Victor Rodriguez/Unsplash

Growing up I remember the idea of "stranger danger" being drilled at me intensely. Strangers were all kidnappers just waiting for you to say hi.

But what if they weren't?


What if strangers were full of potentially life-changing moments that DIDN'T involve major felonies and bodily harm?

Reddit user Himmel001 asked:

"Is there a stranger you've never seen again with whom you've shared a memorable moment you'll always remember?"

I'm not saying let's teach kids to just go running off with whoever, but look at all of these impactful moments! Look at the stories these people came away with, look at the ways lives were changed...

Some Drunken Advice

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"A man stopped in the street once and talked to me. He was a young guy, a bit drunk I think."

"I was wary cause I'm female, I was alone and it was dark - but he talked a bit about life and then said 'don't do it, it's not worth it, love' and then walked away."

"Which was weird, because I was planning on killing myself that night."

"Didn't do it obviously, and now eight months later, I'm the happiest I've ever been. I think I might owe my life to him and I want him to know that."

"Thanks dude."

- Cruise_Control147

"Better Than Normal"

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"Yes. I worked at Disneyland in my late teens - early 20s. I was a character host while I worked there, meaning I walked around with the characters and facilitated interactions."

"I'm 38 now and I remember this like it was yesterday even though it was actually 20 years ago. It was just about Christmas and I was working with the princesses. Back at that time, they were sort of free-roaming around the castle instead of having a set meet and greet location."

"I was walking Belle and Beast offset for a break. Suddenly we heard a voice yelling 'Belle! Wait! I love you!' Something about the voice made me turn and there was a man with downs syndrome running towards us with his caregiver."

"Typically the rule is that once the characters are on their way out, they don't stop for anyone. Just wave and keep going. But we stopped for him."

"His name was Stephen. He told us how much he loved all of the princesses but Cinderella was his favorite. But Belle was his second favorite and he loved her too."

"As his caregiver and I talked, I learned that he hadn't had much luck getting to see the princesses but that they were having a nice time. I was so touched by his genuine excitement that I asked if he and his friend would meet us up by the Christmas tree on Main Street in about half an hour so I could give him a special gift."

"It was getting to be the end of the day and the princesses all used to do their last set at the town square by the tree. So I rushed Belle and Beast inside where I knew Cinderella was waiting to go out and say goodnight to everyone."

"I told her about Stephen and asked if we could spend some special time with him. Of course the answer was yes."

"Then I ran to the shops and got an autograph book and ran to all of the nearby break rooms to get as many characters to sign it as I could."

"Just before it was time for Cinderella to come out I went to find Stephen and his friend. They were sitting on the curb, just in front of the enormous tree."

"We spotted each other at the same time and his friend gave him a little nudge. He came jogging over and gave me a huge smile."

"I gave Stephen the autograph book and he was SO excited! Then I asked him to come with me to the area where I knew Cinderella would be coming to and we waited together."

"His face lit up when he saw her. He gave her the biggest hug and told her how much he loved her."

"They spent a little time together and then she saw some other folks. But by some miracle she wasn't bombarded with a ton of people so she had time to walk around the square with Stephen."

"He told us about his work, and his friends, and the movies he liked. We stood and watched the carolers in front of the windows of one of the stores with a warm golden light glowing around them."

"But then it was time for Cinderella to go."

"At Disneyland you never say that a character has to go on a break or end their shift. You tell guests something more true to their character. So I said that Cinderella had to go have tea with her fairy godmother."

"She turned to give him a hug and say goodnight. He went still and quiet for a moment."

"He looked up at her and said, 'Can you ask for a wish for me?' "

"Cinderella smiled sweetly and told him of course."

"He stood quietly for a moment longer and then said, 'Can you please ask her to make me normal?' "

"It was like someone knocked the breath out of me. My heart broke for him."

"He kept looking up at her with sad, hopeful eyes. I immediately started sobbing."

"Cinderella tried to compose herself and gave Stephen a hug and a kiss on the cheek, leaving a pink lipstick mark behind. She looked him straight in the eyes and told him, 'You are so much better than normal.' "

"She and I had to then rush away so we could get her off stage before she lost control."

"I tried to go back and find Stephen and his friend again once I got Cinderella settled. But they were gone by the time I came back. I never saw them again."

"But every year, around Christmas time, he pops into my mind and I hope that he is doing well and remembers that he really is so much better than normal."

- Leopoldisacat

Clara

Sad Twin Peaks GIF by Twin Peaks on Showtime Giphy

"I was on the way out of the store when this old man just gave me the biggest hug."

"Came running up to me, called me Clara. I tried to tell him I'm not Clara, but he was too busy telling me how proud of me he was, how I don't call enough, he misses me."

"He kept telling me to stop worrying about something, that I'm smart and beautiful and whoever it was he thought I had a problem with will recognize that."

"This apologetic older lady comes up, all she says is sorry, he's confused. Meanwhile he's just going on and on telling her how proud he is of me."

"Obviously I told her it's okay. He was clearly having a dementia moment, lol. He thought I was his daughter."

"I think the wife (I presume it was his wife) was trying to tell him. He kept insisting that I was and getting upset that she said I wasn't. Finally I just blurted: "

" 'It's okay, dad. I have to get back to class but I loved running into you. What a surprise!' "

"He stood and watched over me get in my car, and waited until I left the parking lot before he went into the store (presumably). I could see his wife still trying to drag him in and him, I guess, saying he was waiting until I was out of sight, it took a while because I was at a light."

"I look for him, both of them, every time I go to the pharmacy."

"That was, 2 years now? Obviously, the thought has crossed my mind... this pandemic, the elderly, the really elderly."

"I haven't seen him again but I do look."

- RockStarAngel

Subway Fairytales

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"I'm a big, African-American guy & I was on my way home one night after work when a torrential Spring downpour flooded half the train station on 42nd & 8th in the city".

"A petite, Caucasian woman, probably late 50s, was stuck with no way to get past the newly formed lake at the subway entrance. I strode up to her in my black leather boots, gave her a Hollywood bow and said 'Madam...May I?' "

"She gave me the biggest smile, threw her arm around my neck & did this ballerina pose thing when I carried her to safety."

"You'd have thought we were on stage the way we moved across the water. Even though we hammed it up a bit she held me close and was so incredibly light in my grasp."

"When I put her down on the nearest dry step she gave my a hug and a smile that blew my mind, even to this day!"

"I'd like to think that she was part of one of them Broadway shows above ground because she DEFINITELY had the aura of a performer, y'know? The whole experience was fairytale as fu*k."

"I honestly would LOVE to have that same warm, fuzzy, accomplished feeling again. I hope I made her night. She certainly left me with a good impression I'll never forget."

- QuietRulrOfEverything

"I Always Wanted To Be A Rainbow"

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"Waiting for the bus one day, minding my own biz."

" 'Ohh, girl, I looove your bag!' "

"I turn and see an older woman, the first thing I notice is she has rainbow eyeshadow, which stood out amazingly against her dark skin. Literally all the colours painted on her eyelids, with a lovely maroon lipstain and a golden blush."

"Her whole outfit was a mix of tie-dye and pastel."

"My own purse was kinda tan with some pinks and blues mixed in, my brain told me to give her the purse to complete her outfit. I said thanks and she asked me where I got it."

"We chatted a bit while we waited for our respective buses. I told her I loved her make-up, and I wish I could pull the look off. I'll never forget what she said:"

" 'Honey, you can do anything and be anything. I always wanted to be a rainbow, so I'm doing just that.' "

"Then she strode away and got on a bus. Never saw her again, despite me going to that bus stop every day for 3 years."

"It felt so prophetic, and unreal. I hope that lady is doing well."

- bananicoot

Expecting An Attack, But...

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"Back in late 2007 we were in a place in Iraq called Diyala in a couple smaller towns, with barely any dirt roads. We mainly ran night patrols, over-night SKT's, etc."

"That means we mostly worked at night. There was a 2100 (9:00 pm) curfew, so anyone out past that time was going to get rolled up, period. No questions, no excuses."

"So we're rolling through this palm grove nearest a small town called Muqisha, and we started hearing:"

" 'Ameriki? Ayn Alamerikan? Adhhab wahdarhum!' (American? Where are the Americans? Go get them! My Arabic may be a bit off, if so, I'm soooo sorry)."

"This kid, maybe 9 or 10 years old comes out and starts screaming for help, for the Americans, that the Americans need to help and some other stuff I couldn't for the life of me understand."

"Well ok, keeping it low-key is a bust and we're probably gonna get hit with bomb or something now, so we take a tactical pause and sat there for a few minutes with our balls in our stomachs expecting an attack any second."

"But this kid is just having a breakdown on this dirt road, and we were like 'ok…we'll we're not getting attacked, so let's go see what's wrong.' "

"The kid sees us walking out and starts running towards the house he came from. We followed, and no sh*t, the kid was trying to find help because his mom was giving birth."

"So me and my best friend David (our platoon medic, and the one who gave me instructions - David was killed four days later in an area close to this town), got down in there and literally delivered this baby in the middle of a backwater Iraqi town, on a dirt floor."

"She named the little boy Lee-Alan."

"After everything that's happened since then I wish was able to find out what happened with that kid. I have a lot of questions about my time in Iraq, but that moment was worth it."

- 2ID11B

These Actors Seemed Miscast But Absolutely Nailed The Role | George Takei’s Oh Myyy

The Actors Who Seemed Miscast But Absolutely Nailed The RoleFew people bought into the idea of Bryan Cranston in the role of Walter White before Breaking Bad...

"Go Find Your Son"

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"Almost a decade ago I was riding in a taxi from the airport talking to the police at my son's University."

"I'd gotten a call the day before that he'd failed to return to his apartment after his last exam. He'd waved to a friend as he finished his exam early, walked out and simply vanished."

"I was coordinating a search effort and was obviously distraught on the phone."

"When we stopped at my son's apartment, I pulled out my wallet to pay."

"The taxi driver grabbed both of my shoulders, looked me in the eye and said in a thick Russian accent 'You no pay. Go find your son.' "

"Then he gave my shoulders a shake and a squeeze and off he drove."

"That was the first of many examples of the kindnesses that were shown to my family as we searched for him. Sadly, a fisherman spotted his body on the seventh day of our search and we were able to bring him back home."

"We had a very fun 3 hour Skype with our son on a Sunday night. Two days later he was gone."

"Hug your kids as often as you can."

- SultanOfSwave

It Takes A Village

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"One time, perhaps 9 years ago..?? I was at the Grocery Store pretty late, around 2-3am."

"It is a blizzard outside. The snow is coming down thick and wet and fast. There's probably 6 people in the entire store."

"One of those six is a frazzled looking young mother. Her 4ish year old, draped over her, fast asleep, with a hospital band around his wrist."

"Her cart has pedialyte, popscicles, children's tylenol, and a shopping list probably 15 items long. She's struggling to carry her child, push the cart, grab items, not wake the sleeping sick toddler."

"She also looks like she's gonna just break down and cry."

"I made eye contact with another shopper. We connected, we spoke with a look."

"I set my basket down. They abandoned the cart. We bombarded this young woman with nearly silent love."

"The other shopper was a grandmotherly sort of woman, who came up and with a look and a gesture, invited this woman to hand over a sleeping, sick child, and take a load off."

"There was a hesitation, but you could see the exhaustion realize, 'this is my village, this is what they talk about...' "

"There was a swift handoff. I've already grabbed the list, and the cart, and a surprise hug."

"Within 5 minutes, the list has been completed. Check out has happened. The Mom has had a chance to breathe."

"The toddler hasn't even stirred."

"We make the way to her car. I load the groceries in for her. They get her son into his booster seat. I brush the snow off her vehicle. The 3 of us share a hug."

"And then she takes her child home, and the other lady and I go back to our shopping. The whole exchange, start to finish, was maybe 15 minutes??"

"There were barely any words spoken, all things considered. But I know that we changed that Mom's night."

"We became her village. And I'll just never forget that."

- KknhgnhInepa0cnB11

Touring Rome

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"In 2010, I randomly met a girl at a hostel in Rome. We toured around the city for 2 days together."

"She was an art-history major who really knew her stuff. The trip to the Vatican museum was like getting a private tour, with facts and insight about each painting, sculpture and tapestry."

"2 years later, I searched her name on Google and found out she died from cancer."

- gachunt

A New Shirt

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"I was in the mental hospital 3 years ago. There was a man who had left on my 3rd to last day there."

"He had anger issues but otherwise was a distant person so I hadn't spoken to him much."

"If we did speak it was because he was asking when our next cig break was (he was beyond addicted to those) or talking about how amazing his daughter is."

"On my last night he came back. Covered in scratch marks."

"He had clearly ripped his shirt somehow and the marks were all over his chest, back, arms, and legs."

"The next morning there he was. Sitting where he always did in the morning for the smoke break but this time…this time he looked broken."

"He was wearing a scrub top and sweats. They didn't even look like his clothes."

"I remember sitting down next to him and asking if he was okay and that's when he told me. His daughter died in a car accident shortly before he was admitted into the hospital."

"He said he was the one who scratched himself up and without his daughter he wasn't going to have a new shirt soon."

"I offered him one of the shirts my mother had brought me. It was some band I didn't listen to anymore."

"The way he held my hand and the way he spoke to me. I don't think I'll ever forget."

"He is exactly who I think about when I start to get bad thoughts. I don't want my mother to feel the pain that I saw that man going through."

"I really hope he is doing okay now."

- VisionOfChange

Werewolves In The Night

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"Several years ago I was going through a haunted house attraction with a group of friends. A random guy in a werewolf mask came up and held my hand and we continued like that through the whole thing."

"I didn't know who he was or what prompted him to do it but it made me feel at ease since I was the 5th wheel of the group and everyone else was clinging to their partners."

"When we exited, he just walked off into the night like we didn't just have this moment."

- amahler03

Flowers

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"I was walking down the road to get something to eat during a lunch break when this old lady walked by. As I passed her, I greeted her (it's common here to great strangers when walking by.)"

"She turned around and told me to stop."

"Then she looked into the window next to us pointing at some flowers the house owner had put there. She spent half of my lunch break explaining to me why these flowers are the best and most durable and how nice they look."

"She then smiled as she said: 'whenever your planning to buy flowers for your girlfriend just buy her these and they will last her a pretty long time' before she ended the conversation and left."

"I was standing there looking at these flowers for a couple of minutes smiling. She never told me what these flowers were and I never saw that old lady again."

"I don't like flowers, to be honest, but I saw how happy she was to have someone to talk to so this made my whole week."

"So to that old lady talking to a young guy on his way to lunch break about some flowers. Thanks for making my day :)"

- Anton_Germany

Holding Space For Grief

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"The Greek family I met randomly."

"I got lost after leaving the funeral home when my young son died. They made me a tea and we talked about our loved ones."

"They had some baby things in their car, a coincidence because they had nobody having babies at the time. They just happened to have stuff."

"They gave it all to us, saying God sent us to them for a reason."

"There was a pink towel with bunny ears."

"3 years on, I have my rainbow baby; a daughter. I use that towel and remember my son, and that family."

"Wherever you are, thank you. You helped me survive the first few weeks after my sons death. You bearing witness to my grief and sitting with me holding space is something I will never forget."

- zieaendaire

Passenger Prayers

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"About five years ago, my father and I were leaving a Wal-Mart parking lot when an SUV in front of us stopped abruptly and blocked a small intersection."

"We honked politely after a few seconds, but nothing happened. Since I was sitting in the passenger's seat, I hopped out and walked up to the car."

"I waved and walked up slowly, but the person did not seem to notice me. I tapped on the glass and could tell the person behind the wheel was not moving. After more polite, urgent knocks, I opened the driver-side door and saw a young woman passed out behind the wheel."

"I tried to wake her but she was unresponsive. By now another person had walked up and I told her to call 911 and request an ambulance."

"I remember during CPR training from work they recommend not moving the person if you cannot physically wake them."

"I did panic a little when I noticed the vehicle was in drive, but I was able to reach across and get it into park and also turn off the ignition, just in case."

"Anyway, by now a small crowd had formed."

"It didn't take very long for the fire truck to arrive (yay first responders!!!) and after telling my short story it was time for me to leave. I hopped back into the car with my dad and we drove home."

"I never heard about that woman again, never learned her name. I never found out whether it was drugs or a medical condition or whatever else could have caused her to pass out behind the wheel."

"But I will always remember standing there beside a short Hispanic woman who was praying in rapid Spanish."

"She had one hand on my shoulder and her other hand on the unconscious woman, and I didn't know what else to do besides return her gesture."

"Before long there were half a dozen people standing there with us, touching each other and praying (this was long before Covid). I'm not a religious person, but I like to hope that we made a difference that day."

"That woman will probably never know who any of us were, and none of us will probably ever see each other again. But I hope she is alive and healthy somewhere."

- IrrationalFly

Chaperones, Race Day, and No Kidnappings!

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"About 20 years ago, I took my then 11-year old son to see the Le Mans 24 hour race."

"I had a backpack with a tent and our sleeping bags and planned to just buy tickets at the gate and then to pitch our tent somewhere around the track once we were in."

"Whilst waiting outside the station for a taxi to the course a breathtakingly beautiful, fragrant young woman dressed like she owned a fashion brand approached me and asked, in French, if we were going to the race."

"I said we were and she immediately switched into English (I'm going to blame my accent because all I actually said was "Oui" so I can't have got THAT wrong)."

"She asked if we would like to share a taxi with her as it was some distance. Clearly she could afford the cab ride on her own but despite my son's (inexplicable) reluctance, I agreed and we shared the next available cab."

"During the ride over, she explained that her boyfriend was a driver (in the Peugeot Courage team) and that she was meeting him at the track but had been warned that some women had been assaulted in the past there by taxi drivers!"

"So, she saw my son and me and thought: 'They're my chaperones.' "

"OK, so chatting (in perfect English) on the ride over - which she INSISTED on paying for herself (in full) once we arrived - she heard our 'plan' and said no chance. It was ridiculous."

"She pulled out her (and her partner's) 'All areas' passes from her handbag and said 'We will use these!' "

"So now, I'm walking into the participants entrance with a pass round my neck that read "Pilote" (French for racing driver) whilst she holds my son's hand and just confidently waves her own pass to the guards for both of them."

"I was in jeans carrying a back pack, she couldn't have been more than a dozen years older than my son but they smiled and beckoned us through."

"So, now we are in and I thank her and go to return the pass."

" 'Doesn't your son want to see the pits? You must meet my partner, you can give HIM his pass. The story will amuse him.' "

"After our tour of the pits her (infuriatingly cool) boyfriend then showed us how to get through to the Grandstand (with no ticket - honestly) where we watched the famous start to the Le Mans 24 hour race."

"Painfully loud, by the way. My lousy 'planning' also meant I overlooked packing ear protection."

"Anyway, after a couple of hours, we made our way out of the Grandstand and I tried to re-enter team area back the way we came to thank Stephanie (pretty sure that was her name) but the race had begun by then, so they wouldn't let us back."

"I left a message of thanks with the humourless guy at the barrier, but don't know if she ever got it."

"Peugeot didn't win the race that year (I think Bentley did) and I have never been back since but I will always remember that remarkable encounter."

"My son is now in his 30s and we still occasionally reflect on it. He explained to me subsequently that he was reluctant because thought she was going to kidnap us!?"

- Modestboaster

Puppy Love To Poopy Love

"I was in 3rd grade and was invited for my classmate's birthday party. I really felt so pretty that time because of my outfit. I was also wearing a sandal with 1inch heels."

"Then, I saw this cute boy who I think is the same age with me. This handsome stranger would be my boyfriend."

"I don't know if you guys experienced that phase during childhood where you feel like you're SO pretty that someone your age will suddenly catch a love-at-first-sight crush on you... but I did."

"Anyway, so as a little kid who's wearing a heeled sandals for the first time, I felt like a model and planned to walk in front of him so he could notice me."

"So I walked confidently towards my target, convinced we were about to fall in love. But exactly as I stepped in front of him, I suddenly farted WITH SOUND!!"

"Take note that he was sitting, so he probably heard it. It's possible he maybe smelled that amazing aroma of puppy-love-turned-into-poopy-love almost near his face."

"When I finally stepped past him, I nervously looked back at him, praying that he didn't notice."

"Unfortunately, he was looking at me too. Frowning. Because I had just crop-dusted him."

"Probably memorable because it's my most embarrassing moment. Kinda grateful that we never met again."

"It's been 11 years and I don't know if he still remembers that, but I hope not."

"I've never known his name and can't even recall his face. All I know is I've never been so humiliated."

- ailili7582

Okay, we've had lots of "moments" but we can say with 100% honesty that we've never had a supernatural love connection in a haunted house.

And we're a little jealous.

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