Although we hear about hostage situations and abductions on the news every once in awhile, we rarely ever become aware of the specific details of the experience.
The people caught in the middle of it all are forced to endure the terrifying, monotonous elements of pure fear that persists over the course of hours, or even days.
To better understand those dynamics, a Redditor asked those unfortunate enough to have experience to share their stories.
Redditor Much_Responsibility8 asked:
"People who were held hostage, whats your story?"
Many shared stories of when they or someone they knew was held hostage for the classic reason: to make some cash.
Just Like the Movies
"Someone robbed a bank and held a gun to my head when the teller didn't give them the money immediately. I just remember feeling absolutely nothing the entire time, and the only thought in my head was that I'd be okay with dying because it'd at least be quick. It wasn't until a couple hours after the incident when my emotions actually hit me and I cried."
"Had some lingering panic attacks for a few months after, but they went away and I had no other PTSD symptoms. These days I feel completely fine about it and use it as an icebreaker when it feels appropriate. I was also a senior in college when it happened and was known as the bank robbery girl the rest of the year through graduation lol."
Cool as a Cucumber
"So he wasn't held hostage but when my Dad was about 18 he worked for a gardening center in Chicago and he was closing for the night. Every night my Dad's job was to close up and walk the money from the registers to the owners house."
"So right before closing a guy came in and pulled a gun out demanding all the money in the register. So my dad, being the only one there, and with a gun in his face opens the register and gives the guy like $60. The dude obviously took the cash and ran off and my dad being the calm guy he is just shook it off and locked up."
"He still had to go to the owners house so he did and he explained to the owner that they had been robbed and the owner was all worried and asked how much money they lost and my dad told him that if was about $60. The owner was pretty relieved because obviously he expected to have had more money stolen and so he asked me dad 'that's all we made today?' And my dad said 'no! Here's your $3,000' "
"Since my dads job was to walk the money to the owners house every night he had already cleared out most of the register and put the money in his jacket pocket, only leaving some extra cash in the register in case someone came in last minute and he needed change. So my Dad stood there with a gun pointed at him and $3,000 hidden in his pocket and gave the guy with the gun $60 because he asked for the money in the register"
The Candy Trade
"My father is a truck driver in São Paulo, Brazi)."
"One time, when i was a kid, he got kidnapped by a gang. They rode with him in a car all day while they stole the cargo (brazilian candy) from the truck. They took him to get coffee and stuff so i guess it wasn't that bad but at the time he was really afraid for his life and his truck."
"In the end they ended up giving the truck back to him and letting him go peacefully. Months later the police managed to arrest some of them and asked my dad to recognize them but he didn't want to get involved."
"PS: A rival candy company was behind the whole thing. Brazil is not for amateurs!"
Chaos. Just Chaos.
"I was at a party and a girl invited me back to her place. I was excited but something felt a little off once we started walking. I told her I was going home because I was a little too drunk. She said some persuasive things and we laughed a bit. I went with her."
"We got her place and it was nice but a mess. She had lots of new things laying around but there was packaging all over too. She invited me to her room and there was a guy in her bed in his underwear. I immediately did a 180 and ran towards the front door. The door was locked and had a interior keyed lock."
"He said, 'You to my drugs. Where's my fu**in' drugs.' I turned around and he had a crazy-looking assault rifle pointed at me. I told him I needed to leave and the girl was asking him to calm down. He told me to go back to the bedroom. I thought I was set up and going to get robbed. I pulled out my wallet and handed him the money I had."
"He took it, looked at it and laughed. He threw my cash back at my face and yelled, 'Where is my fu**ing drugs!' I was trembling. I explained I didn't know anything about it or where his was. The girl was looking through the room frantically while he pointed the gun at me. He held the gun to my head and told the girl if he didn't get his coke back I was dead."
"I was shocked. It was a physical impossibility that I could have taken anything from him. He was high out of his mind and just rambled on about his drugs. He had me sit on a chair, pointed his AR at me and interrogated me for what seemed like an hour. The girl looked through the entire house."
"Eventually she came back to the room and the girl found his drugs under the pillows on the bed. He gleefully laughed, 'My bad, I forgot I put that there. You want some?' I got up, said, 'The door,' and walked out of the bed room. He made some one sided small talk, unlocked the door, and said 'Goodbye!' "
"It seemed like I was watching myself from an outside perspective when I was walking home. It felt like I was on autopilot. When I got home I closed the door a flopped on the couch and shivered uncontrollably. I silently cried for a little and went to bed."
"I didn't socialize for over a year until I moved away."
Others reminded that many kidnappings and hostage situations are actually the work of parents or close relatives of the victims.
The Getaway Cab
"Might be more of a kidnapping than hostage situation, but close enough."
"My parents were divorced when I was 6. A couple years later my dad moved across the country to California. Fast forward to when I was 12, it was agreed that he would fly to MI and my sister(13) and I would fly out to CA with him for a week then he would fly back with us."
"The trip was pretty sh**. He was a terrible father. For example: he took us to Reno, NV and stuck us in a buffet while him and his new wife gambled all night. Stuff like that."
"The day we were supposed to fly back, he tried to convince us to stay. We declined and said we wanted to go home. He basically said "too bad" and wouldn't take us to the airport."
"I ended up running distraction while my sister called home and gave my mom the scoop. An hour later a cab showed up to my dads place for my sister and I. My dad tried to tell the cabbie to leave, but apparently my mom/aunts/uncles made it very clear that the cab wasn't to leave until we were in the car. Honestly have no idea how they paid for it. I am guessing they pre-paid via credit card over the phone? Seems risky in the 90s."
"My sister and I finally got into the cab and proceeded to fly, by ourselves, back to Michigan with a connecting flight. Our uncle was there at the airport waiting for us at 5am."
"To this day I am floored that we made it back. Shoutout to the flight attendants on Northwest airlines in the mid-90s. One sat with us the whole time on the first flight because the turbulence was so bad. Also when we got lost during the connection, a Northwest employee helped us get on our connecting flight in time."
A Broken Record
"My biological father held me hostage as an infant. He broke into my mothers apartment and stole me from my crib. He was pissed that my mother left him (he was an abusive POS) and he was going to take me back to his parents house to hide me. He was threatening to kill me if anyone tried to get me back, if my mother followed him or if the cops got involved. The cops got involved obviously."
"His parents were actually the ones who called the cops, snuck into his room while he was sleeping off his booze to steal me back, took me to the hospital. I still have scars from him cutting me because I wouldn't stop crying (probably because getting stabbed isn't a good way to get a baby to calm down)."
"The house was raided shortly after and he was arrested. He spent some time in prison (idk how long) before being released, marrying someone else and then getting arrested again for abusing his new wife's children."
"I'll add my parental kidnapping story."
"Sperm donor and my mom split when I was 4. I was then adopted by my stepdad at 7. When I was 12, the sperm donor picked me up from school, despite my protests to the school that this wasn't right. He kept me for 3 days."
"My mom eventually got me back, but I was a mess afterwards. Just added to the PTSD that I already had from other issues involving the a**hole. Been in therapy off and on since."
And some talked about the times they were abducted or held not by a relative, but by some other less-connected acquaintance who apparently had just enough information to go through with it.
"He was a coworker (m26) who picked me (f17) up after I had ran away after a horrible fight with my mom. As soon as I stepped foot into his room I got locked in for 3 months. I physically didn't leave that room for 3 months."
"I peed in the cat's litter box and ate whatever he bought home from work. I wasn't allowed internet or the phone. I wasn't allowed showers, to brush my teeth, or use a hairbrush. I wasn't allowed to go to school. I didn't speak to my friends or mom for almost 3 months."
Not the Help They Were Looking For
"When I was in preschool, I got in a fight with my babysitter and ran off to the backyard of the apartment building. Our upstairs neighbor saw me and invited me in. I talked to her while she painted and stuff."
"Apparently she was not mentally well and refused to give me back to my babysitter, who called the police."
"She also refused to give me back to the police. I am not sure how they got me back but I have a memory of being on the stairs behind her crying and reaching for the police officers as they tried to talk her down."
The Dangers of Online Dating
"Met a guy online, we had fun talking, had a lot in common. He asked me to stay at his place over the weekend. I get in his car and fall asleep. I wake up 4 hours from home in the middle of nowhere with zero and I mean ZERO cellphone reception."
"What proceeded to happen was 13 days of trying to get home and not really knowing what day it was. He kept me awake about 20 hours a day filled with non stop horror films (because i was stupid enough to tell him i hated horror films). I only remember eating once or twice. I didnt tell my roommate where i was going, my family thought i was at home. I had just quit.my job, literally no one was looking for me."
"Eventually he caught a cold and i was able to talk him into taking me home where i promptly blocked him on everything and blocked it from my memory. A few years later it really sank in that i was probably gonna end up dead and dealt with the trauma with humor"
This list is by no means an attempt to convince anyone to be paranoid. But it certainly isn't a bad idea to keep your head on a swivel.
Want to "know" more? Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again. Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.