16 People Share Their Eerie, Wonderful ‘Butterfly Effect’ Stories

The question on reddit was this:

“Real life “butterfly effect” stories, what happened and what was the series of events and outcomes?”

Some very creepy, very real examples followed.


1. The inhaler

My mother wore heels to work and slipped on the carpeted steps, resulting in a broken high heel and a broken leg. While she was home recovering, she somehow developed allergies that led to her needing an inhaler*.

The inhaler* interfered with her birth control and now I have a brother 13 years younger than me.

2. Bears

When I was 15 or so a Louisiana black bear ran across the road in front of my car. I’m way out of their native range and it really struck a cord with me. It triggered my decision to focus on wildlife management going forward. I have my degree now and work with alligators, but I’ve work with bears in the past. All because me and some lost bear crossed paths on a rainy night.

3. Poetry

I was encouraged to enter a poetry competition by my teacher when I was about 17.

There was a cash prize, so I decided after some convincing that I would give it a try. I ended up winning, and my poem became published. A couple of months later I get a message on Facebook from a girl who would like to know more about the poem, because she has to analyse it in connection with her upcoming exam.

It turns out her and I are about the same age, so we decide to meet up and discuss it.

We’ve been together for 4 years now and we’re getting married next month. I often wonder what my life would look like if my teacher hadn’t approached me back then.

4. The one

I met my husband through insane circumstances.

I had left an ex who was sexually, physically and mentally abusive. I had attempted suicide several times and was admitted to a psychiatric care unit.

There, I met a girl called Lucy, whose mother was from Greece. She and I became good friends and we made plans to go on a trip to Greece together and hit all the ancient spots.

We got the help we needed and each left the care unit and even moved in together. We became more like sisters, we loved each other.

Two months before our trip, I was meant to go collect some books that had arrived for us in our local bookstore but I’d had a shitty day in work and was exhausted. Lucy volunteered to go.

As she left the shop, a car came onto the curb and hit her. She was killed instantly. They never caught the driver.

Her mother encouraged me to take the trip anyway and asked could I take some of my friend’s ashes to scatter into the ocean when I got to Greece. I agreed.

As I was doing so in Athens, a man came up to me and asked me was I ok, as I was crying.

He was very nice and offered me a coffee in his cafe to help me calm down.

That man was called Luca and he studied mythology and archaeology for fun. I study mythology for fun.

I extended my trip by a month to stay with him. He let me stay in his apartment and insisted I stay as long as I needed.

When I spoke to Lucy’s mother, it turns out that she knew Luca’s mother, they had gone to school together.

We have been together for ten years now, married 8 and have twin daughters.

Tldr- a friend of mine died, I took our planned trip, met my husband

5. Homesick

Back in the 80s, my mom studied abroad in England.

A couple days before her flight back home to the US, she got too homesick to wait any longer and spontaneously bought a ticket home early. The flight she was originally supposed to take was Pan Am flight 103, where all 243 passengers and 16 crew died.

If not for her homesickness, her and my dad would not have met and my brother and I would not have been in existence.

6. Please don’t stop the music

I moved to New Zealand to pursue my dream because my ex fiance was playing music on a speaker in public and wouldn’t stop when I asked.

That one incident cracked the relationship so badly it led to him breaking up then crawling back. In those 5 hours, I applied for the school I wasn’t going to go to because of him.

I’m now with the love of my life and couldn’t be happier.

7. Fifth grade

Entering middle school, I had to choose between foreign language or music. I made my decision. My mother came into my room later that night to make sure I was certain in my choice.

I chose music, which led me to pilot training, to radio, to my ex-wife, my kids, Massachusetts (twice), my new partner and a career in IT.

I can trace my entire adult life to a decision I made in fifth grade.

8. Cliff notes

Pregnant cousin usually takes the bus at around 5:10pm after work.

She was about to hop inside the bus but she needed to pee really badly and the commute is about an hour long so she decided to go to the restroom instead and just catch the next bus.

That 5:10 bus ended up falling from a cliff.

9. Loyalty paid off

Received an incredibly high paying job offer to run our biggest competitor’s team. Told my boss, even though I loved my job, but it was more than double what I was making.

Boss agreed to a reasonable raise, still not near the offer. I decided to stay because I genuinely loved my team/coworkers, and the money wasn’t enough to leave that happy place. In exchange, I had to take up another account that meant a business trip I didn’t have in the plans.

Went on that trip and met my future husband. Couple of years later, we went on our honeymoon at a new resort in St. Lucia. Ran into someone I knew from home/work. Turns out, the team that I’d been given the job offer for had made so much money that they had booked the same resort to celebrate.

I sat there and went WOW. Life is nuts! Would’ve ended up there, either way.

10. The arrest

Got arrested for growing weed, moved back home. Got first job I could at Ikea. After working there for over a year, randomly decided to check Craigslist for jobs and saw an opening at a cafe and they were hiring right then, so instinctively went for it.

The cafe was connected and owned by one of the most popular brewpubs/beer gardens in the area. They hired me to host there, quickly worked my way up the ranks to eventually bar manager. Met girl of my dreams, we are now married with 2 amazing kids. Opened two more restaurants with them and currently assistant director of operations, overseeing three restaurants @ 3, 5, and 8 million a year in sales!

Love my job, love my family, love my life. No idea what I’d be doing if I never got arrested, or never applied for the cafe job.

11. Hedgehog probs

I was walking to school and got distracted by a hedgehog that ran in a bush next to me then a big ass tree branch fell infront of me, would’ve crushed me if I didn’t get distracted by a spikey little mouse scurrying in the bushes.

I gave him a dead cricket the next day, he took it and ran off.

God speed spikey mouse.

12. Piercing

Getting my ears pierced the day after I graduated high school got me where I am today.

I worked at McDonald’s at the time and was scheduled to work that night. Before my shift, my girlfriend at the time convinced me to get my ears pierced. Well, when I showed up to my shift with these clear ear studs in, my manager gave me an option. Either take them out, or go home. Being only 17 and not taking anything seriously, I went home.

On my way home, I called that girlfriend’s dad, and asked if I could work with him laying tile. He gave me a chance, and I quit McDonald’s that day. Worked with him for about a year until the 08’/09’ recession caused us to run out of work. I got laid off.

4 months later, I land a job in a new hospital doing admitting in the emergency room. Did that for 2 years before I got my phlebotomy certification. Been doing that for a few years and now I’m in my final semester of nursing school.

I attribute everything I’ve done to that day my ex girlfriend pressured me into getting my ears pierced. Who knows how long I would have stayed at McDonald’s.

13. The musical

I procrastinated one day in high school by watching a foreign musical on youtube. I ended up trying to learn the lyrics and eventually the language.

That led me to discovering the field of linguistics, which I’m now majoring in.

I don’t know what I’d be doing now had I actually started doing my homework that day instead.

14. Finish the beer

The wife and I were having dinner in Hawaii one night on vacation.

As we were getting up to leave, I noticed she hadn’t finished her beer. I told her she should finish the beer since we paid some ridiculous price for it.

Fast forward 30 seconds and we leave the restaurant and are walking the 3 blocks back to the hotel. About 50 feet in front of us as we’re walking (were walking down the sidewalk on the left side of the road), a car comes flying out of a side street from the right and crosses through the street, hops the sidewalk in front of us, and smashes into a wall.

If she didn’t finish her beer, we would have been smoked by the car and most likely squished between the car and the wall. We always finish our beer now.

15. Tinder and booze

Was pretty lost after graduating University.

Ended up having a few too many drinks, installing tinder, and swiping exactly one time. Matched with the first person and we started dating, doubled down on staying in that state rather than going home.

Got a shit job for no money that ended up working out tremendously, promoting me, sending me overseas to an amazing new country and paying off 6 figures of student debt in 3 years with money in the bank.

All because I moved my finger slightly to one direction.

16. The thing we don’t get

High school, I didn’t get into the AP history class wanted. Changed up my schedule, including a different gym class, without everyone I knew. I was heartbroken. I really wanted to teach, and without an AP class senior year, I was screwed.

Made a new friend in gym class, who was wearing a volunteer firefighter shirt. He had just joined. Seemed interesting, and he invited me to check it out.

They paid for me to get my EMT. Fell in love with healthcare.

Fast forward quite a while, and I’m an ER Nurse and ‘precept’ students and new nurses, teaching them how to survive in the ER. I also do public outreach and injury prevention. And I love it.

Glad I missed out on my class.

About that last story… don’t always look at things we don’t get as failures.

One door closes, another one opens.

Always remember that.