Fortunate People Describe Times When They Narrowly Avoided Disaster

May 9, 2019 | Mathew Burke

Fortunate People Describe Times When They Narrowly Avoided Disaster

Fate is a funny thing. To some, it can be unfairly cruel. To others, it can be unfairly kind. But regardless of how deserving one may or may not be, there is no question that fate often intervenes in mysterious ways and affects the outcome of a situation. From embarrassing social circumstances to serious matters of life and death, there are times when one can inexplicably snatch victory from the jaws of defeat thanks to this bizarre and merciful force. Here are 42 awesome stories of how fate helped some fortunate people narrowly avoid disaster.

1. It’s Always Good to Double Check

Thank goodness I closely inspected the pile of old papers on my desk that I was about to shred before actually doing so. I opened up an envelope buried deep in the pile. Inside it was a $2,500 check. It was only one week away from expiring and, according to the attached paperwork, was a refund from when we refinanced our mortgage.

Narrowly Avoided Disaster facts Pexels

2. On Closer Examination…

I was writing an exam and finished early. When the teacher announced to us that there were only a few minutes left, I decided to double check my work rather than rushing to hand it in so that I could leave. It’s a good thing I did—I discovered that there was a whole back side to the page full of questions that I hadn’t seen and had left totally blank.

Luckily it was multiple choice, though, so I was able to quickly scribble some answers down to avoid failing.

Narrowly Avoided Disaster facts Shutterstock

3. Hidden in Plane Sight

Eight years ago, I was a young student pilot. I had just fueled up in a high wing training airplane. My instructor was ready to go, and I had done the preflight before the fuel truck arrived. You can't see the fuel caps from the ground. I was about to start the engine but, luckily, I got out, hopped up on the step, and found both caps loose.

That would have been ugly…

Narrowly Avoided Disaster facts Pixabay

4. Stairway to Hell

In the summer of 2010, my family was having the inside of our house painted. It was extremely hot out, so my parents always left the upstairs window open day and night to let out the paint smell and to help keep the house nice and breezy. I really didn’t like this, as I'm a naturally paranoid person. Nevertheless, this went on for several weeks, as we have a pretty big house.

One morning, before I left for school, I decided to just go upstairs, shut the window and lock it. I figured they could yell at me later if they wanted to, but I just couldn’t stomach the idea of a window being left wide open while everyone was out of the house. When I came home from school later that afternoon, the painter told me "Hey, that really big ladder that you have on the side of the house was getting in the way, so I moved it. I hope that's okay."

I responded, "We don’t have any big ladder on the side of the house..." Apparently, someone had come up to the house and set up a ladder to try and get through the open window, but I had just so happened to have closed it by chance that very day. I guess when they saw our painter coming along, they ditched it and split—sans ladder.

Oddly enough, my parents still kept opening the window at night and during the day, even after all of that!

Narrowly Avoided Disaster facts Pixabay

5. From Zero to Hero

I was paying my mortgage online and almost added an extra digit to my payment amount. That would have sucked so bad because it could have literally wiped out my entire checking account!

Narrowly Avoided Disaster facts Pexels

6. Stop Bugging Me

I once woke up late at night feeling thirsty. Everything was dark. I always keep a glass of water by the bed, so I groped around for the glass and picked it up once I found it. I was about to take a big swig when I suddenly decided to turn the lights on. I put it down and stumbled groggily over to the light and switched it —and there was a huge dead cockroach floating in the glass...

Narrowly Avoided Disaster facts Pixabay

7. Cleaning Up Their Act

I almost killed my niece’s cat via washing machine. I was staying with my brother and his family for a bit when I first moved into the city. One day, I threw a bunch of clothes into the machine, went back to my room to get a sweater, and unwittingly threw said sweater into the machine—right on top of the curious feline that had jumped in while I was out of the room. I then poured the detergent in and had just about closed the lid, when I decided to double check the pockets of my sweater.

As soon as I moved it, out jumped the cat. I never told anyone about this, but I have made a point of always checking from then on.

Narrowly Avoided Disaster facts Wikimedia Commons, Dan horbury

8. A Status Update You’ll Never Forget

While logged in publicly to my personal Facebook account, I once almost accidentally clicked the "like" button on a very inappropriate video from a very inappropriate website. I definitely did not need everyone I know seeing that!

Narrowly Avoided Disaster factsRawpixel

9. Car Sick

I was driving home late at night one time and almost killed a person who was lying across the winding road that I was driving on. He was drunk and had clearly passed out. Thankfully, I saw him just in time—the front of my car was already over him, but I was able to stop just inches before literally rolling him over with my tires.

After a frantic 911 call, I discovered that he was still moving and breathing, and that I hadn’t harmed him in any way. It’s crazy to think how different my life could have been if any little thing had gone differently that night…

Narrowly Avoided Disaster factsPxHere

10. Winter Wonderland

I nearly hit a person with my car once. I was going around 50 - 60 km/h, and it was winter. The roads were very snowy and icy. This stupid teenager just walked straight onto the road without looking either way, and I had to slam on the brakes. I was one meter away from hitting her. My hands were shaking the rest of the way home.

Narrowly Avoided Disaster factsPixabay

11. Turn, Turn, Turn

I was at a four-way intersection late at night when my light turned green. I was the only car on the road and I was in a hurry, but something inside me just told me I needed to look left before going. As soon as I turned my head to look, a car without any headlights on ran the red light—going probably around 50 miles per hour. Had I just immediately gone instead of glancing left, I would have almost certainly been t-boned and probably killed.

Listen to your gut, people!

Narrowly Avoided Disaster factsPexels

12. The Power of Love

When I was in high school, I was once supposed to get a ride home with a friend. Instead, some random chick asked me to stay and help her with something stupid. I had a crush on her, so I stayed. A few hours after I got home, I got a call from another friend saying that the friend who was supposed to give me a ride was in the hospital. She was T-boned on the passenger’s side door as soon as she left school—right where I was supposed to be sitting.

Narrowly Avoided Disaster factsShutterstock

13. Jumping Jupiter!

When skydiving, I had accidentally put my harness on incorrectly. Later, I looked around and noticed that everyone else had theirs on differently than me. If I would have jumped without fixing it, I would almost certainly have fallen to my death.

Narrowly Avoided Disaster factsPixabay

14. Striking a Cord

There was a point in my life where I was very unstable. Unfortunately, it got out of control one night and I tried to commit suicide by hanging myself with an extension cord. Luckily, the cord broke and I just started to laugh. I'm ok now.

Narrowly Avoided Disaster factsPexels

15. Who Are You?

I once almost submitted a test paper without putting my name on it. It’s a good thing I noticed just in time!

Narrowly Avoided Disaster factsRawpixel

16. On the Wrong Track

I downed an entire bottle of Jack Daniel’s at Mardi Gras and was drunk out of my mind. When I was at the train station waiting to go home afterward, I saw a few of my friends on the other side of the tracks—as I had drunkenly wandered over to the wrong platform, apparently. I sat myself down on the end of the platform ready to jump down and cross the tracks, but was almost immediately ripped back up onto the platform by train security.

The train came by immediately after. I would have been killed in an instant.

Narrowly Avoided Disaster factsPixabay

17. Many Happy Returns

I thought that I owed the government about $500 in income taxes for the last month. Then, I double checked and realized that I had forgotten to fill in one box.


Now, I’m getting back nearly a grand. Score!

Narrowly Avoided Disaster factsPixabay

18. Home Away From Home

I once almost forgot my room keys before a six-hour drive back to my university. That would have been a nightmare!

Narrowly Avoided Disaster factsShutterstock

19. Proper Training

On a trip to the UK, I happened to have decided to print all my tickets up just so I could have paper copies. As a result of that, I realized when double checking our train tickets from London to Edinburgh that they were for the wrong day, and we still had one more day in London than we thought we had. If we hadn't noticed that before setting out for the train station that day, it would have been very costly for us.

Narrowly Avoided Disaster factsRawpixel

20. Passing the Real Test

I once almost submitted a draft of my assignment instead of the finished version when turning it in online. Luckily, I double checked before it was too late. That assignment was worth a huge chunk of my grade, so it could have caused me a lot of problems!

Narrowly Avoided Disaster factsPixabay

21. Let Me Get This Straight

One time, I was putting my hair straightener away and I accidentally dropped it into the toilet. As soon as it hit the water, it started hissing and sizzling. I assumed that this was just because it was still hot. For a second, I went to reach over and yank it out—but then I was like wait, it's still plugged in!

Narrowly Avoided Disaster factsPxHere

22. The Tree of Life

I was climbing a tree and my foot slipped. I was about 40 feet up. Thankfully I managed to grab onto a thick branch so I didn't fall.

Narrowly Avoided Disaster factsPixabay

23. Phoney

I had a feeling that something was off about my wife's behavior. I checked her phone behind her back—which I had never done before and felt very weird about. Thanks to this, I found out that she had cheated on me. This led to a cascade of other discoveries, such as the fact that she had gotten pregnant from him and had an abortion while visiting her family. We are getting divorced now.

I’m glad I didn’t waste the rest of my life on someone like that.

Narrowly Avoided Disaster factsRawpixel

24. Hille on Earth

I’m from Germany. I was once replying to an email from my boss, who has a serious temper problem and can get mad quite easily over almost anything. I decided to use her full name in this reply, and I usually don't proofread my emails. However, this particular time I did—and it probably saved my career. It turned out that auto-correct had changed my boss's first name "Hille" into the German word "Hölle," which means "Hell."

I am incredibly thankful that I was able to catch my mistake at the last second!

Narrowly Avoided Disaster factsPixabay

25. A Life or Death Decision

Veterinarian here. I asked my assistant to bring me some glucose to inject into a 2 kg dog with hypoglycemia. He brings me this container. Right as I was about to open it, I looked at it and realized that it was actually potassium chloride (KCl)—which is used for euthanasia. Both were the same size and shape, but this one would have stopped the dog's heart rather than helped treat its condition.

It’s a good thing I noticed in time!

Narrowly Avoided Disaster factsPixabay

26. The Final Countdown

Not to get graphic, but have you ever had diarrhea and almost didn't make it to the bathroom? I've had several very close such calls where I was just about to not make it, but somehow managed to yank my pants down at the last second and plop down on the toilet seat. It's scary.

Worst Thing Done on a Date FactsShutterstock

27. Just Passing Through

I once stopped at a four-way stop sign that had somewhat poor visibility to the left side. I looked both ways and the intersection appeared to be clear, but I didn't pull out because I had a strong urge to double check the other stops. Just as I looked left again, a college kid came speeding through his stop sign.

Narrowly Avoided Disaster factsFlickr, TireZoo

28. An Organic Rescue

I'm a church organist. I’ve always made it a habit to double check and make sure that the organ blower is turned completely off after any service, lesson, or practice session. The organ blower is three-phase, many horsepower, and requires a lot of juice to run. If it were ever left on overnight, the blower could overheat and cause a fire.

Late one evening after teaching, I double checked to be certain that a student had turned the blower off after his hours of practice. Sure enough, it was still left on and the blower was red hot. If I hadn't looked, there could have definitely been a major fire in the building that night.

Narrowly Avoided Disaster factsPixabay

29. Big Brother Comes Up Clutch

I was booked on an international flight. I somehow thought that it was at 7 pm, but it was actually at 7 am. So, I had to be at the airport by 5 AM. I realized this at 1 AM. I didn’t discover this because I was smart enough to check or anything like that, but because Google sent me a reminder notification. Google knows everything about me…

Narrowly Avoided Disaster factsRawpixel

30. A Liberal Education

I am a teaching assistant at our local university. My boyfriend and I had been privately sharing some adult videos with one another, and I had copied a video link from the internet to send to him. A little bit later, I was writing up an email announcement to share with my class of over 20 students. I forgot that I had copied that link and accidentally pasted it into the email, thinking it was something else.

I am eternally grateful that I decided to double check the link before hitting send…

Narrowly Avoided Disaster factsPixabay

31. The Wheel of Fortune

I fell asleep at the wheel once. I woke up a few seconds later to find myself veering off into another lane. Thankfully, I was able to swerve to safety as soon as I realized what was going on. That could have been much worse…

Narrowly Avoided Disaster factsPixabay

32. Auto-matic Victory

I bought a car that had depreciated pretty quickly over time. I was about to sell it and lose at least half my money—but it got stolen, so I ended up making a $6,000 profit!

Narrowly Avoided Disaster factsPexels

33. Blind Spot

Every time I'm driving and I'm turning into a different lane, I always check over my shoulder. I check all of my mirrors, then look over my shoulder. Do you know how many times it has looked clear to merge into a different lane based off of the mirrors, but when I finally looked over my shoulder I saw that someone was right next to me?

Especially motorcycles!

Narrowly Avoided Disaster factsPixabay

34. House of the Rising Fire

Last night, my neighbor's house caught fire. Our houses are linked together. I got everyone out, even the cat. I walked around a few times and grabbed all of my important documents. Somehow, it turned out ok. There was no damage to my house whatsoever. It was absolutely terrifying watching the other house burn down, though, while waiting for the firemen to arrive.

Every second felt like a year, and I thought for sure that my house would be a goner.

Narrowly Avoided Disaster factsPixabay

35. Listen to Your Gut

I got to work one morning and had a bad feeling, as though I had forgotten something but couldn’t figure out what. Concerned, I told my boss that I forgot something important at home and needed to go get it. He let me leave. I got home and discovered that I had left the stove on.

Narrowly Avoided Disaster factsPexels

36. Thinking Outside the Box

My first full-time job after college was as a receptionist for an office. Within the first couple of weeks, I was told to put in an order for office supplies and was given a list of what to order. Since it was a big office, the list mostly consisted of large quantities of various things. While putting everything in, I had accidentally added an extra zero at the end of one of the entries.

Had I not double checked, we would have had 1,000 boxes of reams of printer paper delivered instead of the 100 requested. I do not like to think of how that would have gone over with my bosses, me being so new at the job—let alone where we would have put all of those big, heavy boxes.

Narrowly Avoided Disaster factsPixabay

37. Putting the “Cut” in Cutlery

I once opened the dishwasher, and two knives just abruptly flew up into the air. They both would have hit me in the face if I hadn’t jumped out of the way really quickly. I have no idea how or why that happened, but it did.

Narrowly Avoided Disaster factsPexels

38. Chuting Star

I was cleaning my room and throwing out a bunch of school papers, old envelopes, etc. I'm generally always nervous throwing out garbage bags in apartments—I guess the garbage chute just seems more permanent than a bin that's collected weekly. Because there were so many papers and I was moving, I decided to take my paranoid fears seriously and double-check the bag this time. I found an envelope filled with over $1,300 in savings bonds and tips that I had hidden in my drawer earlier in the year.

I felt like I made $1,300 that day!

Narrowly Avoided Disaster factsPxHere

39. Frozen in Time

When I was about 13 years old, I tried ice skating for the first time. It took me quite a while before I stopped falling every five seconds, but then I finally got the hang of it and decided to speed up. After a while, I managed to reach a pretty good speed. Then, out of nowhere, a three or four-year-old kid falls flat on his face right in my path, just about 10 feet ahead of me.

Now, I had figured out how to speed up, but not how to slow down immediately. So, I panicked and did the only thing I could—I raised my right leg up and stepped over the kid as I passed him. It turns out I had raised my leg too early. By the time I had reached the kid, I was wobbling all over the place and was in danger of imminently faceplanting myself. Somehow, I managed to eke out a little more balance and slammed my right skate down. It was less than six inches away from the kid's neck.

I had to sit down for a while after that.

Narrowly Avoided Disaster factsPixabay

40. A Digital Error

A colleague of mine saved me one time. I had printed around 500 work-related flyers to send out to our firm’s clients. When I handed them over, he said that the phone number just didn't quite look right. I dialed it to double check. It was a phone sex line! It seems I had accidentally reversed the order of two of the digits in our office number.

So glad my colleague spotted it before those flyers were sent out!

Narrowly Avoided Disaster factsPexels

41. A Friend in Need

I have never shared this story before, but I am ready to finally get it off of my chest. When I was 16 years old, I got a call from a buddy who was home alone. He asked if I wanted to come over for pizza and video games, so I said sure. Why not, right? After a nice evening of food, games, and movies, I noticed that he was a little bit off and just wasn’t acting himself.

When I left, I realized that I hadn’t closed his door properly. I started walking back and, as I was about to close it, my gut just told me to go in and check on him—just in case. It’s a good thing I did. Within just minutes of my having left his house, my friend had tried to hang himself. I don’t want to get into any of the more personal details of what happened next, but suffice it to say that we had a very long and deep conversation.

Today, all these years later, my friend is a very happy guy, with three kids and a perfect marriage. We still see each other at least once a year, and we always greet each other with a big hug—and a few heartfelt tears.

Narrowly Avoided Disaster factsPexels

42. To Ear Is Human

When I was just 18 months old, I was visiting some relatives in Richmond, Virginia with my family. My dad and uncle had taken some garbage cans across the city street and I ran out after them. A car hit me and I flew 10 feet down the street and bounced. My mom screamed as she watched, thinking I was dead. Then, I let out a massive wail.

My aunt was a nurse, so they rushed me to her hospital. Much to everybody's relief, my only injuries were a few scrapes and bruises. Toddler bodies are still pretty pliant. Believe it or not, the one thing that saved my life was that I was wearing my favorite Mickey Mouse Ears cap. The woman who hit me had seen the ears at the last second and slammed on the brakes.

Otherwise, she would have kept on trucking and mowed me down completely.

Creepy Hiking FactsShutterstock

43. Can’t Pay for That Kind of Love

We were engaged, and he had a drinking problem. He was blacked out, accidentally butt-dialed me, and I listened to the whole thing…only to find out after that it was with a prostitute. Honestly, I thank God that I caught him when I did.

Wildest Things Found Inside Houses factsShutterstock

44. Always Check the Decimals

I very nearly injected a premature baby that had Down Syndrome with ten times the amount of Lasix I was supposed to give him: I had put the decimal in the wrong place when I did the math on the dose.

That baby would almost certainly have died if I'd given it to him. I had the liquid drawn up in the syringe and had the syringe actually in the port ready to push through before I looked inside the chamber and realised how uncharacteristically full it seemed. Paediatric IV doses of anything are simply tiny. I was supposed to give him 0.1 mls, and nearly gave him 1.0mls.

I needed a very large cup of tea after that.

Worst Mistakes Factshuffpost

45. Taking the Fall

So, I work in a cnc workshop, and we often engrave stuff. This particular guy wanted a nice wooden jewelry box for their wedding anniversary with a custom message he emailed me. For some reason, he chose to give the box to his wife at the workshop (not the most romantic place I can think of but whatever).

The guy's wife starts to look confused and tear up: "you don't remember the date?" Guy turns pale, looks at me, says: "no, I'm sure it's a mistake." Me: "no, I've copied it straight, can't be wrooon...waaait a minute, omg, it's my fault, I'm so sorry, I will redo it right away, no need to pay, please accept it as a gift..."

Wife gets angry a bit at me, but they leave with a different box and the correct date. Guy comes back next day and pays triple the original price without a word.

Worst Mistakes Factsdavidkingraj

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