Harrowing Close Calls

October 20, 2021 | Byron Fast

Harrowing Close Calls

Maybe playing middle school dodgeball is your horror story. These Redditors, however, have a different take on dodging: They dodged fate itself. From following a deep down in the gut feeling, to an almost random change of plans, they did something different, and lived happily ever after—at least until the next brush with fate.

1. Creepy Smile

When I was 10, I had a friend who had a Boys and Girls club adult mentor. My friend invited me to come meet him, and I was immediately creeped out. The way the dude smiled at me still gives me nightmares. Two days later, a local news story identified him as a predator, and he had been touching my friend for two years at that point.

I will always trust my gut when it says "get outta here."

Dodged a bulletShutterstock

2. Day Surgery Turns Into Week

When I had gallstones, the doctor gave me a choice between surgery to remove the gallbladder or antibiotics. I chose the surgery, which is very unlike me. When they started the surgery, they found out the gall bladder had burst and the stones were in my body cavity. What was supposed to be a short procedure through the belly button turned into a 25 cm (10 in.) incision to remove the stones.

I was supposed to leave the hospital that day, but it turned into a week. However, if I’d chosen antibiotics, and went home with a burst gallbladder, I probably wouldn’t have survived.

Dodged a bulletPexels

3. I Think I’ll Skip Tacos Today

I was on my way to Taco Bell in the back of a friend's small truck. The cab was full, so I was in the bed of the vehicle. We passed by my apartment on the way, and I chose to have him drop me off, because it was a bit chilly in the open-air back there. By the time I got into my apartment, I had a Snapchat from the driver. I opened my phone—and my blood ran cold. It was a picture of his totaled truck.

While he was stopped at an intersection, an intoxicated driver approached from the opposite direction going super fast. The driver clipped a bus causing an abrupt stop. The truck stopped but his engine didn’t. It ripped out of the car, and flew through the intersection. And where did it land? Right in the bed of my friend’s truck—exactly where I had been riding, unseatbelted, moments before.

None of my friends were injured. I think both the people in the other car didn’t make it.

Dodged a bulletWikimedia.Commons

4. GPS To The Rescue

So I was driving to an event, and my GPS told me I had arrived—except I didn’t see the shop where the event was taking place. Then the GPS suddenly rerouted, and told me to turn right, and again said that I had arrived. Except now, I was at some closed-down strip club. That’s when I suddenly started hearing firecrackers going off—which I thought was very odd.

But I just sat there staring at Google maps trying to figure out where I went wrong. I put the address in again, and GPS told me to go back to the spot I was originally in. As I was waiting to pull back into the shopping center, squad cars started flying down the street with their sirens on. They blocked off the entrance to the shopping center, so I couldn’t even get in.

I sent a message to the event organizer saying that I couldn’t get in. Her response sent chills down my spine. She immediately said that a man had been shot directly in front of the store, so the event was canceled. She also said that she was sheltering inside the store for her own protection. Of course, this totally freaked me out.

If my GPS had not suddenly rerouted me, I would have been getting out of my car around the same time, and walking into the store around the same time that the person who got shot was. I guess you could say that I literally dodged a bullet.

Dodged a bulletUnsplash

5. Terrifying Chainsaw Of Events

One day I was cutting a tree with a chainsaw. The saw wasn't mine, and it was old, and I didn't even know how well maintained it was. While I was sawing the chain broke, and came whipping back at me. I didn't even have time to react, it was too fast. I didn't feel any pain—so I knew I hadn’t been hit. I turned and saw where the chain was: it was half stuck into a tree behind me at my head level.

The tree was directly behind me, in a straight line from the chainsaw. Somehow the chain had whipped off, curved around my head, and buried itself in a tree about a meter (3 ft.) behind me. If it had gone straight, I would be dead or disfigured now. When I left, I didn't even try and take the chain with me. I just called it a day, walked off, and didn't pick up another chainsaw for about six or seven years. Whew!

Dodged a bulletPexels

6. A Saint On Wheels

When I was a dumb, young woman, I lived in St. Thomas Virgin Islands. I worked in an area that could be very sketchy after dark. One night after work, I’d had a few too many drinks. I stumbled into a taxi to head home. I was so wasted, I’m not even sure how I gave him my address. When we arrived, I started digging in my pocket for cash to pay the taxi driver.

The driver reached over and said, “No, no baby. I’m not a taxi. I just wanted to make sure you got home ok.” Apparently, I had just jumped into a random car. I will be forever grateful to this stranger, and much more careful in my after-work decisions.

Dodged a bulletPexels

7. Party Trick Turns Lethal

My friend was doing a party trick for a group of friends where he shot a bullet out of a pair of pliers. What was on the other side of the wall he was shooting the bullet at? Me microwaving ramen. I heard the bang, and went into the other room to see what was going on. My friend stared at me like he'd seen a ghost, and the entire room just went silent.

It wasn't until I went back to grab my ramen that I saw the hole in the wall inches away from where my head was. Yeah, literally dodged a bullet lol.

Dodged a bulletShutterstock

8. Shot Up While Sleeping

I woke up at five am to my house being shot up. My completely inappropriate reaction was to sit up to the sound. My boyfriend pulled me down and covered my body with his own. His German Shepard covered both our bodies with hers. We later found out that 15 bullets struck my house; two came very close to where I was sleeping.

Those two went through a porch wall, a wooden door, two other walls, two hangers, and three shirts.

Dodged a bulletPexels

9. Broken Curfew Saves Life

I stayed out of the house overnight while in high school. My dad was super angry and told me that I better be home that night. I didn’t listen, and instead stayed at a friend’s house with my girlfriend. Little did I know, that decision saved my life. At around 2 am a kid from my high school accidentally drove a Denali into my house. The vehicle ran directly into my room, and destroyed my bed and anything else around.

The kid was estimated to be going around 100 kph (60 mph). My dad is blind, so he thought that I may have been in the room. He was searching for me frantically, my mother said. I remember getting a ton of phone calls from home knowing that I was going to get into trouble for staying out against my parents' wishes.

The next day when my girlfriend dropped me off at home, I found a massive wood board and tarp covering my room. I would definitely not be here today if I had stayed home that night. Best case scenario: I’d be a paraplegic. I guess sometimes it does pay to not listen to your parents.

Dodged a bulletShutterstock

10. One More Reason To Not Visit The In-Laws

This is the most recent dodge for me, and just happened a couple of weeks ago. We visit my in-laws every single Saturday for dinner. We leave around the same time, and take the same exact route home. This time, I realized we forgot something, so I told my husband to get into the other lane to go straight, and head back to their house instead of taking the exit for the highway.

We were sitting at the red light, and suddenly we heard the loud screeching sound of someone slamming on their brakes. They were trying not to go through the red light in the lane we were supposed to be in. Then another person followed suit and slammed right into them. The second person hit so hard, she knocked herself out, and knocked the first car through the intersection and they went about 25 meters (82 feet).

I’d just had back surgery, so it would not have ended so well for us. The girl in the second car had no idea what happened.

Dodged a bulletUnsplash

11. High-Maintenance After Waffles

When I was hard into the dating scene, I went and hung out with this guy for a night and decided that he wasn’t the one. So I told him, and I thought that would be the end of it. To my surprise—and annoyance—he started calling me multiple times a day. He wrote a four-page—front and back—letter about why I should give him a chance.

Then, when I wouldn’t respond, he made a video that lasted a half-hour explaining why I was just a rude cow, and how I shouldn’t have led him on. By the way, I only met him once for coffee at a Waffle House.

Dodged a bulletUnsplash

12. Corporate Soldier

It was April 2015. I was doing ex-pat work in India. The days were long. The weeks were long. The months were short. I was looking forward to a nice weekend of regional travel, specifically Nepal. Maybe take in the Kathmandu world heritage site? I had my flight and hotel all lined up. A work emergency required weekend hours.

So, being the good corporate soldier, I canceled my trip and drank hard on Friday night. I came in on Saturday morning, April 25th. From India we could feel the tremors of the earthquake. I thought the seasickness was my being hungover—but one of my team said, “I’m from the mountains. This is an earthquake!” So we evacuated.

My location was pretty safe. A few windows popped out of buildings. The scary part is not knowing whether it’s the early part of a giant local earthquake, or a faraway giant earthquake. Or even a minor local earthquake. Then news started coming in about Nepal. There were 9,000 dead, 22,000 injured, and millions homeless. Half of Nepal’s GDP in property damage.

Kathmandu was flattened. And if some selfish jerk hadn’t sent his 4:30 pm email on Friday saying, “I need this on Monday,” I probably would have been dead. I know the tragedy isn’t about me—but that’s the time I dodged a bullet.

Dodged a bulletPixabay

13. Trip South Almost Went South

I was partying once in a Mexican dance club in Tijuana. I was going to the bathroom, and on the way, there was a group of people smoking pot. They kindly offered it to me, so I took a hit. I then proceeded to go into the bathroom and pee. When I came out of the bathroom, the group of people with the pot were being taken away by the “Federalis”—Mexican law enforcement.

I just kept on walking! Mexican prison is the last place I would want to be.

Dodged a bulletShutterstock

14. It’s Raining Men?

I was coming back home from a night out, and I noticed that my shoelace was undone. So, of course, I stopped to tie it. A few steps in front, exactly at the place I would have been if I hadn't stopped, a wasted guy on the first floor of an apartment building pulls open his pants, and starts urinating on the pavement. Biggest "phew" I had in a while.

Dodged a bulletPexels

15. To-Do List Got Shortened

I’d planned on doing some grocery shopping one afternoon after running other errands in the morning. By the time I got done with my morning errands, the weather looked quite gloomy, so I decided to leave the groceries for another day. Just as I got home, I got frantic texts from a friend of mine asking if I’m okay, and to respond immediately.

Apparently, around the time I decided at the last minute to forgo shopping, someone opened fire at that exact grocery store I planned on going to. If I remember correctly, nobody got hurt, and the shooter got apprehended quite quickly, but still.

Dodged a bulletUnsplash

16. He Needed Protection

I was making out with my girlfriend at the time. She was on top of me, and she leaned in and whispered that she wanted to go all the way. I told her I didn't have any condoms, and that we'd have to go get some. She immediately got frustrated, and said that we could do it without protection. Eventually, she just got angrier, and just said “never mind.”

The next day I was at work, and she popped in to apologize. I told her it's not a big deal, and that I'd see her after work. But she didn’t leave. She continued to apologize, and said she shouldn't have put pressure on me, and acted like that. And then the real truth came out: “I need you to know that I have hepatitis so we need to be careful."

Big bullet dodged. We broke up a couple of weeks later—after even more stuff from her past that she hid came out into the open.

Dodged a bulletShutterstock

17. He Played Hooky From Hockey

My dad played hockey as a child, and one day he wasn't going to go to the practice. Then he decided, at the last minute, that he would go after all, and headed to the arena. When he got there, he walked in the door, and the entire roof collapsed. It blew him back out of the doorway. Sadly, several of his classmates didn’t survive this terrible disaster.

Dodged a bulletUnsplash

18. Location Location Location

My wife and I were living in southern Vermont. I worked for a small software company, my wife was teaching at a small local college. We spontaneously decided to move to the southwest. My wife got a job, we sold our house, and we moved across the country. Within a year my company was sold, and most employees were let go. At around the same time, my wife’s college also closed.

We would have been stuck with a hard-to-sell house, and the only possible jobs at least an hour away. We are happy where we are. I guess timing is everything.

Dodged a bulletUnsplash

19. Not Wanted At The Pool

I used to be an aquatics director and got a call once from an old boss. He was my boss at a YMCA and we had a man, Joe, that we had repeatedly tried to—and eventually did through A LOT of incident reports—ban him for bizarre incidents. Things like shaving in the hot tub, following around people swimming in the pool, getting naked in the sauna—you get the picture.

But it was a Y and they were uninterested in cutting his membership until a lot of moms complained. Fast forward a few years, and I’m my own director. My old boss calls me, and tells me that Joe was banned from every pool in the county for exposing himself to a child in the locker room at a county pool. This county pool was about a kilometer (.6 miles) from my club.

He was calling me to give me a heads up that Joe would probably attempt to gain membership to our pool since he couldn’t go anywhere else. Sure enough, Joe walks up the next day, and happens to meet Beth—not her real name—the commodore’s wife. She’s lovely and invites him to use our pool as her guest, as he’s “interested” in membership.

Her children were the sweetest and most adorable kids I’ve ever seen, and the thought of that disgusting pedophile getting anywhere near them made my blood boil. I looked at Beth and was like: “WE NEED TO TALK RIGHT NOW.” I took her into my office, and we called law enforcement and had him escorted off the property.

Dodged a bulletUnsplash

20. All Night Drive—To Prison

One night during my freshman year of college, my then-boyfriend and a few friends had the idea to drive through the night to a lake upstate. Once there they would smoke some weed while watching the sun come up. We were in a state where marijuana was very much against the law—still is, Deep South. I opted not to go with them because I had an eight am class in the morning.

Cut to me freaking out the following afternoon when their car still wasn’t back, and I hadn’t heard from them all day. They all got taken in for possession, and spent the night in prison. Thankfully they were bailed out, but they all had some long-term probation, and reduced job opportunities afterward that affected them for a few years.

Dodged a bulletUnsplash

21. This Dry Suit Is All Wet

I once went scuba diving with two friends in order to try out a drysuit in really cold water. As we entered the water, it felt really cold. I thought everything was normal because back then I had no reference for how a drysuit should work. I’d only used a wet suit before, where it was normal to feel cold at first. What I didn’t know then was that the suit had a leak.

So, the suit was slowly filling with cold water: 1.5 C (35 F). After 15 minutes, I realized something was seriously wrong. I signaled to my buddies that I needed to get back. By that time, the suit was halfway filled with water. It took us quite some time to get back to the coast. When I left the water, I couldn't move my hands and started to feel dizzy.

My friends had to undress me, because I almost fell unconscious. If I would have stayed longer, I would have gone unconscious while still submerged—super dangerous. I learned to never underestimate the dangers of cold water. That stuff gets you quick.

Dodged a bulletPexels

22. Custody Battles

I always had a crush on a girl that I used to be friends with in high school. Around six years after we graduated, I finally asked her out, and after a while we started dating. At this point, she’d already had a daughter with another guy—but that relationship was over. Anyway, it was going great with her until I started seeing signs of her being manipulative.

She was constantly saying that she missed her daughter, and complained about not having full custody. Whenever I asked her why she didn’t have full custody, she would give different reasons almost every time. I didn’t say anything about it, or call her out, but then the gaslighting started. We would have simple disagreements in opinions on certain things which is fine.

But during the fights she would tell me that I’m too sensitive because I always tried to defuse the fight onto another topic—because I knew I was wrong. Then, after we both cooled off to talk about it, she would completely deny that she said anything like that, and that I’m just imagining things. It started to make me feel crazy: Like what if she was right?

I cut the relationship off about a week after. Turned out she’d been discharged from the army for psychological problems—this was also the reason she didn’t have custody of her child.

Dodged a bulletShutterstock

23. I’ll Stick To Taco Tuesday

Back in high school my brother, a friend of his, and I attended a football game—it might’ve been the homecoming game, my memory is a little fuzzy. After the game, my brother and I were craving Taco Bell and there was one a couple of blocks away from our campus. My brother’s friend opposed the decision, and told us that his dad was going to pick us up soon.

We didn’t feel like walking home, and we started thinking of how packed it might be at Taco Bell right after that game. Not long after we got dropped off at home, I turned on the TV to watch the “Friday Night Football Highlights” on our local news station. The news instead was reporting on a shooting at, you guessed it: the Taco Bell.

It must’ve happened around the time we had gotten picked up. No one died, but a few kids got seriously injured. As far as I know, they never found out who was responsible, but I do think about how different it could’ve turned out had we gone.

Dodged a bulletShutterstock

24. They Climbed The Wrong Building

A few friends and I were doing what high schoolers do in the Midwest: drive around with no actual destination. We decided to go to a lake. The lake was private property, but we walked around and hung out, nothing notable, but fun. As we were about to leave, one friend noticed a building and said he wanted to climb on it.

My other friend said he'd join in, while my third friend stayed back with me. They weren’t on there for more than five minutes before law enforcement pulled up. So you’d think they’d just get charged with trespassing right? It turned out that the building they climbed on was a museum of some kind. They ended up both receiving felonies for trespassing on government property, which is really serious.

Dodged a bulletPexels

25. He Chose Mom

When I was a kid my family was going to take a 10-minute drive to the nearby beach to hang out on a Sunday afternoon. My dad had to work after, so he and my mom were going to drive separately, and he was leaving first. On his way out the door, he said to me: "Want to ride with me?" My brain said "Yeah!" since I was ready to go, and I didn't get along well with my mom.

So, I was astonished when my mouth said, "Nah, I'll ride with Mom." It was literally like someone had used my body to say something against my will. I was too shocked to say anything else, and Dad just shrugged and left. When we finally got to the beach, we didn't see my dad there. But it's a long beach, and the parking area is huge: so we weren't worried.

A few minutes later, though, my mom calls me back from swimming. She looked so terrified as she told me what had happened. My dad had been in a car accident. So, we had to go to the hospital. We hadn’t seen his wreck because there are multiple routes, and we took different ones. Luckily my dad was ok; just bumps and bruises.

But that’s when it got really scary: I got a look at the photos of his car after the accident. The passenger side, where I would definitely have been sitting if I had successfully said "Yeah!" was totally obliterated. It still gives me chills to this day.

Dodged a bulletShutterstock

26. Chainsaw Mishap

I used to have a job trimming trees in the deep forest. One time, I dropped a bunch of pretty decent-sized branches to the ground, and the ground crew had not got to them. So, I came down from the tree, and I was about to fire up the saw to cut them down to smaller, more manageable sizes. I stopped before picking up the chainsaw because I had a weird feeling.

I decided I should put on the protective chaps we were supposed to wear, but didn’t always, when we use a chainsaw. The first cut I made, the saw kicked out, and laid against the inside of my left thigh. If I had not put on the chaps that day, I probably would have cut into my leg, and then probably bled out long before anything could have been done—because we were far from any help.

It left me with only a terrible bruise on my leg.

Dodged a bulletPexels

27. Photo Is A Reminder

I live next door to the King Soopers in Boulder Colorado. I had just gotten back home after taking a few days to enjoy the town of Silverthorne. While there, I got a photo of this fox that I had been trying to get for years. It was a super elaborate shoot that needed a fair bit of post-processing. I kept my editing computer at my studio, so I ran home to get cleaned up.

I was hungry and thought about going to King Soopers for food—something I did often. That day, however, I was way too excited to put this photo together, so I just headed straight to the office instead. I got there, and a colleague was like, "Oh man, there is a shooting going on at King Soopers." Ten dead. That photo of the fox holds a lot of significance to me now.

Dodged a bulletWikimedia.Commons

28. Worst. Person. Ever.

A few months ago, a guy I had met at work invited me to hang out. When I got to his place, he was shirtless and completely wasted. He was rambling on about a bunch of crazy and sketchy stuff he's done. He was talking about ordering more booze—and even mushrooms. It felt super unsafe, because he already seemed unstable. So, I faked a phone call and left.

Apparently a mutual acquaintance had gone over to his place a few hours later, and did mushrooms with him, and he broke down crying about his alcoholism and his past. He didn't get violent, and I’m sure I just caught a man at his absolute lowest. On the other hand, I wasn't willing to babysit an inebriated guy I’d just met—especially when I felt in danger.

I ended up working with him again. He apologized, but, after being around him more, I found out he's literally the worst person I'd ever met.

Dodged a bulletShutterstock

29. Pizza Deliverer Flees

I was delivering pizzas for a living and got into some trouble one night. I missed my turn in a rural area and used a gravel driveway to turn around. The driveway was wooded on both sides, so I went down farther than I should have. I finally turned around and saw a guy with a bolt action firearm in a little field off to the side of the driveway. I saw him raise the weapon in my direction, and heard him shoot.

I never heard the bullet pass, and it didn't hit my car, so I think he was just trying to scare me. It worked. I peeled out, flinging gravel, and made it back to the road. Because of our positions, this jerk shot back towards the road, even though there were houses on the other side of the road.

Dodged a bulletUnsplash

30. Line Drive To The Head

When I was around 15 I was golfing with my Dad. It was a par five, and we had both hit our drives into the left rough. My ball was about 45 meters (50 yards) further than his. I was standing by my ball, and figured I was safe enough as I was not directly between him and the green. He hits his shot directly at me—not just in my direction. The hit was like a line drive: only about a meter (3 ft) off the ground.

I had less than a couple seconds to react, but it felt like 30 seconds. I dove to the ground, just in time for it to whiz over my head with that "pffftttt" sound. It was pretty awesome—but could have been lethal.

Dodged a bulletUnsplash

31. Time For Shuffleboard At The Seniors Center

My dad and I had gone shooting plenty of times, but he is getting up there in age and weight, so he isn’t the most coordinated, or even common sense filled person anymore. Anyways, we got to the local pit where everyone goes shooting, and we started to set up. We just used the tailgate to hold everything, but, while pulling all the gear out of the back seat, my dad pulled out his 270 right next to me.

He was loading it, barrel pointed about 15 cm (6 in.) away from my head. At this point I had no idea what he was doing—I was just grabbing more things out of the back seat. As he goes to chamber it, his finger is on the trigger and it goes off. It comes really close to blowing my head off. It was a wake-up call for me. I have not taken him shooting since.

Dodged a bulletUnsplash

32. Alone In The Department Store

When I was about 11 years old, I went to a department store with my mom and step-dad. It was a local store, and I was very familiar with the layout. I certainly didn't want to hang out while my mom and step-dad bought boring bedsheets, so I asked permission to go over to the nearby electronics section to check out some music selections.

My mom stated that she'd be in the same area she already was, and not to wander off any further than the electronics department. So, off my innocent little self went alone to the electronics department. There were only two other people there, a mom and her little girl. Then I noticed someone else: a morbidly obese, middle-aged guy wearing a cowboy hat. I'm from New England, so the hat was a spectacle to me.

The guy was chatting up the cashier at the register in that area. I'm not sure what it was, instinct, I suppose, that made me hyper-aware that the guy was suddenly watching me. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed he was following me around, and I instinctively stayed close to that other mom and her child, which made the guy pause.

Then, suddenly, the mother and child left, and I was left essentially by myself with some CD I had found, grasped in my hands. That was when the creepy obese guy sauntered up to me and asked me if the CD was all I was getting. Of course, he had this really creepy smile on his face. I could feel literal waves of negative energy radiating from him in a way I haven't ever felt again to date.

I glanced over at the cashier, who was busy helping someone else, and I just kind of stammered,, "Yeah..." The guy said that if I gave him the CD, and the money, he could go pay for it for me. But he added that I would have to go with him. "NO NO NO NO!!!!!” was all that ran through my mind, and I visibly backed away, saying I could do it myself. I looked over at the cashier again and this time, he was unoccupied, and seemed to sense something was wrong.

The cashier literally sprinted down the counter towards me with this concerned look and told me I could pay for my CD at the cash desk. Luckily, he had an actual, genuine smile on his face. I turned back and saw that predatorial freak wander off without another word. I’m pretty sure I was a potential victim of a pedophile and/or kidnapper.

Dodged a bulletShutterstock

33. Nonstarter At Start Up

I worked as a content writer in my earlier 20s. It was a boutique marketing firm that was in a historic district of a small, small town in Florida. When I first arrived at the job, it was just some dilapidated building with five employees. Okay, I’m pretty open-minded, and I’ll be willing to give a small business startup the opportunity to—you know—startup. So, I took the job.

Everything is okay at first. The owner is always gassing me up, telling me I can be head of a team of content online, which would’ve been great for my career. But then I realized, the company basically had no money. Every time they would go to pay me, they would gaslight me, and tell me that my work was bad. I even overheard them talking to their Internet provider hustling for cheaper service.

One week, they couldn’t pay me, so they told me it was because my work was lacking and they sent me home to "collect myself." That's when I decided it was time to teach them a lesson. I did collect myself...I collected a job for a pretty big bank instead. I came back after my little sabbatical, and they told me they would keep an eye on me, and that even though I had a lot to learn about the business, they were willing to keep me around.

I told him I was leaving, and they gave me an exit interview telling me all sorts of terrible things like I was “the only one standing in the way of my own success”—but only after trying really hard to convince me to stay with promises of growth and management. Five years later, I’m still with the bank I left them for, have had multiple raises, a healthy 401k, and great benefits.

I’m glad I dodged that bullet. Looking back at my mental state at the time, I’m shocked I stood up for myself, but I’m so glad I did.

Dodged a bulletUnsplash

34. Last Call Was Almost Literal Last Call

I worked for a guy who ran a store. He would take me out a lot, drinking, and I’d usually just hang out and watch over him. He was a raging alcoholic, so I’d generally diffuse fights he'd start, stop him from getting beat up etc, and get him home safely. One day he surprised me by offering me an all-expenses trip to Bali for a week as a thank you.

I was really keen to go, but I got turned away from the airport as my passport was ruined by accidentally washing it. I told him I'd run his business for him while he was gone, so he took another friend of ours. They left for Bali, and had a good time by all accounts: Although the guy who replaced me wasn’t much of a drinker.

One night in Bali, they ended their night early—as our friend had had enough—and were up in their hotel when there was an explosion in the main bar for Westerners. 202 people lost their lives that night. They felt the shock wave of the blast shake the windows of their hotel. I know if I’d been there, we'd have been in that bar, and I wouldn't be typing this now.

My boss called me after the blast and said as much.

Dodged a bulletShutterstock

35. Smoke Got In Their Eyes

My wife and I were watching an air show in Ramstein AB, Germany, in 1988. We were enjoying the show, except for the smoke that was swirling from two different grills, and made us cough. I suggested moving to avoid the smoke. Fifteen minutes later the Italian Air Force jet crashed into the crowd—right where we’d been standing.

Dodged a bulletUnsplash

36. Sketchy Rescue

When I was eight years old, I used to play in the creek behind my house. The neighborhood behind our house, and on the other side of the creek, was kind of sketchy. I was out there just digging for clay one hot day in the summer when a copperhead snake struck my neck. I immediately fainted, because I hate snakes so it spooked me.

I was in the water face down when a crackhead from the bad hood saw me and came to my rescue. The guy saved me from drowning. He took me into the yard, and up to my porch where my mom dialed for the ambulance. The paramedics got there and were taking me to the hospital when I woke up. They had no idea I’d gotten bitten on my neck until I told them.

They pulled over and had a helicopter come and air lift me to another hospital for the bite cause they had no anti-venom. It was a potentially double fatal day: by drowning or snake bite.

Dodged a bulletUnsplash

37. Snack Attack

I was at a big bus station, which was next to a pedestrian area, and just bought a snack at a bakery. I was about to take a bite when I realized I’d forgotten my wallet at the bakery. I turned around quickly to go back to get it. No less than 10 seconds later, a car sped over the pavement right where I stood before. He hit a couple of people there, and one of them didn’t survive.

But it wasn’t over yet: The driver who’d driven into the pedestrian area then got out of the car carrying a knife. He had to be apprehended with a shot fired by law enforcement. So yeah, my forgetfulness literally saved my life.

Dodged a bulletUnsplash

38. Brother Hits The Brakes

When I was a kid, my brother and I were riding a four-wheeler together. I was driving it, and he was riding on the back. I was going really fast down a dirt road I’d never been down before—but my brother had previously gone down it. I rounded this corner at a high speed, and my brother reached over me and grabbed the brake.

We almost crashed from stopping so fast, and so unexpectedly. I immediately began yelling at my brother when he pointed in front of us. My jaw dropped. Like six meters (20 ft.) ahead, there was a metal cable going across the road with no signs on it or anything. It would have likely cut one—or both of us—in half if he hadn’t stopped the quad.

Dodged a bulletPxfuel

39. Their Intention Was Crystal Clear

A very naive 15-year-old me was at a party in the woods, and I had drunkenly wandered down a gravel road by myself. There was a big white cargo van parked at a pullout, and three middle-aged men called me over. They offered me something that looked like crystals—I had no idea at the time what it was. This happened a few decades ago.

So, I was curious about these crystals. The men had their side door open, and two guys were standing there beckoning me while the third guy was in the driver's seat with the engine running. As I approached them, a bunch of guys I knew burst out of the treeline, screaming at me to get away and screaming at the men to leave.

The three guys jumped into the van and sped away. I didn't know I was in so much danger until my friends told me what those men intended.

Dodged a bulletShutterstock

40. A Mule And Didn’t Know

I got home from a trip to Thailand and Vietnam that I’d taken in the late 90s. A few days later, I opened my camera to check if there was still film in it. There wasn't, but there was still a few grams of Thai weed I’d put in there when I was inebriated and had forgotten about. That’s when it hit me: I’d inadvertently carried weed, from Thailand, into Vietnam, back out of Vietnam to Thailand, then out of Thailand to the UK.

Things could have gone really badly for me.

Dodged a bulletUnsplash

41. Once A Cheater, Always A Cheater

My ex-fiance cheated on me. After I broke it off with her, the guy she cheated on me with essentially slipped right into my place like the dirtbag that he is. He ended up getting her pregnant a few months later and then marrying her. After the breakup, I realized how abusive and terrible she really was—just a bad person all around.

I always wondered why I waited for her to cheat before breaking up. Anyway, a few years later they are miserable people—we still have mutual friends, and they tell me what's up even though I told them I really don't care. It could have been me. Now I'm happily married and my career is really beginning to take off. If it wasn't for her cheating, this would have never been possible.

Dodged a bulletShutterstock

42. Tinder Starts Fire

I was chatting with a girl on Tinder for about three days. She then, to my surprise, asked me for my Instagram. I thought hey, she's good-looking, and we're having good conversations, so why not? She immediately video called me, and—being an introverted loser—I didn't answer it. I thought it was a mistake, it happens all the time.

It turned out it wasn't a mistake, and she got insanely angry about it. She'd just constantly cuss me, insult me, and wouldn't tell me what had made her so mad. I ended the chat with, "I see I dodged a bullet here, adios."

Dodged a bulletUnsplash

43. More Than A Bit Of Coin

Years ago, I was invited to a Bitcoin meetup. The organizers knew I was a programmer, and they told me there was an apparent high roller coming by. I remember meeting a bunch of people, but, when I sat down with this guy, something felt odd about him. He wanted programmers to write in exchange for him and wanted me on board.

There’s nothing wrong with liking profits, but this guy was a bit unusual in his obsession with it. It felt like I was doing business with a mob boss, and figured I might not be getting a good deal. So, I backed out. A few months later QuadrigaCX opened. If anyone is unfamiliar with them, they shut down taking hundreds of millions of dollars worth of assets with them.

Dodged a bulletUnsplash

44. Tree Struck Is Better Than Me Struck

One day, I was leaving work and realized I’d forgotten something in the office. So, I turned around and walked back in. A few moments later, lightning struck the tree right next to my car—exactly where I would have been standing. It messed up the electronics in the car, and, to be honest, I don't think I would have enjoyed the first-hand experience!

Dodged a bulletUnsplash

45. Head, Meet Pole

I'm an avid biker—normal bike, not motorcycle—and I never wore a helmet. About five years ago, I moved to a new city with my girlfriend, and I bought a new bike. My girlfriend is much more cautious than I am, and she basically yelled at me until I decided to wear a helmet. One day, I took the bike out on a populated trail with a lot of runners, dog walkers, and things like that.

It was about to rain, and I wanted to bike the full length of the trail before the rain started—so I was going crazy fast. I went to pass this runner, but the guy decided to pull a blind U-turn in the middle of the trail. Because of that, I crashed into him, fell off of my bike, and smashed my head into a light pole next to the trail.

I woke up with a bunch of people around me, still on the trail. Not sure how long I blacked out for, but the runner was still there—scrapes on his leg—but he walked away. My helmet was split in two. I shudder to think of what might have happened had I not been wearing a helmet that day.

Dodged a bulletUnsplash

46. Bottle Rocket Blast Off

Some stupid kid shot a bottle rocket at me when I was in high school. He was probably 19 or 20, had just got back from a tour in Korea, and I was probably 16 or 17. I was walking home with a friend, while he and his other friends were harassing us from the other side of the street. They were calling us names and provoking us.

I don’t exactly remember what was said, but I remember having some clever come back to one of his insults. He didn't like that, and he was laughing when he pointed the firework at us. It was one of those moments that seemed to happen in slow motion. I watched it speeding through the air, on course to hit me right in the face.

If I hadn't been looking, I might've lost an ear or something worse. I only dodged it by a few inches or so, and it detonated right next to my ear. The guy must've realized the gravity of his actions because he had his hand over his mouth as soon as it shot off. His eyes were wide, and his brows up the top of his forehead.

The guy ran across the street to see if I was okay, and I was fine. I didn't give him any trouble, because he was clearly regretting what he did, and apologized profusely. My ear hasn't ever really been the same, it's prone to pressure problems and infections now.

Dodged a bulletShutterstock

47. To Paris With Life

Me and my girlfriend at the time were traveling from New Zealand to my family back home in Sweden. We both decided to spend a bit more money to fly back to New Zealand through Paris instead of Amsterdam—just because we wanted to see the Eiffel Tower. It cost us maybe an extra $50 and we got to see it on the landing and then take off. We actually didn’t set foot in Paris proper because we were poor students.

When we landed in Auckland, New Zealand—completely jetlagged—we turned on our phones and noticed that we had about 50 missed calls from our travel agent, which was odd. When we called her, she sounded super relieved, and out of breath. That's when we realized we were lucky to be alive. She told us the flight she originally suggested to us, the one from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, had been shot down over Ukraine.

My brain couldn't process that information at the time, but, once I woke up the next day, it hit me like a ton of bricks. A small change in plans made the difference between seeing the big steel thingy that has so many photos of it, and being sent home to Sweden in body bags piece by piece. Sometimes the absurdity of my existence comes over me, and this story always gives me goosebumps.

Dodged a bulletPixabay

48. I’d Take The Stairs

I actually managed to dodge the same bullet twice. I was in the elevator at work one day, and the thing spontaneously went into free fall. We were all immediately screaming our heads off. Suddenly the emergency brakes kicked in and the elevator came to a screeching halt. Luckily, I only had minor injuries to my ankle. But, yeah I felt lucky to be alive.

And then a few weeks later...it happened again.

Dodged a bulletUnsplash

49. Nancy Drew Reading Pays Off

I went out with some friends to a bar. The bouncer kept flirting with me, so I flirted back. He seemed funny and charming enough, so as I left the bar he ran out to ask for my number, which I gave him. We texted for a bit, and had plans to meet up for our first date. The day before our first date he tells me that he loves me. Which throws me off completely.

I then tell him that I do not love him. I don't even know him. He says that that’s okay, but he had to admit that he’d never felt this way about someone before. Now I'm starting to get a horrible feeling about this guy. As the time nears to meeting him, I just get this overwhelming anxiety, and obviously just don't want to go, but I felt bad.

I mean, I hate canceling on some guy who seems to be nice, and other than the weird love outburst, has been really sweet to me through our limited interactions. Cue the detective work! After some intense searching, I find out this dude is a registered predator, and the list of his crimes was chilling. It even says that he has a high risk for repeating.

I am so glad I didn't dismiss my feelings and decide to go on that first date, who knows what would have happened.

Dodged a bulletPexels

50. A Tale Of Two Girlfriends

I was dating a girl for a while, and—despite living and working on the opposite side of town— she’d always be near this one neighborhood coffee shop that I frequented. So I’d randomly run into her there, and ask what brought her to that neck of the woods. She’d usually reply “grabbing some coffee” or “I had a hunch you’d be here, and wanted to say hi.”

One day she up and moved out of the state with zero warning, and told me that we weren’t dating anymore. I was confused, but it was casual so, while it sucked, I just thought: “Oh she probably had some family emergency or something, and didn’t want to tell me.” A few weeks later I saw something on her snap chat that made me take note.

I saw that she was just making absolute stacks of money in San Diego, and was always wearing the same uniform in these pictures. I was a bit confused but didn’t think much of it. Besides, I’d started dating this other woman who frequented the aforementioned coffee shop. So after a month or two of dating this second woman, the first woman comes back from San Diego, and starts hanging out with my new girlfriend. Kind of weird.

A week later, something totally weird happens: Both of them are moving to San Diego. Weirder still, they want me to come with them, live with them, and work where they work. Something just felt extremely fishy, so I said no, and off they went. Eventually, a picture got posted with both of them in it, in front of a very strange—but very instantly familiar building: The HQ of the Church of Scientology.

The reason the original woman was always in that neighborhood is because, kitty-corner from the coffee shop, was the local chapter of the Church of Scientology. She got pretty ingrained in the church and moved to San Diego to work for them. She then came back to recruit gullible people to come back with her. And that’s the story of how I lost two girlfriends to the Church of Scientology, and was none the wiser. Definitely glad I dodged THAT bullet.

Dodged a bulletPexels


More from Factinate

Featured Article

My mom never told me how her best friend died. Years later, I was using her phone when I made an utterly chilling discovery.

Featured Article

Madame de Pompadour was the alluring chief mistress of King Louis XV, but few people know her dark history—or the chilling secret shared by her and Louis.

More from Factinate

Featured Article

I tried to get my ex-wife served with divorce papers. I knew that she was going to take it badly, but I had no idea about the insane lengths she would go to just to get revenge and mess with my life.

Featured Article

Catherine of Aragon is now infamous as King Henry VIII’s rejected queen—but few people know her even darker history.

Dear reader,

Want to tell us to write facts on a topic? We’re always looking for your input! Please reach out to us to let us know what you’re interested in reading. Your suggestions can be as general or specific as you like, from “Life” to “Compact Cars and Trucks” to “A Subspecies of Capybara Called Hydrochoerus Isthmius.” We’ll get our writers on it because we want to create articles on the topics you’re interested in. Please submit feedback to contribute@factinate.com. Thanks for your time!

Do you question the accuracy of a fact you just read? At Factinate, we’re dedicated to getting things right. Our credibility is the turbo-charged engine of our success. We want our readers to trust us. Our editors are instructed to fact check thoroughly, including finding at least three references for each fact. However, despite our best efforts, we sometimes miss the mark. When we do, we depend on our loyal, helpful readers to point out how we can do better. Please let us know if a fact we’ve published is inaccurate (or even if you just suspect it’s inaccurate) by reaching out to us at contribute@factinate.com. Thanks for your help!

Warmest regards,

The Factinate team

Want to learn something new every day?

Join thousands of others and start your morning with our Fact Of The Day newsletter.

Thank you!

Error, please try again.