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12 People Who Met Strangers They’ve Never Been Able to Forget

It can be hard to remember sometimes how similar human beings are, all over the world. We focus on the ways we’re different, our disparate beliefs and upbringings coming into the mix.

At our core, though, we all have the same desires, We all need the same things to thrive. And in these 12 chance moments, people found understanding and support in total strangers.

12. Just a little perspective.

I had surgery last week because I broke my ankle in 4 places. I, being the restless ADHD-girl I am, went on a wheelchair trip around the hospital the afternoon after my surgery because I was so bored.

The entire time leading up to the surgery(hospital was too busy so I had to wait a week and a half for my surgery) I was incredibly scared and I felt broken, useless and immobile.

I went to the hospital pharmacy because a friend of mine works there, just to see if he was working.

There I had a conversation with a man waiting for his wife’s medication. When I told him I had surgery just 5 hours ago he was truly amazed and told me how it took them 3 hours to get his wife to wake up after her surgery.

He told me he thought it was amazing how strong I was and that I should be proud I was getting around by myself so easily.

That and the fact that the pharmacist was laughing at how hyperactive I was, sitting in my wheelchair talking to all kinds of strangers because I was bored, really made me feel empowered and it’s showing off in my recovery.

I haven’t used any pain medication for the last two days, I’m doing most things by myself cause my bf works full time, and I don’t mind walking around on crutches anymore.

11. Sometimes you just need a push.

I was at my retail job working in the tech area. It was kind of slow so I had the opportunity to really help this older guy out (not thaaat old, I estimate late 50s to mid 60s) with all of his questions and stuff. He was really impressed that someone at the store was actually able to be of help for once and provide in-depth answers and help for tech stuff.

So he pops the question that I get a lot since I look very young (I was 21 at the time but commonly mistaken for 18 or so): are you in college? I decided to be honest and tell him about how I tried community college twice but it didn’t really grab me and I ended up quitting. Long story short, he ends up telling me that I’m way too good for the place I’m at and should get out of there and make some progress towards my dream job.

One part in particular I remember well: he said that he wanted to see me gone from the place in 6 months. For some reason the things this guy said really stuck with me. My family had been telling me for a while to start considering education plans again but I was kind of just coasting along. This guy saying all of that while being a complete stranger really…woke me up some. Sooo I went home that night and told my parents that I was ready to do school again after 1.5 years of being out.

I was out of there by Christmas, which was about 4 months from the time the talk happened.

By February, I had enrolled at a semi-trade school in the Computer Animation program, completed my first 4 months of classes, and was in the process of moving to Florida from Texas. I was doing so well in the new environment, and having lots of fun meeting people with similar interests at the college.

The pandemic has really set me back mentally though, so that’s been a problem. I think I’m coming back out of my depression phase though, so things are looking up at least.

10. A great memory.

It will seem very simple compared to many stories on here, but this summer my boyfriend and I took a vacation together. We paid for a fancy bed and breakfast and when evening came, my boyfriend went out onto the balcony and (being the social butterfly he is) made conversation with our balcony neighbors.

Our neighbors were about 26-28 years old (much much older than us) and they already had a 3 year old kid and a house. We drank, told stories, laughed–it was amazing. I had never made friends with strangers so quickly before, and it’s all thanks to my extrovert boyfriend. It is seriously one of my favorite memories.

I had no cares in the world that night and laughed so hard it hurt to smile. The couple’s relationship was what I envision for my own future, as well. They were totally in synch, made inside jokes between them, and I caught them on numerous occasions speaking to each other through eye contact. It was wonderful to see what a really lovely relationship looks and sounds like.

9. Advice for a lifetime.

First time at Burning Man. I’m struggling to undo the lock I’ve placed on my bike.

An old couple wearing fabulous outfits walk to the other side to get their bikes. The gentleman proceeds to tell me with a smile on his face “Never stop dancing, man.”

He rolled his bike away without losing a beat to his step. I think about that often. Never stop dancing.

8. Kind words help anxiety.

In my first run at a local grocery store(currently back there since I need money cuz pandemic) I was cashiering and it was a busy day. Had more than a couple confusing customers that week who either were trying to steal or just being pains the ass. I hadn’t been doing it for that long at that point and I was pretty nervous after all that happened.

Eventually once again hit another issue at my register and for what felt like the 500th time that day I had to call a manager over to help me. Wasn’t feeling great at that point but I stopped and explained to the customer what the problem was. I don’t remember what the issue was anymore, probably something small like a double scanned item or something that didn’t matter but I also didn’t have the authority to overturn. After I finished apologizing and explaining the situation he said

“Yeah man, whatever you need to do. You know you what you need to do better than I do, that’s why you’re the one back there and not me”

For whatever reason that helped my nerves behind the register a bit and boosted my confidence for a while. I guess just hearing that someone else who had no reason to believed in my ability to solve an issue was all I needed for a little. Seems small but it helped make a difference for me for the rest of the time I had that job.

7. What we leave behind.

Consoled a woman who had a baby with one of the people who lived in my block of flats who’d just hung himself. We didn’t get to him in time as the flat was locked and we had to call the police to break in. Her scream still haunts me.

She kept saying ‘I could have stopped him, I didn’t want to be with him but I didn’t want this, what am I going to tell our daughter’ while I just held her with her mother.

It reminds me that while it seems like the only way out, you leave a scar on everyone in your life you left behind. Especially ones you love.

6. The right place at the right time.

When I was 21 years old I found my dad dead in his house. Even though he looked fairly peaceful I still freaked out and ran out of his house to the only neighbor I knew. I knocked but she didn’t answer. I took a few steps back from her door and looked around frantically while trying to process everything that happened and what to do.

A lady a couple houses down saw me and walked over. She said, “Are you Okay?” I said, “No. I think my dad is dead but I can’t touch him” She brought me over to where her husband was standing outside. She asked where my dad was and I explained which room he was in. Her husband comforted me while we waited for her to returned.

She took me inside while her husband called 911. The two of them helped me to call my mom (my parents were separated but it was still really hard on her) and to find my dad’s siblings phone numbers to notify them. This couple welcomed my mom, sister, sister’s boyfriend, and my aunt in with open arms.

The woman made us cookies and tea. I had never met these people in my life but they helped me get through one of the most challenging days of my life.

5. She made her think.

This one time when i was 17, i decided to leave a family vacation upstate early to go on a trip with some friends for their birthday. So my parents said i could buy and take the train from where we were in northern California back to LA. turns out i had read the ticket wrong, and showed up ten minutes too late for the train. Very dumb on my part.

I realized after my Uber had left, and now i was stuck at this empty train lot in the middle of nowhere until the next train arrived 3 and a half hours later. I sat there for a while before an older woman came and sat next to me at the one bench. She sparked a conversation asking me what had brought me there and we spoke for a long time. Ended up learning a lot about the town i was in, and some touching stuff about family.

The whole situation made me miss my parents and made me guilty i had left the trip early. She got on a different route train about an hour before i left, but the sense of anxiety and uncertainty i was met with in this empty lot was taken away after our lighthearted conversation.

4. What excellent timing.

Called a client to tell her something urgent on a weekend and thought that would be the end of the call. She said she was surprised my office was open on the weekends. I tell her we’re not and that the office is staffed with interns who go through mail and paperwork that has arrived since Friday so we can get a jump start on Monday work since it is time sensitive (investment firm so trades must be done during market hours and non-financial work gets more time to complete). Blah blah blah…

she asks Oh, what’re you studying? I tell her I’m studying accounting. She says “I studied engineering and if I could just give you one little nugget of unsolicited advice, it’s this… get Six Sigma certified, actually.. just get any of those silly certifications that you think mean nothing.”

I waited for her to continue and she went on to tell me that she works in coal mines all over the world reviewing their operations and helping to increase efficiency and save money, reduce accidents/errors, etc. which is right up my nerd alley.. she tells me that she misses out on a lot of bids for the jobs because she doesn’t have the six sigma certification.. capable sure, successful yes, but missing that silly certification. She goes on to tell me that she calls after she’s rejected from every job to find out why she didn’t get the job (I had no idea you could even do this) and more often than not, she misses out on the opportunities to accountants with Six Sigma certification.

No idea why this conversation lit a fire under my ass but I went into my full-time weekday job and sat down with my boss to talk to her about it. I knew she had a black belt (lol) in Six Sigma so I wanted to pick her brain about it. She says “it’s so funny you bring this up actually because we just hired a Six Sigma guru to teach our staff some of the principles of Six Sigma and we’re going to be starting a challenge in different departments to utilize Six Sigma to increase efficiency and productivity across the organization.”

….. here’s me dead silent.

She tells me to meet with the guru down the hall and pick his brain. So I do. Fast forward.. he approaches my manager about allowing me more autonomy in my low-level nothing position. She agrees and basically lets me do whatever I want. So I just start paying close attention to conversations in other sub-groups of my department and start putting pieces together and blahblahblah long story short — six months later I implemented a process change that not only saved the company $1million annually going forward, it identified a gap in a process that was bleeding about $250k monthly from the company because nobody bothered to ask a simple question of hey, why are you doing that?

Life and career changing for me.

3. The big questions.

I had gotten off work from a graveyard shift and went to my boyfriend’s house to surprise him. However the surprise was all mine when I walked in his room to see him passed out drunk with another woman in his bed. I was devastated. Needless to say I ended it then and there.

I had to work again that night and I was a hot mess. Bursting into tears, face puffy and bloodshot eyes was my look for the whole shift. I had to work again the next night but I had a much better handle on my emotions by then. I slept before my shift and as I was drifting away to sleep a thought, bright as a comet shot through my mind. Everything is going to be ok, this thought assured me.

So now for the weird and life changing part. A woman came in and sat in my section. She sat in what I call the awkward seat. It’s right next to the register and almost no one sits in it voluntarily. I took her order and gave her her food.

A few minutes later i was all caught up on my work and went for a cigarette, stopping to make sure my customer didn’t need anything and letting her know where i was going so she didn’t feel neglected. She said she was fine and i went for my smoke. My mindset at this time was very bleak. I didn’t want to kill myself, but i didn’t want to exist either. I didn’t want to be and could not imagine being able to feel happy ever again.

I come back from my smoke and the lady is still there, waiting to pay. She asks me if she can talk to me and i agree to go outside with her to do so. At this point I’m cringing because i had been having a NSFW conversation with another employee and i thought she was going to read me the riot act, maybe threaten to call corporate on me. However I don’t lack courage so out I went, prepared to face any music that might be coming my way. What she said next shocked me to my core.

She proceeds to tell me pretty much everything that had happened to me over the last two weeks. I did not know this woman at all. Never seen her before in my life. When I asked her how she knew all this she told me God told her. She also said that I was very loved by Him and that my purpose had not yet been fulfilled. Also that everything was going to be ok.

My whole life I had been denying the existence of God. It wasn’t logical to me that one being had control over everything that is. Now I feel differently. I couldn’t even tell the story without bursting into tears. This effect lasted for months, much to my disgust ( I hate crying. I feel like it makes me look weak). I don’t hold to organized religion, but I don’t deny His existence anymore either.

Before we parted ways she hugged me. Her whole body was vibrating. I know it sounds strange but there was no denying it. I’ve never felt anyone do that before or since. Could she have been faking? Maybe but it’s doubtful. There was no motive, nothing for her to gain from doing such a thing. She asked me for nothing. So that’s how I came to believe in God at the ripe old age of 42.

2. I bet she does now.

I was a young, small girl walking back to my dorm at around 2a from the bars, through a dark empty are if campus, when out of nowhere a huge man stepped out of the shadows and walked swiftly towards me.

He stopped right in front of me, made eye contact, and said, “I bet you don’t even have a knife.” He shook his head, and disappeared as quickly as he came.

1. Advice that lasts.

I was coming back home from a holiday, mid ’90s, I was on a train in Sardinia, there was this man with beard aged 50+ I guess and two young guys under 20. I was 25.

He actually wasn’t talking with me but with these two young guys, boy and girl, and he was insisting on the concept of responsibility, being much more important than any other thing any of the guys (to which he was talking) would have met in their lives.

Jobs, hobbies, passions, friends, love, all the things to come would have had their specific and natural ways but the real thing, the common factor would have been responsible behaviours, judgements, actions. Idk if the two young guys even listened to him, but I did, and I recall that moment every now and then thinking how it helped me focus in situations in the following years

Humans really aren’t all that bad, I guess. Not most of the time, anyway.

Tell us your story that fits this list in the comments!