Life is unpredictable. Sometimes, things happen out of the blue that are just so much of a coincidence that you can’t help but wonder if it was a setup. Check out some of the craziest coincidences that really happened to people.
1. Mr. Impatient
I was headed in for a job interview several years back. As I’m walking in, two other men are approaching the door from different angles. One of them speeds up to cut off the other and get in the door first, and the other walks in, shaking his head in disbelief.
As I walk in behind them, the first guy runs to the elevator and presses the button, not holding the elevator for the other guy and me. Again, the second guy just shakes his head. We wait for the next elevator. I say, “Can you believe some people?” And we both chuckle a little bit.
As it turns out, we are headed to the same floor, so we get off the elevator together. As we walk into an office, there is guy #1, Mr. Impatient, standing at the desk tapping his foot as the receptionist is finishing up a phone call.
The receptionist asks, “Can I help you?” He says, “I’m here to see Mr. Smith for an interview at 3:30.”
I think to myself, “Great. This guy is interviewing for the same position I am, and I’m sure he’ll pretend to be the sweetest guy in the interview.” I lean over and tell the receptionist, “I am Mr. Smiths 3:00 interview.” Mr. Impatient glares at me.
The other guy I walked in with (the one Mr. Impatient had cut off) then says, “Gentlemen: I’m Mr Smith.” He turns to Mr. Impatient and says, “You don’t need to wait around. I’ve already determined you are not a good fit for us.”
I got the job.
2. “He no longer had a telephone I could call…”
The night my daughter died in a double hit-and-run in Colorado, a stranger stopped to help her and was witness to the second car that hit her, ending her life. He had been trying to help her though; he called for an ambulance and although it was ultimately unsuccessful, every effort was made to save her life. That stranger is a hero as far as Im concerned.
The man who tried to help was very traumatized by what he had witnessed and had to change jobs so that he no longer had to pass by the place where my daughter died as he went to and from work.
Unrelated to the accident, he and his wife got rid of their landline when they moved. I wanted very much to thank him but although I had tried to get in touch, he had changed jobs and he no longer had a telephone I could call. But thats not the end of the story.
I finally decided that simply being grateful would have to be enough, even if I couldnt tell him myself.
Two years later, I’m sitting at the dinner table in a hostel in London and I strike up a conversation with a guy also having dinner there.
He was from the same area as me. He remembered my daughter’s death not just from it being in the news, but because the husband of one of his co-workers had stopped and tried to help the young lady.
Oh my God!
To make a long story short, he put me in touch with his co-worker and I was able to email her and express my thanks and gratitude for her husbands efforts that night.
She emailed me back and said that although her husband was desperately sorry he couldnt save her, he was grateful that she didn’t have to die alone. He is a hero in my eyes and I’m so glad I got to let him know how grateful our family is. May he and his loved ones be abundantly blessed.
3. Just can’t get away
I was working in an Emergency Room in Atlanta, Georgia. We had a new doctor who had just finished her residency in Boston.
She was working her second shift with us when an ambulance came in. She looked at the patient on the stretcher and said, “Hey. I know him.”
She followed the stretcher to his room and said, “Randy, why are you in Georgia?”
He looked up at her shocked and said, “Ah nuts. I can’t get away from you can I?”
Apparently he had been a “Frequent Flyer” at her previous hospital and she had just taken care of him several days before leaving Boston the previous week.
It must have been shocking for him to take a bus to Atlanta and have the same doctor take care of him. There are a lot of hospitals in America. The odds of this guy picking the same hospital in the same state, in the same city, on the same day, on the same shift that the same doctor was working is insane to comprehend.
4. “We actually know each other…”
This happened to me yesterday.
I was at a bar in Oceanside California and noticed one of the bar backs was wearing a shirt with a silhouette of Ohio on it. I grew up in Ohio, so I asked where he was from.
“I’m from Cleveland.”
“Me too. A little south of it.”
“Yeah, we actually know each other. You trained me at a restaurant and gave me my first AFI album!”
I’m 33 years old. When I was 19 or 20 I trained this 16 year old kid named Pete how to bus tables at an Italian restaurant — and apparently gave him an AFI album (which probably explains why I can’t find it). That he recognized me after over a decade and that we both happened to be in the same place in a random bar in Southern California is pretty incredible to me.
5. Friends EVERYWHERE
Years ago, I was driving down the expressway when there was a loud BANG from under the hood and the car decelerated quickly. I pulled to a stop in the emergency lane and began considering my options.
It was raining, so the prospect of even looking under the hood didn’t seem appealing, and I didn’t have any tools with me in any event. I certainly didn’t have the parts to fix whatever had broken. Also, this was before cell phones.
I looked around and noticed that a car had run off the road and knocked down the chain link fence just a few yards away. Huh.
Better yet, there appeared to be a residential street just beyond the fence. So I got out of the car, hopped what remained of the fence, and found myself in a small cul-de-sac with a choice of three or four houses nearby. Choosing one at random, I walked up to the door and knocked.
“Dave, what are you doing here?” The person who answered was Troy, a co-worker from several years earlier. I explained, and of course he loaned me his phone so that I could call my father.
I then went back to the car to wait for my father and the tow truck he said he would call for me. While I was waiting, an electric utility truck pulled in behind me and the driver turned his emergency lights on. I got out of the car and ran back to the truck to tell the driver someone was already on the way, and it was our next-door neighbor from about 15 years earlier!
6. Name the Devil
A few years ago my wife got a phone call from Dr.B., someone she hadn’t spoken to in many years.
He said he was calling because he remembered that we had been to Budapest back in the 1990s, and he wanted the name of the guide we used.
Try as she might, my wife couldn’t remember the name of the guide. Suddenly, she heard the call-waiting beep on the phone.
My wife excused herself to Dr.B. for a second to answer the other call. And who was this other caller? Yes, it was Laszlo F., the Budapest guide, calling to say hello after more than fifteen years.
We still can’t believe this happened.
7. A long way from home
I’m from Australia.
My wife and I backpacked around Vietnam for three weeks. One place we stayed had a television. So while I was waiting for my wife to get ready to go out, I flicked on the set to see what Vietnamese TV was like.
We could only get reception on a few channels and since the other two were Vietnamese talk shows, I left it on a program that was doing current affairs in English. It was a strange mixture of footage from Australian programs so I recognized the presenter from TV back home.
I had the TV on for about five minutes while I waited and was about to switch it off when I looked up and saw my brother on the screen.
The network was showing a program from Australia about marriage and it included couples showing excerpts of their wedding videos. My brother officiated at the wedding of one couple and so he was clearly visible on the screen for about ten seconds.
When I got back to Australia I mentioned this to my brother. He had no idea he’d been on Australian TV let alone replayed on Vietnamese TV.
I can say with almost one hundred percent confidence that my brother has only appeared on Vietnamese TV for ten seconds in the entire time they’ve been broadcasting, it blows me away to think that it happened to occur in the ten minutes of Vietnamese TV that I happened to be watching.
8. Quoth the raven
Once, when a class of tenth graders and I were discussing Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “The Raven”, an actual raven landed on the tree outside of my classroom and started cawing loudly … no kidding! The students and I lost it!
I’ve taught in that room for almost twenty years, and I can’t remember another time when a raven has landed in that tree, let alone under such specific circumstances.
9. The file whisperer
Back when I was in the army, my company had mustered out of boot camp before me because I was in the hospital. A week later, all those with exit orders were ordered to pick them up at 0500 sharp.
For some reason the sixty of us men were not allowed to get in the shade and relax. Nope, we were forced to stand at ease in the boiling California sun. Individuals were called up to get their orders one at a time.
Two hours later, I was standing there alone. I began to get a sinking feeling. I dared to move and went up to the second floor. The large room was loaded with files overflowing with paperwork. I told them I hadn’t been called and asked if I could get my orders.
This caused hilarious laughter among the six men who worked in this stuffy office.
“Well, soldier,” the Sergeant replied. “We’ve got nothing for you, but if you like, go ahead and start looking. By the way we’re leaving for duty elsewhere in fifteen minutes and were closing up.”
There are only a few times that rage came thundering onto me. I didn’t show it, but I knew there was no way that I could find my file among the thousands crammed into that room.
I turned and skinnied through one aisle. Just as I had chosen the aisle by random, I opened one of the hundreds of steel file drawers. I started flipping through. The third paper file contained my orders.
It sure shut those soldiers up when I returned within two minutes with my orders. They stared at me as if I was a ghost.
10. How’d he know??
I began research on my senior project in Computer Science. Since this was in the pre-Internet era, I used the library. I went into the Engineering Library and consulted a huge index of published literature in the computing field. From there, I identified four articles that might be helpful in my project of choice.
I was able to find three of them in the vast holdings of the Engineering Library, but they didn’t really pan out. The fourth sounded much more promising, but I couldn’t find it. It was in the Journal of Artificial Intelligence, Volume 4, number 6.
I consulted the reference librarian. She confirmed that the UF engineering library didn’t subscribe to that journal, but I could get it on an interlibrary loan in 6 weeks or so. I needed it faster than that!
So I ran off to class. I was barely seated at my desk in class, when a friend of mine walked in and without a word put a magazine on my desk. It was — The Journal of Artificial Intelligence, Volume 4, Number 6.
I was speechless.
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