People Share Their Most Memorable Stories From Y2K

©Flickr,Eric Fischer

If you’re of a certain age, you’ll remember the madness and hysteria that surrounded Y2K.

It’s been 20 long years, but back then, some people were convinced that once the calendar flipped over to 2000, everything would go haywire: Planes would start falling out of the sky, our systems would crash, currencies would be wiped out, etc.

I was in the middle of nowhere in Colorado that night (and I didn’t have a cell phone), so I knew that if the sh*t hit the fan, I’d probably be just fine.

In the end, we didn’t have anything to worry about, but you know how people get when they start to lose their minds.

AskReddit users shared their stories from that memorable evening.

1. That’s kinda weird.

“I was managing the IT department in a state agency, and were under enormous pressure to prevent any Y2K problems. On NY day I went to work before dawn and tested everything before the Exec Director arrived. Relieved that everything was working ok, we went to IHOP For a celebratory breakfast. The IHOP bill was date/timed stamped 32Dec1999.”

2. Keep on living.

“My favorite thing was cemetery headstones that were not Y2K compliant. People had headstones made before they died with the 19 pre-engraved, planning on filling in the next two digits when the time came. Oops, they kept living.”

3. Joke’s on you!

“I lived overseas and was watching the news with family and friends on the armed forces network, the newscast did the countdown and then at 1 they cut the feed and it went to static. There were several gasps and then about five seconds later the feed came back and the newscast shouted “Just kidding! Happy New Year!”

I thought it was pretty clever.”

4. Oh, mom…

“My mother was one of those folks that was convinced that everything was going to implode for Y2K. She thought that it would be like a post apocalyptic nightmare – no food at the stores, banks shut down, people rioting – the whole nine yards.

She desperately tried to convince me, my two brothers, and all of our families to come to her place in the country and bunker down for the duration. Of course, none of us were going for that but we did keep in touch so that she didn’t worry too much.

I will never forget the phone call where she explained that she had stock piled canned goods, bought a generator, and bought a MILK COW. The cow was so that the kids would have milk since there obviously wouldn’t be any at the store after all commerce broke down.

Shm. Her heart was in the right place but really mom?!? A milk cow?? None of the kids were even babies that would need milk.

She ended up selling the cow shortly after nothing happened. We still laugh about the Y2K milk cow.”

5. Working overtime.

“My dad was a systems analyst, working for what was then a major UK high street retailer based in Liverpool, who had their own in house Epos system that my dad worked on.

His department learned of the y2k issue at a conference in 94 or 95, and had the system 90% compliant by 1998 but the management were very cautious. Everything was tested and retested and dad was on call throughout December 99, with incredibly generous rates.

The office was at the Albert Dock, and dad was called in new years eve as a precaution, so we got to watch the fireworks over the Mersey from the top floor where dad’s office was. Dad reckons the extra pay (after tax) amounted to about six weeks pay.”

6. A lot of time went into that.

“I worked in IT at one of the Dow Industrial companies’ headquarters, and I spent a high percentage of 1999 doing “Y2K tests” on every single computer, server, printer, fax machine and, I’m pretty sure, coffee maker.

No problems, and no signs of problems. That year was a waste of my life.”

7. This is amazing.

“In October, my dad finished off the spam he purchased for Y2K. He bought 12 cases of it because it was super cheap leading up to y2k and he just really enjoys spam. I am honestly impressed at the dedication of someone to eat 288 cans of spam over 20 years.”

8. Out in the country.

“I am from the RURAL midwest. Looking back at my childhood, you would think I grew up in the 1970s and not the 90s because of how country my hometown was.

My family didnt really understand Y2K but they bought into the hype. A lot of religious people were twisting the whole thing into an apocalyptic type of thing.

I was a kid and it scared me. I dreaded new years eve, because I was worried that was when the world would end. A few days prior, a low flying aircraft of some kind flew over the family farm. It was so loud and must have been going fast because there was a sound that may have been a sonic boom. I was outside with my grandpa and I ran inside at the sound, hid under the kitchen table and started bawling.

My grandpa fished me out from the table and I told him why I was so scared. He and I rang in the new years together that year so he could show me that everything would be fine.”

9. A little chaos.

“I’m a firefighter and was working on the Y2K night. Right at midnight, all of our primary radio and CAD systems failed. It was a huge, system wide failure just like everybody predicted would happen. We were getting dispatched by backup radios and our dispatchers were writing down calls on pieces of paper.

The suck is that my engine company had the first call of the year, but we didn’t get credit for it because of the confusion. When they put calls into the computer after it was fixed we ended up with call 00013.

Fuck you Engine 3, we were first. Sincerely, E12.”

10. “It was perfect.”

“We were in high school. Had a huge group of friends 30+ that spent New Years at one my friend’s parent’s house.

We were doing the countdown. Everyone was nervous from all the hype that computers were not going to be able to calculate the date correctly and revert to 1900, shutting down vital city systems. (Internet and computers were just beginning to take over managing everything. For reference, I had a beeper in high school guys!)

5….4….3….2…1…. The entire house goes completely dark. Silence.

Friend’ dad comes upstairs looks at our scared faces and starts his ass off, slapping his legs and doubling over with humor. Can’t catch his breath. He flipped the breaker. Lights back come on. Happy Y2K everyone!!

It was perfect.”

11. Go back to bed.

“Alberta, Canada. My Dad worked for the provincial government and was assigned to Alberta Environment’s Y2K rapid response team. If the millennium bug caused anything in the oil fields to go boom, Dad would have to supervise clean-up efforts.

January 1, 2000. At around 1:30 AM, Dad got the call. “Yeah…everything’s fine. Rapid response team is being disbanded. Go back to bed and enjoy your day off.””

12. A great time to do acid.

“Lived in a house in the middle of the boonies with my friends shortly after high school. This house was owned by a survivalist software engineer who said we could live there rent free on the condition that we all go through survivalist training by a high ranking marine officer at his own expense. This was him initiating a small group of go-getters who would help him recreate society after the Apocalypse, which was inevitably coming (most likely with a y2k societal collapse).

I learned how to navigate and triangulate with and without map and compass, lead a group of civilian soldiers, and shoot a Colt 45. By the end of training, I could assemble and disassemble it in a minute and 7 seconds blindfolded. The peak of our training was when my best friend and I (both female) took down a line of cans at 30 yards from the outside in, one starting on the left and the other starting on the right, in complete tandem, hitting the middle one simultaneously. The man who trained us was gushing with pride that day.

New year’s came around. We sat by the fire, took some acid and contemplated what was next for our lives.”

13. Militia men.

“I grew up in rural Tennessee, and my neighbors at the end of the road were a legit militia. Like, they had built a bunch of bunkers and stockpiled food and fuel and weapons, and went out in the woods on training exercises.

Through the Clinton administration, they were mostly preparing for a New World Order / Black Helicopter / Hillary Clinton takeover type scenario. But Y2K really meshed with their worldview.

They offered to let my neighbor (a machinist and welder) join their crew, but I guess they didn’t have much use for my family.

In October, we got a misdelivered xeroxed newsletter in the mail. It was totally creepy. Full of helpful tips for setting up your own little warlord-dom after Y2K–how to subjugate the population, set up roadblocks around your fiefdom, getting the most our of your serfs once civilization fell, building alliances with your neighboring warlords.

My machinist neighbor (who always had some shady characters hanging around his place) told the militia he’d be fine and went and bought a fucking machine gun.

After New Year’s, we didn’t see the militia much. Their leader died a few months later, which was really a shame, because 9/11 would have been right up his alley.”

14. Nice work!

“Lost my virginity on 31Dec99. That was 20 years ago?!”

15. The end is here.

“Neighborhood kid hit some kind of transformer with a mortar shell, knocked out the power on our block and a few others about 15 minutes after midnight. I was 12 and thought it was funny, I guess I never truly belived society could crumble from some 1s and 0s. However, a couple of guests who were my parents are started wailing like armageddon had just began. It was funny.”

Well, that brings back some interesting memories from 20 years ago, now doesn’t it?

Do you remember where you were for the Y2K craze when we entered the year 2000?

Tell us all about it in the comments. Let’s hear some good stories!