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.
Life is full of suspicions and theories that we'll never be able to prove in concrete but are just obvious. I'm not talking about wild conspiracy, but thoughts that make sense without a shadow of a doubt. Just lacking tangible evidence. Which can sound like wild conspiracy.
Think about aliens, ghosts, unsolved murders, all situations we know we have validation, but... do we have solid receipts? The everlasting issue. Let's break it all down.
Redditor u/Lazy-Ape wanted to dive into what we know deep down are facts, no matter what others say, by asking:
What are you convinced is true but cannot prove?
I don't know where to begin. I know who killed JonBenet. But I can't say. But we all know, and we can't say. It's no theory, but we have no receipts.
"There is some scam going on with power companies in the US. The colder months when I literally don't turn on the AC at all (electric for heat and cold) is basically the same price... I called and asked them if they are averaging it and they say no... someone is lying."
"That Tom Holland "spoiling thing" and some "leaks" are all a marketing strategy. And it works!"
"I'm not a fan of superhero movies but i saw him idk why my algorithm did that and yes you are right, you have to be next-level stupid to be spoiling stuff accidentally, one time I understand but not again and again. He is not a kid (although he looks like one)."
"The real Sonic movie was already finished. Then they put some extra time in to make the bad sonic trailer. The outrage it cost was the best publicity they could get for the movie."
The X Files
"The evidence for aliens to exist is so strong that it is not really a question of their existence. Look up Drake's equation if you haven't. Just consider 100-400 billion stars in just our galaxy, the milky way. And then 100 billion other galaxies in the observable universe."
"Each star has a habitable zone and some have Rocky planets in their habitable zone. There are many forms of life and the are theories about forms of life that are not carbon based either. There is no doubt there is alien life. Now intelligent alien life is going to be much much rarer, but still there is a high probability of intelligent aliens. Look up Fermi paradox."
Show me the...Pay Day Money GIF by MOST EXPENSIVESTGiphy
"Money can buy happiness."
"This one's been proved. I don't remember the numbers but people are happier the more they make up to a certain dollar amount. If nothing else money buys peace of mind, which is the next best thing."
Life is a mess of confusion. Can any of us prove anything? Well yes, money DOES buy happiness. That is just truth. Go out and get some.
Fliesfight club fighting GIFGiphy
"That earth is simply a 5th grade science project for some kid, to whom we are the size and importance of fruit flies. Our entire existence and history amounts to about 5 days in her time."
"Google many worlds theory. Worlds is a misnomer, if iirc. Basically it's a solution/interpretation of quantum mechanical wave function I think (not an expert). It's much more complicated than that and a lot of it very sciencey. And very philosophical. Don't get surprised if you get an epiphany. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qm-manyworlds/ Here you go , it isn't deep quantum mechanics but it does do a nice job of explaining it."
"Ten-ish years ago Google offered a free 411 service using voice-to-text. You spoke the person or company you wished to call (and perhaps added the address) and the Google computer would respond with the information. They stopped the "experiment" or "beta" or whatever they called it after 3-4 years. The conspiracy theory? Google now uses that voice recognition for their Google Assistant devises and services. AND has sold the technology to the government to improve wiretaps and eavesdropping."
I WANT TO MAKE SURE IT FITS!!!
"I'm lowkey convinced there's a clothing industry conspiracy to keep physical retail outlets in business. There's an unspoken mutual agreement to make sure everyone uses their own proprietary clothing sizes. That makes it impossible to transition clothes shopping to a fully online experience."
"Clothing shops suck. The selection is garbage. They are always short on certain sizes. They are always understaffed and it takes forever to grab something from the backroom. It always takes forever to go through checkout. People still go to physical clothes shop though. What's the number 1 reason they give? I WANT TO MAKE SURE IT FITS!"
The King!elvis presley GIF by MauditGiphy
"Elvis Presley lived in Las Vegas impersonation himself from 1978 to 2013, when he actually died. Easiest case of witness protection ever."
Oh Elvis. Just say hi. Keep strong in your fortitudes. Find all of your evidence. Prove life.
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When reflecting on failed relationships, do you ever wonder if you've missed any indication the person you used to share a bed with was not a good match?
"What 'Red Flags' did you totally miss in your past relationships? And why?"
A person's lack of trust in a relationships is indicative of a larger issue.
"She insisted on checking my phone all the time, but I was never allowed to touch her phone, ever."
Phone With X-Rated Content
"when one month into the relationship I discovered nudes of other women on his phone and that he still had Tinder. when three months into the relationship he went though my text messages and read through old conversations I had with someone before I even started seeing him and somehow made me feel guilty about it, and four months into the relationship when he cheated on me for no reason other than that he could in the moment and he was drunk. it took me three years to break up with him."
Addicts who will not get help are bad candidates for love.
It's Not Up To Us To Change People
"I was too new to realize that you can't 'fix' an addict."
"That somehow there was always a good reason to drink. Later he became lazier and stopped pretending to have a reason and just drank the whole time out of habit."
"I'm half convinced zombies are a metaphor for addicts. They look like your loved one which why you don't immediately recognize them as a bottomless pit of hunger that will either get close enough to try to bite you and turn you into one of them or simply tear chunks out of you until there's nothing left."
"I married a mom's boy. I didn't see the problem at first but things got weird quickly. She controlled him and our marriage."
"It took 15 years and couple of kids, but I left that situation. The funny part is, after the divorce, she and I got along quite well."
Gaslighting is a common problem in relationships that people unfortunately are unable to identify early on.
"He 'didn't get jealous' but he also didn't want me to hang out with male friends. Or, in fact, other people in general. One time he came to pick me up from the cinema, saw I'd been there with a friend, and got so mad on the drive home that he punched the steering wheel. That was...a thing."
"He also took advantage of my mental health problems to not only gaslight me but to make him look like the better person and to make me out to be crazy. I didn't realise the extent of it until ages later when I was in a healthy relationship! Lesson time: if someone is constantly making you feel uneasy and vulnerable, they are not your friend, let alone your partner."
"YES. The whole 'I'm not controlling you because I'm not directly 'forbidding' anything; I'll just find ways to emotionally punish you after, until you can't muster up the energy anymore' game. A classic. Your world shrinks month by month, seemingly by choice, and one day you look up and realize you have nowhere else to turn. Textbook."
"If they're yelling anything like 'I'm not controlling!' or 'I don't get jealous!' at you, it's a red flag. This is NOT a debate that needs to happen in healthy relationships. You're not crazy, you're just being gaslighted. Sure sign to GTFO."
Mental Health Denier
"First bf I had, he was 24 I was 18. Was the only person outside my family who I told about my depression after I was diagnosed with it. He said that was a fake disease. Because this was many years ago and on the media, there wasnt much info about it like nowadays, I believed him. One time he went out with me and my sister, he took us home but he was extremely wasted. He crashed against a wall and the car was a total loss."
"At that moment I felt like sh*t because of his car and because 'this wouldnt have happened if he wouldn't have taken us home'. Months later he used to laugh about the accident because his parents bought him a new car. He was always joking about how we 'defeat death', and later confessed to me that he knew the brakes were not working properly that night. I was so f'king pissed cause my sister and I could have died. Overall the guy was a complete a**hole and I am glad we only dated for 9 months. After that I have never dated with anyone who drives after drinking, nor with anyone who believes mental health issues are fake."
Many in the thread said red flags are often there but are ignored.
This was true for a friend of mine who was in an emotionally abusive relationship. She recognized all the signs telling her she needed out of that relationship, but she stayed with him because, "he was working on changing to be a better person."
She held him to that promise for three years and realized he was not making any effort to change at all, but she refused to see it because she "loved him."
She eventually left him and is now happily married. Her only regret was the fact that she wasted a lot of time ignoring what her gut had been telling her all along.
It was a good reminder we should trust our instincts more.
Can you see Harry Potter at a football game in the Midwest? Chowing on a corn dog, throwing back some good ole Pepsi-Cola? Or can you picture the Harry universe living and loving in the great U. S of A? What would casting look like against the backdrop of the great harvest plains? I have so many thoughts and ideas. The first thought, the change would never work. Keep the story alive on British soil.
But, for fun, let's chat about the idea.
Redditor u/Cuish wanted all the Potter heads out there to share what American tweeks would occur in the Potterverse within America, by asking:
If Harry Potter was set in the United States, how would the story change?
I just can't see anyone else saying those words other than the people who did. And it's not that America can't do great fantasy, look at Buffy. Which also benefitted from the Brits. Coincidence?
Pay Upharry potter art GIFGiphy
"Quidditch coach is the highest paid "professor" at the school."
"Harry would probably live in New Jersey. Ron would probably live in Kentucky or Tennessee, and Hermione would probably be from California. They would go to ileverany (I spelled it wrong it's the North American wizard in school), which is in Massachusetts. There would be a train but only for people in Boston-New York-Philly-DC corridor. Everyone else would use flying cars. Outside of that it is a typical American boarding school."
"Airport terminal 9 and 3 quarters."
"Eagles instead of Owls. Sasquatch instead of Centaurs."
"We have owls though? Eagles would be more of a flex but like, owls would still work better as they fly night and day. OK. Eagles would be an option. The useless 1 miles per gallon of gas muscle car of the owl world. Americans are super obnoxious. We suck. I get it. Sorry. Lmao."
"Too conventional. Leave it to the Wizarding World to adopt the mythical Ben Franklin's turkey idea instead. Idk how the heck that'd work as a delivery service, mind you, but still."
RelicsHappy Harry Potter GIFGiphy
"The school would be a defunct military base because we don't have any incredibly old buildings, and the uniforms would be military style instead of robes. 'Murica."
Well those sound like some solid choices. Who doesn't love taco Tuesday? And why are sports always the first go to change?
Happy 5th!Happy Birthday Dancing GIFGiphy
"Taco Tuesdays at the Great Hall."
"And a freaking epic (but pointless) Cinco De Mayo party. For non Americans, it's mostly an excuse for Americans to drink on a Mexican holiday. It gets cringey. But hey, on other hand, tacos and margaritas."
"Nathan Fillion would've been cast as Guilderoy Lockhart."
"They would change 'philosopher's stone' to 'sorcerer's stone'."
"The editors wanted Rowling to change the name to "Sorcerers Stone" so that the readers would know the book is about magic, and not some philosopher with a theory about a stone and sends a random guy on a mission to find it. Most people that are not American underestimates an American's brain capacity. I'm American. We are not as stupid as you think."
The Drop Off
"No train ride to Hogwarts. Instead, parents will be dropping them off by car. A huge parking lot just outside Hogwarts, and instead of Diagon Alley, a large Wal-Mart exists surrounded by nothing more than another parking lot."
"It's hidden by being inside a Walmart parking lot. But when you reach the edge, almost to the building, muggles get all turned around and suddenly notice the Walmart was at the other side of the parking lot. This can repeat until the muggles either get inside a real Walmart, or go away."
Commercial GainFlying Harry Potter GIFGiphy
"This quidditch match is brought to you today on ESPN by Swiffer, the official broom of the Quidditch Cup."
"Quidditch in the old South West Conference was crazy… I remember when Texas A&M offered Eric Dickerson that gold Swiffer and he took it and rode it up to Dallas to sign his letter of intent with SMU."
Nothing here really seems necessary. It was fun to dabble in the thoughts though. Keep perfect as is.
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Life isn't as simple as one may think. It's not always easy to take a step back and look at the big picture, but when there's over seven billion people on the planet, there's no way things are as cut and dry as they seem.
Everyone's experiences are different going through life. We may not be able to see the complexities it if we haven't lived it ourselves.
So we went to Reddit because we wanted to see what's not as simple as people think it is.
Redditor Queasy_Researcher_27 asked:
"What's not as simple as people think?"
There's never a bad time to learn something new, so keep reading to get a different perspective on life.
Driving a bus.
"Driving a bus. It's very tiring focusing on the road for up to 10 hours a day and having to look in the mirror every 5 to 8 seconds while making sure all your passengers are safe and well on top of try to work out what other motorists are gonna do in front and behind you."
"Really, driving in general should be like this but most people ignore most of these aspects and that's why we get accidents involving inattentive drivers."
"Thank you for taking your job seriously, though. An inattentive bus driver would be phenomenally dangerous."
"Getting out of poverty. Especially if you're born into it."
"This. Very few people who haven't experienced poverty, understand how systemic it is in keeping people trapped in it."
"Even grocery shopping while broke is hard....more money you have the easier it is to take advantage of the offers and weekly/daily deals."
"Its not even as simple as being poor. I think finding comfort in poor is a huge part of it."
"I was raised middle class. And being able to go out to a nice restaurant without worry was one of many luxuries that are now nostalgic to me. And even when my family dropped all support and I had to work up from nothing again, I was never comfortable until I was back there again."
"On the flip side, I have no idea what it would be like to be rich rich. Like designer clothes, fancy cars, knowing-the-right-people parties. There's a 'lane' of upper-middle class-rich that Is foreign to me and I have absolutely no desire to push or work to get to that. I wouldn't know what to do with it if I did."
"I'm not saying that those that grow up poor are stuck that way or don't know how to get out of it or anything like that, but there's something so damn nice about what-you-know. I can imagine if all you know is being broke AF it would be so much harder."
Mental health matters.
"Getting out of depression."
"'Just be happy.' Yeah Mom, I like being sad all the time..."
"Relationships! I thought it was simple. You love someone, they love you, that's all you need. Ohh how wrong I was haha."
"Welcome to the club. It's even worse when you have to give up before you even get a chance to truly love the person. You just have to go on with life knowing that you wanted to and were willing. So yeah, relationships, don't recommended those lol."
"Same. I could never understand why my friends would brake and then get back together with there a**hole ex's after what they made them go through until I was in my own relationship and had my own a**hole ex."
Moving on from relationships.
"Moving on, even when you want to."
"There are relationships I've moved past, but doubt I will ever truly 100% get over. Years of time, therapy, meditation, burying myself in my career, hitting the gym and getting in the best shape of my life and even now these people occupy more mental real estate and influence how I go about making decisions."
"Hey man that's natural, it's just what makes us human. As long as people can embrace that it is easier to understand and deal with."
"Relationships form the strongest memories, so it's natural for them to always be there and pop up when you least expect it."
This effects the last two.
"None of us are ready to talk about this one bud."
"Learn English, it's super painful because it isn't consistent and [doesn't] make any sense most of the time (at least for a Spanish speaker)."
"It's worse for someone from a language like Russian, since you have to figure out what the hell an article is and how to use it (Slavic languages don't have them). My wife has been living in the US for 10 years and still routinely messes them up."
"There's also the inconsistency between when to add an S to a word. For nouns it's when they're plural. But for verbs it's when they're singular (third person)."
"And the TH sound can be very difficult for someone who is an adult to master, since vocal cords harden with age to your preferred language."
"Making a movie, it takes hundreds of people to make a film and most of them actually put effort and care into the project."
"I went to a filmmaking summer camp for 2 weeks. While was SUPER fun, it took a lot of effort to put the movie together and I learned just how long it takes to really make a movie."
"Same goes for making games, hundreds of people sometimes who all care very much for the product they produce, however chewed up it gets by publishers."
Making friends as an adult.
"Making new friends as adults."
"Yeah this is me. When i was a kid I was just able to approach someone without thinking too much of it, I'd consider anyone I've talked to as a friend. Idk what age hit me when i realized that we're just acquaintances. Now I just can't go up to someone and make a conversation without an intention, and you also have to feel what that person is thinking. Maybe its just me overthinking this."
Though these things are not as simple as they seem, we are all going through life together. At some point or another, we may find that we need to walk a mile in someone else's shoes to really understand the difficulty of the situation.
Variety is the spice of life. Without the difficulties and challenges that come along the way, life would be pretty boring.
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