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You can see the notices on bulletin boards at grocery stores, at the post office or even on milk cartons.

The images depict people, sometimes even children, who have disappeared.


While we often hear the stories of the people left behind, we only hear the stories of the person who disappeared when the results are worthy of a headline or a movie of the week. But what about all those other people who went missing, but did not stay lost?

Reddit user The_Cool_Lamp asked:

"People who were missing people or Amber Alerts, what is your story?"

Here are the most interesting accounts from people with firsthand experience being among the missing.

Irreconcilable Differences

When I was a baby my parents had joint custody of me after the divorce. My mother took me for the weekend and just decided to not give me back. She got in her car with me (five months old), her boyfriend, and whatever she could fit in her car and just drove off. I was missing for three weeks before I was located several towns away, half starved to death and severely neglected. My dad got full custody after that.

- heyomeatballs

Near Miss

I was 7-years-old and at a department store with my mom. I was in the toy section while she shopped when a man grabbed my arm and said "There you are Jessie! Time to go" , and started dragging me by my arm to the exit. I started crying and yelling him to let me go but he just kept saying "No toy today Jessie, let's go". Other shoppers must have thought I was just his bratty Kid, not wanting to leave without a toy. Luckily my mom ran up just as we were at the doors and yelled at him to leave me alone. He said something like "oh, I thought this was my daughter, they look so much alike" and strolled out the exit after letting my arm go.

My mom found an employee and the police were called (this was the mid-80's so no cell phones). They never found the guy.

- dianashines

Munchausen By Proxy

My mother used to lose me on purpose as often as she could. I can't tell you the number of times as a tiny toddler she would take me into a grocery store or somewhere and then send me to look at something so she could just rush off like some sick game. She loved it. She loved the attention she got from employees looking for her, "poor lost baby" she loved watching me cry in terror and then shaming me about it for "making a scene" when we left. I freakin hate that woman.

- amitoughenouss

Rough Part of Academia

I missed the last train home. I told my parents exactly where I was, I was with friends, and I was sixteen years old. My phone ran out of battery, but it was fine because my friends were looking after me.

Crazy mother decided to have the police force comb the whole of Oxford searching for me because if I ever had to spend an hour with people she didn't know then obviously I might DIE.

- scattersunlight

Well, Oxford is a notoriously dangerous place.

- scare_crowe94

Gangs of academics roam the streets, sniffing out Cambridge graduates.

- Caveman-Jones

Better make sure your references are formatted correctly.

- scare_crowe94

You joke, but I once heard that someone was rudely shoved in downtown Oxford late one Saturday night.

- Bad_Idea_Hat

Oh my god.... did they not cite their sources?

- rjswolf

Giphy

Ditching Daycare

I hated summer daycare, so I hid behind a tree after my dad dropped me off and then walked home. It was only about a 20 minute walk. When they realized I was supposed to be there but had never showed up, they called campus security to report a missing kid. My dad said that I didn't know the way home, so he didn't go to check if I was there. I sat in my bedroom for hours worried about when I'd get busted.

- Chamale

Good Samaritan

When I was 8, I was at the mall with my mom, aunt and little sister. Me and my little sister needed to go the bathroom so my mom leaves our aunt in the store to take us both to the bathroom. Me being the smart ass little kid that I was claimed I knew where the bathroom was so I decided to run ahead.

I turned through the food court to where I could've sworn the bathroom was but there was nothing but lockers. So I double back and try to find my mom and admit defeat acknowledging that I don't know where the bathroom is. But I couldn't find her. I wandered around the food court looking for her and couldn't find her or my little sister.

So I decided to go back to the store my aunt was in and tell her I got lost, thing is I couldn't remember which store she was in. I entered the store I thought I remembered us leaving (which turns out it was the right store but my aunt was in the change room) couldn't find her and decided to go back up to the food court.

So I'm crying going up the escalator and this man sees me and asks me if I'm ok. I told him I lost my mom and he took me to a store and said they would help me find my mom. They called her over the intercom while the man took me to take the piss I had been holding in for a while. When I finally found my mom she was in tears crying say she called the cops thinking someone had kidnapped me.

Now that I think about it I got very lucky finding such a nice guy to help me.

- rnkh

Sibling Situation

Neither of my parents were able to come to my softball game so my teenaged sister was in charge of walking 8-year-old me home after the game. At some point she took our younger brother across the street to the playground for a bit. When she finally glanced over at the field, she realized the game was over and no one was there. She took our brother home, hoping I'd slipped past them and walked home. No luck.

After checking with my best friend down the block and sending my older brothers out to double check the route between the field and home, my sister called our mother at work and admitted she'd lost me.

Mom calmly replied, "If she's not at the field she's with your dad."

Good call, Mom. When the game ended and everyone else left, I knew I wasn't supposed to walk home alone, so I crossed the street on the other side of the field and headed to our church where I knew Dad was helping set up for a fundraiser. Dad had me sit out of the way until he finished setting up, took me home about an hour after my game had ended.

My sister was still in a panic when we strolled through the front door.

- boxofsquirrels

Communication Breakdown

Every year in elementary school we had a school carnival. Little games for the kids to win prizes, a cakewalk, etc. One year my mom brought me to the carnival but had to leave halfway through. No biggie-- my friend's mom was volunteering there and was going to watch over me and my dad was supposed to come pick me up. Mom leaves, friend and I go off exploring and playing carnival games. A while later my dad came by and I left with him. But I never told friend's mom goodbye, or that my dad was there to get me. I still think she overreacted because she knew my dad was coming to get me, but from her perspective I just disappeared.

Dad and I had a lovely afternoon. We went and got lunch and then bought a kite and then went to the park and flew it. When we got back to the house there were police cars everywhere and my mom was straight-up panicking. Friend's mom had found friend, but not me, and friend claimed she didn't know where I'd gone. Cue frantic searching through the carnival and school grounds, calls to police, searches in the nearby parks and neighborhoods...

Obviously I was fine. Mom was pissed.

- Katzehin

Walkabout

I was 9 and back then it was normal for kids that age to roam around the neighborhood. I decided, for some reason, to walk to my sister's house, 3.2 miles away.

My mom realized I'd been gone a while and couldn't find me at my usual haunts, so she called the police and reported me missing. The last time she saw me I had no shirt on so the cops were looking for a little boy with no shirt, probably drove right past me because I had put a shirt on.

My mom was very relieved when my sister called to say "Guess who just showed up?"

- DevilOfHellsBathroom

All Sly Stallone's Fault

My mom had a Kmart (remember those) locked down because she thought someone kidnapped me.

I was about 10 years old and my mom and I went to a Kmart. I loved going to the electronics section because I could look at all the video games, movies, etc. They also usually had some kind of movie playing on all the TVs they had up on the wall. I could easily spend an hour or more there reading the backs of all the video game boxes (remember when PC games had big boxes), VHS boxes, etc.

My mom and I split up as she wanted to go look at shoes and naturally I preferred to look at video games. The departments were right next to each other so we weren't far from one another.

At the time, the film Judge Dredd had just come out on VHS and they had it playing on their display TVs. I loved those kinds of movies so I decided to just sit back and watch it, leaning up against one of the aisles.

I don't know how long I was there, it had to be at least an hour. Eventually a store employee came by and said, "Excuse me, do you know where your mom is?" and I was like, "Yeah, she's over in the shoe department". I had no idea anything was going on at this point. She looked at me weird and said, "I think you should come with me. She's looking for you." I was like okay, whatever.

This may set off red flags but she had on the Kmart attire and didn't feel threatening.

I followed her to the front of the store and find my mom there bawling her eyes out and she runs up and hugs me. I'm thinking like, what the hell is going on? So turns out my mom finished looking at shoes and came into the electronics department calling my name. But since I was so enthralled with the movie, I didn't hear her. So she figured I must have gone to a different area or maybe went looking for her, etc. But she obviously didn't find me so she started to panic, went to the front desk or whatever, and told them her son was missing.

So they locked the doors and started calling my name over the PA system and sending employees looking for me. But again I didn't hear it because I was too focused on the movie. They had employees look in the electronics department since that was where I told my mom I'd be, but they only looked down the aisles, no one actually went down the aisles and looked to see if there was someone on the other side of the aisle (remember I was leaning up against it, so looking down the aisle it appeared empty). Eventually someone did and that's when the woman found me.

Thanks Judge Dredd.

- 300ConfirmedGorillas

Judge Dredd

Giphy

The Wrong Way To Teach

When I was like 6 I was playing with my friend on the playground at a crowded town event and her mom came over and introduced herself and asked if I wanted to come over their house to play. She said she already talked to my mom who said it was ok. Me and my friend were like, sure cool. Turns out the woman was a psycho and had kidnapped me to teach me a lesson about strangers. She called my panicking mom to come pick me up and she gave my mom a lecture. I thought my mom would be mad at me, but she wasn't. We both went home totally confused. Looking back, that woman should have been arrested.

-imLissy

I Told You So

As a teenager, my folks decreed I did not need a mobile phone.

I was working at a local theme park, got nauseated at work and threw up a few times, so my boss sent me home. By the time I was about halfway home I was feeling a lot better, so I stopped by a local mall, got my ears double-pierced, went to the big library downtown to get some stuff I needed for a report and then went to the gym and worked out for a few hours.

When I got home my parents were freaking out. Turns out they had called my work about 30 min. after I left. Somebody told them, "Oh, she got really sick, she went home." They'd been in solid freakout mode for more than 7 hours, the police were involved, etc.

Guess who got a phone for Christmas?

-karendonner

"Kidnapped" By The CIA

On 9/11 my husband and I were stuck in Italy for 4 days. I immediately called my mom to let her know we were OK & not on one of the planes. I did not call again and apparently that was mistake because she called the freakin' STATE DEPARTMENT 2 days later and told them that the CIA had kidnapped us because my husband is Middle Eastern and a pilot.

We were interviewed by the FBI once we finally got home.

-Sadiebb

Extremely Not Chill

A friend of mine left me at an apartment with some of her friends so she could go do laundry. I'd hung out with them in passing now and then, so i thought it would be chill.

Oh ho hooo, I was wrong.

I don't know how many of y'all have heard of datura, but it's a serious hallucinogenic herb from the belladonna family. As in, closely related to deadly nightshade. Allegedly, when it's concentrated into a tea, you're supposed to have a 1:1 of water to tea in a shot glass.

I asked for something to drink. At first, they offered a beer. I asked for something hydrating. "Okay, let me get you some tea!" You'd think someone would mention it wasn't uh. Not regular tea. A full glass, undiluted.

Suddenly, i was in different places every second. Speaking with people who weren't there, smoking phantom cigarettes, drinking phantom water, i made "rice and beans" with vanilla and salt.

This went on for three days.

I found out years later through an acquaintance who'd known us both that for those days, they'd keep giving me more while telling me it was kool-aid. (Spoiler: it was not kool-aid) He also mentioned they took a lot of videos. I have no idea what they recorded or what really happened to me while i was there. Frankly, i don't want to. Eventually the one woman of the group (they were all 10-20 years older than i was) let me sober up and brought me to the bus stop.

When i got home, my mom told me there was an Amber Alert. I told the police I was staying with a friend who had an abortion and didn't know what to do.

-daggerxdarling

Communication Is Key

I was “kidnapped” when I was 5 years old. I was with my family 2 brothers, 5 sisters, and parents at the jersey shore. My mom asked my dad to take me in to the men’s room since she had too many girls to handle and I was the littlest and was already in my bathing suit.

Anyway this handover did not occur for my dad so I was left crying in front of the changing roooms. About 15-20 minutes later my mom and dad meet on the beach- sans me. My mom freaks out and runs to locate security or police- leaving the rest of my family on the beach.

Luckily she finds a police officer quickly. She tells him about me being missing. He cuts her off and says what was she wearing? My mom responds that I had a blue bathing suit with a big white star and probably still pink leggings.

The police officer turns and runs quickly away without saying a thing to my mom. My mom is thinking “shit- I have to find another police officer.” She goes to the pay phone to call the police- about 20ish minutes later the first police officer returns ands asks my mom to come with her. My mom is terrified. He explains that he saw a child matching my description eating ice cream with an older woman down the boardwalk and did not want to lose time explaining. By the time he got back to where I had been eating ice cream he couldn’t locate me. The police backup had arrived and blocked the parking lot and looked in each car as they were leaving.

They found me with the woman. She explained that she didn’t think parents deserved a kid that they would lose on the beach and so she was taking me home.

The police officer had left me with the other police officers and the woman in custody bc he wanted to convince my mom to press charges.

What surprises me about the story is that my mom felt sorry for the woman, explained that she had just had a band handoff with my dad and told her that she should never do this again bc she would have been devastated to lose me.

My siblings tease me to this day that I would go with any stranger if they just offer me ice cream.

-sadgirlintheworld

Leaving A Bad Situation

Looks like I'm one of the few that's actually been a missing person. I had been given a ultimatum about leaving home or stopping certain activities I was involved in by my dad and my mum stayed silent thinking I would break. I left, my dad said I'd be back soon, surprise surprise I was able to become self sufficient within 4 days of sleeping on a close friends sofa.

About 2 weeks after I had left home my mum reported me missing and since I was under 18 the police were especially interested, the people I used to go to school with were questioned as to where I might have gone. It alienated a few old friends who couldn't understand why I wouldn't have unconditional love for my parents (the same friends who earlier on had seen my physical scars from my dad and one who had literally been smacked by my dad). Overall the missing report was annoying but I understand most underage people who leave home are at risk blah blah it's good to look for them. Just in my rare circumstance I didn't need help. Never was found either.

-bigp***sbutdumbnpoor

Her Name is Mom

I remember getting lost in a store once many years ago as well... I eventually found a very nice stranger who was very determined to reunite me with my mom. He took me to the customer service desk, and the employee there asked me what my mom's name was so he could make an announcement. "Her name is Mom," I said, thinking the guy was a complete idiot for not understanding this.

So the kind stranger suggested the employee doesn't need to know her name. After all, how many mothers in that store could be looking for a lost child at that moment? So the employee gets on the speaker system and asks any mothers in the store who are looking for a lost child to come to the service desk, that I would be waiting there for her.

The man stayed with me until mom came to get me, and she was very thankful towards him. After that incident, she also made sure I learned her and Dad's names, just in case something a bit more serious ever happened to me, and the police ended up needing to hunt them down to reunite us instead of it being as simple as that announcement in the store.

-MasteringTheFlames

H/T: Reddit

Image by Anemone123 from Pixabay

Life is hard. It's a miracle to make it through with some semblance of sanity. We are all plagued by grief and trauma. More and more people of all backgrounds are opening up about personal trauma and its origins. Finally! For far too long we've been too silent on this topic. And with so many people unable to afford mental health care, the outcomes can be damaging.

All of our childhoods have ups and downs and memories that can play out like nightmares. We carry that, or it follows us and the first step in recovery is talking about it. So who feels strong enough to speak?

Redditor u/nthn_thms wanted to see who was willing to share about things they'd probably rather forget, by asking:

What's the most traumatizing thing you experienced as a child?
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Image by klimkin from Pixabay

Being single can be fun. In fact, in this time of COVID, being single can save lives. But the heart is a fickle creature.

And being alone can really suck in times of turmoil. None of us are perfect and it feels like that's all anyone is looking for... perfect.

Now that doesn't mean that all of us are making it difficult to partner up. Sure, some people are too picky and mean-spirited, but some of the rest of us are crazy and too much to handle. So one has to be sure.

The truth is, being single is confusing, no matter how much we try to match. So let's try to understand...

Redditor u/Mcxyn wanted to discuss some truths about love and our own issues, by asking:

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Whether you're an at home parent, a college student just leaving the nest, or a Food Network junkie, there are a few basic tips that everyone should know.

Chef's gave us some of their top tips for amateurs and beginner at home cooks that will really make a difference. They are trained professionals with years of experience in the kitchen, so they definitely know what we're all missing.

If you're looking to improve some of your cooking skills and techniques, but you're still learning how to boil water correctly, this list is for you.

Redditor BigBadWolf44 wanted in on the secrets and asked:

"Chefs of Reddit, what's one rule of cooking amateurs need to know?"

Let's learn from the masters!


What a common mistake!

"A lot of the time when people add salt to a dish because they think it tastes flat, what it really needs is an acid like lemon juice or vinegar."

- Vexvertigo

"Instructions unclear I drugged my dinner party guests and now they're high on acid."

- itsyoboi_human

"Yes! Or tomatoes. They're pretty acidic too and go with so many things. Our dinners are so much better once the garden tomatoes are ripe. Or if a dish is too acidic, oil/butter or a little sugar can help add balance to it."

- darkhorse85

"Like tomato and eggs. Every Chinese mom makes those slightly differently and I haven't had a tomato egg dish I didn't like yet."

- random314

"There's a book called 'Salt Fat Acid Heat' that comes highly recommended to amateur cooks."

- Osolemia

"Reading even just the first chapter about salt made a lot of food I cooked immediately better, because I finally understood salt wasn't just that thing that sat on the dinner table that you applied after the meal was cooked."

- VaultBoy42

"Salt is important for sweets. A batch of cookies without that little hint of salt doesn't taste quite right."

- Osolemia

Unfortunately, this tip might not be accessible to everyone. Many people who contracted COVID can no longer use their sense of smell the way they used to.

"Have a friend that lost his smell from COVID, and now he only recognizes if food is salty, sweet, sour or bitter."

- AlphaLaufert99

"Just wait until he gets his sense of smell back and a ton of foods smell like ammonia or literal garbage now. Yeah, that's fun... It's been 7 months for f*cks sake just let me enjoy peanut butter again!!!!!!!!!"

- MirzaAbdullahKhan

You can't take back what you've already put in.

"You can always add, but you cannot take away."

- El_Duende666

"I find people's problems usually are they're too scared to add rather than they add too much."

- FreeReflection25

"I see you also grew up white in the mid-west."

- Snatch_Pastry

Safety first!

"Not really a cooking tip, but a law of the kitchen: A falling knife has no handle."

- wooddog

"I'm always so proud of my reflexes for not kicking in when I fumble a knife."

"If I drop anything else, my stupid hands are all over themselves trying to catch it (and often failing). But with a knife the hardwired automatic reaction is jump back immediately. Fingers out of the way, feet out of the way, everything out of the way. Good lookin out, cerebellum!"

- sonyka

"Speaking of KICKING in. On first full time cooking job I had a knife spin and fall off the counter. My (stupid) reflex was to put my foot under it like a damn hacky sack to keep it from hitting the ground. Went through the shoe, somehow between my toes, into the sole somehow without cutting me. Lessons learned: (1) let it fall; (2) never set a knife down close to the edge or with the handle sticking out; (3) hacky sack is not nearly as cool as it could be."

- AdjNounNumbers

"Similarly, NEVER put out a grease or oil fire with water. Smother with a lid or dump baking soda in there (do not use flour, as it can combust in the air making things worse)."

- Metallic_Substance

How else will you know it tastes good?

"Taste the food."

- OAKRAIDER64

"Also don't be afraid to poke and prod at it. I feel like people think the process is sacred and you can't shape/flip/feel/touch things while you cook them. The more you are hands on, the more control you have."

"No, this does not include situations where you are trying to sear something. Ever try flipping a chicken thigh early? That's how you rip a chunk out of it and leave it glued to the pan until it's burnt."

- Kryzm

Here's one just for laughs.

"When you grab a pair of tongs, click them a few times to make sure they are tongs."

- Kolshdaddy

"People really overlook this one. You've gotta tong the tongs a minimum of 3 times to make sure they tong, or else it can ruin the whole dish."

- BigTimeBobbyB

If you're looking to get into cooking or to improve you technique, pay attention to these few tips.

Salt generously, add an acid to brighten things up, and don't forget to taste your food!

If all else fails, you can always order take out.

Want to "know" more? Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again. Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.

Victoria_Borodinova/Pixaba

As part of the learning process, children often do embarrassing things before they learn a little more about the world and all the different implications therein. While the inappropriate moment is usually minor and ends in laugher some instances are truly mortifying.

One such instance involved a little sister who was around 6 at the time. It was the 90s and at the height of the youth-focused PSAs (think the frying egg representing your brain). One type was a safety PSA about stranger danger. The speaker would remind the children that if a stranger tried to take you anywhere to yell “Stop, you're not my mommy/daddy" to raise the alarm.

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