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Are chance encounters really serendipitous or is it part of some grand master plan?


While we may never have an answer for why we come to meet certain people who make lasting impressions on us, it is mind-blowing to think about how our lives could potentially be different if we never crossed paths with various individuals.
A casual interaction with a stranger at a bus stop or an employee whose life changed forever after meeting a customer are some of the examples strangers on line shared when Redditor Theresapson asked:
"What was the most important random encounter you've had?"

People from the past were brought together by fate.

Creep Reunites Old Acquaintance

"I'm from London but have family in Ireland and used to spend all my summers there as a kid. Anyway, a few years back I'm stuck waiting for a night bus in another UK town at like 3am and there's one other girl waiting there and a creepy dude who keeps hitting on us. We basically start chatting to have an excuse to ignore him, and i notice she has an Irish accent. I ask what part of the country she's from and she answers with my family's home town. Turns out I played with her regularly when we were five and our grannies are BFFs. Neither of us had recognised each other or even knew the other was living there, just random chance."

belldamesansmerci

The Girl Who Made Silly Faces

"While in college I did some photography work for the marketing department of a theme park. A tall, pretty girl in one of the shops made faces at me when I tried to take her picture. Several years later I went to a jewelry to store to get a battery for my watch and she was working behind the counter. I was glad I had a conversation starter because we hit it off right away and went out to lunch together. Been married 38 years now."

p38-lightning

How They Became Best Friends

"First day of university in home country, know nobody in my course. Sit next to another guy in orientation, introduced ourselves, go to lectures together. Over the next few weeks we discover that our parents went to college together in the same home country 25 years previously (all four parents), his family had moved to the far east, mine to Europe. We had met when we were 1 year old and his family visited mine before our parents lost contact with each other. Then we had independently returned to the same home country, got into the same university, chosen the same course, and sat next to each other in a room of 300 people. Found a photo of us together aged 1. Now one of my best friends."

sneakyhopskotch

From The Same Hospital

"I moved to a new school in 11th grade and made friends with a girl in my English class. We realized our birthdays are only one day apart, and later discovered we were born in the same hospital. In college, she found a photo of herself in the hospital nursery and on the name tag on the bassinet next to hers you could see the last 4 letters of my last name."

Fuhgedaboutit1

These Redditors had poignant encounters with the elderly.

The Card

"I worked at CompUSA in Baton Rouge, LA. in their computer repair shop. It was sh*t. There were invisible 'sales goals' we had to meet, the team there was f'king creepy - they took every computer and first thing they did was look through your personal photos for nudes or stuff they could otherwise copy, take home. Gross. It sucked."

"A customer came to pick up his computer, and he was an older gentleman and his computer was comedically large so I offered to carry it to his car for him. When he opened the trunk of his car, there were architectural manuals and I mentioned I studied drafting. He gave me card, that led to a job, which led a year later to a completely different card, which led to a career."

"I don't carry his computer later, 20 years later there's a good chance I'm still in IT and still not great at it."

Worlds_Best_Coffee

Sharing A Name

"I had never ever met anyone with the same name (as me) in 25 years."

"So I had this big surgery coming up, and the night before in hospital, I was super anxious. Completely random - I meet a 96 year old guy who has the same name as myself at the ward. He also had surgery the next morning. He wore a diaper, but were super super happy and nice."

"It felt very special to me at the time. It kinda felt like destiny, or that one of us wouldn't survive the next day. We both did tho, but it was still nice :)"

Hirsch123

The Landlord With Horses

"My brother rented a house from an older guy. I went to visit my brother one day and he was telling me about his landlord and said if we ever wanted to go ride horses, we could go out to his place. He's had, somewhere around, 20-30 for the 10 years I've known him. Turned out to be one of my best friends. Helped me learn how to mechanic, how to ride junk horses, how to make good horses, how not to ruin good horses. All while specifically telling me you didn't have to be a bronc rider in order to be a cowboy. I've had some bad wrecks in the past and he helped me work through them. I'm a much better horseman now, and much better person in general I think. I never could've asked for a better friend. He's helped me with so much, while never asking me for anything in return. That's hard to find now a days."

"He's 61 and I know he won't live forever. And I'll cry more for him than I ever will my dad."

jbiggs785

Coolest Stranger

"I was thirteen and riding the train back from Raleigh, practicing my German on duolingo. I was struggling a bit with some of the words. An old guy who looked like a bearded Morpheus, big old coat and all, heard me and corrected my pronunciation of 'zucker'. This turned into a conversation of how he was stationed in Germany in the 80's, used to sneak out with his buddies to do graffiti on the Berlin Wall with the locals, and was in the crowd the day it fell. He kept several chunks of it. Still one of the coolest strangers I've ever met. Felt like some movie sh*t."

j0hnnydark0

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Literal Coincidence

"I was sitting in Washington Sq. Park, reading a book, one that would change the course of my life, and an older man sat down on the bench beside me. He asked what was I was reading. I showed him the cover and he smiled and said 'I'm the author, Paul Rosenfels' and he extended his hand. His picture was on the back cover, and indeed it was Paul. The book was 'Homosexuality a Creative Process.'"

Western_Cow_2838

The small acts of kindness by these Redditors made lasting impacts.

Accidental Therapist

"Once I talked to a guy who was deeply confused about his next steps in life. We didn't know each other, we just started talking out of nowhere, can't remember the reason. He seemed really lost, but I pointed out that he talked about some solid strategies for his future and just didn't notice them. He was shocked and really happy with the new perspectives I could offer."

"Months later, he found me on instagram through a mutual friend and sent me a dm thanking me for listening to him and saying that he started therapy immediately after our conversation and got his life back on track because of me. He even has a thriving business now! We didn't keep talking, but I'm glad I helped a total stranger with just a few encouraging words. It was one of the nicest, most touching moments of my life."

chromacities

The Man In The Wheelchair

"I went to help a disabled gentleman who had gotten his wheelchair wedged between his minivan and the parking lot curb. He was really nice and thanked me profusely. Later, I was reading and drinking coffee when he rolled over and thanked me again, and introduced me to his wife. We talked and realized that I had gone to school with his niece and that his wife knew my dad (Hawaii is a small place). Fast forward a few months and they asked me to house sit their place on the Big Island and take care of their pets while they went on vacation. It was the first time I left Oahu and the first time I lived alone. It was a really special time for me, a kind of formative moment in my life when I had time and space all to myself. Just really happy memories from those six weeks."

Thin_Host

Things Will Get Better

"At age 18 i left my home at 2am in the middle of winter, wearing pyjama shorts and no shoes. I walked 30 minutes towards a motorway, stood on the side and waited for a car to drive past so i could jump in front of it. After a while of waiting i had collapsed from the cold and pretty sure i was slowly trying to drag myself into the road. A car obviously saw me from a distance, put their hazard lights on and pulled up on the side of the road where i was laid. It was an old woman and she dragged me into the car and drove me back home. I was heavily anorexic at the time so she gave me her cookies she kept in the car for her grandkids, and talked to me about what pushed me to suicide and told me things will get better. She dropped me at home after hugging me for a while and i cried until morning. I wish i had learnt the name of the woman who quite literally saved my life and picked me up as i was dying and i think of her all the time. Random acts of kindness can do more good than you realise."

peachscone12

A Promise Made, A Promise Kept

"I once got into a train with no ticket, since I couldn't find a terminal to buy one. But once the train arrived and the doors pulled open, I saw a ticket terminal inside. Unfortunately, I discovered that the terminal only accepted cash. And all I had was my debit credit card. I was perhabs 16, and was freaking out at the prospect of getting a fine, but it just didn't dawn on me that there were still places with 'cash only.'"

"A sweet lady got up from her seat, likely having seen me sweating bullets as I stood there with my credit card in hand. And said to me 'Yeah. It's cash only.'"

"She reached into her purse pulled out her wallet, and started rooting around in her change. She then gave me the equivalent to 10 dollars in Danish Kroner (DKK) and said 'Here's the money for a ticket. But! you have to promise me, that someday, when you encounter someone in need of money for a train ticket. You have to offer to pay it for them' I gratefully agreed, bougt my ticket, and kept that promise with me for about 10-12 years."

"Then one day I actually happened to be at a train station, where a teenage girl in front of me, got her card declined continously at the ticket terminal and I could see the frustration and embarresment build up inside her."

"I still cherish the memory, of actually being able to redeem my promise to that lady in Hundested. As I paid for the teenage girls ticket, and send her on her way with the same promise as I had made a decade prior."

Eremitic23

An incredible chance encounter happened to my dad once when he was golfing in LA.

He struck up a conversation with another solo golfer and ended up hanging out and putting together on the fairway for the rest of the afternoon.

When my dad asked what this gentleman did for a living, he was told he used to be in a pop-rock group called The Monkees. Turns out my dad was talking to Micky Dolenz, the drummer of the band and one of the known heartthrobs of the group during the late 60s.

It doesn't end there. Micky inquired about my father's story, and my dad eventually mentioned I was living in New York and doing a Broadway show at the time as one of the dance captains.

Micky, with whom I happened to work and taught him the show when he came in as a replacement as one of the villainous roles, was shocked and referred to me by name.

They were both dumbfounded.

Cut to me inside a movie theater in NY on a Monday afternoon and getting a phone call. Seeing that it was from my dad, I picked up in case it was urgent.

Who I heard on the other end of Micky Dolenz, who dialed me up using my dad's phone. "So I'm golfing with your dad.." he said, and I can hear my dad laughing in the background.

That was a wonderful memory I'll never forget.

If you or someone you know is struggling, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

To find help outside the United States, the International Association for Suicide Prevention has resources available at https://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

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