The world is full of interesting people with unimaginable backstories and origins. They're journey, just as your own, is unique and full of just as many surprises. This is why when you get a chance to meet one of these unique, interesting individuals, it's time to put away your phone, open your ears, and listen.

You might learn something awesome.

Reddit user, u/wanderingsamquanch, wanted to know about:

What one time conversation with a complete stranger had the most profound impact on your life?

The Planet's Are Closer Than You Think

I was on a cruise in the Caribbean, three days out of Miami, to Nassau and back to Miami. Dude at the bar was chillin, about 20 years older than I was. I was already drunk, started talking to him and asked where he was from. "Jupiter!" was his answer. I assumed that this dude is just nuts and I left mid conversation.

Years later I learned that Jupiter, Florida is a real place and I was just oblivious and needed to get out more. The only assumptions I make are about myself now.


When A Hobby Saves A Life

I do digital music production as a hobby and I release tracks every now and then, but I had one guy personally email me telling me that listening to my music helped with his mental health and prevented him from killing himself. It brought a tear to my eye because I was dealing with some heavy mental health (namely depression, anxiety) stuff back then and music is my way of expressing those feelings so to hear that someone understood my story/feelings through my music subsequently impacted me a lot and gave me motivation to continue


Important To Remember They're "People"

I grew up sheltered in a "retirement home" town where there were no homelessness. When I moved to the city, the majority of culture shock I experienced was the amount of homeless people I saw. I went from "Awe poor things" to "They're dangerous, stay away from them" like a child when seeing a stray dog. Either way, they weren't people to me, they were stray dogs.

I called the police on one man who screamed at me for ignoring him, he followed me around the corner and I guess I though it was the right thing to do. Cops showed up just to talk to him. The following month, the same man approached me and politely asked for food from a nearby convenient store. I figured I had the time and he wasn't just asking for "drug money".

When I gave him the food, he just started talking to me about his day and we ended up having a really great conversation. He's actually really smart, has a lot of good ideas and gave me some advice about how to help people like him (what supplies they needs and what bills to vote for).

Marty totally dispelled my "they're all dogs" mentality and I wish it didn't take this long for me to get a clue but I'm glad he helped me.


Open Up In The Communities You Feel Safest In

There's this social media called amino. Like reddit in fact, you got little communities with post, chat and wiki's. Anyways, two of my friends (let's called them by their username, seïka and aï) told to get to an community called "Life Story" it was centered around roleplay. I met a girl called "Shion" (it's her username). She was friend with seïka and aï, I think she wanted to know me.

Anyways, she came to my DM and we began talking, at a certain moment, o told her that I wasn't in the mood, and she told if I wanted to talk about. Usually I don't, as a men, there's sometimes a lot of backfire when that happens and I also didn't want to bother her. But she said "if u don't, I will get mad >:(", it was cute, so I told her about the fact that I felt depressed.

Then, idk how, we began to talk about our fears, insecurities and those kind of things, and it felt so great because for the first time, I find sometimes with who I can open up with no problems. She even help a lot with my mental health and I did the same thing for her.


Puts Things In Perspective

I was in a plane at JFK stuck on the tarmac for three hours, feeling kind of sorry for myself. Struck up a conversation with the elderly man next to me. Turned out he was the youngest child to survive Dachau. Showed me his tattoo. Told me he survived because he ate whatever was left on the dishes he washed.

I don't feel sorry for myself so much any more.


Clearing Things Up...But Not In The Way That You Think

A friend brought an older friend or cousin or something (don't remember) to a school dance when I was 14-ish. I was sad because my crush was with someone else. This dude told me "Think like a dog: if you can't eat it, or f*ck it, piss on it and walk away."

I knew right then I never wanted to be like that guy.


Kids Should Always Be Reading

I've shared this story before, but I'll never forget this interaction.

When I was a kid we didn't have a lot of money, so we often shopped at thrift stores. What I loved about that was that you could get 10 books for a dollar, so I would plant myself in front of the book section and make piles of which one I wanted to get and then decided after I'd gone through them all.

One day an older lady saw me sitting with my piles and asked if I liked to read. I told her I did and showed her a few of the books I found that I liked. She smiled and then pulled a dollar out of her purse, handed it to me and said, "Promise me that you'll keep reading." I was so happy and immediately stood up and said that I would. She smiled and walked away and I went back to my piles able to pick out an extra 10 books to take home.

It was just a small act of kindness for her, but for me having a random stranger encourage my love of reading and making me promise to never stop definitely had a lot to do with my continued love of reading. This was over 20 years ago, but I still think of her whenever I buy a new book.


When Someone's Gone Further Than You...

Saw a woman sitting in the town sand pile just hanging out looking sad. The sand pile borders my long gravel driveway and I just happened to notice her. Initially I though it was sketchy. What the hell is this person doing here? So I walk over and I say "heyyy.. are you okay?" She didn't hear me at first and I kind of startled her, but I asked again if she was okay throwing a thumbs up or thumbs down.

She said she was okay. I was like cool I'm going to go about my business then. She called me over and we end up having a huge conversation. Turns out she's from Vietnam originally and came to America back in the early 70's when she was young. She told me stories of her time in the US Navy, and her upbringing. She lives in Hawaii but had to come to the east coast to take care of her grandparents that adopted her when she got here.

We ended up talking for a couple hours and I showed her my dog. I'm a lot younger than her and I've never traveled further than a couple states. I was quite fascinated hearing how she'd basically been everywhere. I could tell she really needed someone that could listen to her and not have to hold anything back. Times were very hard for her with all the COVID and dealing with her grandparents who both are starting to develop dementia. I believe I made her whole month better by just stopping and asking if she was okay...


Shirts Are A Billboard For Personality

I went to a concert and the following morning in the hotel, some guy in an elevator started talking to me about the guy I saw because I wore the t shirt I had bought. It was great, he was telling stories about his tours in the 70s and he even met him once.

It was a short conversation but it made me realize how much I could learn about the world just by talking to other people. It really helped get out of my shell


A Glimpse Into What Could Be

I was on a trip with some friends and we came across a car accident where someone had drove off the side of the highway off a steep embankment. I scrambled down to give first aid. The guy had been thrown from his car and it was a miracle he was alive. He was in shock for a while but he snapped out of it eventually and was actually able to comprehend what was going on around him. Turns out he was trying to kill himself by driving off the road.

I sat with him for what felt like at least an hour and a half for EMS to arrive and listened to him talk and tried to reassure him that help was on the way. He kept saying how stupid he felt and how much he regretted his decision to try ending his life. The experience definitely made me think about how I deal with my own mental health and reminded me to never let it spiral out of control to the point where he had gotten to. It was very surreal to have a lengthy conversation with someone who had just had a failed suicide attempt, let alone him being as coherent as he was given the severity of the crash.


"You'll See Me Again...When The Wind Changes."

This is an honest to God true story.

I worked in a subway for the summer years ago. There was a regular customer, 60 odd, rode an old timey bicycle with a basket that he kept his dog in.

Anyway, one time he comes in and it's just me and him in the restaurant. He asks how I am, I tell him I am fine. He asks how I really am, and for no particular reason i told him some of the problems I was facing in my life. Let me note, this was particularly out of character for me, I keep myself to myself and dont tend to open up to my closest friends and family, let alone strangers.

He told me to "breathe, and listen to what the wind has to tell me". I didnt really know what to say to this, so I engaged in a thoughtful conversation with him. The way he spoke was unlike that of anyone I've ever met, so sincere, honest and calm.

He proceeded to explain to me how he has the ability to mentally travel to anywhere in the universe, he simply has to clear his mind and close his eyes and he will travel outside of his body and see the wonders the universe has to offer. He paused to tell me, if I think he is crazy just tell him to stop, as most people thought he was.

By this point, I was completely hooked on his stories. He told me of worlds that rained diamonds, black holes, concious beings made entirely of gases and resin. As he left he said I would see him once again in my life, but only when I was ready. This was about 6 years ago.

I will add, the man did not strike me whatsoever as crazy, and insisted that he had never touched a drug in his life. I honestly believed that he wasn't crazy.

I dont know if he was just f-cking with me, having a bit of fun, or whatever. But the way he told me this story, I honestly believed every word, and I am not a very gullible person. At the time as well, I had never drank or taken any drugs.

The story honestly sounds so ridiculously unbelievable, and I have never spoken to anyone of it. But I hope I see him again.


"Let's Give It A Shot."

The "complete stranger" part is tough. I just don't have in-depth conversations with people I don't know. But I'll volunteer a story of a conversation I had with someone that I only briefly interacted with that they would have NO CLUE how much I took to what they said.

I worked at Arbys years ago. They instituted a policy that we had to complete break down the slicer twice a day, wash/rinse/sanitize all the components, and then reassemble. The problem was we were the busiest store in the area by far. So at the manager meeting where we were discussing implementation, I'm being the stick in the mud. I'm like, "We're too busy. If we pre-cut enough roast beef to handle business during the time it'll take someone to clean the whole thing, the beef will taste like sh-t, and our food quality will suffer..." One of the other managers looks and goes, "Hey, before we say it's impossible, let's give it a shot." And that changed the game for me professionally.

I realized I was a naysayer of work, change, and opportunity. And I tried really hard to change that. Years later, I had a boss who never gave compliments say to me, "You know what I like about you? No matter what we have to do or how comfortable you are with it, you're fine with it." And I thought about that manager back at Arbys that, again, has no idea the impact he had on me in that moment.


We've All Been There Before

Once at the mall I was chasing my 3-year-old. I was feeling real irritated when this guy yells to me "just like his dad, huh?" indicating I was a child too once. Really gave me some perspective, just that one sentence.


Nice, I'll keep that in mind when neice is doing the same in public, thanks!


An A-Class Human

I (f, 22 at the time) was at the airport waiting to go home after visiting my boyfriend that I don't get to see much. A little heartbroken, I just sat there trying to keep the tears in my eyes, but a random stranger noticed my emotional turmoil.

Instead of asking if I was okay, he simply said "I'm sorry to see you're in pain, can I do anything to help you?" And offered me a tissue. He was such a comforting presence. We ended up talking for a while as we were on the same flight that got delayed, and eventually cancelled until the next day. We hung out in the smoking lounge together, he made me promise to quit when I got home. He told me about his travels, I told him about mine. He managed to get my mind out of its pit of sadness, we talked about our shared hobbies, what we'd been doing in that town etc.

Next day we found out we were flying to the same destination via connecting flights, and as he was a flight attendant even on holidays he was able to change his booking to be on my flight and sit with me.

Our ways parted when we lost track of each other at the third airport. I never got to say goodbye or thank him for being such an A class human. His kindness made my trip home so much easier and I will never forget it. Sven if you're reading this, thank you. I hope to be able to pay your gesture forward to someone who needs a friendly face some day.


We Just Want Someone To Say, "We've All Been There"

My daughter was born and she wasn't breathing when they took her from us. I assumed she was dead but she wasn't when they took me to the NICU she was tubed with all these scary monitoring. All the other babies were in incubators but mine wasn't. I remarked to the nurse that that felt like a good sign. It was a gut punch when she said 'We only have her in the open air in case she has a heart attack and we need to move quickly. We will control her environment when the doctor says it's ok' A doctor came in an explained the she is very sick but getting better. I simply didn't believe him I was terrified.

One of the other parents in the NICU took me aside and told me that the doctors here wouldn't lie to me for liability reasons. If he thinks my girl is going to get better she probably will. It was like he untied a knot in my stomach and made it a little easier. She pulled through and is healthy.


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