Disabled Man Forced To Scoot Off Airplane Twice On Honeymoon After United Fails To Provide Him A Wheelchair
United Airlines is apologizing after forcing a paraplegic man to scoot off an airplane while on his honeymoon — twice.
After getting married in November, high school football coach Tyler Schilhabel and his wife, Courtney, were finally heading to their honeymoon in the Dominican Republic last week but, thanks to United, it was far from a dream getaway.
After United failed to provide a wheelchair, Tyler, who is paralyzed from the chest down, says he was forced to scoot down the aisle of the plane on his butt, not once but twice.
Tyler Schilhabel said his honeymoon got off to a rough start when poor service on a United Airlines flight forced h… https://t.co/lt7ixNEWt0— BVarsityLive (@BVarsityLive) 1546657112.0
"It's frustrating, it's humiliating, it's exhausting," Schilhabel told the Bakersfield Californian. "I started to feel physically sick. It was just an unpleasant experience all around."
Once he was back home, Schilhabel posted about the experience on Facebook.
His full Facebook post reads:
"So a little rant about United Airlines.... Courtney and I flew to the Dominican Republic for our honeymoon, when we landed they didn't have an aisle chair (my normal chair is too wide to take on the plane) or ramp/elevator to help me off the plane, only a flight of stairs. So I had to scoot down the aisle on my butt to get off and then hop down step by step to get to my chair. THEN today on our way home for our connecting flight in Chicago they didn't have an aisle chair again except this time we were in the very back of the plane so I once again had to scoot all the way down on my butt. I know everybody has travel horror stories, but this was completely ridiculous. I've flown United my last 6 flights and each time they've either been late with getting an aisle chair to me or didn't have one at all. Needless to say I won't be using their business anytime soon."
When Schilhabel was 16 he was left paralyzed after an ATV accident. He now works as the head coach of the Independence High School football team and uses a wheelchair to get around.
Tyler's regular wheelchair is too wide for the aisle of an airplane.
"I always make it a point to let them know I need an aisle chair," Schilhabel said. "I show up at least three hours early to make sure it is taken care of. I did all my due diligence to make sure I covered myself."
But United still didn't have a chair available for Tyler. Flying out of Los Angeles, Tyler and Courtney were headed to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic with a connecting flight in Chicago.
That's where the trouble started, says Schilhabel.
"I've flown with a number of different airlines and either they have the aisle chair waiting there when we land or its there within five minutes."
Schilhabel says he had just 50 minutes to make his connecting flight in Chicago and, even with a chair, that wasn't much time.
When deplaning using an aisle chair, Tyler says he has to wait until all other passengers are off the plane. After waiting 20 minutes for the other passengers to deplane, Schilhabel says he waited another 15 minutes for his chair. Eventually a flight attendant carried him off the plane to his regular wheelchair.
"Luckily, we were able to make it to our connecting flight," Tyler said, but his troubles didn't end there.
When they landed in Punta Cana, it was the same problem all over again. This time Tyler had to scoot down the aisle on his rear, and there were only portable stairs available to exit the plane. Courtney had to help him "hop down step by step," injuring her wrist while doing so.
"We spent the first half-day of our honeymoon laying around and trying to recover from that debacle," said Tyler.
Unfortunately, the trip home was just as bad.
On their return flight, an elevator lifted Schilhabel onto the plane, but when they landed in Chicago there was still no aisle wheelchair available.
Tyler waited 45 minutes before he was forced to scoot 31 rows down the plane's aisle.
"I got really dizzy. I was pretty close to passing out. When you exert a lot of energy, at times that can happen."
After the Bakersfield Californian article, United released a statement addressing the incident:
"We are proud to operate an airline that doesn't just include people with disabilities but welcomes them as customers, Untied told the Californian in an email. "In fact, thousands of people with disabilities fly United every day. That said, this incident falls far short of our own high standard of caring for our customers. We have been in touch with the customer to apologize and assure him that the errors that led to this situation are extremely rare."
Now back home, Schilhabel says United offered to refund his tickets and give him $1000 in travel vouchers. According to Tyler, they also asked him to remove his Facebook post, but he says the offer wasn't worth the trouble.
"It's not worth it to take their vouchers and run the risk of going through all of this again," Tyler said. "It's more about letting people know that this is unacceptable.
And it seems like the word is getting out there.
When will airlines learn? This isn’t the first time something like this has happened. This isn’t acceptable. https://t.co/1dMjt2H0h8— AMCPress+Co (@AMCPress+Co) 1546817636.0
Another airline horror story. RT-Disabled Independence football coach said he was forced to scoot off airplane twic… https://t.co/ORMMd1kQwk— Gregory Mansfield (@Gregory Mansfield) 1546663342.0
@Hydraponica @GHMansfield @Bakersfieldcali I don't know but all my travel is always stressful and it's always down… https://t.co/9LEhT9ZygJ— Huhana Hickey PhD (@Huhana Hickey PhD) 1546724079.0
@GHMansfield @Bakersfieldcali That's infuriating.— Paul Miller ♿ (@Paul Miller ♿) 1546711557.0
@GHMansfield @Bakersfieldcali Is there anything being done on the legislative level to address this?— ⚡CRIP LYRICS⚡AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER NOW❗ (@⚡CRIP LYRICS⚡AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER NOW❗) 1546726962.0
Schilhabel says he's glad United offed an apology but does not believe what happened to him was an isolated incident.
"To me, it's hard to believe that they are truly sympathetic when it seems like it's more than a common occurrence."
After he posted about his experience with United, Tyler says others in the disabled community reached out to him with similar stories.
"People need to know." Tyler says. "And (United) needs to be held responsible for the frankly terrible service that they offered."
Marriage is a sacred bond between two people…but sometimes it isn’t quite as easy as just saying yes to that special person. Sometimes you just have to look at your friend, take a deep breath, and agree to get married if you’re both sad and single in later years. These Redditors share tales of times when a marriage pact worked out—or didn’t.
The Better Manwedding, wedding rings, marriage, jewelry, love, marry, the ...wedding, wedding rings, marriage, jewelry, love, marry, the ...
Not a pact but a joking promise: My best friend and his girlfriend had been dating for several years. I told her, jokingly, if he didn't marry her in a year, I would. We were friends, never dated, never kissed, nothing.
A year later we were walking down the aisle. I can't stress how big of a surprise it was for both of us when we got together. That was two kids and almost 24 years ago. Our oldest starts college this fall. The best thing is, we're the way we were when we were just friends; being married hasn't changed much.
No, Thank You
I made this pact with my best male friend in high school—but there was a bizarre twist. When we were about 20, he told me that even if he got married before 30 and I still wasn't married, he would divorce her for me, which I found to be an odd statement. We went our separate ways and I didn't hear back from him until I turned 31. By this time, he was married and I was not. We spent the day together and he asked me, "Remember our marriage pact"?
He wanted to divorce his wife for me. I declined.
The Pact Player
I made pacts with a bunch of female friends through high school, college, and university. On my wedding day, just before the service, one girl made reference to our pact, only for two of the other girls to overhear her and state that they also had a pact.
All three were shocked I went to such lengths. I was coy about it, though, and made the pacts at different ages in case one or two became off the market. You could say I was a pact player.
The Momma’s Boyman and woman dancing at center of treesPhoto by Scott Broome on Unsplash
My cousin had a pact, and it was heartbreaking. The guy she made the pact with was a Momma's Boy cranked up to 11.
She made the pact with someone she knew, then watched her cousins and friends all get married and/or have babies back-to-back in the space of a couple of years, so they enacted their pact. He proposed on Christmas Day, they married on Valentine's, and fast-tracked a pregnancy.
In the first trimester, things went south. Momma's Boy involved his mother in their marital squabbles—and the consequences were devastating. She convinced him to leave his brand-new, pregnant wife. His wife gives the ultimatum: show up for the birth or stay gone.
Guess who’s back living with her parents with a new baby and a divorce in the works?
That’s One Way To Do It
My husband and I actually have a different pact.
He grew up in a home where both his parents were married and never got a divorce but he watched all four of his older siblings screw up in relationships and have unplanned children, or multiple divorces, or a wife who tried to run her husband over…So he decided that he wanted to be married and never get a divorce.
I grew up in a home where my parents were divorced, and I would go every other week from my mom to my dad's. And they lived about an hour away from each other. It brought me a lot of stress in my life and I also decided that when I grew up, I wanted to find somebody who I would be with forever and never get divorced.
My husband and I met in high school and we decided we liked each other a lot. Two years into our relationship, we decided to get engaged. Three years after that, about two months before the wedding, we sat down and had an in-depth conversation about our relationship and what we expected of each other.
And we decided then and there that if we ever decided that we wanted to get a divorce, it would be a knife fight. We would battle it out until one of us passed, and then the other would be single.
A Little Dramatic
When I was a sophomore, I made that exact pact with a woman I was casually dating. She was a gorgeous, tall redhead with a tendency to be overdramatic. She was the first woman I was ever obsessed with in my adult life. We actually wrote up the pact, signed it, and got someone in our dorm to act as our witness.
Several years after graduation, I brought it up to her when we met for a drink. Her reaction was brutal. She said she'd never speak to me if I ever mentioned it again. When I ran into her during a college reunion last year, I realized that I no longer had any feelings for her whatsoever, which was a pleasant surprise.
Effort Pays Offwhite and red airplane on the road during daytimePhoto by JD X on Unsplash
I had a real close friend in high school that was a social butterfly and, for whatever reason, liked to hang out with awkward nerds like me. One day she suggested a marriage pact if we were both still single at 35, and I agreed with a laugh because, hey, I didn't expect her to remember me among all her other friends and there was no way she'd still be single by then.
After graduation, her family moved to the other side of the country and I figured I'd just be another Facebook friend. But we stayed in touch and actually started talking more—constant Skype webcam and phone calls way too late into the night.
It turned out I was one of the few people that actually bothered to put anything into a continuing relationship, and about a year after graduation she confessed that she had fallen in love with me.
That was seven years ago. We're getting married in 29 days.
Sharing Pregnancy Joy
I made a pact about 10 years ago with a very close friend. We never dated, we just agreed this would make sense in the long run if we don't find our soulmates on the way to his 30th.
Well, I met someone else and I'm now 30 and 6 1/2 months pregnant with the love of my life. But I was in for a huge surprise. About two months ago, I met my friend and his girlfriend at the OB-GYN waiting room—I came for a regular pregnancy check and they came for their pregnancy confirmation.
We laughed because we didn't share the news with each other yet and we never spoke about the pact with our partners. Now we're both waiting for our firstborns with different people and sharing pregnancy joy and stuff. It turned out better than we could ever imagine.
Holding On A Little Too Hard
I made a marriage pact with my very good friend in 10th grade—around 1988 or so—that we'd get married at 27 if we were both still single. We had every class together for three years straight, got along famously, and were just greatly compatible. She went overseas for college and I joined the armed forces, and she just stopped responding to letters after around 9 months.
In 1992, I got engaged, and suddenly ran into her in a mall. I introduced my future wife, and my old friend lost her mind. Right in front of my future bride and all, in the middle of the shopping center, screaming at me about how I betrayed our agreement, I belonged with her, yadda yadda yadda. Calm as can be, my wife asked her why she stopped writing to me then?
Like a light switch flipping, my old friend started bawling her eyes out, and plopped down on the floor. We hurried out of there, and I never saw her again. Bullet dodged.
The Saddest Storyshallow focus photography of man and woman holding handsPhoto by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash
We met in college, and were instant best friends. I was 20; she was 18. We spent all our time together and were briefly lovers, but we never formally dated because both of us were very much into being wild and free and enjoying our youth. We dated other people on and off, but we talked about it and agreed that a committed relationship between the two of us would be an all-or-nothing kind of thing.
Since neither of us wanted to give up our hedonistic, promiscuous, irresponsible lifestyle, we made a point of not committing to a relationship. A few years went by that way, and we were very happy—but then life threw her a horrible curve ball.
Her sister died suddenly. It was a car accident. They were 16 and 18. My friend was utterly, completely devastated. It still hurts me to remember it, even now. Her father, though, was even more devastated, to the point where he was legitimately willing to let himself starve rather than try to go on living. She moved home, out of state, to take care of him.
She cut ties with everyone for a while, even me. I didn't see her again for two years. She was so different after that. Before the accident, she'd always been the most joyful, exuberant, positive person I'd ever met. After she came back, she was quieter, sadder, maybe wiser. I wanted to be there for her more than I'd ever wanted anything in the world. Not being able to fix things for her, not being able to make it better, that hurt more than anything I could ever remember. I guess that's when I realized how in love with her I was.
I told her that I loved her, that I wanted to be there with her—but her reaction was devastating. She told me that she couldn't handle the idea of any kind of emotional connection for a while. Maybe a few years, she said. Maybe never. Maybe she'd never be able to open up emotionally again.
She said she needed space from me, particularly from me. She said she needed to figure out what it meant to be alive in a world where her sisters were gone. She asked me to give her time, and I told her that I'd give her anything she wanted. She told me that she'd never been happier than when we were together.
I told her that I understood, and that's when we made our pact. I was 25 then, and she was 23. We agreed: if she turned 30 and I turned 32, and if she had learned to heal, and if she hadn't fallen in love with someone else, and if I hadn't fallen in love with someone else, then we'd get married. So that's how we parted ways.
She moved to Wyoming, to be alone. I moved to Germany, to get as far away from her as I could. We didn't keep in touch at first, but over the next few years we built up a correspondence. We wrote letters because we both liked writing letters. We emailed now and then. Sometimes we'd mail each other books that we thought the other would like.
Years went on, and we became closer and closer. When I turned 30, I half-jokingly brought up our marriage pact. I told her that I hadn't ever fallen for anyone else. She replied that she was still very serious about our agreement, and that she'd never fallen in love with anyone else either. I asked her if she thought she had begun to heal, and she said she had, as much as a person could ever heal from something like that.
A year later, she told me she'd like us to meet and spend some time together, to see if the spark was still there. It was. She was living in California at that time, and I found a job there. I'd always wanted to live in California anyway. I proposed to her six months later, and she smiled and told me "no fair", that I had to wait another few months, when she'd be turning 30. I thought it was silly, but at that point, things were going so well that a few months didn't seem like they could matter at all. But we never got our happily ever after.
She passed. That's how the story ends. She was hit by a car and spent two days in the ICU before her body gave out. I went to her funeral. I spoke to her father but I barely remember what we said. I've never spoken to him since. I don't have the willpower to make myself find out how he's doing.
I'm in therapy and trying to learn how to have feelings again, other than blank, mindless, miserable rage. I often wonder if this is what it felt like for her. She made progress. She learned to feel again. That thought is what keeps me going. She did it. She'd want me to do it.
Older And Wiser
My wife and I dated during that awkward summer between high school and college and then she went her way and I went mine. We sort of joked about such a thing. I think I saw her for lunch like one time when we were 20ish.
Anyway, I ran into her again at a friend's party when I was 28 and we hit it off. She'd just gotten divorced from a two-year marriage and I was just back from law school. It was nice as we both knew the other wasn't a psychopath and we more or less got on with one another's family and friends.
Almost 20 years on from running into one another again, we’ve been married 16 years, with a couple of kids and a life in the suburbs.
Just Couldn’t Wait
We made a pact when I was 21 and he was 20 that we would get married when I was 40 if both of us were still single. We couldn't wait that long and he asked me to marry him when I was 23. We've been married now for just over four years.
I think that if you're seriously making a pact like that, you need to ask yourselves if the reason you're not getting married now is a good enough reason. In our case, it wasn't.
Divorce Would Be Bestsilhouette of man and woman under yellow skyPhoto by Eric Ward on Unsplash
I have friends that did it…and it was a total disaster. She's an awful person and cheated on him in the first six months. They had the most awkward wedding ever but are still together. I wish they would divorce. It's not so much the pact they made when they were kids, it’s just that she sucks.
Meant To Be
I dated this girl 10 years ago, in high school, in Australia. She was my first. I thought I was going to marry her and then she dumped me; she considers it a dumb decision now, but it needed to happen that way. I just joke about it.
We didn't talk for 8 years.
While I was on exchange in London earlier this year, I visited Barcelona. I knew she lived there at the time, so I messaged her for advice on where to go. It was the first time I'd felt comfortable messaging her.
She had flown to Australia the day before, but offered me advice. We also started catching up, and ended up messaging nonstop every day since.
While I was walking around Barcelona, I took a photo of her apartment completely by accident, which she told me weeks later when I uploaded the pic. I just liked the paint job on the building. Out of all the streets, in all the cities in the world, one of 20 photos I took of buildings was hers. I still can't believe it—but the coincidences didn’t stop there.
When I got home from studying, we caught up. It just grew from there. We went from exes, to friends, to potentials, to dating.
We also realized that in our 2002 primary school photo, from when I was 10, I was standing directly behind her. I liked her then, but only spoke to her when I was 15. We also realized we lived within 100m of each other for years, during the time we didn't speak. My Dad also works with her housemate, and is “the crazy dude” from work.
Like a moron, I had organized a second semester abroad before we started dating. We kinda decided it as I left the country. Now I have 4 months of purgatory in Canada, while I wait to meet up with her in Barcelona.
In true wild style, I asked her to marry me, because trust me, it's just something I know. She said yes, but I need to ask in person. I bought the engagement ring last week, on my 25th birthday, and now I just have to look at it for another 3 months.
So not a pact, as such, but a literal rom-com IRL. I study film, and could very easily make this a script. Maybe one day.
Always There For Support
I had one of these with a very hot guy who was smart, funny, and had a great personality. He moved to another state but we kept in touch, still cared for each other, and all that good jazz.
He ended up catching HIV from a girlfriend who hid her diagnosis from him. He lost many friends and was so hurt by it.
I stood by him. I helped him find support groups and what not, and am still friends with him because that's what you do when your friend suffers like that.
This person is very optimistic about his diagnosis and plans to live a good long life. And honestly, if he hasn't found someone or is still up for it, I would probably just go through with it still.
Don’t Leave It Too Latewoman in pink and white crew neck t-shirt standing near green plants during daytimePhoto by kabita Darlami on Unsplash
I would have.
We met in high school. I was a sophomore, she was a freshman. I taught her Japanese class because a friend had done it for my class, and it was fun and a great experience for me. We bonded hard and ended up dating. It only lasted a few months, but we stayed good friends.
We went every year together to the annual Cherry Blossom Festival in DC, and we always caught up. That trip, just for three days out of the year, was like a little time bubble—nothing back home mattered, and we got to spend three heavenly days together.
The first time we went together was when the marriage pact was made. At first, it was at 25. We settled on it, then a week later renegotiated to 30. Every year we reminded each other; every year made it more real for me, and something awesome to look forward to while simultaneously knowing we could still do what we wanted to before then.
I graduated. We fell apart. She went downhill a bit, until she got pregnant at 18; I acted out trying to fix my crippling depression. I remember hearing about it. It didn't shatter my dreams of marrying her—if she was single at 30, kids or no, I was putting a ring on it. It never bothered me.
Kid 2 came a few years later. A few years after that, we bumped into each other and caught up. It was like no time had passed, and we went right back into our old friendship, incorporating all the things that happened over the years. She was 24, I was 25.
We spent the next two years trying to put a relationship together before the pact was due; it worked between us, but what didn't work was that we both had established, busy lives apart. I worked 50-60 hours a week, while she was a full-time mom and social services worker. We tried, we really did. But it always came down to work and kids. I loved her more than anything.
She passed two months ago. We never got to carry through with our pact, but we'd gotten so close. I would have carried out the pact; I would have married her anytime between the past few years and 30. But I didn't. I beat myself up a bit for it, even if I had just had a few years to call her my wife.
She'll always be in my heart, and that voice in my head that stops me from treating myself poorly. She has become my voice of reason, and maybe that makes me a little crazy, but it keeps her close to me. That'll never leave me.
Putting Up With Each Other For Life
Me and my best friend since 6th grade had a running joke: we should give dating a go because chances were we would end up getting married anyway, since she's the only person who puts up with my junk and vice versa.
We got married last month after five years of dating.
The Divorce Pact
We married young and have two kids together—we parent well together and there's no one else that I could handle long road trips with, but we really, really suck at marriage. So we came up with a bizarre plan. We jokingly made a divorce pact for 2020, thinking we would both still be young enough to enjoy going out then and would have gotten the kids through some of the tougher transitional times of adolescence.
As it turned out we made it only a year longer than our pact and we are currently in the process of ending our marriage. But there is no one I'd rather work peacefully through this with than him, whether in 2020 or today.
The Pastor’s Daughtergirl in blue and white floral dress holding blue metal fencePhoto by Vitolda Klein on Unsplash
It wasn’t really a pact we made together but more of a promise I made to myself. I was three when our church got new pastors, and they had a 1-year-old daughter. I grew up being told by my parents that the first thing I said when I saw her was, “I’m going to marry her”.
We grew up together and were very good friends. There was the age difference, so she had friends in her range and I had mine, but when we were together we were pretty inseparable. For some reason, I always thought we were meant to be together. I guess I took that “I’m gonna marry her” to heart.
So even after she moved away and I had very little contact with her, I still kept her in the back of my mind. Whenever I wallowed in self-pity and thought I was going to be forever alone, I always told myself at least there was her. I always thought of showing up wherever she was and sweeping her off her feet. Like she was just waiting for me or something. I feel horrible for thinking that now.
And now we’re happily married. Just not to each other. I have my wife and she has her own.
We reconnected right after Facebook became a thing and it was very obvious she’s a lesbian. That was what finally got me off my butt. I no longer kept the idea of marrying her on a back burner. I’m very happy with my family and she is with hers. And that’s all that matters.
The Best Kind Of College Wedding
At my university, we have what might be called a buddy system for incoming freshers, where second years “adopt” freshers as “college children” after getting “college married”.
So going into the second term, I realized that I still wasn’t college married and most of the girls I knew had already married off. So I said to one of my best (male) friends, “if we don’t find girls to college marry by the end of this term, we’ll marry each other”.
Towards the end of the term, a couple of friends of mine were celebrating their “college wedding”. My friend was a mathematician, so beforehand I made two paper rings and wrote out “2x2 matrices” and “integers” on each one—both examples of mathematical “rings”. At the dinner, while fairly inebriated, I got down on one knee and proposed.
We’re now happily “college married”, with three “college children” who’ve gotten married themselves!
The Road Trip
Me and my wife have been very close friends since childhood. When we were 17, we promised if we were both single by 25, I would ask her to marry me. Life took us in different directions after high school. I was in the army and she became a nurse.
When I finished my contract, I came back to my home city of Calgary, Alberta. She just so happened to be going to the Calgary Stampede for her birthday that year. I told her to come visit while in town. When we saw each other it was like we had never spent time apart.
I asked if she would come with me on a road trip to Memphis, TN so I could buy a guitar I've always wanted. She came along and that road trip turned into a whole tour of the USA. On the northern coast of California, I told her I loved her. A year later we were living together. A year after that we went back to California and at the same little seaside town, I asked her to marry me.
We were both 25. We had our dream wedding the following September and bought our first home together. We have been enjoying life and traveling since. Just celebrated our anniversary in Italy. So far, so good, and I couldn't ask for a better partner to share life with.
The Arrangementa man and woman standing in a fieldPhoto by Jessica Hearn on Unsplash
We left our spouses around the same time (not for each other) and decided to share a house. We got to talking one night and decided we each had all the things the other was looking for, plus we got along really well. We were in our mid-30s by then and sick of the dating scene, so we just laid it out like a business arrangement. We had no idea where it would go—but we were in for a big surprise.
What started off as an "arrangement" eventually evolved into something extremely serious and passionate. We've been together now for almost seven years and married for almost one. We are extremely in love and I have zero regrets.
This Is Why People Should Communicate Better
She was the loud, popular, social butterfly, I was the awkward sheltered kid. By way of sheer luck and proxy, we became very close friends in high school. I couldn't avoid crushing on her something fierce, but I obviously wasn't going to make the move on someone so far out of my league and ruin our friendship.
I forget exactly how the conversation came to be, but at one point she brought up how we should totally get married if we were both still single by the time we were 30. Obviously, she was joking or she would find someone way before then, so I sheepishly agreed and forgot about it. I even set her up with a friend of mine and they were great together.
Graduation came, she moved to the other side of the country, and we effectively dropped out of contact like so many other high school friends.
Two years later I made a Facebook page, we got back in contact, and she started unloading on me about her failing relationship with the guy I set her up with. Apparently, the long distance wasn't working too well and he had become distant to the point of outright ignoring her. I was disappointed in my other friend, but I was happy to hear her voice again.
But then the conversations got longer. And then she brought the pact back up. And then she told me the relationship with the friend was effectively done, and she was tired of waiting for him. And then she said she loved me, she always had a thing for me, she just hadn’t wanted to say anything for fear of ruining our friendship.
We were together for three years long-distance, only ever seeing each other during holidays and long breaks, before I graduated college and moved across the country to be with her. We're getting married in October, five full years before the pact would've happened.
The Most Special Person In Their Life
We met at a school dance in 7th grade, the day after her 12th birthday. We "dated" for just over three years into 10th grade, then she broke up with me just before Christmas because I was a foolish little boy. Luckily for me, she's the most kind-hearted, caring person I've ever met, and we remained friends despite my general jerk nature.
We both dated other people through the rest of high school and college and into our mid-20s, and somewhere in there we agreed to get married if we were both single at 35. I'm not sure either of us really meant it, but I do know that we both cared deeply for each other. I had gone south for college while she went north, and neither of us stayed in contact with many people from high school, but we always made a point to catch up once a month.
Then, this past Christmas, almost 11 years to the date that we broke up and the first time we had been single at the same time, she asked if I had ever seriously considered the two of us getting married. A few days prior she sent me a text asking if I wanted to "watch Christmas movies," which was a bit different from any of her previous invitations to hang out, so I was anticipating (or maybe mostly hoping for) this very conversation and had bought her a gift reminiscent of the one I gave her back in 7th grade. I gave her the gift and told her she had always been the most special person in my life.
Long story short, that conversation may have saved my life. Over the preceding year, I had become depressed and gotten into some bad habits. I opened up to her about all of that, and she accepted me in spite of it.
Two months later, I quit my job, which I hated with every ounce of my being, and I moved to be with her. We've lived together for the past four months, I've quit all of the nonsense and gotten back on the career path I wanted, and two weeks ago I asked her to marry me. She said yes, and I've never been happier in my life. We married early by about 8 years, but I'm not complaining.
He Took The Hinta man, woman, and child are posing for a picturePhoto by Trust "Tru" Katsande on Unsplash
My best friend of 10 years said to me one day that if we weren't with anyone by the time she was 30, we would have to be together. As beautiful as she was, I never made a move because I used to date her female best friend, so I thought the "girl code" would halt my advance.
But once she said that, I was like "Hold up, she's possibly into me"?! I made the move! Six months after that conversation, we got married. It was a fairly easy transition. Currently married for 3 years with 2 children.
Moving 2000 Miles
My boyfriend and I made such a pact about seven years ago. We met online and were friends, and over the years shared our misfortunes of broken hearts and bad relationships, so we made a pact that by 30, if we were both single, I'd move the 2,000 miles and be with him.
I actually moved here at 28, and two years later we are engaged and I couldn't be happier. I don't regret my decision in the least.
A couple of friends from high school made such a pledge. He always had a crush on her, she was always interested in other guys and straight-up said she'd settle for him if no other takers.
They moved in together ("ONLY as roommates!") in their late 20s, awkwardly slept together one night a few years later (next morning, "Don't think this means we're together"), and a few years after that they were basically a couple, though she insisted they weren't.
At 35, I asked him if they were finally official. He said, "She says she just uses me for her lady needs, but I asked her once how she'd feel about me dating someone else. She told me to feel free to date anyone I want if I'm okay with getting my ‘little friend’ cut off in my sleep. So yeah, I'd say we're official”!
From Mystery To Marriagegrayscale photography of kids walking on roadPhoto by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
Anyone remember Google Mystery Missions years ago?
If not, Mystery Missions was a site where you put in a request and other people had to fulfill that request. Each time you reloaded the page you'd get new ones to look through. I stumbled across hers looking for someone to talk to. This was about a decade ago when we were both 14.
She was from Memphis, I from Chicago. We instantly became best friends. For years we talked every single day. Around 17/18 we made a marriage pact saying by 30 we'd marry if we were still single. At this point we knew we both had strong feelings for each other but the thought of being in the same place didn't seem possible at the time.
Since the pact, we lost touch here and there. It felt like a big piece of me was missing whenever that happened. We both had relationships that didn't work out. About two years ago, we started talking about being in a relationship and just being together. I met her for the first time about 18 months ago. We're engaged, and she found a new job in Chicago.
Love Over An MMO
My husband and I met on Ultima Online. Just two kids playing video games but we swapped email addresses, AOL Instant Messenger, then Facebook in college. He always said we'd end up together one day and I was just kinda like, yeah yeah.
I flew from SC to PA to visit him after graduating college and we started dating, got engaged, and married all within a year and a half. We never actually thought there would be a scenario in life where we'd even meet face-to-face, let alone end up together. We've been married for seven years this coming weekend.
Dodged That One
A girl I dated for about a year broke up with me when I told her that I wasn't wanting to get married. A month later she hooked up with her high school friend. They had made the marriage pact years earlier and she claimed it. They were married three months later. Well, it turns out that I dodged a bullet.
She called to talk to me a year later to let me know that she was pregnant and that she didn't know how to tell him that it wasn't his and that she didn't know who the father was because she had cheated on him so many times.
Noped out of that conversation and haven't heard from her since.
Just Five Years To Gowoman kissing man's headPhoto by Justin Follis on Unsplash
My friend actually just did this. They apparently said by the time they were 30 they would get married. He was married but caught his wife cheating, then his father passed a couple of months later and he couldn't get custody of his kids because of a downward spiral.
He messaged an old friend on Facebook who he made this pact with, although he is only 25. She wasn't doing great either, relationship-wise, and was just working and raising her daughter. They both said why not and have been together for about six months. From the looks of it, they are happy as can be.
I had this pact with my best friend. We dated at the age of 15, broke up at 16, went through the entire dramatic first heartbreak bit, forgave one another, admitted that there were still feelings but we wanted to see what else life had to offer, and made the promise that if we were both single at the age of 30, we'd just call it and get married.
We dated other people, went to college, moved to other states, stopped talking for a while due to jealous SOs, became friends again, had one lousy hookup, and stayed close friends. Then at the age of 25, we decided that waiting five more years was a giant waste of time. We were best friends, we were in love, we got along very well, we both had our fair share of crazy experiences that we released out of our systems.
We're 27 now, planning to get married around 30 just to somewhat stick with our plan, happy as can be.
The best relationship advice in the world: Marry your best friend.
Choosing Your Best Friend
My wife and I were best friends. I was in a terrible long-term relationship with a crazy ex. I had to choose a summer internship and knowing that my ex was going to be in Taiwan, I chose to move across the country to be the furthest I could get away from her on this planet.
My wife and I talked every day and although we wouldn't date for another 2 years, we made a promise that if we weren't married by the time we were 30, we'd marry each other. I didn't think anything of it, and lost touch with my wife for two years.
The summer before my senior year of college, my wife asked me to join her as the finance lead on a school consulting competition in Hong Kong. My ex flipped out and vowed to never talk to me again if I spent all semester practicing and going. That’s when I knew it. I knew that if I went, my 6-year relationship would be kaput and I'd be choosing my best friend.
It was the best decision of my life. We got married last February and took 15 months on our honeymoon to travel to 31 different countries. Don't stick with crazy, you'll know when you find the right one.
My Best Friend’s Sister’s Best Friendwomen and man talking outside the buildingPhoto by Alexis Brown on Unsplash
My best friend from 3rd grade has a twin sister, whose own best friend frequented birthday parties, hangouts, etc. She and I naturally got to know each other through the years and had a crush on each other the whole time but it always happened that one was in a relationship when the other was single so nothing ever came of it.
I moved away from Washington to Minnesota with my mom in 8th grade but we still kept in touch through AIM. When we were 16, we were chatting it up and I told her, "One day I'm gonna marry you''.
We promised each other that at 30 we would marry each other if we were still single. Long story short, I turned 30 last June. We have been married since 2013. She is my best friend; we share everything, rarely argue, never hold any grudges, and trust each other. I don't see any way my life could get any better.
Earlier Than Anticipated
My best friend since we were really young. We always had crushes on each other. In high school, our timing was awful and we never ended up dating but we did make a marriage pact: if we were both single at 30, we'd get married.
Some years passed. We moved away from each other, grew distant, dated other people. Long story short, we're now back in each other's lives and I'm reasonably sure we're going to make good on the pact earlier than originally anticipated.
A Different Point Of View
We did this too. We made it four years, and three years of marriage counseling before we got divorced. Apparently being an insecure nice guy who picks up the girl of his dreams after she realizes that being the It girl in high school ends immediately after high school breeds resentment.
Fifteen years and tons of therapy later, I'm happily married to a woman I respect, and I'm also capable of understanding that I was the jerk.
Still A Chance?gold-colored ring on hands surrounded by green leavesPhoto by Jacob Rank on Unsplash
In my early 20s, I would hook up with this chick here and there. We were actually pretty good friends, but we never really hung out outside of social groups. She was fun and we always found ourselves in the corner ignoring the group. Anyway, we made a pact that if we weren't in a relationship by 30, we would get married—but it didn’t really go the way I expected it to.
Then she got back with her ex.
It's been 10 years, and she reminded me of our marriage pact. I had completely forgotten. We're both married now, to other people.
We still talk here and there. And sometimes she tells me that she thinks we would've made a great couple, so I worry that she's not too happy where she is. I haven't seen her in person in years.
No Hard Feelings
This happened with a best friend of mine. She said if both of us were single at 35, we'd get married to each other.
Two years later, I asked her out. She was taken aback, ghosted me for a year, then invited me to her wedding. I had no hard feelings, so I went anyway.
A Modern Kind Of Marriage
Some good friends of mine are a gay man and a lesbian woman, who decided if they didn't get in serious relationships, they'd marry. It sounded sad—but it turned out amazing.
They have two wonderful kids together and they are amazing people.
They are still looking for their ideal partner, but it's very clear that they love each other and care much for their kids.
Together Forevera black and white photo of a man and a womanPhoto by gaspar zaldo on Unsplash
Not me but my great-grandparents who adopted my grandpa. I didn't get to know them as much as I would like but this is a cute story.
Great-grandpa and great-grandma were sweethearts from kindergarten and dated all through high school, but she moved away. Before she left, they amicably split, as long-distance relationships in those days were pretty much impossible. They agreed that if they ever saw each other again, and they weren't already married, they would get back together.
Time passed and he married his first wife, a Serbian lady who had MS, or some other terrible disease. He took care of her for many years before she passed. After she passed, one day he ran into great-grandma again! In the supermarket! And they talked, and he asked if she was married, and yes, she had married a veteran and was very happy.
Some time passed and the veteran passed as well. Great-grandma found great-grandpa in the phone book and they reunited, both missing their lost loves, and fell in love with each other all over again. They got married not long after and adopted two kids, and were happy until she eventually passed.
She always said that she would come back as a monarch butterfly. They kept a huge garden in the backyard and the butterflies would stop on their migration to Mexico. The next time the butterflies came through after she passed, one of them came to land on his hand, and stayed for a few minutes, before she flew off. And one of them does this every year that they return.
Better Than The Rest
My husband and I were best friends in 8th grade and were those kids that kinda hated everyone else at our school. We always said we were going to get married when we got older “because everyone else sucks” but never dated in high school because we just went down different paths, but stayed good friends.
We started talking more again after high school, started dating, and are now very happily married.
Love In San Fran
When I was in college, there was a girl in my major classes that I really got along with and we would study together, do class projects, and collaborate with each other whenever we could. She was just really cool to hang around with and she was really hot too.
She had a long-distance relationship with her boyfriend back home so it was just friends. I respected that even though a lot of the things he did were bad. Like he’d cheat on her or when he’d visit her, he’d start some stupid fight with her and drive back home a day or two early.
I just loved hanging out with her. We had a lot of shared interests and we continued to collaborate, sometimes helping each other with projects in classes only one of us were in.
Then when we were seniors, she broke up with her loser boyfriend. Only I had a serious girlfriend at the time. We still worked on stuff together. During one late-night, caffeine-fueled project session, we were talking about the future and she said, “If neither of us is married when we turn 30, we should just get married and live happily ever after”. I agreed and we went on speculating about what our lives would be like and so on.
After we graduated, I moved across the country and she moved to SF. We tried staying in touch, but it was hard, so we lost touch for a long while.
I went to a conference in SF and thought it would be great to get in touch with her while I was there, but had no idea how to find her. About a week before I left, I got a call from her. She was working for the group that organized the conference and saw my name on the list and got my number from there.
I flew out early and we met for dinner the weekend before the conference. We just picked up where we left off as friends. We’d both had a couple of bad relationships/breakups, but were both unattached. She was just as hot as she was in school. Long story short, we hooked up. I stayed in my hotel for just one or two nights, the rest was at her place.
After I went home, we talked every night on the phone. Eventually I quit my job and moved to SF to live with her. We got married when we were 35. Still going.
Someone Get Spielberg On The Phoneman in gray crew neck t-shirt kissing woman in black and white stripe long sleevePhoto by Martin Blanquer on Unsplash
I made this pact with a girlfriend from high school (early 1990s), but much later in life.
We dated in the 9th (me) and 10th (her) grade. We had a falling out for a bit due to my stupidity, but by the time she was graduating high school, we were pretty close again. We went in very different directions but managed to stay in touch. She partied a lot and sort of drifted. I was doing responsible stuff: college, military reserve, starting a civilian career. We would connect every once in a while over the years and there always seemed to be a little something special there, but for the distance.
She called me out of the blue one year—but not for the reason I expected. She told me I needed to watch the NFL draft because her boyfriend or fiancé was likely to be drafted by a team in the state where she knew I lived. If all went as expected it would bring us closer (in distance) than we had been in a long time. By this time I was in my first marriage.
He did get drafted and they moved to the state, just two hours away. I met and partied with him/them for his birthday before his rookie season started. Good dude. Big dude. She and I were strictly platonic. He ended up getting traded around the league over the next couple of years and they ended up living a couple states away. Meanwhile, I was certainly married by this time and had deployed to Iraq.
Again, she contacted me out of the blue while I was in Iraq, after she happened to see me featured in an obscure trade magazine. After her and the NFL player broke up, she had taken an entry level job in my civilian career field and happened to pick up the magazine for the first time ever that month. We started connecting again, remotely, and still purely platonic.
I came home from that deployment to a marriage in ruins. She cheated. I filed for divorce. While I was adjusting to being home after more than 18 months, and my impending lack of marital status, I decided to fly out to visit my friend who welcomed me to stay with her a few days to help me mend. It was between Christmas and New Year and I was a bit fragile mentally. During those couple of days we connected even more and confided a lot in each other. But she had a few boyfriends (I met at least three) and lots of drama at the time. Clearly, I had my own drama going on.
I think that was when we made the deal, after knowing each other more than 10 years. We knew we both loved each other, I'm convinced, but we both knew we needed to live (and heal) a little more before we set ourselves up for failure. I think the agreement at that time was that we would get married if neither of us were already, by 30. We talked about it regularly over the years, both assuring the other it wasn't a joke. Even her parents knew of the deal.
She moved again. Her biological father drove out to help move her across the country to the state where we were originally from. On their way through my city they stopped to visit. He stayed in a hotel. She stayed the night at my house. For the first time in what seemed like forever, we were both single and it was clear how much we loved each other. The next day she left and for the next couple of years we continued to live across the country from each other. We stayed in touch and saw each other occasionally. The agreement remained in effect but we kept moving the age because we just weren't ready.
Then two things happened. I met a girl and got notice that I would deploy again about the same time. The girl I met, I really liked. She had her stuff together and was beautiful. I wasn't trying to go overseas again attached to anyone. And, at the time, she was really indecisive too.
Meanwhile, I went out to visit the original girl. Then, she came out to visit me. The new girl was still indecisive. The original girl had been having trouble finding work in her home state even after aesthetician school.
While she was visiting, we partied a lot. In fact, that's about all she wanted to do. I didn't mind much because I was leaving soon anyway. Among the many, many bad decisions we made, was one where she agreed to house-sit for me and take care of my dog while I was deployed for a year. I gave her use of my truck too. All she had to pay for was her food and gas. Sounds like the makings of a country song, right?
Now, I know what you all are thinking...but I had known this person for over 16 years. She wasn't a random. She needed help and so did I. All I wanted was for her to get a job and to help get her on her feet. I went into it with the proper intentions. It was a gift and I expected nothing in return. There were genuinely no expectations about a future for us beyond what already was. Besides, I was conflicted...she was the beautiful party girl with baggage I had known and loved forever. But, the new girl was truly marriage material that I couldn't get a consistent read from. It didn't matter because I didn't have to decide for at least a year.
A year made all the difference. The new girl and I talked every day I was gone. She was supportive throughout the deployment in so many ways. My old friend had a few boyfriends along the way, which was genuinely fine, but I came home to my house and vehicle in bad condition. Thankfully the dog was alive, most likely because the neighbors across the street came and took him from my house.
I took the new girl to meet my parents a month after I got home from deployment and asked her to marry me on that trip. We moved to another state for my civilian career and we'll have been married for 10 years next year.
The original girl ended up staying in the town where she came to live with me and met another guy who she ended up marrying. I miss my old friend. I still love her and want the best for her. If she is living a better life today than she was 11 years ago, and I think she is, then it wasn't all for nothing. I'm just no longer a part of it.
The Joke Pact
We have a joke pact (35, I think?) and also an elaborate ridiculous story about being each other’s second spouse because of natural causes but also unnatural causes. It’s a whole ridiculous thing by now (we’ve been BFFs for 13+ years) and it only gets more ridiculous as time goes on.
My boyfriend (of five years) thinks it’s hilarious. The three of us have been on a vacation together, planning an international trip for when Covid ends, etc. I’m so thankful they get along so well!
Remaining Just Friends
I was 16 or 17 when a friend and I made the pact to marry by 30. I forgot that he was already well into his 20s at the time. He contacted me when I was only 24 to ask about the pact.
He had just gotten out of a bad relationship and I had just gotten into a serious one. I just celebrated my 5th anniversary with the same person but my friend and I still talk sometimes.
It turned out he has a bunch of health issues and is always in and out of the hospital. I think the main issue is his heart but I think it might be because he never really took care of himself when he was younger. He also has weird political views and even when things get heated we go out of our way to acknowledge that we have opposing opinions but we're still friends.
I Think So Toowoman in brown sweater covering her face with her handPhoto by Dev Asangbam on Unsplash
My first serious boyfriend when I was 17 to 18; we broke up but remained good friends. When I was around 20, we discussed that we would marry at 40 if we were still single. All our friends rooted for us ending up together, as we just vibed really well and were solid friends.
About five years later he got married, blocked me on everything, and never spoke to me again. So I think the pact is off.
The Uncle’s Tribute
My mom's soul sister made a pact with my uncle where if they both were still single when they were 30, they would get married. She was 18, he was 19. They had been friends for over five years at that point.
My mom was the common link, the one who introduced them. She knew they would have been perfect for each other. They started dating a few weeks after they made the pact. They were so happy.
But she was from an abusive household and suffered from depression. Our family always tried to keep her happy; she would mostly crash at my mom's place to escape whatever storm was going on. It ended in heartbreak. But one day she simply couldn't take it all and ended her life at the age of 25. My mom's brother was devastated.
However, my uncle stayed true to his pact in the most touching way. He held a huge memorial for her on what would have been her 30th birthday. Invited all her close friends, his family, and anyone who knew and loved her, everyone except her family—from what my mom recalls, they had already moved past the slight inconvenience of losing their daughter.
My uncle, till his last breath, celebrated that memorial day as her birthday and his marriage anniversary with the love of his life. Needless to say he never married. He adopted a baby girl and gave her the middle name of my mom’s soul sister. In India the concept of middle names does not exist, and middle names are generally the first name of the father—yet he gave her a middle name.
Just Put A Ring On It
I met this girl in kindergarten. She was my best friend, my childhood "girlfriend", until we were nine, when she moved to a different city and we lost contact.
Years went by and I met her again at a party when I was 15 and she was on a trip to visit her family. We exchanged ICQ numbers, or whatever chat service was trending at the time and started talking again.
Two years later, she moved back for her last year of high school. We started dating like a month after she came back and then guess what? I moved for college and she moved to another country.
We had sporadic conversations from time to time. Sometimes she would call me at 1 am after months without talking to complain about her life, boyfriend, and that kind of stuff for hours. This was kinda problematic for me since I had a live-in girlfriend and she wasn't happy with a girl calling me in the middle of the night even if the other girl had a boyfriend and lived 2,000 miles away.
Years went by. We had this weird sporadic relationship and thanks to the internet I was able to stalk her a bit. I always considered her as something that was "lost", an impossible thing.
Three years ago, she called me on my birthday and told me she broke up with her boyfriend and was moving to the same city I was living in. In that moment I realized I've been in love with this girl my entire life and I didn't know what to do. It didn’t really go how I expected, though.
Nothing happened. She moved, but we didn't talk at all. I broke up with my girlfriend, moved on with my life, and I had the opportunity to move to a different country.
One day I was looking for clothes and I ran into her on the street. We went for a drink, talked for hours, realized we lived nine blocks away from each other, and things happened.
We talked every day and met again the week after for what was probably the saddest conversation I had in my life. We had taken really different paths in life and ended up with pretty much the same interests but we never did anything. I told her I was going to move again; she told me she was moving too, 11,000 miles away, and it was sad how life had constantly taken us on different paths. We made a pact that by the time we are 40, no matter where we are, we are meeting again to be together.
My contract ends in February and I plan to go see her for her 30th birthday next year to tell her I don't want to wait another 10 years. She might think the same, she might not. Truth be told, if I have to wait my entire life, I probably will.
Love At First Sightman and woman holding handsPhoto by PHUOC LE on Unsplash
I dated a wonderful woman for a few years. The commitment was always kind of on/off, and we both dated other people during this time. Things were exacerbated by us both being single parents. We were always quite close; when we were dating we'd talk about our respective partners, no jealousy whatsoever.
We ended up as FWB for a while, but one night speaking on MSN, we made a pact that if we both hit 40 and neither of us were married then we would get hitched. For quite some time I thought we actually would get married…but fate had something different in store for me.
During one of our drier spells, I was at her house fixing her washing machine and her sister popped in to say hi. Well, not only did she look amazing, but I could tell she was checking me out, but I left it at that.
More talking online and I joked with her that I'm going to bed her sister, and she joked back that I should try if I want, but that her sis is married and very happy.
Turned out, not as happy as everyone thought. Terrible husband.
Very long story cut short, I've been married to her sister for four years now.
Got Game Even At Fourteen
We met on a computer bulletin board system when I was 21 and in college. We both had ambiguous handles and didn't know each other's gender at first. Once he figured out I was a girl, he figured I was fat and ugly (I wasn't) because why else would I be hanging out on a BBS with a bunch of geeks? When I figured out he was a guy, I thought he must be in his forties. I considered the age difference and decided I could maybe make it work.
He was actually 14. I definitely couldn't make that work.
This was awfully inconvenient because we were falling in love. I finally agreed to marry him if I were single at age 60. He eventually talked me down to 40. We tried dating other people but just ended up disappointing them because we were both in love with someone else. We talked pretty much every day, usually via internet chat. Most of our relationship was long-distance because we lived in different states or different countries.
We got married when I was 29. He had just turned 23, which seems a lot more respectable.
We've been married 14 years.
We can all agree that first impressions are important. No matter what may happen after that first encounter, the first impression has a way of lingering.
But some bad first impressions are absolute deal-breakers. No matter how kind or awesome a person might seem, there's really no coming back from that...
Redditor Dizzy-Effort-1375 asked:
"What was the worst first impression you ever had with someone?"
Know Your Place
"When I went before the Judge, I was drunk and argued with him."
"That earned me 10 extra days for contempt of court."
"Fortunately, I'm now six years sober."
Cruelty Is Unattractive
"I met a girl at work. I thought she was cute until she bragged about purposefully hitting a bird with her truck because 'birds are stupid.'"
"There's nothing quite like some animal cruelty to kill your attraction level."
Know-It-Alls Not Welcome
"A family friend wanted to introduce her new boyfriend to her friend group."
"The dude was a know-it-all. He talked over everybody, was very condescending, and was just a rude jerk."
"We gave him a do-over and he was even worse the second time."
"That was over 15 years ago and they're still together. I don't see my friend much anymore."
How Rude, Indeed
"I went into a dealership to support my wife as she shopped for her car. A skeezy salesman came up, introduced himself to me, and immediately acted all buddy-buddy with me, and started calling me by my first name. He never acknowledged my wife."
"I told him she was actually the one car shopping, and he barely batted an eye and kept trying to sell to me."
"I politely reminded him, and he still refused to deal with her."
"We walked right out without a word. F**k that guy. And f**k Bob HowardToyota in North Oklahoma City."
"More like 'Bob Howrude Toyota in North Oklahoma City'!"
Stop Micro-Managing Me
"I was 19 years old and just starting my first real full-time job. I was taken around by the foreman and introduced to my new co-workers."
"All was well until I was introduced to Walter, the resident old pr*ck, who was to be my supervisor. He took one look at me and said, 'When are you quitting?'"
"I never even got a chance. He rode my a** every day. He repeatedly told the boss I was no good and I should find another job."
"He got fired two months later for being a d**k to everyone. I lasted 36 years."
He Probably Thinks The Moon Landing Was a Hoax, Too.
"I had to pick up a new coworker to drive to the location we'd be working for the week. After talking about the job for about 25 minutes, he asked, 'So what do you think about 9/11?'"
"I knew it was going to be a long week."
"I said the most non-committal thing I could imagine because we still had hours in the car. 'It was a thing that happened.'"
"He rolled his eyes and said, 'Oh, so you think it happened.'"
The Impression That Sticks
"I was dating this girl in another town and I was there visiting her. We were walking around downtown and these six or seven guys cornered me in a dark parking lot."
"This one guy started shoving me, going on about how I was 'in his town' and he should kick my face in for being where I shouldn't."
"I was so p**sed. If he didn't have six other guys with him, it would've gone down very differently. He really embarrassed me in front of my girl. Thankfully, the cops showed up before it escalated though, with those 6 other guys there... I might be dead."
"20 years later, he married my sister. He's actually a really great guy, a great husband, and a great father to my nieces and nephew... but I still have a hard time getting past that first encounter. I HATE the fact that I have to think of him as a decent person."
The Worst Priorities
"I'm a nurse and when I worked on a ward for the elderly, I had to call and ask the family of a very lovely lady who was dying to come and see her."
"They only lived a few miles away from the hospital but took seven hours to arrive. By that time, the lady had passed away."
"I had to tell the family as soon as they arrived. I expected tears and sadness, but the daughter only said, 'It's okay. Mum had a great life insurance policy.'"
"No tears. No upset. They were all smiling and trying to hide it. I hated them."
That Hidden Sense of Humor
"My best friend. We met in middle school and she’s blonde, gorgeous, and seemed super stuck up when I first met her. Obviously, I made assumptions about her."
"As it turns out, she’s super socially awkward, and once I got to know her, I found out that she has a super bizarre sense of humor (which I love), but she doesn’t show it to strangers."
"20 years later and we’re still best friends."
The Entitled Parker
"I came to work one day when I knew a new person was starting. In the employee parking area was a car I'd never seen before using up two spaces."
"My first thought was, 'She's one of THOSE people.'"
"And she was."
Troubling At Best
"I met a woman who went on to defend torture at length. Even when her arguments were debunked, she was still in favor of it."
Just So Humble
"A new hire I was supposed to train, let's call him Chad, because that's his name, came in on day one and said during introductions, 'Some people say they're a jack-of-all-trades, but a master of none; not me, I'm a master at everything I touch.'"
"And that was that, instant dislike. He was gone the next day, lol (laughing out loud)."
The Teen Cringe Is Real
"For me? I was 13, my brother brought home some college roommates with no warning, and I was (apparently) having a bad enough hair day to literally dive behind our couch to hide from them."
"My mom called me to come introduce myself, and I continued to hide, but when my mom sent my little sisters to find me, I was worried I’d get found, so I popped up out of nowhere and said hi, still standing behind the couch."
"To this day, my brother's roommates said that was one of the funniest things they’d ever experienced, lol (laughing out loud), and one of my cringiest memories. Haha!"
No Point of Reference
"I guess it wasn't really bad, but it was weird."
"I was getting ready for work, went outside for a smoke, and my upstairs neighbor said 'Hey,' from her balcony."
"She wanted to introduce me to her visiting sister, so I said 'Hey there, how's it going,' and pointed at my name tag while saying, 'I'm Bob, of course.'"
"The sister looked at me a bit weird, but I didn't think much of it."
"Then I went back in to finish getting ready and realized I did not in fact have my work shirt on yet, so there was no name tag. So... as far as that lady knew, I just said my name and randomly pointed at my manboob. Like, 'Hey, I'm Bob... check THIS out.'"
"I mean, you can't go back and explain at that point. I have no idea what she thought of me but I am guessing it was somewhere between moron and weirdo, and I never tried to find out."
The Lie of First Impressions
"It was an old school friend's partner I'd never met before. My friend's parents emigrated in the late 1960s and we were penpals after she went to New Zealand."
"Her partner was coming over alone for three weeks for some research to do with his MA at Otago University in Dunedin, and I said he could stay with us. This was back in the 90s."
"When he turned up at our door, he was in shorts and a vest and waving a bottle of spirits in one hand and a skateboard under the other arm. He was heavily tattooed (including his face) and dreadlocked."
"I maintained a friendly smile, but my heart did sink, I can't lie."
"I was so very, very wrong. He's a brilliant bloke. I didn't know he was half Maori and had never encountered Maori tattoos before. The spirits were for us (he's teetotal) and he was a great house guest."
"He always cleaned the bath after he used it, bought food and cooked really brilliant meals, very funny, the cats loved him, he took the dog for walks (who spent about three weeks gazing adoringly at him and slept at his feet) the kids and my husband loved him."
"He taught my kids the Haka. My kids got major kudos because the cool Maori skateboarder was staying at their house."
"When he left, he gave us a beautiful framed drawing he'd done of a native NZ bird on a Manuka shrub as a thank-you present."
"It taught me an important lesson. First impressions can be very misleading. I wish he'd been here for more than three weeks (although he's visited since)."
For the first impressions that were genuinely terrible, it's clear why these Redditors would not want to continue interacting with the people involved, or how they would not be surprised by people not wanting to interact with them.
But there are also reminders here of how first impressions, however lasting, can be wrong, and the relationship beyond the first impression can be wonderful if we manage to look past it.
The human race is supposedly touted as a superior species compared to other lifeforms on Earth.
Sadly, the generalization does not apply to everyone.
And while the notion that "nobody is perfect" is perpetually expressed to console those who've made regretful mistakes, that is not entirely true.
We see them in the news all the time.
Dimwits–which may include those with no social graces or lack of basic life skills in order to survive adulting through life–are among us.
Curious to those who've face-palmed in response to an individual's intelligence level, Redditor Joker101001 asked:
"Albert Einstein once said 'The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.' What are some examples of this that you have experienced?"
People shared their observations about our intellect..or lack thereof.
"You shouldn’t believe every quote you read on the internet. — Abraham Lincoln."
"I think he was re-quoting Julius Caesar who made this comment the morning he was warned not to go out that day."
"I think the more educated we become, the more we know how little we actually know, and it’s humbling, but ignorant people really have no idea what they don’t know, leading them to be confident about their ignorant stances."
"Physics has kind of reached a point where we realized we don't know how anything works at a fundamental level. Every theory breaks down at tiny or gigantic scales. There is a crisis in cosmology, spinning glaxies have either disproven gravity or proven undetected dark matter, and the vast majority of matter and energy is undetectably dark. We don't know why matter exists (as opposed to antimatter, given their symmetries). We don't know how time and space work inside black holes, how many dimensions there really are, or whether space and time are quantized. We've kinda figured out ordinary matter at human scales, but that's it."
The Thing About Doubt
"There are limitations to human knowledge and our understanding of things. Rather than acknowledging these limitations, people fill them in with supernatural explanations. When you express uncertainty or doubt, you are mocked or they ascribe to a lack of self confidence."
"Doubt is the beginning of wisdom, not the end of it."
Knowledge Vs. Intelligence
"Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit."
"Intelligence is combining the tomato with other ingredients to make something better."
"Knowledge is what we learn, intelligence is what we do with what we have learned."
"Charisma is the exact opposite of what I just did - citing an academic paper on reddit."
People shared their most dullest interactions.
"Oh boy. I once met a guy who was so stupid that he thought the ocean was alive and waves was it breathing. I remember one time in school he was doing homework for another class and asked the teacher “Where were the Canaanites from?” She jokingly said Nova Scotia. He asked how to spell it. This guy thought Beauty and the Beast was based on a true story about a girl and a bear. He would constantly make bets that he lost and never learned his lesson. He didn’t know that chicken the food came from chicken the animal. I have met a lot of stupid people in my life but I have never met anyone quite so bafflingly stupid that I had to wonder if they, in high school, could even read."
"A friend of mine once met a young woman who thought that fluttering leaves caused the wind to blow."
"A former classmate of mine (in college, mind you) once said the sky was blue because it reflected the ocean."
"She thought the sky was blue everywhere, even hundreds or thousands of miles inland, because of the ocean."
"I worked at an embassy. One day a guy came to me, completely explained a scam he did. It had failed and he wanted to know how I could help him "as we are countrymen".
"Called my colleagues at home and set them on his a** too."
"As a high school math teacher, I cringe when students hand in a test and say 'I think I aced it.' It’s almost always an F."
"One time I left a stats exam in college and texted my friend, “if I knew a test was going to kill me and I went anyway, is that suicide?” She said “I think it’s more like when you walk through a bad part of town alone at night and get shot. It’s not really your fault.”
Kiwi Get A Clarification?
"When I was in middle school I convinced a girl that the kiwi birds laid the kiwi fruit as food for their babies. It wasn’t that hard to convince her."
"Flat eathers. It is difficult to find more dumb."
"These days, there's quite a bit of overlap there. Flat earthers tend to be very anti-establishment, but because they also tend to be very religious and Trump is supported by many fundies, there's a definite connection there. Plus, his support of conspiracies makes him seem like 'one of them'; some flat earthers thought Trump would be the one to expose NASA and the fake ISS, but that never happened."
I think COVID pulled back the curtain on the lack of intelligence on display.
Irrational mob mentality prevented US citizens from critical thinking and drawing irrational and false conclusions from sheer panic.
Remember the toilet paper shortage and the anti-vaxxer movement?
I was more terrified of our lack of humanity and compassion than the virus that was being allowed to spread thanks to ignorance.
Bizarre dreams that come true, ghostly apparitions, and shared hallucinations. Have you ever had that feeling of being transported to another dimension? These real-life stories of strange and uncanny experiences from Quora and Reddit could be straight out of Twin Peaks.
Lucky Charmwoman in black jacket and white pants sitting on concrete floor during daytimePhoto by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash
I lost a jacket at a roller rink when I was in 3rd grade. I had a lucky rabbit foot in the pocket that I bought at the skate shop inside. Months later, my mother, who is adopted, found her birth mother and her half-sister. The first time I went to my newly found Aunt's house, she said she had a jacket that might fit me.
It was my jacket, rabbit foot still in the pocket.
One morning, I woke up and noticed my camera was on top of the sofa opposite my bed. I knew I didn’t put it there because it was a very expensive camera and it could very easily have fallen from this place. I had placed it in my cabinet. I went over, picked it up, turned it on, and clicked the button to view the photos. My blood ran cold.
There were hundreds of photos of me sleeping, all seemingly taken from the back of the sofa. I was literally so freaked out, I couldn’t stop crying. I lived alone. It was just photo after photo of me sleeping. The photos were taken in “quick snap," where the camera takes approx one photo per second.
I later realized the camera didn’t even have a “quick snap” setting so technically it was impossible for the camera to take the photos at all. The time stamps suggest all photos were taken between 2 and 3 am.
I’ve never figured out what happened, how the camera got to the sofa, or how it is even possible for a camera with no quick snap to quick snap, but I still have a USB with the photos on it and it still freaks me out.
It was 1977—and it was a meeting I'll never forget. I had taken time off work to have a baby and stay home with her. But I still needed an income, so my mother hired my younger sister and me to do the dirty, back-breaking work in her shop while she took care of her first infant granddaughter.
My sister and I were working at our mom’s antique store one summer day. Mom had just gotten a truckload of European oak furniture that needed to be cleaned and polished, had the handles screwed on, and so forth.
A nice-looking young man came into the store and started talking to my sister, who was 17 at the time. He introduced himself as Ted Smith, and we laughed and said we must be related as Mom’s maiden name was Smith also. He chatted both of us up but focused on my sister for the most part.
He purchased an armoire but said he’d have to go get his truck since at the moment he was driving his VW Bug—an old VW Bug. He then asked my sister and me if we wanted to go out to dinner that night with him. We were sweaty and dirty from work, I had a baby to care for, and my sister already had a boyfriend, so we said “Thanks, but no thanks, Ted”.
He asked me to ride with him to get his truck so he could drop his Bug off at the auto shop for repairs, but by that point, I had to get home to my infant right away, because I was still nursing her. However, he wouldn’t give up trying to get one or both of us away from the shop.
He said he could come back about 10:00 that evening for his armoire and asked whether one or both of us would be there. We replied, “No, we close the shop at six, and we both have places to be tonight". He was persistent. “How about tomorrow night?" I said, “No, we close at 6:00, except on Saturdays, when we close at 4:00”.
He asked whether one of us could meet him early in the morning, like at 5:30 am, but neither of us wanted to. He was getting to be a bit creepy and my sister and I were eye-rolling at each other. Eventually, he said he was sorry but he couldn’t buy the armoire if we couldn’t be flexible.
We hated to give up the sale, but after he had been there for two hours, we thought he was just looking and taking up our time. We still had a lot of work to do on the furniture that had just arrived in the shop. Finally, we just wanted to finish our work and go home.
At 6:00 pm, as we were leaving, his VW Bug was parked outside and he asked us whether we wanted to go for coffee; he especially wanted my sister to go. We said, “Thanks, Ted, but no thanks, like we said earlier, we have plans," but he continued to be insistent.
Finally, I said, “Sis, let’s go—I’ll take you home”. Even though she had her car there, for some reason I didn’t want to leave her to drive home alone with this guy around. So he drove off in his Bug and we really didn’t think of it again…Until the next year, when his picture appeared in the paper.
He was Ted Bundy. It still sends chills up my spine, writing this, and my sister and I talk about it occasionally. We were two lucky young women that day. If either of us had agreed to go, we would have been goners.
Final Destinationman holding smartphone in close up photographyPhoto by Adrian Swancar on Unsplash
*phone ringing wakes me up from my nap*
“Dude, are you coming or what? All of us are already here”.
I checked the time and it was already 6:17 pm. We were supposed to meet at 6.
“I JUST WOKE UP, I’ll be there by 6:45-ish, just go get dinner first or something”.
I became the Flash for the next 15 mins, got dressed up, and got a cab to the mall.
On the way to the mall, tragedy struck. I got into a car accident. I remember the car in front of my taxi, flipping and crashing into the vehicle I was in. I also remember slowly losing consciousness. That was when I woke up at 5:17 pm, on the same day, before all of that happened.
Later on, when I was eating with my friends at around 6:45 pm, there was a car crash nearby, where one of the cars flipped. Though, a taxi wasn't involved (I think). It was so weird. It was as if my inner self from an alternate reality was telling me what would happen if I didn't wake up on time.
No one believed me, but it sure is a story to tell.
Before I divorced my husband, but while we were still living in California, I used to adore going to thrift shops. One day, while visiting a shop in Venice Beach, I saw, in the “odds and ends” bowl, a very peculiar earring. It was a sort of "seashell" design, handmade, with a pendant black pearl dangling from it.
From the shape of the shell, it would only go “frontways” on the left ear. It was obviously a shop project, but was so unusual, I decided I had to have it. I could always take it apart and use the pearl for something…so I bought it for maybe 25 cents. That was in 1979.
The earring went into my “scraps” box. Years passed. I divorced and found my new love. We moved to Hollywood, then in 1988, to Albuquerque. One day, while walking to the book store I saw a sign “GARAGE SALE” …well…I love garage sales, so I went to the house and looked around.
The lady had a big wooden bowl set out with beads, rings, bits and bobs… and as I sorted through the jumble I saw…a very peculiar earring…with a stylized “seashell” and a dangling black pearl! And it was handmade and fit the right ear! I immediately showed it to the lady: “I have an earring at home…that looks exactly LIKE this!!" The lady's response shook me.
She looked perplexed and said, “Well, dear…I don’t think so…my boyfriend made those for me in Shop…and I lost one of them many years ago”. I froze. “Where?" She smiled “Oh a long way from here…it was in California…I’ve forgotten the place…a beach…named like a place in Italy”.
“Venice Beach?" I said, feeling a bit dizzy. She nodded eagerly. “Wait here," I said, somewhat illogically…after all, it WAS her home… and when I came back with the matching earring, they were a PERFECT match! I offered to give my earring back to her so she would have the completed pair again, but she refused, saying, “I never liked him very much. You keep them, Dear”.
So I still have them, a handmade pair, separated by hundreds of miles and nine years, and reunited completely by chance.
Hold The Phone
I saw a stranger’s phone number in my dream!! And what happened afterward was actually the strangest part. I often see very vivid dreams—but rarely do I see numbers. In fact, except twice or thrice I haven't seen any numbers in dreams. And when I did see them, it’s just 3–4 digits numbers.
But then one day, I see this 10-digit number that starts with 9 and ends with 1. In fact, it consisted of only 9s and 1s. I saw it very vividly. The numbers were red in color with white background. When I woke up, I immediately wrote that number and realized that it could be somebody's phone number.
Out of curiosity, I dialed and it rang!! I immediately disconnected. Having it confirmed as a valid phone number, I was curious to know who that number belonged to. I googled it; no information. I sought help from a friend who was working with a telecom company as customer support.
He told me that it was a VIP no. and so the owner's information was not available to everyone. Now, I was burning with curiosity. But you can't just call a random number and ask about the owner's identity because you saw that number in your dream!! But my curiosity got the better of me and I simply called.
A lady answered. As expected, she asked me why I wanted to know about her. I told her that I saw the phone number in my dream and waited for her amused response. To my surprise, she responded in a very normal tone, “Hmm, okay, I understand. However, I feel it is not the right time to tell you. You will know when the right time comes. Ok? Bye”.
This happened in early 2010. I never called on that number again. I don't know if that lady was just being sarcastic or was really serious. The ‘Right time to know her’ also hasn't arrived yet. And it has become the strangest and most mysterious incident of my life.
Ken You See What I See?boy wearing gray vest and pink dress shirt holding bookPhoto by Ben White on Unsplash
As a child visiting my Grandma's house, whenever I left the house I'd wave next door to Ken who was always sitting in the bay window looking out at the sea. They lived right on the coast of the North Sea in Hartlepool (UK). We'd never really talk, but just a little wave before I went to get into the car.
One time, I'm leaving my Gran's house, and I'm in front of my Mum who stopped at the door to talk to my Gran. So I head down the steps and towards the gate. I turn back and see Ken in the window. Big smile as usual, waving at me. I give him a wave back.
He stands up, gives me the thumbs up, and wanders toward the back of the room. My Mum comes walking down the steps and asks "Who are you waving at?" I replied "Ken". To this day, I can remember my mum's face. She just went white but didn't say anything to me.
It was only a few weeks later when she plucked up the courage to tell me that Ken had passed a few days prior to our visit to my Grans. I don't believe in ghosts, but I know I saw him. I can still picture his striped gray sweater with light stripes across it. Him waving and getting up out of his chair.
There was no one else in the house, he lived by himself.
This happened when I was about 25, and working as an English teacher in Tokyo. I had joined up with some other ex-pat Brits who had a football team. We used to play every Saturday. After one game we were having a few drinks. I was talking to Dave, our star player. I asked where he was from.
Wow, that's weird. I'm from Plymouth! What part of Plymouth?
Wow, that's amazing—I used to live in Plymstock when I was about 10. What school did you go to?
No way! I went to Goosewell! How old are you?
Wow me too!
By this time I figured we may have been in the same class.
What's your surname?
Oh my god. I remembered him! He was the headmaster's son! In my class! And here we were 15 years later on the other side of the world in the same football team!
How weird is that!
When my daughter was little and she would get upset, something in the kitchen would randomly break. This happened way too many times to be coincidental and the things that broke did so in inexplicable ways. I clearly remember one instance very early in the morning standing in the kitchen, telling her she couldn’t have cake from the night before.
She immediately looked angry and I heard a weird “plink” sound in the cupboard. I opened it and found the plate on the top of the stack was cracked in several places. No signs of this in later years. She’s 24 now and I often allude to this and remind her boyfriend not to make her mad.
I Smell A Rata rat sitting on a piece of woodPhoto by Joshua J. Cotten on Unsplash
A few years ago I was living in a two-bed flat with my brother in Shepherd’s Bush, London. It was converted from a basement so you had to walk down some steps to get to the front door, and just outside was a communal trash area where bin bags were just left out to be enjoyed by the city’s smaller, furrier residents (foreshadowing).
My tiny room was under a bathroom and literally had mold growing on the walls, to give you an indication of how salubrious this place was. Oh well, I was only paying enough rent for a 12-bed mansion anywhere else in the country.
On that fateful day, I woke up one morning to hear a panicked scratching noise coming from the bathroom. Further inspection revealed an unexpected (and unwelcome) house guest of the four-legged variety, who had done what we had never dared to do—use the bath.
The rat had obviously fallen in and was struggling to climb up the steep sides of the bathtub, and upon seeing my expression of mingled shock, fear, and disgust, it proceeded to get even more worked up and, not to put too fine a point on it, pooped everywhere.
At this point, I may have (loudly and with plenty of expletives) made this known to my brother, who also came in, and we stood there assessing the slightly surreal situation we found ourselves in. I do have a bit of a soft spot for most animals, and my brother and I decided we didn’t have the heart to end our newest tenant’s life there and then.
My brother had a little bag he (evidently) wasn’t too attached to, and put it down in front of the rat, who needed no second invitation to shoot straight inside, doing his best impersonation of Hansel leaving a trail of breadcrumbs behind him, but substituting said breadcrumbs for something softer and smellier.
We zipped up the bag and assessed the situation once more. We decided that, despite his contemporary bathtub artwork, it was the rat’s lucky day and we’d release him somewhere far away, with the aid of the city’s wonderful public transport system.
So, on a weekday morning, we found ourselves sitting on the bus next to a bag containing a rat that was most likely both metaphorically, and literally, soiling itself. We got out near a park and found a secluded spot where onlookers wouldn’t question our sanity (although, being Londoners, they probably wouldn’t bat an eyelid), and carefully opened up the bag.
Our new acquaintance was quite content to stay in the relative safety of his newfound home, so it took a little bit of a shake before he dropped out and ran off into a hedge without so much as a “goodbye, thanks for not bashing in my head with a rolling pin”. My brother decided he’d rather not keep the bag. But the story doesn’t end here though, unfortunately.
With excellent timing, literally, as we arrived home and opened the door, all warm and fuzzy from doing a good deed, another rat (might have been the earlier one’s brother, he certainly had a striking resemblance) ran past our legs and into the house. This had turned into a problem.
We’d seen them before amongst the trash outside our door, but they’d never been bold enough to run right inside, sans invitation. Further inspection revealed that there were some holes the rats had dug outside, and they were managing to tunnel inside.
Did I mention that this was about two weeks before we had to move out and make sure we got our security deposit back? Stalin once remarked, after losing his wife: "This creature softened my heart of stone. She died and with her died my last warm feelings for humanity".
My brother and I had a similar experience, only with rats rather than wives, and the turning point was a second unwanted house guest rather than the passing of a loved one. I guess not really that similar, on balance. We were angry at ratkind, anyway, is my point, but he had uni and I had work so the plans of revenge had to be postponed.
The next morning I opened the door and walked into the kitchen, and my barefoot made contact with another very alive, and very vocal rodent. I can safely say there are nicer ways to start a day than treading on a rat. But it gets worse.
My brother was out but his then-girlfriend (now fiancée, which is nice because we have a good story to look back on) had stayed over and was alerted to my presence based on my (really deep and manly) shrieks of terror. From the noises coming from various dark corners and inside cupboards we could tell that there were definitely rats, plural, within the house.
This suspicion was confirmed upon opening one cupboard, and the (figurative…honest) pants-wetting that ensued when another one shot out. The humane option was off the table and we went to the shop to get some heavy-duty rat traps, plus a hefty dose of poison.
I did a bit of research and discovered that rats went crazy for peanut butter, so we set the traps, put the poisoned food out, and waited. It didn’t take long. Turns out rats really do love peanut butter, and a combination of the traps and the poison (I assume, for the rats who were MIA) finished them off in a couple of days.
I do have a confession, though. When I was about to leave for work the day after setting the traps, I came across one of the rats slightly worse for wear (i.e. a metal bar turning its face into a Picasso portrait) and thought I’d be a top brother and pretended I hadn’t seen the body so he’d have to deal with it while I was out.
Well, that’s what you get for palming the situation off on me and your girlfriend buddy! We did get the deposit back, so if there were any rats who crawled inside the walls to die at least we moved out before they started smelling. Sorry future tenants, it probably didn’t make much difference to that flat anyway.
Pretty weird couple of days.
I was introducing a business partner to a customer who said immediately that he knew him, as he was his tour guide in NEW ZEALAND 16 YEARS AGO. It took him only a matter of SECONDS to recognize the guy, who now has a beard and gray hair. And we live in BRAZIL.
It seems that some people have an uncanny ability to recognize people with VERY little information. We were amazed but later I was talking to this guy and he told me that his father also has the same ability. He can recognize people passing by in moving cars, just glancing out of the window.
He can also recognize someone at first glance even if they are well inside a pub in a dark area. He does not know how he does it, but he does.
A Murder Of Crows
When I was eight, my father brought home a pair of lovebirds. I was obsessed with them. I cleaned their cages, fed them, and every passing second I would check up on them. The birds were majestic. Both had bright yellow feathers, with spots of blue. They were beautiful little creatures.
Months later, to my abject horror, the female bird passed, to never move again. The consequences were devastating. As we moved her lifeless body away, the other one stopped eating. He became fussy, he would peck me when I would clean his cage, he wouldn't touch his food for days, and he would just lie at the bottom of the cage, to not move.
My eight-year-old brain couldn't understand what was wrong. One day, I decided enough was enough. I thought the bird was sad because he was caged and I made up my mind to release him to the wind so he could be happy again. I didn't tell my parents, and I took my precious little bird to the terrace.
Within minutes of taking him upstairs, I see a flock of crows gather around where I was. My bird would thrash around in his cage, and I thought that he was finally happy. He will finally be free. As I opened the gate to his cage, I saw that he was hesitant, and unwilling to leave the cage. I would shake it, move it, but the bird wouldn't budge.
As young as I was, I tilted the cage and the bird had no option but to leave the four walls that caged him. For a second, he would spread his wings, and I would smile—happy and content that I'd done the right thing. Little did I know, I'd just made the worst mistake possible.
Just then, a pack of crows started chasing him, trying to catch up to him. I was terrified. I started screaming, crying, and throwing rocks at the pack of crows that were chasing him. Within two minutes, the bird, my bird, was pecked at, ambushed, and a goner.
This event would mess me up for years to come, and even today I shake and shudder every time I remember this moment. I would rush back home, hug my Didi, and cry, while she told me how these birds couldn't survive in the city. She told me how the bird was sad after losing its mate. Turns out, they are this way.
This event, as strange as it was, taught me something incredibly important. You can't save everyone and not everyone needs saving. More importantly, just because your intentions are pure, doesn't guarantee that what you're doing is right.
It’s Raining Menman in brown shirt beside woman in black shirtPhoto by Moosa Moseneke on Unsplash
10 days ago, I set a personal goal that would require a significant time investment. I am aware that dating is a HUGE time investment. Therefore, 10 Days Ago, I promised myself that I’m not going to date for the next six months while I focus on this goal.
Nine days ago, I have on no makeup, a messy ponytail, an old comfy sweater, and leggings. I’m trying to get home, but end up slightly lost in the big city. I’m new to Toronto and shockingly challenged with directions. A tall, well-spoken gentleman visiting from England offers to help me on the street.
He’s self-employed, self-sufficient, and very funny. We open Google Maps on his phone and squint at the little screen. He says, “Oh. That’s where you live?" He’s staying at the hotel right by my condo. He walks me home. Says by the courtyard, “Would you like to go for a drink?"
To which I say, “I don’t drink”.
To which he responds, “We could get coffee instead”.
Hmmm, how strange and unexpected.
Four days ago, I’m smelly (probably) after a long day at work. I’ve removed my stained lipstick. Feeling 3/10. A young, handsome gentleman stops me on my way to the grocery store. I just want to buy some bread and juice and go home. He says, “What does a girl like you find herself doing on a Friday night?"
I say, “Buying groceries”. He laughs and comes into the grocery store with me, offering to push my cart. To our mutual surprise, we have a great time. He works for Microsoft and is visiting from LA. He’s even wittier than the Englishman. I run an errand for a friend, and he runs it with me.
He carries my groceries all the way home, where we bump into a friend of mine who I’ve planned to meet after not seeing each other for three years. I let them chat in the lobby while I put my groceries away. I come back down and he politely leaves to let us catch up. My friend looks at me and says, “He just said you have the most character of anyone he’s ever met in his life”.
He texts me the next day: “Can I see you again?"
Hmmm, how strange and unexpected.
Two days ago, I’m wet and out of breath from the rain when I arrive at my destination. A well-dressed, easygoing gentleman meets me at the auto showroom. He’s taking me to test drive a car. I’m impressed with his ability to comfortably and confidently communicate the features while I navigate the $100,000+ vehicle down rainy Toronto streets.
We have a pleasant time. The minute I leave the showroom, he asks me to dinner. “Would I be terribly out of place?" he inquires politely. Not car-related.
Hmmm, how strange and unexpected...That was the moment I had a stunning revelation. I realized that the moment I decided not to chase something, that same thing seemed to start chasing me. I wish this sort of stuff happened with money.
For some reason, I don’t think my rent will cover itself if I say: I’m not going to show up to work for the next six months! Which, to be fair, isn’t that strange or unexpected.
I Feel Your Pain
This is the strangest thing that’s happened to me that I feel like sharing with the public. It’s actually happened to me many times…too many times to just be a string of coincidences, I think. The most recent time was just last week. On Tuesday, when I was at work, I suddenly felt a weird sensation low in my throat.
I’d never felt anything like it before. It lasted for about 30 minutes, then it just suddenly went away. I described it to my wife when I got home, and we decided that it might have been acid reflux (which I’ve never had but she gets sometimes), so I should take an acid reducer before I went to sleep. I forgot to take it before I went to sleep, but the pain didn’t come back anyway.
Then, on Friday, I was Facetiming my mother. She lives several states away and I hadn’t talked to her for about a month. During our conversation, she mentioned that she had an endoscopy done that week. She hadn’t told me that she was going to get it done. When I asked her when she had it done, it was at the very same time on Tuesday that I felt the weird, new sensation low in my throat.
If this only happened once or twice in my life, I’d think it was just a coincidence. But it’s happened dozens of times with different people who are close to me: my parents, wife, and my children. I get a sharp pain at the front of my mouth, as though I bit myself, but I didn’t.
A few hours later, when I pick my kid up from school, I see they have a busted lip in the same spot. They fell and hit their face at recess a few hours earlier. I get a sharp pain in my ankle while I’m sitting at work. It lasts about 30 seconds, then stops. I can’t explain it, until about 30 minutes later, when I get a call from my wife.
She tripped and rolled her ankle at work, and her friend is driving her to the doctor’s office for X-rays on it. (It wasn’t broken, just sprained). Anyway, this is the kind of thing you don’t really mention to people you know in real life, because they might think you’re weird and slowly back away from you.
It’s right up there with “I was abducted by aliens” or “I saw Bigfoot” as far as strange things to admit to people. So here I am, sharing it with 50k or so strangers online. Thanks for listening.
I'm too young to remember this, actually. But my mom always tells this story. Apparently, when I was younger, barely able to speak. I was sitting on the floor playing with some toys nonchalantly with my mom when I just said, "When I was in heaven, I met a woman who said you'd be the perfect mommy for me".
I apparently held the belief that I was in heaven before being born, and an angel looked at me and chose the mom I went to. My mom asked me to describe the woman, and my response freaked her out. I apparently described my mom's great-grandmother perfectly. Down to the eye color.
I had never met my great great grandmother, nor seen a picture of her.
Good Will Huntingbrown wooden framed painting of green and brown treePhoto by Marek Okon on Unsplash
My aunt, who was a missionary in Africa, gave me a painting that a patient of hers painted. It was a simple view of the village he came from. Three simple huts, some trees, grass, and native shrubs. This was in 1968. On the back was written his name, to my friend Charlotte. Jos Nigeria 1966.
Well when my first wife and I divorced in Wisconsin, it was amicable. She took her stuff, I boxed up my stuff and by sheer coincidence, we both moved to Florida, different cities. Anyway after I unpacked my stuff I realized I didn't have my African painting. I contacted my ex—and she gave the most infuriating news.
She said she sold it in a garage/ moving sale. I was so mad. I remarried in Jacksonville Florida. My new wife loves thrift stores. I'd usually wander around looking at things and sometimes find something, but I just went because she did. Well two months ago, 23 YEARS after my divorce we were in Brunswick Ga, and we stopped at Goodwill.
As I walked past a customer looking through pictures she flipped past a painting that looked like mine. I stopped, excused myself, and asked if I could look at the one she just passed on. I pulled it out, flipped it over, and there was the writing to my Aunt Charlotte. I let out a little scream.
The lady thought I just discovered a masterpiece. I told her the story of the painting and showed her the writing on the back. $3 later, it was mine again. The Goodwill tag showed that it arrived on Aug 10th, 2022. Somehow the painting made its way from Madison WI, to Brunswick Ga in 23 years.
What To Expect When You’re Not Expecting
A girl texted me to ask if I wanted to have a baby with her. She didn’t mean this as a metaphor…She meant, like, have a baby for real. I hadn’t talked to her in ages. I thought: she can’t be serious. But, no, she actually meant it.
She wanted a baby. She didn’t have a boyfriend. She was sick of white men. She thought our baby would be cute. These were her arguments. I tried to deflect with a joke. She was serious! I asked her if she was high. She said nothing back.
My daughter and I were painting a house I bought, the house was in an old Mafia neighborhood. We were removing the light plates on the walls. All of them were fake, and when you pulled them out, they held secret compartments. We found old gold coins and silver dollars. And two silver bars—pure silver.
Broke The Systemwoman biting pencil while sitting on chair in front of computer during daytimePhoto by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash
It was my 7th standard board examination results day. My result was Withheld. I was chilling in my grandmother’s village, enjoying my summer vacations and the result showed a BLANK in my Mathematics marks.
Everyone assumed that I made some careless mistake of not writing my name or I flunked the exam. Everyone except my father. I was chilling with no effect. A couple of days later, my brother finds out the mystery behind this by querying the board authorities.
It turns out that the server was not able to render three-digit marks. I literally scored a 100. I was chilling with no effect. I want to be that confident again.
Sleep On It
I was in my higher secondary when I had this bizarre experience. I returned home from school and was doing my math homework. But I couldn't find the solution to a particular problem. I ran the question in my head a million times to understand it correctly and yet I couldn't find the answer to it.
I got tired after a time and postponed the homework to the next morning, ate my breakfast, and slept, thinking about the problem. I am not sure about the time when it happened but I was thoroughly relaxed with a clear view of that problem in my head. I suddenly turned right to find a book on my side.
I took it and found the exact solution to the problem in the book. I was so happy at that moment. I closed the book and slept again. At about five in the morning, I woke up and suddenly realized that I found the answer to the problem. But wait a minute, where was the book I used for my reference?
I turned to see if it was there. But it's not there. I felt awe-struck. I still remembered the solution to the problem and finished my homework, thinking about the dream. I realized that it was my brain which performed that miracle. I was in an equilibrium between dream and reality at the time I discovered the answer.
I came to know the wonderful potential of my brain at that time. After that, whenever I wanted solutions to my problems, I slept but unfortunately, it never happened again.
A Stream Come True
This is quite embarrassing but it really happened. One day, I woke up and I felt an intense need to rush to the washroom immediately. I had to pee so badly. I rushed to the washroom, I just saw the toilet seat in front of me. Treasure! Treasure! My heart said. Go ahead Asad, pee it out, go ahead…go ahead…
At once I felt something warm and wet in my pajamas. Haaaaaaaaaah! That great feeling when you pee after hours. That great fall, oh my God, this was good. My vision became blurry and dark. (Warm and wet feeling in my pajamas was continuously increasing in intensity). What was happening?
Bingo! I woke up. Here I am, it was a dream. BUT, the warm and wet feeling in my pajamas wasn't a dream. Yes, in my dream I was peeing in the toilet happily while I was doing it on my bed actually. Bedsheet gone. Mattresses gone. 16-year-old guy peeing on his bed.
Mom gave me a “the heck is wrong with you” look. Dad gave me a “You peed? Well. Ooookkkayyyyy” look. My brother channeled the information as fast as he could to my cousins. Great start to the day. Embarrassing.
Sister Actphoto of woman's face reflectionPhoto by Alexander Grey on Unsplash
A colleague at work married a woman from Ohio. I knew she was a twin. So, I was visiting my brother who lived in Granville, Ohio. I went to the mall with his family, and there she was, no more than 20 feet from me, a woman who was a doppelganger for my colleague’s wife.
So of course I walked up to her and said, “You don’t know me, but I know your sister“. It was probably stranger for her than it was for me.
Running On Empty
In 1996, I had just dropped out of University and was moving home to my parent's place. My tail was firmly between my legs, I had almost no money and no job prospects. Basically, I was screwed. I had an old Jeep Comanche with all my belongings in the back and 200 miles to go.
I borrowed $20 from a friend for gas and started the trip. I got to a point that was 30 miles from home and my tank was empty. I pulled into a gas station/rest stop and sort of cried for a minute in my truck. I needed $5 for gas to make it the rest of the way and had nothing. There was no way I could call my dad and ask for help...he was already so disappointed.
After a minute I started searching around my truck for change...anything...I opened the glove box and there were these paper "loyalty bucks" for a gas station that I never used. It turns out it was the exact gas station that I was stopped at. $4 worth of bucks. I found another $2 in change, put $6 in the gas tank, and bought a coke.
I made it home.d
Fast forward 20 years, I had sorted my life out and am a lawyer...that Gas Station hired me as their outside counsel...I got to tell this story to the President of the company.
When I was 10 years old, I didn't want to go to school one day. I faked a stomach ache so my Grandmother would let me stay home. I've always been a bad liar, so she tried to call my bluff. She told me if I was too sick for school then she would be scheduling me a doctor's appointment.
Three hours later, I was rushed into emergency surgery. My fake illness was actually appendicitis and It was so inflamed that if I hadn't come in that day my appendix would have ruptured potentially fatally. I felt 100% fine that day. Faking sick saved my life…
Curb Your Enthusiasmshallow focus photography of two boys doing wacky facesPhoto by Austin Pacheco on Unsplash
When I was about 12 years old I went up to Lake Tahoe with my friend and his parents who had a condo in Incline Village. One day, the two of us are walking to the bowling alley and cross a street at a crosswalk. Right before we get to the curb, a car comes really close to hitting us.
All of a sudden, we're both up on the curb, like we were lifted a few feet. We both looked at each other strangely.
"Did you jump?"
"No, did you?"
We spent the next hour kind of dumbfounded. It didn't feel like a shove or any use of force. We were still in the street, then we weren't.
Waist Of Time
I once was changing pants in my room before work and took off my belt. After putting on my other pair of pants, I went to put my belt back on but it was gone. No one else was in the room and I spent a good 10 minutes looking for it as I had simply set it on the floor. It’s been 10 years and I’ve never seen that belt again.
The Helicopter Fairy
This one is strange to me because it was so long ago and I'm convinced I have to be remembering things wrong. I was a young kid at the grocery store and I saw this toy helicopter (like hotwheel-sized) that I really wanted for some reason. I, of course, didn't buy it, but the memory of it stuck in my head.
A few nights later, I had a dream where I was playing with the helicopter, but I realized it was a dream and stupid young me thought that if I put it under my pillow, it would still be there when I woke up. After that, I woke up and eagerly checked under the pillow to get it.
For some reason, it was right where I left it in the dream. As a kid, I wasn't surprised to find it there as it all made perfect sense to me then, but years later I have no clue how the toy helicopter actually got underneath the pillow.
Just A Flesh Woundperson holding black knit capPhoto by Terry Shultz P.T. on Unsplash
A car going 50-60 km/h hit both of my knees in 2008 (it was 100% my fault, I wasn't paying attention when I crossed the road) and not only did I have zero broken bones, but I didn't even fall. (I did flinch quite a lot, though).
My knees and leg hurt for about two days, but I really can't explain how a car going relatively fast hit me and I walked away with only a couple of bruises.
My friend was in the garage working on his dirt bike. The driveway was empty because his parents left a while ago. I go inside to grab a soda but decide to look for his cat, who I haven't seen all day. I walk into the office and as I'm calling her name, a deep man's voice goes "Meow" right into my right ear.
I jump and run around the main floor looking for who said that. Didn't find anyone.
Must Be Ninjas
My girlfriend got out of the shower and called me into the bathroom to show me the mirror. I felt a literal chill run down my spine. There was a very strange, distinct handprint placed on the mirror.
I lived alone and she was the only adult that had been to my house in about two years. We each placed our handprints on the sides of the mystery handprint for reference and neither looked anything like the mystery print. I still have no idea how it got there.
Statue Deja Vustatue of liberty new yorkPhoto by Arnaud STECKLE on Unsplash
I have a vivid memory of being at the Statue of Liberty as a child, on my dad’s shoulders, and seeing the skyline of NYC. I remember what we ate for lunch that day, etc. I remember the ferry we took. I’ve always thought about this memory and talked about it, but my family denies I ever went to NYC.
I didn’t go for the first time until I was 23, but strangely enough, when I went, I remembered everything just how it had been when I was there with my dad.
Slip ‘N Slide
I hit a patch of black ice in the dark going 60 mph down the highway. At the time, I drove a 1-ton cargo van. It hit the guard rail and flipped. Not only did I walk away without a scratch, but the car was also drivable and I was only 30 min late to work.
Take A Deep Breath
Both of my lungs collapsed at the same time (almost over 50% collapsed)—but that wasn't the shocking part. I was walking around like I was perfectly normal. I didn't realize my lungs had collapsed until I decided to go to the ER for bubble sounds in my chest. None of the doctors could figure out why this had happened to me.
They didn’t know how I was just up and walking around and laughing.
Yellow Solo Cuptwo coffee lattes in yellow cup with saucer on brown wooden tablePhoto by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash
When I was in primary school, in the cafeteria, there were all these cups filled with milk every lunch. Red, green, blue BUT ...only one yellow cup. Everyone would fight to get the yellow cup like it was the holy grail and it had been this way for years.
One night, I had a dream that the cafeteria had gotten more yellow cups in, and low and behold the next day...
Hundreds of yellow cups.
I had a sleep paralysis nightmare when I was a kid, where I saw a red-eyed dark figure standing in the doorway. It's always stuck with me, and I've called him the boogeyman ever since. One day I was browsing Reddit and somebody painted a picture of their "sleep paralysis demon". It was like the guy had painted my exact dream.
And then a bunch of people commented that they had seen the same creature. It always makes me uneasy to think about.
Wait For The Other Shoe To Drop
I was at my girlfriend’s house in the kitchen chatting with her and her daughter when I saw one of my shoes, which I’d taken off next to the door, drop from two feet high from thin air. My girlfriend didn’t see it but her ten-year-old daughter did. I still remember the thud sound as it hit the ground and rolled onto its side.
I have no explanation other than it had to be a ghost, which I fully believe in but had never experienced previously.
Number Slumberselective focus photography of multicolored dream catcherPhoto by Megan Thomas on Unsplash
When I was younger, in elementary school, I used to have the same dream every weekend starting on Saturday (when I would go to sleep) and then wake up in the middle of the night (on Sunday) and throw up. The dream was always a bunch of numbers. Nothing happening, just a bunch of random jumbled-up numbers all over the place.
I never understood why that happened where the same dream would happen on the same night every week and I would throw up every single time. I always think about it and wonder what it was or if it was just some weird coincidence. Also, I would not have any signs of being sick before or after. Maybe someone else has experienced this???
Don’t Be Alarmed
On Reddit one night, I read that thread where the OP hallucinated weird stuff until a commenter suggested that he check for a carbon monoxide leak. The commenter probably saved his life. I went to bed thinking, “Oh yeah, I never did check whether my new house’s smoke alarms also detect carbon monoxide. I need to check that out in the morning”.
At maybe 6 AM, my wife and I awoke to our fire alarms screeching, with a recorded voice telling us carbon monoxide was detected. We grabbed the baby and the dog, piled into our car in the driveway, and called the fire department to check it out.
After they tested, they told us no carbon monoxide was detected, but sometimes fire alarms behave unexpectedly when their batteries are low. This was maybe five years after moving into a house that’s new construction, so yes, I was super irresponsible in not checking it. It wasn’t even the first time I’d read that story on Reddit.
Anyway, there is absolutely a logical explanation: an improbable but possible coincidence. But that’s how I ended up spending huge piles of money on a bunch of Nest Protect units, so I could at least get a pleasant phone notification when my alarms’ batteries are low.
Right On Cue
I was walking between bars in a college town and felt something hit me in the back. I turned around and saw a cue ball rolling down the sidewalk. I then spent the next five minutes walking up and down the street trying to figure out who threw it or what happened. I never found anyone, and I still have the cue ball.
Pandemoniumsilhouette photography of womanPhoto by Artem Gavrysh on Unsplash
One time when I was little, I had fallen asleep on the couch and woke up in the middle of the night. When I got up to go to the kitchen, I saw a black silhouette of a woman with a bun and glasses. She went into the kitchen and I heard all of the pans fall.
I rush into the kitchen no one is there and everything is in its place. I know I could've imagined the figure but I cannot explain the sound of the crashing pans and no one else heard it. They were all asleep.
Receiving Live Updates
I turned to the other person in the room, who I barely knew, and said "My sister is getting engaged right now," without having the intent of speaking at all. He politely asked why I said that, and I had to shake my head and say "I don't know".
A few days later I found out that, sure enough, at that exact moment on the far side of the world, she had said "yes" to Mr Right. I hadn't even known she was dating.
When I was 10, I had a radio and bean bag chair in my room. As I was starting to fall asleep the radio suddenly changed the channel multiple times before I heard the bean bag chair in my room slowly fold in on itself making the noise a bean bag chair would make if someone were to sit in it.
Not sure what caused this, but it certainly freaked me out.
Time Fliesperson holding black capPhoto by Alev Takil on Unsplash
I used to fence. I was at a tournament and had just started a bout against a competitor. You win the bout by being the first to five points. I score what I believe to be the first point, but the official indicates the match is over and I've won.
I stood there confused for a second, but my opponent seems to agree and salutes and approaches for a handshake, so I go along with it. I check the scorecard and it says I've won 5-2. I lost probably four or five minutes of time. Hasn't happened since to the best of my knowledge, but it's been 20 years and I still wonder what happened.
Don’t Test Me
It was my 8th semester at IIT Madras in India and I had totally given up on my academics. Then this weirdest incident happens.
In spite of attending only the first class in the semester and bunking the rest, my 'A slot' professor permitted me to take the end-semester exam! (Without sufficient attendance, you are usually awarded a W grade, which means that you have to repeat the course).
With no preparation, I went to give the exam a try. I quickly found out that copying was the only way out and was lucky enough to have an old friend sitting in front of me in the exam. I copied enough to peacefully get an 'E' grade, which was all I needed to complete the course that semester.
I was actually happy because all I did was attend the first class and enroll myself and write the end-semester exam to complete the course. On the way back, I met the guy who was my bench mate on the first day of that class, and asked him about the exam. He replied, "Which exam?" I said 'A slot' and he said.
"Dude it will start in about an hour at 1 PM". That's when I realized that I had written an exam for the wrong course! Basically, I didn't know what that course's title was, which created the whole mess. I ended up taking an 'A slot' course exam scheduled in the morning while the exam I was supposed to write was scheduled in the afternoon post lunch!
The weirdest experience was when I had to meet the professor who conducted this accidental exam I wrote and give an explanation for my good score on the test. Generally, people give explanations for bad scores. Later In the afternoon, I wrote the 'Information theory' test, which was at least the right one!
I drove home at 2 am one night. I live way in the country. I was on back roads I've driven many times, and this car looked like it was coming over the hill quite a ways away. As I got closer, it seemed like it was parked just over the hill waiting. I stopped and waited as it was a long way off when I first saw it so it should have come over the hill a while ago.
I waited five minutes. It seemed really weird for where I was. There were no houses around. I started to drive up to it and the light got super bright and then it went dark. There was this blue stuff in the air above the road as I drove to where I thought it was. "I've gone insane," I thought.
It looked like ozone burning. The second time it happened, my buddy was with me. Same time, same spot. It blew his mind. We never talk about it now.
Time Warpwoman holding clear drinking glassPhoto by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash
I worked at a coffee shop and lived a few blocks away, so I normally just walked to work. Takes no more than 10-15 minutes tops and I like to get there early so I can chill and have a coffee before my shift starts. So I left home 45 minutes early, looked at the clock before heading out and it was 2:00.
I walked in the door to my manager asking me why I was late I looked at the clock and it was 3:00. There's no way it's even humanly possible to turn a 10 min, five-block walk into an hour. Like I have no idea. I even checked my clocks at home after work, none were off or broken, and it never happened again.
Men In Black
My dad owned a small garden shop, so I'd stay behind the checkout after school till the shop closed. This was until I saw a tall man wearing all black, like a trench coat, walking past my dad and smiling at me before going into a staff-only area. I jumped up to stop him, even though I was seven.
This back area was filled with new shipments. I turned the corner—and my jaw dropped. Nobody was there. There was nowhere he could've gone. I asked my dad to check the CCTV after closing, but it only showed me jumping up and running, and running out of frame. Weird stuff, never felt comfortable there again.
When I was in college, an intoxicated dude fell from a 3rd-floor balcony and got up and walked away like it was nothing. Seriously one of the weirdest/freakish things I’ve ever seen in my life.
The Informergreen and white typewriter on blue textilePhoto by Markus Winkler on Unsplash
I met with two FBI agents who gave me a pile of money—cash, not a check—and told me that they would not report it as income to the IRS, so it was my responsibility to do so. This happened years ago.
I’d done some amateur infosec work uncovering a massive hack against an American Web hosting company called iPower Web. The hackers had totally breached their servers and planted a DNSchanger malware called W32/zlob on about 200,000 Web sites hosted by iPower.
…and from there made it onto a bunch of infosec mailing lists and such. What happened next was straight out of a B movie.
I got an email basically saying “Hey, my name is [redacted] and I’m from the FBI cybercrime unit. I want to talk to you about your blog posts, but I know you’re probably skeptical about any email that says it comes from the FBI. If you can Google the phone number for the FBI San Antonio field office, give them a call, and ask for me, I’d really appreciate it”.
I gave the FBI field office a ring, talked to the guy who contacted me, and ended up as an FBI confidential informer. I continued to investigate the network spreading the malware, but instead of blogging about it, I sent the info to my handler.
Fast forward a few years and a bunch of guys responsible for the hack were detained in Tallinn—all but one, who escaped to Russia. They spent a few years behind bars over it. So the FBI gave me a reward. Thing is, since I was a CI, they didn’t pay me in any way that could identify me, they paid me in cash.
It was freaky. They asked to meet me in a public place. A Chevy SUV pulls up, two FBI guys get out, they both witness one of them handing me the money, they both sign a statement saying they’d handed me the money, they tell me that it was on me to report the income to the IRS (spoiler: I did), they drive off.
Probably Peak Freaky in my life. I doubt I’ll ever again experience anything that freaky.
One of the strangest things I’ve encountered was being recognized later in life by a former babysitter that knew me only from when I was a four-year-old. Now, that isn’t all that odd, is it?
BUT, consider that she used to babysit me only periodically when I lived briefly in Idaho. After we moved away, there was no further contact. But, here is where it gets weird: She stopped me—many years later—in a café in GERMANY and asked if I was “little Sammy”.
Tripped me out!