Life-Changing Split-Second Decisions

September 18, 2023 | Sammy Tran

Life-Changing Split-Second Decisions

Everyone makes split-second decisions every day—but some of these decisions can change a life…or even save it.

1. Where Did It Come From?

I was driving 80 miles per hour on a lonely interstate in the middle of the night, and I decided to change lanes for no reason. Little did I know that split-second decision spared my life—I ended up just missing a stopped, crumpled car in the middle of the lane I had just left. 

Shocked young woman in red top  driving a  car at nightModel Republique, Shutterstock

2. The Moose Is Grateful Too

I was driving a two-lane highway in the north woods late at night in the summer of 1992. If I’m being honest, I was too tired to be driving. Without understanding why, I found myself standing on the brakes. 

I came to a stop two car lengths from a moose standing in the middle of my lane. I guess my unconscious mind saw the eye shine and made the right decision because I had no idea why I was braking until I came to a stop.

Moose in winterURAL, Pexels

3. Saved By A Hair

I grabbed a middle schooler's backpack as she was about to cross without looking and I kept us both on the sidewalk instead of crossing the road (I was in high school at the time).

The reason?

The red car that had almost run me over a few weeks before was barrelling down the street at high speed. The car zoomed past at the moment the kid and I would have been in the middle of the road.

Same driver. I recognized the shade of blonde hair.

Cute little girl going home from schooll i g h t p o e t, Shutterstock

4. Saved Two Lives

I was in an explosion. I had knelt down to sign something when the detonation happened. That's when I felt a startling tickle run along my spine—glass shards were a hair away from going right through me. The person who gave me the paper to sign technically saved me, and they’re fine too.

Cropped image of a businessman giving contract to a woman to signAndrea Piacquadio, Pexels

5. Wear A Helmet, Kids

I went to ride my bike and almost forgot my helmet. I honestly debated grabbing it since I was only planning on doing a few miles but at the last minute, I decided I might as well have it. Then half a mile out I got hit by a car. 

Helmet was busted but other than a concussion, I was fine.

Bicycle and helmet on the roadBobex-73, Shutterstock

6. Friendship Park

Four 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’d heard rumors 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 at Six Flags.

That kid is now my best friend, and I have three 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.

I intend to ask my best friend to be my best man one day, and I don’t intend on ever getting out of touch with any of them. I’m home from college now, and we are going to have a lot of fun together. Best decision I’ve ever made.

Friends gamers having a chatYan Krukau, Pexels

7. High School Does Teach You Useful Things

I was caught in a bar brawl. I tumbled to the bottom of a crowd and was pressed to the floor with some psycho on my back choking me. I couldn't move and couldn't breathe. I thought that was it. I was going to end my days on the floor of a New Jersey nightclub.

Suddenly I remembered a move my wrestling coach taught us to break grips. I found his thumb, folded it like a fist, and squeezed as hard as I could. It cracked like a stick. I could hear him scream in my ear and he hopped off. I pushed up and swung my way out.

I was choked so hard that both of my eyes were full red, no whites, and I cracked a molar. That was a close one and who knows what would have happened if I didn't recall that one random move or if I never wrestled to begin with. Scary.

Friends preventing fightingDusan Petkovic, Shutterstock

8. The Ocean Is Always Stronger

I was carried away by a current while swimming at a beach. The beach was protected by a rock formation, but I stupidly swam past it, and I was swept away. The rest of the coastline was more or less a sheer rock cliff.

I was in big trouble, and I needed to think fast—thankfully, I managed to spot a very tiny spot that I could swim ashore to, but the waves kept throwing me against rocks that sat just below the surface. 

I decided to try to swim ashore by grabbing onto the rocks between waves and to hold on for dear life as the waves came over me so that I didn't end up like shredded cheese.

I managed to get to shore, and I later realized that if I hadn't done exactly what I did, I'd have been a goner.

Drowning woman in seaNew Africa, Shutterstock

9. Even Pittsburgh

When I was in 8th grade (13 years old) I had a really long bus ride home so I would pass the time by reading. One day I faced the very serious situation of nothing to read and a minute to grab something in the library, and for whatever reason I grabbed a book on astronomy.

That book was amazing and grabbed me like nothing else had before. I remember being excited to realize every astronomer on Earth was 13 years old once too, and that was a career you could actually do, even if you were from Pittsburgh.

Anyway, today I am a professional astronomer who studies gigantic space explosions for a living. There was a lot of work to get from that moment to this one, but I’m always grateful that I picked up that library book!

Astronomer with a telescopeAstroStar, Shutterstock

10. Sometimes Dreams Come True

The night before, I had a dream that a friend was telling me I needed to lock my doors as soon as I entered the house. The next day, I went over to the next-door neighbors' to ask them to stop causing this-or-that disruption, as it was late at night.

The neighbor must have been on something, because he instantly started flipping out and screaming about complete nonsense that was not at all related to what I came over for. 

He pushed out his chest and got in my face, trying to physically intimidate me, a much smaller woman. I just walked away, went back into my house, and remembered to instantly lock the door like my dream said.

The neighbor had been following me and he tried to open my door as soon as I locked it. I was home alone, and I have no idea how violent he was intending on getting with me.

I got cameras the next day.

woman holding keys and  locking the front doorPolsinaut, Shutterstock

11. We All Can Learn From This

I decided to go to A&E over the "gas pains" in my abdomen instead of going to sleep (I was already in bed).

My appendix was about to go by the time the surgeon got to it that same night.

I remembered something specifically about looking out for pain when you lift your left leg, and since healthcare is free here, I decided not to chance it despite the symptoms being relatively mild.

Doctors, Nurses and Paramedics Push Gurney with a man lying on itGorodenkoff, Shutterstock

12. A Fresh Start

Out of university, I was 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).

I 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’d actually planned on working, there is absolutely no way I would have crossed paths with any of these people.

Couple exchanging rings at their church weddingPavel Danilyuk, Pexels

13. Good Choice

I was in an accident back in 2008. I was going to college on my motorcycle (pretty common where I come from). It had just ended raining and I was about to overtake a vehicle when a tuk-tuk came out of nowhere from the street.

I hit the brake real hard but still our rear tires touched, and I was in the air. That was when it dawned on me that it was either my right arm or my head. I chose to let my right arm get crushed and saved my skull.

It took 50 days to heal. I have trouble writing with my right hand as I cannot handle the pen properly, but I learned to write with my left hand and went on with my life.

Motorcycle that has been in an accidentDmitry Surov, Shutterstock

14. Not So Petty Theft

I made a horrible decision to intervene in a parking lot machine robbery. As I was at the caged gate of the parking lot, the thief swung his crowbar at me. Somehow, I moved in the right way to avoid his strikes. I still don’t know how his crowbar didn’t hit me. 

He also screamed like a gorilla.

I didn’t pass that night, but I was very close to it. I never felt so stupid and also so relieved that he didn’t tag me. Addictive substances are bad, kids. 

Parking meter at the entrance to the underground ParkingVic Lab, Shutterstock

15. Good Instincts

I was in high school, driving home from a robotics team party, when it felt like instinct took over and I slammed the brakes from 50 mph. A car plowed through the intersection in front of me, hit a curb, and left weaving all over the road. 

I realized that if I hadn't stopped, I likely would have gotten hit. At that point I found the nearest parking lot and had a panic attack for an hour before driving to my parents.

Feet  on accelerator, brake and clutch in carClick with AJ, Shutterstock

16. Heavy Thinker

My friend and I were chilling at a skatepark. There was a basketball hoop made out of stone. I didn't think much of it at the time—but looking back, I realize I was in grave danger. 

I was sitting right underneath that hoop. Suddenly I got the urge to stand up. Seconds later, this massive thing came crashing down where I sat seconds before. I didn't comprehend it at that moment, but I think about it from time to time and a shiver goes down my spine.

Photo of people skateboardingJan Kopřiva, Pexels

17. Biker Thrills

Previously, I was a biker. I'm sure you all know the risks. One time it was any other day riding to work and I pulled up to the lights and checked the car next to me. The driver was a girl in her mid-20s, on her phone. I revved my engine to get her to look at me. She didn’t. 

She then proceeded to go straight into my lane.

I had planned for this. Half the reason I don't ride now is other people being morons.

biker rides motorcycleJohnny Bravoo, Shutterstock

18. Almost Became Actual Lost Boys

My friend and I were crossing a tall train bridge in his hometown while mildly tipsy. We had called his mom to ask when the train went by, and she said that one went by daily around noon. Iit was 4:30-ish so we were all set.

We got halfway across when we heard the train whistle. The problem was that we were above a river valley so the whistle echoed, and we couldn't tell which way it was coming. 

We ended up scurrying back the way we came and the moment we jumped off onto the embankment. The train barreled around the corner immediately in front of us.

If we had chosen to continue across rather than turn back, we wouldn't have made it.

train going over a bridgeCelil DOĞAN, Pexels

19. The Bike Path

I was riding my bike home from university in the dark, and as I passed the silhouette of a person on the edge of the path, I stood up on the pedals. The person struck me with a bat, landing the blow on my biceps. 

I was able to keep my balance and grip on the bars and ride through it.

Staying seated on that bike would have meant my face met that bat. Plus, who knows what would have followed on the ground.

Man riding a bike at nightSkitterphoto, Pexels

20. A Lucky Escape

When I was nine, I loved sleeping in my older brother's waterbed upstairs when he decided to live with my dad instead. One cold January night, I decided against it for some reason. I ended up sleeping in my own bed downstairs. That's when an unexpected occurrence shook me—literally.

A massive earthquake hit in the middle of the night and the headboard with tons of shelves on it ended up crashing down onto my brother's waterbed. I would have been seriously injured if I had been sleeping in that bed that night!

Scared boy covering his face in bed surrounded by toysNick Fedirko, Shutterstock

21. Quick Thinking

When I was in my early 20s, I was working with a company laying deep services for new neighborhoods. In the winter, at the end of the day, the laborer crew would spend a few minutes scraping mud off the excavator tracks.

One day, I was in between the two tracks scraping away mud. Suddenly, my colleagues were shouting (almost screaming) my name. 

Although I didn't see it, it instantly occurred to me that they would only be that terrified if the excavator was still in motion, and I was about to be pinned between the rear counterweight and the track.

I dropped to my knees and rolled away with less than a second to spare. The rear of the excavator swung across where I had just been standing. Had I been any later, I'd have been cut in half.

The operator had thought we were done. We didn't mention it to know how you are at that age.

Once in a while I still think about it. Scary stuff.

Crawler excavator diggingFahroni, Shutterstock

22. Never Underestimate The Power Of Moving Water

This happened at a river after pulling an all-nighter with a group of friends. Hungover and sleep-deprived, while swimming, and without giving it any thought, I swam into a waterfall.

I completely underestimated the power of kinetic energy. I went under like a twig and I couldn’t get back up. In my panic, I kicked my legs forward and somehow managed to push off the underwater rocks facing the cliff side. Nobody saw anything. 

I was as good as done if it wasn’t for that fortuitous move.

Person drowning  in the riverAbdul Razak Latif, Shutterstock

23. A Series Of Terrible Decisions

I asked a stranger standing out on the street for a certain substance with my friend on a late night out (I was still a teenager).

The stranger told us he was too messed up to drive but his car was parked up the block. If we drove him, he’d take us to where we could get some.

I got in the driver’s seat, adjusted everything, turned on the car and put it into drive, but kept my foot on the brake (I didn’t have my license, and this was maybe my 4th time ever driving a car).

A white Charger pulled up next to us and a guy with a bandana over the lower half of his face ran up to my window and pointed a pistol at me.

That split second felt like a lifetime, but I slammed on the gas and swerved out of the parallel park job. I then stopped at a stop sign at the end of the block (internal screaming intensifies like, why am I stopping at a stop sign right now?).

I kept going, ran a couple red lights, made a few turns, and parked somewhere I knew was hidden and much safer (this was pretty late at night and basically my hometown).

I was a dumb teenager.

Car on a roadBurak The Weekender, Pexels

24. Even In The Air, People Get Too Close

I was piloting a small training aircraft, with an instructor (I had full control), when a slightly larger light aircraft flying ahead, but to our far-right field of view, seemed to be creeping in a bit too near towards us. The instructor yelled for me to watch out.Then my eyes widened.

I immediately cut the throttle and applied the air brake, just as that aircraft swerved right in front of us, with less than 10 meters clearance.

It was nearly a mid-air collision.

The instructor had many swear words for that aircraft and took down details to report them for dangerous flying. He also praised my response and said I was a natural.

Small white plane landingTim Gouw, Pexels

25. The Stereotypical White Van

My work flew me into Costa Rica at night and I got to my hotel around 7 or 8 pm. I wanted something to eat as I hadn’t eaten in hours. I remembered seeing a Subway just up the street from my hotel, so put my earbuds in and walked to Subway.

I got there and got the sandwich and began walking back to the hotel. When I got a block away, a white van drove up quickly in front of me at a crossing, and this man started yelling at me in Spanish.

For a split second, I gave myself the choice to stop and figure out what was going on, or to start walking faster around the back of the van and just keep looking forward. 

I took out one of my earbuds so I could hear better and began walking quickly around the back of the van and could hear a sliding door open while the van’s backup lights turned on and it started to back up.

I started speed walking away and at the last probably 20 feet it would take to get to the hotel, I began running. The feeling of trying to remain calm while booking it had started to turn into fear, and once I got into the doors of the hotel, I looked back up the street to see the white van speeding off in the opposite direction.

I still don’t know if it was actually what I think was going to happen or if I just misunderstood the situation. Either way, I personally believe that split second changed my life, because normally I’d stop and try to figure out what’s going on in any other situation.

silhouette of feet walking on street at dark nightProStockMedia, Shutterstock

26. Domino’s Effect

My desire for pizza set off a chain reaction that destroyed my family.

One day, I got home from school and I really wanted pizza. My family was poor so spontaneous food trips weren't always in the cards. I really worked my pouty face on my mom and begged to go to the local pizza place for dinner. She agreed.

While chilling there, I saw my uncle walk by, and I was like, "Wait, uncle is that you?" 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.

The truth was eventually revealed, and it was a shocker—it turned out he was having an affair with his sister-in-law, my aunt on the other side of the family. She was basically a money-grubbing gold digger and the family protested. 

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.

Man Putting A Pizza In The Ovenantoniodiaz, Shutterstock

27. A Pebble In Time

When I was 14, I was walking to the river with two girlfriends when I stopped to get a pebble out of my shoe. 

Fortunately, the other girls stopped with me, because two seconds later a vehicle came plowing up onto the sidewalk and slammed into a brick wall just meters from us and EXACTLY where we would have been had we not stopped seconds before.

It was wild. We could feel the force of that car hit the wall and there is no way we would have survived.

Car  crashes into a houseSue Thatcher, Shutterstock

28. Cujo Returns

My rescue dog for some reason freaked out and attacked me. Right before it happened, I sat up and gently pushed his face away from mine (he had been whining and trying to lick at my face while I was stretched out on the couch).

Some instinct told me to sit up and push his face away. The incident was devastating—I ended up with a huge hole in my arm and he kept coming, trying to take me down. If my husband hadn't been there, the dog would have kept going till he got me down and kept me there.

An angry dog running at the beachIvistevie, Shutterstock

29. Pedal To The Metal

I was driving across an intersection with a hedge blinding my vision on the driver’s side. I pulled up a bit and saw no cars oncoming, so I crossed. I looked out the driver side window to see a truck speeding towards me and will hit.

Split second instinct, I hit the pedal to the floor. I still got hit in the rear bumper, but had I not floored it, it probably would have hit me directly.

Man hitting brakes to avoid accidentJeff Giniewicz, Shutterstock

30. Maybe Oliver Twist Should’ve Moved To Utah

We were living in New Orleans, in the French quarter, in 2005. I was working for a restaurant for six months, Mr. B's bistro. I asked for a raise, and they gave me 50 cents.

I said, “Please, sir, can I have a dollar raise?”

They said $0.50 it is.

So, I said all right, screw that, I'm moving to Utah and going skiing for the winter. We packed up the car and drove up to Utah.

When we turned on our TV after connecting the cable, we saw the French quarter underwater. Hurricane Katrina rolled through, and I absolutely would not have left in the evacuation. I would have been one of those poor suckers on top of my roof. 

Over 50 cents, the course of my life changed.

Hurricane just startingLeonard the food guy, Shutterstock

31. Staying In School

I was a troublemaker when I was younger. One morning, I was standing at my locker, and my friend, who had just got her new car, asked me to skip class and ride around with her. I usually would have, but I just skipped the day before, so I said I couldn't.

That day she passed, and her sister, who was in the car, was paralyzed because the weather was bad. I always look back at the moment and wonder what would have happened if I made the decision I would have normally made.

Blue car accidentArtyom Kulakov, Pexels

32. The Ear Is Too Close To The Brain

My son is a lifeguard. One of the girls in the pool got a suddenly intense headache. He sat her down and looked her over. When he saw it, he gasped—there was fluid coming out of her ear.

He put her on a spinal board just to be on the safe side and called the emergency line. He found out later that the fluid leaking from her ear was spinal fluid. She'd had a rupture of some sort that caused her spinal fluid to leak out her ear.

If he hadn't spotted that, she would have passed later that day.

Lifeguard at a - Yuri A, Shutterstock

33. This Is Why Hiking Is A Summer Activity

I was hiking Mount LA Conte in TN. Some friends I was with were a bit more active than me and I was slowing the pace but told them I would be fine so they went ahead a bit.

As I was going along the path, there was a ledge on a mountain side that was part of the trail that also had hand ropes set up by hikers. On this day of the hike, there was black ice in the most random areas and unless you were really looking for them, they were invisible to the eye.

Well, the ledge was plenty wide, but I decided to hold on to the railing anyway. As I started to go around the side, my feet slipped on black ice and due to my insane drummer hand grips, I was able to keep myself on the mountainside with my feet dangling off the mountain. 

There was a couple that was hiking as well that I hadn't noticed yet as they were way behind me, and the female screamed like a horror movie heroine. They both said they were sure I was a goner.

I never was in a situation like this before. I honestly laughed in relief after and became a master of looking for black ice as I finished my hike up and down the mountain. As it didn't stop my passion for hiking, 

I certainly will be doing my best to go in warmer climate seasons to avoid such a situation again.

Man  hiking on a mountainLukas Schulz, Pexels

34. From The POV Of A Passerby

Years ago, I parallel parked my car on a busy street in Hollywood where I lived at the time. The street was on a hill and my car was parked on the downhill side of traffic a couple hundred feet from a blind curve in the road. 

I checked for cars and got out of the driver's side of the car, being careful not to step too far in the street. There were no cars going by at the time.

Suddenly, a voice inside my head shouted, "FREEZE!!! DON'T MOVE!!!" I instinctually froze and pressed myself up against my car even though I had no idea why. 

Out of nowhere a large city bus came barreling around the curve going at least 60 mph and missed hitting me by just a couple inches. I can still feel the wind from the bus on the back of my neck as it blew past me. 

If I had taken just half a step back to lock my car door, I would have been flattened and that would have been it.

Even worse, my future husband was with me and would have witnessed it all. It still shakes him up to think about how close he came to losing me that day.

Woman getting out of a carMotortion Films, Shutterstock

35. Hallmark Movie Material

Back in 2020, I was in an abusive relationship. Not so much direct physical violence (although that was there); instead, it was constant mental and emotional. This was particularly damaging as I struggle with mental health. 

To be honest, I was contemplating ending my life for most of the last 6 or so months she and I were together. One day, she and I had a MASSIVE fight that ultimately ended the relationship.

She and I ended up splitting up during quarantine, roughly around mid-April. Most of the people I was close to where immunocompromised, some lived states away, and the rest just weren’t good for me to be around in my fragile mental state. 

Aside from a few nights at a hotel, I slept in the bathroom at work. She (and whatever flavor of the week she was dating) continued to harass me, call my work, call my parents, and (later, during summer) somehow found the contact information of a girl I had just begun dating and began harassing her as well.

While I am eternally thankful for my boss giving me shelter and giving me an air mattress, it was so incredibly lonely in that bathroom. I remember hugging a pillow and convincing myself, through tears, that the pillow was my friend and that I wasn’t alone. 

I spent my birthday, which falls towards the end of April, alone in a grocery store parking lot bawling my eyes out. Never in my life was I so desperate for a hug.

After a couple months of this, my mother found me a new apartment. Quarantine restrictions had JUST lifted in my state (I live in SE Wisconsin). While I still had to keep a massive amount of distance from my immunocompromised mother, it was still nice to see someone who actually liked me.

As a bit of background, I am very interested in meteorology. I love storm chasing and dream of making a career of it, or anything related to meteorology for that matter. I had not chased a single storm for over a year, for obvious reasons. 

The week I moved in, I saw on my weather app that there was a storm scheduled to hit about two hours or so away during the weekend. I went and chased it, and, for the first time in years, I started to recognize the reflection in the mirror.

A week later, I realized that I badly wanted to chase another storm. So, I began checking my weather apps. Nowhere in Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Illinois, etc. was forecasted to even have rain. 

So, in desperation, I dug deeper and found that there, in fact, was going to be a storm. Issue was, it was all the way near Rapid City, SD. Eleven to twelve hours away from me.

I decided at noon on Friday that, once I got off at 6:30, I would pack a bag, eat dinner, talk to a couple friends, and then take off to South Dakota, driving through the night. 

I had never been to South Dakota nor traveled by myself, and I had never driven through the night before. But screw it, what do I have to lose?

I was in southern Minnesota on I-90 around 4 am, about to break the South Dakota border. I was exhausted, losing strength, and about ready to give up. I tried to check into a hotel, only to find that I had forgotten my cards at home and that the hotel did not take Apple Pay.

 Regardless, something told me to keep going. Something told me everything would be okay. So, I plodded on into South Dakota.

Then I saw the sunrise. That sunrise was the light at the end of the tunnel. It was a beacon of hope that my past tried to convince me no longer existed. 

That sunrise told me that the excruciating pain, loneliness, and self-harm ideations were temporary. It was then that I learned everything was going to be okay.

I still remember audibly screaming “I can’t believe I’m actually doing this! I’m actually doing this!” It was always my dream to travel the country to chase storms. I turned the nightmare I was living into the dream I always wished for. 

I took so many pictures, videos, live streamed both chases (two for one weekend!), took in the alien landscape I found myself in, and finally felt human again.

Not only was I free, but I also actually believed it too. Ever since then, although I still struggle with mental health, I have a new purpose. The driver’s seat became my home, the open road became my best friend, and the sun became my wife. 

I didn’t care if she wasn’t human. The warmth, guidance, and support were all I ever wanted in marriage. The unlovable, burdensome, and ugly man turned into mother nature’s devoted husband. I finally found love.

Ever since then, I have continued to regularly travel the country on a whim. I have chased storms in Kansas, tasted wine in California, got lost in the desert in Arizona, saw the Rocky Mountains for the first time, walked along both coasts, went to the beach in Florida, and so much more. 

I ended up driving to every state in the lower 48 that summer (took three months) AND doing something in each one.

The decision to chase my dreams saved me from ending my own life. All I had to do was see the sun.

Man in orange shirt chasing  stormsCammie Czuchnicki, Shutterstock

36. Thanks, Olivia Newton-John

I was deployed to Kandahar airfield, Afghanistan in 2011. Just another PT morning; we got to do it on our own because large groups could be seen as a target.

There’s a perimeter road that goes behind the range, and curves back toward the barracks, and that was my usual run route. I was ready to leave, when I had this feeling that I should stay today and did a workout video instead. Something just felt so off.

About the time that it would have taken me to reach the curve behind the range, it was hit by a mortar.

I saved myself that day.

Terrified soldier in green uniform with his hand over his mouth, during a meeting with psychotherapist,Ground Picture, Shutterstock

37. Thank That GP

I fell snowboarding and had a splitting 'migraine' the next day. I went to the GP, deciding after a night without sleep it was worth the early phone call and appointment. 

He took one look at me and proceeded to give me a course of oral steroids and schedule an MRI. I was completely dissociated, just kind of thought maybe he was looking to see if I'd twinged my neck.

Damage at C1. For context, C1 is your first vertebrae at the base of your skull and by damage I'm referring to spinal cord damage. A very small lesion and some swelling which was now being treated by the oral steroids course. 

After the course, another MRI showed the area of damage more clearly: I also now had a severe movement disorder, and minor issues with my breathing alongside chronic neuroinflammation which would eventually result in another lesion (C5/6) that hit 4 years later, paralyzing me.

BUT if my GP hadn't seen fit to prescribe outside of his remit and give me those initial steroids there is no telling if that C1 lesion could have enlarged and just straight up ended me at 21. My neurologist tells me that he did possibly save my life that day.

person riding on snowboard in winter on a mountainFede Roveda, Pexels

38. This Is Why I Watch My Rearview Mirror

The scariest moment I ever had when driving. I was on a four-lane highway, with a guy running the same speed in the lane next to me. 

I saw a car going well over the speed limit fast approaching and realized there was no room for him to slow down, there was no shoulder, and he was going to slam into both of us.

I moved over a little to the left. The guy next to me must have come to the same realization and moved a little to the right. Crazy speeding guy goes right in between us and keeps on going. It happened in less than a second, but it seemed like slow motion. 

Had two people not been checking their mirrors at that exact moment…well, it would have been messy.

Shocked man in car looking at, Shutterstock

39. Showing Submission

Picture this, just past midnight on NYE, I was walking from a remote house on a very remote dirt road to meet someone who was driving out from town to pick me up. There was next to no moonlight, and I had a nearly flat mobile so no torchlight. 

Walking but I could feel the gravel road, so I knew I was on the road. A few drinks in, of course, so I was dealing with a very full bladder as well.

I could hear some animal approaching...then I heard two very loud growls...large dogs? I immediately squatted down and peed. I don't know what came over me.

Then I just stayed down. The animals circled me growling...then they moved on.

I was so scared. Literally squatting there thinking, this is how I die? The person that picked me up said, "Did you see those huge pig dogs?”

Life drained from me. I am telling you I was lucky I was not mauled. They are trained to hunt big wild boar.

Man walking on a street at nightKaique Rocha, Pexels

40. Sometimes You Just Have To Reach Out

My life was on a downward spiral—until I decided to make a move that changed my life. At the time, I was really struggling between a mental health crisis, two horrible exes, family drama, and the list goes on. Then I asked my partner out on our first date and it saved my life. 

He doesn't know how incredibly grateful I am for him; without him I certainly wouldn't be alive. Sending that text was the impulsive decision that saved my life.

Lovely couple with glasses of champagne laughingYAKOBCHUK VIACHESLAV, Shutterstock

41. Pros Of The Flu 

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. So as soon as I got my numbers, I called the surgeon.

The receptionist said, "Oh, hey, we just had a cancellation for this Friday, do you want it?"

Of course, I wanted to get it over with and not wait another month. I decided to take the open-heart surgery cancellation appointment (a month before my actual appointment), and well, the surgeon said that thank goodness I did because once he got a look inside, he realized 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.

Surgeons performing surgeryПавел Сорокин, Pexels

42. The Broken Strings

So, a few years back, I lived in Nice (the south of France) for a while. As a musician I would make a bit of extra cash busking, and one day, I figured I'd go and busk at the promenade d'anglais by the sea. It's usually packed, and it was 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 (by the station) in a bit of a sulk at having to restring 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 started to buzz 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 gf'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.

It's hard to explain, sometimes I think I was super lucky, sometimes I just kind of cry and wonder why I was lucky, and others weren't. It's surreal, and despite what people's a truly horrible feeling.

acoustic guitarBrent Keane, Pexels

43. Apparently, Teachers Can Just Steal Students

In high school, I took an intermediate biology course. I had never done biology before but was good at science generally so I thought the intermediate course would be a good fit.

My science teacher of a couple years previous happened to walk into my class to talk to the biology teacher and she spotted me in the class.

She asked me what grades I had got the previous year. I told her and she nodded and left. A minute later she came back in and asked me to gather my belongings and leave the class. I was pretty sure I was in trouble for something I couldn’t recall.

She led me to another classroom and sat me down on an empty chair. Then she just started teaching. Turns out that she was running the advanced class that year and just decided to steal me as a student.

I went on to take biology at undergrad level, and then a Masters. I ended up doing a PhD in immunology and now work as an advisor for Pharma companies.

It gets better though. I decided I wanted to do my Masters in London and met a girl on the way. We are now ten years in and own a house together.

All that because that teacher happened to look in my direction.

Multi Ethnic Students Listening to a LecturerGorodenkoff, Shutterstock

44. Millionaire Goals

I watched ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’ and I got so annoyed at the candidates not knowing a simple question about Katy Perry. So I took matters into my own hands—I applied, I got in, and I got to play. 

I won a lot of money. I booked a holiday to a dream destination with that money and met my husband there. We now have a 1-year-old son.

Woman on holidayJulia Volk, Pexels

45. A Crazy Coincidence

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 afterwards 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, I would have never known.

license plateCraig Adderley, Pexels

46. Spain Is For Lovers

My husband, before we met, 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 to “Spain” on MySpace instead of the US where he really was.

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. We’ve been together 11 years, married for 7. If he didn’t change his country to Spain (and only for a day or so) we’d never know each other existed.

A woman working on a laptopAndrea Piacquadio , Pexels

47. Subconscious Savior

I woke up in the middle of the night because of a voice in my head yelling at me, telling me to lock a nearby door. I reluctantly got up, locked the door, then fell back asleep immediately. About 30 minutes later somebody tried breaking in.

Beautiful young woman woke up in her bed after hearing weird noisesAF-Photography, Shutterstock

48. The Young Action Hero

I was 13 or 14 and walking home when it started to really storm. A man in a car, that I recognized from the neighborhood, stopped and asked if I wanted a ride. I jumped in.

Our house was on a really long hill (back when they built houses into the landscape instead of flattening everything), and at a point he should have started slowing down he started accelerating. So, I just opened the door and rolled out onto the asphalt at 30-35 mph.

Cute little boy playing under the rain in a cityAnna Nahabed, Shutterstock

49. A Guardian Angel

When I was in 9th grade, I was walking to church on Sunday morning. My friends stopped and asked if I wanted to go riding with them. I thought about going but something stopped me from getting in the car. Later that afternoon, I was hit with the shock of my life.

A stranger attempted to hijack the car. He told my friends to keep driving, and at one point, they lost control. Two of my friends in the car passed in the accident.

Black car accidentMike Bird, Pexels

50. The Snake Was Out For A Walk Too

I used to go for walks in a nature park right behind my neighborhood, usually with headphones on. On one such walk, I happened to look down to see the foot I was currently stepping with was about 6 inches from coming down on a diamondback rattlesnake. 

It was arched back, ready to strike, rattle going, but I couldn't hear it over my music.

I leapt back immediately and walked around it without issue, but holy cow, it gets my heart going just thinking about it.

Eastern Diamondback RattlesnakeGerald A. DeBoer, Shutterstock


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.

Dark Family Secrets

Dark Family Secrets Exposed

Nothing stays hidden forever—and these dark family secrets are proof that when the truth comes out, it can range from devastating to utterly chilling.
April 8, 2020 Samantha Henman

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.

Madame de Pompadour Facts

Entrancing Facts About Madame de Pompadour, France's Most Powerful Mistress

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.
December 7, 2018 Kyle Climans

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.

These People Got Genius Revenges

When someone really pushes our buttons, we'd like to think that we'd hold our head high and turn the other cheek, but revenge is so, so sweet.
April 22, 2020 Scott Mazza

Featured Article

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

Catherine of Aragon Facts

Tragic Facts About Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII’s First Wife

Catherine of Aragon is now infamous as King Henry VIII’s rejected queen—but very few people know her even darker history.
June 7, 2018 Christine Tran

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 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 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.