From near-fatal accidents to being in the wrong place at the wrong time and living to tell the tale, a surprising number of people have had scary brushes with their own mortality. Perhaps we should all take their experiences as a reminder never to take our lives for granted. Here are 50 true stories about shocking times when regular people like you and me narrowly escaped having their lives cut short.
1. Morning Ride
I was traveling in the Philippines in Northern Luzon. That’s the part always hit hard by typhoons. It was just the beginning of the rainy season. I was in Banaue and was planning to go up north to Sagada the next day, which was a Saturday. The Lonely Planet writes about this route as “The scariest road in the world,” and for good reason.
It’s solid mountain on one side, and deep deep deep on the other. There was a Jeepney scheduled in the morning and one in the afternoon. A Jeepney is what they call a car ride on these trips. Everyone who knows me knows that I am not a morning person and that if there is a later option, I’m definitely taking that one.
But on a whim the night before, I decided to leave earlier and take the 8:00 am Jeep. Super out of character for me and I’m still not sure why I did it. A few days later, on another bus, I chatted with this nice lady and she asked me what places in the Philippines I had been to so far. Then she said something that made my stomach drop: “OMG, have you heard about the Jeepney accident on Saturday afternoon on the road from Banaue to Sagada??”
So, apparently, the Jeepney I had planned to take came upon a mountain slide, lost control, and went crashing down the side of the mountain. Ten people lost their lives, and no one survived.
2. Trigger Warning
When I was 14 years old, my cousin and I found my uncle’s arms stash in his closet. As a joke, my cousin grabbed a pistol and pointed it at my head with his finger on the trigger. I quickly told him to stop and that it was not funny. He glared at me and told me it wasn’t loaded, while he pointed it at the floor and pulled the trigger.
Turns out it was loaded, and the shot blew a big hole in the floor. I think about this incident a lot. I brought it up once to my cousin and he started to cry. That experience cut us both deep.
3. A Change Of Plans
A few years ago, I went on a trip to Cuba and Mexico. At the last minute, I decided to stay longer in Havana despite the mess that Hurricane Irma had left behind. The few days without electricity were actually oddly amazing. We were supposed to be flying to Mexico City. I later heard that our intended Mexico City Airbnb building had collapsed during an earthquake.
There was no logical reason behind our decision about staying. I just proposed it and my partner agreed. Crazy!
4. All Downhill From Here
When I was about 13 years old, I got into a bad skiing accident. I accidentally went down a double black diamond course, i.e. the hardest one, and got out of control. There was a small shed about halfway down, right in front of a cliff face that became super steep. I made the snap decision to slam into the shed instead of continuing down the mountain.
I was going probably 50 MPH, so I probably wouldn’t have survived if I had kept going down with no control. When I was about a hundred feet away from the shed, I passed out from fear. I woke up with a broken arm and a lacerated liver. I was in the hospital for two weeks. But at least I survived in the end. I’m so glad I made the right decision in the moment.
5. Drinking To Your Health
One time, I was drinking and felt something stick in the back of my throat. I almost forced it down because it was really far back and awkward to cough up, but I decided to spit it out anyways. Turns out it was a shard of glass from the bottle I was drinking out of. It still creeps me out to think about even all these years later, because I really was just going to swallow it.
6. Right Of Way
I was riding my bike to school as normal when I was about twelve, and I stopped at a crossing. All the cars stopped, but I felt that something was off and waited a little longer. As soon as I started to cross, there was a flash of green as a Range Rover sped past me, barely a hair from the front wheel of my bike. If I had started to cross sooner, then I would have been hit head on and most likely not have survived as the car was going too fast.
I was so shaky afterwards that I turned round and headed home, explaining to my mum what had happened. Since I was still shaking, she believed me and made me a hot chocolate.
7. Carbon Copy
My spouse and I came back home to our apartment late after traveling. We were both exhausted but made the somewhat weird decision on the way back to stop at the grocery store and get steaks to make for dinner. There was an alarm going off in the house, but we couldn’t find it and decided to just eat. That should have been warning sign/bad decision #1.
In the time that it took us to cook and eat the steaks, we both started to feel very odd. We would see a kaleidoscope every time we closed our eyes. By this point, we were both realizing that it was carbon monoxide, but instead of leaving the house we opened all the windows and laid down on the couch to go to sleep. Bad decision #2.
I’ll never forget that chilling feeling. I was lying there, all snuggled up, and thinking, “This isn’t such a bad way to go, really.” That thought shot me out of it and I immediately got up and forced my partner out of the house. And by “immediately,” I mean I got up and forced them up. And then we both sort of weirdly puttered around for another half hour because carbon monoxide makes you forget how to behave.
I packed a bag for us that was like, half of our clothes. Because I couldn’t think straight. We sat in the car together and realized we had to call a cab because he couldn’t read any of the road names in our own neighborhood. We both had a horrible headache, nausea, dizziness, and chest pain for the next two days. The moral of the story is to get a carbon monoxide detector for every room in your house. Especially bedrooms, living rooms, and kitchens.
Carbon monoxide is really scary and silent. It can end your life while you sleep.
8. Rounding The Turn
Former professional motorcycle instructor here. I was riding a motorcycle at night on Highway 17 in Northern California—an infamously dangerous and twisty mountain pass with low-visibility around most corners. Each direction of the highway has two lanes. For no particular reason, I decided to change lanes rather abruptly.
Around the next corner, there was a washing machine in my original lane that was only visible after it would have been too late to avoid. At highway speeds, a collision like that would have sent me to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. I’m extremely lucky to be alive. Thinking back on that incident still very much messes with my head.
A few years back, my ex-boyfriend and I were coming home from work. I had to stop at a gas station to fill up in order to make it home. It was super late and my boyfriend goes: “It’s like 2:00 AM. I’m hungry. There’s a Waffle House down the street. Wanna go? I don’t wanna cook when we get home.” I didn’t want to cook either, so I agreed.
I sent my parents a text saying: “Hey, we’re getting food,” and gave them the address, which is something I don’t normally do considering they lived across the country. But for some reason, I felt the need to let them know where we were. We pulled up to the Waffle House and I immediately didn’t feel comfortable. I told my boyfriend I didn’t like the vibes and he agreed that he didn’t want waffles anymore, so we just went home.
Next morning, I wake up to both our phones ringing. At least 30 missed calls. Texts from my cousins. Missed FaceTime calls from friends. I called my mother back and could barely make out her words because she’s hysterically crying. She finally yelled, “MY BABY IS ALIVE!” to my dad. Confused as heck and half asleep, I asked her what was going on.
She told me to turn on the TV. I turn on the news and see a live image of the Waffle House we were going to stop at, with the headline “Nashville Waffle House Shooting.” I haven’t stopped at a Waffle House since.
I grew up in the country on several acres of woods and creeks. I loved any and all animals. I was obsessed with them, actually. I would bring all manner of critters home and put them in an aquarium to observe before releasing them back where I found them the next day. One day, I found a water snake near the creek, so of course I brought it home and put it in the aquarium.
That night, I had a dream. I was reading our local newspaper and the headline said a young girl had passed after a venomous snake had escaped an enclosure and bitten her. Except it was my name printed in the paper along with that day’s date! I jolted awake in a cold sweat and immediately took the entire aquarium outside and put it by the tree line before flipping the lid open and booking it back inside.
The next day at school, during Library, I looked up a book about snakes. There was a picture of the exact snake I had brought home. Turns out it was not the harmless water snake I had thought, but a water moccasin, also known as a cottonmouth. A cottonmouth is a snake that could have very easily taken the life of a young child.
So yeah, looking back I realize how utterly stupid I had been and how easily it could have gone terribly wrong. Or maybe nothing would have happened and I’m just making a big deal of a scary dream. I don’t know, but I like to think something was watching out for me that night.
11. The Final Quarter
I had a weird feeling like something was seriously wrong with me when I stood up and almost passed out at a big football game. We left the stadium and went to the ER. Turns out my appendix was ruptured and I needed surgery as soon as possible. I had been having stomach pain prior to this, but brushed it off as digestion problems. Good thing I went!
For the record, it was the Cotton Bowl in Texas that we had been watching. My wife got me tickets for Christmas as the college we went to was playing that year. We are from Michigan, so we had quite the drive to get to Texas. My appendix ruptured in the third quarter and I ended up finishing watching the game in the hospital.
We stayed a few extra days but I had to get back to college, so my wife drove 17 hours straight. And we had to get out of the car every 45 minutes or so in order for me to walk around and avert blood clotting. She was my fiancé at the time and this trip really made us stronger together. I knew right then and there that we would have a happy marriage.
12. Second Opinion
My mom saved my life when I was only 15 years old. I had put on a lot of water weight and she was worried about it. Finally, I was in so much pain that she realized something was seriously wrong, so she took me to the hospital. At first, the ER was like “Oh yeah, it’s just thyroid. Take this and follow up with your doctor.” Mom waited a few hours but felt uncomfortable.
So she drove me to another ER who told her that if she hadn’t gotten me in when she did, I would have been gone by the time my follow up came with the previous doctor. My kidneys had failed. Thankfully, I’m better now.
13. Unwelcome Visitors
I’m not sure I would definitely have lost my life, but my gut kept me from being physically taken advantage of by a man. Unfortunately, my friend didn’t listen to me and suffered for it. I grew up in a small town that contracted a construction project to a company in Norway. At the local bar one night was a group of Norwegian men who were staying at a local hotel.
My friend and I met them that night for the first time. We hung out with them for a few hours and they showered us with drinks all night. At closing time, they invited us to continue the party at their hotel. I pulled my friend aside and told her we shouldn’t go. We didn’t really know them and we were also outnumbered. She said it would be fun and “no big deal.”
My gut told me no. I just didn’t feel comfortable, and so I refused. She called me a “buzz kill” and went anyway. The next day she called screaming at me. She spent the night being taken advantage of by these creeps and, in her devastation, she blamed me for not going with her. I tried to comfort her. I begged her to let me call the authorities.
She refused and said she never wanted to see me again. This was a couple of decades ago. I didn’t know what to do. One of my biggest regrets is not calling the authorities or banging down her door and trying to offer comfort. What I don’t regret is not going with her. She can be mad at me, but I couldn’t have saved her.
We would have both ended up in trouble. I moved away shortly after and I’ve never seen her again. I wonder if there is anything I should do now. I just don’t know what that would be. She was completely set on blaming me, but I tried to tell her it wasn’t safe. I really did! I felt crazy guilty, but the decades have helped me come to terms with the fact that it wasn’t my fault.
14. Are You Shore About That?
While fishing on a large lake in Canada, we were a little more than halfway across when the wind really started picking up and a storm started rolling in. I had the choice to turn back or head to an island with a bay. I decided to head for the bay and just as we reached the calmer water, we looked behind us and the storm had gotten worse.
We were in an aluminum boat. So if we had chosen to try and head back, three of us would have drowned. No doubt in my mind about that. We were already taking on water and were completely drenched when we beached on the island. Once the storm abated, we made the journey back and it still took four hours in high wind for a normally half-hour boat trip.
Warming up in the truck was the best feeling in the world after that.
15. Animal Instinct
I was 22 years old, backpacking through the country for six months and camping wherever I could. One day, I was fishing by the lake with my camp already set down for the night, save for starting the fire. I kept hearing rustling some thirty meters behind me in the tree line. So I stared for a while, hoping to see a deer or something.
Next thing I know, I’m staring down a puma right in the eyes. I started to get up, ready to take a sprint. But right as I was standing up, I remembered that I had been warned against this. So instead, I grabbed some rocks from the ground and started throwing them and shouting. I also started throwing my arms up in the air to scare it until it left me alone.
That night, I stayed up late next to the fire and then tried to sleep but couldn’t because I was scared as heck. That was my only encounter with wildlife on the whole trip, save for birds and stuff.
16. Duck And Cover
In 2019, the Gilroy Garlic Festival had an attempted mass shooting. A kid came walking through the trees and fence with an ak47 on his hip and clearly intended to do some major harm. He entered the park roughly twenty feet away from the booth where I was working. The guy was so close to us when he first entered that we didn’t see he was armed at first.
We heard the click of him shoving the drum mag in and cocking it. Me and four other friends were in this booth. I heard the click sound at the exact same time that my buddy noticed the weapon. In what to this day remains the quickest reaction of my life, we looked at each other and immediately tackled our other friends out of their chairs.
And my buddy, the glorious genius, within two seconds realized there was no way for us to get up and out without being in a line of fire. So he grabs the girls and tells them to crawl on their stomachs to the woods, ten or so feet away from us. The instant he told them that, me, him, and our buddy all kind of understood together that it was one of those “make a move or don’t survive” situations.
So the second the girls started crawling, we took the pop up tent that was above us and tipped it over so that it gave us slight cover to run away, which we immediately did as fast as we could. My body took no shots, but I absolutely felt them flying past us. I even heard them hitting stuff around me. My boy who got the girls to crawl away took a ricochet to the butt, and my other buddy broke his ankle running away.
Those thirty seconds weren’t the quickest thinking we all had ever done in our life. Later speaking on it, we realized that none of us mentioned flipping the tent or running. We hadn’t discussed anything. We just knew in our guts what to do.
17. A Fish Out Of Water
When I was 18 years old, I left for some missions group thing for my gap year. This took place on an island in Central America. Earlier that night, everyone had been swimming off the dock, but I didn’t want to because of all the jellyfish. As this was a group of guys fresh out of high school, this decision earned me the title of “huge chicken.”
Later that night, I go back down to the docks, just thinking about stuff. Because I want to be alone, obviously I creeped out of the house without telling anyone. I see the water and think: “While no one is around to judge me, I should get over my fear, quit being a coward, and jump in the water.” But for some reason, I hesitated. I decided to shine my flashlight on the spot I wanted to jump to. Thank god I made that decision.
There was this weird, clear, worm looking thing that I had never seen before. It’s not exactly swimming, it’s like twitching erratically and gently moving with the water. I’m wondering what the heck it is, when I look around more and see a box jelly with a missing tentacle, and the tentacles look exactly like the “worm.”
The box jellies there weren’t like the kinds in Australia where you get hit and you’re dead, but these were apparently bad enough to send you into shock with the pain. And if I had been in the water, with no one else around to find me, there’s a very good chance I would’ve drowned if I just jumped in without checking. Never let name-calling convince you to do something stupid!
18. House Of Horrors
Me and two friends were on substances and pretty intoxicated. It was common for us to walk home from downtown while under the influence. While walking home, we walked past a house about two blocks away from the house we all rented together. There were about six guys hanging out on the stoops of this house. They wanted to talk, and my judgment-impaired friends were all too happy to stop and talk with these guys.
After a few minutes of talking, they invited us in for a few extra drinks. I had a bad feeling about them, so I didn’t want to go inside. But my two friends wanted to go on and shoot the breeze for a while. I convinced my friends that we should go home and get my substances to smoke. After getting home, being intoxicated, they mostly forgot and were easily convinced to not venture back out just to smoke with these random guys.
We found out that two days later, two guys got invited into that same house and were robbed, violated, and fatally beaten by those same six guys. There is not a doubt in my mind that this was exactly what awaited us inside that house. They saw three intoxicated guys and figured we were “easy pickins.”
But being guys in a relatively safe city, we just didn’t have the fear we should have had about walking into a random house, especially so close to home.
19. Living Or Dye-ing
I went to my urologist with epididymitis. He found the smallest amount of detectable blood in my urine. On a whim, he sent me to have an IVP. In this procedure, they put dye in your blood and a radiologist has a look at it. He saw a mass on my left kidney. Twenty minutes later, I knew I had cancer when I saw the blood supply to the mass.
That was on Thursday. Tests Friday. Monday, he took out my kidney with a grapefruit size stage three tumor. There was no margin. Many years later, my wife told me the doctor had warned her that I had a 50/50 chance of living six months. That was all the way back in 1992. Lucky me, I guess.
20. An Explosive Story
I’m not sure we definitely would have lost our lives, but it wouldn’t have been pretty. We had a fire going in the backyard at a friend’s house. My friend’s dad decided to burn some junk from the garage. Mostly old boxes and papers and stuff. So we’re helping feed that stuff into the fire and I grab the next small box to throw in, but I can tell there’s something in this one.
There had been stuff in most of them, but it was always just pamphlets and little bits of packaging, so we had stopped really checking and were just throwing them in. Well, I’m standing there with the box over the fire about to drop it when I decide to check this one. I looked inside, and couldn’t believe what I found. It was full of live mortar shell fireworks. My friend’s dad decided we had burned enough garage junk at that point.
21. You Think I’m Funny?
I was in the hospital due to a freak instance of my heart and organs randomly failing, but with nothing more than mild flu symptoms. One night, I’m up playing Breath of the Wild, waiting for my midnight shots and tests, when the nurse comes in. She suddenly freaks out and calls a code blue on me. She tells me she thinks I’m having a stroke.
It felt like half the hospital crowded into my room and were doing a bunch of stroke tests on me. I passed them all with no symptoms, but she insisted I was having one. She could only describe it as I wasn’t as funny as normal. The doctors ended up siding with her to be safe and giving me medicine and doing tests. Turns out I actually did have a stroke.
They hadn’t detected some clots that formed when my heart failed, but somehow me not being funny at midnight was enough for this nurse to figure out how much danger I was in. Fortunately, it was a very minor stroke that really only caused me to feel like my fingers were a centimeter off when typing for a few weeks. But it would have been a lot worse had the clots gone completely undetected.
22. Not So Fast
Early on in my struggles with drinking, I didn’t know that withdrawals were a thing, or that they could be life threatening. At one point, I was drinking two fifths of very hard drinks a day. Considering that my life was falling apart, I decided one day to not drink. Big mistake. At first, I thought I was just having a bad hangover. My heart was racing even though I wasn’t moving around.
I was shaking, hallucinating, going numb all over, and began wondering if I should go to the hospital. By the time I got there, my heart was beating about 170 per minute while at rest. The doctors acted very quickly and I just remember being surrounded by people, them stripping me, them shoving an IV in my neck, and them yelling, “He’s gonna seize!”
After the first seizure, I was so messed up that they kept hitting me with an ativan over and over again, because it wasn’t working fast enough. Later on, in the ICU, the docs told me I shouldn’t be alive and that they gave me enough ativan to put down an elephant. When I think about what would have happened had I not gone to the hospital, it makes me sad that I wasn’t more educated on the dangers of quitting drinking cold turkey.
23. Saved You A Spot
One time, some friends invited me to play games at another friend’s house in the ‘burbs, but we both lived near downtown. I normally jumped at the chance to go hang out, but this time I was just…off. I thought about going and then texted and changed the plans, even though I wasn’t planning anything else, just to be at home. They then texted me at close to midnight to show their backseat touching the back of their front seat.
They were rear ended on the highway going 75, and the guy was going fast enough to smash the entire back of the car in. Luckily I wasn’t in it.
24. An Impactful Meeting
I got hit by a car while riding a motorcycle. An old lady in Palm Beach who could barely see ran a light and hit me. It was August in South Florida yet, for some reason, that day I had put on a leather jacket and full face helmet. The helmet and leathers were destroyed, but I walked away unharmed. Definitely had the feeling that a power greater than myself had made that decision for me.
I served in Afghanistan in 2009. I was a driver and I always used to cut corners aggressively while driving from place to place. One day, my gut just told me to take it easy on a turn, so I did. Unlike usual, I made the turn slowly and wide. Then, the very next vehicle behind me cut the corner, hit an IED, and exploded instantly. It was horrifying.
26. I Saw The Light
One time, while working at a grocery store at night, I had cart duty and had to collect all the carts from the parking lot and bring them into the store. It was dark out and I had my headphones in. I was looking at the ground and pushing a chain of carts, when suddenly it got darker. I stopped for a split second to wonder how it could get darker when it was already night, and BAM!
One of the huge 30 + feet high parking lot lights smashed onto the ground right in front of me. Hit the carts and missed me by only about two feet. I swear, I nearly had a heart attack I was so scared. The metal had rusted out and it snapped at the base. If I hadn’t stopped to wonder how it got darker, I definitely would not be here today to tell you all the story. That was the scariest moment of my life.
27. The Party’s Over
In high school, at a graduation party, I had a really bad feeling about the guy me and my friends had gotten a ride there with. I’ll call him H. I didn’t know him well, but I saw him drinking and wasn’t sure how much. He was supposed to be our ride home when the party was over. My one friend said she trusted him and that I should not worry.
Well, I couldn’t tell myself not to worry like she could. I said again to her that I didn’t think it was safe to drive home with him. She insisted it was fine. Meanwhile, I had made a new friend that night. The first time I saw him, I felt like I should talk to him. Turns out he drove there alone and was intentionally staying sober to drive himself home safely.
By 5:00 in the morning, everyone was talking about grabbing an after party coffee and some snacks. People were piling into cars. I told my friend one last time that I wouldn’t drive with H. I got in the car with my new friend, knowing he was 100% sober. We pulled out onto the country road, as it snaked through the trees. H came speeding out and passed us way too quickly.
As we drove around the next corner, we went through a cloud of dust and debris. When I realized what it was, my stomach dropped. H’s car was wrapped around a telephone pole. Two of the four passengers were deceased, including the kid who got in the seat I would have been in. My friend was alive but has permanent injuries to this day. I appreciate everyone listening to my story. Please don’t drink and drive, and please help your friends realize how much damage it can cause.
28. Taking A Brake
I was driving at the speed limit of 70 MPH on a highway that I drove on daily to get home from work. This particular day, there was an event downtown that had the traffic completely stopped for miles. There was an S bend in the road though, so you couldn’t tell until you were nearly on top of it. I tried to brake, but nothing happened.
My brain broke and I kept slamming on the brake pedal, but nothing was happening, and I was in the left lane of a four lane highway with very little time to spare before I nearly hit the wall of cars in front of me. Left shoulder of the road was barely wide enough for a bike, and cars were coming up the on-ramp on the right side.
I noticed a small gap in between the cars on the on-ramp, but it was in front of me. So I actually sped up to sneak through that gap and onto the grass beside the highway. At one point, I was going over 85 MPH, knowing I had no brakes, in order to get through that gap. I barely made it, and eventually slowed to a stop on the grass.
I called my friends to come help. And when they showed up 45 minutes later, I was still clutching the steering wheel with white knuckles and staring straight ahead. It’s a miracle that I walked away without a scratch.
29. One Last Stop
In 1976, I was on vacation with my parents in Colorado and we drove through Big Thompson Canyon. My mom, brother and I all wanted to stay at one of the little hotels within the canyon, but my dad said no, and we continued on our way home to Illinois. After we got home, we saw on the news that the canyon had flooded, taking the lives of over 100 people. Had we stayed there, we would have probably lost our lives too.
30. Sleeping On It
A few years ago, I had a cold that just was not getting better over the course of a week. I was exhausted all the time, even taking time off of work because the incessant coughing made me puke a couple of times. Overall, I just kept feeling worse than I had in years. One night in the midst of this, I realized that I was having pain in my chest while breathing.
Generally, that’s a “seek medical help immediately” thing, but it was already getting late and I would have had to drive myself to the hospital. I’m the only one with a driver’s license in my house. I decided to wait until the next morning. I didn’t want to make a huge fuss or have people worry about me, and I thought going to the ER for “just a cold” would waste hospital resources and my own money.
But as I laid in bed trying to sleep, I suddenly started getting extremely anxious about my condition. It shouldn’t hurt that much just to breathe. I told my partner I was going to the hospital just to be safe, and we both hopped in the car. Turns out I had double pneumonia. I was only in the hospital a couple of days after that, but it would have been life threatening if it went untreated.
I don’t wanna think about what would’ve happened if I had just went to bed that night and not gotten it checked out. Basically, the lesson I got from the experience was that hospital bills and possibly bothering people are better than risking your life. I’ve been far more adamant with myself and others about seeking care after this experience.
31. Belting One Out
Back when I was about 18, I had been in this phase where I hadn’t worn a seat belt for a couple of years because it would give me really bad anxiety and make me sick and have to use the restroom. It had probably been about three years since I had worn one, but this day, I was going to drive to visit a friend at his college and I decided you know what, time to break this mental roadblock.
So I put the seat belt on. About fifteen minutes into my drive, I hit a busy road that I always hit on my way to work, as it takes me to the interstate. I’m in the right lane in a Mitsubishi Galant, and there was a Ford Explorer in the left lane. We’re both going 60 because that’s the speed limit, and this little Honda darts in front of the SUV to turn on to the road.
The Explorer tries to not hit it and swerves into my lane, which causes me to swerve as a knee-jerk reaction. Except I swerve into the grass over a bumpy patch and flip my car three times. It was bad. I saw blood running down my arm and glass embedded in it. Everything hurt. My brain hurt. The whole works. Witnesses told the authorities what happened, as did the SUV driver, and I concurred with them.
I took one look at my car and shuddered involuntarily. It looked like an empty can that someone had tried to crush sideways. An ambulance came by. I declined and just had my parents take me to the ER. Yeah, another person not wanting to get hit with a huge ambulance bill. They spent two hours digging glass out of my arm from it going through the windshield and making a perfect hole.
This surprised me because I thought windshields were supposed to pop out or something. No stitches were needed. I was just badly bruised and sore. My parents were annoyed at me for totaling the car because they had just taken off the gap on it only a couple days prior. Needless to say, I think I would have been thrown from the car and instantly a goner had it not been for the seatbelt.
32. Gone With The Wind
There was a derecho here a while back. A derecho is kind of like a land hurricane. Extremely high winds from the upper atmosphere. It really didn’t seem that bad at first. My ex even decided to take the dog out to play in the rain. But I just got this weird feeling and ended up insisting that they both come in and that we all go to the basement.
I can’t explain where that feeling came from or why I was so adamant about it. Who knows if we’d have lost our lives that night otherwise. All I know is that about ten minutes later, the wind really picked up and a good portion of our roof collapsed. That was followed shortly by nearly every tree within 300 yards of our house falling over. It took over four months to get the house fixed.
It’s funny because my dog was always scared of the basement before then, enough so that I had to carry him down during that storm. But after that one experience, the basement became his safe place that he’d go anytime there was a storm or if I was out of the house. So it was a night that changed our lives on multiple levels.
No pun intended.
33. Strangers On A Train
I was running down escalators to catch a train during winter, and happened to slip on some ice on the platform. I slid quite fast on my bum, and I ended up getting stuck in between a train and the platform. I couldn’t get myself out because of the awkward position I was in. So I called for help. The platform was full of people who just stared at me and did nothing.
I was eventually pulled out by an intoxicated person, just before the train started moving. I had a pulled hamstring, as well as several cuts and bruises in my arms and hands. I still get quite angry thinking about the bystanders not doing anything to help.
34. Exclusive Club
I was standing in line outside of the club Mohawk during SXSW 2014 to see Tyler the Creator. At the last minute, I decided I’d rather go back to Stubb’s and catch Damon Albarn’s set. As I headed back up the street, an intoxicated driver trying to escape the authorities smashed the barrier. The crash missed me by just inches, and took the lives of all four people I was standing next to.
35. Sounds Pretty Fishy
My mother made me meatloaf and I was super hungry. She insisted that she could reheat it for me, and that she would also make me some side dishes and brew some tea. It really sounded like a great situation! But, for some inexplicable reason, the whole mood felt weird to me. So I declined and said that I wasn’t in a meatloaf mood.
Her response was: “Oh well, perhaps that’s for the best. I did use a lot of Worcestershire sauce when I made this, so I don’t know if you’d like it.” Worcestershire sauce is made with anchovies. And I’m deathly allergic to fish.
36. Moving On Over
I was driving on the highway one morning, and the fog was super dense. I had the headlights on and was probably going about 50 to 60 MPH. There was a red Honda behind me that wasn’t quite riding my tail, but was maybe a little closer than I would have preferred him to be given the weather. Suddenly, my hands are moving on their own and abruptly jerking the steering wheel into the lane to my left.
No brakes. No mirror or blind spot check. I remember thinking to myself, “Why the heck did I do that?” As I look back over to my right, I’m just in time to see the Honda that was previously directly behind me slam at full speed into a three-car pileup that I didn’t even realize was in front of me. I missed it by maybe half a second.
I still don’t know what it was that kicked my reflexes off, but I’d probably be either gone or disabled for life if they hadn’t.
37. Going With Your Gut
Wanna hear a crazy story where my life was literally saved by a gut decision? I once had a change in my bowel movements, so I went to the doctor, got screened for colon polyps, and had a huge one removed. It would have eventually turned into cancer. Scopes aren’t fun, but they save lives. Always get things checked out if they don’t feel right.
38. What’s Up Doc?
I’m not used to going to the doctor or hospital when I feel sick. Four years ago, I had a very, very bad stomach ache. No matter what position I was sitting in, it hurt like heck. I would throw up like a gulp of water. I couldn’t sleep all night. I thought it was probably food poisoning or something, and kept recalling what I ate.
I called my brother early in the morning to ask him what he thinks. Does he know if there’s any tea or medicine that can calm my pain? He’s no doctor and knows nothing about medical stuff, yet he’s my big brother, so I always assume he knows it all. He insisted that I go to the ER immediately. He said that such pain isn’t normal and shouldn’t last that long.
I listened to him. Turns out it was appendicitis. I had the surgery and all went well. But had I waited more, things might’ve turned out really bad. Moral of the story: something wrong? See a doctor!
39. Worse Than You Thought
I was having breathing problems, gaining weight, and having trouble sleeping, accompanied by difficulty waking up once I did get to sleep. One night, late, while watching TV on the couch, I got up and walked across the apartment to go out on the balcony and smoke. I saw stars after doing that. I booked an appointment with a family doctor who suggested that I might have anemia because of my pale color.
He ordered blood tests. Turns out both my kidneys had completely failed and probably had been in that condition for weeks or months. Doctors said if I’d waited just a few more weeks I probably would have slipped into a coma and never woken up. I was sent to the ER, placed into ICU, received a catheter in my upper chest, and started emergency dialysis the same day the results came back.
40. A Christmas Miracle
My family and I were on holiday in Thailand over the Christmas period years ago and were staying in a hotel close to the beach in Phuket. I was only seven and my two brothers were even younger. We had been bugging my parents to go jet-skiing for days on end, much to my parents’ annoyance. On Boxing Day, they finally relented.
After breakfast, we went down to the beach to have a look around for somewhere to find a rental. But before any of that could happen, my dad, who is a surfer with many years’ experience, saw the tide receding in a way that was completely unnatural. He recognized the coming tsunami. We thought he was full of it, but he was serious.
So we raced back to the hotel where we considered running for the hills, but on the consultation of another couple that also recognized the impending disaster, we decided to sit tight in our building. The building was relatively short and stout, so we figured it was probably safe to be in during the storm. Plus, we were on the top floor.
Sure enough, the tsunami came and bulldozed Phuket. It destroyed the lobby of our building, but we were safe in our room upstairs. I have no doubt that none of us would be alive today if my dad hadn’t known the early signs of a tsunami. We were also on Phi Phi Island a couple days before that, and if we had been there on Boxing Day instead we might well have lost our lives too.
Just an all around crazy experience that I’m lucky to have made it out of.
41. Surfin’ USA
I was surfing while exhausted. My board strap came un-velcroed and my board floated away. So I’m swimming to shore, but at one point hit that tired state where the current is stronger than I am swimming and I realize I am not moving towards the shore anymore. I panic, which doesn’t help my swimming any. It was not my proudest moment.
Suddenly, I remember the surf instructor saying there is a reef far out from shore, but whatever you do don’t stand on it unless you want really bad coral cuts. I was so panicked that I thought, what the heck, maybe the reef is there. So, I kind of just stood up in the middle of the water. My foot hit something (the reef, I assume) and I was able to stand there with my head barely above wave height and rest.
Once I got my strength back, I swam back to shore and have not gone surfing since.
42. To Be, Or Clot To Be?
I sprained my ankle in the beginning of November and was diagnosed with a serious illness at the end of the same month. Those two things, along with taking an oral contraceptive, led to massive blood clots forming in my leg. The clots then broke off and traveled to my lungs. Before I knew what was going on inside my body, I was experiencing major pain in my leg.
I told my parents about it, but they both insisted it was just my sprained ankle that was causing the pain. My gut told me something more was wrong though—and it would end up being completely right. I ended up going to the ER. It was there that the blood clots were found, and I was treated in the hospital for three days. I’m so thankful that I listened to my gut, because the consequences of the blood clots in my leg and lungs could have been much, much worse.
43. Dog Days
I almost fatally choked on a hot dog. I had a few ways I could’ve responded. 1) Freak out and make it worse; 2) Try swallowing really really hard, only to fail; or 3) Stay calm and preserve enough oxygen to think. Thankfully, I kept calm as my husband was about to pull me out of the car to give me the heimlich. I took in as deep a breath as I could, and managed to cough it out.
That’s the story I tell to people about the importance of chewing your food. Especially hot dogs.
44. Timing The Market
In 2016, my wife and I were in Berlin to explore and visit the Christmas markets. The plan for that evening was to go out to eat and then get the train back to stop into the markets at Breitscheidplatz. It was close to our hotel, so this had been the plan for the entire trip, as it was our last night there. We had finished our meal and were headed to the train station.
Just as we were about to board the train, my wife decided that she didn’t want to go to the markets at Breitscheidplatz anymore and instead would prefer to double back to a smaller one we had passed on the walk from the restaurant to the station. I, being a stubborn jerk, didn’t want to change the plans. But she got her way and we headed back, staying at the smaller market for about thirty minutes.
After finally riding the train back, we got off and walked towards our hotel. After a minute or so, there appeared a seemingly never ending stream of emergency vehicles. Not knowing what was going on, but obviously realizing it was something serious, we sped up and locked ourselves in the hotel room. We had the English language news channel on and, after about an hour, reports started to come through about a terrorist attack.
A man had driven a truck into a crowd at the Breitscheidplatz market. Obviously, I’ll never know if we would have been in the exact spot at that exact moment, but we definitely would have been there at the same time, and I am never allowed to complain about my wife changing her mind ever again.
45. Two For The Price Of One
A mentally unstable kid tried to take his own life by crashing into my car head on. At the very last second, I veered right and jumped the curb to get out of the way. He was still able to adjust and smack me pretty good, but nothing like a head on collision.
46. From Bad To Worse
The time where I almost lost my life was when I became unconscious in the middle of the highway as a result of a motorcycle accident and was then run over by a car. I still scratch my head when thinking about it. To this day, I have no idea how I was able to make it out of that situation alive. I feel lucky and privileged to be here.
47. A Medical Miracle
I had cancer. Bad cancer. The “completely incurable and you should get your affairs in order right away” kind of cancer. I have no explanation, yet I am still here and still kicking thirteen years later. I say this after many rounds of intense chemo, radiation, and Rituximab. All I can say is thank you, Stanford Medical Center. And screw you, cancer.
48. Like Taking Candy From A Baby
When I was three years old, I was sucking on one of those long sticks of hard candy. It was the length of a ruler and as thin as a ruler. Anyway, it ended up sliding down my throat and I started to choke pretty badly. Luckily, my stepdad had a nurse’s book handy. The book said to pour warm water down my throat and put my head down.
It slid right out and I lived to tell the tale.
49. The Highwaymen
I was out late one night. My car had broken down in the middle of an interchange that was so deserted there was no one there for miles. I did what any other person would do and called a tow truck. When I finally got through, it was almost 1:00 am. I decided to go to the bathroom down in some bushes when suddenly I heard some bikes approaching the car.
I wanted to head out immediately to stop them for help, when my legs froze up and I thought twice. Then, from behind the bush where I was, I basically saw them try to ransack the car. Apparently, they were all armed. Thank goodness I remained still and out of sight, because these guys meant business. They fired multiple shots into the windscreen and door of my car. That’s the moment I started to panic.
It was an old Toyota, so there was nothing in there. They busted all four wheels with bullets before getting back on their bikes and zooming off. I believe they were all under the influence, which was why they didn’t bother to check around. Or maybe they thought I just deserted the area. Long story short, I walked a bit further into an open field and sat on the thick branches of a tree from where I could see approaching objects.
The tow truck didn’t get there until past 4:00 in the morning, and I can tell y’all that that was definitely the longest night of my life. I’m just thankful that I eventually made it home in one piece.
50. He Made You An Offer You Can Refuse
It was the mid-1990s. I had traveled to northern New Jersey with a friend from college. It was his hometown. We had plans to visit New York City and see a former roommate who had graduated the year before. I’ll call that person Friend 2. Well, apparently Friend 2 had been quietly dabbling in the business of low-level organized mobsters since his last years in college.
We had some knowledge of this but were not involved. He invited us to an associate’s house with plans to go out afterward. We declined. Not our scene. In fact, both of us had applied to law school. I planned to pursue a career in federal law enforcement thereafter. We both wanted to distance ourselves from that nonsense and steer clear of any association with it.
We tried the following day to reach Friend 2 for a low-key lunch before heading back out of town. No answer. Well, local authorities found his body two days later, along with two other bodies, at the very house to which he had invited us. Everything went down at the meeting/social gathering that he had invited us to. So it could have been us too if we had accepted the invitation.
I knew those guys were bad news.