They say we are all only separated by six degrees. A parent's cousin's friend's teacher ends up being your neighbor. BOOM, connected.
But even with a theory like that in tow, chance encounters feel so uncanny. For us singular human beings in a chaotic mass of 7 billion, a one-to-one connection feels profound.
And that felt significance ramps way up when the encounter happens in a random place on the other side of the globe from where one typically lives.
These Redditors shared their best stories of those moments.
The Same Guy.Giphy
"Before I was born....
My father used to work for an international airline and he once got sent to Miami for a couple of months, where he befriended one of the bartenders in the airport's bar. Less than a year later he got sent to Zurich and the first time he stepped into that airport's bar the bartender greeted him like an old friend. At first my father just assumed that the guy was naturally like that, but after thinking for a bit he realized that it was the same guy."
"Went to New York for a weekend with my girl a few years ago, we were walking up the Empire State Building and walking down the other way was my ex-girlfriend from my small town that i grew up in and had not chatted to for years.
I grew up in a small town in Southern England, wtf?"
When We Were Young
"A friend in high school was dating a guy from another city. A girl I worked with was from the same town as friends bf and I mentioned that my friend was dating someone from where she use to live. I only knew his first name, age and something rather general about him and jokingly asked her if she knew him.
She immediately knew who I was talking about. Their parents had worked together when they were younger and they had spent some time together as kids."
It still blows my mind to this day
"My father moved to a small town in rural Midwest in 2000 from the southern part of the US. Prior to that, he lived his whole life in Europe, both eastern and western but is originally of Slavic descent.
When he moved to this new Midwestern town, he started looking up Slavic last names (not many given the size of this place) to find new friends and started calling them. One of the people he called shared the name of someone he worked with when he lived in Eastern Europe back in the early 90s.
He didn't think much of it because there are a lot of common names in Eastern Europe. But the guy then told him that his occupation was the same as the person he knew with the same name. After probing further, it turned out that that this actually was his colleague, and that they both somehow ended up in the same tiny @ss middle-of-nowhere Midwestern town, and came there under the same exact circumstances.
It still blows my mind to this day."
"I met someone in Korea while traveling. When I went back to work and told one of my colleagues about it turns out she was her best friend."
"I was introducing a guy to replace me at work in a town I was leaving. We had never met before, but it turned out he had not only worked (briefly) at the new place I was starting at, but also grew up in the house next to the one we just bought there."
"Yeah, my family and I had booked a kayaking trip on our vacation in Norway. We're from a small town in Southern Wisconsin. Our tour guide was from a town 10 miles down the road."
"When I got hired at my job and realized the old Filipino guy in my department who sat across from me was married to one of my mom's college classmates from the Philippines. Sometimes my mom or his wife would have us bring stuff for the other because it's easier lol (my mom lives in town and her classmate is about 10 miles out from her).
It shouldn't be such a trip because in Hawaii pretty much everyone knows everyone, but just knowing that they started in the PI and then both ended up and stayed in Hawaii when their other classmates eventually ended up in Nevada or California."
"Travelled abroad the summer after 4th grade and went to a theme park that consists of 6 other parks, one of them being a water park.
I Spent the whole day playing around in the water and then I see this boy from class and from all the shock decide to hide behind my dad. I was too shy to say hi, so I just moved on. I wonder if he saw me too but we went to a school that was girls-only after 4th grade so I never saw him again."
209 for LuckGiphy
"The street number for my parents' home was #209.
My high school locker number was #209.
First off-campus apt. was #209.
Safe deposit box in the bank vault was #209.
Then, the home I bought was #209."
"I'm from Texas and on a mission trip to Thailand I met a man who knew about my broken toe from about 2 weeks prior. His daughters worked as the athletic trainer at my school and I had gone to see her to see what was wrong. I guess she though someone breaking their toe from kicking someone else was interesting enough to tell her dad."
"I was 5900 miles away from home on a ferry and ran into the parents of one of my students."
In the DM
"I posted a picture of my homecoming outfit on Reddit earlier this fall (homecoming is a football game/dance that happens in the fall for American high schoolers). A couple hours later, I got a DM from some guy saying that he was probably going to come across as super creepy, but he was pretty sure he went to school with me because I looked familiar and our homecoming was on the same day. I asked him what our school mascot and colors were, because I wasn't about to name drop our school, and he immediately got them right.
I know he's a junior and a band kid, but I never asked him who he was. I'd honestly rather stay blissfully ignorant. I never tell anyone my Reddit account because I've opened up here about my self-harm and childhood trauma, so it's weird to think that there's some kid at my school who potentially knows all of that stuff."
"Met a guy from work in Verona, Italy. We were there on a trip just for a couple of hours only.... and I met him there on some random street. That was some crazy butt coincidence."
I was pretty scared
"I met my old football team at an amusement park, which was like 800km from my home. I was really bad at the game and I got a lot of hate from them. I told my friend that I was feeling bad that I need to go rest somewhere. I was behind a restaurant like 2 hours watching youtube. I was pretty scared."
On the busGiphy
"I was on a bus at the airport in Rome, Italy. On the window of the bus was a sticker for the school I was currently attending for my Masters (the school is in the southern United States)."
I Spot With My Eye
"We were on a family vacation in Greece. We met one of my mom's former classmates while standing in line at a local attraction. The thing is, they were classmates in Romania, my mom lived in Hungary and the former classmate lived in the US and they haven't met since graduation. And they both spotted each other in an instant too."
"FB connections ALWAYS get me like that. Seeing friends from completely different circles and contexts that know each other."
2 Days Away
"When I was in Spain for 2 days (from Canada) and ran into my friend on the street, like literally could of ran into her. We both knew we were going to be there, but we both had vastly different schedules, and we both just happened to have an hour free time slot at the same time at the exact same place. It was a fun time."
"I moved 1200 miles away from home after college, and my new weed dealer's mother was practically my neighbor back home."
"What I find interesting about these meet ups is that you both have to be:
- At the same longitude
- At the same latitude
- At the same elevation (think skyscraper vs underground such as subway station vs ground level)
- At the same point in time.
Any of those four criteria do not all line up and the opportunity is gone."
Down the Hall
"Worked at an office with 800+ people. My step mom was talking to a relative in the UK about the fact that her sister's ex-brother-in-law worked in Texas for a company that sounded like the same one I worked for. I looked for his name in the directory and he worked in the next section over from me and I'd pass him in the hall all the time just had no idea who he was!"
From the 6th
"In high school I went on vacation to New Mexico one year and to Maine two years later. I saw the same classmate from elementary school both times. He had also moved across the country after 6th grade."
"I had a fifth grade buddy in kindergarten. I also had a swim instructor. Imagine my uttermost shock when those two were related."
"Not me but I read a story about a woman in the U.S who had a special sweater with her name tag on it when she was young. It went to Goodwill or someplace and I think about 10 years later she was in the middle of Africa in a fairly primitive area and she sees this little kid with the same sweater on as confirmed by the tag."
This happened to my wife
"This happened to my wife.
She was getting her masters degree, and part of it was watching a nurse do a presentation on a baby she helped deliver 26 years before hand. This was done in a hospital on the other side of the US. As the nurse describes the case, my wife realizes that she was the baby this person delivered.
She walks up to the nurse and explained that the baby turned out fine. She literally made chit chat with the nurse who helped bring her here."
"Went on a heli-hiking trip on a glacier in New Zealand and our guide was from the same small town in Washington state that I grew up in."
"Yesterday, me and my friend were talking about developing a game, and he wanted to get as much help as possible to make a game. I happen to have a cousin that develops games, so I told him about my cousin. He had his mind blown when I told him who was my cousin. He told me he met my cousin multiple times and my cousin even worked with his brothers for a while. I said no damn way. Small world eh?"
High School DaysGiphy
"When I move over a thousand kilometers away from my hometown... and still ended up working with someone I went to high school with."
2 Months Later
"I ran it into a family friend in a random bar in the middle of nowhere Colorado. I hadn't met this person yet and we had beers and talked about outdoor stuff. Didn't realize till like 2 months later that he was a close family friend."
"I worked at an American school in Jordan and became really good friends with my roommate who also taught at the school. The school was pretty small, so we were close with most of the other teachers as well. My friend ended up moving back to the states and getting married, but we kept in touch. I started working at another school in Shanghai several years later. We planned to take a trip to Tibet with a group from my school over Spring Break. She came to Shanghai a few days early and one night we went to dinner at a local restaurant.
"As we're enjoying our meal and catching up, I notice a couple that looked oddly familiar. I lean in to my friend and ask her to look. She realizes it's a couple we worked with in Jordan. We remember their names and go say hello. When we go to the table I see that they're sitting with two friends of mine from my current school. Turns out they had worked together at another school. The American school/International school community is very small."
From NJ to FL
"I was moving and driving from NJ to FL, stopped at some random gas station in the middle of no-where South Carolina and had heard someone call my name.
It was an old high school friend from NJ who had moved away years before. No idea he even moved away and we were literally the only 2 cars at the gas station. It was extremely weird but we had a great laugh, chatted for maybe 10 minutes, and we went on our way."
"I studied abroad in the US in my junior year of high school and was placed in a 400-people town somewhere in the midwest. My host family took me to the closest McDonald's one night and I overheard the only other customers speaking my native language. I turned around and it was my brother's elementary school teacher and her husband on a US roadtrip."
On the Mountain
"I'm from Germany so my family and I visited Austria. We were on a 3000m Mountain and suddenly my art teacher stood behind me."
Florida to Moscow
"My brother went to Florida with his friends family. He met this girl there, hung out with her the 2 weeks he was there (with his friend too). About 6 months later he goes to Moscow with my grandfather for a trip to Russia (this was 1991). He's at a shopping plaza near their hotel, who does he see, the same girl from Florida.
A few years back, my family was at the beach with my father-in-law. The waitress at one of the places we stopped for breakfast was my father-in-law's neighbor growing up."
It truly is small world.
The Law Circle
"I went to law school with a woman for 3 years and maybe had 1 class together. We were in the same Bar Prep group. It turned out she went to college 45 minutes from me and was mutual friends with a bunch of my friends from HS who went to the same college."
"Person in my corporation moved to town and joined our site. We were talking, and we figured out that we were both camp councilors at the same camp in a completely different city, only one year apart."
"I grew up in Everett, WA. When I turned 22, I decided that I wanted to hitchhike America. In the beginning of my journey, I was in Sacramento, CA. I got stuck there, living on the streets for a while. I nice guy told me where I can find a good place to sleep for the night. He seemed familiar and genuinely nice. I took his advice and the next day, I was already on my way to LA. After my very, very long journey was over."
"I was 24 and back in Everett, WA. I went to visit a friend one day and just happened to look in his neighbor's window. It was that really nice guy from Sacramento. Turns out we grew up down the street from each other and went to the same high school. This showed my that literally anything can happen and you will never stop being amazed with what paths you take in life, the places and people who come and go on that path."
"Yup. I caught a flight to Sydney from the UK. Took a coach 10 hours up the East Coast. Got off at a random spot and was collected by the hostel owner which was a 30 minute drive to the hostel. It was the first week the hostel was open and wasn't yet advertised. This particular hostel only had room for 10 people at a time. One of the random guests who was staying there worked with and was friends with one of my best friends back in the UK. Small world."
"I met a woman from Belgium at a party and asked her, as a joke, if she knew my childhood friend who had moved there when she was about 12.
Turns out that the lady I met at the party didn't just know my childhood friend, but they were really close friends. party lady even put me and my old school friend back in touch."
"I did my bachelors in the US. I had that person that I had one class with in my freshman year, but never really talked to. Our interaction was limited to awkwardly white man smiling at each other when we walked by each other occasionally."
"I graduate, move to London for my master's. My new uni is pretty elitist, top college usually reserved for a very narrow range of professionals, I have no idea how I got there. It was pure randomness."
"As I leave my first day orientation, I walk by that same f***ing guy in the hallway. And all we do is white people awkward smile at each other."
"I used to travel the world for work. One trip I was drinking with this guy in an airport bar in Texas. A few weeks later, I walk into a restaurant in Maracaibo, Venezuela and I hear 'Hey!!!' It was the bar dude from Texas." -- slider728
"Dude that's wholesome and nifty." -- dawgshizzle
Burying the HatchetGiphy
"Used to pitch softball in the US and had a friendly rivalry with another team pitcher."
"Went on vacation and missed the playoffs as I was in London. I'm checking out the royal museum and run into that pitcher on the day we were supposed to be playing against each other.."
"So we got a beer instead."
Way Back When
"My stepdad was south African. Ran his own business here in the UK. One day a new client comes in, they get chatting, and he notices my dad's South African accent. Says he, too, is originally from SA. Asks my dad where he used to live, and says 'me too !' "
"Comes back in the next day with a photo (black & white - little South African humour there) of a group of kids, aged about 10. Says to my dad, 'This was a birthday party I went to when I was 10.' He points at a boy and says 'that's me.' "
"Then he points at another boy in the photo and says to my dad "that's you." He had a photo of a party my dad had attended something like 40 years ago on another continent, and neither of them knew each other!"
"Coworker always said she liked my house. Turns out her grandparents built the house but had never met her." -- cowboycasanovaa
"I had the same thing happen to me. I was dropping my car off to get serviced, and they asked to verify my address."
One of the lube techs overheard me and asked if the house was between two cross streets. I said it was."
His grandparents had lived there when he was a kid, and he had spent most of his summers there." -- trrwilson
Guess that Guy Likes Fishing VillagesGiphy
"I was born and raised in Portland, Oregon and I moved to a tiny fishing village in Alaska for 7 years on an island with only 2,000 people or so."
"One day I get a call from my dad and step mom because they were on vacation in a small fishing town in Ireland named Cushendall and had run in to someone I knew. Apparently a random person on the street had heard his American accent and asked for some tips on places to stay nearby."
"My dad noticed that he was wearing a hat from the town I lived in and asked if he knew me, and he answered that he had just had dinner with me a few nights before all the way back in Alaska."
"When my sis unexpectedly ran into my aunt, at a hotel restaurant, in ANOTHER country, BOTH on a secret honeymoon trip with their respective SO's..."
"They had somehow booked the same dates to travel to the same country, been on the same flight and stayed at the same hotel."
"Neither of them knew about the other ones travel plans."
An Especially Creepy Line for the Moment
"I had a professor in college that I took evolution and biology with. She started each semester with, 'I know what you all have been doing in the shower' ...science experiments. This was in Florida."
"I was in Germany a few years later on vacation and I was in a bravarian castle when I see that same professor. I went up to her and she thought it was a joke that her family had put me up to until I said, 'I know what you're doing in the shower.' "
"I made a crappy meme for one of the subReddits with a picture I had taken. Put it up for a few hours without much of anything happening with it and took it down."
"About a week later in surfing Facebook and seen the exact picture shared by both my sister and step grandmother. Neither of them had a clue I had anything to do with it."
"I went on holiday near the Everglades in Florida many years ago. I support an English football (soccer) team called Scunthorpe United. We're not really good and we are in the fourth division of English football, we're not like Manchester United."
"Me and my parents stayed in a holiday home, and so we went to buy some groceries at the local Walmart one evening. So I go round one of the aisles - and there is a kid wearing a Scunthorpe shirt!"
"Yep, of all the shirts of a sports team, there is a kid walking around with my team's shirt on. I was just ecstatic to say the least."
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