13 People Recall Chats With Strangers That Changed Them Forever

None of us leaves the house in the morning expecting to bump into a perfect stranger who we’ll never forget. We expect the people who change our lives to be our nearest and dearest, I think.

For these 13 people, though, it’s those random encounters that are burned on their brains for all eternity.

13. That will stick with you.

When I was younger (around 13 or so) I went to a party with my mother. I say party, but it was basically some old friends of her meeting and talking about life. There was this old lady talking to my mother and at some point my mother left and went to another place in the house.

This old woman told me I was a really cute and smart kid and if she had a granddaughter she would wish that we could be a couple. I didn’t think much of it, sounded to me like she was just being sweet (and a bit silly TBH).

Later my mother told me that woman had a son who had a complete mental breakdown and never recovered and basically stopped functioning like a “normal” person. Due to her son’s mental illness, she would never be able to have grandchildren.

Maybe it didn’t change my life much, but I still think about it sometimes.

12. God bless the hiccup lady.

I was at the grocery store with my dad when I was about 7 or 8. I had the hiccups really bad, like the loud and obnoxious kind. We were walking through the store and a woman stopped us.

She asked if she could buy my hiccups.

She told me that she’d give me $1 for my hiccups. I was so confused, I had no clue what she meant. Apparently I thought about it so hard that I stopped hiccuping! Her magic hiccup trick worked. She didn’t give me a dollar, but she gave me a Jolly Rancher.

Turns out she went to high school with my dad, so he knew she wasn’t some psycho trying to drug me or something, so I ate my Jolly Rancher and stopped hiccuping. That trick only works once, but it’s pretty funny to explain to people when I tell them! Thank you hiccup lady!

11. Wise words that last.

Once a time I was having a conversation with an engineer in a airplane, I had 15 at the time.

We eventually reached the “money” subject.

I asked him how the hell could someone be in debt earning 20k a month, and he told me something that I think to this date: “When you earn 20k you will found a way to waste 19k”

10. That kind of thing really hits you.

In a small convenience store in Lisbon. Check out at the counter and make small talk with the store owner, who immigrated from a poor country to give his family a better life.

I ask: do you like your job?

His response: I never had a choice.

9. There are good people everywhere.

I was eating at Denny’s with my then-boyfriend. He’s black and I’m white. Our server was such a lovely person and had such a joyous personality the whole time.

Well upon receiving our receipt she wrote “Lovely couple. I hope your love grows and blossoms.” That was so beautiful and touching to me, I started crying. She came over and hugged me. I’ll never forget that. Her name was Morgan.

8. You never know the whole story.

I was traveling once. A car trip.

We were parked at a rest stop and giving them dog a pee break when this giant expensive RV pulled up in a spot where RV’s were not supposed to park. Like one of those that cost a half million dollars. A home on wheels that gets a quarter mile to the gallon.

A very fit good looking older man hopped out. Like in his 50s but very good looking for his age. He was tan and had JFK hair. He looked like a caricature of a CEO on holiday.

I thought wow, talk about entitled. He’s taking up like 5 parking spots.

Next, a younger blonde woman hopped out. Obviously 15 years younger than him. Obviously his bimbo trophy wife. They stood in the parking lot looking at the rest stop and seemed to be discussing something.

I thought I had them all figured out, you see.

The man went back into the RV. And he came back out…with a wheelchair. A small wheelchair. Hmm, what’s this? Did not fit my narrative.

He set the wheelchair up. Went back in the RV. Came out carrying a young boy. The boy was completely…handicapped. Like his limbs were all contorted and painfully thin.

The man gently placed the boy in the chair and got him all situated and strapped in. Then the three headed for the rest stop.

It just stopped me dead. I thought I knew what was going on. I did not know. I had not the first clue.

There is always at least one thing in the other guy’s situation, that you know nothing about. This story pops in my head every time I think I’ve got someone else all figured out.

7. You gotta put yourself out there.

This isn’t as big of a story as some on here but I’ll share anyways.

Back in my sophomore year of high school, I started getting into edm and the idea of making my own music. I made a few songs (not very good but they were something) and just kept it entirely to myself. I didn’t really do much with it until during my junior year when I finally told my parents that I wanted to be a music producer. They weren’t really happy about that, because up until that point I had mostly just shown interest in engineering, and they thought I was just throwing that away.

Around the end of my junior year, I was up at like 2-3 am listening to some like sad emotional music from HDsoundi and just reading through the comments. There was one that really caught my eye. Another guy was going through the same kind of thing I was. He wanted to make music but was told to just do something else. We started a conversation and convinced each other to upload a song. That was almost 2 years ago now, and I’ve been uploading my music ever since and been gaining at least a little bit of a following. My parents are even ok with it too as long as I have another option to fall back on, and my dad and his coworkers have probably become my biggest fans.

If it wasn’t for that one interaction I probably still wouldn’t have any songs out anywhere, and would just be unhappily keeping it to myself. I’m honestly just really greatful that it happened.

6. Really makes you think.

In a New York subway station, there was a violinist playing his instrument, hoping people might toss donations into his violin case.

When he paused, I asked him if people were generous as there were only a few coins in the case. He said, “If I’m lucky, there’s enough to buy a sandwich, coffee, and a subway fare at the end of the day.”

The poor guy looked starved, even though he played the violin beautifully.

5. More hotel cleaning women should write books.

I was struggling with self harm in high school and once after a long day at a convention and comments from friends was left feeling worthless. I went to the hotel restroom and cried, when one of the cleaning ladies entered and saw me.

She gave me a hug and, while I was embarrassed, it was probably the best response I could’ve received at the time. She told me things would be okay in spite of not knowing what I was going through, and it felt nice to hear that. Gave me enough strength to get through the convention.

4. In unexpected places.

I have severe depression/anxiety. It’s well managed now… but 15 years ago I would take “suicide vacations”. My goal was to get the courage to go through with it. I put myself in a bunch of risky situations.

I talked with various homeless people. I needed some kind of support. And homeless people gave it to me. One guy talked to me for nearly an hour.

I would say… if it wasn’t for those strangers offering random bits of advice… I wouldn’t be here today.

3. We all need help sometimes.

My father had early onset dementia and was driving me nuts not only because of his confusion and , at times, violent behavior but also because my mother and his doctor refused to have him admitted at a daycare.

A guy at school, who had never even talked to me, had gone through the same and one day just came to me and told me “do whatever it takes to get your dad admitted at a care center or he’ll drive all insane. He needs proper care” .

I did, and my mother eventually accepted after my poor dad got home one day beaten up and without his wallet or keys. We never found out what had happened to him except that he was robbed, he was just too lost.

That dude made me feel like I wasn’t evil or ungrateful because I didn’t want to live in constant fear for my dad’s or my family’s life. It’s a terrible disease and it’s perfectly fine to get help.

2. Priceless moments.

I’m late so I’m going to get buried but I figured I’d tell mine. I’ve loved horses since I was little. I volunteered at a local horse therapy place, because my depression was getting a hold on me, and there’s just something so calming about horses.

When I was at this place, they had a bunch of people with physical and intellectual disabilities who got to ride, since it was a horse therapy facility. I learned so much about working with people with all kinds of disabilities, but especially autism and downs syndrome. I even got to experience a kid’s first words, and I’ll never forget the “Thank you Tux”. It was a magical place. .

A bit later I found myself working at a pizza shop. Not really my passion, but it paid enough for my pets, so I was okay with it. There was this adorable little kid who would come in with his mom. His mom and I would talk, I think she didn’t have the biggest support base, but I told her about the place I volunteered at. They would go once a week, and you could see the difference it made for this kid. One day, they came in and the kid was babbling along to his mom, and it was the most amazing thing.

He still needed his communication tablet, but he got better each time I saw him. One day, the mom came up and put a fifty dollar tip in the jar, and I tried to refuse it. She said that as much as the tip was, her son being able to communicate better, and finding a place where he was accepted was priceless. .

I’m crying now, so sorry for any typos, but I still see him every so often around town. Before COVID, the first time I saw him outside of work, he gave me the biggest hug, which was a huge deal for him. He really changed my outlook on life, and showed me, even in a dark place, just how much I can help others. And that is priceless.

1. A life-saving encounter.

In 2005, a complete stranger stopped biking past me on a bridge and sat with me for over 2 hours listening to me as I was basically there to commit suicide.

I had been kicked out of university and my parents were absolute trash (have been no contact with them now for over 2 years) so I never was able to tell them. The only way out that I could see was to kill myself.

This complete stranger in his 40s must have also had kids and realized what I was about to do. He listened, he held me, he cried with me… Mostly importantly, he saved my life.

Humans can be so awesome sometimes – which is good to remember.

If something like this has ever happened to you, tell us about it in the comments!