If you haven’t heard of it, ‘the butterfly effect’ is the name given to the phenomenon where one seemingly-insignificant decision ends up having massive ramifications on your later life. Perhaps you decided to get a drive-thru McDonald’s on the way home from work and ended up narrowly missing being involved in a road traffic accident. Or maybe you nearly didn’t go to a party where you met the mutual friend that introduced you to your future spouse.
Stories of butterfly effects can be crazy, able to make you stop and think about all the tiny decisions that you’ve made that have resulted in getting you to exactly where you are now. They also make you wonder about what you could have done differently. Maybe if you had accepted that job offer, gone to the pub that one time, or driven home a different way one day, your life now could be completely unrecognisable…
Here are Reddit’s craziest ‘butterfly effect’ stories.
1. A life-saving coincidence
I had to call my heart surgeon to give him my new insurance numbers. I had only just gotten them because the person who had them had the flu and was not getting back to me. As soon as I got my numbers, I called surgeon – the receptionist said, “oh, hey, we just had a cancelation for this Friday, do you want it?”
Of course I wanted to get it over and not wait another month. Decided to take the appointment. The surgeon said thank goodness I did because once he got a look inside, he realised I would not have survived to the original appointment date. So, if the insurance lady didn’t have the flu, I would have gotten those numbers a lot sooner, and never gotten the offer to have the surgery when I did. Someone else’s flu saved my life.
2. A great love story
I decided to invite my chem lab partner to lunch on the first day of college, just to be friendly and try to make more than 1 friend at school. We met up with the only other friend I’d made at school so far.
He thought my lab partner was cute, invited himself to hang out with her, and then fell in love with her roommate instead. He ended up married to the roommate – they’ve been together for 22 years and have 2 children.
3. Survivor’s guilt
So a few years back, I lived in Nice. As a musician I would make a bit of extra cash busking, and one day, I figured I’d go and busk by the promenade by the sea. It’s usually packed, and it just a generally pleasant place to be. I set up, played a couple of songs and was doing pretty well and making a decent amount of money. Then suddenly not one, but two of my guitar strings snapped. I even remember I was playing The Scientist at the time.
I was massively gutted and decided to cut my losses early. I stormed off home in a bit of a sulk at having to re-string my guitar and cutting short what was essentially one of my most productive days of busking since moving there. Literally one hour later, my phone starts to blow the f**k up with family and friends freaking out and asking if I was at the promenade. It was Bastille Day, 2016. The truck drove into the same crowd I was playing to, killing 86 people, including my at-the-time girlfriend’s uncle. I had two other friends who were amongst the 458 injured. I moved home the next month because it was too much, and haven’t been back since.
4. A lucky escape
I spilled my coffee. I work in a bank and you learn never to do that, all the papers and files. You also learn to place it far enough away so it doesn’t fill out anything if it does spill. I worked in finance for many years. It was 8:43 in the morning and I figured I had enough time to get downstairs and get another cup and come back up before 9:00.
So I went to the elevator bank. Waited for the elevator to come, it took a long time. Got in the elevator went down to the ground floor. I had my hand on the door leading outside to Liberty Street just as the first plane hit the first World Trade Center building on 9/11.
5. Truly life-changing
Watched ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire’ and got so annoyed at the candidates not knowing a simple question about Katy Perry, that I applied.
Got in. Got to play. Won a lot of money. Booked a holiday to a dream destination with that money. Met my husband there. We now have a 1 year old son.
6. Quite the revelation
I had to renew the sticker on my license plate a couple of years ago and really didn’t feel like sitting in the waiting room by myself forever so I told my mom I’d take her out to dinner after if she came with me.
The guy working at the counter turned out to be my mom’s long lost biological brother. If she hadn’t come with me, we would have never known.
7. What are the odds[Before we met] my now-husband found out after 18 years that his mom’s side of the family was Spanish, not Mexican. He found this interesting and changed his country from “US” to “Spain” on MySpace.
Meanwhile in Australia, I was helping my friend find Spanish people to add as a friend as she was learning the language. I came across my now-husband and decided to send him a friend request as well. We got along really well and met in person after 3 years. Have been together 11 years, married for 7. If he didn’t change his country to Spain, we’d never know each other existed.
8. The Domino’s effect
One day I got home from school and really wanted pizza. My family was poor, so spontaneous food trips weren’t always in the cards. Really worked my pouty face to my mom and begged to go to the local pizza place for dinner. She said alright. While chilling there I saw my uncle walk by, and I was like “the f**k?”. Now, you might say well he wanted pizza, what’s the big deal? Well, he lived several states away so to arbitrarily be in town and not tell anyone was strange.
Turned out he was having an affair with his sister-in-law – my aunt – on the other side of the family. One thing led to another and everyone hates each other now and we haven’t had contact in like 20 years. I just wanted some pizza.
9. That snowballed
Out of university, looking for a job and exhausting all the online resources. On a whim, I looked in the career section in a print newspaper that was lying around in the house. We never subscribed to that paper, I don’t know why it was even there.
Got the job in a different city, met someone who is now one of my best friends, who introduced me to their friends, who introduced me to their friends and so on, until I was eventually introduced to my wife. If I’d found a job where I actually planned on working, there is absolutely no way I would have crossed paths with any of these people.
10. Thank goodness he went
4 years ago a kid I barely knew from school invited me to Six Flags. I was a bit of a loner at the time and I heard rumours about this kid being weird, so I intended to not go. On the day he wanted me to go, I was feeling extra bored and decided on a whim “why not?”. So I went and met this kid and two of his friends I’ve never met.
4 years later and that kid is my best friend, and I have 3 other very close friends I met through him. Not only that, but I also met my first girlfriend because of the connections some of my new friends had. It transformed my high school years from being alone to having an amazing group of friends I could do almost anything with.
11. All because of a lightbulb
The older I get, the more I am constantly cognizant of the vast cascade of seemingly insignificant decisions and actions that led me to where I am. For example, a decision 25 years ago to change a refrigerator light bulb before going out resulted in my being at the “wrong” time and place so as to get mugged, which resulted in my decision to move out of the city I had been living in.
Which resulted in my meeting my wife, and from there to having all my kids and the whole shebang. I would have had a different whole shebang had I not changed that lightbulb that afternoon, but the path to the present leads through that (and a thousand other) similarly trivial decisions.
12. A lucky escape
I was going to carpool with my aunt to a family gathering. At the last minute I decided to go by myself so I could leave early if I wanted. It was a way out of town and I didn’t want to be stuck there.
On the way there she drove off the road into a ditch. She was ok, but the passenger side of her car was totally smashed in.
13. How to leave the friend zone
I sent a friend from secondary school (who I had a huge crush on) a message saying happy birthday a couple years after we left school. Did the whole ‘we’ll have to catch up soon!’ thing, not expecting much.
He replied with ‘how about Monday?’ and I saw him that Monday for a coffee. Next month will be our 6th anniversary. Best thing that ever happened to me. My friends joke I’m ‘queen of escaping the friendzone.’
14. Why you should always say ‘yes’
Right before freshman year of high school, I was interested in trying out for the tennis team. I was lukewarm about it, and the morning of tryouts my dad came into the room and asked if I wanted to go. I was leaning towards no and just wanted to be lazy in bed, but my dad asked, “do you think you’ll regret it if you don’t?”
The answer was yes, so I went and tried out. I ended up meeting my absolute best friends, rekindled my love for tennis, was on varsity for three years, and it completely dictated my high school career.
15. God bless the internet
The first day I ever signed up for internet back in 1999, I installed mIRC (because it was on the starter disk my ISP gave me) and joined a random chat room. Over the course of the next year the “regulars” in that room became like family to me. We would talk about everything. All that practice made me a fast typist and WAY better communicator than I was before that. They would even help me when I had trouble understanding something in my college classes.
I also met my husband in that room, and we’ve been happily married for 18 years. Others from our little IRC family are married, too, and we still keep in touch. All because I randomly chose THAT chat room that day.
16. One fateful email
I was always super flirty with the girl from HR, but we were always seeing other people. When she left the company I was bummed. A year or two later a coworker asked me to search my email archives (that was a thing back then) for something he needed. I ended up stumbling across the “farewell to my work-friends” email from HR girl and she sent it from her personal email address.
I reached out to her, we had coffee, then a date, then many dates, then I love yous and I put a ring on it ASAP. 12 years later, extremely happily married, 2 goofy kids, 2 evil cats, and she still puts up with my bullsh*t.
17. What a story
I chose to rearrange the sequence of classes slightly before starting my education. By doing this, I had to commute to a different branch of the school in a different town than the one I was originally signed up for.
On my first day there, I helped a girl who had managed to break both of her arms in a drunken shopping cart accident, (as I learned later). This girl, whom I would absolutely never have met had I not changed my classes around, is now my wife of 14 years.
18. Why you should always get a KFC
The other day I was driving home from work, traffic was light and I was behind a car with a numberplate that started “KFD”. Decided to duck through the KFC drive-thru for chippies with extra salt as a little treat to myself. They took forever to bring them out and by the time they finally did, traffic has slowed to a complete halt.
I needed to get over a bridge that’s normally six lanes which had been reduced to one. Turns out it’s due to a massive collision involving several cars. When I finally get to the point where I’m driving past, I notice the numberplate on one of the cars, that same KFD numberplate. If I hadn’t stopped to get hot chips I’m fairly sure I’d have been in a major collision.
19. Listen to your teachers
In high school I read House of Leaves and one day was trying to explain the concept of the book to a friend. My drama teacher overheard, said it sounded a bit like Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov. On his recommendation I read that book which sparked an interest in Russian literature, then I branched out from there, always seeking out new reading opportunities.
My quest to find more reading led me to major in English and become a teacher myself. Being a teacher at a Title I school has had a huge impact on my political philosophy as well. So basically I am who I am today because my drama teacher suggested a book to me.
20. One more application
I was applying online for a large national internship, I could apply for 10 different positions between Sept – March, and they were rolling admissions for different departments. I decided at 11:45 pm in early March to apply for 1 more position. Turns out, the whole national application process closed at midnight that day.
That last internship I applied for was the one I got. 5 years later, I’m still working there, moved halfway across the country, and I’ve gotten to go to grad school because of it. It’s likely that I’m going to make a career of it, all because I decided, “Eh, I’ve got some time, I’ll submit one more”.
21. Free pizza is always a good idea
Went to a club’s open house in college for the free pizza. Joined the club then that led me to joining a camp for work.
Met my wife at that camp and also some of my siblings met their significant others after I convinced them to work there too. The connections I’ve made through that camp have lasted longer than any HS or college connection. All because I wanted some free pizza.
22. If in doubt, toss a coin
I was living in London and was offered a job in Dubai. So I sat in a bar and wrote a huge list of pros and cons of taking the job and moving to Dubai.
In the end it was pretty even so I flipped a coin. Head I go, tails I stay. It was heads. 15 years later I’m still here in Dubai with a wife and child.
23. A career change
I was working a tech sales job in my second last year of school, and hated it so much that I was already handing out resumes at so many different places just a few months after working there. I applied at a pharmacy, thinking they probably wouldn’t hire me cause I had no experience. Surpringly, they did. I still work there 2 years later and love it.
At that time I was pretty sure I’d study something like economics or international relations at university. Working in pharmacy made me realise I had a passion for helping people and I loved couselling and communicating one-on-one with customers. So, I decided to pursue a degree in psychology, which was a subject I already loved, and that I now hope I can use to get into a masters degree in some sort of allied health field. All cause I was desperate to get out of a casual high school job.
24. How sweet
I tried to take Japanese classes in college ten years ago or so to fulfill my language requirement but they were locked to students with more relevant majors.
I ended up taking sign language on a whim and accidentally got fluent in it. In under three months I’m accidentally marrying the deaf woman of my dreams. Whoops.
25. Fasten your seatbelts
We were running late for a movie. I was driving my girlfriend, her sister, best friend, and cousin. Best friend wouldn’t put her seat belt on. I turned the car (and AC) off. In August. In Florida. With the windows up. It took about 15 seconds of the other three girls yelling at her (it was a lot hotter than whatever you are thinking) before she decided to put the seat belt on.
On the way home from the movie she didn’t even fight me about it. We got in a head-on collision with the cars going about 10 (me) and 50 (them) mph. Seatbelt saved her life. Everyone had bruises from seatbelts and cousin had a broken collarbone.
26. Failure leads to success
Failed an exam in final year uni by a couple marks, meant I failed the module. I was originally doing a 4 year integrated masters, but because of the fail they made me graduate 3rd year with a bachelor’s, but would allow me to do a separate year long masters.
Because of that I was the only person free in a uni group to be sent to the US (from the UK) for 4 days to do a 5 minute presentation, and ended up applying to jobs later in the year which is also when my ideal job became available which I got.
27. One swipe that changed it all
Broke up with my boyfriend after a turbulent, on-and-off again relationship. Felt the need to rebound a bit and have some casual hookups.
Overheard my coworkers talking about Tinder and decided to download it on a whim. Swiped right on a cute guy who I ended up going on a date with. 6 years later, we are still together and got married last year.
28. A second chance
My boyfriend and I met on Tinder. The first time we started talking, I stopped talking to him pretty quickly because I thought something he said was kind of rude (I read the tone wrong and ghosted him) a few weeks later he messaged me again to start over.
I was gonna ignore him but something told me I should give him a shot. We went on the best first date of my life, we fell in love, moved in together, and are planning on getting married! Best decision I ever made.
29. A different career path
I covered a shift for someone in a sh***y retail job. Met a random dude and started helping him as an assistant. He taught me a lot.
Ended up continuing in that industry and have been in for 15+ years – now am in a senior role at a large company with a pretty awesome life.
30. As fate would have it
Went for a cruise about an hour out of town in an area I had never been. Crashed my car into a ditch due to massive snowfall and had a nice man pull me out. His daughter was in the passenger seat.
Ended up having a cup of coffee and then took her on a date that night. We have been together for 14 years now and I couldn’t imagine what life would be like if I hadn’t driven down that one road.
31. An awkward beginning
I have severe ADHD so I show up early to everything for fear of being late. Showed up to a bar where I was meeting some friends. Nobody was there yet so I sat at the bar (something I never do) to order a drink. Someone rapped me on the shoulder and said “That’s my seat” and I responded with “Sorry man” as I’m turning to get up, only to see that it’s not a man but an attractive woman. She says “damn, you steal my seat and you think I’m a dude…” I get flustered and offer to buy her a drink. She gestures to the drink in her hand and now I’m out of any kind of response.
I’m not the type to pick up a girl at the bar anyway, but this whole interaction is way out of my comfort zone. Just as I’m saying my fumbled apologies, a small group of my friends walk in and I immediately latch onto them and retreat to the back of the bar where we usually sit. This woman that I’ve been so gracefully interacting with pulls one of my friends aside but I’m beelining for my safety-net and I barely notice. A few minutes later the rest of my friends show up and bring this girl over with them. Apparently she asked about me, my friends did a great job of talking me up, and 7 years later we’re married with a newborn and a dog. Life is strange.
32. Bonding over the dishes
In 1977, two friends I knew were going to drive to a Christian ranch to do some construction work. I begged them to let me come and help. They didn’t really want to but they relented. While there I met my future wife. I was living in San Antonio, TX and she was in school in Minneapolis, MN.
It was a near miracle we were both there. What’s more she was busy doing completely different tasks than I was on the large ranch. But one night we had a communal dinner and she and I volunteered to do the dishes. In those two hours we fell in love. Completely random and a chance meeting as thin as a hair. I’ve often pondered what my life might have been otherwise.
33. A memorable Halloween
I was roommates with my sister and was using Tinder. It had just come out and was becoming popular. I met a girl on there but she didn’t talk to me too much or try to drive the conversation. Just figured she wasn’t interested. Fast forward a week, it’s Halloween. I get home from class and it’s going on 10pm and I have a headache and just want to stay home. My sister insisted I go with her to the Halloween dance a few towns over because a guy she likes will be there. I begrudgingly go because it’s my sister and she has struck out a lot and it’s rare she has the confidence to pursue something like this. We get there. I’m bored just trying to chill in the corner because of my head. After a while, I go to try and find her and this hot super girl walks by and my brain does that thing where you know you know that person but have no idea why.
Then it hits me. She’s the girl from Tinder. I pull out my phone and show my sister while trying to nonchalantly point her out. I ask her if it’s the same girl. She agrees but wants to leave. Now Tinder girl is staring at me and giving me that same blank look of mystified recognition. I work up some courage and walk over to her and say hi. We talk for a few minutes and she tells me she doesn’t even live around here. She goes to university an hour away and was only here because she was visiting her sister. I get her phone number and leave after an awkward encounter. We text go on a date a week later. Date for a year and got married and now have 2 kids. Been together for about 7 years now. And it’s all because my thirsty sister really wanted her brother as a wingman.
34. A lifelong friendship
Signed up to my university’s chat forums in 2004 three months before starting. Got chatting to a guy about computer games and general nerdiness. We swapped numbers and arranged to meet in person after fresher’s week and once we were into the groove.
Moving-in day comes and I’m lugging my stuff into my room in halls of residence – our complex housed something like 3000 people, and there were 4 or 5 other such complexes. I say hi to the guy moving in opposite me with a huge gaming PC. Turns out it’s the guy I’ve spent the summer talking to.12 years later he gets married and I’m his best man. 16 years later he buys me an Xbox Series X for my birthday. So basically if I didn’t join those forums in 2004 I wouldn’t be playing Assassin’s Creed Valhalla at (mostly) 60fps.
35. The solo traveller
Some years ago I wanted to travel but no friends were willing to travel with me. Sometimes there was a maybe, depends on work, money, etc. Eventually decided, f*** it, I’ll travel alone, stay at a hostel and maybe meet people there. First hostel experience was already a good one. First evening, met some people, had a good time. Started doing these trips more often, had great fun. Opened up and became less socially awkward. Met nice people from around the globe. Sad thing about this kind of travel is that you rarely see them again, maybe you stay Facebook friends, that’s it.
Until my last travel alone, now a bit more than 2 years ago. Was looking for vacation companions on the first evening there, talked to a girl. Had an instant connection. We talked till 2am, swapped numbers and ended up spending the entire vacation together. Got engaged this year.
36. It all worked out
I scored 1 point too low on the act math portion for entry into a STEM high school. This led me to a local community college which had a program for teens interested in biotechnology to take dual credit courses under a scholarship.
But I got too low of a score in an algebra class twice to take chemistry, which caused me to swap to an English degree. Which led me to pick a different college for my bachelor’s degree, and I met my now husband the first day of classes.
37. A life-saving rabbit
Getting a $5 baby rabbit from a farmer’s market completely changed the trajectory of my life. I immediately sobered up (I had a pretty severe drinking problem) because this little animal took so much care and I didn’t trust myself to even be buzzed around her. From quitting drinking, I quit smoking – I didn’t see what the point was, it was no longer fun to smoke without a beer in the other hand. I figured, why stop there with this whole self improvement thing?
So I started running, dropped 30 pounds immediately and have never felt better. It goes on… I fell in love with the species as a whole and we started an online store to supply good New England hay to rabbits everywhere, because store bought hay is so sh***y. It’s thriving to a point that Chewy.com has approached us. So yeah, that 5 dollar purchase in a bar parking lot, and so many aspects of my life suddenly blossomed. Amazing what love can do, that little ball of fluff literally saved my life simply because I cared more about her than drinking myself into oblivion.
38. Small decision, big impact
I was depressed and homesick because I decided to move halfway across the country for school and didn’t know anyone in the state. It was bad. I was considering dropping out and moving home. I read an article that said working out helped with depression so I went to the university health center to work out.
I ended up making a friend that invited me to a frat party. I ended up making friends at the party who later introduced me to my best friend. This snowballed into having some of the best years of my life. After college, I moved home but later decided to go back to law school. I ended up going to law school back in the state where I went to college and my best friend and I got an apartment. I ended up meeting my wife in law school. We now have 2 kids.
39. An interesting turn of events
When I was in about 4th grade it was a hot day and me and my mom went into a bodega. They had an ice cream freezer and since it was a hot day and I was a bored 9 year old I decided to stick my hand into the freezer. My finger got stuck on the freezer. Instead of waiting for my mom to get water I pulled my finger off and it created a huge blister.
When I went to the doctor for it they said it was fine, but while at the doctor I caught pneumonia. I was hospitalized for 3 days, and at the hospital they had a basketball video game (don’t remember which one) and that got me into basketball when I got out of the hospital. Basketball turned into baseball and now I love baseball.
40. A little prayer
I was without a car and was driving a motorcycle. At the time, I was 27. After work on this particular day, before getting on my motorcycle, I took two seconds to thank the universe for my existence, and hoped that my life would continue beyond this journey home on my motorcycle. Driving a motorcycle, I have had so-many close calls with drivers who simply cannot see you. On this day, an old woman going the opposite direction turned left in front me (my right). She was blinded by the sun, so much that she was practically glowing.
And she was taking the longest and slowest turn in history… I was about 50 yards out from the intersection and going 45 mph when I noticed she was going slower than a turtle. I slammed on my brakes. That sent me fishtailing wildly. I was able to maintain control… I missed her car by 6 inches… I looked up and the guy behind her looked like he had just witnessed a miracle… Since then, I attribute that 2 seconds of gratitude to surviving that moment. One little sliver in time can change your destiny.
41. An eventful theatre trip
I was sad and depressed because a bad breakup. A friend invited me to a theater play to distract me. I’m too depressed to go and just wanted to stay home, play video games and get fat. Power outage. No video games.
Decided to go to the theater play. It was fun, a small theater company with a very amateur but smart production. At the end, they explained it that none of them are professional and they do that as a hobby, and if you wanted to participate in auditions, you can sign up at the tickets booth on your way out. Decided to try an audition. Ended up being in their next play. And that’s where I met my future wife.
42. Rags to riches
I reluctantly raised my hand in 10th grade. As a result I’m now in the 1%. A local business was looking for a co-op student. Co-op teacher came into our class asked if anyone was interested in going to an interview that was already scheduled.
I raised my hand, interviewed, got hired. Learned the business inside and out. Took over the business. Owner financed it. I grew the business significantly. Purchased the real estate (from a different party). Renovated the property added commercial tenants. Now the real estate is more valuable than the business. I’m the current owner of both.
43. Small world
In freshman year of high school all I did was stay in my room and my mom said I had to pick some kind of after school activity so I joined an Aikido class in town. Ended up sparring with a girl and we ended up becoming friends then becoming a couple.
Eventually left the Aikido class since we had to do college and all but we stayed together through it all. Couple years ago we got married and bought a house, turns out my sensei from that Aikido class is now our next door neighbor. Crazy how things turn out sometimes.
44. Written in the stars
So I was at university studying English and Lit to become an English teacher. I was one of the few people living on campus and I decided to go into class early every day to get the assigned reading done. Turned out there was another girl who liked to come in early who was a real go-getter and she respected my contributions to class so she started making a point of coming in to discuss the assigned reading before class and writing assignments. Then one day she came in with an ad for a short story contest and presented it to me like it was the most obvious thing in the world that I should enter. Anyway, the prize was 150 US dollars and I thought that’d be a good amount of pocket change worth a little effort and so I penned a 2000 word sci-fi allegory for race relations with blue and green people.
I won the competition. Then won it twice more before I stopped entering to give other people a chance. Because of that, I got sent an invitation to participate in a novel writing competition. I wrote the novel in 2 months and the book was a finalist, so they flew me out for the prize ceremony. My novel about a girl from another dimension who comes to Earth on the run from Spider Gods won. The prize was a publishing contract and cash.So because of my very out-of-character decision to go to class early I now have two published novels.
45. Best haircut ever
So I was doing my masters in London and need to find an internship to be able to conclude it, well spent the entire summer applying for jobs with no luck whatsoever.
Went to the barbers to get a haircut and my barber tells me he knows a guy that owns a marketing agency and that he is happy to give me his contact. Long story short I ended up living in London 2 more years than I had planned, working in an awesome agency, just because I got a haircut.
46. A noisy notification
I once forgot to put my cellphone into silent mode and woke up to a 3am email notification reminding me that I had an hour to reupload an admissions essay for a foreign university. I was a high school senior living in a third world country at the time. The foreign university’s servers had crashed and they requested all essays be re uploaded. I had decided to go to another university so I never submitted an essay before the server crash and the initial deadline weeks ago.
I couldn’t sleep so I wrote a half as*ed essay starting at 3:30 am and submitted it with seconds to spare. A week later, I received an unconditional offer of admission with a big fat scholarship. My entire life as I know it would not exist had I put my cellphone on silent mode that night or choose not to write the essay. I’ve spent the last decade in that foreign country. All the memories, friends, my partner, my experiences, the public projects I worked on, etc… would not exist the way they currently do.
47. Brushes with death
My family is normally very punctual, but being late has saved two members of my family. My dad, woke up late one morning on a business trip to the UK, missed his flight back to New York. Turns out the flight he missed was the Lockerbie bombing flight.
13 years later, my uncle also woke up late one morning, had to take care of his son, and showed up late to work at the WTC. He got out of the subway as the second plane hit on 9/11.
48. A chance encounter
I got to work one day as an 16 year old. I had been dropped off by my parents because I was still saving for my first car. Turns out, my shift didn’t start for another hour. Ugh. Instead of hanging out in the restaurant I decided to go for a walk at the nearby park.
I ran into an acquaintance from school who was walking with her friend. They invited me to join them on their walk. Me and my acquaintances friend hit it off. We’ve been together for almost 15 years and have two kids. Probably would’ve never met her if I hadn’t misread my work schedule.
49. A good choice
When I was 14, I had to pick a language to take in high school. Spanish was too mainstream. Latin sucked. And Japanese was going to be filled with weebs.
All that was left was German. I ended up really liking it, studied it in college, lived abroad, and am now a German teacher.
50. Friends for life
First day of school in new school freshman year and first time ever I became a ‘bus rider’ instead of ‘walker’. Got on a pretty empty bus and had the opportunity to sit next to a few people but opted for my own seat.
2 stops and a lot of people later a guy gets in and asks if I mind if he sits in the empty seat next to me. Nope, I said. Introductions take place and now, 32 years later, he’s still a tremendous friend. Like best man, weddings, vacations together, call each other for advice in big life moments, door is always open, brother-from-another-mother kind of friend.
51. Just out of reach
I had my Tinder radius set to 30 miles, I worked 33 miles away from my house. One day I decided to be a bad seed and during a boring day at work shut my office door and started swiping.
First match to come up was my now husband….who lived down the street from my work. I would never had met him.
52. The trip of a lifetime
I was going through a really rough patch; sh***y job, living at home, no car, never left my small town. A friend had heard I was in a rut and reached out to grab coffee. We were bullshitting and she jokingly said I should “go backpacking to find myself.”
12 days after that conversation I was on the cheapest flight I could find to Europe. Had the happiest two months of my life, gained a bunch of confidence, and met my fiancé at the first hostel I stayed at. I felt so invigorated after my trip that I pulled a 180. I finally started to figure out what I wanted in life. To cap it all off I’m moving to Australia next year to live with my fiancé.
53. Saved a life
My family and I were visiting some relatives, and we’d always bring food/snacks up with us – including snacks my parents never bought any other time than when we were visiting these relatives. There was this pastry thing I really wanted, so I got up before everyone else was awake and snuck to the kitchen to eat one. Since I was up, I spent time snuggling with one of their older chihuahuas.
I forgot to latch the tavern door style gate leading out of the kitchen after I’d snuck my pastry. Because of that, one of the other dogs snuck upstairs and woke up my relative, and was able to alert them that something was wrong. She was nursing puppies and had a clogged milk duct that got infected, and it turned into a nasty fever. They were able to get her to the vet in time to stop the infection from killing her, which the vet said it surely would have.
54. An important coach journey
While doing an internship in the UK, I decided to use the Easter break to travel around the UK instead of flying back home to spend Easter with my family in Portugal. Had 2 days in Bath and 2 days in Bristol. On the coach back from Bristol to London, a stranger sat next to me.
We started talking on the long coach journey back and haven’t stopped since. He is now my boyfriend of 5 years and we live together. We wouldn’t have crossed paths if we weren’t travelling on that same coach from Bristol. Not flying to see my family that Easter turned out to be a very good decision.
55. Bad breath saves lives
My friend was diagnosed with a tumor on his pituitary gland when we were in high school. He suffered from excruciating headaches and his primary doctor only ever subscribed him meds for it.
My friend has a pet peeve for bad breath and one day he got fed up with his doctor’s stinky a** breath. He asked to switch his primary to another doctor. That doctor sent my friend in for a CAT scan and that’s when they found the brain tumor.
56. Sight restored
I was in my sophomore year of high school when I was diagnosed blind. Glasses nor any method fixed my eyesight, I went two years blind and must’ve been to almost every optometrist in California. Not a single doctor knew why I couldn’t see, there was no indicator of why it was. After two long years I had started seeing specialists less and began to give up any hope. Then one day my long-time best friend asked me if I wanted to go with him to have a drink with his aunt and uncle to celebrate his birthday. I had never really drank enough before and I had never gone to a party or anything like that before because, well, I was blind. I wasn’t planning on saying yes but after a while he convinced me to go with him and reluctantly I went and had a great time.
His aunt was a retired optometrist that suggested to me an old friend of hers. She gave my friend the doctor’s number to give to my parents. After about three months I think it was my sister that found the card in a drawer and brought it back into conversation and my mom figured why not book an appointment. Eventually I went to see her and she knew what was causing my loss of sight – pseudomyopia. She put me through procedures that gave me my full sight back in two weeks and I have perfect vision and my life’s completely normal now. Half my high school I spent blind, I ended up going to over a hundred and fifty specialized appointments that were all unproductive, and I was cured in two weeks by one doctor and she honestly gave my life back. I’ve never been more thankful for beer with my best friend.
57. A close shave
I was sitting at an Interstate off ramp in the number one position at a red light. I noticed a political sign for someone with a funny last name. Let’s say it said “Farter for School Board.” I was laughing and said something to my passengers like “If you had a name like Farter, would you run for anything?” Guy in the backseat says “the light is green.”
I let my foot off the brake just as a dump truck hauls a*s past us from the left. We missed being in its way by a couple of feet. The speed limit on that road was 55 and I bet the truck was doing all of that if not more. Had I not been making fun of the Farter, I’d probably be dead. Truck would have hit me right in the drivers’ side door at 55+ MPH. The two other guys might just have a really bad limp but I’m pretty sure I’d not be here.
58. MMO romance
I was 12 years old and lonely after moving to a different state and new school. My brother introduced me to my first MMO, called Earth & Beyond. I was playing the game by myself and happened to see a player in the space station just standing there. On impulse, I sent him a message saying hi, not really expecting a reply. But he answered! We became best friends.
We’ve been a couple for 16 years now. I ended up meeting him in person, with our parents and a couple friends present, in a nice public location. After several more visits back and forth, I ended up moving 10 hours away at 18 to live with him and his mom while going to college. Now I’m 30 and we still game together and have four cats.
59. A life-saving headache
Got invited to a Dallas Cowboys opening season watch party at a friends new house. Kind of a house warming/football watch party. Sounded fun, but I was really exhausted with a headache that day, so I decided not to go to her party that evening.
What transpired at the party would become known as the Plano Massacre. That headache saved my life. Turns out another friend was also exhausted after work and didn’t go to the party either. Saved her life, too.
60. A fateful argument
I had a fight with one of my best friends over a girl when I was about 11. That same week my parents asked if I wanted to go to boarding school or to go to the local school. I said yes to boarding school purely because I was p***ed off with my friend – zero thought about anything else.
That one decision changed my whole life, as the local school was not very good and I was already falling in with “the wrong crowd.” I ended up being first person in my family to graduate and go to university. Now I am living over the other side of the world in high profile finance position. There are obviously a lot of other things that went my way, but I often get drawn back to thinking about the moment and being so pivotal.
61. Tragedy avoided
I stopped at my house for a snack even though I was late to meet my brother and I had planned to drive a different route.
As I walked in the door I saw a charging battery explode and set my entire couch on fire in an instant. I had no reason to be home, and the whole house would have definitely caught if I wasn’t. Glad I was hungry.
62. An important offhand comment
Went to a going-away party for an ex-boss. She was from the UK and was going back. I joked that she should pack me in her luggage and take me along. It was just an offhand comment mostly inspired by beer. A couple of months later she calls me on the phone and tells me they are looking for someone to fill a slot in her new workplace and asks if I’m interested. Which is how I ended up working in Scotland for a couple of years.
It’s a beautiful country with absolutely wonderful people. My wife and I saw a lot of the UK and Europe while we were there. Due to the generous ex-pat policies of the company we were able to wipe out all of our credit card debt and save money besides, so we were in great financial shape when we returned to the US.
63. A butterfly effect baby
Back in 2012, I was going to delete my MeetMe account because I was headed off to college in a month. Before I went through with it, I saw I had an unread message and decided to read it. It was from a girl that had just moved to town and was looking to meet people. I decided to meet up with her. We hit it off and had a lot of fun, but we made the mistake of not being “safe” and she ended up getting pregnant.
We still went off to our respective colleges but stayed connected. After the baby was born, we gave a relationship a try. She left her college to move in with me and managed to get into a community college in town. We managed to make it through the last 3 years of college, graduate and get good paying jobs. We still tried making it work post-college but realized we were just together to get to the point we were at. We had both grown as people, and while we managed to support each other, we had also grown apart. We decided to end our relationship. Today, we share custody of our son, have no bad blood between us, and both run pretty successful lives.
64. The golden ticket
When I finished middle school (in my country middle school ends when you hit 18), my friend and I went to an education fair. We were looking to study abroad, specifically in Europe. Then I stumbled upon this booth giving away flights and they told me “if you take a great picture with this ‘fake’ ticket we will send you an actual one.” I didn’t want to join at first because I knew I wasn’t gonna win.
After I went back home, I thought I’d give it a go, and took a selfie with the fake ticket. After 1 month, while I was in Singapore on a family vacation, I got the email saying that I’d won the ticket. I picked Japan as my destination. Where I am now? In Japan studying for my degree in computer science. I’m so happy I picked Japan instead of London (my first choice) and I’m so grateful for my life right now.
65. Stay on the train
Was not feeling great, but sister and then boyfriend convinced me to go to a club with them in NYC. Took train into city, and about halfway there, I was just not feeling it. Almost got off train and headed home, sister convinced me to stay. Went to club, sister’s co-worker was there.
We’ve been together for 7 years and married for 2. I had a literal foot off of the train, and she convinced me to stay. Wound up married because I didn’t take the 2nd step off of the train.
66. Love blossoms on AIM
Was trolling people on AIM back in the day and I ended up meeting a girl I really got along with. We talked on AIM daily for months about everything. Eventually I drove 11 hours to see this girl. We hit it off and decided to start a long distance relationship. I would go see her as much as I could over the next 4 years, and then she relocated to my hometown and moved in with me. She got really sick shortly after and I took care of her. Years later I got really sick and she cared for me.
She was growing frustrated with her career and decided to look for jobs abroad. She found a good opportunity in Shanghai, so we got married and moved over there together. We ended up adopting a little dog in China. Now we live in the Middle East and life is going really well. I absolutely never expected my life to go down the crazy path it did, and it’s all because I was trolling strangers on AOL Instant Messenger one day.
67. In the nick of time
I moved from Iceland to Denmark 2010 to find work. I lived with my childhood best friend, his girlfriend and her mother for 4 months. Didn’t find a job and booked my flight ticket back home. While we where eating dinner the night before my morning flight I got a call from a restaurant and they offered me a trial shift so I was like f***!
Decided to take the trial shift and cancel the flight home. Luckily I got the job and I was really surprised because I had never worked in kitchen before. Next summer a girl started working in the kitchen with me and we became good friends. Fast forward to now I’m the head chef in the restaurant and married to that amazing girl and we have two kids.
68. A stroke of luck
I interviewed for a large corporation after college and was not hired. A few weeks later they were having a site tour for students, and even though I didn’t really care to go since I already knew I wasn’t going to work there, I went anyway.
During the site tour I had an awesome time and connected really well with the teams and management there, and a few days later they called offering me a job. I took that job, made some great friends, and later followed most of those people to a startup where I work now. It’s exactly the kind of job I had always hoped for and I couldn’t be happier. If I hadn’t gone, I would probably still be stuck in a cubicle somewhere.
69. It pays to be kind
Was going on a school trip to an amusement park in 7th grade. You couldn’t go unless you had a group of 2 or more friends to hang out with for the day. Already had my group set and was in line to get on the bus to go. Noticed one of the kids with the teacher crying and the teacher explaining to him that he could not go since he didn’t have a group. This kid was somewhat new to the school and didn’t have any friends, so I quickly decided to yell out “you can be in our group.”
The teacher said “great” and put him in line with us. The other kids in the group gave me a weird look of disapproval, but I said f*** it and I’m glad I did. This kid became my best friend for 25 years now. He has been the most loyal and giving friend I could have received. He was my best man at my wedding and is now my daughter’s godfather. Feeling bad for the lonely loser kid even though it wasn’t the cool thing to do was one of the best decisions in my life.
70. Serendipitous infidelity
My mother’s decision to randomly cheat on her fiancé which cancelled her upcoming wedding that was to be held in Thailand on Christmas Day 2004.
If she hadn’t cheated, we’d probably all be dead now because of the tsunami. Thanks to my mother for being a w***e I guess.
71. Could have had a very different ending
Every day after school my brother would beg my mum to let me hang out at his best friend Lee’s house, every day my mum would say no. Finally, one day she decided to relent and let my brother stay at Lee’s house.
As my mum was driving home, a car ran a red light and hit my mum’s car side on. The car flipped multiple times. Was a huge crash, made the local news. My mum survived thankfully but the side of the car where my brother would sit was totally crushed. He wouldn’t have survived. Thank God she let him stay at Lee’s that day.
72. Best of friends
5 years ago, I chose a college dorm room because it was convenient. My roommate and I got along well enough but were clearly in different crowds so we didn’t hang out much. Our bathroom was shared with our neighbors and connected the rooms directly. I met my neighbors and continued with my studies.
Week or so later I recognize my neighbor in one of my classes and we get to talking about games, as that was a focus in the class. We’ve been best friends ever since and I was a groomsman at his wedding only a month ago.
73. Ticked off the bucket list
I got my ultrasound results interpretation on a Friday evening and it said that I had cysts in my ovaries. As much as I wanted the actual explanation from my OB/GYN immediately, I had to put it on hold till Monday. I sat in a coffee shop scared that I had cancer and while mulling on it, I made a bucket list.
Number one on that list was to try online dating (which I would have never done if I hadn’t thought I was dying and because I am extremely socially awkward and scared). Over the weekend, I went on several dates (not recommended), talked to multiple people and eventually met my boyfriend. Turns out I’m not dying. The cysts are gone. My boyfriend and I are already 10 months into our relationship!
74. Snapchat love
I added this dude on Snapchat to see his story my friend forwarded me. (My friend was in the video and he wanted to show me how cool their party was).
As I was about to unfriend the dude, he messaged me. Three years later, here we are at our own place living together and about to get married.
75. A random message
Sent a message saying ‘Hey’ to a girl with a near incomplete profile on OKCupid, way outside of my usual search radius. No idea why, I think I was just curious or had a lot of time on my hands that evening so I was just playing around.
We’ve now been in a relationship for nearly 4 years, own a house together and have two dogs. Such is the power of being bored and lazy on a dating app.