Split-Second Decisions That Changed Lives

October 31, 2023 | Sammy Tran

Split-Second Decisions That Changed Lives


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


1. Where Did It Come From?

In the middle of the night, on a desolate interstate, I found myself driving at a speed of 80 miles per hour. Without any particular motive, I made the choice to switch lanes. Unbeknownst to me at that moment, this split-second decision turned out to be a lifesaver. 

Miraculously, I narrowly avoided a collision with a stationary, mangled car that was blocking the very lane I had just vacated.

Shocked young woman in red top  driving a  car at night

2. The Moose Is Grateful Too

In the summer of 1992, during the late hours of the night, I found myself driving on a two-lane highway in the serene north woods. To be honest, I was feeling quite exhausted, making my decision to continue driving unsafe. 

Suddenly, an unexplainable instinct compelled me to urgently apply the brakes. Miraculously, I came to a halt just two car lengths away from a majestic moose standing right in the middle of the road. 

It seems that my subconscious mind detected the gleam in its eyes and made the wise choice, as I remained completely unaware of the reason behind my sudden braking until I finally came to a stop.

Moose in winterURAL, Pexels

3. Saved By A Hair

As a high school student, I found myself in a situation where I had to quickly act. Seeing a middle schooler about to cross the road without looking, I instinctively reached out and grabbed her backpack, ensuring that we both stayed on the safety of the sidewalk. 

This decision was prompted by a previous encounter with a red car that had almost hit me a few weeks earlier. As fate would have it, that very same car came rushing down the street at an alarming speed, just as the young girl and I would have been in harm's way. 

I immediately recognized the driver's distinct shade of blonde hair, solidifying my decision to intervene.

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

4. Saved Two Lives

I experienced an explosion unexpectedly while kneeling down to sign a document. As the detonation occurred, a jolting sensation ran up my spine, signaling the imminent danger of glass shards piercing through me. 

Fortunately, the individual who handed me the paper saved my life, and they also emerged unharmed from the incident.

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

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5. Wear A Helmet, Kids

I set out on a bike ride but almost forgot my helmet. Initially, I debated whether I should bother taking it since I was only going for a short distance. However, in the end, I decided it would be best to bring it along. 

Surprisingly, just half a mile into my ride, I got struck by a car. Although my helmet was damaged, thankfully, aside from a concussion, I sustained no other injuries.

Bicycle and helmet on the roadBobex-73, Shutterstock

6. Friendship Park

About four years ago, a schoolmate I barely knew unexpectedly invited me to Six Flags. Back then, I tended to keep to myself and I had heard some peculiar rumors about this particular individual, so my initial inclination was to decline the invitation. 

However, on the day of the outing, I was feeling unusually bored and impulsive, leading me to think, "Why not?" Thus, I found myself at Six Flags, where I met this schoolmate and two other unfamiliar faces who happened to be friends of his. 

Little did I know, this seemingly chance encounter would completely change my life. That schoolmate is now my closest friend, and through him, I formed strong bonds with three other amazing individuals. 

Interestingly enough, it was through these newfound connections that I also crossed paths with my first girlfriend. These friendships transformed my high school experience from one of solitude to being surrounded by an incredible group of friends with whom I could share countless adventures.

 Looking ahead, I have every intention of requesting my best friend to be my best man in the future, and I am determined to maintain strong connections with all of them. Now that I am back from college, we are bound to have an unforgettable time together. 

Without a doubt, accepting that invitation was the best decision I have ever made.

Friends gamers having a chatYan Krukau, Pexels

7. High School Does Teach You Useful Things

I found myself involved in a bar altercation, where I ended up being thrown into a crowd and forced to the ground. A volatile individual was on top of me, strangling me, and I felt completely immobilized, unable to breathe. 

It seemed like the end for me, as I envisioned spending my last moments on the floor of a nightclub in New Jersey. Then, out of nowhere, I remembered a technique my wrestling coach had taught me to free myself from tight grips. 

I quickly located his thumb, clenched it with force, causing a distinct cracking sound. He yelped in pain and released his hold, allowing me to push myself up and escape. 

The chokehold had been so intense that both of my eyes were entirely bloodshot, with no trace of white, and I had even shattered a tooth. 

It was an incredibly close call, and I shudder to think about what might have transpired if I had not remembered that one obscure move or never had any wrestling experience. Truly chilling.

Friends preventing fightingDusan Petkovic, Shutterstock

8. The Ocean Is Always Stronger

While swimming at the beach, I found myself caught in a strong current. Despite the protection of a rock formation, I made the foolish choice of swimming past it, only to be carried away. The remaining coastline consisted mainly of steep rock cliffs. 

Realizing I was in serious trouble, I had to think quickly. Fortunately, I spotted a small area where I could swim ashore. However, the waves constantly pushed me against hidden rocks just below the surface. 

In a desperate attempt to reach safety, I decided to grab onto the rocks between waves and hold on tightly as the waves crashed over me, ensuring I wouldn't be tossed around like shredded cheese. 

Miraculously, I successfully reached shore, later realizing that my precise actions prevented a tragic outcome.

Drowning woman in seaNew Africa, Shutterstock

9. Even Pittsburgh

During my time in 8th grade, when I was just 13 years old, I had an extensive bus ride home. To pass the time, I would engage myself in reading. One particular day, I found myself in a dire situation - I had nothing to read and only a minute to choose something from the library.

 Strangely enough, my choice led me to pick up a book on astronomy. That book turned out to be a truly remarkable discovery and captivated me like nothing else had before. It exhilarated me to learn that every astronomer on this planet had been 13 years old at some point too. 

It made me realize that pursuing a career in astronomy was a legitimate possibility, regardless of being from Pittsburgh. Fast forward to today, and I am now a professional astronomer specializing in the study of enormous space explosions. 

The journey from that defining moment to where I am now required a substantial amount of effort. However, I will forever be grateful for that impulsive decision to pick up that library book!

Astronomer with a telescopeAstroStar, Shutterstock

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10. Sometimes Dreams Come True

The previous night, I had a dream where a friend warned me to lock my doors immediately upon entering my house. The following day, I went to my neighbors next door to address a disturbance they were causing late at night. 

To my surprise, my neighbor seemed to be under the influence of something, as he immediately became agitated and began screaming about unrelated matters. 

He became aggressive, puffing out his chest and confrontationally approaching me, despite the fact that I was a smaller woman. I chose to walk away, returning to my house and promptly locking the door, heeding the advice from my dream. 

It was unsettling to discover that the neighbor had been following me, as he attempted to open my door right after I locked it. Being alone at home, I couldn't gauge the level of harm he intended to cause me. 

Recognizing the need for increased security, I decided to install cameras the next day.

woman holding keys and  locking the front doorPolsinaut, Shutterstock

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11. We All Can Learn From This

Despite already being in bed, I made the choice to visit the A&E instead of sleeping due to the "gas pains" in my abdomen. Fortunately, the surgeon was able to address my appendix that same night before it reached a critical state. 

Recalling a specific warning about experiencing pain while lifting my left leg, and considering the availability of free healthcare in this country, I opted not to take any risks, despite the symptoms being relatively mild.

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

12. A Fresh Start

After graduating from university, I was in search of employment, exhaustively scouring numerous online resources. 

On a sudden impulse, I decided to explore the job listings in a printed newspaper that happened to be lying around my house, although we never subscribed to it and I knew not why it was there in the first place. 

To my surprise, I managed to secure a job in a different city as a result. Little did I know it would change my life. It was during this time that I had the fortunate encounter with an individual who has since become one of my closest friends. 

Through this newfound connection, I was introduced to a network of acquaintances, who further expanded my circle, ultimately leading me to meet my spouse. 

Had I secured a job in the location I had initially planned, there would undoubtedly have been no opportunity for these meaningful connections to manifest.

Couple exchanging rings at their church weddingPavel Danilyuk, Pexels

13. Good Choice

In 2008, I experienced an accident while riding my motorcycle to college, which is quite common where I'm from. It had just finished raining, and I was preparing to overtake a vehicle when suddenly, a tuk-tuk appeared out of nowhere. 

Despite my immediate and forceful braking, our rear tires collided, causing me to be launched into the air. In that moment, I realized I had to make a split-second decision between protecting either my right arm or my head. 

Opting to safeguard my skull, I allowed my right arm to bear the brunt of the impact. The recovery process took approximately 50 days. 

Although I still face challenges in writing with my right hand due to difficulties gripping the pen, I managed to adapt by learning to write with my left hand. I persevered and continued living my life.

Motorcycle that has been in an accidentDmitry Surov, Shutterstock

14. Not So Petty Theft

Regrettably, I made the decision to involve myself in the illicit act of stealing from a parking lot machine, which turned out to be an awful choice. Standing near the enclosed gate of the parking lot, the thief suddenly swung his crowbar in my direction. 

Miraculously, I managed to dodge his attacks by moving at the right moment. To this day, I am puzzled at how I managed to escape being hit by the crowbar. In addition to his violent actions, the thief let out a scream that resembled that of a gorilla. 

Although I didn't come out completely unscathed that night, I was fortunate to have narrowly avoided serious harm. I felt incredibly foolish for my impulsive actions, but at the same time deeply relieved that I wasn't injured. 

Remember, children, addictive substances can lead to disastrous choices.

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

15. Good Instincts

While driving home from a robotics team party during my high school days, I suddenly felt an instinctual urge to slam on the brakes, bringing my speed of 50 mph down to a halt. 

To my surprise, a car recklessly raced through the intersection in front of me, crashing into a curb and swerving erratically across the road. It dawned on me that if I hadn't reacted swiftly, I would have surely been involved in the accident. 

Overwhelmed by this realization, I pulled into the nearest parking lot and experienced an hour-long panic attack before finally mustering the courage to continue my journey to my parents' place.

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

16. Heavy Thinker

One day, I was hanging out with my friend at the skatepark, having a great time. As we were exploring, we stumbled upon a unique basketball hoop made out of stone. At first, I didn't think much of it and continued our fun. 

Little did I know, I was actually sitting right underneath that peculiar hoop, with no idea of the peril I was unknowingly in. Out of the blue, I suddenly had an unexplainable impulse to stand up. It was a strange feeling, but I followed my instincts and got up just in time. 

Within moments of my decision, the massive stone structure came crashing down, exactly where I had been sitting only seconds before. In that moment, I didn't fully grasp the danger I had narrowly escaped. 

But every now and then, when I think back to that incident, a chill runs down my spine, reminding me of the gravity of the situation.

Photo of people skateboardingJan Kopřiva, Pexels

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17. Biker Thrills

In the past, I used to be a motorcycle rider, and I'm sure you are all aware of the dangers associated with it. One day, while I was commuting to work, I found myself stopped at a traffic light next to a car. 

The driver happened to be a woman in her mid-20s, who was engrossed in her phone. In an attempt to catch her attention, I revved my engine but unfortunately, she continued to ignore me. To my dismay, she suddenly veered into my lane without any warning. 

This incident reaffirmed my decision to stop riding motorcycles, as one of the main reasons for doing so was the reckless behavior of others on the road.

biker rides motorcycleJohnny Bravoo, Shutterstock

18. Almost Became Actual Lost Boys

So, my buddy and I were walking across this really high train bridge in his hometown. We might have been feeling a little buzzing from the drinks. Before we started, we actually called his mom to find out when the train usually passed by. 

She told us it was usually around noon. It was already around 4:30, so we figured we were good to go. As we were about halfway through, we suddenly heard the train whistle. 

The problem was, we were above a deep river valley, so the sound echoed and it was hard to figure out which direction the train was coming from. We quickly made the decision to turn around and head back the way we came. 

And boy, were we lucky! The moment we jumped off the bridge onto the embankment, the train came roaring around the corner right in front of us! If we had chosen to keep going instead of turning back, we definitely wouldn't have made it.

train going over a bridgeCelil DOĞAN, Pexels

19. The Bike Path

As I was riding my bike back home from university in the dark, I noticed the figure of a person standing at the edge of the path. Instinctively, I stood up on the pedals, trying to be cautious. But to my surprise, the person suddenly swung a bat, hitting my arm right on the biceps.

 Fortunately, I managed to stay balanced and hold onto the handlebars, not letting go. If I had stayed seated on the bike, that bat could have easily struck my face. And who knows what else might have happened on the ground afterwards.

Man riding a bike at nightSkitterphoto, Pexels

20. A Lucky Escape

When I was nine years old, I had a fondness for snuggling into my older brother's waterbed in the upstairs bedroom. However, on a chilly January night, I had a change of heart and chose to sleep in my own bed downstairs. 

Little did I know, this decision would prove to be a life-saving one. In the stillness of the night, a powerful earthquake unexpectedly struck. The shaking was so intense that it caused the headboard, which was loaded with numerous shelves, to violently crash down onto my brother's waterbed. 

It was a terrifying sight to behold. Had I been sleeping in that bed as I usually did, I could have been gravely injured or worse. It was a truly eye-opening experience. 

I realized that sometimes, our decisions—no matter how small they may seem—can have significant consequences.

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

21. Quick Thinking

When I was in my early 20s, I used to work for a company that installed underground utilities in new neighborhoods. During the winter, at the end of our workday, my fellow laborers and I would take a few minutes to scrape mud off the tracks of the excavator we used. 

One particular day, I found myself between the two tracks, diligently removing the stubborn mud. Out of nowhere, I heard my colleagues calling my name urgently, almost screaming it. Though I couldn't see what was happening, I immediately sensed the sheer terror in their voices. 

It dawned on me that they wouldn't sound that scared unless the excavator was still moving and there was a real danger of getting trapped between its heavy rear counterweight and the track. Without wasting a second, I instinctively dropped to my knees and rolled away. 

Just in the nick of time, the back of the excavator swung across the exact spot where I had been standing only moments ago. If I had been just a little slower, I shudder to think that I could have been seriously injured or even cut in half. 

To my relief, it turned out that the operator of the excavator thought we were already done for the day. We decided not to tell anyone about the incident–you know how you are at that age, thinking you're invincible and that nothing can shake you. 

Even now, once in a while, I find myself reflecting upon that harrowing experience. It still sends shivers down my spine.

Crawler excavator diggingFahroni, Shutterstock

22. Never Underestimate The Power Of Moving Water

So, this crazy thing happened one day when my friends and I stayed up all night and decided to go for a swim in the river. We were all feeling pretty rough from the hangover and lack of sleep. Well, without thinking about it, I ended up swimming right into a waterfall. 

Boy, did I underestimate the force of the water! It dragged me down like a helpless twig and I couldn't find my way back up. I started to panic, but then in a desperate move, I kicked my legs forward and miraculously managed to push off some rocks underwater that were right next to the cliff. 

Thankfully, no one saw my little mishap. I was definitely in trouble, but thanks to that lucky move, I was able to save myself from a serious disaster.

Person drowning  in the riverAbdul Razak Latif, Shutterstock

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23. A Series Of Terrible Decisions

When I was still a teenager, my friend and I approached a stranger on the street late at night to ask for a certain substance. The stranger mentioned that he couldn't drive because he was too messed up, but his car was parked nearby. 

He offered to take us to get what we were looking for if we drove him. Feeling a mix of nerves and excitement, I hopped into the driver's seat, adjusted everything to my liking, and started the car. 

However, I made sure to keep my foot on the brake because I didn't actually have my driver's license, and my experience behind the wheel was very limited (probably just my fourth time driving). As we waited, a white Charger pulled up next to us. 

Suddenly, a guy wearing a bandana over the lower half of his face rushed towards my window, pointing a pistol at me. In that split second, time seemed to stand still. But without thinking, I slammed on the gas and swerved out of the parallel parking spot. 

As we drove, I stopped at a stop sign at the end of the block, questioning why I would even stop at a time like this (cue internal screaming intensifying). I decided to keep going, running a couple of red lights and making a few quick turns. 

Eventually, I parked somewhere I knew was secluded and much safer. It was quite late at night and we were in my hometown, so I felt a bit more at ease. Looking back, I realize how foolish and reckless I was as a teenager.

Car on a roadBurak The Weekender, Pexels

24. Even In The Air, People Get Too Close

I was flying a small training aircraft, along with an instructor by my side. I had full control of the plane when I noticed a slightly larger light aircraft flying ahead, towards our far-right field of view. It appeared to be getting alarmingly close to us. 

In a panic, the instructor shouted at me to be cautious—and then it happened. My heart raced as I saw the aircraft veer right in front of us, barely leaving 10 meters of space between us. It was an incredibly close call, almost resulting in a collision mid-air. 

The instructor was livid at the other pilot's reckless behavior, and made sure to record their details to report them for dangerous flying. At the same time, he commended my quick reaction and skill, saying that I had a natural talent for flying.

Small white plane landingTim Gouw, Pexels

25. The Stereotypical White Van

I was sent to Costa Rica for work and arrived at my hotel late in the evening, around 7 or 8 pm. I was starving, as I hadn't eaten for hours. Luckily, I remembered spotting a Subway restaurant near my hotel earlier. 

So, I popped in my earbuds and walked towards Subway. Upon reaching the restaurant, I grabbed my sandwich and started heading back to the hotel. Suddenly, when I was just a block away, a white van pulled up in front of me at a crossing and a man inside began shouting at me in Spanish. 

In that moment, I had to make a choice. Should I stop and try to understand the situation, or should I quicken my pace and walk around the back of the van, keeping my eyes forward? Deciding to err on the side of caution, I removed one of my earbuds to better hear what was happening. 

I swiftly walked around the back of the van and could hear the sound of a sliding door opening, accompanied by the van's backup lights turning on as it started moving in reverse. Fear started creeping in as I picked up my pace, speed walking away. 

With only about 20 more feet to go until I reached the hotel, I broke into a run. The mix of trying to stay calm while sprinting intensified my emotions. Finally, I reached the hotel's entrance and glanced back up the street just in time to see the white van speeding off in the opposite direction. 

To this day, I'm not entirely sure if my interpretation of the situation was correct or if I simply misunderstood. Nevertheless, that split-second decision has had a profound impact on me. 

Normally, I would stop and try to make sense of any situation, but that experience has taught me the importance of trusting my instincts when it comes to personal safety.

silhouette of feet walking on street at dark nightProStockMedia, Shutterstock

26. Domino’s Effect

One day after school, I came home with a strong craving for pizza. Being aware of our family's financial struggles, I knew that impromptu food outings were rare for us. Nonetheless, I couldn't resist and tried my best to convince my mom to take us to the local pizza place for dinner. 

Surprisingly, she agreed. As we sat there enjoying our meal, I happened to spot my uncle walking by. In a state of disbelief, I exclaimed, "Wait, is that really you, Uncle?" You might wonder why this was such a big deal, considering his desire for pizza. 

Well, the strange part was that he lived in a different state. It seemed odd that he happened to be in town without informing anyone. Eventually, the truth was uncovered, and it was a shocking revelation. It turned out that my uncle was having an affair with my aunt from the other side of the family–his sister-in-law. 

She had a reputation for being a money-oriented individual, and this caused a lot of tension and outrage within the family. Things quickly escalated, causing deep rifts and animosity among family members.

It has been almost twenty years since we last had any contact with each other. All of this chaos and turmoil stemmed from my innocent desire for a simple slice of pizza.

Ridiculously Picky CustomersPexels

27. A Pebble In Time

When I was 14 years old, I was strolling towards the river with two of my close friends. Suddenly, I had to halt because a small pebble found its way into my shoe, causing discomfort. 

Thankfully, my girlfriends paused alongside me, not realizing that this brief delay was a twist of fate. Shockingly, only moments later, a vehicle abruptly veered off the road and careened onto the sidewalk, crashing into a sturdy brick wall. 

The impact occurred just a few meters away from us, precisely where we would have been walking had we not halted earlier. It was an absolutely chaotic and heart-pounding experience. 

The sheer force of the car colliding with the solid wall was tangible, and we instantly realized that there was no way we would have survived if we had continued walking just seconds earlier.

Car  crashes into a houseSue Thatcher, Shutterstock

28. Cujo Returns

My cherished rescue dog suddenly became agitated and unexpectedly lashed out at me. Just moments before the incident, I slowly sat up and calmly nudged his face away from mine. You see, he had been whimpering and attempting to lick my face while I was relaxing on the couch.

 A deep instinct within me urged me to sit up and gently move his face aside. The whole ordeal was truly devastating—I ended up with a significant wound on my arm and he persisted, determined to overpower me. 

Thankfully, my husband was there. Without him, the situation would have continued until the dog successfully brought me down and pinned me there.

An angry dog running at the beachIvistevie, Shutterstock

29. Pedal To The Metal

I was driving through this intersection, and there was a huge hedge blocking my view on the left side. I inched forward cautiously and saw that there were no cars coming from the opposite direction, so I decided to go ahead and cross. 

Just as I glanced out of my window, I noticed a truck racing towards me at a high speed. It felt like time stood still for a moment, but my instinct kicked in and I immediately pushed the accelerator pedal all the way down. 

Unfortunately, I still got hit, but I believe that if I hadn't accelerated, the truck would have collided with me head-on.

Man hitting brakes to avoid accidentJeff Giniewicz, Shutterstock

30. Maybe Oliver Twist Should’ve Moved To Utah

Back in 2005, my partner and I were living in the lovely French Quarter of New Orleans. I had been working at a restaurant called Mr. B's Bistro for about six months. One day, I mustered up the courage to ask my boss for a raise. 

I approached him and politely said, "Excuse me, sir, would it be possible for me to get a dollar raise?" To my disappointment, they only offered me an extra 50 cents. Feeling a little frustrated, I thought to myself, "Well, that's not really what I was hoping for". 

At that point, I made a significant decision: I decided to move to Utah and spend the winter skiing instead. Together, we packed our belongings and embarked on a road trip to Utah. Once we settled in and connected our television, we were met with a shocking sight. 

The French Quarter, the neighborhood we had been living in just moments ago, was now submerged underwater. It turned out that Hurricane Katrina had swept through the city, leaving devastation in its wake. 

Seeing this, I realized that if I hadn't left when I did, I would have been one of those unfortunate individuals stranded on the roof of my house during the evacuation. It's truly remarkable how a decision over 50 cents ended up altering the course of my life.

Hurricane just startingLeonard the food guy, Shutterstock

31. Staying In School

When I was younger, I had a bit of a rebellious streak. One morning, while I was at my locker, my friend, who had just gotten a brand new car, approached me. She asked if I wanted to ditch class and take a joyride with her. 

Normally, I would have jumped at the opportunity, but since I had just skipped the previous day, I felt guilty and declined. Little did I know, that very day, as she drove without me, a tragic accident occurred. 

The weather conditions were terrible, and her car ended up crashing. Her sister, who was also in the car, suffered a life-altering injury and became paralyzed. Reflecting on that moment, I can't help but wonder what would have happened if I had made my usual decision.

Blue car accidentArtyom Kulakov, Pexels

32. The Ear Is Too Close To The Brain

I'm so proud of my son, who works as a lifeguard. Recently, he had a scary experience at the pool. One of the girls suddenly developed a severe headache. Sensing something serious, he immediately asked her to sit down and carefully examined her. 

Then came a shocker—he noticed fluid coming out of her ear. To ensure her safety, he decided to place her on a spinal board, just as a precaution. He quickly called the emergency line for help. Later, he learned that the fluid leaking from her ear was actually spinal fluid. 

It turned out she had experienced some sort of rupture that caused her spinal fluid to leak through her ear. I can't even imagine the consequences if my son hadn't spotted the problem. Thanks to him, that young girl's life was saved.

Lifeguard at a poolPeopleImages.com - Yuri A, Shutterstock

33. This Is Why Hiking Is A Summer Activity

I was hiking up Mount LA Conte in Tennessee with some friends. They were more active than me, so I was a bit slower and told them not to worry, I'd catch up. 

While walking along the path, I noticed a ledge on the side of the mountain that was part of the trail, with hand ropes set up by other hikers. But here's the thing—on that particular day, there was black ice in some really unexpected places. 

If you weren't paying close attention, you wouldn't even see it. Now, the ledge was pretty wide, but I still decided to hold onto the railing just in case. As I started going around the side, my feet suddenly slipped on the black ice. 

It was a heart-stopping moment, but thankfully, my naturally strong grip (probably from all my drumming) saved me. I found myself hanging onto the mountainside, with my feet dangling off the edge. Little did I know, there was another couple hiking behind me. 

They were too far back for me to notice them before, but when they saw what happened, the woman let out a scream like something out of a horror movie. Both of them thought I was a goner. Honestly, I had never been in such a situation before. 

But instead of panicking, I couldn't help but laugh nervously with relief. I guess it was a way of coping. From that moment on, I became hyper-aware of black ice and made sure to watch out for it as I continued my hike up and down the mountain. 

This experience didn't diminish my love for hiking though. It only made me more determined to be cautious and choose warmer seasons for my future hikes, just to avoid any similar scares.

couple hiking up a trail in plaid shirts and backpacksKampus Production, Pexels

34. From The POV Of A Passerby

Several years ago, while residing in Hollywood, I parked my car on a bustling street. The area had a significant incline, and my vehicle was positioned on the downhill side, just a few hundred feet away from a blind curve in the road. 

After cautiously examining the traffic, I stepped out from the driver's side of the car, making sure not to encroach too much into the street. It was a fortuitous moment as there were no passing cars at that instant. 

Suddenly, an internal voice bellowed, "Stop! Don't move!" Without any conscious reasoning, I instinctively adhered to the command and pressed myself against the car, despite being unsure of the reason. 

Out of nowhere, a colossal city bus appeared, hurtling around the curve at a startling speed of at least 60 mph. It veered dangerously close, missing me by a mere couple of inches. Even now, I can vividly recall the gust of wind on the back of my neck as the bus raced past. 

Had I taken a simple half-step backward to lock the car door, disaster would have ensued. It sends shivers down my spine to contemplate how close I came to being crushed. 

The implications would have been even more harrowing, considering that my future husband was present at the time, witness to the whole event. The mere thought of losing me that day still deeply affects him.

Woman getting out of a carMotortion Films, Shutterstock

35. Hallmark Movie Material

In 2020, I found myself trapped in an abusive relationship that took an immense toll on my well-being. The maltreatment wasn't solely physical, though that was present too; it was primarily emotional and mental, which was especially challenging for me as I already struggled with my mental health. 

To be honest, I reached a point where I seriously considered ending my life during the last six months of our relationship. Eventually, we had a huge fight that ultimately led to our breakup. Unfortunately, this breakup happened during quarantine, around mid-April. 

Most of the people I usually leaned on for support were vulnerable to illness, living far away, or simply not good for my fragile mental state. With nowhere else to go, I spent nights in a hotel but ultimately ended up sleeping in the bathroom at my workplace. 

To add to the distress, my ex-partner, with whichever new person she was dating at the time, continued to harass me by calling my workplace, contacting my parents, and even finding the contact information of a girl I had just started dating to harass her as well. 

I am forever grateful to my boss, who provided me with a place to stay and an air mattress, but living in that bathroom was incredibly isolating. I vividly remember embracing a pillow and convincing myself, through tears, that it was my friend, ensuring I didn't feel completely alone. 

When my birthday arrived at the end of April, I found myself alone in a grocery store parking lot, sobbing uncontrollably. I had never felt such an intense yearning for a simple hug. After enduring a couple of months like this, my mother helped me find a new apartment. 

Quarantine restrictions had just been lifted in my state (Southeast Wisconsin), so while I still had to maintain a safe distance from my immunocompromised mother, it was a relief to finally be around someone who genuinely cared for me. 

As background information, I have a deep passion for meteorology. I've always loved storm chasing and have dreams of pursuing a career in that field or any related area. However, due to the circumstances I was in, I hadn't chased a single storm in over a year. 

The week I moved into my new apartment, I saw on my weather app that there was going to be a storm hitting a location about two hours away during the weekend. It sparked a sense of recognition in me for the first time in years. 

A week later, the desire to chase another storm grew within me. I continuously checked my weather apps, but there was no forecast for rain anywhere in Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Illinois, and beyond.

Feeling desperate, I continued digging deeper and found out that there would indeed be a storm. However, it was located all the way in Rapid City, South Dakota, a journey of roughly eleven to twelve hours from where I was. 

At noon on Friday, I made a decision. As soon as I finished work at 6:30 PM, I would pack a bag, have dinner, talk to a couple of friends, and then set off to South Dakota, driving through the night. I had never been to South Dakota, let alone traveled alone, and driving through the night was a completely new experience for me. 

But you know what? I thought, why not? What do I have to lose? Around 4 am, while on I-90 in southern Minnesota, I was about to cross the border into South Dakota. Exhaustion was getting the better of me, and I was on the verge of giving up. 

I attempted to check into a hotel, only to realize that I had left my credit cards at home and the hotel didn't accept Apple Pay. Regardless, something inside me urged me to keep going. It assured me that everything would be alright. 

So, I continued on into South Dakota. Then it happened—I witnessed the sunrise. That sunrise became a beacon of hope, shining brightly at the end of a long and dark tunnel. It reminded me that the excruciating pain, the loneliness, and the thoughts of self-harm were temporary. 

In that moment, I understood that everything would be okay. I distinctly remember screaming out loud, "I can't believe I'm actually doing this! I'm really doing it!" It had always been my dream to travel the country and chase storms. 

I transformed the nightmare I had been living into the dream I had always yearned for. During that trip, I captured numerous pictures and videos, live-streamed both storm chases (two in one weekend!), immersed myself in the otherworldly landscape I encountered, and finally felt a sense of being alive. 

Not only had I regained my freedom, but I also genuinely believed in it. From that point on, although I still grappled with my mental health, I had a newfound purpose. The driver's seat became my home, the open road became my closest companion, and the sun became my solace and support. 

It didn't matter that the sun wasn't a human being. Its warmth, guidance, and reassurance were everything I had ever yearned for in a loving partnership. I, the man who had felt unlovable, burdensome, and ugly, became devoted to Mother Nature. 

I had finally found love. Since then, I've continued to pursue my dreams by embarking on spontaneous journeys across the country. 

I've pursued storms in Kansas, relished the tastes of California, wandered aimlessly in the Arizona desert, admired the grandeur of the Rocky Mountains for the first time, strolled along both coasts, reveled in the beaches of Florida, and experienced so much more. 

That summer, I ended up driving through every state in the lower 48, a three-month adventure in which I made sure to do something significant in each state. The decision to chase my dreams saved me from succumbing to my own demons. 

All I had to do was witness the sun rise.

Sunrise at Schwabacher's Landing in JacksonCora Leach, Unsplash

36. Thanks, Olivia Newton-John

In 2011, I was sent to Kandahar airfield in Afghanistan for deployment. It was just a regular morning for physical training (PT), but we were advised to avoid large groups to minimize the risk of becoming a target. 

Normally, I would follow a route behind the range that led back to the barracks. However, on that particular day, I had a strong feeling that I should stay put and do a workout video instead. Something deep inside me just didn't feel right. 

As fate would have it, just around the time I would have reached the curve behind the range, a mortar struck that very spot. By trusting my instincts and changing my plan, I managed to save myself from harm that day.

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

37. Thank That GP

So, I was snowboarding and had a really bad fall. The next day, I woke up with an excruciating headache that felt like a migraine. Despite not getting any sleep that night, I decided it was important to call my doctor and make an early appointment. 

When I got to the doctor's office, he took one look at me and immediately prescribed a course of oral steroids. He also scheduled an MRI for me. At the time, I didn't fully understand why he wanted to do the MRI, but I assumed it was to check if I had injured my neck. 

Turns out, I had damaged my C1 vertebra, which is the first one at the base of the skull. This damage involved my spinal cord, which was a really serious situation. There was a small lesion and some swelling, and the doctor decided that the best treatment was to continue with the steroids. 

After completing the steroid treatment, I had another MRI, which clearly showed the extent of the damage. At this point, I also developed a severe movement disorder and had some breathing issues. 

The doctors diagnosed me with chronic neuroinflammation, which eventually led to another lesion at C5/6 four years later. Unfortunately, that lesion left me paralyzed. However, I am incredibly grateful that my GP decided to go beyond his usual scope of practice and prescribe those initial steroids. 

If he hadn't, who knows if that C1 lesion would have gotten worse and potentially even cost me my life at just 21 years old. My neurologist even believes that my GP may have saved my life that day.

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

38. This Is Why I Watch My Rearview Mirror

The scariest moment I ever experienced while driving was on a busy four-lane highway. There was this guy driving alongside me, maintaining the same speed in the adjacent lane. All of a sudden, I noticed a car approaching us at an alarming speed, well above the speed limit. 

It was clear that he wouldn't be able to slow down in time, especially since there was no shoulder on the road. I realized that a collision with both of us was inevitable. Instinctively, I veered slightly to the left, hoping to create some space. 

Miraculously, the guy next to me seemed to have the same idea and moved slightly to the right. Incredibly, the speeding guy managed to squeeze through the narrow gap between our vehicles without causing a catastrophe. 

The entire event unfolded in less than a second, yet time seemed to move at a snail's pace. If either of us hadn't been attentively checking our mirrors at that precise moment, well, things would have undoubtedly turned messy.

Shocked man in car looking at somethingKrakenimages.com, Shutterstock

39. Showing Submission

Imagine this: It was just after midnight on New Year's Eve when I found myself trekking down a desolate dirt road towards a meeting point. The darkness was overwhelming, with barely any moonlight to guide me, and exacerbating the situation, my phone battery was almost drained, leaving me without a flashlight. 

Despite these challenges, I could still feel the rough gravel beneath my feet, assuring me that I was on the right path. However, the combination of a few drinks and the time of night had left me with an urgent need to relieve myself. As I walked, I became aware of the sound of an approaching creature. 

Suddenly, I heard two menacing growls that seemed to shake the night air. Large dogs, perhaps? In a moment of panic, I instinctively squatted down and urinated right then and there. I can't explain why I reacted in such a way, but fear can make us do strange things.

 Crouched on the ground, I anxiously waited as the animals drew nearer, their growls intensifying. It felt as if they were circling around me, sizing me up. Somehow, they eventually moved on, and I was left trembling with fear. All I could think was, is this how it ends for me?

 When the person arrived to pick me up, they casually mentioned the encounter, asking if I had seen the enormous pig dogs. At that moment, all color drained from my face. I realized just how fortunate I was to have escaped unharmed. 

Those dogs were trained to hunt down and confront massive wild boars, and I had narrowly escaped becoming their prey.

Man walking on a street at nightKaique Rocha, Pexels

40. Sometimes You Just Have To Reach Out

My life was falling apart in so many ways—until I made a decision that completely turned things around. I was going through a tough time, dealing with a mental health crisis, messy breakups, family issues, and so much more. 

But then, I took a chance and asked my partner out on our first date. It was a game-changer; it literally saved my life. I can't even express how deeply grateful I am to have him in my life. I honestly don't think I would be here today without him. 

That spontaneous text changed everything for me and rescued me from the darkness I was drowning in.

Lovely couple with glasses of champagne laughingYAKOBCHUK VIACHESLAV, Shutterstock

41. Pros Of The Flu 

I had to give my heart surgeon my new insurance numbers, but it took longer than expected because the person in possession of the numbers was sick with the flu and couldn't get back to me. Finally, when I got hold of the numbers, I immediately called the surgeon. 

When I reached the receptionist, she surprised me by saying, "Hey, we just had a cancellation for this Friday. Would you like to take that slot?" Without hesitation, I agreed to the open-heart surgery cancellation appointment, even though it was a month earlier than my scheduled date. 

As it turned out, it was a good thing I accepted. During the surgery, the surgeon discovered that my condition was more critical than anticipated, and waiting another month would have been too risky. 

It's amazing to think that if the person with my insurance numbers hadn't fallen ill, I would have received them sooner and likely never been offered the early surgery that ended up saving my life. Thanks to someone else's flu, I'm here today.

Surgeons performing surgeryПавел Сорокин, Pexels

42. The Broken Strings

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to live in the lovely city of Nice in the south of France. Being a musician, I would often make some extra money by playing music on the streets. 

One day, I decided to set up my gig at the promenade d'anglais, a bustling area by the sea where people gather. It was a delightful spot to perform. I got my guitar ready, played a couple of songs, and things were going quite well. 

I was earning a decent amount of money. But then, out of nowhere, two of my guitar strings snapped while I was in the middle of playing 'The Scientist'. I was absolutely devastated and decided to call it a day. 

I went home feeling frustrated that I had to restring my guitar and end my successful busking session early, which was one of the best days I had experienced since moving there. About an hour later, my phone started buzzing with messages from my worried family and friends, asking if I was at the promenade.

I was completely taken aback. It turned out that on that very same day, Bastille Day in 2016, a terrible tragedy occurred. A truck had driven into the crowd I had been performing for, resulting in the loss of 86 innocent lives, including my girlfriend's uncle. 

Two of my close friends were also among the 458 people injured. The news shook me to the core. In the following month, I made the difficult decision to move back home because the weight of the tragedy became too much to bear. 

I haven't been back to Nice since then. It's hard to find words to describe the mix of emotions I feel. Sometimes, I think about how lucky I was to have left the promenade before the tragedy struck. 

Sometimes, I find myself overwhelmed with sadness, questioning why I was fortunate enough to escape unharmed while others suffered. The whole experience feels surreal, and contrary to what some may believe, it's a truly dreadful feeling.

acoustic guitarBrent Keane, Pexels

43. It seems that Teachers Can Simply Take Possessions of Students.

When I was in high school, I enrolled in an intermediate biology course. Biology was new to me, but since I had a knack for science in general, I thought this course would suit me well. 

One day, while in class, my science teacher from a few years back unexpectedly entered the room to speak with the biology teacher. And guess what? She noticed me sitting there. Curiosity piqued, she approached me and asked about my grades from the previous year. 

I provided the information, unsure of where the conversation was heading. After a nod, she briefly left the room. You can imagine my concern as I wondered if I had done something wrong without even realizing it. 

To my surprise, she returned shortly after and instructed me to gather my things and leave the class. Confused, I complied, anxious about the situation. She guided me to another classroom and gestured for me to sit in an empty chair. 

And then, without any explanation, she began teaching. As it turned out, she was the teacher for the advanced biology class that year and had decided to "adopt" me as her student. Inspired by her guidance and support, I pursued biology at the undergraduate level. 

I went on to complete a Masters degree, and eventually decided to pursue a PhD in immunology. Now, I work as an advisor for pharmaceutical companies, utilizing my expertise in the field. 

But here's the amazing part: during my journey, I made the decision to pursue my Masters degree in London. And it was during that adventure that I encountered a wonderful girl. Fast forward ten years, and we now live together in our own house, sharing a beautiful life. 

All of this simply because that teacher happened to take notice of me.

Multi Ethnic Students Listening to a LecturerGorodenkoff, Shutterstock

44. Millionaire Goals

I was so frustrated while watching 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire' because the contestants couldn't answer a basic question about Katy Perry. So, I decided to take action and applied to be on the show. 

It was a thrilling experience when I got selected and got the opportunity to play. And guess what? I won a significant amount of money! With that unexpected windfall, I treated myself to a dream vacation. Little did I know this trip would change everything for me.

It was during this trip that I met the love of my life, who is now my husband. We are now blessed with a beautiful 1-year-old son, making our little family complete.

Woman on holidayJulia Volk, Pexels

45. A Crazy Coincidence

A few years ago, I had to renew the sticker on my license plate. The thought of sitting alone in the waiting room for what felt like an eternity didn't sound appealing at all. So, I came up with a little plan - I promised my mom a nice dinner out if she accompanied me. 

To my surprise, when we arrived at the counter, we discovered that the guy working there was actually my mom's long-lost biological brother. It was such an unexpected and incredible coincidence! 

If I hadn't convinced my mom to join me, this amazing family connection would have remained unknown to us.

license plateCraig Adderley, Pexels

46. Spain Is For Lovers

Before my husband and I met, he discovered something surprising about his family background. After 18 years, he learned that his mom's side of the family was actually Spanish, not Mexican. 

He found this revelation fascinating and decided to change his country on MySpace from the US to "Spain", where his newfound heritage originated. Meanwhile, all the way in Australia, I was lending a helping hand to a friend who was trying to connect with Spanish-speaking individuals to practice the language. 

During my search, I stumbled upon my now husband's profile and thought it would be nice to send him a friend request too. To our delight, we instantly clicked and after three years of connecting online, we finally had the opportunity to meet in person. 

From that moment, our bond grew stronger and we have now spent 11 wonderful years together, celebrating our seventh wedding anniversary. It's incredible to think that if my husband hadn't briefly changed his country on MySpace, we might have never discovered each other's existence.

A woman working on a laptopAndrea Piacquadio , Pexels

47. Subconscious Savior

I suddenly woke up in the middle of the night, startled by a voice clamoring in my mind, urgently demanding that I lock the door nearby. Though I groggily resisted, feeling hesitant and unsure, I mustered the strength to get out of bed and secure the door. 

Finally, exhaustion overpowered me and I swiftly drifted back to sleep. As fate would have it, approximately 30 minutes later, an intruder attempted to force their way in.

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

48. The Young Action Hero

When I was around 13 or 14 years old, I was making my way home one day when a severe storm suddenly began. As I walked, a man in a car whom I knew from our neighborhood pulled over and offered me a ride. 

Trusting the familiar face, I eagerly hopped in. Our house was situated atop a steep hill, back in the days when homes were built in harmony with the natural landscape rather than altering it completely. I should have seen it sooner.

As we reached the point where he should have started slowing down, the man instead began to accelerate. Concerned and instinctively sensing danger, I calmly opened the car door and cautiously rolled out onto the asphalt, which was moving at a speed of 30-35 mph.

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

49. A Guardian Angel

In 9th grade, I was headed to church on a peaceful Sunday morning. As I made my way, some of my friends pulled up beside me, asking if I'd like to join them for a ride. It seemed like a tempting offer, but for some reason, I hesitated and decided not to get into the car. 

Little did I know, this choice would profoundly impact my day. Later that afternoon, something unimaginable happened. A stranger with ill intentions tried to take control of the car my friends were in. 

He insisted they keep driving, and as the situation escalated, they eventually lost control. Tragically, two of my dear friends lost their lives in the ensuing accident. The shock that washed over me was beyond words.

Black car accidentMike Bird, Pexels

50. The Snake Was Out For A Walk Too

When I used to go for walks in the nature park behind my neighborhood, I liked to listen to music with my headphones on. 

One time, during such a walk, something really scary happened. As I was taking a step, I happened to glance down and saw that my foot was just inches away from landing on a diamondback rattlesnake! 

The snake was all coiled up, poised to strike, and its rattle was buzzing loudly. Unfortunately, I couldn't hear any of it because I had my music playing. As soon as I realized what was happening, 

I immediately jumped back and carefully walked around the snake without any trouble. But, wow, the thought of it still makes my heart race!

Eastern Diamondback RattlesnakeGerald A. DeBoer, Shutterstock

Sources:  1, 2


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