We are told, from a young age, not to interact with strangers. And let's be honest, that is sound advice.
With plenty of creeps and weirdos around, it's best for parents to just nip any possibility of abduction in the bud early.
But when we grow into adults, we can take care of ourselves. We develop a keener sense of people: who is approachable, who's not, and when it is or isn't a good time to strike up conversation.
That well-honed sense can open us up to so many amazing interactions that, without being just a little bold, we would never have the chance to experience.
Some Redditors recalled the times they read the moment right and got a very memorable encounter out of it.
Defiant_Cat7301 asked, "What's the most memorable moment you shared with a stranger who you never saw again?"
Many times, the moment begins with an act of kindness from one stranger to another. Simply lending a helping hand can be enough to smash things wide open and lay the groundwork for a great back and forth.
"I moved across the US a few years back (Washington to Ohio) and the first night I stopped at a random truck stop in Montana (I slept in the back seat of my truck). The next morning, I was letting my truck warm up when I noticed someone a few spots down was having a hard time getting his truck started so, of course, I went to help him."
"We got to talking and come to find out, not only did we work in similar lines of work, have similar backstories (both graduated in the same year from small towns, were navy veterans that were on subs, similar degree, etc.), but he was coming from Columbus Ohio going to Centralia Washington, and I was coming from Centralia Washington heading to Columbus Ohio. It was really weird."
"I was standing nearby this couple in Dollar Tree. I was deciding what snack I wanted and I overheard that the guy really liked Reese's bars but they didn't see any. Pre-Covid, I had frequented that particular Dollar Tree often, since it was nearby my house, and I knew that the store usually had those bars, they just weren't usually kept in the snack isle."
"I quickly checked the one island between the isles and the checkout and I found them. I went back to where the couple was, tapped the girl's shoulder and silently pointed them to the Reese's bars. Then I went back to doing my stuff."
"I was in the Flagstaff, Arizona area and hiked up 12,637 ft. Humphrey's Peak with a small group of people. On the way up, we met a young woman who had been hiking up the mountain with a group of her friends, but for some reason they left her behind."
"She was a slower hiker, but they should have never ditched her. She joined up with our group and made it to the top of the mountain, but on the way down it was clear that she was slowing us down. We weren't going to leave her behind like her friends did, however, so we went down the mountain at her speed."
"We ended up being on the mountain much longer than we planned, and soon it got dark when we were only about halfway down. That's when we realized we only had two small flashlights for 6 people. Hiking in near-pitch dark slowed us down even more, so I think we didn't even get down to the trailhead until around 10pm. It was unnerving not being able to see where we were putting our feet down, and I was sure someone was going to break an ankle. Luckily we made it down safely."
"When we got there, her friends were waiting, and they were mad that they had to sit and wait for her! After we made sure she was safe and good to go, we said goodbye and told her that she needed some new friends."
A Very Clutch Hitcher
"I was heading out on a three-hour drive from West Texas to The Metroplex. Stopped to fill up and, as I was pulling up to the pumps, saw a car pull in and let a hitchhiker out. When I was about to pull out of the parking lot and head for the highway, he started yelling, 'Wait!' and 'Don't let her leave!' which pretty much freaked me out until several people looked my way and signaled for me to stop."
"Turns out, I had a tire that was seriously under inflated. He helped me get air in the tire and we chatted for a bit. His last ride lived in the area, so had dropped him here beside the highway to catch his next ride. First and only time I've ever taken a hitcher while driving solo, but if ever a hitcher earned a ride, it was this guy. Made for a really quick trip, too, because he was smart and funny and made great conversation."
"I missed the last bus home (hour and a half away) after a big night out. I resigned myself to sleeping at the bus stop and was trying to get comfortable when some locals walked past. They asked me what i was doing and when I told them they said they were heading home and to come party and I could crash there."
"Went back to this guys waterfront mansion and drank and listened to classic records. Crashed out and left before they got up. I had his number so i texted him thanks later that morning and got a 'no worries champ' back. Never contacted him again."
Safety in Numbers
"Was being followed on campus and I ran up to three girls who were walking the same direction as me. I pretended to know them and quietly explained what was happening."
"They immediately incorporated me into the group and even when the guy stopped following me, they walked me to my dorm and made sure I got into the building okay."
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"A homeless guy gave me roses."
"I was barely scraping by as a daytime bartender, my car had died and I had to take a bus. The nearest stop to my job was in a dirty, edgy area of downtown and I had learned to not make eye contact with anyone."
"But one afternoon I saw a guy wearing nothing but a pair of filthy, bad-fitting overalls come ambling up the street barefoot, carrying something red. I did a double-take and our eyes met. Before I could react, he was standing in front of me with a bouquet of red roses, the stems wrapped in newspaper. He shoved the flowers into my hands, wished me a nice day, then went on his way."
"I was too stunned to react in the moment, and I looked for him every day after that, hoping I could buy him a sandwich or something, but I never saw him again. It's such a strange story that I wouldn't blame anyone who didn't believe it, but it really did happen and I'll never forget that guy."
"I was going through a tough patch and his strange and kind gesture reminded me that good things can happen when you least expect it."
Other people talked about a time that, for whatever reason, conversation began and everything else was history. They spent either a memorable moment, or even hours and hours, with a new person because the vibe was right.
Just a Good Day
"I met a guy at a restaurant. We were both in town for a short time. Me, for a convention and him for work. After eating and parting ways, I ran into him again, so we decided to explore the city together for the next 5 hours."
"He then walked me to the train station and I will always remember that day very fondly."
"Stuck in a traffic jam for almost an hour and got bored and did the swervy thing you see NASCAR drivers to during the pace lap. In my mirror a few cars back I spot a guy doing the same thing. He only ever did it after I did and we continued our swerve dance until traffic cleared up."
"He eventually caught up to and passed me, but not before exchanging a friendly wave as he went by. Hope he's doing well."
"Met a woman on a glacier excursion in Argentina. We went and had some beers afterward and had an absolute great time. No hookup or make out or anything -- just a great night out at the bar with a British chick, telling each other about life in our respective countries."
"This was like 16 years ago and I still think about it sometimes. Great night."
Under Her Wing
"She was actually a cousin but still a stranger to me. We'd gone to visit my dad's family and to attend his family reunion one summer when I was 8. I'm the youngest of 8 (next sibling is nearly 10 years older) so I was basically an afterthought. She was 17 and it was my very first time meeting her."
"We were there for 2 weeks and for most days she took me on an adventure. Ice cream. Snow cones. Fishing. Flying kites. Swimming. Bike riding. She would tell me about how she always wanted a sibling and wanting to go to college to get out of that small town and she would listen to me drone on about things that my siblings could care less about. She even let me drive her car once. I had to sit on her lap and we ended up in a ditch but it was so much fun."
"She made me feel like I had a real sister and I loved her instantly. When we left I cried myself to sleep. I never saw or heard from her again because a few months later she was killed by a drunk driver."
Sometimes, however, the circumstances were a bit grimmer. A crisis or medical emergency can be just the thing to dissolve the social norms and create some serious closeness, if only for the brief time that's necessary.
A Worthy Bystander
"Driving my kid to school last year and came up on a young woman laying in the road. She had just wrecked and was thrown from the vehicle."
"I covered her with a blanket from my car (it was late February in Indiana) and held her hand until the ambulance arrived. I hope she's ok."
Nurses: A Unique Breed
"I was rushed into the emergency room to deliver my baby whose heart rate had dropped off during delivery. They literally ran me in the room and started operating. I could not move or talk or anything from the fear and shock. God bless the nurse that was right there by my side."
"I can't even remember what she said, and I never saw her again, but she just keep saying the most reassuring things in the worst of moments."
"Definitely the time I was on a crowded bus with an incredibly erratic (and possibly drunk) driver. The person next to me and I kept joking around that we were gonna die every time the driver swerved the wrong way, pumped the breaks in the middle of traffic, and drifted in and out of traffic lanes."
"It became WAY less funny when the driver almost drove off the freeway & into a body of water below three times. People riding the bus had to come up to the front and literally help steer the wheel and navigate back on course, a couple people were on the phone with 911, some people in the back were literally crying."
"It was insane, and for sure the most memorable moment I've shared with a group of strangers. Never saw any of the people on that bus ever again, hope they're all doing well & haven't had to experience a bus ride like that ever again."
A Worthy Distraction
"I was at a music festival with friends when I got a pounding headache (dehydrated most likely. Drink water people!). I told our group I was going to sit down for a bit against a nearby wall."
"I'd only been there for a short while when a girl came over with a look of genuine concern, asking if I was ok. I said I had a headache, but was feeling better after having a bottle of water. Anyway, she sat down and told her friends she'd catch up with them."
"We ended up talking for about an hour or so. We had heaps in common. At no time did I feel as though I should ask for her number or anything. It was just a really nice, easy-going chat about different subjects."
"Time went by so quickly that we were both surprised when my friends came over and said the next band I'd wanted to see was about to start. I thanked her for checking on me, she thanked me for a chilled chat and we both went our separate ways."
"This would be about 20-25 years ago and I still clearly remember it."
So next time you're wandering around among plenty of strangers, maybe take a second to deliberately open yourself up. Put on an approachable face, or even make a comment out loud.
You never know the kind of day you might have after it.
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It's easy to get caught up in the past.
...so long as we knew what time of day it was going to be on.
What's something nostalgic for your age group?
Video games today are horrible!
Give us a 2-dimensional side-scroller of an Italian plumber fighting a dragon monster and nothing else good for many more years after that. Who needs all these fantastic releases, year in and year out, every year?
How Do We Enable "Big Head Mode?"
"Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, b, a, select, start"
"My toddler son has a toy game controller that plays a little jingle if you put this code in. I loved that they put that little Easter egg into a kids toy and it makes my husband smile every time he does it."
When Was This Old? *cries in tired old man
"Anytime recently I've tried to get back into Minecraft it breaks my heart because the game just feels so different now. I played it from 2010 up until 2018 or 19 almost religiously, but the past couple years have really changed the game. I'm sure it's just as fun to play now, but it doesn't have that same nostalgia factor anymore like it used to."
Tests Of Parenthood
"Neopets in 2005"
"My girlfriend at the time made me take care of one as a test for being a father. Literally."
Some things you long for aren't actually possible to do anymore, leading to the reasoning this is why the nostalgia is at an all-time high. What's worse than missing something that no longer exists?
The Smell, The Sounds, The Sights, The Ambience
"Going to Blockbuster with my friends on a Friday"
"Renting cheesy horror movies and making fun of them with the group!"
You Can Miss That?
"Dial up modem noises"
"Kiiiiiiiiiiii…kiiuuuu…kiiiuuuu.. it was something like that right? I even forgot."
"And then I used to open yahoo login page and do some other work for few minutes and come back while it loads, and then enter id password, hit login and then get a coffee until it loads."
Illegal, But, Yeah
"I remember the really early days of mp3 sharing, before P2P came along. There were hundreds of FTP servers that you could connect to with huge libraries of mp3s. No domain name, just a raw IP address that you found somewhere on usenet."
"But they couldn't just give it away, because then everyone would take and nobody would give. So they had quota systems: you'd upload an mp3, and for every byte you uploaded, you'd get to download 2, or 3, or maybe even 5. And this was over dialup, so uploading or downloading a single file could take 30 minutes."
"But it was FTP. Very simple and dumb. There was no memory of your "credits" between sessions, so if you uploaded a bunch of stuff and then lost your connection, you were SOL."
"It amazes me to think how much time I spent getting a few songs that today I can play any time I want on Spotify."
For some people, this next section will sound silly.
For others, this was our childhood, which sadly (when you really think about it) revolved around a television schedule we had no input on, meaning we had to plan everything out around when the next episode of Power Rangers aired.
Cartoons After School Are The Best
"Anime on Toonami. Cartoon Cartoon Fridays"
"Toonami had really great western cartoons as well. I loved watching Samurai Jack, Ben 10, Teen Titans, and Clone Wars on Toonami growing up."
"Old Cartoon Network, spiky gelled hair"
"Old Cartoon Network" is an interesting answer because people are gonna have different ideas about what "Old Cartoon Network" is. I think of Ed, Edd n Eddy and Codename: Kids Next Door. Another commenter mentioned Gumball which is still well after my time."
When Life Revolved Around Someone Else's Schedule
"Born in the 70s, grew up in the 80s...I remember huddling around the TV as a family to watch certain things."
"For some reason, they would show The Wizard of Oz every year on network tv..and it was a big deal. My mom would make popcorn...in a pot on the stove (It was the 80's) and we'd sit on a blanket on the floor and watch."
Or Friday Nights....Dukes of Hazzard (when it was new). Mom would get takeout from Burger Chef...and we'd sit on the floor eating hamburgers watching 'dem Duke Boys at it again."
"Or in the summer....they'd show Creature from the Black Lagoon 3D on tv. 7-11 would give out free 3-D glasses."
"For the younger Redditors....this was well before any kind of streaming/on demand service...and back when cable TV and VCRs were still a luxury that a lot of people didn't have. So, you really only got to watch what was on the few channels that your antenna allowed."
"Another one is coming home from school to watch old shows like Gilligan's Island, The Munsters, The Addams Family, Batman, F-Troop."
"Or staying up late and at midnight....the TV would play the National Anthem....then show a control screen and just "BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP" like this: https://youtu.be/Cnchea6LHN0"
The good ol' days.
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When determining how to spend our life in a way that feels worthy, many place a heavy emphasis on experiences. We want to die with scars and stories.
And sticking our necks out inevitably leads to a whole lot of struggle. But that doesn't mean we wouldn't do the same thing the very next day if we could go back.
Some things, though we'll never do them again, were too important an experience to pass up.
Redditor JackIrishJack asked:
"What should you do once, but not twice?"
Many people talked about the life experiences, big and small, that influenced their outlook. They recommend people go through some discomfort to gain important awareness.
A Capacity for Empathy
"Working in the food industry I feel like everybody should do it once so they can have a respect for food workers but it's also a hell I never want to go through again"
Paying for a Daydream
"Buy a lottery ticket"
"You're not going to win, but buying a lottery ticket gives you the chance to dream and pretend. Having a second lottery ticket isn't going to make your dreams more vivid."
Plenty of Implications
"Visit Auschwitz. I firmly believe everyone should go visit it so as to not forget what humans are capable of doing to each other. But no need to visit twice. Once was enough for me."
Others brought up things which, if done twice, would be a sure sign that something is very very wrong.
Supposed To Be Permanent
"Learning how to walk. The first time - good on you. Having to
relearn a second time means something went terribly wrong."
Only Two Sets
"Lose all of your teeth" -- Outrageous_Cream_112
"Haha I had to think about this for a second" -- ApplesauceDoctr
Don't Wanna Find Yourself There Too Often
"Get beaten half to death breaks the concepts of your limits. Second time breaks the spirit. Third time is overkill."
Others apparently viewed the question as an opportunity for a little cleverness.
If You're Good
"Cut...you measure twice before." -- wxguy215
"For me its more like 'measure twice, make sure it's just a teeny bit too long then go back and shave it off little by little until it wedges in perfectly' " -- pistpuncher3000
As the Saying Goes
"Fool me" -- Thia_suzieUzi
"FOOL ME THREE TIMES FU** THE PEACE SIGN LOAD THE CHOPPA LET IT RAIN ON YOU" -- nixusthegod
Only a Couple to Work With
"Donate a kidney" -- RealisticDelusions77
"Donate one kidney, you're a hero. Donate two kidneys, you're a corpse. Donate three kidneys, you're a felon." -- Drach88
"Be born. Going through the birthing process again would probably kill my mother." -- cylonrobot
Here's hoping we can all find the healthy balance between living a full, experienced life and punishing ourselves a little too much.
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Whenever I visit clothing stores, I make it a point to fold the clothes I unfurl. That is apparently my downfall as a customer.
Because of this, fellow customers often peg me as an employee and always ask me questions like where the bathroom is, or if the store has certain sizes left in stock.
Umm, no, I don't work here. I'm just a responsible customer. As you were.
Many of us make assumptions about other people just by looking at them. Who knew we were so presumptuous?
Curious to hear the experiences of strangers online, Redditor lilmizzvalz asked:
"What do people assume about you, based on your appearance?"
People often misinterpret moods based on how someone looks. That's unfair, wouldn't you say?
"That I'm caring and supportive. I have a resting nice face."
"That I am always mad. Nope just dissociating and staring off into space."
Not Meaning To Be Mean
"That I'm mean. I have a resting mean face for a dude I guess. Also lately it's worse because I'm bigger now. I don't really notice how my face appears but apparently, I seem angry when I'm looking at stuff."
"'You should smile' and 'are you ok?' comments followed me from busboy, waiter, bartender my whole career."
When it comes to measuring intelligence of others, some people are just way off.
Hard To Live Up To Expectations
"That I'm clever. People keep saying it to me, but I'm dumb and that sh*t is hard to live up to."
"I have glasses."
Eyes Full Of Wisdom
"I apparently have something similar going on mixed with looking like I know sh*t, because people come up to me in public and ask about directions, bus schedules and stuff all the time. Like, they'll deliberately avoid other people to ask me. Including when I'm abroad and should look a bit out of place."
"They assume I have an intellectual disability. (And also that I'm deaf, since I'm not able to speak.)"
"No, I am a person with two university degrees who happen to need a wheelchair because of a nasty neurological illness."
People don't always look their age. Some don't even act their age. But these Redditors have gotten their fair share of wrong guesses for their ages.
"That I'm 15."
"I'm 38 and a doctor. 'Did you just finish school?' EVERY DAY."
"This thread was depressing to read as I am 38 but often get mistaken for 50. I hate y'all and your youthful beauty."
Some people are typed out as certain types of people with just one look.
Watch Your Tone
"That I have a southern accent. Not one stranger has ever suspected that I have a 'New Jersey' accent (Born and raised in New Jersey before moving south)"
Not A Biker
"That I ride a Harley and/or work on them. I'm bald with a long goatee and tons of tattoos, but I'm in IT for a living and don't ride motorcycles at all."
Like others have expressed in the thread, I've also been accused of having "resting b*tch face."
You know, that neutral expression where you're not smiling the one time you're not in a situation where you have to be "on" for other people?
Yeah, that one.
If someone's resting face comes across as unfriendly, well, perhaps it's best not to upset them by asking them what's wrong all the time. Just sayin'.
Ideally, a teacher should take the job because of a genuine interest in helping students, furthering their education as well as their self-development. Of course, it's not as simple as that (administrative issues aside). Unfortunately, there are some teachers out there who aren't cut out for the job––and they even have a mean streak when it comes to their students. The effects this can have on the learning process are dire.
Teachers don't get paid well, and they're well aware. Many stick with the job because they have a passion for teaching; many others stick with the job because of the position of inscrutable authority it offers them over helpless students.
People shared their experiences after Redditor Ara-Rat asked the online community,
"What did your teacher do that made you call them 'the worst teacher ever'?"
"Questioned 5th-grade teacher's manner of pluralizing a word on the board. Got sent to the library to look it up in a dictionary and report my findings to the class.
Decades later and I'm still mad at that woman for trying to publicly humiliate a ten-year-old student."
That's awful. What is with adults who try to deliberately an example out of children?
"My old band teacher..."
"My old band teacher threw a projector at his students. He left the district later that year."
That was... probably for the best, when you think about it. (I had a teacher who threw a girl's pencil case out the window when she wouldn't stop talking; no, he was not fired.)
"My 3rd-grade teacher..."
"My 3rd-grade teacher got frustrated with a kid's stutter and started pounding the kid's desk with a closed fist while mocking his stutter."
Hopefully this teacher was disciplined and/or fired. That's the sort of behavior that thankfully would not fly today––it would go viral so fast.
"The worst were the teachers..."
"The worst were the teachers who would take books away from me and hold me up for ridicule because they disagreed or didn't approve of the genre or subject material. I was always into science fiction and horror genre's and many of them didn't consider it true literature worthy of reading. I remember my father getting into it with one of the teachers who disapproved of Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land, to which he pointed out it was on the required reading list of a lot of major universities. Dad was awesome like that, and chewed the teacher and principal out for having the temerity to try to stop any student who wanted to read, regardless of what the genre was."
Teachers who mock students for reading are the worst. Reading is one of the best things any student can do––there are so many benefits! Hopefully you have not lost your love of reading.
"When I'd instinctively try..."
"She tied me to my chair. I was hyperactive, and also 5. She would also hold my hand during formation in the mornings and squeeze so hard my tiny knuckles would crack. When I'd instinctively try to pull my hand away, she'd hold onto it and smile at me and ask me if it hurt."
The abuse here is almost incomprehensible. But it happens: a few years ago, a teacher made headlines for hanging a student by his coat on a coatrack. You can bet there were lawsuits.
"I was in the only dress I owned..."
"Tried to get me suspended for a dress code violation when I was 15. I was in the only dress I owned at the time because I was going to my best friend's funeral. She'd committed suicide two days before. I was crying and begging her to just let me stay till my mom picked up my remaining friends to go to the funeral. Said teacher then took me to the office and I had to sit in the front office under a tarp until my mom picked me up."
"My 8th grade English teacher..."
"My 8th grade English teacher never published grades and every time I'd ask her about it she'd answer with, "I don't know, what do you think it is?"
IF I KNEW WOULD I BE ASKING?!"
I've had a few teachers like this. Makes one wonder: Are you actually grading anything? WHAT are you doing, exactly?
"My biology teacher..."
"My biology teacher took my yearbook away right before the summer break. I didn't put it away in time.
That year my parents divorced and I was moving away. I told her this after class and she didn't care. She kept it until the last day. I didn't get any signatures.
Ended up throwing it away. What a witch."
"My university lecturer..."
"My university lecturer was the most incompetent bloke I've ever met. He taught I.T and for the life of me, I can't figure out how he got that job.
- In the first lesson, he got us to sign up to Twitter so we could share lesson content, tweet at each other so we'd get to know one another, and also tweet him. Everybody, including the lecturer, used Twitter once. We just used the university intranet to share stuff.
- Again, during the first lesson, he announced he was going on holiday for four weeks during our first term.
- All of his lessons were PowerPoint presentations, each slide had about a paragraph of text written on them which he would read out loud while awkwardly looking over his shoulder. Once he was done doing that he would essentially repeat what he had just said.
- One day he asked us for help in booking his airline tickets online because he couldn't figure out how to use the website.
As sad as these stories are, consider that these teachers are very much the exception to the rule. The majority of the teachers I have known over the years genuinely care for their students, work tirelessly on their lesson plans, and would never tolerate a single moment of the behavior featured here. Thank you to those teachers for doing their jobs––we appreciate you. (And ya'll deserve a raise, it's honestly messed up how little lawmakers understand about how hard your jobs actually are.)
Have some stories of your own? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments section below!