People Who Avoided Disaster At A Spot They Normally Would Have Been Explain How They Felt When They Learned The News
With 7 billion people, countless machines, and shifting earth formations all humming along constantly, sudden chaos is never far away. Every time we leave the house we accept the possibility that some total calamity could erupt around any and every corner.
But most of us don't encounter the chaos. We gamble, leave the house every day, and never pay for it. While others, unfortunately, are caught in the most sudden, tragic catastrophes that occur.
And then there are some people who make up a kind of middle space. They narrowly missed a calamity. They saw that the very place they should have been was utterly destroyed. Or maybe they were actually in the tragic place, only to leave unexpectedly just moments before disaster.
For those people, belatedly discovering their proximity to death can leave feelings of ghostliness. Some Redditors share their experiences with the near miss.
tv_trooper asked, "People who avoided certain death by not going at a place they normally would be at (9/11, plane crashes, shootings, etc.), What did you feel when you found out something horrible happened at a place you would have normally been at?"
A Miserable Few Hours
"At the end of a trip in Egypt around 15 years ago me and my father arrived late at the airport so we missed our airplane and took the next one. The first airplane crashed and all our family thought we died."
"When we arrived at the airport, nobody was here to greet us and we didn't know what happened. When I called my mum I heard her cry like never before."
Life Saving Tardiness
"My great uncle worked at the twin towers... I'm not sure what he did because he doesn't like talking about it... but apparently he was running really late for work that day and i sh** you not he was getting ready to go in and he watched the plane hit the building. He was standing outside completely in shock... he still goes to therapy for it..."
"Not me but my wife. She missed work one day and there was a shooting right outside her office, right about the time she would normally be leaving for the day. Not necessarily certain death but who knows. She worked in bad part of town, in fact there was another shooting right by there again this week."
"She was doing important work there (addictions counseling) and I was very proud of her and would never have asked to leave her job but I was quite relieved when she got a new job in a safer neighborhood."
Held a Little Tighter
"Not a place I would normally be at, as it was supposed to be my first time going to the Route91 concert in Las Vegas where people were shot. I got strep throat and cancelled on my friend and her group the night before we were supposed to leave."
"Friend messaged me after she and her friends had run from the shooter and found shelter in a random hotel."
"My now-husband held me a little tighter that night, and my parents and boss messaged me saying they're glad I got too sick to go."
The Best Airport Pickup
"1996, the Olympics were held in Atlanta. Late one night, my fiance and her 2yo son were flying in to join me. Myself and two brother-in- laws were at Olympic park, when it was time to leave to pick them up the airport. 30 minutes later, Eric Rudolph detonated a bomb in the same place we were standing."
Saved By No Money
"Me and my cousin and friend were chilling driving about. And I suggested let's go to the movies to see the new Batman movie. We drove over to the century 21 when I realized I didn't have any cash. I asked everyone if they had money no one did so we just stopped and went to my boy's house."
"All of a sudden we see cops, a bunch of them swarming to the theaters, we looked at each other and found out the next day that James guy went in and started shooting up the movies. I was like holy Sh** that could've been us"
"During the week they raided James Holmes house and I legit lived a block away from his place. He booby trapped his house but luckily no one was hurt."
A Bad Feeling
"I live in northern England. When i was a little girl my dad took me and my brother shopping for a mother's day present in a place called Warrington. We were almost there, pulling into the car park when my dad just went:
" 'No, no we'll go to Leigh (another town) instead' "
" 'Why dad?' "
" 'I've just got a bad feeling' "
"We saw on the news that that day a bomb exploded planted by the IRA where we would have been shopping, killing and injuring children and parents who were there shopping for mothers day gifts just as we would have been."
"There's a memorial there now and whenever i see it i feel such a deep sadness and almost guilt that i survived it."
A Game of Inches
"I was letting my dog outside in a rainstorm so leaned up against the metal pole by our house then my dog wanted to run inside so I step away from the pole and not 5 seconds after it was struck by lightning" -- livelifegood123
"I was once outside on the oval with a bunch of kindergartners. A storm was gathering and we were rounding up the kids. Suddenly one of them pointed at me and started laughing; my hair had stood up on end. I could feel it crackling."
"Noped the f*** out of that." -- Echospite
Most Important Meal of the Day
"Sisters ex boyfriend dad. He would get breakfast with the same crew every morning. He showed up late, put his stuff at the desk and walked to the elevator. They were getting off while he was getting on. He asked if they wanted to accompany him, they said they ate without him."
"As he walked out the front door the first plane hit HIS floor. As a new yorker you hear these stories all the time"
Mothers Against Explosions
"My mom was supposed to go to a marshmallow factory in kindergarten. They didn't have enough chaperones so it was canceled. Later that day it blew up, and they would've died if they were in it." -- Pidge_The_Turtle
"Not me but my mom and grandma when I was twelve they were going to a lab to get a blood test. They decided not to go because they were a little late. At the exact same time my mom planed to arrive at the building exploded. So she was thankful they stayed home instead" -- Stromboli_The_III
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Punctuality matters, particularly when it comes to getting an education. That doesn't mean it's always possible, though.
Recently, this Reddit question has bee getting a lot of traction.
And honestly, once you start reading people's responses it's plain to see why. These stories were bonkers. We've got a goat trying to ride the bus, we've got vigilantes, we've got a roving gang of chickens, and one shooter with very bad aim.
It's like a smorgasbord of ridiculosity and we love it.
A kid's apartment burned down overnight. He was a little late, but still came. He was 16 and could have helped them sort things out. Education was more important to them because AP exams were coming up.
Told me he got pulled over by the cops for wobbly driving on his bike and they thought he was drunk. Turned out he was just dodging all the slugs on the street.
Waiting On Death
One of my organ students told me he was late arriving for his lesson because he got stuck behind a lengthy funeral procession en route to the cemetery.
I knew he was telling the truth because I had played the organ for the service earlier that morning and the church was packed.
Brendan Took A Shortcut
This happened to me as a pupil; a very quiet, unassuming kid in our class came in to German with about five minutes of the class left.
We went to a Catholic school and the teachers were all quite strict and intimidating. Classes were usually silent, especially in junior school. When this boy came into class at the end of the lesson that day, the door flew inwards with such force that the teacher gave an audible gasp.
It had been raining heavily outside, his hair was plastered to his forehead. His blazer was dripping and sodden. He had mud caked into his trousers up to his knees, and he was breathing heavily.
The teacher exclaimed, 'Brendan! What happened?' We all stared up at him in shocked silence. This quiet, unassuming little boy let out a big sigh and just said, 'I took a shortcut.' And went straight to his seat.
That line became iconic in our school for years afterwards.
Does Dad Count?
This was in College, student turned in work late after not showing up for two classes. Two classes amounted to a full week so it was noticeable.
Professor looked at him and said "I hope somebody died for you to be this late"
He retorted, "DOES MY DAD COUNT????"
Honestly I've always heard you can hear a pin drop and never really thought anything of it, but yeah you could hear a fcking pin cut through the air after that.
I'm an English professor, and one year a pretty good student showed up without one of his 2 major term papers. He explained that his safe had been stolen by a contractor who was working on their house. His laptop was in the safe, and that's where his paper was. I genuinely believe him because he been a really good student.
Then over the next few weeks, he started to show up to class looking very tired. He said that he was on a hunt for the person who stole his safe, and he was spending late nights with his cousin driving around looking for the guy because they knew his van.
Now, the student and his cousin were both recently back from tours in Iraq and had seen combat experience. They wanted to find the guy to beat the sh!t out of him and get the safe back because his wife's wedding ring was in the safe as well as a bunch of cash.
He rewrote the paper and turned it in, apologetic that it wasn't up to his usual quality, but he still kept coming to class looking like he hadn't slept.
After a little while he came very happy to my office hours, and he reported that he found the guy after a long search that involved breaking into a meth den shaking people down with baseball bats and even bribing some sex workers. He said that they found the guy's van at a Taco Bell after getting a tip, and they cornered him and waited for the police to come.
I read in the news that he had in fact done a citizen's arrest and stopped the guy at a Taco Bell, and that they ended up calling in the Secret Service because he used the cash that he stole from the safe to buy a bunch of counterfeiting equipment. Secret Service apparently investigates counterfeiting, so the whole investigation happened because this guy who I dub "the white Shaft" tracked the scumbag down through the bad side of town late at night to get a wedding ring, some cash, and his research paper back. It all turned out to be true. He got the ring and the laptop back. I gladly accepted his original paper, and it got a much higher grade than the rewrite.
She had to take her sister to school and drive her mom to rehab. She was always late to class because her mom just wanted to sleep in. Problem was, if the mom was late or did not go she would have violated her probation and gone to prison. I never marked her late. If she missed anything important she could come in at lunch or after school to make it up.
A Really Social Goat
I was the student...my neighbor had a really social goat, and she figured out how to escape her pen in order to come over and hang out. She escaped and followed me to the bus stop, and when the bus came, she tried to follow me onto it. I couldn't actually get on the bus without her being right behind me, so I had to get off, bring her home, and call my dad to bring me to school.
Not a student, but one of my Teaching Assistants when I ran a pre-school in West Philly... 'sorry I missed yesterday, my friend shot my mom'. Naturally, I'm a little speechless... 'oh no it's ok, he was AIMING FOR SOMEONE ELSE'
Eight Is Enough
Student told me he couldn't do the work because he was delivering oil from 3PM until 11PM. In middle school. He wasn't lying.
Dad has broken his both of shoulders and one clavicle so his grandma and pregnant mom were "switching off driving" (pretty sure he was doing most of it at night) and he was hooking the tanks to the oil.
I called all his teachers and had his work load lightened and got permission for him to come in an hour late each day as he was providing the only income for his family of eight, as he was the oldest. Tutored him so he could pass seventh grade. I paid cost of oil only for years until I moved out of the area.
When I was student teaching, I was late because there was bunch chickens in the middle of the road. They wouldn't move at all. This is in the middle of a city of 200,000 people. Freaking chickens.
I finally get to school and profusely apologize to my mentor teacher and I told her why I was late thinking it sounded ridiculous. She said, "yeah, those chickens are fcking a$$holes, they surrounded my car in the McDonalds parking lot last year. Dont worry about."
An Audible Gasp
Hmmm, I had a student whose father had died and had not done any homework or prep for the geography class, from what I heard the teacher scolded him for not doing so but the student didn't want to say anything (presumably sensitive issue) so his best friend shouted at the teacher "DON'T YOU HAVE ANY SHAME, HIS FATHER DIED LAST NIGHT" and the teacher said "I don't care", there was an audible gasp and I was in the next room.
Needless to say that teacher is no longer employed here.
Hit And Run
I'm not a teacher. I was the late student.
I was constantly late to a class my senior year of high school. I had depression and was on a 504 plan as a result. For this reason I was allowed some extra time in the hallways before class to recover from the mental stress of being in a class, etc. It was super helpful and yes, a pretty weird 504 plan!
One time I was running late and witnessed a car hit a pedestrian crossing the road, severely injuring him, and the car drove away. My brother, who was into cars, recognized the car and identified it to me as our neighbor- who was also in my first period class. I stopped to help the pedestrian, also a student at the school, because I had some first aid/lifeguard training. I called him an ambulance and waited for it to show up. I also called the school and told them that he would be going to the hospital. Yep, pretty nice of me.
When I got to school my brother and I went down to the front office to get a note for tardiness. The admin I called was waiting for us. He thanked me, gave me a note, and told me to tell the teacher that if there were any questions, to call him. My brother told him about the car that he had recognized and that we knew the driver and who that person was. We both went to our classes.
I got to first period late again and my teacher didn't even want to hear my excuse. I pressed the note into her hand and told her the story anyway. The driver of the car was sitting in the back of the classroom with a guilty look on her face. She looked scared stiff.
When my teacher wouldn't stop giving me sh!t for my "lie" I gave up and waited for justice to take its course. For the record, I never lied when I came to class late, I always told the truth- I slept late. I never invoked my 504 plan for that particular class, even though my teacher knew about it and would be forced to accept it.
Halfway through class the administrator entered with the School Resource Officer and informed my teacher that the student needed to come with him right now for a hit and run. He saw that I was sitting there and thanked me again for my help and for putting another person's needs above my own.
Man, it was nice to help that kid but it was really nice to see my teacher's face go from disgusted at the driver to shocked and disgusted when she realized my story was true.
One kid was always late to basketball practice. The coach's rule was that for every minute you are late you run a lap after practice.
The kid's car ran out of gas in the parking lot on the other side of the school. Instead of leaving it and running to practice, he put it in neutral and pushed it himself to the other side where the gym was.
He was 40 minutes late for practice! That's 40 laps of a 3-ball court gymnasium! We calculated how many miles it was but I can't remember.
Picture pushing your car by yourself for 40 minutes, then a full basketball practice (basically 2 hours of running and drills with a few breaks) and then jogging a few miles after everyone is left and THEN using a pay phone to call your parents to collect you.
A few of us waited around to give him a ride.
Not a teacher, but when I was in elementary school, my bus driver hit someone on a bicycle. We all had to stay on the bus for about three hours until the investigation was over.
I'm the kid in this scenario, I was in around 6th grade when my mom was driving me to school, and this herd of deer just runs into the middle of the road a d surrounds us, we were stuck for around 45 minutes.
"Tail" As Old As Time
I was the student. I put a pack of beef jerky in my bag in middle school to take to lunch and when I woke up in the morning my dog had ripped through my bag to get to the beef jerky, so my dog literally ate my homework.
Listen to me ... once again ... women do not urinate from our vaginas. I'll rephrase and say it louder for the folks in the back, WE HAVE A URETHRAL OPENING FOR THAT. IF URINE IS COMING FROM A WOMANS VAGINA THEN SHE NEEDS MEDICAL INTERVENTION.
You'd be amazed how many adults - and no, not just men - don't know that.
Reddit user KeepCalmAndBeCalm asked:
Turns out, there's a lot of stuff that we don't learn until way later than we probably should have. For some people it's a clear failure of the education system. For others it's just a matter of "I never put any thought into it."
Whatever the reason, these people managed to make it pretty far in life without knowing the following stuff, and honestly we're a little bit alarmed. Like... these people are just out here adulting free-range with no supervision... just sayin'.
I thought toilet waste was just dropped out of airplanes mid flight and disintegrated in thin air.
I had to explain to my friend last year (28YO) that the turkey we saw in the farm park was the same animal as the turkey dinner she was eating. She knew this about chicken, but... just never made that mental connection about turkey.
That the different coloured capsicums (bell peppers) are the same thing just at different ripeness.
When I was 28 I learned that flying fish are a real animal. I thought they were pretend, like unicorns!
An Innocent Idiot
I thought men had periods.
Hear me out, my parents and my school weren't great when it came to sex ed. When I turned 11 my nan of all people gave me a puberty book. It was really low quality looking back. It was aimed at girls but had a small section about boys' anatomy during sex. It said blood went to the penis and nothing else. I was an innocent idiot so my brain filled in the rest. So for the next 5+ years, I thought boys bleed after orgasm.
My current boyfriend was so confused when I told him why I didn't want to have sex. *facepalm*
A Different Kind Of Space
There was a big building called "The Space Center" that we'd always pass by and for the longest time I thought it was like a space camp sorta place. I was well into the teens when it finally clicked.
It's a storage facility. So yeah that was a major letdown on all fronts.
Pufferfish puff up with water, not air. It's so obvious and it never even occurred to me. I only realized how stupid I was when I read a reddit comment about a year ago pointing the fact out.
That the month is pronounced and spelled February and not 'Febuary' despite being born in that month.
I spotted the R when I was 26..
12 Days Of Christmas
The twelve days of Christmas are from Christmas to the Feast of the Epiphany sometimes called Three Kings Day on January 6th. I was raised Catholic. It's a holy day of obligation. I just never counted the days. I even wondered why it's 12 days in the song.
The fact that it's called epiphany stings a bit. I'm 45.
That Weird Buick
How rendezvous and dachshund are pronounced. I knew what the words were when spoken, obviously, but every time I'd see them written I'd get stuck. I'd try to sound them out.
I remember being stuck behind a Buick Rendezvous in traffic and sounding it out phonetically and thinking to myself "well that's a weird thing to name a car." ... In my mid 20s.
Not me, but I was talking to my best friend about how I have a lisp since the accident last year that left me without several teeth.
He replied with 'Wait, it's been a year? Why haven't they grown back?'
Me- WTF do you mean? Teeth don't grow back.
Him- No no they don't grow back, but wouldn't the new set have grown in yet or are they still coming in?
Me- New set? You only have one set of adult teeth.
Him- Wait what?
This man made it to 22 firmly believing you lose one set of teeth as a kid and then have TWO SETS of adult teeth
God, I wish, then I wouldn't be paying $4000 for replacement teeth.
That flowers become fruit. Mind blown at 25.
That you can't microwave foil. I somehow reached adulthood without learning this one. Went to reheat a fast food burger, and it caught on fire. You live, you learn.
A Different Teaching Method
I couldn't tie my shoes until i was like 12. In my defense, everybody insisted on teaching me in such a way that their hands blocked the actual process and nobody thought that was a problem and i was just being an idiot.
I only learned when my dad finally taught me by having me hold the strings and walking me through it.
I'm 46, and only learned in the last 5 years or so that ponies aren't baby horses.
I'm a guy and lived 15 years of my life thinking that babies literally grew in the stomach of their mothers. I dont know what kind of logical sense that used to make to me but i just never questioned it. And it took another 2 years when i was 17 that i learned that women didn't pee out of their vaginas.
While most people are sleeping, some work the graveyard shift. Sure, it pays better, but you also have to deal with things that go bump in the night... or that scream... or want to eat you...
Awsaf_ asked night guards of Reddit: What's the scariest experience you can share with us?
Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.
I'm gonna be honest with you guys, I've never been to a wedding where the bride or groom went total -zilla on everyone. I've seen some terrible parents, I've heard my fair share of unfortunate speeches - shout out to that one awkward a capella performance. So intimate; so terrible.
That doesn't mean I don't love some good bridal "chisme" - that's gossip; and it's a high art. The Puerto Rican women in my family have passed the skill down for generations. The elders are masters by now. The shade is subtle, the reads are so real - they're like the Hatori Hanzo's of talking sh*t.
Anyway, one Reddit user asked:
and like 14 generations of my ancestors rose up within me in unison like "READ IT!" and really who am I to deny my blood? I mean, it didn't work out well when Buffy The Vampire Slayer tried it. Okay, so first things first, the question was directed at wedding planners but everyone and their granny chimed in. Wouldn't you? You know you would.
Secondly, people are terrible human beings. There. I said it. So here are some of the responses that made me cringe, cackle, or cry the most - edited for language or clarity, of course. Have fun!