Ditko) #8, the two crooks who tried to steal the Living Brain knock themselves out after running into Flash Thompson. Flash's classmates assume he stopped them, and ignore him when he tries to explain what really happened.

    Fairy Tales 
  • The Valiant Little Tailor is one of the fairy tales recorded by The Brothers Grimm, in which a tailor's story of killing "seven with one blow" (that is, seven flies) accidentally gains him a reputation as a fearsome warrior, leading him into a series of deadly encounters with giants and other magical creatures. Disney adapted this story as a Mickey Mouse cartoon in 1938.

    Fan Works 
  • Accidental Hero of the Galaxy: Given that it's Mass Effect done in the style of Ciaphas Cain, this is to be expected. Shepard in this missed the last shuttle off Elysium and when the Batarians attacked tried to run, inadvertently causing the Batarians to follow him back to Alliance reinforcements, which allowed them to win the day. Since then, he's been stuck with an evergrowing reputation for heroism he feels he doesn't deserve.
  • Calvin unintentionally and unknowingly stops an Alien Invasion with a firecracker in Calvin & Hobbes: The Series.
  • Dangan Ronpa: Gender Bender Edition: While Makoto was training with Sakura, she drops an iron bar that she was lifting. At the same time, the events that led to Chihiro's death by Mondo in canon were occurring, and the sound of the bar snaps Mondo out of his mindless rage, stopping him from killing Chihiro. Unfortunately, the events end up leading to another death instead...
  • Children of Remnant: During Pyrrha's rampage in the Emerald Forest, Emerald accidentally prevents her from summoning the Grimm Dragon by following her and provoking her into a fight instead.
  • Dermabrasion: Dabi is known far and wide as the "Blue Flame Vigilante", targetting traffickers, rapists, the Yakuza, and more. In reality, during those years Dabi was constantly high on drugs, unwittingly getting into incredibly dangerous situations, and decided to set everyone on fire when they pissed him off. For example, when he took down the sex trafficking ring, it was because he was one of the victims, and the kidnappers didn't suspect that the drugged up skinny teenager had one of the most dangerous quirks in existence.
  • In Destiny: Gospel of a New Genesis, a Destiny/Neon Genesis Evangelion crossover, Shinji makes a name for himself as a Guardian when he kills a high value Fallen Priest by himself.note  How'd he do it? Well, he was trying to harvest some spinmetal on top of an overpass; pushed a car over the side to make a path, and the Priest happened to be standing right underneath. SPLAT! Shinji wasn't even aware that he'd made a kill until he got back to the Tower. Adding insult to injury Asuka-2, Misato, and Zavala had just had a real Bitch of a day trying to kill one of the Priest's subordinates.
    Asuka-2: "...Seriously?! You killed a higher ranking target through sheer, dumb luck?!"
  • In Dudley Dursley Saves the World, Dudley's saving of the world is this. It comes about when he's trying to escape Privet Drive and falls on Voldemort, crushing him.
  • Fantasy of Utter Ridiculousness: Marisa was able to blast away Suika with a massive Master Spark right before the oni could finish off Megas. The problem? Marisa had been stuck in her house beneath a junk pile at the time, and the Master Spark was an attempt to free herself.
  • In the Miraculous Ladybug one-shot fanfic The Hero of Paris, a random American tourist films and livestreams a crazy man rambling about akumas and ladybugs in the bathroom of a train he's riding. He's unaware that the crazy man is Hawk Moth a.k.a. Gabriel Agreste, and that he's just caught Paris' worst terrorist red-handed.
  • Invader Zim: A Bad Thing Never Ends: In Chapter 7, the fight between Zim's team and Tak ends up spilling into Aldrich Coathanger's office, interrupting him before he can murder Dib.
  • Invasion of Falls: Zim destroys the monster transformation amulet because it's a threat to him personally, and ends up praised for saving everyone else from it in the process.
  • Jurassic What If...?: In Episode 4 ("What If The Spinosaurus was in Jurassic World?"), the Spinosaurus surprise-attacks the Indominus rex just in time to prevent it from killing Zach and Gray Mitchell.
  • Make a Wish: "Mr. Black", where young Mister Potter is simply "a guy on vacation" while the bad guys are dying like flies whenever he's in the vague vicinity.
  • The Lord of the Rings fanfiction Nine Men and a Little Lady has Gollum, who inadvertently saves the day by eating Mary Sue, having mistaken her references to her "precious" as meaning the Ring.
  • One The Owl House comic by MoringMark has Luz and King participating in a broom race with King getting motion sick. He ends up barfing into the forest, which lands on the neat-freak Darius as he is holding onto Eda and Raine, freaking him out long enough for the two to break free and get away.
  • The Pony POV Series has an example in Clover's story in the 7 Dreams/Nightmares collection: Clover's about to be killed by her Big Bad, the Diamond Dog Fluffy the Terrible (yes, really) in a shack atop the Canterhorn mountain, when the dragon Bahamut just happens to land right on top of them (he literally didn't notice the shack until after he crushed it), sending Fluffy off the side of the mountain to his death.
  • The renegade hero!!!....Invader Zim?: Zim's completely unintentional acts of sabotage against the Irken Empire have convinced the rest of the universe that he's rebelling against them to stop their conquests. Zim himself is shocked to learn this, as he sees himself as a paragon of Irken loyalty and competence.
  • The Rigel Black Chronicles: Some of Harry's actions in the Chamber of Secrets are genuinely heroic, but she really doesn't like the fact that people fuss about her slaying the basilisk. Voldemort commanded it to kill itself, and it did; she didn't have anything to do with that part.
  • Shadows over Meridian: To his own surprise, Phobos realizes that the Lurdens and Mogriffs venerate him with Undying Loyalty because the actions he took to get them on his side during his reign (mostly done to spite the same cultural traditions that denied him the throne due to being male) ended up giving them better standards of living than they'd had in centuries, by allowing them to regain ancestral lands that had been stolen from them.
  • Five in Sheer Dumb Luck manages to accidentally save the world and avert the apocalypse by being jealous and convincing Vanya to send Leonard away when she first meets him. He had no idea who the guy was or what he planned to do.
  • "Vernon Dursley's Bad Day" sees Vernon Dursley becoming the accidental savior of the Wizarding World when, while at the wheel of the Weasleys' out-of-control Ford Anglia (which had rescued he, Petunia and Dudley from a pack of Death Eaters), he flies it into Hogwarts and turns a now-mortal Voldemort into a smear on the ground during the final battle in Deathly Hallows. Harry, for his part, thinks the irony of a magic-hater saving the magical world (even if it's completely by accident) is hilarious.
  • The Very Secret Diary: Ginny's friend Emma has absolutely no idea that Ginny is being possessed and forced to attack Muggle-borns. She simply believes Ginny's frightened and unable to sleep much because of all the attacks, which then leads to her nodding off during the day and sometimes sleepwalking. So, when Ginny asks her to keep an eye on her, and stop her if she starts to wander off, she agrees. Little does she know, her interference, on multiple occasions, prevents Tom from being able to use Ginny to enact a full-scale massacre.

    Film — Animated 
  • In The Bad Guys (2022), during the film's first big heist, Mr. Wolf attempts to steal an old lady's purse, but she trips on the stairs. With his hand snagged on the purse strap, he inadvertently breaks her fall. As to not get caught, he pulls her up, and is praised for his good deed. It's later revealed that the old lady was Marmalade in disguise who exploited this trope for his own ends.
  • Mr. Ping in Kung Fu Panda ends up assisting in saving the world in more ways than he realized.
    • In the first film, he gives Po a pep talk about his "secret ingredient soup" and it ends up providing Po with exactly the wisdom he needed to understand the Dragon Scroll and defeat Tai Lung.
    • In the second film, his adoption of Po would end up cementing the Valley of Peace would be safe from Tai Lung. Also, by saving Po, it would ensure Po would survive from the horrific genocide of his people from Shen and face Shen years later.
  • The Land Before Time II: The Great Valley Adventure: Littlefoot and the gang accidentally stopped Ozzy and Strut’s attempts to steal eggs twice, first when they were rolling rocks down a hill near a nest the eggnappers were trying to steal from before the mother of the eggs tells them to stop, then when they shouting loud alerting the mother flyer of another nest the brothers were trying to from.
  • In Mulan, Mushu writes a fake message from General Li saying that Shang's new troops are needed on the front lines all so Mulan would get a chance to fight in the war. Turns out that it was desperately true as the village the general's troops had garrisoned had been annihilated by the Huns, leaving no one alive — not even the general — among the civilians or the army. And had Shang's troops not been in the mountains, the Huns would have made it to the capital city without a problem.
  • Top Cat and the Beverly Hills Cats: At one point, Snerdly puts a very, very hot dressing on a salad and plans for Benny to eat it and die. When Brain insists on taking it and serving it himself, he promptly falls into the pool with the bowl, saving Benny's life.
  • Toy Story 2: Rex accidentally knocks Zurg off the elevator shaft with his tail.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Played with in the movie Accidental Hero (also known as simply Hero): the actual person who saves the people from a burning plane is a Jerkass who has one moment of decency (a plane crashes in front of him and he grudgingly helps the victims get out). The bum who (falsely) takes credit for said rescue is otherwise the kind of person you'd believe to be a hero and uses his reputation to help other people. There's enough gray area between them for the audience to decide which (or both) is the true hero.
  • In Amistad, when they speak with the leader of the Africans through a translator, they learn that he isn't all that confident about "leading" anyone: he became leader of the group because he killed an attacking lion with a thrown stone some time back. He doesn't feel deserving of the acclaim he got for this achievement because the stone was lucky shot that just happened to hit the lion's head in such a way as to kill it; he'd thrown it out of desperation and panic in the heat of the moment.
  • In Army of Darkness Ash both invokes and subverts this trope at different times.
  • Berlin Syndrome: A little boy looking for someone to help his hurt brother interrupts Andi right when he was almost certainly about to kill Clare.
  • The Bank Dick: W. C. Fields' character, Egbert Sousé, stumbles into circumstances where it looks like he stopped a bank robber and recovered some stolen money, when in actuality one of the robbers knocked out his accomplice and another accidentally knocked out Egbert while trying to dispose of his gun.
  • Juan, one of the Villain Protagonists of Duck, You Sucker!, a Mexican highwayman/rapist/murderer, ended up becoming a revolutionary hero after knocking over a bank and inadvertently releasing the political prisoners being kept in its vaults. The gold deposits had been moved out of there months ago, and Sean, his "friend," neglected to mention that to him when helping him plan the "robbery".
  • In Dumband Dumber, as Harry's leg catches fire when he's talking to another traveller at the gas station, Lloyd is trapped in a bathroom stall with Sea Bass, a trucker they ripped off hours before. As Sea Bass gets ready to rape, and then kill, Lloyd, Harry bursts into the stall and unknowingly knocks out Sea Bass while trying to put out the fire on his leg, and demands an explanation as to why Lloyd is in the stall with another man.
  • In Footloose, the hero is challenged to a Game of Chicken in a tractor, and finds himself the accidental victor as his shoelaces get stuck in the gearing, preventing him from bailing out.
  • Forrest Gump is of a sort. Forrest ran back into the combat zone to try and find Bubba, only to be called upon by other soldiers to rescue them, which he did by carrying them to the river. What he did was technically heroic but he didn't intend to save 4 others and be awarded the Medal of Honor.
  • Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster:
    • Godzilla and Rodan's battle destroys a power line tower and triggers a blackout, mere seconds before Princess Selina would have been fatally electrocuted.
    • A stray blast from King Ghidorah triggers an avalanche that buries the assassins' car and kills all but one of them. Later, another stray blast causes the final assassin to fall to his death.
  • Godzilla's actions in the final act of Godzilla (2014) saved countless lives; killing the Mutos saved what remains of San Francisco and stops what could have been a global epidemic of their species.
  • He Was a Quiet Man: Bob Maconel was planning on Going Postal in his office building, but a similarly withdrawn co-worker beats him to it by roughly a minute. Bob shoots the co-worker with the gun he was carrying at that moment, and is suddenly hailed by his company and the media as a hero.
  • In It Happened in Hollywood, Tim decides to hold up a bank, but just as he is about to do so, real gangsters appear and shoot a police officer. As the three robbers attempt to flee, Tim shoots them and is hailed a hero for his bravery.
  • Johnny English is based on this. Johnny English does end up actually doing something heroic (save the Queen from an assassination attempt), but by doing something really stupid rather than by doing something awesome. He gets a knighthood, since this is comedy. Usually Rowan Atkinson's characters think they are this, but aren't (usually they're too inept to actually be heroic).
  • During the Final Battle of Jurassic World, the Indominus rex is getting beat around when the park's Mosasaurus lunges out of the lagoon and drags the I. rex to her doom. To her, the I. Rex was nothing more than a convenient midnight snack.
  • Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom: When Eli Mills confronts our heroes Owen, Claire, and Maisie with two armed guards at his side and reveals how Maisie is actually a clone of Lockwood's daughter (potentially hoping to convince the former two to surrender Maisie to him), the Indoraptor comes out of nowhere and mauls both of the guards to death, allowing the heroes to escape.
  • In Laughter in Paradise, timid bank clerk Herbert Russell has to hold up his bank manager with a toy pistol while wearing a mask in order to inherit 50,000 pounds. When he finally works up the courage to do so, he storms into the office yelling "Reach for the sky!", and startles two real hold-up men into dropping their guns. A later radio interview reveals that he is being rewarded by being promoted to branch manager.
  • The Mariachi in El Mariachi came into town just to find a place to play music and get some cash. Instead, when his guitar case is switched with a guitar case full of weapons owned by an infamous hit man, the villains and the Damsel in Distress mistake him for the hit man. Dumb luck allows him to kill the hit squad sent after him, elevating him to legend status.
    • Though after the tragedy of the movie's end, the Mariachi would undergo a transformation over time into the gunslinging vengeance-driven badass that we would see in Desperado, a figure more than worthy of the legend.
  • In The Meg what ultimately stops the threat of the Megalodon menacing the humans is a horde of great white, tiger, bull, and great hammerhead sharks reacting on instinct to the blood the wounded Megalodon gave off and dog piling the giant shark in a feeding frenzy to tear it to pieces.
  • In Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times, Chaplin thwarts a prison break by dodging bullets and pummeling the escaping prisoners, with the police rewarding him with a Luxury Prison Suite afterwards. But he only does so because earlier he'd unknowingly sprinkled cocaine all over his lunch that another prisoner had hidden in a salt shaker, and was completely high at that point.
  • The heroes of the parody westerns The Paleface (Bob Hope) and The Shakiest Gun in the West (Don Knotts) are the second variety of this trope. Both men succeed in "saving" a convoy of covered wagons, but the real heroes are their girlfriends (secretly US agents in disguise).
  • In The Raid (1954), the drunken Lt. Keating interrupts a church service, shoots one man then tries to murder the preacher and is promptly shot dead by Maj. Benton, the raid leader, almost giving away the plot. The townspeople shower Benton with gratitude for this, not realizing his own true identity.
  • Star Wars:
    • The Phantom Menace:
      • Anakin Skywalker gets into Naboo fighter ship to avoid a firefight in a hangar on Naboo. After accidentally activating the autopilot, the ship flies to the scene of the space fight, where Anakin figures out how to turn off the auto pilot. In an effort to escape being blown up by federation fighters he flies the ship into the hangar bay of the enemy federation ship. After several robot droids notice him and start approaching his ship, he fires on them, destroying the droids. Conveniently, several of Anakin's missed shots at the droids hit a power system structure, which happens to be directly behind the droids. Anakin narrowly escapes the erupting federation ship, which is noticed by other Naboo fighters. "There's one of ours out of the hangar." After the federation ship is destroyed by Anakin's bad aim, the battle is over as without the command and control from the federation ship the attacking droids all shut down.
      • During the battle between the Gungans and the Separatist battle droids, Jar-Jar’s clumsy actions happen to destroy a number of battle droids and enemy tanks without even trying. For example, shots that he fires off accidentally while trying to shake off a blaster stuck to his foot, all strike the enemy, and a bomb of which he loses control happens to fall into an enemy tank.
    • In Return of the Jedi, a blind Han Solo moving a staff around without aiming accidentally strikes Boba Fett’s jet pack, causing the jet pack to fire and carry Fett permanently away from the battle.
  • In True Lies while fighting Aziz's forces on the uninhabited island on the Florida Keys, Harry, a government super spy, gets captured by a muscular goon, as another half dozen goons rush him, Harry yells at Hellen, his wife, to shoot. Not knowing how to handle a gun, the Mac-10 she was holding falls out her hands, and as it bounces down a flight of stairs, the MaC-10 takes out all the goons. Once the magazine is empty, she give Harry a surprised thumbs up.
  • The Wizard of Oz:
    • Upon arriving in Oz, Dorothy is hailed as a hero when her house lands on and crushes the tyrannical Wicked Witch Of The East. Dorothy didn't actually kill the Witch, since she was just trapped in her house when a tornado threw it into the air.
    • In the climax, Dorothy does it again when the Wicked Witch of the West sets Scarecrow on fire, with her trying to put him out with a bucket of water, only for her to accidentally hit the Witch with it.

  • 1632: Puss Trelli, the protagonist of several Grantville Gazette short stories and the novel I Want to Be your Hero, first becomes a hero by accident. During a rabid dog's rampage, he freezes in terror, but by doing so, he inadvertently gets between the dog and several children, saving their lives and causing him to become a Propaganda Hero. He goes on to accomplish several genuine feats of heroism as a battlefield soldier and MP in the following months.
  • Subverted in All-American Girl (Meg Cabot), where the main character believes she's this but, in fact, she really did do something heroic.
  • Audrey, Wait!: The media latches on to Audrey as the subject of infamous Break-Up Song, "Audrey, Wait!", turning her into a celebrity for no real reason other than inspiring the song. Not "heroic" in the traditional sense, but Audrey uses the media attention to good ends.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever: After Greg asks for money in an unmarked envelope left underneath the church recycling bin, he shovels the entire front of the church looking for the bin while wearing a ski mask. The next day, the newspaper declares him a hero for clearing the way to the church's soup kitchen.
  • Everything Rincewind ever did in the Discworld novels that didn't involve running away like his backside was on fire.
    • Except for the one time that he mans up, in Sourcery. But it's okay! The statue, as a reward, gets downgraded to a plaque, gets downgraded to a certificate, gets downgraded to a fine.
    • Also in The Light Fantastic and Interesting Times, although he is still trying to run away in Interesting Times. He just finds the save-everybody MacGuffin while he's at it.
    • As Lord Vetinari remarks in The Last Hero, "[T]he thing about saving the world, gentlemen and ladies, is that it inevitably includes whatever you happen to be standing on." One of Rincewind's enduring character traits is his willingness to "heroically" face almost certain death whenever the alternative is facing absolutely certain death.
    • The title character of Eric. He had intended to summon a demon from the Dungeon Dimensons to grant his wish. He ends up rescuing Rincewind instead.
  • Doom Valley Prep School: A student of the heroic School of Righteousness and Honour, was apparently let in free of charge after pick-pocketing a valuable magical relic from an evil wizard who was going to destroy a city with it. Everyone calls him a hero, but he was just a homeless thief that stole the thing hoping he could sell it for a good meal.
  • Goosebumps Series 2000: In "The Haunted Car", an evil ghost named Becka possesses a car and kidnaps a boy named Mitchell, going on a joyride intending to eventually kill him. They pass by his house and find it is on fire. Mitchell realizes that if he hadn't been kidnapped, he would have gone home and likely have been killed by the fire. Becka gets so pissed off that she lets him go and leaves.
  • Harry Potter is credited with defeating Voldemort as a baby, when it was really his mother's love that saved Harry and destroyed Voldemort's body. Allowing Harry to grow up without all that pressure is one of the main reasons Dumbledore arranges for him to live with Muggle Foster Parents (even if said foster family went a little too far the other way.)
    • In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the nervous Ron is applauded for making a save with his foot during practice. When Harry mentions this right before the first match of the year, Ron tells him that he fell off the broom and kicked it accidentally. Harry quickly quips, "Well, a few more accidents like that and the match is in the bag."
  • Jaine Austen Mysteries: Prozac (the titular character's pet cat) gains media attention in Murder Gets a Makeover when she saves a toddler from being hit by a car while trying to eat the kid's Chicken McNugget. When at an award ceremony for a pet charity, she sees the same kid eating another McNugget and reveals what the whole thing was really about... and then she ends up saving a philanthropist from choking on his food, doing this trope again.
  • This trope is the title of the first Jack Blank book (in the second publishing run, the original title was Jack Blank and the Imagine Nation), and an accurate description of what Jack did in the first chapter. He's considered a hero for beating Revile the Undying, when all he did was blow up a school generator when he panicked and Revile got caught in the blast. He didn't even know he was a technopath at the time.
  • In John Gardner's novel The Liquidator (made into a movie in 1965), a World War II soldier called Boysie Oakes mishandles his sidearm and kills two men. Fortunately for him they are both German agents. This seen by the Allied agent they were trying to kill who mistakes his terror-stricken gaze as a stone-cold killer face. The agent later recruits the soldier as an assassin for British Intelligence.
  • The Legendary Inge: Inge completely stumbles upon the original night-walker by chance and the only reason she was able to "slay" it is because when it attacked her, she tried to defend herself using a wooden training sword and wood happened to be the one material the night-walker wasn't impervious against.
  • Les Misérables: Thénardier. First, when he accidentally saves Georges Pontmercy's life, and then again, in his attempt to blackmail Marius.
  • In one J.A. Johnstone western story, The Alleged Boss of an army fort (following a metal breakdown) fails to realize that his Treacherous Advisor's road construction project isn't an official project, but rather one which will let the corrupt local mine owner move out more gold, and has been conscripting workers by force and subjecting them to inhumane conditions. The accidental hero part (although he does have a more traditional moment later on when his daughter is threatened) comes when he innocently writes a progress report to Washington about the road, which gets sent out of the fort before anyone notices. His superiors are utterly baffled (given that they never ordered the project) and send in the literal cavalry to investigate, just in time to provide the protagonists with some much needed reinforcements.
  • Gollum in The Lord of the Rings, tries to seize the one Ring from Frodo as the later succumbs to its influence, now unwilling to destroy it. He claims the ring, hops with joy... and falls into the chasm of Mount Doom, destroying the ring and Sauron in the process, and in doing so, saving Middle Earth. That Gollum may accidently save the world is foreshadowed earlier when Gandalf posits that fate may yet have a use for him, and that Bilbo's mercy in not killing him when he had the chance may yet be what saves the world. Frodo forgives Gollum after his death.
  • In The Lost Fleet, Commander John Geary was a commander of a small task force patroling a system near the Syndicate Worlds space. When the Syndics invaded The Alliance, one of the first attacks was on the convoy going through the system. Sending all but his ship to the jump point, Geary turns his ship towards the incoming Syndics in order to hold them off long enough to let the others escape. He evacuates the crew and himself jumps into a cryopod before his ship is destroyed. While the act is definitely heroic, when he wakes up nearly 100 years later, he finds out that the Alliance has turned him to a great hero who will someday return to lead the fleet to a glorious victory over the Syndics. The Alliance-Syndic war has continued without stopping for all this time, with both sides being too large to be easily defeated. Heavy attrition of experienced personnel has resulted in Attack! Attack! Attack! being the only fleet tactic familiar to the fleet with personal glory of ship commanders being the most important thing in battle. Geary is now a full captain with the legendary nickname "Black Jack". However, when someone points out his heroic Last Stand, he explains that this was his only battle to date, and he lost it.
  • Malgudi Days: Attila the dog. Originally meant to guard the house of his owners, he befriends Ranga, a thief, and runs away with him. Later, a member of the house spots Attila in public, and yells for him to return. Ranga flees the scene, but Attila, thinking that Ranga is abandoning him, chases after him... and accidentally trips him over, causing a ring he stole from the property to fall out of his pocket. The dog is hailed as a hero for his cleverness in catching the thief, but in reality, all he had intended was to catch up to his friend.
  • Mercy Watson:
    • In Mercy Watson to the Rescue, Mercy manages to jump off her owners' bed when the floor begins cracking and runs downstairs. Shortly thereafter, the fire department arrives and rescues Mr. and Mrs. Watson. However, Mercy was oblivious to their predicament and the fire department only arrived because of Eugenia calling in a complaint while Mercy was at her and her sister's house begging for a midnight snack.
    • In Mercy Watson Fights Crime, Mercy hears the noise of a burglar stealing the toaster and thinks someone is making toast, leading her downstairs. A series of events leads to her sitting on top of the guy while the police get there, but Mercy is again utterly oblivious.
  • During the war in Lois McMaster Bujold's Shards of Honor, Cordelia gets all the credit for killing Admiral Vorrutyer. She protests, but not too strongly, because she's protecting Sergeant Bothari, who would get court-martialled if his side knew he had done it.
  • Spinning Silver: Gorek's act of simply burying his wife and stillborn children under a tree with latent magic ends up empowering it with their essence, giving it the power to grant some wishes to his surviving family members when they pray before it.
  • In Warhammer 40,000, Sandy Mitchell's Commissar Ciaphas Cain, HERO OF THE IMPERIUM! claims that this is basically what he is in his memoir (ie. the novels and short stories). It's only partly true. In his first short story he was nothing but, credited with saving the day while allegedly scouting for and finding a Tyranid flanking attack — when he was actually trying to desert; and saving his future aide, by charging to protect him from a horde of Tyranids — when in reality, he was simply running from more, larger Tyranids in the other direction. Since then, a combination of his survival skills, extreme good luck, and diplomatic abilities has resulted in him getting out of one hairy situation after another, with his reputation as a HERO OF THE IMPERIUM snowballing. However, only some of this had him accidentally being a hero. Other times, he'd do it on purpose, even if it was only because his own skin was among those needing to be "heroically" saved, or because of his being Slave to PR. He did like that reputation.
  • In the Warrior Cats graphic novel Rise of Scourge, we learn that Big Bad Scourge became the ruthless warlord he was in part by trying to live up to a reputation for toughness he got for beating up two dogs. One of these incidents was a complete fabrication and in the other the dog became afraid of Scourge's shadow and ran off while Scourge was yowling at him. Of course, Scourge apparently did kill a few dogs for real later.
  • There's an element of this in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, after Dorothy's house squishes the Wicked Witch of the East, and it's the key to the plot. Without squishing the Wicked Witch of the East Dorothy would never have acquired the Silver/Ruby Slippers and incurred the wrath of the Wicked Witch of the West. Nor would the Wizard have assumed she was powerful enough to destroy the WWW and thus never would have sent her there.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has Jeffrey Mace introduced as a super-strong Inhuman who gained fame when he was photographed holding up a wall to save the life of a woman when a conference was bombed. He's made head of S.H.I.E.L.D. and helps the organization out. However, a mission exposes that Mace is not an Inhuman and has no powers. His "saving" of that woman was actually him tripping over her trying to save his own skin and a reporter just happened to get a photograph at the perfect time and angle to make it look like Mace was holding up a wall. The President and Glen Talbot thus pushed him to take on the role for public morale. In reality, Mace hated the whole act and is ready to announce the truth but Coulson (who saw Mace risk his life to help others) urges him to keep it up in public while Coulson handles the real S.H.I.E.L.D. activities.
  • In the Angel episode "Harm's Way", negotiations with some demons go sour and they demand a blood sacrifice or else they will declare war. Harmony, who had no idea what was going on and was in the middle of a fight with a rival vampire, appears and then stakes the vampire. The demons consider that satisfactory and continue the negotiations.
  • In the Firefly episode "Jaynestown", Jayne is idolized by the citizens of a small town who herald him as the hero who robbed their oppressor and gave them the money. What the locals do not know is that the robbery was just that: a robbery. Jayne had every intention of keeping the money, but his ship was damaged, and he had to throw the money out the window in order to escape. In fact, he was so determined to keep that money that he actually threw his partner out of the ship first. The spurned partner returns, minus an eye, and reveals the sordid truth, but this does not stop a local man from taking a shotgun blast meant for Jayne. There's even a song that the locals composed in celebration of his "heroics," an excerpt of which can be found on the quote page. Jayne also denounces heroes in and of themselves in a fit of grief after said townsman is killed, saying there's no people like that. "There's just people like me."
  • In an episode of Frasier, Bulldog is lauded as a hero for throwing himself in front of Roz when a gunman tries to rob the coffee shop. In fact, he was mistaken about where the gunman was, and was actually trying to throw himself behind Roz, using her as a human shield. Bulldog laps up the praise, though, and refuses to admit that people have it wrong.
  • In an episode of Friends, Ross, Chandler, and Joey go on a ride-along with a cop Phoebe is dating. When a car backfires, they mistake it for a gunshot, and Joey throws himself on top of Ross. Ross is touched at the selfless gesture, while Chandler is hurt that Joey tried to protect Ross instead of him. Joey ultimately admits that he was actually throwing himself on top of a sandwich he was holding, and Ross happened to be in the way.
  • F Troop: "The end of the Civil War was near; When quite accidentally; A hero who sneezed abruptly seized; Retreat and reversed it to victory."
  • In an episode of Good Luck Charlie, Teddy ditches class to prove that she is not a goody-goody, which she is being called by everyone at school. However, when she is there she stops a pickpocket and is awarded a medal of honor in school the next day, and the class cheers her on by calling out "GG", short for goody-goody.
  • Ralph Hinkley/Hanley from The Greatest American Hero was this up until the end of the series when his character was completely derailed and he became famous for being a superhero. Earlier in the series, with rare exceptions, he avoided the hero role that was thrust upon him.
  • In an episode of Living Single, Maxine is in line at the bank, when suddenly a robber pulls out gun and starts making demands. At that same time Kyle, whom Maxine has a habit of arguing with, runs into the bank since he's in a hurry to take care of some business. As he sprints into the bank, he fails to notice the robber, accidentally bumps into him, trips him, and the guard is able to apprehend him, and Kyle is labeled a hero on the evening news.
  • Lost: in "Through the Looking Glass," Jack is called a hero for pulling a woman and her son from a burning car. When the woman regains consciousness, she reveals that the reason she crashed was she was looking at Jack, who was about to jump off a bridge at the time.note 
  • Malcolm in the Middle episode "Boys at Ranch" had the boy's fireworks show a drunk and lost Hal and Otto the way back home.
  • In the Police Squad! episode The Butler Did It (a.k.a. A Bird In The Hand), a gunman holds three police officers hostage in a room at a police station. Suddenly, Frank Drebin opens the door, hitting the gunman and allowing the police officers to apprehend him. note 
    Ed Hocken: Nice work, Frank.
    Frank Drebin: (confused) What?
  • Red Dwarf: In "Officer Rimmer", when the crew come across a ship in mortal danger, rather than risk going into the asteroid field, Rimmer decides to rid himself of the problem by launching a nuclear mining torpedo at it. The missile glances off an asteroid and the blast from the explosion throws the ship clear of danger. The ship's captain responds by promoting Rimmer.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • In "The Homecoming", the Bajoran resistance fighter Li Nalas was hailed a legendary hero after slaying a famous Cardassian commander/war criminal in single combat. He admits to Sisko that he'd actually just fallen down a hill, saw a Cardassian bathing in the river, and fired in sheer panic, with no idea who it was. Sisko manages to convince Nalas that he can still be of value by inspiring his people, but the role never sits comfortably and he's actually relieved to sacrifice his life for Sisko in "The Siege".
    • In "The House of Quark", a Klingon attacks Quark in a drunken rage only to accidentally fall on his own knife. Quark quickly exaggerates the story, claiming that he'd killed his attacker in a fight to the death, which earns him a lot of notoriety (and is good for business). Then he finds out the hard way that killing a Klingon in combat has more complex legal and political implications than he'd expected.
    • "Nor the Battle to the Strong", has Jake Sisko: a civilian, aspiring novelist and part-time journalist. While on a besieged planet, Jake defends a field hospital by causing a minor cave-in, killing two Klingon invaders and sealing the entrance — except that it was all an accident, he was panicking and shooting blindly, and the results were extraordinary luck for him. He freely admits, however, that he was acting on fear and only trying to stay alive, and notes with some surprise that he was basically acting on the same self-protection instinct that had led to an act of what might be termed cowardace just a few days earlier — it just so happened that in this case, the instinctive action happened to be one that also saved others in the process. He even writes a truthful account of it for publication. He may not be a hero, but he's a very conscientious journalist.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Beetle Bailey: When Beetle of all people receives a medal for being an exemplary worker. It starts when he gives his usual kind of lip ("I could do that, if I wanted to") to Sarge "asking" him to clean up some graffiti. Sarge gets angry and gives a violence-laden order for him to want to do it, then. When he's cleaning the wall, Killer happens by and asks why he's doing it, to which Beetle replies with angry sarcasm that it's because he wants to. The General also happens to walk by and is impressed by this dedication.
  • In one week's Drabble strips, Ralph was too sick to go to work as a mall security guard, so Norman disguised himself as him and went in his place. While a shopper asked Norman where he could find a certain place, a man stole another shopper's purse nearby. As the purse snatcher ran past, Norman reached out to point to the place and clotheslined the guy.
  • Peanuts: In a 2-3 week story arc in the 1970s, Charlie Brown is wearing a sack over his head to cover up a baseball-looking rash, at the same time that he goes to camp. While at camp, his unorthodox headgear earns him the nickname "Sack". He is elected as camp president and is credited for improving the camp, even though he never actually does anything substantial.

  • In one episode of Amos n' Andy, a scheme-gone-wrong ends up with Andy forced to give a speech to a ladies' group on "The Psychology of Home-making," a topic about which he knows nothing. After fumbling his way through an attempt to deliver a serious speech, Andy is commended for lightening up the atmosphere with a comedic speech rather than a serious one.
  • In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1978), Arthur becomes a hero to a race of alien birds for showing them not to take any nonsense from their machines by throwing away a cup of revolting tea substitute a Nutrimatic device had given him.
    Wise Old Bird: In a moment we realised the truth. Just because the little bitches liked us, it didn't mean to say that we had to like 'em back. And that night we rounded up every last one of the little creeps.
  • The Men from the Ministry episode "Counter Spies" has General Assistance Department arrest of couple of shop-owners in Hackney for ridiculously small irregularities in their products that go against the norms set out by EEC, and accidentally blowing the cover of two Soviet spies, allowing MI5 to catch them.

    Video Games 
  • In Chapter 4 of Bendy and the Ink Machine, Ink Bendy saves Henry Stein by killing the Projectionist right when he was about to kill Henry. Seeing as he is surprised when he sees Henry after killing the Projectionist and who he is, it's likely it was an accident.
  • The Brief and Meaningless Adventure of Hero Man: The Prince of Somewhere is described as incompetent and in the Tower, he's such a klutz that he's in more danger of falling down and injuring himself than from the monster encounters. However, his pathetic existence somehow convinces Lord Doldrum to kill himself in ending 8, resulting in Somewhere being saved.
  • In Eiyuu Senki: The World Conquest, the player's army is getting ready to invade the Taika Empire. The empress, Qin Shi Huang, is at the same time suffering from a debilitating disease and taking what she believes to be medicine but is actually liquid mercury. The player's army circulates some false rumors that Qin Shi Huang has taken a turn for the worse, causing her advisor, Sun Tzu, to return to the capital. Sun Tzu arrives and accidentally breaks Qin Shi Huang's medicine bottle just as she was about to take an extra large dose, causing both parties to inadvertently save her life. Since the game is fueled by Defeat Means Friendship, it averts Nice Job Breaking It, Hero.
  • Leisure Suit Larry 2: Looking for Love (in Several Wrong Places): Larry Laffer meets a Latin American woman at a music store, and tries to talk in Spanish with her. Problem is, he took Spanish at high school, and doesn't understand the girl... but the girl thought that his badly spoken phrases were secret codes, and thought he was the Soviet agent she was waiting for. She gives him a Peruvian onklunk with a hidden microfilm for the evil Dr. Nonookee; Larry, incapable to understand, thought it was a gift. And so, Larry is chased around by several Soviet spies and agents of the KGB, without even being aware of it (that is, unless they capture him, and dies). Finally, the onlunk is broken when Larry falls in the middle of a jungle. Poor Larry: he saved the world, and the only thing he received for it was a bush with killer bees...
  • Luminous Plume: Deconstructed because Raven's accidental feat was achieved through an act of cowardice. Raven abandoned the White Talons and the city they were guarding to the Harbingers of Calamity. He tried to hide in a cave in the Southern Plains, but accidentally came across the mastermind Jade's hideout. Raven then lies in wait to ambush and kill Jade when the latter returns with his guard down, leaving the Calamities without a controller.
  • In Mugen Souls, Altis is a former demon who is so incompetent at being evil that she accidentally turned into an angel. She legitimately wants to be evil, but all her attempts to do something evil make good things happen instead.
  • In no-one has to die., Troy revealed the security code in his second to fifth loop of the fire, leading to the others believing they could save them all, leading to them being the Sole Survivor over and over again.
  • The "Recall" short from Overwatch is a retroactive example of this. When Winston sends out the recall signal for all Overwatch agents, it was also transmitted to the long abandoned Eco-point Antarctica. Waking up Sole Survivor of the outpost, Mei, mere days before the station power would have died and left her to freeze with the others.
  • In Paladin's Quest, Chezni starts his journey because he was duped by his "friend" Duke, actually Zaygos, the Emperor of the Southern continent, into activating Dal Gren.
  • Rengoku: Virgil has created ADAMs based on Captain Gram memories. Beatrice, who was in love with Gram, has tampered with the uploading to remove his personality so there wouldn't be thousands of Grams and left only combat data. It turns out Virgil had a secondary plan to turn ADAMs into the new master race and needed them to develop consciousness. So while he was able to end the Machine War, Beatrice unwittingly made it so his he was unable to start the new one against mankind.
  • Saints Row:
    • If there's ever an event where the Boss does something good for the city, it's usually by accident. Usually. The Boss still saves millions of people from a nuke and is pretty damn insistent on finding humanity a new home in Saints Row IV.
    • In Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell, Johnny Gat and Kinzie Kensington descend into Hell only to rescue the Boss, who has been kidnapped by Satan. In doing so, they end up inadvertently foiling Satan's plan to invade and conquer Heaven.
  • Shantae and the Seven Sirens: Rottytops' actions inadvertently save the world. She dresses up as a half-genie to infiltrate the half-genie festival, under the identity of "Fillin the Blank", thinking Shantae had neglected to invite her. This gives Risky the opportunity to sabotage the Empress Siren's plans by switching Shantae out for her when the Sirens kidnap all the half-genies. Not only does this leave Shantae free to act, but when the Empress Siren absorbs the half-genies' life force, Rottytops' zombie energy poisons her and gives Shantae the chance to defeat her. If the Empress Siren had actually managed to absorb the life energy of all five half-genies, she would have been invincible. Rottytops declares herself a hero after finding this out.
  • In Silent Hill, beating a god to death with a pipe tends to be an objective the player character achieves while pursuing a different goal, though how heroically that turns out for the characters depends on which of the Multiple Endings you get.
  • Stray: The cat's only motivation is to get back to its clowder on the surface, and it saves B-12 mostly by wandering around and pawing at things. B-12 leads the way from then on in the larger plot of freeing the robots from the Walled City; the cat's Not in This for Your Revolution and it's not entirely clear whether it even knows the revolution is happening.
  • Most of the Wario Land games can be summed up as "Wario goes out to steal treasure, and defeats a villain who's worse than he is."
    • Wario Land 3: Wario saves his own world and unknowingly breaks Rudy the Clown's curse on the music box world's inhabitants by defeating him purely in self-defence. The inhabitants, thinking this was intentional, reward him with freedom and all the treasure he found on his quest, which is exactly what he was after from the very beginning.
    • Wario Land 4: He broke into the Golden Pyramid to steal its treasure, only to inadvertently defeat the Golden Diva and lift the curse on Princess Shokora.
    • Wario World: He destroyed the Black Jewel out of revenge for destroying his castle and turning his treasure into monsters, only to inadvertently save the world from its wrath.
    • Wario: Master of Disguise: He stole Count Cannoli's magic wand to hijack his show and get a wish from the Wishstone, only to accidentally save both his world and the TV one by defeating Terrormisu over not getting a wish.
    • Wario Land: Shake It!: He journeys into the Shake Dimension and defeats the tyrannical Shake King just so he could get his hands on the Bottomless Coin Sack.
  • In the World of Mana series, being the chosen hero tends to happen by accident:

    Visual Novels 
  • BAD END THEATER: In the ESCAPED MAIDEN and HEROIC UNDERLING endings, the Underling's reasons for killing the Overlord are entirely selfish in nature, and the fact that they end up saving the Maiden in the process is a mere coincidence. Nevertheless, when the Maiden expresses her thanks to the Underling, the Underling feels proud of themself and allows the Maiden to leave the castle peacefully.
  • Baldr Sky: Amazingly Gilbert ends up saving Kou's mind in Sora's route thanks to his bottomless hatred for him. The same ends up holding true for his comrades as well.

  • Kevin Kolton from Evil Plan wasn't trying to do anything heroic with the supervillian's telekinesis chip. He accidentally installed it by falling asleep in class.
  • In One-Punch Man, the reason why King is ranked as high as he is in the Hero Association, despite being a normal guy with below-average strength and no powers (asides from maybe Super-Luck and Inhumanly threatening presence, the actual source material is not clear about it), is that he just happens to be nearby in a lot of incidents where Saitama defeated the bad guys, and bystanders credited King because he looks more like a hero than Saitama. However, because of his false reputation, he has actually been able to save the day on his own — some bad guys flee or surrender the moment they see him.
  • Belkar Bitterleaf from The Order of the Stick inadvertently saves a commoner when he goes ballistic on a slaver, not out of any objection to the slaver and his group kidnapping people — he actually used to be good friends with the guy, and out of earshot of the rest of the party, is initially happy to let the slavers walk — but because they express an intent to eat his cat. Heroics of saving his animal companion aside, the bloody swath he cuts through his enemies has absolutely nothing to do with helping any of the people the slavers are attacking, and he's completely confused when the man he saves tries to thank him with a present, assuming it has to be some form of tribute. Roy recognizes immediately that Belkar's rescue of the man was likely unintentional.
    Roy: Belkar, the box is a GIFT. You saved this man's life — however incidental it may have been to your own violent rampage — and he's thanking you with a gift.

    Web Original 
  • In Analog Controls Let's Play of Fable'', main character Arseface was a Nominal Hero at best and a villain at worst, but managed to reject and destroy the evil Sword of Aeons… because MJTR hit the attack button one time too many while making a joke. The hosts take the stance that pure accident is the only way Arseface could ever have actually saved the world.
  • Jurassic Park Horror: A giant pterosaur unknowingly saves the farmer by swooping down and eating the last of a pack of Velociraptors that had been attacking the farm.

    Western Animation 
  • In one episode of The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius, Jimmy and the gang are tasked to steal a special egg that contains a powerful element for a machine that will be used to control the world. During this heist, Carl accidentally mixes up the real egg with an identical fake one and is forced to choose which to pull down. When they return with the egg, their client betrays them and turns out to be a Mobile-Suit Human of Professor Calamitous. Fortunately, the egg they possessed was the same fake one and the Professor's machine gets destroyed.
  • Adventure Time: Distant Lands: In "Together Again", Mr. Fox accidentally murdered New Death, who was possessed by The Lich, which ultimately saves all the souls in the Death World and prevents both Finn and Jake from being forced to become the next death. As a bonus, he becomes the new, new Death and is shown to be The Good King as he erases all of the monsters in the first death world and allows everyone trapped there to go free except for Wyatt.
  • Amphibia:
    • In the second season, Grime, Sasha Waybright, and his soldiers lead a coup against King Andrias. Only to discover that Andrias was actually a mad tyrant and conqueror wearing the facade of The Good King. Though this ends up being massively deconstructed, as Anne and her team stop the toad rebellion, King Andrias regains control of Newtopia, and Anne gives him the music box. Allowing him to finally start his multiversal conquest.
      Sasha: Is that the king? With the music box?
      Grime: If it is, it's a really good thing we stopped him.
    • Played much straighter with Anne's other friend, Marcy Wu. In the episode "The Second Temple", while they were searching for Anne, Marcy showed the Plantars some cute animal videos on her phone while Anne's gemstone was still charging. Thinking they were in danger, Anne hastily takes back the gemstone just before it finishes charging, leaving it only partially charged. This would later prove to be a good thing in "True Colors" when King Andrias drops Sprig to his supposed death, causing Anne to activate her Calamity form, with Marcy taking advantage of the distracted King Andrias to save Sprig. Anne's connection with the gemstone saved herself, her family on a few occasions, and Earth by defeating Andrias in their second duel. And finally, Anne's connection with the gemstone was the key to unlocking Sasha and Marcy's Calamity Powers and saving Amphibia, meaning that Marcy practically atoned for her mistakes and saved Earth, Amphibia, and, to a lesser extent, the entire Multiverse by complete accident.
    • Plus, as revealed in "All In", Marcy's cheerful, bubbly personality and kindness towards Andrias deeply moved him during their first meeting. He convinced the Core to spare her life by sending her and her friends on their temple quest to protect her from being killed, both effectively saving her and unintentionally setting the prophecy in motion instead of undoing it like they wanted.
  • Archie Comics: The superhero Bob Phantom created an identity in order to get close to superheroes and learn enough about them for his exposé book. In his first appearance, however, he is mistaken for a genuine superhero, and, worse still, ends up helping another hero save the day!
  • One of the early episodes of Arthur has a Cat Up a Tree leap into Buster's arms to eat his ice cream, due to it having fish, thus becoming a hero. He lets the hero stuff go to his head and Arthur and friends decide recreate the scenario via robotic cat to prove he is no hero. It succeeds, much to the disappointment of Buster, but then he (intentionally) saves Arthur and Francine from a runaway piano. Here We Go Again!.
  • In the Batman: The Animated Series episode "The Man Who Killed Batman", a very small-time thug, "Sid the Squid", working as a lookout somehow managed to accidentally "kill" Batman, which makes him a hero and a big-shot to Gotham City's underground. It also earns him the wrath of both Joker and Rupert Thorne, who thinks Sid has been "playing dumb" and wants to depose him. Batman is actually still alive, however, and saves Sid and collars Thorne. Sid gets sent to a big prison outside of Gotham City limits, where he is still treated as a hero for almost killing Batman — and making both Thorne and the Joker look like fools.
  • Beavis And Butthead: Beavis and Butt-Head sometimes manage to save the day, but only unknowingly. They never realize that something is going wrong in the first place; it just so happens that they have found something that brings good luck. Sometimes, they even want things to go wrong, only for their stupidity to, ironically, make things better. Four noteworthy examples are "To the Rescue", Do America, "A Very Special Episode", and "Spill" .
  • The Boondocks had one in the form of Tobias Lynchwater, aka Catcher Freeman. The true story surrounding him is that he wrote the first ever screenplay and showed it to his master George (who's also his illegitimate father) before informing him of a revolt by his fellow slaves. However, the revolt happened a week earlier than they said, much to Tobias' displeasure. He picked up a gun and meant to shoot the rebel leader Thelma, but ended up accidentally shooting the colonel instead because they kept moving. With everyone looking to him, Tobias just decided to roll with it and made it look like it was on purpose, thus starting the Catcher Freeman legend.
  • Captain Planet and the Planeteers:
    • Downplayed in "Domes of Doom"; Plunder starts covering the world's forests with domes after conning his way into being appointed their protector. He plans to sell the fresh air to cities and make a fortune. Wheeler ventures into the air outtake hose to escape from the dome and find some way to stop Plunder, using a ball contraption put together by Ma-Ti's people to avoid being shaken to pieces in the process. The ball bounces out as Bleak is cornering the other Planeteers and hits him.
    • Downplayed in "Trouble on the Half Shell"; the Planeteers find themselves in trouble when they arrive in the Galapagos Islands to stop Skumm and Greedly from destroying the tortoise population, only to find that Skumm's rats have grown to the size of dogs due to toxic waste exposure. Wheeler feeds the rats some leftover pizza as a distraction to keep them from mauling the Planeteers. However, then it turns out that eating normal food reverses the effects of the toxic waste, returning them to normal size and making them much less of a threat.
  • Classic Disney Shorts: In "Two-Gun Goofy", Goofy is a bumbling cowboy who gets on the wrong side of bank robber "Pistol" Pete. After suffering a series of slapstick injuries thanks to several Coincidental Dodges and other coincidences, Pete decides he's had enough and locks himself in the town jail to get away from Goofy, who is hailed as a hero and made the town's new sherriff.
  • Practically a Running Gag on Dan Vs.: many of Dan's revenge schemes end up defeating some evil force, such as the balloonist cult in "New Mexico", the supervillain dentist in "The Dentist", and the gym robots in "The Gym"; however, in almost all such cases Dan is either unaware that the evil exists or is hunting them for a completely different reason.
  • Duck Dodgers is this to the Martian Queen (and only the Martian Queen). Whether it's a well-timed teleporter malfunction, or bending over at just the right moment, whenever he's around her, circumstances conspire to make him look like a badass.
  • On The Fairly OddParents!, Timmy and his fairies find themselves in a magical duel with Remy Buxaplenty. Cosmo inadvertently wins the first challenge, rescuing Timmy from a gorilla, by poofing up some bananas for himself, which the gorilla takes in exchange for Timmy.
  • The Family Guy episode "Blind Ambition", has two examples:
  • In one U.S. Acres segment of Garfield and Friends, the normally cowardly Wade accidentally saves the day, and as a result becomes rather arrogant for his so-called heroism — until, of course, he is faced with a situation where he must save the day again.
  • Green Lantern: The Animated Series: In the episode "Steam Lantern", Gil Broome (a.k.a. Steam Lantern) is revered as the hero that saved his alternate Earth from the Anti-Monitor. He eventually confesses that he's a fraud. Duke Nigel Fortonberry had opened a dimensional rift that transported the Anti-Monitor into another universe. At the same moment, Steam Lantern fired an energy blast at the Anti-Monitor that had no effect whatsoever — but because Gil was visible to the crowd of onlookers and Duke Nigel was not, everyone assumed that Gil's attack caused the Anti-Monitor's departure, and he received all the credit.
  • According to Word of God, Alastor from Hazbin Hotel was a Serial Killer on Earth who died from being shot in the head by a hunter who mistook him for a deer while disposing of victims in a forest.
  • The entire series Hong Kong Phooey was built on this trope. In earlier episodes, the titular character often lucked into his heroic acts, and in later episodes, his faithful pet cat was responsible for orchestrating the events that led to his heroism. All the while, the entire cast, the titular character included, believe him to be a skilled superhero.
  • This is the only reason anyone in Inspector Gadget accepts the title character as an Inspector. However, he's so clueless that he believes the hype and never realizes for himself that he's not really the hero. Then again, his bumbling often genuinely does help save the day, usually in a Spanner in the Works fashion.
  • An episode of Jimmy Two-Shoes had Jimmy stop a thief that was stealing Lucius' treasures because his was in the middle of having a Priceless Ming Vase fight with Beezy.
  • Kaeloo: In Episode 104, when Stumpy is trying to escape from Olaf's Mecha-Mooks, who are clinging onto him, he sticks his fingers into an electric socket. Somehow, the electricity passing through all of them gives him control over them, and he uses the army to rescue the others (who are being held prisoner by Olaf).
  • Kim Possible: Ron once spent an entire episode accidentally foiling the plots of Kim's Rogues Gallery because he was searching their lairs for a library book he lost.
  • Megas XLR: A team of Sailor Senshi Sendups mistook Jamie for a great hero and put him up against a powerful monster without letting him get in a word of objection edgewise. Jamie seemingly kills it by accident while trying to run away, but actually just makes it come back stronger in a few hours.
  • The New Three Stooges:
    • In "Flat Heads", the trio's efforts to fix a flat tire result in the engine falling out. This stalls the owner (an armed bank robber) long enough for the police to finally catch up to him.
    • In "Get That Snack Shack Off The Track", the trio are robbed by infamous highwayman "Get Out of Town By Sundown Brown" and, in their efforts to catch him, chase him right into a jail.
  • In the PAW Patrol episode "Ultimate Rescue: Pups Save A Movie Monster", the titular movie monster gets out of control and starts blasting fire everywhere, prompting the PAW Patrol to go on a mission to put the fires out. In the end, the monster breaks down. So now how are they going to finish the movie? Believe it or not, it was actually Daring Danny X who saved the movie. He had been following the pups on their mission and recorded the whole thing on his helmet camera.
  • This happened to Heinz Doofenshmirtz in an episode of Phineas and Ferb when he accidentally saved a falling kitten when he tripped coming out of the store. As a result, everyone (including his enemies) believes him to be defecting to the good side. He even attempted to get rid of the news footage of the event to save his reputation.
  • Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja: Bash de-stunk one of his fellow students when he broke said student's musical instrument but he only broke it because he didn't like its shape.
  • In an episode of Recess, TJ gets a black eye and won't tell anyone how he got it. The other kids convince themselves that he got it performing some heroic feat or other and is just too modest to admit it. After initial protests TJ quickly starts enjoying the hero life, even getting a parade in his honour. When he's asked to tell the tale of how he got his black eye at the parade, however, his conscience finally kicks in and he admits the truth — He was square-dancing, and his partner knocked into him.
  • In Rugrats episode "The Bank Trick", Tommy and Chuckie unwittingly trip an alarm at the bank and cause an entire police force to swarm the place. By sheer coincidence, a pair of scam artists posing as federal bank inspectors were just about to bilk the bank out of its money, and get arrested by the officer who recognized him.
  • Scooby-Doo:
    • In The New Scooby-Doo Mysteries episode "A Night Louse at the White House", Scooby's parents Mumsy Doo and Dada Doo fly over to the White House solely to bring him his galoshes to make sure he dresses warmly. Mumsy Doo ends up unintentionally helping Mystery, Inc. capture the episode's criminals when she knocks them out by dropping Scooby's galoshes onto their heads.
    • Be Cool, Scooby-Doo!: In "Where There's a Will, There's a Wraith", Scooby is included in a rich man's will for saving that man's life. It's eventually revealed that Scooby was just trying to get a piece of jerky from the man's pockets and the life-saving was accidental.
    • In the Scooby-Doo and Guess Who? episode "Returning of the Key Ring", Daphne brings the others along when she has lunch with her friend Sean Astin, but warns them not to say the word "ring" because it's a trigger for him after the filming of the trilogy. Velma accidentally triggers Sean when she finds a key ring. Sean's insistence on personally returning the key ring to its rightful owner pulls the gang into another mystery, preventing the villain of the week from getting away with her scheme.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "Homer Defined" had Homer Simpson save the town from nuclear doom by using eeny-meeny-miney to find the right button. He is then lauded as a national hero. He later manages to recreate his blunder, but the townsfolk figure out he had no idea what he was doing, and his "reward" this time is inspiring the term "pulling a Homer".
    • Similarly, in "Little Big Girl" Bart Simpson accidentally puts out a fire when using fire extinguishers to propel himself forward along the road... his intention was just a cheap thrill, but the material from said fire extinguishers put out a fire that he encountered along the way.
    • The image is from "Moe Baby Blues", where Moe saves Maggie (who had been launched from the Simpsons' car in a traffic accident) just as he was about to jump off the Springfield Bridge. Also a heartwarming moment when Maggie kisses Moe and Moe smiles, saying "Life don't seem so hard no more".
    • Homer again in "Boy-Scoutz 'n the Hood" when he and Bart go on a Father/Son camping trip with the Junior Campers. Homer is The Load all the way, losing their map and getting himself, Bart, and the Flanderses lost at sea. He only ends up saving the day when his keen sense of smell and the Krusty Burger map he brought along led them to food and rescue. It also turned out that the "correct" path led the campers who went down it to be attacked by mountain men, a bear, and eventually a psycho killer lurking in an abandoned campground.
    • In "Brother's Little Helper", Bart's prank of flooding the Springfield Elementary School gymnasium accidentally saved Flanders' life by dousing the flames when Flanders set himself on fire. Of course, by flooding the gym, he prevented the firefighters from putting out the fire sooner.
  • In South Park, Cartman does this twice:
    • The first time by being a spoiled brat in "Roger Ebert Should Lay Off the Fatty Foods." Cartman, furious that no-one saw him on TV, knocks over the mind controlling Planetarium projector in a fit of rage, inadvertently saving Stan and Kyle and wiping the mind of the Planetarium owner.
    • The second time by being a more overt sociopath in "Best Friends Forever." Kenny was killed by angels so he can lead Heaven's army against the forces of Hell and prevent armageddon, but is revived in a vegetative state by the hospital. Cartman is the one fighting to get Kenny unplugged, inadvertently allowing him to save the world, because he wants Kenny dead so he can inherit his Sony PSP.
  • In The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!, the intro for the animated segment posits that this was how the Mario Bros. were introduced to the Mushroom Kingdom. While unclogging a bathtub drain, the plumbers were sucked down into a Warp Zone. At this time, King Koopa and his Koopa Troopas have cornered Princess Toadstool and Toad at a cliff, when a nearby pipe spat out the brothers. They unwittingly bowled over the Troopas, and a panicked King Koopa jumped off the cliff to avoid the same.
  • In The Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries, Granny is praised far and wide as a master detective, and she herself thinks she is. While by no means incompetent, as she always makes the final deductions herself, it's Sylvester chasing Tweety Bird around wherever they're located that causes the necessary evidence or information to fall straight into Granny's hands — she has never once fully solved a case by herself.
  • In the first episode of T.U.F.F. Puppy, Dudley chases his chew toy, which winds up in the possession of the Diabolical Order of Mayhem (or D.O.O.M. for short). In the process of recovering his chew toy, Dudley manages to knock out Snaptrap's henchmen, and Snaptrap would have surrendered the Kruger Rat he had stolen to him had Dudley not had his mind more on his chew toy. When the Chief arrives at D.O.O.M. HQ, he is so impressed with what Dudley did that he hires him as an agent of the Turbo Undercover Fighting Force (or T.U.F.F. for short) and the partner of his top agent, Kitty Katswell.
  • On The Venture Bros., Col. Bud Manstrong is celebrated as a hero, but actually blacked out from a handjob while piloting the crashing Gargantua-1 back to Earth.
  • Wander over Yonder: Hater gets this twice in a row in "The Hole... Lotta Nuthin'", first when he accidentally cheers Wander up when he brings up his famous "It never hurts to help" slogan, and again when his anger gets the better of him and he rips off one of his arms to plug up the black hole.
  • In the What's with Andy? episode "Busted!" Andy, who had been having a Potty Emergency the whole episode, finally relieves himself on an escalator fire putting it out.

    Real Life 
  • In Fragebogen, Ernst von Salomon relates that in the prison camp where the Americans interned him as a "security threat", he was informed that the general everyone was kowtowing to was the victor of Crailsheim. You never heard of the Battle of Crailsheim? It was the last German victory.
    In Crusade in Europe, Eisenhower noted that "...we occupied Crailsheim, but were forced to withdraw by unexpectedly strong resistance." The real story: the general, in his command tank, was cut off from his unit in the darkness. He finally found an armored column and traveled with it all night, before finding that it was an American column. He tried to slip off quietly (insofar as possible in a tank), but was spotted. So he opened fire with everything he had. The Americans heard firing, thought the Germans had outflanked them and were counterattacking from the rear, and pulled out of Crailshem. "Proving that a general without his command can be just as useful as a lance corporal."
  • In 1976, writer Roger Sharpe ended a thirty-four-year-ban on Pinball by demonstrating that it was a game that required skill, not luck.note  He did this by playing pinball in the courtroom, ending when he announced that he would launch his next ball through the center lane at the top of the playfield, then proceeded to do just that. Only later did Sharpe admit that his success was based on luck.
  • While filming his short-lived show Who Is America?, Sacha Baron Cohen seems to have unwittingly uncovered an elite pedophile ring. Rather than air the segment, he turned his footage over to the FBI.
  • After the 2016 bombings in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City, police were able to apprehend the suspect extremely quickly because two thieves who had been trying to steal the suitcase that one of the bombs was in accidentally defused it when they took it out of the suitcase and put it in a trash bag before making off with the suitcase. Because of that, police were able to access the info from the cell phone it was rigged to and track down the bombing suspect. Naturally, this made for late-night comedy fodder.
  • Allegedly, after the 1952 tsunami on the Kuril Islands, one soldier was found next to his unit's colour. Josef Stalin, upon hearing that, wanted to make the soldier a Hero of the Soviet Union, but the soldier confessed he was only next to the colour by accident. Stalin said "pity we have no rewards for honesty", and ordered to encourage the soldier's behavior regardless. He was given a brand new uniform out of officer quality material and a month long leave.
  • YouTube prankster Rémi Gaillard decided as a prank to fly a banner that said GO HOME FUCKING TOURISTS ♥RG over a beach crowded with tourists for a giggle. The lifeguards found it hilarious and decided to stay after hours, meaning they were still on-hand to provide first-aid for a tourist who fainted and required medical attention (they didn't faint because of the banner). That's fate, indeed:
    Remi: (To the paramedics) Actually I'm happy because if I didn't do my stupid video they wouldn't be here today! That's fate!
  • WWII Medal of Honor recipient Rodger Young ignored his officer's order to withdraw, advancing (while wounded) on an enemy machine-gun until he was killed, thus covering the withdrawal of his fellow soldiers. However, Young was almost deaf, so likely never heard the order in the first place. That doesn't make him any less brave — Young could have avoided combat by being sent to hospital to have his deafness treated, but refused.
  • A pedophile was caught in the UK in 2009 after two burglars stole his laptop, found child pornography in it, and turned it over to the authorities.
  • In 2003, Juan Catalan was facing the death penalty for a crime he claimed he was forced to confess to. He said that his alibi was that he was at an L.A. Dodgers baseball game when the murder he was accused of committing happened. When his lawyer contacted the people at the stadium for video footage, they told him that an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm was being filmed during that same day, and when the lawyer viewed the episode's crowd footage, Catalan and his daughter were recorded several times watching the game, thus clearing Catalan of any wrong doing, and labeling Larry David an accidental hero.
  • While making Wallace & Gromit A Grand Day Out and A Close Shave, Nick Park had Wallace say "Wensleydale" because they liked how it was animated and because he liked the name. After making the movie, a company that made Wensleydale cheese actually wrote them a thank you message and gave them the license to make a special brand of "Wallace and Gromit Wensleydale". Because of those movies, Aardman Animations saved the company from bankruptcy and were credited for saving the company, something Nick Park was unaware of the entire time.


Tenma Foils a Robbery

She was meant to give her crush a love letter by the way.

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Main / AccidentalHero

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