Sometimes a passing moment with a stranger can profoundly impact our lives, even if we never see them again. Whether it was a random act of kindness, a musical connection, or a shared experience, the memory is often all we need.
Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.
Few years back my wife and I visited Italica, a Roman ruined city a few miles from Seville. The ruins are glorious and we had them to ourselves, so when as we emerged from the gladiator gate in the amphitheater I stalked out into the sunlight, threw out my arms and roared "ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?" It rang off the old seats in a satisfying manner.
Turns out we weren't alone. I spun to find a Japanese tourist staring at me in wonder, who then grinned nervously, snapped a picture, and gave me a thumbs up.
My wife: "You're an idiot."
And they say Latin is dead...Giphy
I was a horticulture student on a botanical tour of Europe in 1979. I am at a flower market in Munich and see a plant I don't recognize. The lady working it doesn't speak English; I don't know any German. I see a plant I do know; touch the leaf and say the Latin name for it. She nods and smiles. I name another plant I know. Her smile gets bigger. I point at the unknown plant and look at her with an expression that I hope says, "You're turn." She tells me the Latin name. We don't speak each others language but we can communicate in a language that has been dead for over a thousand years. Cool.
Troll level: cosmic.Giphy
Years ago, I was at the bus stop super early one morning. It was really cold as well.
Anyway, there was a guy that I used to see every time I would get the 7 a.m. bus - looked like a builder, he always got off near one of the large building sites by the university. We were on "nodding terms."
One morning, there was a fireball/disintegrating meteor. We both saw it, he turned to me and said with a super serious face "you know our souls are forever linked now." We went back to nodding terms, and I never saw him after I quit early morning classes.
I guess because I remember it, he was kinda right and f*cker is still trolling me.
A "thank you" that will never be.Giphy
I've shared this on Reddit before. The day I found out my grandmother had a stroke and would never walk or talk again, I was away at college. I finally broke down in a bathroom. A girl came in and asked if I needed a hug. I was crying so hard that I really didn't get a look at her face. I cried on her shoulder for about 10 minutes and then had to pull myself together and leave for class. I never explained myself and she never asked. I never recognized or spoke to her again. I wonder if she sometimes saw me on campus and wondered what was up and if I was okay.
My son was in a pretty serious accident. I was a wreck in the ICU waiting room. A little girl maybe about 9 or 10 years old was with her family, saying goodbye to her great grandmother. She waltzed right up to me and said, "sir, why are you crying?" I explained my son was very sick. She handed me a miniature puppy doll and told me it was lucky and my son would get better. She was right, he did and I still keep that little puppy on my dresser and think of that sweet child.
Hi, we used to live here.Giphy
When an older gentleman knocked on my door one day and asked if he could possibly come inside and revisit the home in which he had lived over 55 years ago.
It was a pleasure to show him around and to hear his recollection of things that had happened within those walls many years ago - some of which were eye-openers.
I never saw him again because he was visiting from the other coast, where he now lives. Still, he told me tales of the house and neighborhood I won't forget.
Paying it forward.Giphy
I was on a long late night bus ride. It was express so it made very few stops. The bus had maybe 10 people on it in total. Half way through the trip it made a stop at a small town station so people could grab a snack or use a public restroom and maybe stretch their legs.
I went up to the counter to buy what at that point was my dinner even though it was after 10 pm and when the cashier rang it up I passed a $50 bill to her and she told me that she couldn't make change. Defeated I went back to my seat on the bus.
As everyone piled on and the bus drove away I lovely middle aged lady walked up from her seat near the back and politely asked if I minded if she sat with me. I told her she was more than welcome. She sits and proceeds to unpack a small lunch bag.
She then split the entirety of her meal with me. She said she had been waiting for the washroom to clear out and had overheard what happened. She said: "I've gone hungry in my life and it sucks. I wouldn't wish it on anyone, so you can share with me."
When we were done I jokingly asked if she could break a $50 and we had a good laugh.
I hope she is well.
Almost like a ghost...Giphy
When I was fourteen, I was trapped in the rubble of an earthquake. I spent six hours crawling towards a man whose face I never had the opportunity to see... he was a citizen who didn't leave his name with anyone and never came forward, after the fact. It has always bothered me that I will likely never find out who he was or tell him how much comfort his voice gave me during those horrible hours. When I saw pictures of the space I ended up in, much later, I couldn't (and can't) understand how he was able to stand where he stood for six hours without injuring himself or suffering some sort of emotional trauma himself. He's my hero.
Music connects us all.Giphy
DC last May for the Gaslight Anthem's 59 Sound reunion tour. In the back of the mosh pit there were a few of us that would bob in and out depending on the songs. There was a guy in a blue raglan shirt who I was standing close to for almost the whole show and I sort of felt like he might have been keeping an eye on a few of us back there. During the song The Backseat we both jumped into the pit and at the crescendo of the music we grabbed hands and jumped around together for a little bit. Don't know his name or story, but we had that pure connection over the music and it was great!
Random acts of birthday kindness.Giphy
This was last year it was my 21st birthday and I went to Moe's for my free birthday burrito. As I was walking out I slipped on one of the mats (they had just mopped and put the mats back down before the floor dried) and I busted my ass. I was so embarrassed and in so much pain but a few people helped me up. One middle aged woman helped me into the booth she was sitting in and took charge of the situation. She had them remake my food and bring it to the table as well as a first aid kit and a manager. She bandaged up my hand and knee and elbow all while getting the managers information in case I needed them to pay for doctors bills and got me like $100 in Moe's coupons. When my food finally came out she made me sit with her and eat. We ended up talking for like an hour, she told me about her and her family and she said if it was her daughter in my situation she'd want someone to step in and take care of her. When we were finished she helped me hobble to my car and gave me a huge hug and told me happy birthday. I was so beyond thankful for her and her small act of kindness towards me.
Back in the late 90's we drove a dark blue '84 Volvo wagon. Hardly ever saw another car like it. One day at a grocery store we see another couple in the exact same car. I rolled down the window and raised my fist in the air. The other driver saw and raised his fist. Solidarity!
That name again is Mr. Plow.Giphy
It was the night before Christmas Eve, about 8:30 pm. My mom was trying to sell our place, we'd moved a few blocks away in with my new step dad. The driveway needed to be clear and there was about a foot and a half of snow to shovel. I was still pretty young and it was going to be a big job.
I trudged over there with my shovel, and just started the first row, when a random guy in a snowplow turned in and cleared the whole driveway in two minutes easy. He was wearing the red plaid jacket and toque combo - classic Canadian look.
I was worried as we hadn't hired a snow removal guy, but he just waved and said Merry Christmas and drove off. Thanks snowplow Guy, you taught me a thing or two about Xmas spirit.
The day my dad died I was holding it together pretty well. Late that night I went to Target to have a moment to just zone out, and buy a few groceries.
As I got to the checkstand with my arm full of stuff I dropped a container of sour cream and it exploded everywhere. I completely lost control of myself and started to cry. The ugly cry. I was instantly surrounded by a group of women who just took charge of the whole situation. They helped me get everything paid for, cleaned up, and one lady even got a new sour cream.
No words were spoken, but their compassion and take charge attitude has stayed with me since.
Soft. White. Puppy.Giphy
Back when I rode the bus everywhere, I was at the bus stop outside the mall and this guy comes up and goes, "Will you hold my puppy while I run inside and find my wife?" And he produced this little white puppy.
So I held it while he went inside. Puppy was soooo soft. Guy came back with his wife. Took the puppy. I got on the bus and that was that.
Well I actually did see this person again BUT i think you'll like it.
When I was 11 (2002) I was diagnosed with Acute Meyloid Leukemia, a very rare form that's hard to treat. Went through the treatments and bone marrow transplant really well though and got better etc. When I was 14 I was picked to go to a ranch in Colorado for kids that had health issues like myself. Anyway, on one of the connecting flights I sat next to an older women and she noticed a car magazine that I had. We started talking and I told her I liked Mustangs and turns out she had 2 82 GTs, had won awards with them etc. It was really cool to talk to her and when we landed we went our separate ways. Fast forward 2/3 years (can't remember exactly) and my dad and I drove to Arkansas to pickup a mint 82 GT. We get there and start talking to her and she starts saying the other cars she has and it finally clicked in my head, she was the lady on the plane! When I mentioned that to her she remembered me and it was just pretty amazing that in a population of over 300M we found each other again! Just my mildly interesting story.
Love is crazy. I've finally come to that conclusion. And marriage, you take your life in your hands and just throw caution to the wind in hopes of survival with that step.
When love falls apart, things can get real messy, real fast. And I've always been stunned by people's behavior when love subsides.
More often than not, it's like they become different people. Sometimes people are beset by tragedy and grief and sometimes people smile wide and move on. It's a coin toss.
But my favorite post divorce personality has to be the sudden super villain. Oh honey watch out for them!
Redditor u/hyperyog wanted to hear all the tea from the divorcees out there by asking:
Divorced Redditors, what is the craziest thing you or your former spouse did after divorce?
I once had a friend who burned her ex's house down when he wasn't home. He had started seeing someone almost immediately, so she thought, lemme set their sparks. Yeah, she wasn't well. Whatever happened to just a quick goodbye?
Swipeddean winters crying GIF by MayhemGiphy
"She removed the retaining clips for my windshield wipers, but put the wipers back on the arms. First storm after I got my car back from her, driver side wiper flew off the car on Interstate 40. Good times."
"He wrote suicide notes and put them in my kids backpacks for them/me to find. Then he turned off his phone and went to a coworkers house to play crib and have drinks.. all the while knowing I would be freaking out searching for him thinking he was in danger or worse. Thankfully my kids didn't see the notes and didn't know what was going on. This was just one of the many, many crazy things he did. Two years out and he just recently stopped showing up at my work and driving by my house at night."
A Sad End
"Died of a drug overdose. To be fair, her drug addiction was the reason for the divorce, so maybe that isn't too crazy."
"That's so incredibly difficult to have gone through. I unfortunately know the depths of this kind of pain, and while I'm sure the circumstances surrounding it are different, the loss that still happened is a tragedy. My condolences."
"Stalked me for 5 years. Would make fake social media profiles to try to follow me (which I would block endlessly) and would try to find where I worked so she could talk to me. This lady cheated on me with 7 different men 2 months after we were married. I kicked her a** to the curb and made her sign the court papers."
"When we had our day in court she cried in the judges office while I just wanted to get this crap done. After, my dad was with me and he threw 50 dollars at her and told her to "change your freaking last name." Good guy Pops. I haven't seen or heard from her in about 5 years, thank goodness."
Take it All!skin care spinning GIF by Primal Life OrganicsGiphy
"I had an ex-boyfriend go through my apartment and take back every gift he had given me that he could find. Then he went in my bedside table and took the condoms. And the vibrator he had given me."
See now, when I'm out... I'm out! I don't want to see you, hear from you or know you. I wish you well in life, but please live it far from me. Anyone agree? Clearly not the people here. Let's continue...
For the Boybicycling father and son GIF by NETFLIXGiphy
"All I wanted was custody of my son, I gave her everything else except one of our cars. She fought me through 5 hearings, I won. She never came to see him again."
"My ex cheated on me the week my mom died in the hospital. She spent a year and a half trying to get in touch with me. She would call my old work and make fake accounts trying to message me on FB. It was insane. She later sends a certified letter explaining she was sorry that she did what she did and that she aborted our child."
"Wanted me to meet her somewhere so she could apologize face to face. She already married some other guy that she had children with and was still trying to get in touch with me. I never understood her."
"After years of telling me she wanted a child, that she wanted to be a mom, that her life's dream was to be a stay at home mom, she got pregnant with the first guy she slept with while we were getting divorced and put the kid up for adoption even before it was born. This was a long-standing thing with her, she always wanted something (car, house, dog, cat, marriage, etc) and the second she got it she immediately hated it."
"Called me and pretended he had been hit by a car while we were talking. He even tried to voice the crowd that had gathered around his "body." God-awful acting, but pretty funny listening to him try to mimic a woman's voice. Points for trying to be inclusive, I guess."
"I think he was trying to get me to re-live my trauma of being on the phone with a friend who actually HAD been hit by a car while we were talking. Too bad he didn't realize that hearing the real thing is worlds different than hearing a dumba** try to act it out."
"I was sending 600 dollars a month to support my daughter because she's the only thing I give a sh!t about. My ex texts me and tells me I need to be sending 1200 a month because she's broke and can't pay her bills and I should feel guilty about it. She left me for another guy while I was on deployment I told her to go screw herself--call my lawyer."
Pop OffTom Hanks Drinking GIF by The Good FilmsGiphy
"Took the sodas from the fridge as he walked out the door. Dumfounded."
See, I blame Alanis Morissette and her "Jagged Little Pill" album. All I'm going to say is... the secret song. I think she gave people ideas. (I love that song) Y'all, seek therapy if you can't shake people. When it's done, let it be done.
Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay is highly regarded for his delicious plates, his ability to run a solid restaurant, and, let's face it, his stage presence.
He's also a foul-mouthed Brit who is all too willing to dismantle people's self-esteems and compare them to livestock animals.
Alas, as watching all reality television goes, we love to see the crashing and burning.
But what if the shoe was on the other foot? What if you were the one being torn into by the sailor of all chefs, Mr. Gordon Ramsay.
Wondering what horrible dishes were lurking in unknown kitchens all over the place, Redditor FalloutSl*t413 asked:
"What's something you made that was 100% delicious but Gordon Ramsay would slap you for anyway?"
Some people talked about those purely functional meals that are just perfect for piling on enough protein and calories to get through the day.
"My mom used to make us 'Volcanoes.' Mashed potatoes topped with ground beef with some ketchup. I still tear it up to this day."
Quick and Easy
"I make weeknight 'enchiladas.' "
"You stick frozen taquitos in a casserole dish and cover them with canned or frozen chili and cheese. Bake them until everything's hot, serve with a dollop of sour cream. They sound disgusting but they taste amazing, and they take like, five minutes to prep."
"I know it looks like, smells like, and probably tastes like cat food but potted meat sandwiches. Look, when you're poor as hell and you can make 3 sandwiches with one little can that cost like 20 cents, it's pretty good."
"While I'm at it, Treet and bologna are pretty great. I have the taste palette of a raccoon and I like it that way."
"When I was younger I would make this thing where it was a patty melded of:"
- "a can of tuna"
- "two eggs
"And I would eat that almost daily, pan-fried, for lunch. Just slap me now and lets get it over with."
Others shared the recipes they make to feel fancy despite being totally trashy.
A Nuanced Process
"I call them 'chicken puffs.' Some par-cooked chicken (white or dark meat, either works) with sauteed serrano peppers and onions and garlic."
"All wrapped in crescent roll dough in little balls (a bit smaller than a baseball), put in a casserole tray filled juuuuust above the top of the little dough balls with cream of roasted chicken soup. Baked to completion/safety."
"Overly indulgent and delicious."
A Famous Side
"I consistently make a box of pastaroni angel hair and herbs as a side with meals I prepare for people. EVERYONE always asks for the recipe LOL please don't tell my secret"
Just a Couple Additions
" 'Fancy Ramen' Ramen made normal. Don't mix seasoning. Drain water. Add Mayo. Then mix in seasoning. And Volia. A lot of people question it. Until they try it."
Others outlined the things they eat that combine some ingredients it may seem disgusting to mix together.
Throw An Egg On There
"Fu** it lasagna, alternating layers of bread and shredded cheese (your choice which, I use cheddar) then crack an egg on top and put it in the microwave. Old depression meal, but it still holds up."
Hard to Wrap Your Head Around
"As a kid I would eat a banana with a cheese slice. Haven't tried it in years but it might hold up" -- Send_it_to_me
"Let's not" -- Sea-Entertainer-4974
"When I was younger I would make toast with peanut butter on it, then add pepperoni. Delicious then but I cringe thinking about trying it today"
The truly horrifying thing? There are so many more recipes out there that would leave Ramsay trembling.
People love to talk about food. There are blogs, books, television shows, conversations in bars and farmers markets. In all likelihood, there is a recipe swap happening right this second in some deep corner of a suburb somewhere.
But sometimes talk is a lot of hot air. And the topic of food sure isn't immune to that criticism.
You can't get through a day without some telling you what "you gotta try."
The problem is, talking about food is often far more exciting than the food itself.
Redditor anicaodha asked:
"What food is overhyped?"
Many people were angry about garnishes. They hated the way restaurants try to entice people to eat certain menu items by slapping some kitschy ingredient on there.
A Very Expensive Burger
"Anything with gold flakes, absolutely pointless." -- Spend_Total
"ugh, i just remembered throwing up gold flakes from goldschlager, yuck!" -- spaceygracie12
"Aka how to add a crunch to your dish like a douche." -- CakeBot_TheReckoning
Catches the Eye Though
"Any rainbow food, rainbow grilled cheese, rainbow smoothie..."
"Just a cheap money grab."
No Breath On My Meal Please
"Dragon's breath/ nitro puffs or any dessert that contains liquid nitrogen to make it look cool." -- throwjango
"This stuff exists? God, I'm out of the loop." -- -The-Magic-8-Ball
"Truffle oil, usually doesn't contain a single truffle." -- BlckontheMoon
"The 1 thing I love about Truffle oil is I've never seen someone use it on a cooking competition show and not lose." -- igotmadshirts
Some people talked about the big trends that they just never could quite figure out.
That Almighty Nectar
"Remember when people were treating Nutella like it was the second coming of Christ?" -- Grapezard
"I had an Italian friend once invite me to his birthday party in high school. His mom made a Nutella pie and it was one of the greatest desserts I've never had the pleasure of trying again. It was so simple, like a soft flaky dough covered with Nutella."
"I don't want to come out of the blue and ask this kid for his mom's recipe 15 years later so I'll just suffer I suppose." -- JupiterTarts
"Red velvet is literally a red chocolate cake that has nowhere near enough chocolate and to much red food coloring. It literally was invented when done dudes chocolate turned kinda red when he added vinegar to the chocolate cake mix."
"Friends loved the color, but it was finicky to get the red color without changing flavor of cake, so he decided to use red food coloring."
"Fu**ing Avocado Toast.
"Avocado is a buck. Toast is few cents. Avocado Toast is $10+"
And some discussed the things that people insist are fancy and delectable, but are really just run of the mill entirely.
Meat is Meat?
"steak is good, and I'd even say a high quality steak can be very very good. But people act like it's better than busting a nut and that's just not true. It's just meat"
"Lobster. It's good, but poor value given it's almost always the most expensive protein available."
"Plus most places just drown it in butter, which again, fine, but if all you taste is butter, why spend that much?"
Depends on the House
" 'Housemade' ketchup. Give me the damn Heinz and get your banana aoili mess away from me." -- peanutbutterallytime
"I live in Pittsburgh and I have seen multiple restaurants try and fail to make housemade ketchup work. Every single time they go back to Heinz." -- HooBoy401
So if you find yourself tired of hearing people go on and on about something you don't go wild over, know that there are others fuming too.
It's not easy to always do the right thing.
Which is why most people don't usually do the right thing. Doing the right thing involves a lot of thought, empathy for others, and a self-awareness of your place in the world. You're not making a choice just for yourself, you're more often than not doing it for someone else. This, in itself, presents a difficult hill for most people to climb so, usually, they feel it's easier to make the selfish choice.
Doesn't mean people always do. They can surprise you sometimes.
*The following article contains discussion of suicide/self-harm.
What's the hardest moral decision you've ever had to make?
Even when the choice amounts to something small, it can still matter to someone else.
How Dare You Make Me Morally Astute?!
"This is small potatoes compared to most of the people on this thread but many years ago I was travelling and had very little money. I went to a stall at a market, handed them a 10 dollar bill. Item cost 5 dollars but instead of handing me a five dollar note, the handed me a 50."
"I was walking away from the stall when noticed. My first thought was BONUS. But I had lately been hanging out with a bunch of people who were really into karma. So I stormed back to the stall, slammed the 50 down on the counter and told them off for making me make moral decisions. Lady behind the counter was like "ahhhhhh, thanks"
Didn't Believe The First Time, But Can't Deny Visual Evidence
"I told a co-worker his wife was cheating on him. It ruined our friendship for a good amount of time, until he caught her himself."
"To bad he couldn't just believe you."
Owning Up To The Mistake
"Fessing up to an error I made at work that cost the company 5k. I was a manager and misinterpreted a sales promotion. I almost lost my job, this is the one time that telling the truth actually saved me. It's true what they say that the cover up is usually worse than the crime. Lesson learned.."
Doing something morally correct when it comes to family can be tricky. On one hand, you don't want to ruffle the feathers of the people you're going to be related to for the rest of your life...which is how family works.
On the other hand, do the right thing.
Making The Best Call For Your Children
"Removing the mother of my two sons out of their lives completely as she was unfit and abusive while I was on deployment. They were 3-4 years old then and now they are 17 and 15 with their mother never attempting to come back into their lives which I would prefer at this point."
Because They're Going To Be Sad Later...
"My grandmother died, and I lied to my parents about it."
"My grandparents were 95 and my parents hadn't had a vacation in 30 years. So when she passed away with only 5 days remaining on their vacation, my family decided not to ruin it for them; instead, we'd plan the entire funeral and if my mother wanted to make adjustments when she returned, we'd arrange it for her; there was nothing they could do to get her back."
"Having to decide on the DNR (do not resuscitate) order for my father who had been victim to a massive stroke..."
"I know millions have done it before and millions will again but to me it was devastating....."
"As a health worker, you did the right thing by your father. I've come across families of patients who keep them alive for their own peace of mind while the patient themselves is tired and in alot of pain mentally and physically from the constant treatments and would rather rest from it all. Don't feel bad for your decision."
Never doubt your actions when it comes to protecting children.
"Calling CPS on a student's family after she begged me not to. CPS did an investigation and she was pissed at me for months until the vice principal had a talk with her and explained that I only did it because I care and didn't want her to get hurt."
"That VP is awesome. I sat in his office while he coached me through the call, since it was my first time calling CPS."
Standing Up For Your Friend, Even When No One Else Will
"I was in high school and my best friend was being bullied on the bus. She brought a knife to school and had previously mentioned a list of people. I cried a lot when I went to the principal to turn her in. I knew I was ruining her life but I wanted her to get help. I didn't want anyone to get hurt because we were all just kids. She was expelled and forced into therapy. We had been friends since we were 11."
"My mom listened on the phone line when I was trying to comfort my friend (while absolutely not admitting it was me) and my mom jumped on and told her I'm not allowed to be her friend anymore. I had told my mom I had turned her in and she had no empathy for this girl. Because I had been bullied and stood up for myself and never "did anything like that". My friend was getting cornered on the bus by 4 people whereas I was normally taunted in public and was lucky enough to always have an upperclassmen or school employee around to help me out. I felt guilty about turning her life upside down for many years but would do it again because she did get help."
If you or someone you know is struggling, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
To find help outside the United States, the International Association for Suicide Prevention has resources available at https://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/