The ‘Excuse Me, Ma’am’ Meme Is All About TikTok Teens Trying To Be Their Best Selves

"Excuse me ma'am, I'm John Quiñones with the show 'What Would You Do?'"

John Quiñones Tik Tok excuse me ma'am

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Teens on TikTok are making videos about the terrible things they do when no one’s watching.

The catch? All the videos end with their biggest fear — John Quiñones from What Would You Do? catching them in the act.

What Would You Do?

What Would You Do? is an ABC hidden camera show that creates staged scenarios for real people to react to. However the person chooses to respond is documented and discussed with news correspondent and show host, John Quiñones.

The show has been running for over a decade and uses a rotating cast of actors to perform scenes that focus on issues like racism and poverty. While each scenario is different, all have the same aim of making the viewer question what they themselves would do in the situation.

From homeless people being denied service to stealing from a blind manWhat Would You Do? has covered almost every topic under the sun.

The one constant since the show started, however, has been host John Quiñones and his memorable introductory line: “excuse me ma’am/sir, I’m John Quiñones with the TV show What Would You Do?

If you grew up watching the show or have come across a What Would You Do? clip on YouTube, you know that John Quiñones has the power to randomly appear at any time. This has made the decision-making complex more complex.

Today, people are now either fearful of making the “wrong” choice in case it’s caught on camera – or they make the “right” choice in the hopes that John Quiñones and his camera crew are there to witness it.

“Excuse Me, Ma’am. I’m John…”

This exact feeling of moral confusion is what has inspired the newest TikTok trend that people are calling ‘Excuse Me Ma’am’ or simply, ‘John Quiñones’.

Most videos follow the same format: Doing something that’s morally wrong and being caught by John Quiñones and the What Would You Do? team. The videos are set to the instrumental of “I Can’t Handle Change” by Roar and ends with John introducing himself as he always does: “Excuse me ma’am, I’m John Quiñones”.

The first “Excuse Me Ma’am” TikTok was uploaded by @grabytrain and follows his decision to not share food with a hungry homeless person. After saying no to sharing, Gabe is heartbreakingly tapped on the shoulder by the one and only John Quiñones.

After Gabe’s video, similar What Would You Do?-inspired videos starting popping up covering a range of topics.

The videos poke fun at the idea that we make different choices when we’re alone to when we’re being watched.

Similar to the What Would You Do? series, the ‘Excuse Me, Ma’am’ TikTok trend covers every situation imaginable.

Some have even chosen to highlight the actual way people react when they know they’re being filmed.

And the harsh reality when people find out John and What Would You Do? team aren’t there at all.

The trend has now come full circle, with people starting to question what would John do if the situations were reversed.