Nostalgic People Tell Stories Of The One Stranger They’ll Never Forget
_Life is an abundance of utter chaos. People fly in and out every other second. Many times we recognize the profound differences they make; like saving our lives when we're choking on meat or turning out to be our significant other. But 90% of the time we'll never know the people who float in and out of out lives. And that 90% can change it within the blink of an eye. _
_Redditor ___The_FunkyPigeon_asked people to share stories of the one stranger they'll never forget.
WHAT HAPPENS IN TAHOE.
A boy I met 30 years ago in Tahoe.
SOMETIMES LANGUAGE HAS NO BARRIERS.
Whenever I go to the airport, I think about that one girl I met when I was like 4, in Miami. She spoke Spanish and back then I only spoke French. Yet we managed to become bffs in a matter of minutes. She was so damn generous with all her toys and she drew me a picture as a parting gift. She was so nice. I wonder who she's become.
LOST IN THE CROWD.
When I was a very nervous 14 year old I saw a short blonde girl with a lip ring wearing an Atticus t-shirt at a local carnival. I thought she was beautiful, but when I attempted to approach her I lost her in the crowd. Whenever someone mentioned a carnival I thought of this girl, even during and after some serious relationships (note to self: no matter how close you and your s/o are, don't bring up this girl).
Now, I worked at a burger restaurant about a mile from the carnival site from when I was 16 until I was 18. When I was 17 I swear to god this same girl came in. I felt like a nervous 14 year old again. I wanted to approach, but she was eating with her mom and dad and I wasn't their server. They left when I was in the kitchen. It was a sad day.
THUMBS UP FRIEND!
There used to be a cheap, but tasty Shawarma place opened very close to where I lived back in uni. I used to visit there almost daily, every day, for a sandwich.
The shawarma guy was an old Turk that didn't speak any English. I had to do gestures to describe what I wanted on my sandwich. After a while tho, he'd recognize me. I'd nod, he'd nod, and he would know what I wanted. This went on for 5 years. We've established a strong relationship of sign language that, as far as I know, isn't recognized anywhere else.
The last day I visited was right when I graduated. I visited there, graduation hat on the table. He gestures to it, I smile and nod twice...and he grinned. The biggest grin I've seen a stranger show me. He was so happy for me. He gave me a thumbs up. I gave one back.
I went back home, many miles away, but I still think about that "friend".
SOMETIMES IT'S JUST ABOUT LISTENING.
When I was 15 years old I had some pretty dark thoughts. I was really lonely, had no friends, no idea of what I wanted to do after high school, I never felt so lost in my entire life. Depression was a new thing for me so I had no clue of how to deal with it in a healthy way, so I did what every depressed teenager does: I acted out. A lot. My grades were garbage, I started drinking, fighting all the time with my family. Then one day I was at school sitting by myself, listening to some music and minding my own business when this new teacher sat next to me and asked how I was doing.
I told him to shut up, he said "ok, I will, if you tell me how you're doing". He was so calm and kind that I felt bad for treating him that way, so I apologized and we started talking. For some reason I told him everything that was going on and he just sat there listening to me. Barely said anything, just listened. When I was done venting, he just said something along the lines "problems come and go, sometimes they feel like the end of the world, but you have to put up a fight cause that's how you become stronger for the next problem. It's okay to feel sad and angry, but eventually you have to stand up for yourself." I don't remember the exact words cause that was six or seven years ago, but in that moment, I decided not to harm myself. I never saw that teacher again, maybe he got fired or something, I really don't know. But since that day I've been punching depression in the face almost everyday. Life isn't the best right now, but I know it gets better eventually and it's worth the struggle =] And I'll always be thankful to that man.
LOVE IS IN THE EYES.
I was walking out of a store with my son who wasn't more than a couple months old. An older woman was walking behind me, and she said, "look at the way he looks at you! He loves you so much!" I don't know why that meant so much to me, but I think of her and those kind words often.
JUST KEEP BREATHING!
I called a suicide hotline one time about three years ago when I was seriously considering doing it. I was sixteen and crying alone and the woman was so kind and calmed me down. She asked me how I was gonna do it and when I told her I was going to take loads of pills she told me quite frankly that it wouldn't work, and I would just really damage my liver. She spoke to me for ages. She reminded me that I still a whole life that I could make as exciting as possible if I wanted it. I realized I did really want it.
She told me if I called back within the next two hours she would still be there and she would be waiting for my call. My family came back home and I got distracted and never got the chance to call her back and tell her I was okay. I hope I didn't worry her and that she's alright. I wish I could tell her that I'm still alive and doing great. She honestly saved my life and pulled me back from the darkest hour ever. I think about her around this time of year a lot.
ANGELS ARE ALWAYS WATCHING.
My best friend died from cancer when I was 19. I had just started an internship in Boston at the time and had to fly back home to Illinois to attend the funeral. While at the airport waiting to board my flight, I was on the phone with someone. I don't remember who it was as I had to make so many phone calls during that period of time to friends and family to inform people of what happened. After I hung up the phone a woman, probably in her mid 30's, who had been sitting near me came over and said she had overheard me on the phone. This didn't surprise me, as basically every phone call I had to make had me nearly in tears (if not actually in tears). She went on to say that she couldn't even imagine going through something like that at 19, and how maturely I was handling it.
I thanked her, and went back to making phone calls. The next time I looked around, which couldn't have been more than a few minutes later, she was gone. It has always stuck with me, and I will never forget it. Just those small words of kindness meant so much to me at that moment.
ALWAYS LISTEN TO THE DOC.
I was a total screw up in high school. Almost got expelled, eventually dropped out, ended up with a GED. In my 20s I finally decided to do something with my life and went to community college. Did well, but didn't take it seriously enough. Applied to graduate school for a career that would boost me out of the poverty I grew up in. Got accepted by a program before I finished the pre-requisites for that program. I was supposed to complete the last few pre-requisites in spring quarter and start grad school three weeks later in summer.
First day of spring quarter I was too busy hooking up with this woman and forgot to pay my tuition, so the computer system automatically booted me from all my courses. I was able to salvage all of them except one advanced microbiology course because they always have a wait list and immediately filled up. I was literally screwing myself out of grad school and a better life. I had my first and only panic attack in the counselor's office when she wouldn't give me an override and said I had to plead my case to the professor, who I'd never met.
I went to talk to the professor, a crusty retired veterinarian who glowered at me as I told him how I'd gotten into graduate school and would literally be kicked out before I even started if I didn't complete his course that quarter. He stared at me for a while and said, "you ever going to f--- up that bad over something so important again?" I said, "not this badly." He smiled and gave me an override, I went to grad school and got my doctorate. I make a comfortable living, have a kid that I never worry about providing for or feeding. And I have never screwed up that badly again. All thanks to Doc.
IN THE LONELY HOUR.
I met a woman my age in an elevator in my 20s. She asked how old I was, and commented that we were the same age, and that while I was an MD, all she had done in her life was get married and have kids. I was coming off call after some 36 hours in the hospital, in my intern year, lonely, miserable, and exhausted. I just looked at her and thought about how strange it was that we both wanted what the other had.
IT GETS BETTER
This dude came up to me in public and said "it will get better, I promise" when I was at my absolute lowest and couldn't talk about it with anyone. No one else around me noticed how depressed I was but this random stranger saw it.
GARY THE BABY BOOMER IS A HERO!
Last year I went out to eat with a couple of my friends and they were standing outside of my car when I parked. As soon as I opened the door they started making conversation with me, so I got distracted and left my keys in the car. My friends and I got to work on trying to somehow open the door. We were struggling with a hanger until an old man came up to us and asked if he could try. He bent up the hanger in a way that my friends and I hadn't even thought of, and within like 5 minutes he managed to get the door open with a little of my help. I still remember him telling me "Tell your parents that a baby boomer named Gary helped you out." Thanks old man :)
REDDIT BRINGS US TOGETHER.
We were similarly aged, and played Diablo 1 waaaaaay back in the day. Always a blast to talk to, and we kept up for the longest time on ICQ. She was just a really genuine, fun person. And then, as internet folk do, she moved on and we never talked again._
It'd be cool to see how she's doing, but I've made peace with the fact that I'll never hear from her again.
THE BABY WHISPERER
I used to work checkout at a grocery store. One day, this woman comes up to my line with her baby sitting in the top part of the cart. The woman was calm, at ease, carefree. But she had an aura that she was a genuinely good person. Her baby starts screaming at the top of its lungs. Most parents I know would reach to their kid and pick them up to calm them down, yell, get embarrassed, all that. But this woman, without it being a big deal, just looked at her kid with the kindest face, and without words comforted her child. And her kid stopped crying instantly. And I think about how one person could so simply listen and communicate back love in such a meaningful way, I sometimes think about her and how to be someone like that.
DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK.
The dude who mugged me. I've moved countries since then, but I still get the feeling he's lurking around nearby whenever I go for a walk.
FRIENDS KEEP FRIENDS WARM.
I must have been around 10 years old and was skiing with my parents. The temperature dropped, and my toes were killing me, so we went into a cafeteria located midway up the mountain. My mom took off my boots and was trying to warm up my frozen toes with her hands. A random stranger walked by, took pity on me, reached into his jacket, and handed me two boot warmers. Since then, I've always carried extra boot warmers in case I see a miserable kid on the mountain. Still hoping to pay it forward one day.
ANIMALS FIRST, ALWAYS.
When I was a young child my dog got sick. We took her to the vet. She had a problem with her leg. To help her the vet had to move her leg and it put her in a significant amount of pain. Seeing my dog in pain made me cry so one of my parents took me out of the room. The receptionist saw me crying, gave me a lollipop and comforted me. Thanks receptionist lady for making young me feel less traumatized.
FROM THE MOUTHS OF BABES.
I was once at the Museum of Play in Rochester, and they have a set of giant foam lego type blocks for building structures. This little boy no older than 4 or 5 was sitting all alone, holding a block like a rifle and halfheartedly pointing it around him. I lead a pretty lonely childhood, so i ran over and picked up a block and had a mock shootout with the little guy, complete with a scarface style bullet barrage death on my end, I've never felt more fulfilled than when he ran over to his dad and shouted "I got him!" I cant wait to have kids of my own.
NEVER FORGET OUR VETERANS.
When I was in the Navy, stationed in San Diego, I got rolled out in town for about $160...all the money I had. Hitched a ride toward the base and caught a ride with this old guy who let me crash at his place overnight until he could take me back to the base before muster. I'm sure he's dead by now but he kept me out of a lot of trouble.
HOW DID WE LIVE BEFORE TECHNOLOGY TOOK OVER?
Meet a pretty girl from France in a tiny village in Romania as I was traveling. Got her contacts but lost the note at the train station. This was before the age of smartphones.
YOU CAN'T SAVE EVERY LIFE, BUT YOU CAN TRY.
I don't know if this counts as a stranger but.... I'm a nursing student and while on placement in a psychiatric facility i was responsible for this 18 year old guy who had tried to kill himself. I ended up spending quite a bit of time with him, chatting about anything from Rick and Morty to his deeper issues. I was due to leave the ward after working with him for 3 days. I think of him most weeks.
H/T : REDDIT
There are few things more annoying than when you are seeking advice and someone responds with a boring platitude that helps no one. Believe it or not, if you choose to provide advice, it needs to be specific to the situation and shouldn't be dressed up in trite phrasing. Does saying, "Keep your head up" actually contribute anything if that's all you have to say when someone comes to you in search of a listening ear?
But this goes deeper than just advice, to be fair. Some of us are sick of greedy corporations that stress the importance of being a "family" while refusing to pay proper wages. Still more of us are tired of people using certain language when other language can suffice.
After Redditor BensReddits asked the online community, "What is a phrase you absolutely hate hearing?" people shared their stories.
"At any sort of conference..."
At any sort of conference/gathering/presentation:
"How're you all doing today?!? C'mon, I know you can answer louder than that! HOW ARE YOU ALL DOING TODAY?!"
Instant resentment every time.
I second that resentment.
I attended a conference once where the main speaker did this several times in the span of thirty minutes as he announced different initiatives.
Such a headache.
"At my work..."
At my work upper management has started using the word "activate" a lot. As in, "We are working on plans to activate underutilized spaces." And, "Let's activate a few other teams on this." It just sounds silly to me and like they are trying too hard to avoid using simple, perfectly adequate language.
I'll take your "activate" and give you...
What is wrong with the word "use"?
"I was born in Australia..."
"Your English is so good!"
Thank you, I was born in Australia and English is literally my first language. My standard response these days is, "Oh thank you, yours too!"
This one is especially annoying...
...if you're not alabaster white.
This is a big one:
"Where are you from? No I mean where are you from."
Also annoying if you're not alabaster white.
"Someone saying to a teenager..."
Someone saying to a teenager, "These are the best years of your life!" I am in my mid-40s now and most people my age remember high school as horrible and awkward. The more appropriate thing to say is, "Hang in there kid! I promise life gets better. Just get through adolescence the best you can."
High school sucked.
My life vastly improved in my 20s. Let's not convince teenagers that they have nothing to look forward to after high school's over and done with.
"That's nothing... " when I tell them something only for them to turn it onto a competition and say something worse that happened to them.
The chronic one-upper.
"But she's your mother!"
Yeah, well she should've acted like one.
"I've heard it from people..."
"When you have your own children you'll understand."
I've heard it from people who don't understand that I want nothing more than my own family but being pregnant will kill me, and when I bring up adoption as a valid way of having children they'll buckle down on that phrase as to say adopted kids are not the same. It's disheartening to hear as a formal foster child and has reinforced my beliefs that no one really saw me as enough. Why would you say that to someone? All kids are the same and those without kids shouldn't be dismissed.
"I lost my daughter..."
"God has a plan" or "It happened for a reason."
I lost my daughter when I was 36 weeks in because of a sudden placental abruption followed by a uterine rupture, lost 2.2 litres of blood. I can't carry again without risking the child or myself. And I had to listen to a variety of phrases that made me want to hit those people. Those two were the worst. Followed by "You can try again" or "Did you get the child baptized?" (got this one only once though).
"Who on earth..."
"When are you going to have kids?"
Who on earth are you to not only insist I should stop and redirect my whole life for kids, but then put me on the spot and make up a timetable to change my whole life? Not everyone wants kids.
Now that you've learned a thing or two...
...you could say that all of the responses here are an exceptional opportunity to improve your social skills.
Have some of your own stories to share? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments below!
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Dating is difficult––and truth be told, I don't know how anyone can do it right now, what with a pandemic going on and all. Just the thought stresses me out. Dating is especially hard for people who defy expectations in a heteronormative society. Take bisexuals, for example.
Bisexuals have been open about their struggles maintaining relationships with both men and women, even having to lie about their sexuality if they want to date certain people.
"I feel like if I end up in a straight relationship, I'll look like I was just experimenting all these years, but if I end up in a gay relationship people will say I was never actually bisexual," one man told the BBC in 2019. "Then if I don't have a monogamous relationship people will say I'm just greedy."
Indeed, the pressure to be either gay or straight can be a lot to navigate. After Redditor Trevor-on-Reddit asked the online community, "Bisexual people who have dated both genders, what are some notable differences you've learned about dating both men and women?" bisexuals spoke candidly about their experiences. Take note: You might learn something new.
We all know someone who really cannot figure out even the most basic thing without copious amounts of help. But when you meet someone who is completely and totally past all help, how do you even begin to try to help them get along?
Most of the time, they will just be flustered, or they won't listen. And you have to just stand Idly by and watch them fail.
What is your "This person has no idea how the real world works" moment?
Here were some of those stories.
The Boot, Not The Camp
When I was in boot camp, some kid put his letter addressed to 'mom' with no address attatched.
I was gonna say that its not that stupid for a very young kid to do that, but then I realized you said boot camp and not summer camp.
Don't Steal Dangerous Chemicals
A student working part time at my laboratory at a University came into my office and asked "so what all can I eat in the refrigerator, I didn't know I was supposed to bring my own lunch". I looked at him, stunned and replied "nothing, that food is what people brought for their own lunch, but you can use my grub hub to order". He DID NOT UNDERSTAND. It took 4 tries to get him to realize he can't just eat someone else's lunch.
Same student: I walked into the lab room and told him I made a full pot of coffee in the office and he could help himself. Him: "a pot of coffee? What's that?" He never used a coffee maker other than a Kuerig before and didn't even know it was a thing.
He was fired a month later for stealing chloroform.
No Ma'am, Like, REAL Bears
At a national park, the park ranger says "stay on the trails, there are bears in the area."
One lady says "isn't that dangerous? Why aren't they in their cages?"
"Ma'am, we're not a zoo."
These people are lucky to make it out of bed every day.
Sleeping On The Job
I lived with some Japanese exchange students during the final summer of college. They were really nice girls, but one of them (Mari) (~19 years old) obviously had no idea how anything worked. She spoke the best English and I was tutoring some of the other girls, while they helped me with my Japanese.
But Mari would constantly call me to come to get her because she thought we had free buses (all the buses). After all, we were students. That wasn't the issue. I could deal with that. It was a whole new culture. She was learning.
But what happened that made me realize Mari could not be left on her own was when she ended up in Eloy, Arizona. Which was ~400 miles and five hours from where we were. She had been talking to some guy on campus, he said he was visiting family in Arizona, and she said "I want to go."
He just took her with him, and she went without even telling us. She had just assumed the guy would take her back, but he said he couldn't because he was staying in Arizona. So I had to arrange a ticket, get her on the bus via the phone, and then pick her up two hours away because she missed her second bus by napping.
How...? What...? Huh...?
Had a friend who was in some uncredited scam online college for her master's degree in medical billing or something. She was on a loan program that was sending her about $5k every 3 months directly to her via check in the mail.
This was her only source of income. She kept calling it a grant that didn't need to be paid back. She was flat broke as a joke for 2 months but then the check would come in and she would be living the good life for a few weeks before being poor again.
We tried to do an intervention and show her the insane interest rate that would be back dated as soon as her "school" was done but she didn't want anyone to bust her free money dreams.
She just kept talking about all the money she would eventually be making billing insurance companies...turns out she wasn't even logging in to the online college or even attempting to get this degree.
She thought the money was free, the degree was automatic and the job was guaranteed. Some people are beyond help.
Such Brilliant. So Money. Wow
My boss told me about a friend of his, who told him af a "life hack". She would get her bills in the mail, NOT pay them, and then wait a couple of months to pay. Then she would cry so the debt collectors would feel bad and waive the fees for not paying on time. That was her "brilliant life hack"
Himbo Rights Activist
The other day, my 18yo brother-in-law got married to his highschool sweetheart in a parking garage so that they can live off campus at college together.
Girlfriend's, now wife, mother is an ordained minister. His parents, my in-laws, were very upset and he couldn't understand why because "it's just a fake marriage for school". Oh no, sweet boy. You are MARRIED. I just laughed and laughed. I love him dearly. He is a dumb*ss.
And yet somehow they are there to add these stories to our dull, dull days.
A dude (18 yo) in boot camp got a letter from home and I can see he is agitated. Being 22 and concerned for his well-being, I asked him if he wanted to talk about it. (I'm thinking a Dear John letter or the Mom and Dad divorcing letter.)
He dead *ss told me that his younger brother got a Mercedes for his birthday and that he was pissed bc he "only got a BMW". Can't remember what I said, but I knew boot camp was gonna knock down. (It did.)
Who Pays Your Bills?
When my roommate, who never once paid for rent or groceries or anything, turned down the only job offer they have ever gotten, in front of me, TWICE.
They were so desperate they called him twice, offering good pay, during covid, and he had the gaul to say no in front of me. His excuse was "nah I'm sure there's something better. $20 an hour is garbage in this city" -_-
Just Read ONE Parenting Book
I worked for a clueless couple who had no idea how to raise a kid. He wore the same outfit everyday for a month until I gently suggested that he needs new clothes. His parents asked me "Where can we get baby clothes?" This was slightly hilarious given that they lived above a Target and next to a baby boutique.
I had to have the same conversation once the child was old enough for solid foods. I was asked "Where can we get baby food?" I had to explain that most grocery stores carry a baby aisle, or that she can mash up her own fruits at home for the baby. This family decided that sour cream would be a great first food for their baby!
I'll mention that this was a wealthy family who went on vacation at least 2-3 times a month. By far the weirdest thing they did was try and drop off Grandma at daycare along with the baby.
Stories like this make you feel like the most well-equipped, with it person alive, right?
We're all well aware of the weird, horrible, predatory things men do when attracted to women. But what about when women are the culprits?
Though it seems that, statistically, men are problematic at a WAY higher rate than women, there are certainly times where the person bringing the creepy vibes is, indeed, the woman.
Some men of Reddit gathered to share the most bizarre and uncomfortable things a woman has ever said.
AidenTheGamer14 asked, "Men of Reddit, what is the creepiest thing a girl has ever said or done to you?"
For some, it was the stalkers.
The cryptic behavior and frightening detective work of ex-lovers can be unparalleled.
Some Light Sleuthing
"Found out my address from the phone book, this was the 90s, sat outside my house for multiple nights, all night just watching my house, I live in the middle of the woods miles outside of town."
"We only had one date and agreed to leave it at that. I found out sometime later what she had been doing."
"Girl I was dating asked if I had changed the locks since breaking up with my ex months prior. I'm like 'No, but she wasn't a crazy person so I never worried about it.' She says if I don't change the locks she ain't comfortable sleeping over, so I change the locks."
"This ex sends me an angry text the next day 'So you changed your locks huh? Real nice a**hole.' So she had been coming over this whole time and doing who knows what."
She Stopped at Nothing
"She kept writing me letters at every address I lived at during that five-year period. If she didn't have the address she'd send them care of my parents. The most memorable is the one where she told me she was married and 'he's a great guy but he's not you.' "
"Once not long after I'd moved to a new address I came home and found a box of cookies she'd FedExed to me. Eventually I moved to a new state. I knew from her return addresses that she lived and worked there, and was worried we'd run into each other but realized that was pretty unlikely."
"Then after less than a year, she found me through a blog I was keeping and left a message on my voicemail demanding we meet. I posted a message to her on my blog telling her to stop harrassing me or I'd call the police (up to that point I'd been ignoring her, hoping she'd take the hint). That night she called, I repeated my threat to bring the authorities in, and I haven't heard from her since."
Others dealt with the creepiness on the internet. With so many avenues of communication all around us, uncomfortable comments can come from all directions.
"Someone I considered a friend started to grow feelings for me, but when she found out I had a girlfriend and I didn't feel the same for her she found out who my girlfriend was somehow. She then DM'd her and tried to tell her that I was cheating on her with her."
"Luckily I was with her when she got that DM so I could explain the situation and then we blocked her. Next day she DM'd her again from an alt account."
Worst Kind of Pen Pal
"I started a new job, and I shared a small office with a woman my age (and a couple other people). She was kinda cute but also weird and super naïve (she grew up in a very rural area). She'd flirt with me a lot, but I wasn't interested."
"So she started sending me emails."
"They were super long, detailing her whole day. And she sent them to me every day. I never responded. Then one day she sent me this long email confessing her love. I replied with the (very obvious) reasons why it wouldn't work and asked her to stop sending me emails every day. She didn't."
"They kept coming. This went on for months. I asked her in person and online to stop, but I still got these email memoirs every day. Eventually I had another female office mate who was her friend have a talk with her. Finally the emails stopped."
That's A Lot of Passwords
"I've had a girl create about 50 different Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram accounts all to try to get me to friend her. I've never met this woman in person and yet every few weeks I'll get a handful of friend requests from her"
"Met this girl online and talked to her a bit. I did started to like her."
"Later found out that the pic she showed me of herself was actually a pic of her friend who had passed away due to cancer."
In my early 20's I was at a party and the hosting woman full-on tried to reach down my pants to grab my business."
"Strange, yes, what made it creepy is that we were right in front of her mother, who was cheering her on."
Breaking Out the Scroll
"After 6 months from our breakup, my ex called me because she wanted to see me. It seemed strange to me but I accepted. When we met she was friendly and all..."
"Then at a certain point she pulls a sheet in which there was written a list of all men she fu**ed after our relationship and she read it all to me, with accurate description of every sexual intercourse. Well it was an awkward moment."
"I was going to head home after a night out and a I was getting into my taxi a girl jumped in after me. I asked what they were doing and she said 'I'm coming home with you.' "
"Nope. Taxi driver helped me and she got out the car eventually when I shot down her advances."
Again, it's important to read this thread and remember that this is a bias sample, solely focused on the incidents where a woman did act creepy.
But, yes, it happens out there.
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