It’s drilled into us when we’re young: Strangers are dangerous. They have hidden agendas, mysterious motives, and could easily take advantage of us. Yet for all the horror stories, there are also tales of kind strangers lending helping hands, a shoulder to cry on, or a hug when we need it most.
The trouble is, when you first encounter someone, you can never tell what kind of stranger they are. Keep on high alert as you read Reddit’s best and worst encounters with strangers.
1. Love Drug
My dad recently lost his job, and with it his health insurance. He had a heart attack last year and has to take an expensive medication as a result. A one-month supply is around $250 without the insurance to help. He went to his doctor’s office yesterday to find a coupon to at least shave off some of the cost. It wouldn’t be much, but every little bit helped.
A nurse went in the back and ended up coming back with a two-month supply of free samples for him. Saved my parents from paying $500 out of pocket for a drug he absolutely needed.
2. First-Class Trip to Awww-ville
My mom was dying, she lived in Australia and I live in Georgia. My husband had been laid off from work and I couldn’t afford to fly to Australia on a last-minute basis. A person that I only know from a message board used her frequent flyer miles and paid for my trip to Australia…not only that but she booked me first class both ways.
3. What’s the Postage on Anthrax?
This is a scary stranger story. The other day at work we were basically told to look out for ourselves and others, wait for a security guard etc. Now this was a normal thing for the suburb we live in but it was still a bit strange. My friend from night fill told me why. Their friend and coworker finished up at around 12 and was approached by this strange guy when he was at his car.
The guy looked pretty normal, tracksuit and all, and gave him an envelope claiming there were free Fringe tickets inside. (Side note for clarification: Fringe is an art festival, like music and comedy and dancing etc. in the CBD) There was some sort of white powder on the ticket, but he just assumed it was cocaine or something (again not uncommon in this area) so he just grabbed it, planning to throw it out later because it was probably counterfeit.
His mates came out around 12:15 to see him with something like burns on his hands (where he touched the powder) and he felt like he was burning on the inside and couldn’t breathe properly. Luckily, he was still conscious and told them to take him to the hospital. Thank God that it wasn’t that far away from where they were.
They got there and practically everyone that came into contact with him felt like they were burning under their skin and were all having breathing difficulties within minutes. They had to call HAZMAT/the fire department and everyone was decontaminated. Luckily everyone is okay. Knowing that this is so close to home really is unnerving, it was like the anthrax issue except there were no deaths.
4. Harden That T
Got on an elevator with a woman and she had on these really nice boots so I complimented them by saying “nice boots.” She cups her breasts and says “well you’re not shy, thank you they’re real” and then immediately realized I said boots. She thought I said “nice boobs.” Longest elevator ride ever. To this day whenever I say boots in any context, I do so with a very hard, deliberate T.
5. Young Love
I don’t know why, but this kid just stands out. I was once waiting in the lobby of a mall/hotel center. It’s a pretty popular hangout place as there are tons of shops and restaurants and such. So I was just sitting on one of the couches in the lobby and after a minute a kid, looked to be around 13, sat in the couch across from me. He didn’t really do anything, just sat there waiting.
He kept looking up and checking outside the window each time a car stopped by the entrance to drop someone off. At first, he seemed pretty excited, as if he was waiting for someone. 15 minutes pass, and he loses some of his enthusiasm. Later, after around 30 minutes had passed, he kinda stopped checking for cars. 45 minutes roll by, and the kid gets up and asks the receptionist for the time.
He comes back looking pretty dejected, and kinda sinks back into the seat. After another minute he stands and walked out of the lobby and into a separate hallway leading to the mall area. Not 15 seconds after he leaves, a young girl who looked to be around his age walked through the door and looked around. She seemed pretty nervous, and just stood there scanning the room.
She waited for about five minutes before sighing and started walking out the door. Literally right before she walks out the kid comes back in and spots her. His face literally transformed from the mopey sadness to a huge smile in half a second. He calls her name walks over and they both start talking. I could hear some of the conversation, and the girl said, “Sorry I’m late, I got busy. Hope you haven’t been waiting long.”
The guy just shook his head and said, “Nah, I just got here like five minutes ago. No biggie.” And they both walked out the door. I don’t know who they are but I couldn’t help but feel kinda happy and sad for the guy.
6. Apparently, the Customer Isn’t Always Right
At a gas station in Texas, I walked in and greeted the cashier with a “hey, what’s up man” and he responds “what the heck did you say?” It took me a second to realize that just happened, stunned, I glanced around and realized it was only us in the store so he had to be speaking to me. So I responded “uhh I just said what’s up man?”
He said, “I don’t freaking know you, you’re not my friend, don’t greet me like one.” I took the high road and exited the store without making a purchase. The most rude encounter with a stranger I’ve ever experienced.
7. Not the Brightest Kid in the Cabbage Patch
When I was little, I was at a museum and saw a man that I thought was my dad. I ran up behind him and hugged his legs. Was not my dad. He flinched and kicked his leg back. I stumbled back and just sat down and cried in the middle of the floor. Then it occurred to me that I’d come to the museum with my mom.
8. The Dead Are Rising and They Went to Med School
I have a lot of weird encounters with strangers outside my office on my smoke breaks, but I think this one takes the cake, even with how anticlimactic it was. Today I was sitting on the wall outside my building smoking and messing around on my phone. I had probably been sitting there for about two minutes without looking up when I finally do and notice a guy on the corner about 20 feet away staring intently at me.
He’s hunched over facing me in the classic zombie pose wearing a large coat, a surgical mask, and gloves. I didn’t know how long he’d been standing there, but it was day time and the area is relatively populated so despite being the only people on the street, I wasn’t too worried. I went back to looking at my phone but kept discreetly glancing in his direction to see if he was still there.
He didn’t move or stop looking at me for probably another minute of a half, just sunken shoulders with his unblinking eyes pointed directly at me over his mask. Finally, I notice an older man walking towards us and my cigarette is almost finished so I assume worst comes to worst, this guy will be near if anything happens.
I glance back at my phone and hear what I assume are the older man’s footsteps approaching. Before I have a chance to look up, the surgical zombie is sitting within an inch of me on the wall. I’m a polite girl, so I give him a vague smile while my inner self and personal space are screaming at me to get up and leave. He asks me for a cigarette, so I give him one and he just continues to sit there with it unlit.
I can’t fight my manners, so I ask him if he needs a light, and he gives me a gloved double-thumbs up and stares at me. I ask him if that meant he had one, to which he responds with another double thumbs up. I assume that was him saying he did, so I turn back to my phone planning on taking one more drag before getting up to leave.
He then says “Yes, I need one” so I give him my lighter. He hands it back and I put my smoke out and stand up. He then begins laughing, like full belly laughing. I didn’t really know how to respond so I tell him to have a nice day and walk into my building. To be honest, I’ve never really had a fear of people, and I can’t say this is the first time I’ve had someone has done something like this, but the mask and gloves really added to the absurdity of the situation.
9. No Highway to Heaven for You Today
Last month, I dropped my car off to this mechanic that apparently is good with Volkswagens. I explained to him that I have NO idea what’s wrong with my car and a handful of other mechanics have already looked at it and they never seem to fix it (and I always get billed). So, a month goes by, he calls me and tells me he’s been doing what he can to the car, but nothing seems to work.
Therefore, it cannot pass inspection. Sigh. I go to his garage today, meet with him and talk a bit about what I can do if I want to sell the car. Finally, I ask, “What do I owe you?” He says, “Nothing, don’t worry about it” I told him I can afford what he would charge for an inspection, at least let me pay that. He refused any money from me and offered to tow my car back to my place, since I cannot drive a car that is not inspected.
10. A New Friend in Need
I was sitting by myself at a “table for two” in a crowded restaurant near New York’s Lincoln Center. A lady in line for a table asked me if she could join me because she might miss her concert if she had to wait much longer. She was lovely, and fun to talk with during dinner. When I told her I was a musician, she pulled out two (very expensive) concert tickets and asked if I’d like to be her guest for the program.
When the lady (Emily) explained that her husband had recently died and she was “getting her courage together to go alone to use their season tickets bought before he passed,” I saw remarkable courage (mixed with sadness) in her face. After the concert, she invited me to be her guest at future programs for the remainder of the season and to meet for dinner.
We struck up a friendship that was good for both of us. I helped her through tough times after her husband’s death, and she shared concerts that would’ve been too expensive for me to afford at the time. Emily and I remained friends thereafter and visited occasionally until she decided to move to the West Coast to live with her daughter.
11. Quick Reaction Time
Oh, one time when I was a teenager, this stranger was looking at me as I walked past him and his girlfriend. Well, after a couple moments his girlfriend noticed and called ME a skank, pretty loudly. I was so shocked I didn’t know what to do, but my friend turned around and said, “Your boyfriend seems to like it.” Made my day.
12. Wrong Butt
I groped a man’s butt a few months ago at a sporting goods store. He was dressed and looked exactly like my fiance. And to make it worse, I grabbed both freaking cheeks and whispered: “Hey sexy, got a girlfriend?” Guy spun around, looked shocked, saw my mortified, beet-red face and I started apologizing profusely.
My fiance finds me mortified, I tell him I just groped some guy that could be his twin, he thought it was funny. They stood side by side after we cleared it up, they were practically twins. Hair, coat, pants, and shoes. Still creeps me out.
13. When a Stranger Knocks
It’s Friday night at around 8:45 pm. The little one’s in bed, and I’m chilling with some friends online, gaming. There’s a loud bang and I’m instantly freaking out, due to having my home, my safe place, invaded by some creeper twice in the past three months.
I turn the volume on my computer down, trying my best to come up with excuses.
Oh, it was the neighbors doing something. Who in their right minds would try to break into my house when they can see that I’m awake? Front outdoor light on, lounge light on. It’s quiet for a while, so I return to playing the game and talking to my friends. That’s when I hear rustling. I think it’s coming from the game, despite the volume being super low, but to be on the safe side I turned the sound on the computer off completely. The rustling’s still there.
At this point, I think it might be that annoying pest possum. The banging could have been it jumping onto the garage roof, and now it was snuffling around outside the leaves, searching for some food. As I said earlier, who would try to trespass when they could clearly see someone was home? If they did trespass, why would they be doing so so loudly?
I wanna say it put me at ease, but it didn’t. Fast forward half an hour and the noises have stopped, and my cat’s begging me to be let outside. Little bastard (I love him, really). I hate opening doors/curtains/windows at night. Paranoia at its finest. But tonight, I had a reason to be paranoid, at least. I kept the chain lock on the door and let the fat fuzzball squeeze out, and had a bit of a peek through the crack, seeing if anything was amiss on my front lawn.
Nothing out of the ordinary, so I lock the door and head back to the lounge. Five minutes later, someone tries the door handle. Finding it locked, I hear a laugh, and they start scratching on the glass as I frantically grab my phone and call the police. Whoever it was had left by the time they answered the phone, and police couldn’t find evidence that anyone had been on the property.
They did a sweep of the neighborhood, but couldn’t find anyone on the streets, either. Whoever you are, I’d say let’s not meet, but I’m pretty sure you’re the same person who came the other two times. And I’m fairly certain that that person is my ex. So, Mr ex. If it IS you. Smile for the cameras next time you come around. They just arrived in my mailbox.
14. Not All Gift Baskets Are Created Equal
I’m a type 1 diabetic who had run out of insulin. I had been using as little as I could to get by, but I was just about out and currently had no health insurance from my work. It’s based on hours and I was a full-time college student. I was using the school clinic since I wasn’t feeling well. It wasn’t just routines visits either.
They were so concerned about my health that the dean of students even came to my apartment to make sure I was still alive after not returning the clinic’s calls. I had been up all night with my husband at the hospital due to him having a heart scare. I explained to them I couldn’t afford the $300 vial that I needed and left to run some errands.
I got a call about half-way through my errands saying that someone had donated some medical supplies to me. Two vials of insulin, blood glucose test strips, and a few packages of syringes. I was in tears when I got there, and when one of the nurses handed me the gift, I broke down in sobs and cried on her shoulder. It was the most meaningful gift I have ever received, and I owe my life to whoever donated it to me.
15. Nipple Trouble
When I was a teenager my friends and I would spend the weekends staying up late playing video games and eating junk food. I was also a cross country runner, and on this particular night, I was experiencing some extreme chafing from a long run earlier that day. While we were at the gas station getting Doritos and energy drinks I announced to who I thought was my friend, “Man, my nipples really hurt.”
Upon realizing it was a complete stranger with whom I had just shared this intimate detail I simply stared at him and said, “You’re not my friend” and walked away. I didn’t go back to that gas station for a long time.
16. One Good Turn Deserves Another
Around 2008, I helped a guy go through TSA at Laguardia airport in New York City. He had never flown before, and had no idea what he was allowed to take on the plane or what the whole security process entailed. Security told him he couldn’t use the plastic bags he had all his stuff in. What rattled me was the fact that he was shoving pairs of very new Nike shoes into a trash bin.
I couldn’t fathom why, so I went over to ask him. He explained his situation. I told him that if he held tight, I’d go through security, buy him a carry-on, pass it over to him, and let him use it to get his stuff through. He handed me a hundred dollar bill and I gave him my crochet project bag to hold as insurance. I got him a suitcase, went back, gave him it along with the change, and showed him everything he needed to do to get through.
He thanked me and we hugged, each going our separate ways. My flight turned out to be delayed by three hours at the last minute, and I was already exhausted. I used my purse as a pillow, covered myself up with my coat, and fell asleep against a wall. When I woke up, there was a fuzzy travel blanket, a convertible neck pillow, an eye mask, and a bag of cookies.
There was even a little plush stuffed dog with a note tucked in his collar. The man I had helped stuck this gift between me and the wall and never woke me up. I ended up traveling for 11 more hours and that thoughtful little package saved my sanity. Random airport dude, I’m glad you got to keep your kicks, and I still have the puppy! I named him LG.
17. Well Now That Someone Else Brought It up…
Here’s a double-whammy. I was going to close the curtains just as some young men were walking by my window – I was in my late teens. They saw me closing the curtains and one said, “You should close those because you’re FAT!” I told my boyfriend when he got home about it and he told me when I hear something like that I should work on myself because I was overweight.
I kid you not, I’m 5’1″ and I weighed 115 at the time. I eventually left the boyfriend.
18. Gas Connections
This was about two years ago, when I was in university. I was having some gas pains, so I went to use the bathroom. I was the only one in there, but someone came in shortly after, so I decided to wait until she was done. She apparently was in the same situation as me, so we were both just sitting in silence waiting for the other to leave, occasionally letting out tiny toots.
Finally, she says, “can we both just fart?” I laugh and say “yes please!” And for about a minute after, both of us are simultaneously laughing and farting. Laughing because we’re farting, and farting because we’re laughing. We finished at about the same time and said “hello” as we washed our hands. I never saw her again. I still giggle every time I think of it.
19. Temporary Road Buddy
I had about a 2-hour drive from Columbus to the Cleveland area. I tend to drive on the faster side, and therefore pass a lot of people. I noticed about 20 minutes into the drive that the car behind me was still the same one that got onto the highway right behind me. We ended up driving the entire 2 hours right next to each other or in front of/behind each other.
We created space in lanes to help the other pass the slower cars and made sure the other wouldn’t fall behind. As I was getting off the highway, he honked his horn, gave me a big smile, and waved. It has been my favorite driving experience so far.
20. Nightmare Date
About five or so years ago, I was 23 at the time and had just gotten out of my first and only serious relationship a year prior. That guy was my first love and my first sexual experience and so needless to say when things ended, and he had zero interest in trying to work things out, I was heartbroken. After about a year of moping and being stupidly sexually promiscuous, I decided to try actual dating.
I met this guy, let’s call him Rick, on a dating website. He was a couple of years older than me, was an ex-Marine, was cute, and good at making conversation. After a few days of talking online, he asked for my number and we decided to meet up. I drove to his house and come to find out he lived with a few other guys who looked really shady.
Now he actually lived in a good neighborhood, but the way they kept their home and the way his roommates looked was my first red flag that an inexperienced, naive girl would not fit in his crowd but I decided to stay and give it a chance. Once he saw me, he came up, gave me a hug, and handed me a helmet. To his motorcycle.
Now I have never in my life rode a motorcycle before, but I had always wanted to, so I thought why not and hopped on. Now the street he decides to take me up is known to be a very long and windy road that is pretty secluded. It’s also important to note that this is the springtime and it’s about 5pm when we go on our ride.
I didn’t realize at the time he had decided to take me on that specific road but once we got on it, my red flags started to kick in. I began to realize that 1. It is dead silent and there are no other cars on this road right now, 2. It’s starting to get dark, and 3. Uh yeah, I don’t know this guy so what the hell am I doing, and my alarm bells start ringing!
Now I will say that while I made a ton of mistakes within this story this instance is where I am proud of how I reacted. Once my anxiety kicked in, I told him that I think we should turn around and go home. He started laughing and asked if I was scared and I said no I just need to head home because my parents are expecting me for dinner soon.
He kept riding forward. More alarm bells ringing. Pictures of me lying dead in a ditch came up. I kept asking him can we please turn back can we please turn back, and he finally gave in and turned around. The next day comes and I told myself that maybe I was just overreacting, and he was harmless and decided to agree on a second date a few days later.
We met up at a sports bar for dinner and a couple of beers, so we can watch the hockey game. The entire time we are sitting there, Rick has his arm around me and has me literally attached to his hip, constantly trying to make out with me, and is acting extremely possessive. At this point, I’m completely freaked out.
I barely know this guy and all he is talking to me is about our future and how he would be such a protective boyfriend because he was an ex-Marine. At this point, I knew I was done with him, but unfortunately, my car was at his house. When we are done and head home, he insists that I come inside and hang out for a bit. I decide to walk in and stay for five minutes (yeah, I don’t know what I was thinking).
We walk into his room, and he immediately pounces on me, making out with me and trying to feel me up. I kept pushing his hands away and kept telling him that I needed to get going but I could tell he wasn’t going to give up until he got what he wanted, especially after I realized his little friend was aroused. He told me that he would not let me leave until we “did something.”
I had no idea what he would have forced me to do if I kept rejecting his advances, so I decided that my only way out of there was to finish him off. So I did. And the entire time I’m trying to act like I’m enjoying it while dying inside and hoping he would hurry up and finish, so I can quickly leave. Luckily, I only used my hands and luckily it took him a few minutes to finish before I literally ran out that door and sped home.
After that night he tried to ask me to hang out again and I told him that I think it would be best if we stayed friends. This guy began to relentlessly call me and text me and beg me to see him, then proceeded to call me a witch because I was ignoring him, then would apologize for calling me a witch and it was because he liked me so much.
So I blocked him. Then he tried to message me on Instagram. So I blocked him there. And then on Facebook. And finally, on Snapchat. So Rick, please let’s not meet ever again!
21. You Make the Best Friends Hitchhiking
When my dad was in college, his car broke down one night on the side of a road that was not very busy. The first person going by stopped and gave my dad a ride to a service station. It turned out that the guy who picked my dad up also attended the same college and they started hanging out. Now, close to 40 years later, they’re still very close friends.
When I was about 1,3 I went on a school trip which included a boat ride. It was a windy day and the sea was rough, so like most of my friends, I got extremely seasick. The toilets were full of puking school kids so when it was my turn to churn I found a space along the rail and let loose. I aimed down at the sea but the wind whipped my vomit about 20 feet horizontally straight over a middle-aged man who was enjoying the sea air.
As I watched in horror, he registered that he was being spattered with something, but it was only when my second wave hit that our eyes met and I saw his face change from confusion to horror. I had no words, just more vomit, so he hurried off—presumably to clean himself. Thankfully I didn’t see him again but I’m sure I ruined his day.
23. You Know What Happens When You Assume…
I am currently in Nursing school, we rotated through the OR in the hospital we have clinicals in. We had very little instruction, just show up, change into the OR-specific scrubs and report to the room we were assigned. So I do all I know to do, put on the scrubs, wash my hands, have a cap and shoe covers on and I walk into the operation room.
I introduced myself to the scrub techs while they are setting up. The surgery was scheduled about 45 minutes later. Nursing students are “eyes-only” and I was there to just watch the nursing staff work and see how an operation went down. The nurse I was supposed to shadow wasn’t there yet, so I stood in the back corner trying not to touch anything (for sterility).
Anyways, the scrub techs leave the room and I stay in and stand at the computer. A few minutes later an anesthesiologist walks in to set up his cart and he says “what the heck do you think you’re doing?” He continues screaming and he yells, “go dawn a clean gown, scrub in, get some freaking gloves on.” Of course, I said “yes sir” and left and was really confused at what just happened.
He chases me out of the room and says “Actually I don’t have time for your crap today, get the heck off the OR, give me your attending’s name, you should be ashamed.” So on my way out of the OR, still really confused and on the verge of tears (this was my very first clinical day in a hospital setting EVER) I found a nurse who was looking for her student and I told her the story and she could not stop apologizing.
She had forgotten she had a student and went to get a coffee with some other nursing staff from the cafe a few floors above the OR. When I went back into the room, this time with my nurse, she told him that I was a nursing student and not a medical student, that it was my first day, and that nursing students are eyes only and I didn’t need to scrub in or put on all the sterile gowns and sterile gloves, because I wouldn’t be touching anyone or anything.
He didn’t say sorry, he said, “Well, he should have spoken up.” I NEVER HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO OPEN MY MOUTH!!!!! So I guess I could have said that I was a nursing student (even though my ID badge says nursing student), waited outside of the room instead of getting curious and watching the scrub techs set up, or just shown up a little closer to the operation’s scheduled time.
But to me, why would you come into a room screaming at a student at a teaching hospital? There were no patients around and no need for him to attack me like that. Maybe because I was a male he thought I was a resident physician? I don’t know. I still have a hate for the OR and I hope I never have to go back there in school or during my career.
24. Wise Words
When I was a kid we didn’t have a lot of money, so we often shopped at thrift stores. What I loved about that was that you could get 10 books for a dollar, so I would plant myself in front of the book section and make piles of which one I wanted to get and then decided after I’d gone through them all. One day an older lady saw me sitting with my piles and asked if I liked to read.
I told her I did and showed her a few of the books I found that I liked. She smiled and then pulled a dollar out of her purse, handed it to me and said, “Promise me that you’ll keep reading.” I was so happy and immediately stood up and said that I would. She smiled and walked away and I went back to my piles able to pick out an extra 10 books to take home.
It was just a small act of kindness for her, but for me having a random stranger encourage my love of reading and making me promise to never stop definitely had a lot to do with my continued love of reading. This was over 20 years or so ago, but I still think of her whenever I buy a new book.
25. Dumpster Drivers
Around 9pm, I heard the tell-tale rumble that meant the forecasted storm was about to start. I couldn’t recall if I had rolled up my car window when I got home, so I went out to check. It was already dark out, and I live in a part town that isn’t big on street lights so at night sometimes it’s hard to even stay on the sidewalk without crashing into bushes.
The dumpsters are about 200-300 feet from my car on our U-shaped street, tucked into a corner that backs into trees and a small creek. I live on the back of the building, so once I round that corner you can’t see me from my car nor the dumpsters. I got out to my car. As I rounded that corner, I could see what looked like a flashlight in the dumpster.
It was weird, but not alarming as there are a lot of teenagers and younger boys who hang around in that corner of the parking lot. My window was down a bit, as I was rolling it up I hear a clattering sound from the dumpsters. I turn to see someone climbing out of the dumpster and start shining the light in the other dumpster.
My daughter had left her window down too, so I walked around to her door and rolled her window up too. I slammed her door shut a bit harder than I meant to, and since I was then facing the dumpsters I could see the dumpster man freeze and swing his light in my direction. He immediately switched it off and right as I started to walk back inside, he started full on sprinting toward my direction.
My usually sedentary ass has never moved so fast as I noped back on to the sidewalk and to the back of the building. I quietly opened and shut my door, locked in hopes that with eight apartments back here, he wouldn’t know where I was. Or maybe he was running for reasons entirely unrelated to me. Or maybe he was just screwing with me and is now having a laugh with his friends about the lady he just scared the snot out of. Whatever it was, I’m sure as heck not getting any sleep tonight.
26. Picture Perfect
My family and I spent Christmas in Hawaii and on our trip back (we had about a 5-hour drive to get back home from the airport), we stopped at a rest area. I had been looking at photos from our trip on our digital camera, and it must have been in my lap when I got out of the car and dropped into the parking lot. When we got home, I looked high and low for the camera and couldn’t find it anywhere.
A few weeks later, we got a call from a police officer who lived in our state’s capital (not where we lived) saying someone had found the camera. On it was a picture of my folks’ motorhome (from a previous trip), and you could make out the license plate number. This guy was from another state, just passing through, found our camera at the rest area and contacted the police with the plate number.
The police looked up the plate and contacted us! The guy then mailed us back our camera. It was the nicest thing a stranger had ever done for us. We mailed him back a thank you card and a gift certificate to a restaurant in their area. “Today you, tomorrow me.”
27. The Staredown
I was sitting at my girlfriend’s elementary school concert (she’s a music teacher). The auditorium was crowded and there were not enough seats for everyone. The seat I sat in was in the last row towards the back for the auditorium, and it was the seat closest to the aisle. I feel some weight on my head, so I thought it was my girlfriend since this was before the performance started.
I look up, and some dude is just using my head as an armrest. I’m not a confrontational person, so I just looked up at him and he looked back at me. He stopped doing it…but I just felt super uncomfortable for the rest of the concert..
28. A Shoulder to Cry on
I don’t remember the reason in specific as to why I was crying in the school office that day but I was at the lowest point in my life at the time. On and off homeless living in a women’s refuge, I was verbally abused by teachers and ignored by students, my father was and still is a heavy alcoholic and at that time he was starting to get more possessive over me, he’d lash out and berate me.
I’d curl up on the ground crying some days. No one aside from my mother would help. I was ignored by my school counselor and would often bottle things up, knowing my mum was going through worse. As I was leaving the office an older student stopped me, she opened her arms and offered a hug. I’d never met her before but in that moment I felt an overwhelming sense of relief, someone cared.
She hadn’t known why I was crying, who I was or what I’d been through but she just let me let things out. After a few moments, a teacher separated us and forced us to go different ways. I wish I’d seen her again but my attendance at school was poor and I have issues with recognizing faces. Such a small act alleviated so much from me and I wish I had a way to return the favor. Even if it seems like not a single person cares, they do. They may not even know you, but they care.
29. Doggone Deadly
This past weekend, my soon-to-be-wife Alexia and I had just settled down for a night of movies, pizza, and cuddling. We live in a residential area right outside of town; our home situated right across the street from a Presbyterian church with a large cemetery behind it. Most of our neighbors don’t own pets but there’s one in particular across the street and downwards a bit who owns perhaps the loudest, most annoying dog to ever exist.
Quite an annoyance on a night like tonight, but luckily it was quiet for the entire evening. It’s around a quarter after 10:00 PM and we’re lying down watching a film in our living room when the loudest dog on earth begins to go off. Unfortunately, there’s nothing much we can do, except maybe confront our neighbor or file a noise complaint, but who wants to be the neighbor that does that?
After about five minutes, I get up off the couch and decide to walk over to our neighbor’s home and say something about the dog. As I headed outside and made it to their driveway, unfortunately, I noticed that the neighbor wasn’t home; their only car not there. I decided anyway to walk up to the door and ring the bell.
After a minute of no one answering, I gave up and headed back towards home. I noticed that Alexia had stepped outside and was looking on towards the direction of the barking. I told her that no one was home and that we should either ignore it or finally file a complaint. No one should have to deal with a loud dog at night, especially if you’re trying to unwind after a long day of work or are trying to sleep.
Alexia and I had back inside for a bit and finally, after about ten minutes, the dog ceases to bark. Alexia and I exhaled and laughed a bit before continuing our film. But of course, not long after that, the dog starts up again. This time, it sounded vicious. I got up, went outside and approached our neighbor’s fenced-off backyard and saw the dog, who must’ve heard or saw me coming.
It stopped barking, walked up to me and began to pant in the cute way dogs do. I chuckled and said the dog’s name, to which he looked at me and sat down. Such a good animal, even if he’s so loud. I then heard something that sounded like somebody walking through leaves coming from behind me and to the right. It was terrifying.
I turn around to see somebody looking at me from behind a gravestone in the cemetery. The dog must’ve heard this as well, as it sprung up and began to bark in the direction of the gravestone. I looked on as the person continued staring in my direction and as the dog continued to bark. I looked towards my house where I saw Alexia standing near her car, looking at me with a confused look on her face.
I looked in horror as I saw the person reveal himself from behind the gravestone; his forehead and cheek were stained red with blood, dripping down off of his chin. In his hand was some sort of dagger. The dog began to go ballistic as the person took a few steps in our direction before stopping. I turned to the dog, then back at my home.
Alexia, who was still outside, yelled out to me what was wrong. I told her to call the police. She said “Why, the dog?” to which I replied, “He’s freaking armed.” Probably confused, Alexia went inside to grab her phone as I continued to watch on as the person now began to back off, the dog now going berserk. It knows something is up.
It was going to take a bit of time for someone to reach our home, so I readied myself to go into self-defense as I watched the man finally turn around and walk away towards the back of the cemetery and towards the woods. When the police finally arrived, the person was long gone, and I was stuck there explaining to a couple of skeptical officers about my encounter.
They didn’t seem to take me that seriously but still investigated the area as I explained to Alexia about the person I saw. When the police left after finding no trace of anyone, Alexia and I didn’t feel much better. We locked our doors and windows and I decided to call our neighbors to fill them in on everything before heading back to continue our movie night in spectacular fashion: with The Exorcist.
30. Ringing up Karma
I was in college, living in an apartment, and broke. I had a bag with me containing four loaves of bread that I’d bought for about $1.10, and I didn’t have any idea what I would eat after those were gone. I was at a pay phone in a classroom building, calling my mom collect because I also didn’t have a phone. I knew my mom had already told me she wasn’t going to give me any money anymore, but I hoped she could ask my grandmother for $20.
Before I could get that out, she yelled at me and hung up. As I was dialing my dad at work, someone came up and was waiting for the phone. I explained the situation to my dad, he needed me to call him back in a few minutes (he had a customer in his shop or something). Before I hung up, the person waiting, who’d seen me make two calls now, says, “Other people have to use the phone, too, you know.”
After I hung up, I unloaded on this guy, both barrels. Screaming at him about how I was out of money and out of food, and how he’s probably forced to use a pay phone because his cell phone was broken (this was when cell phones were expensive, so it was a total jab). I stepped away from the phone and wept in a corner while he made his call. After he was done, I sucked it up and apologized.
I was under a lot of stress, and I shouldn’t have taken it out on him, I said, looking at my shoes. Guy puts a $5 bill in my hand, and says, “Give this to someone when they need it.” I have paid that forward manifold.
31. Tween Terror
Disney’s Tower of Terror. 12-year-old me spent the entire lineup desperately trying to catch the attention of a cute guy who was there with his dad. Ended up sitting in the same car as him on the ride. As the ride starts I grab my mom’s hand for support. Near the end, I realized that my mom was on the other side of me and I’d been holding hands with the cute guy’s dad the entire time. They were all laughing at me.
32. Hit and Stay
When I was 11, I was stupid enough to cross in front of a bus with only a cursory glance backward, and I missed the minivan that had just started to overtake the bus. I got hit by the left-hand corner and flung across the road, injuring my legs and splitting my lower lip. It was a bad accident and my knee still hurts me sometimes even all this time later.
As I lay there on the ground, a lady who I didn’t know but had seen on the bus a few times came over and helped me over to the curb, checked me over, made sure my parents were called, made sure an ambulance was called, and generally looked after a scared tearful hurt little boy until help arrived. She was a wonderful person and helped me hugely to get through that situation in the panic of the moment.
I still see her around the neighborhood to this day, and she always gives me a big smile when I wave hello.
33. Smile, You’re on Camera
I was living with my parents and sister in Brisbane, Australia at the time (2008, which means I was 19). I remember my dad had just got Foxtel (cable TV in Australia) but only the TV in the lounge room could use the cable box, and I really wanted to somehow get the cable in my room without paying $99 or whatever for a new box.
So dad one day went out and bought an AV transmitter/receiver. It was basically a two-piece bit of hardware where you would plug this tiny box into the cable TV in the lounge room and it would transmit a video signal to the receiver, connected to the TV in my room. So one Saturday, I decided to connect it. My younger sister (16 at the time) was the only other person home at the time, upstairs in her room (my room was downstairs).
I opened the box and connected it up. At first, I was going back and forth, trying to get the cables right, trying to get the channel right etc., but no luck. Until I finally got something. I remember just sitting there and something started fuzzing in (this is where things start to feel like a horror movie). I remember thinking “oh here we go” and waiting to see the picture come in clearly.
As it started fuzzing in, I remembered that this whole time the cable set top box wasn’t even on, and that’s why it wasn’t working this whole time. “But then why was I getting a signal?” It seemed to all hit me at once. As I realized the box was off, the picture fuzzed in, and I saw a bed. I FREAKED out, as at first, I thought it was my bed.
I sprinted upstairs to my sister, absolutely terrified. I told her to come down and take a look. She came down and we both realized it wasn’t my bed. We didn’t know whose bed it was, or how I was getting the signal. Obviously, it was the AV receiver picking up a camera signal, but we were just so confused as to who/what it was for?
Eventually, my parents came home, and we concluded that it would have to be a neighbor, or someone living close by, for us to be receiving the signal. We waited around until about 6pm, and then someone came into the room. My dad recognized it as one of our neighbors. We still didn’t know what the camera was for, but we assumed it had something to do with fidelity. Either his wife or he had set it up to watch the other and see if they were cheating.
Either this, or it was to tape themselves having sex. We entertained the idea that he was a murderer and would film himself murdering people in his room, but just to freak each other out. We’d always make jokes about how one night we’ll turn it on and it’ll just be his face with clown make up on staring at the camera waving, and then him walking out of the bedroom with a knife.
This never happened. But what did happen was still super creepy. We connected to this signal for over a week, but after a few days the novelty kinda wore off. We felt a bit weird watching it, and just resigned to the explanation that it was to catch his wife cheating. Until one day, we turned it on, and realized what we had discovered.
Our neighbors were having a bunch of renovations done to their house. During weekdays they would be out, and there would be workers at the place pretty much all day. It had been like this for over a month. We started watching the feed and saw a man walk into their room. It was the plumber that had been there regularly for the renovations. We didn’t think anything of it, until he started opening drawers.
I called out to my mum (only person home at the time) and we started watching it. He started getting the wife’s underpants and sniffing them, doing all that creepy stuff. At first, we were like “Oh my god, how embarrassing, he’s being filmed. will the neighbors see this somehow?” but then what happened next was truly terrifying.
He slowly walked over to the camera and look right down the freaking lens. We were CONVINCED that he knew we were watching. Mum immediately called dad. I kept watching. He started fiddling with it and then put it back down. I told mum that I don’t think he knew we were watching, but he’s definitely the guy that put the camera there.
Dad came home, and by this time the plumber had left. Much to mums pleading, dad went over to the neighbors to tell them what we saw. Mum wanted to completely stay out of it and was terrified, understandably. When we told the neighbors, they had NO IDEA what we were talking about, but my dad was really persistent.
They allowed dad to go up to their room, and what he found (that was holding the camera) was an installed device in the wall that was designed to monitor water usage (which was completely normal, at the time, as Brisbane had been hit with a drought recently and there were lots of water restrictions, still is now I think).
The plumber had installed this into the wall but had fitted a camera behind it in the wall to watch the bed. Immediately they called the police, who came over and conducted an investigation. For the next week or so we didn’t hear much about it. I spent most of this time just telling my friends, showing them pictures, but truthfully my whole family was scared every night.
It was just very creepy thinking that we could have stuff like that hidden in our house. It still scares me so much that it was just this creepy plumber sitting back in there on a laptop watching a hidden camera stream of my neighbors. Anyway, that’s my story. It’s all true, and still creeps me out to this day, but my friends and I have a good laugh about it.
34. Stand Down, Sir!
I was on a plane next to someone who seemed to have bad plane etiquette. I was worried it was going to be miserable, and it was. I am in the military and he asked if I was. I said yes. He then asked if I had been deployed. I said yes, I actually just got back a couple of months ago. He stared at me for a moment, then he asked “Did you almost die?”
By this point, I was very uncomfortable. I just said I had a few close calls. I turned away but then he kept asking me questions and more. The next one I heard that got my attention was “Where would you go if you died?” I started saying, well they ship you back. But then he interrupted and said, “OH, I meant would you go to heaven or hell, it’s most likely hell.”
At this point I activated my military powers of sleeping anywhere instantly and passed out while he was rambling about me going to hell. It was the most incredibly creepy, rude, and uncomfortable moment I have ever been in.
35. Poor Choice of Words
My son had small Toy Story figurines but wanted big ones for Christmas. I walked into Toy R Us and asked the male clerk, “Do you have a large Woody?” He turned bright red, I wheeled around and marched out and didn’t go back for months.
36. Home Is Where the Heart Is
I bought my condo at 27 from a guy I had never met. There were a lot of offers way over asking price in a very competitive market, but I offered what I could. I had lost out on many places before over months of searching, being outbid by ridiculous cash offers I had no chance of beating. I fell in love with this neighborhood, but had made two other failed offers here earlier.
Instead, I just wrote the owner a letter telling him my story, explaining how hard I’d tried to save everything I could to buy my first place and make a home to start really establishing myself. He ended up taking my offer over several much higher bids because he sympathized with my story. He himself had apparently bought this place decades ago when he was a struggling 27-year-old trying to establish himself.
My letter resonated with him to the point where, even though he probably could have made another $40k easily, he instead felt that he wanted to give me the same opportunity he had once had. I’m forever grateful to him for that, even though we have never met.
37. Nothing Says Fraternal Bonding Like Fear for Your Lives
I had to get my brother to help recount this as I was 12 at the time (and scared gutless as a result). This happened about six years ago, as stated I was about 12 and my brother was 26 at the time. My brother had been serving in the US Army for several years when this happened and was deploying to the Middle East on his second deployment if I remember correctly.
Also, of note was that he is a Green Beret and had recently (three or four months prior to this trip) completed the Army Special Forces Qualification Course (Robin Sage and all that), and by then was an active duty SF Engineer Sergeant. Definitely not someone you’d want to mess around with, and a really tough guy.
Given that we both grew up with a passion for the outdoors, he thought it would be nice to take me on a backpacking trip in northern Alabama (Sipsey Wilderness) before he left for nine months. The trip had gone smoothly up until the third night we were camping out. Around 8 pm, we had our camp set up, eaten dinner and were sitting by the fire talking about typical boy stuff—guns, girls, etc.
For some reference, our spot was about 50 yards from a large stream, and about 50 yards downhill adjacent to the large path. Our camp, the stream, and the path formed a triangle of sorts. This was summertime in Alabama, so it wasn’t quite dark yet when two guys, who looked to be in their late 20s wandered up and ask if we had seen any hogs while we were hiking around.
Given that this is rural Alabama, we actually had seen some farther into the wilderness area and told them so. Even though they were relatively polite (my brother called them “good ole boys”) I got a seriously creepy vibe from them—dirty clothes, greasy hair, scraggly facial hair, etc. I think they probably looked like they belonged in the movie Deliverance.
They kinda hung out for a few minutes, maybe a little longer than they should have—looking around, asking us questions like how long we had been out there, how long we were staying, and what looked like them kinda sizing us up. They then abruptly said goodbye and walked away. I didn’t necessarily feel threatened by them, and I know for sure my brother didn’t, but I still felt uneasy about the whole thing.
Fast forward three or four hours. My brother and I had gone to sleep and were nestled in our tent when I woke to the sound of multiple dogs barking. I’ve always been a heavy sleeper and they sounded like they were only about 100 yards away. My heart immediately started pounding and I kicked my brother through my sleeping bag and asked if he was awake/had heard the dogs.
He responded, “I’m awake, they’ve been getting closer for the past hour or so, just lay still and don’t make any sounds.” Needless to say, 12-year-old me was about to poop my pants. We would also hear sporadic shouts from several different sources but neither came any closer. A few minutes later my brother whispered, “They’re just hunting for hogs, they use the dogs to pin them down and then they shoot them.”
This gave me some relief, but not much. Somehow, I managed to fall back asleep. The fact that they were doing this at night was a huge red flag my brother later told me, but I think he was just trying to keep me calm. Fast forward what was probably another three hours, around 2 am. I had managed to sleep pretty well after first hearing the hog hunters when I woke up to my brother squeezing my shoulder firmly, saying, “Wake up, put your shoes on quick and follow me, be as quiet as you can.”
My heart immediately went back to racing because I heard the dogs and voices in the distance, farther away than before but still distinct. Not asking any questions I did what he said and as soon as we were out of the tent he told me to get on his back (this was a breeze for him after rucking with God knows how much weight in the Army).
We snuck about 50 yards into the woods towards the junction of the path and the stream and crawled into some bushes. It was up a hill so we had a pretty good elevated view of our campsite. I remember as we were laying there how loudly I was breathing and how quiet he was when I heard the very distinct sound of a pistol slide racking.
I looked over and my brother had his pistol (an HK USP that he gave to me a few years after this story took place) and was watching the campsite and surrounding area. I started to whisper to him when he put his hand over my mouth and pointed at the campsite. The group of hunters had been steadily approaching our camp and by this time (30 or so minutes) had reached it.
There were five of them and like three or four dogs. They all looked relatively young but two had either rifles or shotguns and the dogs were going crazy, obviously having smelled our scent. They lingered for about 20 minutes shining flashlights around and talking to themselves when my brother put his mouth to my ear.
He said, “If they come towards I want you to turn and run as quickly as you can, don’t stop, don’t look back, stay off the trail, and look for the flashing lights.” (I didn’t know what he meant by this but that’ll come later.) I knew I could make it back because he had taught me “land nav” pretty well. He then handed me a flashlight and told me not to take the red filter off.
He told me later that the red filter helps preserve night vision and cuts down ambient light, so it would be harder for someone to see from a distance. At this point, I was so scared I almost started crying, but at the same time had a rush of adrenaline and what I think now was confidence that he thought I could handle myself.
We laid there for a while longer when out of nowhere they started screaming “WHERE Y’ALL AT?!?!” and firing into the woods at random. My brother dragged me back behind the crest of the hill and threw himself on top of me. Thankfully our position on top of the hill we were protected from any gunfire. They shot maybe five or six more times and then started walking back the direction they had come.
They got maybe 100 yards away when I heard a blaring siren and saw emergency lights flashing through the woods. Turns out my brother had called the Forest Service Office on a satellite phone my family has for emergencies while I was asleep and they had sent out Forest Service officers and game wardens to our area of the wilderness.
The Sipsey Wilderness is about 25,000 acres in size, so it took them a while to get there on the bad dirt roads. When we saw the game warden truck, my brother signaled them with the light and pointed them in the direction the hunters had gone and the guy sped off, shining his spotlight through the darkened woods.
As soon as they were all gone we went back to our camp, packed up our stuff and waited by the path for the game warden to come back, who then gave us a ride in his truck bed back to the main staging area. On the drive back my brother told me how brave I had been and that we would talk about it with our parents the next day if I wanted to. I asked him not to do that because I thought they might never let me go camp again. Creepy rednecks in the woods, let’s not meet again, you might get shot next time.
38. My Heroine
I dated a jerk in high school and into my first two years of university. He didn’t start the physical and mental abuse until three years into the relationship. He was once screaming at me in the university’s common area (where all the cafeterias are, etc.) and basically spat on me. I was such a complete shell of a person at that time, all I could do was cry, because resistance would mean more of the same.
I was 21 at the time. Some girl came storming up to him, got in between us, and started freaking out on him. She took me by the hand into the girls’ washroom and waited with me until I calmed down and walked me out (he scuttled off once we came out and saw she wasn’t going away). She helped me regain an ounce of strength—made me see how darn weak he really was, and it snowballed.
I got my master’s degree in social work and spent the next chunk of time helping abused women and kids. Now I’m a therapist. She really rocked my world, and she didn’t have to!
39. Easter Parade
At Easter, I was ten dollars short in the grocery line. We really needed real food, so I couldn’t give the actual groceries up for the two chocolate Easter bunnies and the jelly beans I also had in my cart. They were small luxuries, but I couldn’t justify them. I was about to put them back when all of a sudden the lady behind me shouts, “Don’t you dare!” She paid for all of them. I cried and thanked her repeatedly.
40. Uncontrollable Laughter
I was riding my motorcycle a month ago when the light ahead of me turned red. So I slowed down and stopped behind the car that was also waiting at the red light. A guy in sweatpants jogs out between me and the car, and for some reason, a TV remote flies out of his pocket and smashes like it was made of glass, all over the street.
The sheer randomness of a guy having a TV remote in his pocket made me burst out laughing, and the guy was staring at the shards of remote in the street like he didn’t know how it got in his pocket. I’m laughing so hard that I ease of my clutch a bit, and scare myself by moving forward an inch, causing me to stall my motorcycle out.
I can’t stop laughing, it’s only getting worse, and now my motorcycle engine isn’t covering the sound. So the guy slowly looks up from the shattered remote and stares directly at me with this pained look on his face. He does this until I stop laughing, fired my bike back up, and drove around him and down the street.
41. Passing on the Lucky Doll
My son was in a pretty serious accident. I was a wreck in the ICU waiting room. A little girl maybe about nine or ten years old was with her family, saying goodbye to her great-grandmother. She waltzed right up to me and said, “Sir, why are you crying?” I explained my son was very sick.She handed me a miniature puppy doll and told me it was lucky and my son would get better.
She was right, he did, and I still keep that little puppy on my dresser and think of that sweet child.
42. Secret Samaritan
This is an on-going scenario: My mom is going through treatment for breast cancer, and I have siblings much younger than me still at home (I’m 25, brother is 13, sister is 8). Every 3 or 4 days, something shows up on their porch: bags of clothes for my sister, book series for my brother, gift cards so my parents don’t have to cook, and supplies for my dad’s hobby.
We don’t know who is coordinating this or where anything comes from. On top of the wonderful people who bring meals, we get these deliveries out of nowhere. It’s awesome watching a community really take care of my family, and one day I’d love to learn who has been helping us.
43. I Could Do Without the Soundtrack, Thanks
Around two years ago, I finally moved into a brand-new house in a brand-new building estate in Australia. I was one of the first to have a finished build in the area and was elated to finally gain independence. The first few weeks went by as normal and during that time, I’d often take walks alone with the dog in the afternoons and roam the surrounding estate area.
All the roads around us had been partially completed and all the other properties were marked out, but no other houses were built, excluding one that was directly opposite mine. The house looked finished, but there was no driveway laid yet and from what I could gather, no one lived there. It was always pretty eerily silent.
One night as I was heading to bed, I turned off the television in the living room and again, could hear the faint sound of a violin playing, however, it sounded more muffled and rehearsed. I froze, and a cold chill flowed through me instantaneously. Considering that it was about midnight and not the usual time I’d hear it playing, I went to the front window and peeked out to see that there was a light in the house opposite mine.
It was clearly a candle as I could see the dim light flicker in the empty window and the music sounded like it was coming from an old record player, but in the ten minutes I watched, I never saw any movement inside the house. I moved away from the window sufficiently freaked out and after another five minutes, I heard the music abruptly stop.
I peeked out again to notice the light was now out. I never saw anyone. I began to become unsettled in the house and would often invite friends over to hang out until late, but of course, nothing would ever happen when someone else was with me. I never bothered to tell any of my friends without evidence, I figured they’d just give me heck about it and I’d just become more agitated.
But nothing compared to what happened next. In my living area, the desk sits right next to a small window which looks out to the fence surrounding my property. The steel fence is literally an arm’s length from the house and about six feet tall, so I always figured that, unlike most of the other windows, I’d never need to cover this one with a sheet or blanket because no one could ever see in.
I usually had headphones on when I played, and I always had the lights off, for no other reason than I preferred to play games in the dark. One night when I was gaming, I got up and walked into the dark kitchen and got a beer out of the fridge. It was dead silent excluding the faint sound coming out of my headphones.
As I closed the fridge and turned around to face the desk, I saw directly out the window two very, very faint lights. I didn’t even catch on and immediately started walking back to the desk fixated on the small glowing balls and it wasn’t until I had my nose almost pressed against the glass that I realized the two lights weren’t lights at all.
They were eyes.
A set of eyes, sitting just above the fence line staring wide open at me. They didn’t blink. They didn’t move. My entire body locked up, all I could do was simply stare back as my brain was still comprehending that there was an actual person looking at me in the scariest way I could possibly ever imagine. I don’t know what happened, either my head kicked into gear or my muscles loosened but my body automatically collapsed, and I fell to the floor, scurrying to hide against the wall away from the window.
I could hear my heart beating through the carpet like a drum as I tried to lay as flat as possible and as my mind was still processing the sheer severity of the situation, a violin started playing. That violin and the haunting tune it always emitted started up, except this time it was directly outside my window and much louder than I’d ever heard it before.
The lights were still off, and I wanted to get up to turn off the PC screen, so I couldn’t be seen, but my whole body just wasn’t ready to cooperate. Not only was the sound of the instrument extraordinarily loud, but it sounded like it was being played with frustration, notes been missed frequently and the strings screeching.
The pace of it was getting faster and faster and by this time, my dog Jeb out in the backyard had picked up on the situation and registering an unfamiliar sound, gave one solitary, deep bark. The violin instantly stopped, and the house was finally dead silent excluding my headphones which I could hear quietly working away.
I was still frozen to the carpet and it wasn’t until Jeb gave a second menacing bark that I heard the figure outside the window start to walk away in the direction of my yard. Once that first footstep hit the ground, I instantly thought of the welfare of my best mate and finally, my head connected with my extremities and my entire body kicked into overdrive.
I leaped from the ground and slid across the laminated floor to the backdoor where Jeb was standing, staring into the backyard. I ducked to keep low and quietly unlocked and slid open the door. Usually doing so would notify Jeb that he was allowed inside, but when the door opened up, he didn’t move an inch and was completely fixated on the pitch-black backyard.
Everything told me not to go outside but there was no chance I was letting anything happen to my dog, and I moved out onto the alfresco, moved behind Jeb, put my hand under his collar and attempted to back him toward the house. Jeb is a pure Labrador and weighs like a sack of sand so when he doesn’t want to move, it takes a sheer force to pull him in the direction you want him to go and right now, Jeb wasn’t going anywhere.
I yanked at his scruff and as I did, he emitted a bark like I’d never heard before, a deep, bellowing “screw you right off” sound that elevated my nerves to an all-time high. We both just stood there, waiting for some form of reply and I couldn’t remember how long we both just froze there, but eventually, I heard footsteps from around the side of the house begin to walk away.
But not a simple walk, almost like whoever was doing it was slowly dancing in a circle, the footsteps keeping to a beat as they drifted away from the house into the distance. Once I couldn’t hear anything, Jeb licked his lips, gave me a look, and wandered back inside. I followed, locked the door behind me and spent the night reverting to my child-like self; hiding under my bed covers with my dog.
I didn’t sleep a wink. That was the last time I ever saw or heard the violin player. The following morning when the sun finally came up, I called into work sick and called the police. They scoured the lot next to mine and found footprints in the dirt, but there were so many there that it was impossible to tell whose were whose.
The only description I could give to the officer was his height, he would have had to be over 6ft to stare over that fence at me, but they explained that he could have been standing on something, or on his toes. They also told me that they’ve never received a report of anyone playing a violin in the area or anyone been in the fenced-off hill either.
I essentially looked like an insane person, but the officers were very nice about the whole thing and offered to patrol the area for the next few nights which helped put my mind at ease. Nothing else has happened since then. Over the next year or two, people finally started moving in and I tell them all the story about the figure I saw, some of whom still use it to keep their children in line, which I found funny.
One guy nicknamed the council lot “Violin Hill” and the name has stuck around our street since then. I even spent a period of time scouring the depths of the Internet for that violin tune I kept hearing but could never find it. There were a few classical pieces that seemed reminiscent, but I’ve since thought that whatever tune was played must have been self-composed, which creeps me out even more.
I’m still in the house, I still tell people the story and I haven’t changed my routine one bit which has really helped me to block out the fear of the experience. I game with the blinds closed now.
44. Bathing Suit or Birthday Suit?
One time on a cruise ship when I was young, my bathing suit flew off of one of those wave machine things in the pool. To be clear, it didn’t just slide down a bit, exposing some of my butt. It came completely off. WHOOSH. Trying to stand, keep my boyhood covered, and look for my trunks all at once in the middle of a tsunami was tricky to say the least.
All of a sudden, a towel from out of nowhere hits me in the face. Thank you, kind stranger!
45. Pokemon Domination
I was playing on my Nintendo DS in the subway when I caught a random connection. I looked up to see if I could spot the other person with a DS, and wound up locking eyes with this incredibly intense little boy who was seated a few benches away from me. “DO YOU HAVE POKEMON,” he asked, and as it turned out, I did, in fact, have Pokemon.
With that, our fate was sealed. There’s this thing in the Pokemon games where, if you meet the gaze of another trainer on your journey, then you must do battle. I had just experienced this in real life. He destroyed me. All level 100s. Felt like I was an extra in the darn anime doing battle with the protagonist.
46. The Ninja Turtles Wouldn’t Stand for This
This happened a few months ago. I had an argument with my girlfriend, so I decided to do the healthy thing and take a walk to cool off. Live in a small city and it was around midnight so not many people around. Most of the walk was normal. I had calmed down about half way and just wanted to get home, so I was walking down a sparsely lit street and a figure with a hood on was standing on the edge of the sidewalk across the street from me with a parking lot behind him.
I’m on the opposite side of the road, but as soon as I noticed him, my heart begins to pump faster, and fight or flight kicks in instantly. As soon as he’s out of my immediate line of sight, I notice he has silently made it halfway across the street towards me. It freaked me out. He was absolutely silent. I tried to keep him in the corner of my vision, but he was quickly behind me and I still couldn’t hear him.
I was just getting to a line of apartments on my left, and each apartment had small porches with lights on each one. I could see my shadow in front of me, and the figure’s quickly closing in behind me. My mind is racing, I’m fast walking, and I see the shadow within arms distance. This entire encounter has been five seconds, six at most.
I’ve decided fight is my only option, so I twist up the plastic bag in my right hand with a big Gatorade in it and I’m about to duck and swing high while turning right to surprise him and hopefully catch him off guard, so I can run while he regains his stamina. Just then, as I’m coming up to the end of the line of cars parked to my right, a woman holding a baby and a child following her (four years old or so) turn the corner from behind an SUV.
She made eye contact with me and I felt instant relief. Still no sound from shadow guy behind me. As I’m passing the family, I turn to look behind me and see nothing, anywhere. I continue looking behind me the entire jog home, but nothing. Nobody. I didn’t even see where the woman with the kids went. I’m not deaf, no hearing problems at all.
I know somebody or something was about to attack me that night, but the complete lack of sound from it freaked me out to my core and still bothers me today. So, shadow ninja a few blocks from where I live, let’s never meet again. I should note that I don’t believe anything supernatural happened here. I think this stalker was going to rob me and was likely timing his footsteps in sync with my own, so I wouldn’t notice him until he was already robbing me.
I think he probably did duck out behind a car or porch nearby when the mother and kids noticed us. I am by no means posting this to suggest he was a demon, alien, actual ninja, or bigfoot, trying to eat my soul. I think he was a man, albeit a very quiet, skilled (on his feet) man who wanted my money or Gatorade.
47. Something Was Lost in Translation
I was walking at the mall once and a guy approached me saying he was from out of town. He was looking for one of the stores there and asked me if I could give him directions. I said, “oh yeah sure, just walk down there and take a left when you see the food court.” His face gets serious and upset. He says, “whoa whoa whoa whoa… Don’t tell me what to do though.”
I’m a little thrown off, I feel like he’s playing with me so I change my wording. “Okay, if you see the food court, the store will be to your…” “Hey man I said don’t tell me what to do.” He was dead serious and staring me down. I was walking with a friend and didn’t feel like getting into a thing at the mall. I just pointed in the general direction and said it was that way. He nodded and walked off.
48. Compassion at the Check out
The day my dad died, I was holding it together pretty well. Late that night I went to Target to have a moment to just zone out, and buy a few groceries. As I got to the checkstand with my arm full of stuff I dropped a container of sour cream and it exploded everywhere. I completely lost control of myself and started to cry. The ugly cry.
I was instantly surrounded by a group of women who just took charge of the whole situation. They helped me get everything paid for, cleaned up, and one lady even got a new sour cream. No words were spoken, but their compassion and take charge attitude have stayed with me since.
49. This One Has Got to Take the Cake
My birthday one year was really sucking, so I decided to go out and buy myself a cake at the grocery store. On a whim, I decided that I also wanted to get it decorated, because it was my birthday and I just wanted something a little nice to make me feel better. When the guy at the counter asked me who it was for, in order to know what name to put on it, I told him that it was for me.
He was very incredulous to the idea that I would have to buy my own birthday cake. I just kind of shrugged it off and went on to finish the rest of my shopping for groceries. He said my cake would need to be paid for at pick up. When I came back to pay for and pick up my cake, a different person was at the register—and to my surprise, she said my cake had already been paid for.
It was also decorated a bit more than I thought it should have been. I have not seen that guy working there since and, in my head, I now think of him as the cake fairy. It was a really good cake, too. Unfortunately, I still cried while eating it because the entire rest of the day sucked—but it was definitely a good cake and an awesome thing to experience.
50. My Phone Died So I Could Live
At the time of this story, it was the summer after junior year, and a couple of my buddies and I were at someone’s house doing the usual things teenaged guys do. After a couple hours of Xbox and basketball, one of our friends, Sam, rolled up with a trunk full of fireworks, and we decided that it would be fun to go set them off in an empty field a mile away from the house.
As we all piled into Sam’s car and started driving out of the neighborhood, a man stepped into the road and blocked our way. He was huge and covered in tattoos. Probably 6’3″ or so, with long dark hair pulled back into a ratty ponytail. Sam honked the horn as the man stood in front of our car yelling obscenities at us.
Finally, my friend has had enough and whipped the car around him while flipping the guy the bird, speeding out of the neighborhood and towards the main road. A couple minutes later we got to the field and set up the fireworks. As we all hid around the edges of the grass, Sam stepped forward and lit the fireworks up.
Seconds later, the firework ignited and exploded, much louder than any of us had expected. I panicked and ran back to Sam’s car with him, and he slammed on the gas and flew out of the parking lot onto the main road. As we neared the entrance to my friend’s neighborhood, it dawned on Sam that he had left the rest of the guys back at the field.
So, he stopped the car and made me get out, so he could go retrieve the other guys. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t go with him, but it didn’t matter. It was a nice summer night and I sat down on the sidewalk near the entrance of the neighborhood and pulled out my phone. After a couple minutes of phone games, it died in my hands.
I sat back and enjoyed the weather, waiting for the headlights to come back down the road, when I heard a slight noise behind me. I turned my head, expecting to see a bird or windblown branches or something, but the streetlight outlined the figure of the man from earlier. He had crept up behind me while I was sitting there.
He locked eyes with me and I was immediately struck by the wild look in them, like he was both looking at me and looking through me at the same time. I got up and backed away slowly, then turned and started walking away from him. He kept pace behind me and began to yell at me. “HEY YOU! GET BACK HERE!”
I increased my pace and he continued to match it, screaming at me the entire way. Eventually, I was full-out sprinting away from him and I heard him slow down. I tore down the sidewalk back to the parking lot of the field and reunited with my friends before relaying the story to them. As we drove back, we searched the area for him, but he was nowhere to be found.
It dawned on me that if my phone hadn’t died, I probably would not have noticed the footsteps of the man and probably would have not had such a fortunate outcome. So, crazy tattooed man, let’s not meet.
51. Do You Have the Wrong Number?
About ten years ago, when I was 17-19 years old, I would periodically get phone calls from a private number at night. Whoever was calling me wouldn’t speak, but I could tell that there was someone on the line by their breathing. This would always happen after 10 pm and would last a few minutes after I would say hello until I or the caller would hang up.
Sometimes I would get frustrated and say something around the lines of “oh it’s you again” or “do you just want to hear my voice?” They would usually click immediately after. Now you may be wondering why I would still answer these creepy calls. My phone number is a digit away from a local police line. So I usually got calls from people trying to reach the police and would direct them to the right number.
I figured the calls were wrong numbers at first, but after a few months that was obviously not the case. It didn’t bother me until one night. I was out with some friends around 9 pm when I got a call from an anonymous number. I step aside to answer and am greeted with the ever so lovely, “You freaking witch” etc. etc.
I quickly hung up. This wasn’t my callers usual MO. About 20-30 minutes later when my boyfriend and I got back to his place, I started getting call after call, getting screamed at. The person on the line would be screaming saying they were going to get me, kill me, you name it. At one point my boyfriend picks up the phone—he was incredibly angry and screamed back (I’m not with this person anymore).
He’s silent for a minute and hangs up. At this point, my boyfriend tells me to call the police. The caller told him that they knew where we were, where I lived, and that they were going to kill me and my family, along with other threats. So now we’re pretty spooked and decide to call the cops. They are absolutely no help.
Since we live in a pretty safe town with not much for the cops to do, so they come to us and basically say there’s not much to do in this situation. It’s obviously a gross prank going too far. At this point, another call comes in. The officer picks up my phone, interrupts their screaming and answers with, “Hello, yes this is officer ______.” The caller hung up and never called again.
After that night I never got another late-night call. It didn’t hit me until a few weeks later that it must have been the same person who had been calling all those times before. I don’t know why they snapped that day and broke their silence. Was it a sick joke? Something more sinister? Were they always angry when they called? I never found out who they were, and shudder at the thought that it could have been someone I knew.
52. Godly Presence
When I was 15, I lived walking distance to the park downtown so I’d always go there with my friend after school. One day we were down there and we spotted a huge dog and we absolutely had to at least look at it because I was pretty sure it was a Borzoi. We got closer and it obviously was, so I got super pumped because they’re one of my favorite dogs.
But the owner really caught us off guard and we were kinda scared to ask if we could pet it. She was in her mid-30s probably and she looked like an absolute African goddess. Every inch of her skin was shimmering, she had a long flowing sundress on, she had bright gold eyeshadow and her eyes were a really pretty deep green.
She looked like an ungodly attractive model so being teenage girls we were kinda intimidated, but she was actually just as nice as she was beautiful. She was super educated as well; she spoke with more grace than I’ve ever even heard royalty speak with, the Borzoi’s name was Odysseus and she was reading a book on Plato.
We were convinced she was an actual goddess of some sort. I actually eventually bought a Borzoi because of her, they’ve always been one of my favorite breeds but they’re pretty expensive and take a well-seasoned owner to handle. I don’t know what it was about her, but something just made both of us go absolutely numb with awe and admiration. It was really weird. It was like she was literally radiating angelic energy.
53. Mum’s Not the Word
I was with my mum buying flowers at a florist for a New Year’s Eve party. The florist was obviously a very lonely woman and wouldn’t stop going on about how she isn’t doing anything for New Year’s and how it’s so nice we have friends to visit, to the point where it became really saddening. My mother obviously really felt for her.
Every now and again, maybe twice a year, she has a brain fart and accidentally says what she is thinking. That day was one of those rare days. After paying for the flowers, my mum said “Thanks! Hope you find a friend soon!” I look at her in shock, the woman looks at her in shock, and my mum just gasps, apologizes and literally backs out of the store. God, it was so awkward.
54. Finally, Someone Who Gets Me!
I was walking back from Starbucks after meeting my ex to finalize some financial issues. I was smoking a cigarette when a man approached and asked if I had an extra smoke. I usually just decline or ignore any person who approaches me when I’m out and about in the city, as many turn out to be nothing more than beggars looking for free handouts.
However, this guy seemed genuinely nice, and he looked like he was having just as bad a day as I was. I reached into my pocket and looked in the pack I had. I forgot that I had been smoking the last one. I told him that I was sorry and that I had another pack in my car a few blocks away, if he wanted to walk up there with me.
He accepted and we got to talking. As the conversation progressed, he explained that he had recently lost his job and was now pretty much homeless for the first time in his life. He was coming from an interview for a job that he didn’t get, and I knew he wasn’t lying because I actually used to work at his school that closed down and we knew some of the same people.
When I got to the car, I offered to split the pack with him and he refused. He just wanted the single one that he had originally asked for. We were both going through the roughest times of our life, and had both previously quit smoking for years. I could tell that he was really struggling, so I reached into my pocket and offered him the last 20 bucks I had.
At first, he adamantly refused the gift, but eventually, I convinced him to take it. I, at least, had another unemployment check coming and a roof over my head. The man then proceeded to hug me, and we were almost brought to tears. He then insisted upon giving me the hoodie he was wearing, and wouldn’t take no for an answer. It was definitely a pretty nice one, not exactly my style but likely worth a few dollars on the street.
He wouldn’t take no for an answer and I eventually accepted this thoughtful gift. I still wear it occasionally, usually when working outside, and I am reminded of our little encounter and how caring and nice he was to me every time I put it on. I hope he’s finally doing well and I am glad that I never got into as bad a situation in life as he had been in.
55. Coffee Break
A homeless guy camped out in front of a Dunkin Donuts I was eating in ran inside to warn me that the meter maid was coming. He saved me $45, yet he wouldn’t even let me buy him breakfast to say thank you!
56. This Isn’t My Stop…
This happened when I was around age 12. A little bit of context: I was out of the district for the school I was in, so I rode in a van (one of those big, creepy white ones), with about five other kids. I was the first one on the van every morning, picked up around 7:30 AM. The bus driver was always friendly enough. He was an overweight, white man, probably in his 50s.
One day as he was driving us home, he pointed out his house to us. On the first day of him driving us home, he stopped at Burger King to get us each an ice cream cone. (This alarmed me at the time, but I shrugged it off.) I was a pretty small kid, and I certainly wouldn’t be able to defend myself against any sort of physical assault.
Anyway, I got on the van one morning as I always did. I think it was March. (In Minnesota, so it was still quite cold outside). I was looking at my iPod, not really paying attention. When we stopped, I looked up, assuming we were at the next stop. I looked up to discover that we were at his house. He didn’t say a word to me. He got out of the vehicle and went inside.
I was alone, and absolutely petrified. Until that point, I always thought that people were exaggerating when they said they were “paralyzed with fear,” but I absolutely was. You hear those stories, you know, of young girls getting kidnapped. A million thoughts were running through my head. Do I call 911? Do I hide? Do I get out and run?
But instead, I just sat there, frozen. I have no idea how long he was inside, but it couldn’t have been very long, because he came back (again, still not saying a word) and we continued on the route. I told my parents about it when I got home. They thought it was odd, but figured he probably had just forgotten something or really had to pee.
They told me to tell them about it if it happened again. It did. The second time (I think it was a few weeks later), I looked up, and saw that we were at his house again. It was the same—no explanation, he just parked and went inside, leaving me in the van by myself. This time, I texted my mom to let her know what was happening.
She called me immediately, asking if I was okay, what happened, etc. I had to hang up after a few moments, because he came back more quickly this time. Again, we continued on the route. My parents called the bus company, and I guess he was yelled at. He obviously knew that I had told on him, because the next morning I rode the van he was clearly very angry and silent.
I was absolutely terrified to continue riding the van after that—he was angry and knew where I lived! So that was definitely the most terrified I’ve ever been for my life. I think about it all the time. He definitely should’ve been fired. I’m 99% sure that what he did was illegal. If school bus drivers need to make an unscheduled stop, they’re supposed to call the bus company, let every kid off, etc.
57. What Language Barrier?
I was a horticulture student on a botanical tour of Europe in 1979. I am at a flower market in Munich and see a plant I don’t recognize. The lady working it doesn’t speak English; I don’t know any German. I see a plant I do know; touch the leaf and say the Latin name for it. She nods and smiles. I name another plant I know. Her smile gets bigger.
I point at the unknown plant and look at her with an expression that I hope says, “Your turn.” She tells me the Latin name. We don’t speak each other’s language but we can communicate in a language that has been dead for over a thousand years. Cool.
58. I Don’t Like This Song
So this is one of many stories my dad told me when I was a little girl about his adventures hitchhiking when he was a few years younger than my age now (28.) He’s a super deadhead and him and a friend named John followed them on the road with nothing but their acoustics and some cash. Apparently, they got to Georgia at one point and were getting tired but needed to make it a few towns over in order to see the Dead the following day.
They walked miles and tried to catch a ride for hours to no avail, and started to lose hope when a beat-up pickup truck stopped and let them in. My dad got in the front and John got in the back, thanked him and fell asleep, leaving my dad awake with this guy driving them. According to him, things were bad right from the start.
The driver asked where they were headed and why they had guitars and asked if my dad knew how to play well. My dad told him about the Grateful Dead and how he did play and usually picked a banjo but left it back home. So the guy gets super creepy and says, “I’ve always wanted to kill me one of them guitar boys.”
My dad started freaking out at this point and said he just laughed it off but tried to be as unnoticeable as possible while attempting to wake up John. Things kept getting more tense; he asked the guy if he’d mind pulling into a gas station, he said no. He asked how long until they would get to the next town, no response and he eventually went completely silent.
After a few HOURS of driving (with John waking up in the meantime,) the guy got really eccentric and asked if they’d ever seen a “bad death.” He started driving the truck into mailboxes and street signs, and eventually HIT A STRAY DOG WHILE LAUGHING MANIACALLY. My dad and John laughed right along with him until he finally stopped at a gas station and they were able to get their things and take off. They ended up missing the show, but I’m glad my dad wasn’t the “guitar boy” the guy was looking for.
59. I Got Your Wheely Back, Bro
I was about ten years old and I had a pair of HEELYS and they were the coolest darn thing on the earth. I would roll all over on those things and thought I was hot stuff. We were in China, spending a few weeks in Beijing. I was rolling around in Tiananmen Square, hit a crack and lost one of the wheels. I looked around for about an hour, but to no avail.
I was probably visibly bummed, as my Heelys, the things that made me hot stuff, were now ineffective and basically ruined. The next morning, I was walking through the square on the way to meet my friends, and an older gentleman ran up to me and stopped me—he had found my wheel. He said that he had seen me rolling around and saw me looking for the wheel after I fell.
He saw that I gave up, and stuck around for another hour to keep looking after I left. He came there the next morning with no expectation that I’d pass through, but wanted to be there just in case. I’m not sure who was happier, me that I got my wheel back or him because he didn’t think he’d see me in literally the world’s busiest square. I said thank you and… that was about it.
We both had places to be and that was that.
60. Soul Brothers
Years ago, I was at the bus stop super early one morning. It was really cold as well. Anyway, there was a guy that I used to see every time I would get the 7 AM bus—looked like a builder, he always got off near one of the large building sites by the university. We were on “nodding terms.” One morning, there was a fireball/disintegrating meteor.
We both saw it, he turned to me and said with a super serious face “you know our souls are forever linked now.” We went back to nodding terms, and I never saw him after I quit early morning classes. I guess because I remember it, he was kinda right and the guy is still trolling me. I still think of him often, too, and hope he’s doing well.
61. All’s Well That Ends Well
I was a cashier at local grocery store chain about a decade ago. Guy bought some lottery tickets off of me. He asked for some certain things, but I put it into the system wrong. I told him that I could change it out and it wasn’t a big deal, but he just sort of shrugged and said it was alright. He came in the next day and handed me two hundred dollars. Turns out he won $20,000 off of the “incorrect” tickets I had sold him. Never saw him again.
62. No Star Diner
So this happened when I was about 17 years old. For context, I’m a 21-year-old girl. At the time I was working at a failing seafood restaurant. I was a busgirl so I had to deal with touching peoples old half eaten seafood all day long. I’m a vegetarian and have never ever liked anything that comes from out of the water. Not even shrimp, I assure you.
Working at a restaurant can be a super interesting job. The amount of people you meet through work is immense and your coworkers can become like family. You’re all suffering together, you can become pretty close. The chefs at this restaurant were pretty strange. One was super chill, one was always drunk and angry, and the last…well he was something else altogether.
To make things easier I’ll just call the creepy chef “creep.” So creep starts working, he’s new and he seems like a decent guy. He’s in his mid-to-late-40s, salt n pepper hair, nothing throws you off by just seeing his physical appearance. I deeply love everything 60s and 70s, and so creep and I would sometimes talk about music especially rock n roll.
He seemed like a cool guy, someone who claimed he saw so many of the bands that I drool over daily. It seemed nice to work with someone who generally shared the same interests. Some weeks go by and creep wasn’t showing any signs of anything strange. I felt totally okay within my workplace. Wouldn’t blink an eye, and actually enjoyed the job.
Me and a fellow busgirl became pretty close friends. We bonded over the fact we both had pretty messed up family lives. So we instantly became work buddies. The restaurant was slow. Me and the busgirl were having a conversation. Laughing, smiling, and joking in the kitchen. This changed in less than five seconds.
The creep came right behind me and says by my ear “this wouldn’t be so funny if I had chloroform.” I turn around and look at him thinking “freaking weirdo, who jokes about things like that?” His eyes were blank, he was staring at me, but it felt as though his eyes were burning an imprint on my face. The staring lasted a couple of seconds but eventually, I just turned and just walked away. I really didn’t know how to react.
Throughout the next week creep would stare at me through the kitchen window while I was working. I tried to avoid going to the kitchen but that was nearly impossible when it was my job to transport dishes from the tables back to the kitchen. Twice more while in the kitchen the situation repeated itself. I was talking to a fellow coworker and creep would drop whatever he was doing and interrupt the conversation with “Well it wouldn’t be so fun if I had chloroform on me.”
At this point, he had mentioned chloroform to me three times. I was freaked out. Luckily, I stopped working there a few weeks later because I was leaving to travel Europe for the summer. When I returned the restaurant was already shut down, so I didn’t see creep ever again after this. I wish I would’ve told my manager at the least, I don’t know what I was thinking. I clearly wasn’t. No one should have to feel that threatened at their workplace.
63. A Balloon and a Smile
I was in the US Navy at the time and we pulled into port in Norway. We had a couple days to explore and I went to the closest city, Bergen. While in the main square area of town just down the road from their fish market there was a small boy, maybe three years old, and his father. The boy had a large red balloon but it was windy and it got away from him.
His father made a grab for it and missed but obviously couldn’t run after it and leave his kid. It was blowing generally in my direction and I made a quick dash for it and managed to catch it out of the air before it blew away. I then crouched down and held it out for the boy. He looked like he was about to start crying but immediately brightened up with the kind happiness only a child can have.
He took the balloon and his father just gave me a small smile and a nod. I returned the smile and nod and we went on our way. This moment always sticks out to me.
64. Money Talks
Wife and I took our honeymoon to Disney World 13 years ago. We were young, dumb, and broke. Rather than have an expensive wedding, our parents helped pay for the honeymoon. Leaving EPCOT one night, we got to ride at the front of the monorail. In the car with us were some man and his young daughter. My wife and I were wearing our chintzy Mickey and Minnie honeymoon ears.
The man asked us how long we had been married. We told him only a few days. He said congratulations, reached into his jacket and pulled out his wallet, and gave us a $100 bill. I tried to refuse, but he said it was ok. “I own a couple of banks.” It likely didn’t make much of a difference to him, but to us, it meant that we got to eat at an amazing restaurant for dinner on our last night there.
65. Creepy on Rye With No Lettuce
This happened to me about five years ago, so I must’ve been a freshman or sophomore in high school. I went to high school in a big city and left around 4 pm with my friends like any regular day. We walked to the subway and stopped to get some food on the way. I got a sandwich to go and we continued walking to the train.
We parted ways since we all took different trains to get home and I walked all the way to the end of the platform so that I would get on at the front of the train when it arrived. I was starving so once I got to the end of the platform I sat down and started going at this sandwich. There was one woman standing a little bit further down the platform than me but other than that there weren’t really any other people around.
I heard the train coming so I went to take my last bite and this giant man appeared literally out of nowhere and smacked the sandwich right out of my hand before it reached my mouth. I saw my sandwich skid across the platform in slow motion and I just sat there with my mouth open and hands frozen in shock. He just stared at me for a second, didn’t say anything, then kept walking down the platform.
I jumped up and ran onto the train and it was pretty crowded, so I ended up standing and facing the platform. The doors took an eternity to close and this man walked back and forth a few times with his eyes locked on me but didn’t get onto the train (thank God). The whole experience was totally bizarre and to this day I have no idea why this random man felt the need to ruin a perfectly good sandwich and scare the snot out of me.
66. Helping the Whole Plane out
I was on a flight once and my seat was right next to a woman with a screaming baby. I love babies so I offered to hold her for the woman, who was clearly frazzled and had her arms full trying to get settled all by herself in the plane. She happily handed the baby over and I calmed her down and held her for most of the flight.
At one point, the mother went to the bathroom and the flight attendant came over and offered me another seat so I wouldn’t be bothered by the baby. I declined and played with the baby the whole flight. I loved it. It was a win-win-win. The mom got a few minutes to herself, I got to play with a baby, and the rest of the passengers didn’t have to listen to a screaming baby anymore.
67. Lost in Time
In Detroit sometime in the summer of the mid-80s. I had stayed a weekend at a friend’s house playing Nintendo and we had stayed up all night to beat a game. Since we were up we decided to watch the sun come up on his front porch. An old drunk was walking down our block and heard us talking. He walked up to my friend’s porch and looked at us and said: “I was once somebody.”
It struck me hard and profoundly. I still think about that old fella. I hope he found himself before he passed.
68. Not Allowing a Stranger to Go Hungry
I was on a long late night bus ride. It was express so it made very few stops. The bus had maybe ten people on it in total. Half way through the trip, it made a stop at a small town station so people could grab a snack or use a public restroom and maybe stretch their legs. I was pretty hungry by this time, so I was glad for the pitstop.
I went up to the counter to buy what at that point was my dinner even though it was after 10 pm and when the cashier rang it up I passed a $50 bill to her and she told me that she couldn’t make change. Defeated, I went back to my seat on the bus. As everyone piled on and the bus drove away, a lovely middle aged lady walked up from her seat near the back.
She politely asked if I minded if she sat with me. I told her she was more than welcome. She sits and proceeds to unpack a small lunch bag. She then split the entirety of her meal with me. She said she had been waiting for the washroom to clear out and had overheard what happened. She said: “I’ve gone hungry in my life and it sucks. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, so you can share with me.”
When we were done I jokingly asked if she could break a $50 and we had a good laugh. She stuck with me for the remainder of the trip and was a very interesting lady besides being incredibly generous. I hope she is well.
69. Old Man Oracle
NYC bar: I was on a first date and there was an old guy at the bar—looked like an old fisherman from a novel—and he was convinced my date and I were already married. He went on and on about it. We said we weren’t married and he told us we were meant to be together and would be married a long time. He talked with us for a good 15 minutes about this.
My date and I did get married about a year later and have been together almost 25 years now.
70. A Doctor Should Not Make House Calls
A week or so before my 10th birthday, I walked to the corner store with a $5 bill and picked up a jar of Ragu for my mom. On my way home, a man I’d never seen before fell in step with me and began talking. “Hi!” he said, cheerfully. “My name is Dr. Ramsey. I’m a pediatrician. Do you know what a pediatrician is?”
I walked along silently, not replying and fervently hoping he would take that as a sign he should leave me alone. Subtleties were not his strong suit, though, because he kept right on chattering. “Are your parents looking for a pediatrician for you? Of course, you’re almost a big girl now, you’ll be needing another kind of doctor soon, won’t you?”
He kept talking. “That’s okay though. They can still bring you to me until then. What’s your name? You have beautiful hair. I was just on my way to get some suckers for the candy jar in my office. Do you like suckers?” Thankfully, we were nearing my house, so I ran forward, up the back steps and into through the kitchen door.
I didn’t know it then, but that was the beginning of a very long, very scary ordeal. It didn’t take long after that for “Dr. Ramsey” to begin showing up. At first, it seemed benign enough…at least to a kid. He would drive by nearly every day, smiling and waving. I told my mom, who said maybe it was on his way home from work. But then, the phone calls began.
My dad called me into the living room, and sat me down. He asked about the day Dr. Ramsey followed me home, and if I talked to him. He said I wasn’t in trouble, but that I needed to tell him the truth. I told him no, and he asked if I was sure…could I be forgetting something? I told him no again, and he frowned, then asked: “Then how does he know your name?” I didn’t know.
It turns out, that was not all he knew. He knew my sister’s name as well. Pretty soon, neither my sister or I were allowed to answer the phone. He called several times a day; at first, neither of us knew what he was saying. Then, one night, one of my brothers told us that he was telling my parents that he was going to hurt me (and later, my sister).
Things got complicated after that. My dad had called the police, but as this was before there were any stalking laws, there was not a lot they could do. They told my parents to call back if he “tried anything.” When access to me was completely denied, things escalated. It was around this time he began threatening my sister as well.
Then one afternoon my sister, two of my brothers, my mom and I were in the kitchen. One of my brothers saw a glimpse of someone in the garage; they’d seen him too. Dr. Ramsey came bolting out of the garage, my brothers chasing after him. They ran all the way to Cherokee Park, where he lost them in the trees. My parents called the police again, but nothing came of it.
The only information they had was a description and a name that was almost certainly fake. His phone calls became more informative in the meantime. He would talk about who was home, and who wasn’t. If my brother would say my dad was home, he would tell him who was really in the house. He also would talk about the house itself…
He would talk about the window in the kitchen he could easily open with a knife from the outside even when it was locked, and about the French doors that connected the living room to the side porch and how the lock could be finagled from the outside if you jiggled it just right. That night, my dad put in some carpenter nails at the bottom of the French doors until he could get a new lock ordered.
My parents had to go to a company event for my dad’s work. My older brothers were at Saints West roller-skating rink. My sister was on the phone with her best friend. My little brother was on the floor asleep. I was watching Devo on the Midnight Special with Wolfman Jack. It was late. Suddenly, the top of the French doors swung inward, and in the few milliseconds before the nails in the bottom caused them to snap back, I could see his silhouette.
My sister whipped the phone at the television, and we ran up the stairs. About halfway up, we realized our little brother was still asleep on the living room floor. As quietly as we could, we slipped back down the stairs to get him. We all went into our bedroom and didn’t turn on the light; this way we could see outside. We watched out the window for a while, and when we didn’t find him, we crept down the hall to our brothers’ room to look.
We looked down and could see someone standing at the backdoor. He knocked, loudly. “What do you want?” my sister asked out the window. He stepped back and said “Is this the Mercy residence? I have a pizza for delivery. Can you come to the door?” She scoffed at him, declaring she was not stupid, she could see he didn’t have a pizza, and she was calling the cops. He left.
We were at the table playing crazy eights, and my brother was restless. My sister asked him what’s wrong, and he said he always felt like any minute now there would be a ‘boom boom boom!’ on a door or window. Almost immediately after he finished his sentence, “BOOM BOOM BOOM!” on the window right behind him. In the chaos, the two eldest ran out, but he was already gone.
A couple of weeks later, I was at school and we were outside on the playground during recess. I was swinging upside down when I saw that now-familiar blue Ford Galaxy cruising by, moving slowly. There he was, smiling and waving. He called my name, and I ran to the teacher and told her. The school had been told all about him, and she took me inside right away and called my mom.
That same day, my mom had gotten a call from the school office asking her to verify that my dad was picking me up, as he’d called to say he was on his way. He wasn’t. Not long after that, I woke up one night, thirsty. I went down to the kitchen for a drink and there, sitting alone in the dark, was my dad. On the table, a gun.
He was tired of the police waiting until Dr. Ramsey “tried something,” he was tired of his children being terrorized, he was tired of being afraid every time he left for work that something would happen to us while he was gone. I sat with him for a time, watching, before he sent me back to bed. These events, and many more, took place over a period of around 18 months.
Then, as suddenly as it began, it was over. He had vanished from our lives; the phone calls, the drive-by with the creepy waves, everything. For a long time, during and after the Dr. Ramsey days, I would have a recurring nightmare in which I would wake up to find him standing over me as I slept. It took a long time before I felt like a kid again.
I found out years later that when he was calling, Dr. Ramsey would tell my parents that he was going to rape and kill me, and later my sister…and that there was nothing they could do about it. I don’t know what happened to him when he disappeared. I don’t know if he was in a car wreck, locked in prison, in a coma…but sometimes I wonder if the wait ended for my dad when he was sitting in the darkened kitchen one night. I don’t know, and I’m not sure I want to.
71. A Shoulder to Cry on
The day I found out my grandmother had a stroke and would never walk or talk again, I was away at college. I finally broke down in a bathroom. A girl came in and asked if I needed a hug. I was crying so hard that I really didn’t get a look at her face. I cried on her shoulder for about ten minutes and then had to pull myself together and leave for class.
I never explained myself and she never asked. I never recognized or spoke to her again. I wonder if she sometimes saw me on campus and wondered what was up and if I was okay.
72. Lose an iPhone, Gain a Friend
This is a good story. I stupidly camped out for a stupid new iPhone like an idiot. That next day, I went overseas on a government work trip to Taiwan. I lost my phone on my first night there. I retraced my steps but nothing. I resigned to the fact that I lost my brand new iPhone 3g, but I couldn’t help feeling wretched about the whole thing.
The next day, I was walking to the shipyard in the busy city of Keelung (port city of Taipei); and this guy runs out of a restaurant and flags me down. He motions to me to go to his cab. I said, “ah it’s ok, I don’t need a cab…” He shakes his head, runs inside his cab, and GIVES ME MY PHONE BACK, along with a work pen that fell out of my pocket into his cab.
I was absolutely shocked. I thanked him so much and he just smiled this biggest smile. I couldn’t speak Mandarin nor Taiwanese, nor could he speak English. But body language is universal. He motioned me to join him for breakfast back at the restaurant he ran out of where he saw me stroll by. He ordered some super delicious Taiwanese-style noodles and I ate them.
He PAID FOR THE MEAL. I tried to compensate him for all his troubles; HE REFUSED. This old man worked double duty at that restaurant and as a taxi driver; and you can see on his hands and face all the hard manual labor he did through the decades of his life. Oh, ya, his wife worked at that restaurant too. I demanded that I know his phone number.
For years after, my colleagues and I used him exclusively for our taxi rides around town. I’d post his number on our ship’s quarterdeck and label it “TAXI.” Also, me and my colleagues would make the trip to eat at the restaurant where they worked as much as we could. The restaurant closed down about five years ago though.
I even called him to take me to and from the airport; which is comparatively a large fare over there. I didn’t mind. He deserved it. I couldn’t find him anymore when I went back a few years ago for vacation (~2016). I am hoping upon hope he finally retired to the countryside in a small home on the hillside and living out his days in quiet with his wife.
73. Reformed Curmudgeon
I walked past an area with a lot of homeless people on my way to work regularly. You learned all their cons, the stories they spin, which ones will say which rote bit trying to weasel a few bucks. You get numb to it all. One guy comes up a block off the main drag on a bike. He looks pretty ok, clean, riding a bike, but very lean. He asks if I could spare him something to get a bite to eat.
No sob story, no, need to get back to wherever, just a straightforward, “I’m hungry, can you help.” I look at him for a long minute, then tell him there’s a shop a block over with sandwiches and a cold drink for under $5, and hand him a $5. “Please don’t make me regret, this. I don’t usually give.” He looks at the bill, takes it and asks, “Can I detail your car or something? I don’t really want charity, just a break.”
I told him to go eat and save his strength. The look in his eyes when a jaded and somewhat callous guy gave him something, no strings attached, near broke my heart. I saw him a bit later eating that sandwich. I won’t forget that guy.
74. Party Aboard the Polar Express
I was on an eastbound train from Colorado two days before Christmas. There was some kind of incident in another car around 11:00 that night—a dude got wasted and started threatening other passengers—and we had to make a stop so that the local police could come and collect him. It was actually pretty scary for a lot of us.
After the delay, the conductor came over the speakers and announced that if anyone was feeling upset or shaken by the incident one of the passengers had offered to play his guitar in the snack car and anyone who was awake was welcome to come down and join in for a singalong. I’m always down for weird train activities so I decided to grab my harmonica from my bag and head down.
There were about fifteen of us in the car, ranging in age from 16 to mid-70s and from all over the country. We sang every song we could think of that even kind of referenced a train—we were somewhere in rural Nebraska at that point and nobody had cell service to look up lyrics, so at times I was pretty sure that we were making up more of the words than we actually remembered.
The conductor came through after a while and offered to play a few songs, so the guy with the guitar handed it off and pulled out a mandolin, and my harmonica got passed around the group while one guy drummed along on his backpack. After a while the conductor got up and left, then came back with a copy of The Polar Express.
He read it out loud to our absolutely captivated group of mostly adult travelers while the snow flew all around us in the night, and I swear that for a few minutes our trip felt every bit as magical as the visit to Santa Claus in the story Sometime well after the snack car was supposed to have been vacated for the night, we capped things off with the most ridiculously earnest rendition of “Don’t Stop Believing” that has ever been performed and went our separate ways.
I never saw anyone from our little makeshift band again, but I’ll always remember that weird, wonderful late-night celebration of Journey and the magic of winter travel that came about because some guy was a dick on a train.
75. Together Against a Bully
I was at this event in a nearby provincial park that offered a shuttle service in and out of the park. They got more interest than bargained for I guess and people ended up having to wait about two hours for a ride out of the park. This made some people very angry at these poor rangers who were obviously just kids in their summer jobs.
This big dude was just screaming at this young looking girl, just going at her about “doing something productive.” Poor girl was in tears just apologizing over and over again and trying to get to her co-workers but he wasn’t letting her pass. This pissed me off, so I yelled: “What is she supposed to do?” And this older lady a few people down joined in with me to pretty much shame the dude back to his family.
Of course, when the busses finally came he sat his butt down on one of the priority seats despite there being a woman with a walker almost falling down right beside him. Lo and behold, the old lady from before swoops in and manages to kick him off and sat the woman down. Awesome lady, I miss you every day of my life.
76. Emotional Avalanche
I was adopted at birth, and learned who my birth family was in my early 30s. I had met a sister but nobody else by that point. Sister tells me grandpa is being taken off life support (cancer) and wanted to talk to me before he dies. Travel to hospital several hours away. Meet mom in hospital lobby for the first time ever. Go to grandpa’s room where all of his, and my, family are.
They are all there to say their goodbyes. Probably only 5% of them knew of my existence. Suddenly all the attention is on me, the stranger. The have me kneel by his side and he apologizes through tears for pressuring my mom, that I just met, to give me away for adoption. People looked pretty shocked, including me. The experience was a thousand emotions and awkward was in there somewhere.
77. Unwelcome Visitors
One night after having a few drinks, I came home to my small house where I lived with two other girls, probably around 2:30am. We were all serious students (I was probably the least serious, actually), and when we partied it was not your typical UCSB mega-rager. More like a small get together with friends. We would often have a few people spend the night, sleep on our furniture our in our beds as the case may be.
That night my roommates had had a few people over whom I didn’t know, and I saw when I returned home that one of them had opted to sleep on the couch from the shadow that I saw there (I didn’t turn the light, so I wouldn’t wake anyone up). But as I was passing the couch to enter my bedroom, I noticed that the figure was lying very stiff.
He just had this weird energy to him. He was lying down, but it was like he was putting all of his energy into lying as still and rigid as possible. I paused, and the guy quickly jerked his head to face me, without moving his limbs, so quickly that it startled me. I could see his wide-open eyes glinting in the dark.
Figuring that I’d startled him or that he was drunk or maybe on some kind of stimulant and unable to sleep, I just hurried past into my bedroom and locked the door. The dude made me nervous and I wasn’t taking any chances. I fell asleep. At 4:30 am I woke up. There was a strange sound at the door almost like somebody was drumming their fingers against the wood very quietly.
I lay still and listened. There were more quiet sounds like someone scratching the door with their fingers, which got louder and louder until it was clear that he was using both hands and scratching as fast and as hard as possible. It created an extremely loud and intimidating sound that filled me with absolutely fear.
I got my cell phone and texted my roommate because I was afraid to make a sound. “Your friend is freaking me out, is he coked out? Can you talk to him? He’s banging and scratching on my door.” She didn’t text me back, probably because she was asleep. I texted my other roommate to the same effect, covering all my bases.
Keep in mind that the scratching has been going on at this point for a couple of minutes. I have no idea how he could have sustained it, scratching a wooden door with your fingernails can’t feel good. He also grabbed at the knob and jiggled it super forcefully. Because neither of them answered, I decided to call and really wake them up, though I was scared to make a sound.
I know it sounds stupid but there was something seriously horrifying about being teased like this through the door. I knew that he was trying to terrify me. I felt like a little kid but I could tell this guy was up or something and maybe the police needed to be called, and I wanted to loop my roommates in since it was one of their friends.
The scratching stopped abruptly, and I called my roommate, who answered sleepily. “Yo, your friend is messed up, can you please deal with it? Do we need to call the cops? He’s seriously scaring me and he was scratching at my bedroom door, really weird.” She didn’t say anything for several seconds and when she did speak, her voice had no sleepiness in it at all. “What friend?” She said.
“That guy that was sleeping on the couch!” I said. She was quiet again. “We didn’t have any guys over,” she said. “Call the police.” My adrenaline surged, and I told her to please lock the bedroom door as quickly as possible. I realized that I hadn’t heard scratching in a while and I had no clue where the dude had gone.
Suddenly I heard a loud banging in the other end of the house, where my roommates, Lauren and Monica, shared a bedroom. The bangs were followed by the sound of them screaming in fear. I quickly dialed the police as this maniac proceeded to bang against the (luckily) locked bedroom door of my two roommates as they screamed.
The heaviness of the blows left no doubt that he was trying to break the door down. I’d told the 911 operator the situation and she’d dispatched two squad cars. At one point the banging stopped and everything was quiet for a while. I talked with the dispatcher and suddenly looked down to see that this guy had slipped his fingers through the 1-inch gap between my door and the floor and was just kind of waggling them around, making this weird growling sound.
I screamed and backed away, which is my biggest regret about this situation, since when I look back it would have been so awesome to just stomp the heck out of those fingers and hear the guy howl in pain. When the cops rolled up, I heard running and the sound of our sliding glass door opening and closing, and then he was gone.
The cops never caught him. He had broken in through our side door by jimmying the lock somehow. My door was covered in what turned out to be huge gauges he’d made using a pair of scissors, which he discarded on the ground before he left. What terrifies me most about this was that I walked right past him. I looked him right in the face.
I realize now that he was not trying to sleep or on drugs but was lying so stiff like that because he was hiding. He was just trying to escape my notice so he could carry out his plan. He probably heard me open the door and freaked out because he hadn’t realized there was another girl living there and tried to blend into the couch in the darkness.
78. Crawling Toward the Hero
When I was fourteen, I was trapped in the rubble of an earthquake. I spent six hours crawling towards a man whose face I never had the opportunity to see… he was a citizen who didn’t leave his name with anyone and never came forward, after the fact. It has always bothered me that I will likely never find out who he was or tell him how much comfort his voice gave me during those horrible hours.
When I saw pictures of the space I ended up in, much later, I couldn’t (and can’t) understand how he was able to stand where he stood for six hours without injuring himself or suffering some sort of emotional trauma himself. He’s my hero.
79. It’s a Big Big World
I couldn’t have been more than 4 or 5 years old. We were riding in a station wagon that had a third row of seats facing backward. My sister and I were waving to people behind us at traffic lights but no one waved back. Finally, one guy did and seemed really joyous about it. Every few lights he’d end up behind us again and wave. My older sister made a comment that we’d never see him again.
I don’t know why it was so profound besides it being the first time I remember understanding how big the world was and that I’d truly never see that man again after that car ride.
80. Pulled Back From the Edge
I know this sounds unbelievable, but it’s absolutely true. Years ago I walked to a bridge with intention of killing myself by jumping off. Met a guy there who wouldn’t stop hovering around me, eventually he approaches me and tells me that “I have bad spirits around me” and that I should keep my head up and not give in to them.
He then asks if he can smudge me. I didn’t know what that was but agreed anyway. He pulls out sage a lighter and a shell from his backpack and proceeds to bless me right there. As soon as he finishes a bunch of birds (seagulls, crows and pigeons) all come flying over and fly in circles above us. He said that they were telling me my life was about to turn around and then he said goodbye and left.
My life did change that day, big time. And when my mind occasionally creeps back to dark places, I think of him and it pulls me back.
81. When You Gotta Go, You Gotta Go
I once walked into a restaurant—I went straight to the bathroom, past the people who I now realize were waiting in line. I flung open the bathroom door AS WIDE AS FREAKING POSSIBLE and saw a girl on the toilet. We looked at each other wide-eyed until I finally screamed “WELL, THIS IS AWKWARD!!!” loud enough for the entire restaurant to hear.
Everyone, and I mean everyone, turned around to look at what I had just done. Embarrassed, I ran as fast as I could out of there, leaving the bathroom door wide open. The worst part? It was the type of door that closed itself ever so slowly, leaving the wide-eyed girl awkwardly sitting on the toilet with everyone staring at her.
82. Doing the Opposite of What Your Head Says
I crashed a wedding when I was 18 because it was on my bucket-list, and ended up dancing with a woman who was maybe 24/25. Her name was Natalie. We danced for a couple songs then the DJ put on a slow song, and I was thinking in my head that’s my cue to leave but I have this habit of when I think I shouldn’t do something because of negative thought.
I just say screw it and do it, so I grabbed her hand and we slow danced. I didn’t know anything about this woman, beyond her name and here I was slow dancing. After that I bounced because people were starting to look at me funny/ suspiciously so I left without saying goodbye. Honestly, I look back and think I wonder what Natalie is doing.
83. Leave It, Don’t List It
This is a popular story with my family and most of my friends. Amanda is my brother’s girlfriend. At the time of this story, she was looking for her first apartment and moving out from her parents’ house. Her and my brother didn’t want to move in together since they had only dated for a few months. She opted instead to search for a roommate online.
Browsing Craigslist, she found an ad titled something like “Roommate Wanted: Females Only.” This sort of thing was common since the area she was looking in was mostly young professionals. The listing was for a room in a house for about $225 a month, which was quite cheap compared to most of the places listed.
The occupant listed herself as a 23-year-old college student that wasn’t comfortable with living with any males. The other roommate would have their own room and attached bathroom. So far, Amanda was into this place. However, the listing only had a single photo from outside the property. Amanda sent an email wanting to meet the occupant and tour the house.
Within 30 minutes, she receives an email back with all the details and time to stop by. The girl worked late hours and wanted Amanda to stop by at 8pm. When Amanda arrives, there is a handwritten note on the front door saying, “Door broken, use back door.” Walking around the house, it looks nice but slightly unkempt: tall grass, weeds, dusty windows, etc.
Still no alarms for Amanda though. When she knocks on the backdoor and an older man opens the door. At first, Amanda thinks she has the wrong house, but the man reassures her and says that the occupant (I forget the name) was out and he was the landlord. The occupant asked him to meet Amanda since she was working late. He seemed pleasant and offered to show her around.
Alarms start going off but aren’t at red alert yet. First, the guy was clearly in his 40s, unshaven, and looked like he lived in his car. Also, only the kitchen light was on. As they walked around the house, Amanda noticed one huge red flag: No furniture. Nothing. The landlord was polite about answering questions but seemed irritable to keeping lights on for too long, rushing her around and only letting her look at rooms for a few moments.
There was a single room that the landlord wouldn’t open, telling her that it was the occupant’s room and he didn’t want to invade her privacy. As they walk down the hallway into the living room, she notices the front door has a plank nailed across it. “Broken” for sure. Amanda’s creep-o-meter is started to ding so she decides to wrap up the walk-through and leave but trying to polite.
As she’s giving the guy her “thanks for the showing” bit, he perks up and states that he forgot to show her the basement. It’s recently furnished and would be a great rec room…and she should take a look down there. At the time, Amanda and the landlord are standing in the small hallway between the front living room and the back kitchen.
In this little hallway was the basement door. When he opens the door, it opens outward to create something of a barrier between Amanda and the backdoor. The basement is pitch black. He smiles, motions down the stairs, and says “Ladies first.” What happens next is nothing more than a stroke of luck, and it probably saved her life.
Amanda got a text just as some random person parks in front of the house. Thinking on her feet, she pretends it’s a phone call and answers her phone. “Hey! Yeah, are you here? I’ll come out from around back and let you in. It’s great, you have to see it.” With a motion of confidence, she excuses herself around the landlord and walks out of the back door.
She says the guy just looked at her like he was confused. Once outside, she sprinted to her car and sped like hell out of there. When Amanda got home, she told her mother and my brother everything. Cops were called, they took her statement, and went to investigate. The Craigslist post had been removed, vanished into nothing.
The house had been foreclosed over six months earlier and the property had been abandoned. When the police investigated, they found that the closed room the “landlord” didn’t want her to look in was where the man had been staying. There was a pile of old dirty blankets, rotten food, and empty gallon jugs everywhere. Creepier was he had plastered ripped up pages from porno mags on ALL the walls in the room (where do they even find porno mags!?).
The really scary part of this was the basement. The man had tied a thin piece of fishing twine at about shin level across the stairs about halfway down. The basement was empty except another pile of old blankets, a broom handle wrapped in leather belts, and a small box with a few rolls of assorted tape (duct, electric, etc). Amanda ended up not moving in.
84. Lending a Comforting Presence
I’d locked myself out of my flat once when I was taking out the rubbish. It would have been close to midnight. Female, early twenties, and just out of the hospital. I had no way to get in and no money, phone, or nearby friends. I don’t remember this boy arriving or explaining myself to him, but he sat with me until morning the whole night long beneath my block.
He had limited English so we barely spoke, and he shared a tin of pineapple with me he had in his bag. He was calm, empty of ill intent, quiet but watchful. Friendly, a big, open smile. When the sun came up, he walked on. I’ll never forget him, or how kind he was to do that. Some people are so in tune with the world, they protect it. I hope he was ok too.
85. Some People Should Keep Their Mouths Shut
At a bar with my husband, chatting with strangers…one of them said to her husband, completely LOUDLY and while pointing at us—”their marriage won’t last, he is much more attractive than her.” We are now divorced, so she may have been right. Still, that was a pretty lousy thing for a complete stranger to say to us!
86. Getting More Than a Free Burrito
This was last year. It was my 21st birthday and I went to Moe’s for my free birthday burrito. As I was walking out I slipped on one of the mats (they had just mopped and put the mats back down before the floor dried) and I busted my butt. I was so embarrassed and in so much pain but a few people helped me up.
One middle aged woman helped me into the booth she was sitting in and took charge of the situation. She had them remake my food and bring it to the table as well as a first aid kit and a manager. She bandaged up my hand and knee and elbow all while getting the managers information in case I needed them to pay for doctors bills and got me like $100 in Moe’s coupons.
When my food finally came out she made me sit with her and eat. We ended up talking for like an hour, she told me about her and her family and she said if it was her daughter in my situation she’d want someone to step in and take care of her. When we were finished, she helped me hobble to my car and gave me a huge hug and told me happy birthday. I was so beyond thankful for her and her small act of kindness towards me.
87. Do You Know Who I Am?
After several long delays at the airport, my flight home was abruptly canceled while I was standing in line at the gate waiting to board it. The next day was my son’s first birthday, so I needed to get home in time. I went up to the United desk and the staff refused to help me in any way. Not only could I not get onto another flight that day, but there was nothing available for me the next day either.
This was all despite the fact that I was internetting the hell out of my phone and showing them all sorts of flights listed online as available, including both direct and connecting options that would get me where I needed to be. For some reason, they were still refusing to accommodate me, and I just didn’t have the money to go and buy something else.
It got to the point where I was starting to visibly lose my cool over all of this. A guy in line stepped out after hearing me. He told them he had some crazy status at the airline, and asked to speak directly to the manager. Next thing I knew, he was transferring his own ticket on a direct flight to me so I could get home to see my baby boy.
I don’t even know what happened. I tried to thank him in every way I knew how and he refused to take anything from me—he just told me that he knew what it was like from when he was younger, and that he wished there could have been someone to have done the same for him. I hugged the guy, probably against his will, and then ran to make my (AKA his) plane. I found myself in an amazing first class seat home for the first time in my life. This dude was seriously an angel and I will never forget him.
88. Keep the Whining to a Minimum
When I was 16, I had to go to the hospital. I don’t remember how it happened but I started talking to a guy in a wheelchair. His name was Harvey, he looked a bit like Jerry Lewis, was in his forties and told me he has brain cancer and only a few months to live. We talked for about an hour and at the end he gave me some advice.
He said don’t whine about anything, whining gets you nowhere, either do something about it and if you can’t try to accept it. I never forgot that. That was almost 30 years ago. Harvey, sometimes I whine but I try to keep it short. Thanks for that nice conversation. I hope in the end that you had everything you wanted.
89. Like Screaming Ships in the Night
I went for a bike ride in my neighborhood at about 12 at night a month ago. It was pitch black other than streetlights every five or six houses. I was kinda just zoning out, enjoying the fresh air, when something moved out of the corner of my eye. I turned my head to look, and I immediately assumed it was some kind of monster (I had just finished a horror movie).
I let out an extremely loud, bloodcurdling scream in the middle of the night in a silent suburban neighborhood. The thing, which turned out to be a blond soccer mom, screamed back at me, with pretty good reason. I zipped past her on my bike, yelling “oh my god I’m so sorry!” over and over again until I got off the street…I haven’t gone on a nighttime bike ride since then.
90. Hug It out
I had a lot of drinks one night, out at the bars with a couple friends. We were walking to the next pub, and I hear some guy across the street, don’t remember what he was saying though. I pipe up and yell “you talkin stuff?” And he responds “yeah I’m talkin stuff.” I start walking across the street with my arms stretched wide, like bring it on.
I hear my friends behind me telling me to stop and asking what I was doing. The stranger walks towards me too, and when we get up close we both just go in for a huge hug. Never met the dude before, and honestly I’m surprised I didn’t get punched. I’ll always remember that. I hope that guy is doing alright in his life.
91. The Long and Winding Road
This is a story that happened during the dark days of my childhood, in the mid-80s. I was ten years old, and I was having serious problems with my family—mostly my father. I was doing absolutely miserably at school. That year, I also had the bad luck of having a really bad music teacher. Now, music wasn’t a major subject, as we had one lesson a week. Nevertheless, that person was determined to make it a living hell for me.
Looking back now, I think he was just a quirky character, but he definitely had an extremely short fuse and was prone to switching at the drop of a hat from hearty, belly-type laughter to shouting and roaring at someone for nothing at all. I just never knew where I was with him, and adding that to my problems at home just brought me to the brink.
One day in December, my mother had promised that she would come to school on the day we had music lessons and that she would have a word with him. So I stood in front of the classroom, waiting and waiting for her. She didn’t show up. My brain just went into complete panic mode. I could not face that teacher on my own for another lesson, I just couldn’t.
So I walked away and walked right out of the school. I walked through the town. I walked through the outskirts of the town, and through the industrial area around that. I walked through the first village, then the second village. It was very cold, and there was a lot of snow on the ground, so I wasn’t walking fast, but I just kept walking on and on.
At some point, a car pulls up next to me and a man, probably in his 30s, rolls down the window and asks me if I wanted a lift. I said no, thank you. After all, I had no idea where I was heading myself and, as a young girl, I had been warned about taking lifts from strange men. I just kept walking. Through the next village, and then the next.
It was beginning to get dark. I had started to cry. I was feeling worn out, tired and so, so cold. I must have been walking for the better part of six hours at that point. All of a sudden, that same car pulls up next to me again, and the same man asks if I had changed my mind about wanting a lift now. By this point, I really did not care about anything anymore, so I got in. It was nice and warm in the car. He started chatting to me, easy and friendly. He even offered me a cigarette, which I found very odd.
Eventually, he got me to open up a bit and tell him why I was walking down country roads in the middle of winter all by myself. I told him all about how I felt my parents would be better off without me, and how I felt they didn’t really care and hated me. He kept talking to me, mainly about my family. He asked who else I have in my life who might care about me.
So I tell him about my grandmother who I’ve always been really close with. He asks me if I would like it if he dropped me off at her place and checked to see if maybe I could stay with her for the night instead of with my parents. I was just so exhausted at this point that without giving it a second thought, I agreed.
He turns the car around and drives back towards our town. On the way, he tells me that he had been thinking and worrying about me on the road that whole day, ever since he had first asked me if I needed a lift. He tells me that he had actually left work early just to drive around and see if he could find me—to make sure I was safe and that everything was okay.
He dropped me off outside my grandmother’s house and drove off. My grandmother gave me the longest, hardest hug anybody had ever given me in my life. I stayed with her for the next couple of weeks until things settled down a bit back at home. I have never told anybody about getting this lift from a total stranger, but I’ve never forgotten him. And I never will. If I ever find myself in a similar situation, I truly hope I can be as sweet and kind as he was.
92. Right in the Schnoz
The most awkward moment of my life thus far was with a stranger. I was in the Quebec airport going through customs with my family. Because of some recent changes to their system they didn’t have everyone in a line, but instead in a large pen where they would release ~50 people at a time (chaos). When my family is at the front, they release us and everyone is running forward in a mass trying to get to the kiosks.
Next to me is a tall Swedish man trying to get his family a kiosk, he is running forward and waving his arm behind him in a “come on” motion—clearly frantic. Well, somehow the worlds aligned where his middle and pointer fingers went perfectly into my two nose holes. Perfectly, as he then ripped his arm upwards to motion his family forward, my nose was also ripped forward.
I immediately began bleeding—everywhere. He looked at me in horror, my family looked at me in frustration as we needed to get to a kiosk, the customs agents looked at me in bewilderment. The language barriers made the situation all the more awkward.
93. Ticket to Ride
I was at a bar with my then-girlfriend. Seated next to us was an older gentleman who was alone and looking forlorn. After some time, he tapped my girlfriend on the shoulder and said, “I like the way you two talk to one another. Here’s what I’m going to do. I spent a fortune on these tickets for my wife. Unfortunately, she can’t go anymore, and I just don’t feel like going without her.”
He continued, “So, I’d like the two of you to have them. The only catch is that the concert starts in twenty minutes.” He didn’t elaborate, nor would he accept any kind of payment. He asked only that we go, enjoy ourselves, and keep being good to each other. He paid his tab, handed us the tickets and left. And that’s the story of how I got front row seats to a Prince concert.
94. Prince Charmless
The following account occurred roughly three years ago during the summer of 2012. It has always been difficult for me to talk about, but I have found writing about it to be therapeutic. I was 17 at the time, and I had just gotten my first job. I lived in rural western Virginia, in a small and very remote mountain community.
My mom’s friend owned a camping resort not far from my house that had a general store, and she said she’d pay me to help out in the store during the busy months in the summer. It was a pretty easy job, and I met a lot of out-of-towners, which was nice because our community could get so isolated; most of us lived pretty far away from each other.
One day, a big burly mountain man type came into the store. He was in his late 40s/early 50s, probably 6’5”, and about 280 lbs. He looked dirty, like he worked outside a lot; his clothes were sort of tattered and he had a long beard. We had a few of the woodsy hermit types in the area, and he definitely looked like one of them.
He bought some basic items, one of which was one of our homemade bars of soap. When he came to the register, he looked me up and down carefully. He didn’t talk for a minute, just stared. His people skills clearly needed work. “Did you make this soap?” He asked gruffly. “Possibly,” I said. “I help out with that sometimes.”
“You make a lot of your own stuff?” “Toiletries and things like that, yeah.” “I like that,” He said, nodding to himself. I honestly did not know how to respond. I quickly rang up his items and he paid with crumpled money. Right before he left, he asked, “You cook, too?” “Sometimes,” I replied. “Bet the boys ’round here are itchin’ to marry you,” he said as he smiled to himself.
I said nothing. I was puzzled as to what I said that stood out as wife material. I told Krista (mom’s friend/boss) about the bizarre encounter and she laughed it off; so did my family and friends. But then, Mountain Man started turning up more often. We chatted a little bit here and there, and I found out he had a cabin in the woods that he claimed he built “with his bare hands.”
He said he hunted and lived off the land, other than the things he bought at the store. Over time our chatter escalated, with him making comments about how nice it would be to have a woman like me around who could make those things and cook his kills. One time, he even said I had the “birthin’ hips that men lust after.” Shudder.
He even started inviting me to fish with him, hunt with him, see his place, etc. and I always politely declined. But he got more and more insistent and I told Krista about how uncomfortable he was starting to make me. The intensity with which he said those things really scared me. She said that when he came in, go get her and she would ring him up.
Thanks to her, I started speaking to him less, and I thought I wouldn’t have to deal with him anymore. But one night, I was closing up, and it was late, around 10 at night. Krista had left about an hour before, and I was leaving by myself. The only two cars in front of the store were an old blue pickup and mine; I was immediately alarmed because I knew Mountain Man drove a blue pickup.
But I didn’t see him in the lot, just his car, so I walked quickly to my car and checked the backseat before I started her up. But then when I first turned the key into the ignition, I got nothing but sputters. I tried several more times and got scared quickly. “Of all nights, why is this happening tonight?” I remember asking myself angrily.
Just as I was reaching for my phone to call for help, there was a loud pounding on the driver’s side window. I’m shocked that I didn’t piss myself. I didn’t even want to look, because I knew it was him. But I did, and my suspicions were confirmed. He smiled a big grin at me, showing me exactly which teeth were missing. “Need some help?” He said loudly through the window.
I shook my head furiously. “My dad is on his way.” I said, hoping to scare him off. I hadn’t spoken to my dad in years. Mountain Man laughed. “No he’s not.” He said. “Open the door.” The hairs on my neck stood up straight. How did he know I was bluffing? “No,” I said firmly. “Leave me alone.” Suddenly he looked angry.
He pulled the handle but I had locked all the doors when I first got in. He kept furiously pulling the handle and started pounding on the window. “Leave now or I’m calling the cops!” I screamed at him. He clearly wasn’t getting the message, so I pulled out my phone and called 911. I must have sounded hysterical to the dispatcher, and I knew she could hear him pounding.
She said she would have officers out ASAP, but out here, that could be a while. “THE COPS ARE ON THEIR WAY! LEAVE NOW!” I screamed at MM, who didn’t seem to let it deter him. But after a few more minutes of pounding, he suddenly stopped and walked back to his truck. I watched him go, hopeful he would leave me alone.
But then he started walking back toward me, with a crowbar in hand. “NO!” I screamed at him. “GET AWAY FROM ME!” He started swinging at the driver’s side window with the crowbar. I ducked down into the passenger seat on the floor and covered the back of my neck like they teach you in tornado drills. I heard the sickening crack of the window, but not for long.
Suddenly, I heard male voices shouting, telling MM to get away from the car. I sat up and saw two men approaching, one with a shotgun pointed at MM. I recognized them as a couple of guests staying at the resort for a camping trip. I breathed a sigh of relief and got out of the car, telling them that the police were on the way.
I thanked them profusely as we waited for the police, and surprisingly MM didn’t make any moves to get away, but the cops came pretty quickly after that, so he didn’t have much of a chance. They took him away and I gave them my statement; I was pretty shaken up for a while afterward. A few weeks later I finally got the scoop on the man.
Apparently, he had a history of mental illness. He had been in and out of state institutions. He really had been living in an old cabin in the woods, where he wasn’t taking his meds and his issues were only getting worse. My cousin Luke is a cop, and later on he told me some more about the case that he had heard about through some other officers.
The police did a search of the cabin after the incident, to see if there was anything that might be of interest to them. They found a journal that MM kept. Apparently, in it he said he was lonely and wanted a wife. He mentioned me by name a lot (stupid name tag), and Luke said there were a lot of lewd things in there about me that he didn’t want to share.
He tried to put it simply by saying that MM had a detailed plan to abduct me, starting with sabotaging my car engine to get me into a vulnerable position. When Luke said that, I nearly burst into tears thinking about how horribly that night could have gone if those two men hadn’t come along. Thankfully, he has been put back into a state institution. With any luck, he’ll stay there for good.
95. Fool Me Once…
I worked the entrance gate for a theme park. Our season pass holders used a biometric scan of their right index finger to verify their identity. One day a little girl walks up with her family, who only spoke Spanish, scans her pass and places her left finger on the scanner. I say, “Can you use your right finger sweetie?” Then, her mother raises the girl’s right arm to show me she doesn’t actually have a right hand.
Seemed to be due to a birth defect rather than a horrific accident. However, her left finger keeps getting rejected, so I call a lead over to override the old scan and re-do it. He then proceeds to say the same thing to the girl, followed by her mother raising the arm again. It was definitely more awkward for me than the family, but it gets worse.
About three months later it happened again, the same little girl. Absolutely mortifying.
96. There’s a New Sheriff in Town
In 1990, I was 19 years old. I was driving across the country by myself and all I had was $63 and a Texaco card. One night, I notice that my gas tank is close to empty somewhere in the middle of Iowa, so I pull up to a Texaco station—about five minutes after they had closed. I was trying to only use my Texaco card and to conserve what little cash I had.
The person working at the station wouldn’t open to give me gas, so I decide that I’ll just put ALL my clothes on and sleep in my car until they opened again in the AM. It was the middle of December and only about 11 degrees. At about 2 in the morning, I hear a tap on the window and a voice saying “I’m going to have to ask you to step out of the car!”
It was the sheriff. Uh oh! I explained what was going on to him. He ran my ID to make sure I didn’t have warrants or anything and then ominously stated, “That’s not how we do things around here.” Oh no, I was terrified! How do you do things around here? What’s going to happen to me?!? Turns out, he was PISSED that the guy at the gas station had left me there and refused to help.
So, he called the owner of the gas station up and made him come down in the middle of the night to fill up my gas tank—for free. Then the sheriff calls his wife and lets her know what’s going on. She tells him to offer to bring me over to their place for the night. Mrs. Sheriff proceeds to feed me, let me take a shower, and give me a place to sleep until the next morning.
Then she feeds me again, packs me a lunch for the road, gives me $20 in cash, and sends me on my way. It was seriously one of the most wholesome things that has ever happened to me.
97. From Playdate to Child Abduction
It was a very long time ago—back in 1973. I know that it was summer, I was six, and we were living on Monica Lane in Madison, Wisconsin. Thing is, I sort of recalled it but never put two-and-two together until a few months ago when I was talking to my mom who went into great detail. I was a very gregarious child; outgoing, extroverted, friends with anyone.
It was at the time a middle-class neighborhood, and three houses down from ours, on the same side of the street, was a huge park. My mom was a nurse and my dad was a salesman, but mom worked 2nd shift at Merriter, while my dad worked days. I rarely had a babysitter, only if they went out for dinner or a movie. But they did go out often and there were always older kids in the neighborhood to babysit.
One sitter who I really liked lived a few blocks or so away, and down the street a little bit. Vicky had babysat a few times before that and it was pretty uneventful. She’d play games with me, and do my hair, play dress-up, pretty basic stuff. So anyhow, one day I had gone with friends down to the park. I remember there was a ball field at the time, and a sandlot next to the field.
My friends wanted to play on the monkey bars, but I wanted to play in the sand. I looked at the sandbox and my babysitter Vicky was standing there. I told my friends I was going down to the sandbox and ran off. We played in the sand, building a castle, and then she asked me if I wanted to go get something cold to drink.
It was stifling hot, and I, of course, said yes. So she takes my hand and we start walking to her place. She starts telling me about her puppies and asking if I want to play with them. Of course, I get giddy and now can’t wait to get to her house. This was where my memory had stopped and after my mom told me what happened, the rest of it flooded back.
My mother just happened to be talking to my sister and I about some of the places we lived, and we got to Monica Lane. I told her I remembered the park and how big it seemed, and she asks me if I remember being kidnapped. I immediately thought she was kidding and then the chilling look on her face told me otherwise.
She said it was around five in the afternoon and one of my friends had come to the door to ask me to come back outside, sure that I had gotten bored and walked back home. When my mom checked the house, she realized I wasn’t there and (seven months pregnant with my sister) sprints to the park, screaming my name.
After asking several kids if they’d seen me with no clue, she went to the ball field and asked the older boys if they’d seen me. One of the boys (she guessed around 14) said that he’d seen a younger woman playing with a girl that fit my description in the sand and walk off in a general direction and that was all he knew.
My mom ran across the street to one of the houses and asked to use their phone and called the police. By the time the police got there, my dad had come home and some of the neighbors were trying to help my mom. So there’s this search party out looking for me, screaming my name and knocking on doors. The police had gone back to the park to ask the boys if they knew who had been with me and if they knew who she was.
Between the boys and the neighbors, they had deduced who it was that had led me off, but I have no idea how, honestly. The police and the entourage go to her home (she lived with her parents but they weren’t home) and knock on the door. She came to the door and told them she hadn’t seen me, and that she’d been home all day.
The police asked to come in and for some reason, she said okay. They went through the house and went to the basement and found me. That’s what my mom knew and then I remembered. It was literally like a flood gate had opened and I started crying. At six, you sort of trust everyone, and she’d been into our home.
I never got a bad feeling from her and my parents didn’t, either. But when we walked into her house I remember that cold, holy feeling washing over me and getting very worried. I remember starting to cry and saying I wanted to go home, over and over. She takes me into her kitchen and gets me a glass of water and a tissue.
I hear dogs barking, and next to the kitchen is an open stairway that goes down and where the barking was coming from. She starts trying to cajole me into going downstairs—telling me there’s all sorts of toys and games. I reluctantly agree, and she grabs my hand to head down the stairs. The dogs are going nuttier and I start screaming.
At this point, Vicky is getting bizarre. She’s screaming at me to “SHUT UP!! IF YOU DONT SHUT UP I WILL THROW YOU IN THE CAGE WITH THE DOGS AND THEY WILL EAT YOU!! SHUT UP!!” Dragging me down the stairs and still screaming. I was scared out of my mind. I remember crying so hard I was hyperventilating, and I am screaming so hard I’m not making sounds.
Vicky then flips a switch and starts being syrupy sweet, trying to calm me down. She tells me that she was just playing a game and tells me she wants to play hide and seek. She must have been relatively skilled at calming me down because the next thing I know, I hear knocking on the door upstairs and I wasn’t crying.
The houses were all the same sort of tract houses that Sears used to sell, not huge but not small, but you could hear everything at any spot in the house. I keep hearing the knocking and she tells me that it’s her friends. They’re coming to play hide and seek!!! She convinced me to let her put a piece of masking tape over my mouth, so I wouldn’t make a sound, and lifted me into this big wooden box next to the kennel.
She put a big pile of blankets over me and told me to be really quiet, so they didn’t find me. The whole time the dogs were going crazy but when she calmed me down, they calmed down, too. They still looked incredibly mean, but they were no longer frothing at the mouth, and only slightly growling. Until the knocking started.
I remember scrunching in there, confused. Still scared and convinced that the dogs were going to get out and eat me. I was crying again and hyperventilating. I remember taking the tape off my mouth because I couldn’t breathe, but remembered I needed to be quiet because I was afraid of what she’d do if I screamed.
I laid in that smelly box next to a big bag of dog food, sweating to hell, tears rolling down my face. I sort of pushed the blankets to the side but only enough so that I could pull them back over me when someone came. I recall thinking about my dad and wondering if he’d come find me. All of a sudden, I hear what sounds like adults yelling my name.
They come down the stairs and the dogs are going crazy again. Over and over men are yelling my name and then I hear a man say, “If you don’t shut those dogs up I will!!” I was in a large storage box (like a carpenter’s toolbox type of thing) with tape hanging off my mouth when they opened the lid. I remember a very nice man asking me my name and if I was okay.
I don’t remember answering him in anything other than screams and tears and grabbing his neck so hard my dad had to practically pry me off of him. I remember my parents taking me to the hospital to be checked out and that’s all I really remember. Mom said that Vicky was found guilty of attempted kidnapping, as she should’ve been.
Last she knew, she was in prison but she couldn’t remember when the last time was she had heard anything. We moved from the area shortly thereafter, and I haven’t been back since. I do know that mom said that her parents were odd but that they didn’t know them. She had met Vicky from neighbors that had used her as a babysitter and had never heard of anything bad and that I always seemed happy with her.
She lived in the general neighborhood, but it would have been two blocks over and one block down. Mom said they never picked her up, she always walked over. When they’d get home, they’d drive her home but never noticed anything out of the ordinary. Mom and dad had only met her parents when they came to the door to ask for forgiveness; that Vicky hadn’t meant to do anything bad, and was a good girl.
Mom said my dad picked up her dad by the shirt and told him that if they ever came on our property again, he’d kill them. I remember her name and sort of what she looked like, but would have no idea if she walked up to me who she is.
98. Angels in the Heavens
When I was really ill in October 2017, my father also became even more ill than I was in another country. There was nobody else around for him who actually gave a damn, so I had to fly over there to see and support him. I planned to bring him home with me after he had recovered from his surgery. I had just been through a lot of trauma, and I was in no physical or emotional state to be getting on a plane—but there was literally no other option.
The flight was only around two hours long, but even that was way too much for someone as weak and frail as I was at that time. When I was waiting in line to board the plane, I could immediately feel myself getting dizzy and panicky—but that got a lot worse when I got onto the plane and when it started to take off. I started having a full blown panic attack, hyperventilating and crying in my seat.
I was sitting at the window, and there was a rather large man sitting in the middle with his daughter on the outer seat. The man noticed me crying, and he and his daughter switched seats. She took my hand and said something along the lines of “You’re okay, we’re here. There’s no need to hold this anxiety back, we’re not going to judge you, just let it happen and everything will be alright.”
She just hugged me and told me she’s so sorry while I hysterically cried. Once we landed, she and her father drove me in their car directly to the door of the hospital my dad was admitted to (over an hour away). They even offered to book me a hotel for a night or two, but thankfully I already had my accommodations sorted out. I do not know what I would have done without those people that day. We have each other on Facebook now, and she still occasionally checks in with me to this day.
99. License to Give Thanks
On a Monday afternoon, I came home from work to find a letter in the mail. It was addressed by hand and the return address wasn’t familiar. I thought to myself “this can’t be good!” I opened the envelope to find my driver’s license and a note. I was unaware that I had even been missing my driver’s license. Apparently, on the prior Saturday, I had managed to drop it from my wallet somehow.
This nice person found it on the sidewalk, went home, wrote her note, addressed an envelope to me, and put a stamp on it, then deposited it into a mailbox in time for the Saturday pickup. By Monday, it was already back safely in my hands before I had even realized that it was missing.
100. Can’t Put a Price on Education
On September 14th, 1986, my dad dropped me off at boarding school and gave me a five-dollar bill. I never heard from him again. He never paid my tuition bill. So, from the age of 14, I took every job I could get and worked my way through. At $4 an hour, I didn’t even come close to paying off my entire bill, but the school let me stick around because I was a model student in and out of the classroom.
We get to graduation. I opened my little diploma thing expecting to see a bill in five figures. Instead there was a note: “Congratulations on your graduation. A group of us who believe in you and love you have taken care of your bill. We are proud to present you with your diploma.” Whoever it was, they were a stranger to me. But not for long…
I later found out that one of my friend’s dad, a fairly well-off dentist, went fundraising among his golf buddies because he didn’t want to see me enter life at 18 under crushing debt.