September 11, 2001
Almost everyone who has memories of 2001, knows where they were and what they were doing on September 11.
Many say it is the Pearl Harbor or JFK assassination of Generation X.
But what about those people in the air on that fateful day?
Reddit user n8th8n0101 asked "To the people on a plane on 9/11, what did your pilots tell you when they grounded all flights?"
Here are their stories.
London to Los Angeles
My wife and I were flying from London to Los Angeles - about three hours into the flight my wife asked why the flight map on her video screen showed the plane flying east instead of west (apparently the 747 had just completed a slow turn). At that exact moment the pilot came over the speaker and told us the plane would be going back to the UK because there had been an incident in New York and that US airspace had been closed down. All passengers were requested to remain in their seats and the air phones were turned off. We ended up landing in Cardiff, Wales -- there were several 747s at the runway by the time we arrived.
The minute the plane landed dozens of cell phones were ringing. All the events of the day came all at once -- towers hit, towers collapsed, Pentagon hit and another plane crashed in PA and worst of all thousands had died. People were just stunned learning all these details. The airport terminal was just overwhelmed -- there were thousands of people and the support staff were doing their best to assist us but they had little information or resources. First they said that flights would be departing the next day so we could be getting overnight accommodation. My wife said there was no way that anyone would be flying anywhere in the near future and our best bet would be to catch a train back to London. Fortunately there were several passengers that had the same thought and somehow they arranged to get a bus chartered to take us back to Heathrow. While waiting for the bus we found a television and were able to see the images of the day. People were watching in stunned silence and many were weeping. Upon boarding the bus my wife and I shared a set of earbuds which was plugged into a radio that had a US feed going through local UK stations -- the news just kept getting worse and it was clear that the world had changed while we had been in the air. At about 1am the bus arrived at Heathrow which was absolutely deserted. Eventually we made it back to our flat in Weybridge -- we stayed up watching CNN International for the next few hours and as the sun came up we finally got some sleep.
It was a day we have spoken of often since that time and one we will never forget. I still have the boarding passes in my desk.
Singapore to Seattle
A friend of mind was a pilot for Singapore Airlines flying Singapore to Seattle. He was diverted into Canada, but only told the passengers the bare minimum that they were being diverted to another airport. It wasn't until they got inside the airport terminal and saw the TV that they understood why they were diverted. (Even he was surprised at the scale compared to what ATC told him.)
He was also the pilot in command of the first commercial aircraft to enter US airspace when it was reopened, and he recalled being terrified of deviating from his planned track. He had an uneasy feeling in the back of his mind that there was likely an F-14 a few thousand feet above him ready to vaporise them if he moved unexpectedly.
Dallas to Boston
Not me but my mom, who was and still is a flight attendant. She was working a flight from DFW-BOS that morning, they were approaching the northeast when they were diverted to Akron, OH. I'm not sure what she was specifically told but I know they knew something was up. Their flight communications are even included in transcripts from that day.
By that time both towers had been hit and they were headed west over Pennsylvania to land. My mom said they were all on edge not really comprehending the severity of the situation and wondering whether they might be hijacked themselves. They were communicating with Cleveland on the ground when the hijacking of United 93 began over western PA, so there was communication between both flights and ground trying to confirm that the screaming etc they heard on the frequency was really a hijacking? Apparently United 93 was right behind them and my mom says the crew was back and forth up in the cockpit and in the galley looking out the windows trying to see the plane, while trying not to scare passengers.
She was stuck there for a few days until finally renting a car with some crew and driving back to TX. Was supposed to be a simple turn around run that day and she didn't bring any luggage. She always carries an overnight bag now just in case and was the first person in my family to get a cellphone immediately after this.
The airline gave crew optional 6 month leave in the months following. Where I grew up there were many airline families, some took leave and some didn't but my mom said she had to go back to work without interruption or else she'd never be able to get back on a plane afterwards.
Me and my brother were on our way to NYC this day. Our flight had barely left Paris (CDG) when we suddenly went into a descent. The Captain made an announcement that they had been ordered to return to Paris but couldn't comply due to the by then already crowded airport. So we landed in Dublin.
The airline told us that we were to be flown back the next day, but nobody really believed that, news to the why and how still being scarce.
We were free to leave the airport though, so me, my brother and a couple of guys from our flight shared a cab into town, going for a pub crawl. When in Ireland...
Where I met a girl whose flight got grounded too. Long story short:
Our kids are 6 & 9 and remind us every day: Nothing in this world is so bad that it doesn't have an upside to it.
Hong Kong to London
I was flying Hong Kong to London, so wasn't subject to the flight groundings, but the pilot told us there had 'been an incident' in New York and there would be increased security at the terminal.
Arrived at Heathrow and there were dozens of police walking around with sub-machine guns (English police might not be regularly armed but they do not mess around when they feel they need to be.) Still not sure what's up, but definitely something serious.
My parents grabbed a newspaper to try and figure out what happened and flipped through the very scanty initial reports with the big picture of the burning towers on the cover, while queuing for security . Person behind them asked if they could have a look and you could subsequently hear people gasping one by by one as the paper made its way down the queue.
Atlanta to Denver
I was flying from Atlanta to Denver. Our flight was forced to land in Tulsa, OK. We were told that there was a terrorist attack in NY and that our aircraft had been ordered to land. The pilot did not mention that ALL aircraft had been ordered to land. As the only brown person on board I thought: Great, they must think that I am a suspect and now we have to land.
Once we landed and I saw all the planes jamming the tarmac, I realized that it was something really big.
Newark and the Museum
My dad flew on 9/11 from Newark to Boston for work. He was on an earlier flight than any of this. Once he touched down in Boston and heard what happened, him and his coworker drove home (back to NJ) from Boston. Typically it's about a 4 hour drive. It took them almost 9. They didn't have to drive home but wanted to know we were okay. There was also barely any cell coverage on my home town end since we were so close to NYC.
I know this doesn't answer your question directly, but man this day hits home for me. It eats my dad alive to this day how he still believes he saw those guys in one of the airports and didn't know it.
I could see the smoke rising from my middle school like no tomorrow was in sight. No one went back to school for about 2 weeks. A lot of kids I went to school with had family members pass away. The anniversary always haunts me. I visited the 9/11 memorial and museum in NY a few years back with this girl I was seeing. She had never been to NY before and I felt crazy when I honestly started to cry inside (the museum). All the emotions got to me at once.
It's a day I'll never forget. And definitely a day that many more people other than myself will never forget for even worse reasons. I feel incredibly lucky to have a dad that's still alive today, when many of my friends do not have parents or relatives that are so lucky.
~ The 9/11 museum is very well done but I wish I was a little more mentally prepared before visiting it. I expected it to be more "cold statistics" and maybe lists of names but it's not that at all. For anyone who hasn't been, there are videos and pictures and stories of all the people who died that day, memories from their families, voicemail recordings of calls from the day. The last phone calls from people who were in the buildings and realized they weren't getting out. Stories from people who weren't in the office that day and in a blink of an eye lost every one of their coworkers. It's haunting and tragic.~
*We were told when we went in to expect it to take 2 hours to see everything. 7 hours later I walked out. I cried. A lot. I'm a 33 year old guy from the UK.
Nothing can prepare you for the room with the Pennsylvania crash calls. Nor the room with the jumpers from the WTC.
I was more emotionally exhausted than I have ever been after finishing.*
Orlando to Kansas City
I was 9 when 9/11 occurred and my family were returning home from a birthday trip to Disney, (my birthday is September 12th, 1991, so I was turning 10 that very next day) so Orlando to Kansas City. I don't remember the specifics but it didn't feel like we were in the air long at all (our flight had been at 8:20) before the captain had come onto the overhead speakers to tell us that there had been some pretty serious incidents occurring in New York City and that they were told to land as soon as possible and that we'd be diverted to Houston.
As soon as we landed, my dad had called my uncle (who lives in Hackensack, but worked in NYC) and my uncle had told him everything. My dad literally exclaimed into a kind of gasp-sob and that was the first and only time I've ever come close to seeing him cry. When we got off the plane, it was all over the televisions throughout the airport. My mom and dad practically clung to us the entire time from the airport to our hotel nearby.
The whole thing is something I cannot and will not ever forget.
My step dad was a pilot flying small private jets, and was in the air when it happened. He said they just told him to land immediately and he had to go into the airport to find out why, and what happened, and go back to the plane to tell the passengers.
I used to work with someone who owned a small plane. He was grounded for months, because his plane was parked in a no-fly zone. I don't recall what he was too close to -- whether it was a major city (Seattle), major airport, or military base.
Same thing happened with my dad, he was riding a chartered business flight from the Midwest toward the east coast. Had to land somewhere in the middle. Dad & coworkers got a rental car to keep going, but the pilot had to stay with the plane for weeks.
Air Traffic Control
It's so surreal to see the US airspace completely empty.
Here is a time lapse of the day.
Toronto to Montreal
(The pilot said) nothing...complete silence about it. I was flying from Toronto to Montreal. I noticed that the breakfast service ended abruptly and the stewards were acting funny, standing at the bulkheads and visually scanning the passengers. I listened to hear if the plane sounded funny or was behaving oddly...nothing was out of the ordinary so I went back to reading my paper.
Disembarked into a sea of people in Montreal, when I came down the escalator I didn't know where I was going to stand...that many people.
Many, many Americans that had no idea they would be visiting Canada that day. They were on the PA asking for people with extra rooms to lend, and Montreal'ers took them all into their homes...within an hour they were saying they had enough available rooms.
Not entirely plane related, but my Dad worked near the towers and got off the train to see the second plane crash. It really messed him up inside. We lived in the Bronx, and everyday he went to the Park Avenue Armory where people lined up to find out about their loved ones.
My Dad noticed that many didn't speak English and they were having a hard time communicating. He wrote Translation Services on a piece of paper and stapled it to his shirt and spoke Spanish, French, and Russian. He got the relief effort to spread the word to get translators. It was all over the radio and TV.
The Japanese government heard and sent their best translators by special permission on a direct flight to New York (one of the few planes that could come to New York.) A Japanese bank had work space in the towers, and the relatives of the workers also came.
By the end, hundreds of people came, even those of more obscure languages from Algeria and Azerbaijan, among others. There was a fleet of Punjabi, Afrikaans, Creole, Korean, Italian, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Polish, Chinese. It's wondrous to see how something as simple as talking binds all of us. The City began implementing translation services everywhere since.
I was 12 years old at the time and didn't understand the impact. Today at age 28, I know my Dad was a hero.
Link to: an article translated from Spanish to English from El Diario about my father.
Link to: the original Spanish article
Washington DC to Miami
My dad was an armed high ranking federal agent. He was flying from DC to Miami. He usually sleeps on flights but was woken up somewhere over Southern Virginia, and asked to come to the cockpit. The pilots told him to guard the cockpit, and that he was authorized to shoot - he spoke to someone over the cockpit communication system confirming the authorization. He was given the jump seat next to the cockpit during landing, so he could see if anyone stood up. He told me later that the reason they were allowed to continue to Miami instead of putting down in the Carolinas was because he was on the plane.
When he died in 2010, my mom showed me the piece of paper he had kept, with his notes from that radio transmission. I think my older brother has them now.
When he landed, he was met by the three guys he was flying down to meet with, and they all drove back overnight, getting back just in time to help oversee the search at the Pentagon, where he worked.
I've never seen him as shaken as the day he brought home a piece of the desk from his office.
Los Angeles to Melbourne
I was on a plane from LA to Melbourne, with a stop-over via Auckland, and 9/11 happened while we were in the air.
Halfway through the flight, all the flight attendants got really nervous, and the pilot told us that due to a safety issue, the seatbelt sign was kept on throughout the flight, which we all found really confusing.
When we landed in New Zealand, there were armed guards with machine guns to greet us - which is very out of the ordinary for New Zealand. The first reports the flight attendants gave us was that it was the Empire State Building that had been attacked, that was how confused initial reports were. We were luckily allowed to fly on to Melbourne, but after that all international flights in Australia were grounded for a few days.
My parents were flying the morning of 9/11. I dropped them off at the airport and drove to work. First tower was hit as I pulled into the parking lot. Radio people thought it was just a fire at the tower. As I went into work and checked the news, it became clear a plane hit it. As I was on the phone with my buddy, the second plane hit on the live TV he was watching. That's when it was clear this was intentional.
Started to tell my boss I needed to pick up my parents, but he cut me off and said, "GO!". I called my parents as I ran to the car. The TVs at the gates had all been turned off and they announced no flights would be taking off. I raced to the airport, picked them up, and drove home to eerily empty roads and sky.
Also weird was suddenly seeing a lot of planes really low as they headed to the airport near us to get out of the air.
And what made it even more surreal was that it was such a gorgeous day. It was so clear and the blue of the sky was beautiful. It felt almost inappropriate or irreverent.
I remember when they let planes fly again, I was a little traumatized every time one would fly over. It took me months to break the habit of staring at each one, making sure it wasn't crashing.
My father worked for Delta at the time as a supervisor in the airport. He was working a flight that was about to push back when everything shut down. He had the final paperwork for the flight crew and ran down to let them know they weren't going anywhere. Air Traffic Control had just announced the shutdown to all aircraft on the ground.
No details were given over the radio, just that an incident had happened in NYC and all flights were grounded. He announced over the plane's PA that the flight was canceled due to an unknown incident and everyone could retrieve their luggage in a few minutes.
There were no TVs in the gate area back then, but a few of the shops and snack bars had TVs in the ticketing area. As people got near a TV the word spread. Everyone collected their bags and left the airport. From about 11:00 on, the airport was deserted except for airline employees.
New Jersey to Georgia
I was on a United flight from Newark to Atlanta that morning. We were in the air when everything happened and were supposed to land about 9:00. Just before landing they held us in a"holding pattern" in the air. At about 9:30 we landed. No announcements were made on the plane.
Just as we got to the gate and people started turning their phones on, I hear phones start ringing everywhere.
"What happened...." "A plane hit what..."
At that point my phone started to ring as well. It was my wife wanting to make sure I wasn't on one of the planes. And she filled me in on what was known then. The pilot and cabin crew did not say anything about what happened in the air.
There was an eerie silence in the terminal. I did not see any TV screens. I went directly to the car rental company, got a car and started driving north, back to NY. Listening to the radio as much as I could the whole way back...
Across the Atlantic
London to Chicago. Pilot told us there had been a major incident and US airspace was closed. Asked us not to talk or speculate with other passengers about the incident (to minimize panic).
We turned our phones on as we taxied on landing in Montreal. Both towers were already down and phones were going crazy, people who had managed to get a call through were sobbing and trying to explain to those whose phones wouldn't connect what they had just heard. Absolute sense of disbelief all round and it didn't really hit until I saw it on tv in the hotel.
One thing we were told at the time by the pilot was that the pilot was out of direct contact with Air Traffic Control (ATC) in both London and the USA at the time, so they were talking to the plane behind them, who was talking to the plane behind them, who was talking to ATC somewhere. So they were getting garbled second or third hand information from multiple sources about planes crashing and hijackings and trying to inform their passengers while not being sure of the information they had received themselves.
When you fly over the Atlantic there is no regular direct contact with Air Traffic Control except through high frequency radio which is only used sparingly in absolute emergencies. On 9/11 they would have wanted to keep radio traffic to a minimum in case of another hijacking.
Logan International Airport
My father was the Air Traffic Control supervisor for Logan Airport on 9/11 which is where the hijacked planes originated from. Before they hit the World Trade Center (WTC) my dad knew they had been hijacked. They lost contact and then saw on the news that a plane had hit the WTC. He called Federal Aviation Administration headquarters and they thought it was a prank. By the time the second plane hit NORAD was telling him to ground every aircraft in their airspace.
He said the hardest part was not being able to watch the news. All of his controllers desperately wanted to watch, but they had to get all of those planes down. There were several times when they thought more planes had been hijacked. He told me it was the absolute worst day of his life.
Link to: Recordings of ATC communications from that day on YouTube - at the end of the recording you hear a controller warning incoming flights to increase their cockpit security, and the controller sounds so broken and exhausted.
Our Neighbors to the North
I was flying from London to Dallas and was diverted to Gander, Newfoundland in Canada. We estimate we must have been very close to Manhattan when the first plane hit. None of the crew would tell us what was going on, only that the USA had closed it's airspace due to an aviation incident and we would be redirected to somewhere in Canada. We landed at Gander, Newfoundland along with (eventually) 37 other jumbo jets; all 38 of those planes almost doubled the population of the town.
~This small Canadian town on an island in the North Atlantic Ocean took in nearly 6,700 people with no prior warning. Their hospitality to the unexpected house guests, from nearly 100 countries, drew worldwide accolades and inspired the Broadway musical: _Come From Away. _The airport there marks the closest point between Europe and the U.S. and is a preferred emergency landing spot for medical and other emergencies. The 38 planes came "fast and furious" into the airport. Officials spent the next 31 hours unloading luggage and people.~
After we had landed, the captain told everyone what had happened and there was of course utter shock on the plane, lots of tears (most poignantly from two middle eastern gentleman sitting across the aisle from me) and conversations. After several hours waiting on the plane eventually we were moved into the airport where we officially entered Canada as refugees(!) We were allowed our cabin bags but there was no access to the luggage in the hold.
There was hot food waiting for us in the airport and we were then moved onto school buses and driven to various places around the town, I think it was about 22:00 (10pm) by this time. Spent three nights sleeping on a church hall floor with mattresses, pillows and covers donated by locals, others slept on the fire station floor etc, wherever there was room, and were fed three meals a day by volunteers. There was just one hotel in town and the flight crews and those too infirm to sleep on the floor, were put into that. The local University opened it's computer rooms so people could email home and the local phone company put loads of phones out on the pavement to try and ease the massive queue to what we think was the only payphone in the town.
If anyone from Gander is reading this, you all have a heart of gold, the way we were all looked after.
After those three nights, we were woke up early by a British Airways member of staff about flying back to London. We were all moved onto a school bus where we sat for a long time before we were driven back to the airport. Went through the usual security procedures at the airport, reboarded the plane and took off for England.
Plane took off, everyone applauded once we were up in the air (first and last time I've ever seen that happen after take off instead of landing!) and we landed back at Heathrow. Declined British Airways' offer to book new flights to Dallas and instead accepted a refund. We decided we'd only have about two weeks of what would have been a three week holiday left and also we'd rather Americans trying to get home had the seats.
Link to: Operation Yellow Ribbon - Canada essentially became a giant aircraft car-park, 238 aircraft were diverted to 17 different Canadian airports, 33,000-40,000 people.
Any engaged couple looks forward to the big day when after months of planning, they get to tie the knot and declare their love in front of family and friends.
What could possibly go wrong?
It turns out there are so many variables that can contribute to making the bride and groom's celebration a major matrimonial miss.
Curious to hear examples of weddings gone wrong, Redditor lolf**kno asked:
"Those who have been to a ruined wedding, what happened?"
Dramatic brawls and speeches plagued these weddings.
Catty Attendees And Booze
"Very beautiful wedding in a huge barn at this apple orchard. They must have spent a ton of money on the decorations and catering because it looked like something out of a magazine. The ceremony was great, the flower girl did her thing, the vows got everyone choked up. Everything seemed to be going well. Not even 15 minutes into the reception the mothers of the bride and groom getting into a full out brawl, hair pulling, red wine being thrown. Their sons jump in to defend their honor, chairs start being throw, tables are flipped, parents are grabbing children and running for their lives."
"The bride and groom are horrified and leave immediately and head back their honeymoon suite. My fiancé and I left after this as well but we heard from some other friends that most people ended up staying and getting wasted at the open bar on the bride and groom's dime. Apparently, the fight started because one of the groom's sister complimented the bride's grandmother's dress. The bride's mom thought she was being sarcastic and called her a b*tch, then the drama ensued. Mind you they had all been pregaming the wedding pretty hard."
Playing For The Drunk Uncle
"I played a wedding where as we started playing the set, everyone ran outside and nobody was to be seen for the rest of the night."
"I originally assumed it was because nobody liked us but the bride came in afterwards and said there was a huge fight involving multiple members of both families and everyone basically went home upset, injured or in a police van."
"We couldn't stop playing since we were payed and it was our job, and the only person watching was the drunk uncle dancing on his own asking for requests we didn't know."
Maid Of Honor Speech Goes Off The Rails
"Was a guest of friend of the bride, did not know anyone attending. Very expensive over the top place, several hundred guests of this very Italian wedding. Maid of honor grabs mic at the cocktail hour begins her speech, rambling, drunk. Quickly devolves to stating the recently deceased mother of the bride was against this wedding and that's basically what killed her. Plus Vinny will never give up sex workers. She is tackled by several people and dragged away."
"The happy couple is separated and divorced within a year."
This is what happens when bad luck crashes weddings.
Tumbling Into The Sunset
"I work at a golf course with a lot of history behind it. We do wedding venues inside the clubhouse and the actual ceremony is held outside by the historic water fountain and large pond."
"First problem was the weather. I live in the high desert and it was very warm. A solid 90 degrees that day and it was also pretty windy. So everyone's outside, no umbrellas, no ezups."
"The next problem, and probably the worst, was the golf cart incident. The bride and groom wanted to 'ride into the sunset' on one of our golf carts. Drive around a little bit on the golf course. To be fair, it is beautiful on the course during sunset. However the cart had somehow gotten a nail in the tire, tire went flat, battery on the cart went crazy and the cart ended up freaking out. It came to an complete stop from 15mph to zero. The wheels and mechanisms locked up, almost seizing. Both the bride and groom (fairly overweight mind you) both fell out and rolled over a few times. They were totally okay, just a few bruises and perhaps a bruised ego or two. So retrieving that cart was fun."
"And last but not least, the power inside the clubhouse went out to do the high winds. There was no after party available. Only the cake was cut, hardly any food was given out. Yeah, not a great day to cover for someone on your day off."
"I was not born yet, but my parents rented the observation deck on the Hancock building in Boston for their reception. Tallest building in the city, beautiful view. My dad pored over historic weather charts to figure out what day was statistically most likely to be nice out. Day of the wedding comes and of course, thick fog unlike anything they'd ever seen before. Couldn't see a thing out the windows of the room they had picked specifically for the view."
"Worked out well though, they were happily married for nearly 30 years before cancer took my dad's life a few years ago."
"There's one other funny anecdote from that wedding: The wedding was held in Kings Chapel, which is an incredibly historic church here in downtown Boston that's somewhat of a major tourist attraction. To close that on a weekend afternoon for a wedding, it turns out, was not very expensive. The tourists waiting outside to see the church didn't know that, though, and someone started the rumor that my parents were incredibly wealthy, maybe even Kennedys. As a result, there were tons of people taking photos of them when they left the ceremony. Not sure if any of them ever figured out that my parents were most certainly not rich or famous."
"I was best man at my sister in laws wedding (stepped in for the brother of the groom, that's another story entirely)."
"For a whole year of planning all the bride (SIL) wanted was a dove release while they said handwritten vows to each other. Very small, non denominational (most of the family are atheist anyway) wedding."
"Day arrives (early summer) and something is off with the bird handlers. They show up a bit late and are sourcing help from the wedding party to get everything in line. When the time comes to say their vows I help the handler carry the chest with the doves in it over to what is to be the altar where the bride and groom are standing."
"Vows are just about wrapping up and the handler gives ME the signal to open the chest. I open it and see 20-30 DEAD DOVES IN THE CRATE!!!! I immediately close it to try and limit who knows what happened. Too late. The look of horror on the bride's was all that was needed. We spent the next few hours trying to cheer everyone up but by the end of the reception the entire wedding party had organized and filed animal cruelty complaints on the handler. It was all anyone could focus on."
Tragic losses unfortunately befell leading up to or at a couple's nuptials.
The Wedding Guest Who Left Too Soon
"When I was 6 or 7 I went to a cousin's wedding. Everything was fabulous for little me, so much sugar everywhere, basically heaven. The reception was in a big community center that was reserved for the occasion. Went to the girls' bathroom, passing by the men's room to see my uncle on the floor. Went back to the main room to tell my dad my uncle was looking weird. Well, uncle had a stroke and had died."
"The bride spent the rest of the afternoon crying, and everyone except close family left."
"Bright side is the mariage is still going strong 20 years later, despite what happened that day."
A Terminal Diagnosis
"Leading up to my friends wedding his father had been battling cancer after a terminal diagnosis. And it was touch and go whether he would be well enough to attend the wedding, in the end he was too unwell to attend despite wishing that he could."
"Just as we got to the wedding reception my friend was informed that his father had just passed away. It was devastating."
"Happened to my classmate. He is successful middle level manager, divorced, about 35yo or so. Found a girl of his dreams but from a provincial poor town. The girl insisted to have the wedding in her town to show off her 'success.' The wedding is crashed by her old friends including male friends who are not that sophisticated and have some tense feelings towards the successful groom from the city. Somebody starts a fight in the middle of wedding, groom is trying to stop it and got stabbed in the back. Died right there. And he was my classmate."
An Unfortunate Trespassing
"The wedding was at a state park that's famous for its giant gorge/waterfall. I don't know whose idea this was, but someone suggested a photo overlooking this gorge and everybody was game. The wedding party went around a stone security barrier and the maid of honor literally fell off the cliff to her death. It was like 500+ feet."
With a lot riding on a wedding to go off without a hitch, the mounting pressure is one where something is surely to buckle.
And because wedding guests are usually inebriated and high on the buzz of celebration, they throw caution to the wind and make some choices they wouldn't make under normal circumstances.
People's ill-advised actions can have regretful consequences, but no one expects death to be an outcome.
Fortunately, the weddings I've attended or heard about from friends were not as catastrophic as the anecdotes mentioned above.
While the Redditors' stories are sorrowful, it gives me a sense of relief these devastating examples are rare occurrences.
Sometimes I think back to a teacher I had when I was a kid who demanded to know whether any of us were "raised in a barn" in response to crappy behavior. Namely littering. She hated littering. Can you blame her? It's a horrible habit and some people do it with no sense of shame. She dedicated much of her time to telling students to pick up after themselves and dispose of things properly. For that, I'm thankful.
But why didn't anyone else get the memo? The trash I see on the streets is obscene.
People had lots of thoughts to share after Redditor SneakyStriedker876 asked the online community,
"What seemingly uncivilized thing is commonplace in society?"
"We delight in the deaths of others as long as we feel it was justified. But when the reverse happens we act all high and mighty like we wouldn't engage in the same behavior."
"Slaughtering each other..."
"Slaughtering each other via warfare to solve political differences. It's standard policy worldwide."
Indeed it is. And it seems impossible to stop.
"Littering. Especially dropping cigarette butts on the ground/flicking them out the window.
The world is not your personal ashtray/garbage bin."
Every now and then I find new trash in my yard and I am constantly amazed by how nasty people can be.
"Mobbing someone because of their opinion or for a comment they made a long time ago, even if that time was yesterday."
"Xenophobia. The fact that racism and racial violence still exist is an indicator that we're still tribal primates in fancy clothes."
And it makes no sense! It's not based in reality. We are truly a tribal species.
"Shouting while arguing, refusing to listen to the opinions of others, basically the inability to debate and maintain proper communication."
"Letting people die..."
"Letting people die of curable conditions simply because they can't afford healthcare."
Probably the biggest reason why much of the Western world looks at the United States with shame in their eyes.
"Parents forcing their kids to hug family/friends despite the kid being uncomfortable doing it. They feel uncomfortable for a reason."
"During the holiday season..."
"During the holiday season, customers take products off of our online fulfillment carts. Y'all have legs. Get your own."
"Using phone speakers..."
"Using phone speakers in public. I don't care what you and your friend think about that restaurant, or how much that Spotify jam speaks to you. Nobody else wants to hear it."
We truly need to stop all of these, don't you think?
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I love presents. I try to hide my enthusiasm, and I do my best to appease the greater public by saying "it's the thought that counts." But that is a WHOLE lie. I don't just love gifts, I love great gifts. And if you go rogue from my lists, please keep a receipt. It's just plain rude to divert from what the recipient has requested.
This thought process has emerged from experience. I have received some trash presents over the years and now I'm too old to pretend you just went crazy while shopping. Like... "do you even know me?!"
Redditor u/sulemannkhann wanted to hear all about the presents some of us have received that we prayed, came with a receipt, by asking:
What's the worst birthday gift you ever got?
Have we met? That is an actual question I asked a gift giver once. (Who shall rename nameless) Football tickets. FOOTBALL TICKETS?! Who? What? I can't.
Looks FamiliarBroad City Wow GIF by Comedy CentralGiphy
"My own scarf. Yes, that's right, my mother went into my room took my only scarf, wrapped it and gave it to me like it was a new scarf."
"Thought I was getting a bike for my 15th birthday but my foster parents announced that they were sending me to a group home after living with them for 11 years. Devastation! That place was a wake up call. More independence then at my foster home but those kids had it really really bad, 12 year old heroine addicts, abuse... what the entire hell! I hurried up, graduated from high school at 16 and got the hell out of that place. I turned out ok, work in the legal field, live in Las Vegas. I did forgive my foster parents before they died."
The Forgotten One
"My brother and I worked for a farmer one summer, and he paid us with a used car. At the end of the next year, my brother graduated high school, so my parents paid me out for my half of the car, and that was his graduation gift. I gave them all a big discount compared to what it was worth. So like $500 for my share of a $2500 car."
"2 years later, and I needed $50 for some graduation fees, so I borrowed it from my mom until I could get to the bank. (Before mobile banking and ATMs everywhere.) Later, when my mom is telling me they invited all their friends over for a 'graduation' party, I asked if they had gotten a gift for me. "Well I gave you fifty bucks."
"I paid it back the next day, and she didn't blink. The 'graduation party' was just my parents friends, who said congratulations to me, but it wasn't really for me. A few years later, my little sister graduated, she got a car. They bought a used car for her, and our other little sister got the same when she graduated. My parents are mostly nice, and I never felt like they singled me out at birthdays or anything. Just my graduation seemed like I turned invisible."
Office Party Fail
"HR complaint from two subordinates fighting over how to throw me a surprise birthday party."
"I've never worked in an office environment, but the stories I've heard of people being required to buy a cake for the whole office and to celebrate their birthday with their coworkers would be enough to keep me in blue collar work for life, were it not for the fact that I love being active and working with my hands and could never sit at a desk all day anyway."
Basicslaw school finals GIFGiphy
"My Asian mom's gift was "no extra Kumon homework after school homework" so my birthday gift was that I didn't get extra homework from her."
Regifting is trash behavior. Do better. I'd rather you just say I forgot. Or... I just don't care for that much. But regifting? No.
"Stomach flu and my first ever period, at the same time. I think it was my 13th birthday."
"Omg, exact same story for me. It was my 13th birthday and my family took us kids to visit our relatives in Subsaharan Africa for the first time. I was sick, jetlagged, overheated and riding down a bumpy road in a Jeep driven by my dad in the complete darkness. We had just eaten at a restaurant where I found a giant scarab beetle in the bottom of my soup bowl. I have flashbacks to this day."
"My grandparents have been gifting me (and my brother) the same set of three vice grips for almost 10 years. Collectively we have 60 vice grips. I don't know if they bought a pallet of them, or where they are coming from. GET A GRIP GRANDMA!"
"I had a friend who's father was famous for doing Christmas shopping at the last minute. One year she complained that she went downstairs on Christmas morning and found, sticking out of her stocking, a spatula. Her birthday was a few days after telling that story, so myself and her friends all decided to get together and get her spatulas for her birthday, as a gag gift."
"Well, when it was our birthdays she retaliated. Which lead to a counter-offensive. And soon a new tradition was formed. And guys, I have so many spatulas now. Everything from dollar store cheap plastic, to hand-carved spatulas, a golden spatula, and even a replica of the famous Malaysian fighting spatula."
"I've got seasonal spatulas. As in, today it's time to pack away the Christmas spatulas and bring out the heart-shaped Valentine's day ones, followed by the bunny-shaped Easter ones. We've also been passing around this clip from the Weird Al Yankovic movie UHF. "Spatula City, we sell spatulas, and that's all!"
Their ultimate whack-a-doo move...
"A pair of homemade custom pajamas. Only problem was that they weren't made yet. It was just the fabric and a promise to make them for me. I had to give the fabric back and I never got the pajamas."
"Nothing legal just at our wedding they gave us a card that basically said 'have some land.' When the dust settled I asked what they thought we would do with it, they said build a home. I said ok, gonna need legal ownership for like building a house. They said sure we will get right on that. Then they decide to sell out and retire and never mentioned our wedding 'gift' again."
Gross...Disgusted Steve Carell GIFGiphy
"My grandma got me a hairbrush with a plastic horse head handle. The horse head was all chipped up and there was hair in the brush."
"My Godfather sent me a Birthday card each year which said, he paid 100 bucks to a bank account which I was supposed to get, when 16yo. He then got into alcohol, used all the money and died."
Oh for God sake, why even bother giving anything at all? Lint rollers, used brushes, homemade pjs... y'all ever hear of a gift card? Just put five bucks on it and call it a day. You can't hide cheap, so stop trying.
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I'm still on the fence about this whole extraterrestrial situation. I need more proof. Now I'm not naive enough to think that in this vast, endless universe only the human race exists. I just need proof, tangible, solid, didn't see it from my trailer through beer goggles proof.
I also need proof about the afterlife, another out there topic. Truth be told, I've never been that into this whole conversation. I've got enough daily problems on this planet, let alone worrying about making Will Smith's biggest hits into documentaries and not just popcorn/comedy space farce.
But let's compare thoughts...
Redditor u/ValencikHannibal197 wanted to discuss life beyond this planet, what do we really think? They asked:
What's the best theory on UFOs or aliens you've ever heard??
I definitely wouldn't turn down an excursion to AREA 51. I'd like to poke around and get a sense of the place. I've never personally been up close and face to face with a "non-Earther." Not sure I'd like to be...
TV Truthx files monkey pee GIF by The X-FilesGiphy
"UFOs/Aliens are a cover for all of the secret projects that the government is working on. Actually stole that from the X files."
"How human birth parallels alien abductions:
- Babies are taken from their home (womb)
- They still developing sight, so they see bright lights and grey figures.
- They hear an "alien" language they don't understand.
- They suddenly feel cold after leaving their womb.
- They are in a surgery room being poked with tons of instruments.
Long story short: some people suggest that abductions are just people who had memories of their birth."
In the Mind
"I just don't think anyone will ever see this. But I think that UFO's are the projection of our unconscious collective mind. Everything that exists in reality, also exists, in our immaterial mind. Is it possible that the insides of our mind are also just one drop in the ocean of consciousness... and together we create the material reality were in, simply by experiencing it in a real way, inside-out through our senses."
"My father was an aircraft mechanic and fabricator for test and spy aircraft for the USAF. He spent 75-85 working with test aircraft. He said that when they were going to do a test, that could possibly be seen by the public, they would make a betting pool on how many UFO reports local authorities and flight towers received."
Under the Seasci-fi ufo GIFGiphy
"I like the idea that some UFOs aren't machines. Instead they are some sort of Upper-Atmosphere Jellyfish. I found the issue of Fortean Times that had this article. Here's the cover: http://ft.gjovaag.com/q/images/a/ae/FT291.jpg"
Interesting. There are some ideas we can look into. None of it proof, but possibilities. There are certainly plenty of future film ideas.
"We are like that un contacted tribe and everyone agrees not to bother us."
"I've heard it explained from a channel (idk if you know what channeling is) kinda like this. First of all, we as a species tend to freak out, shoot first and ask questions later. Most humans would have a literal psychotic break. You have to believe in vibrational energy as it relates to our consciousness."
"The aliens (certain ones) are at such a higher level that it would be jarring for us to come in close contact with. We are slowly getting there but it's a process. Like 2012, end of the Mayan calendar, wasn't the end of the world it was the end of an energy cycle that we as the human race had never made it past before."
"Previous civilizations have been destroyed or destroyed themselves before they got this far. We passed a point where we are very unlike to destroy ourselves anymore. This doesn't mean we won't see some real bad hardships yet but we will keep progressing."
"train your eyes"Dancing GIFGiphy
"I was a firm believer in t em when I was in high school and kept googling theories and info in my spare time and during my study halls. They said their bodies were so lightweight or something that the reason why you can't see the evidence is that they disintegrate before hitting the ground."
"And then LOL it was so funny, some people would swear you could "train your eyes" to see rods... HhhahAHAHAHA. Like there were these experts. Video showed him walking around with a serious face, then pointing. And he's like, "that was one just there." "You can't see them, you have to be used to them... like me."
"I've spent many years immersed into hunting them finding them. That's why I can see them." And then one day China, who loves occult stuff, had like a lab that set up a nighttime camera to capture footage of rods at night... then realized they were normal bugs at overexposure. lol"
"The Dark Forest theory. Basically the theory that the reason we haven't made contact is because all the other civilized life in the universe/galaxy knows not to broadcast their location. They've learned that there's something awful or predatory lurking in the dark forest of our galaxy, and that it's better if they keep to themselves."
"That the universe is so vast that we haven't been discovered yet."
"This makes sense to me because traversing the distance to or from even our our stellar neighbors would require technology that is not known to us now or likely to be known by us anytime soon if it's even possible at all. To assume without evidence that aliens could possess this technology and have visited us does not meet my skeptical standards."
Back and Forthback to the future great scott GIFGiphy
"Time travel exists, and UFO sightings are actually future humans coming back to our time. That is why they are so discreet, and never openly make contact."
I hope time travel exists. Now that I'm onboard for. If aliens do exist... just come on out guys. We could probably use your help.
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