Jaw-Dropping “I Dodged A Bullet” Stories
The feeling of “dodging a bullet” is a bittersweet one. While it can be an incredible relief to know that you avoided a perilous situation, it can also be terrifying to think about what could have happened if the circumstances were just the slightest bit different. The following stories tell of the close calls and near misses that real people have faced, from their adrenaline-fueled narrow escapes to their horrifying near-fatal experiences.
These stories might just make you want to stay at home forever…
1. The Tattoo Terror
My mom’s best friend had a son who just got out of prison. He started doing tattoos for a living, and when I turned 18, he came over to my house to give me a tattoo in private. We were told he went to prison because he took the fall for someone who was carrying substances. His mom also kept suggesting that I let him take me out on a date, saying he needed a good influence like me.
I’ll admit, I did feel pressured by her—she was one of my favorite people in the world and I didn’t want to disappoint her. But I was just not feeling it. Her son was not attractive at all. Worst of all, he was covered in offensive tattoos, which he said he only got to “survive” prison. I also found it really creepy that he would keep oddly stroking my foot while working on a tattoo several inches above my ankle.
Thankfully for me, we managed to end the tattoo session without planning any dates. About three months later, I was listening to the news in the background and I heard the guy’s name mentioned. My blood instantly ran cold. The newscaster was saying that the authorities were looking for him. Apparently, he had strangled his girlfriend and all four of her children…after the girlfriend caught him getting physical with one of the kids.
2. Hiding In Plain Sight
When I was 14, I went to my best friend’s house for her birthday party. A 30-year-old guy who worked for their parents asked her to tell me that he wanted to take me out on a date. I told her to tell him I had a boyfriend. I thought that would be the end of it, but then he started following us everywhere. Several times, he would just stand back and stare at us when we would pass by him.
At one point, I got nervous and called mom to get me. Then, months later, we saw his wanted poster at our grocery store. Turns out, he was Angel Resendez, one of the most notorious men in America. My mom didn’t believe me until it was on America’s Most Wanted that night and they interviewed my friend’s foster parents.
3. Kicking And Screaming
When I was young, I was outside playing with the hose by myself. A man appeared at my fence and asked me to come over. I walked up to him, and he leaned down and picked me up. I immediately got chills up my spine. Out of reflex, I started kicking at him and he dropped me almost instantly. Then he walked away. After that, I ran inside, hid in my closet, and never told a single person.
I had almost forgotten about it or thought I had just imagined it until years later when my mom was telling me about how they recently solved a cold case of a man who kidnapped and ended a girl’s life around my age at the time from our neighborhood and left her body in a field a few miles from our house.
4. Creeps On Wheels
When I was about nine years old, I was outside playing in front of my grandma’s house (she lived next door to us). I lived in a major city, but on a side street, so generally only people from the neighborhood ever drove on it. This one car stopped in front of my grandma’s house, and there was a man and a woman inside. The woman was in the passenger seat and she was closest to where I was.
She rolled down her window and said something to me, but I couldn’t quite hear her. She motioned for me to come a bit closer. Something just seemed “off” about both of them and my gut was telling me to run. I told her she needed to speak louder. She said they were lost and needed directions, then she motioned again for me to come closer to the car.
Again, my gut was screaming “NO”. So, I said, “I don’t think I can help you. I’ll go get my dad,” and I ran to my house as fast as my little legs would carry me. I told my dad what happened and when he looked out the window, they were long gone. I’m really glad I listened to my gut.
5. Good Things Will Come
There were a few days when all my appliances were breaking down. First the clothes washer, then the air conditioner, then the dishwasher, and then the refrigerator. That morning, I was already in a terrible mood on my commute to work when I got a flat tire in the middle of rush hour traffic. I pulled over to the shoulder.
Normally, I would have gotten out immediately and started changing it—I can change a tire in five minutes, so it wouldn’t have even made me late, but everything breaking in the days leading up to that flat tire had me defeated. I rested my head on the steering wheel for a few seconds and said out loud, “Why me,” when, almost as an answer, I was hit from behind.
Traffic had slowed down because I had pulled over, and an ambulance driver transporting a patient between hospitals decided to go around the traffic by driving in the breakdown lane. Damage to my vehicle was minor, but if it had been any other day, I would be taking my jack and spare tire out at that moment, which would have left me crushed between my car and the ambulance.
Everything worked out great. I got a five-figure settlement from the ambulance company as they were clearly at fault for hitting a car in the breakdown lane (it was non-emergency transportation of a patient.). And when I got home that day, all the appliances were miraculously working again.
6. Lucky Timing
I was bullied pretty badly in middle school by this one kid. Before I could finish seventh grade, my parents and I moved to another state. In the days leading up to my last day, the kid who bullied me was unusually nice to me. I soon found out that he hit a teacher with a metal baseball bat. Apparently, he was gunning for me, but I had left earlier than he expected.
He got frustrated that I didn’t show up and decided to just take it out on a teacher. Last I heard, he went to juvie for that.
7. The Unsuspecting Colleague
One day, my mom’s male coworker asked her on a date. She was friends with him and she liked him well enough, but she had a boyfriend at the time, so she politely turned him down. He took it like a champ and jokingly said, “Ah, you should dump that guy—I’ll treat you much better!” Less than a year later, that same coworker was taken in for ending his ex-wife’s life with an ax because she wouldn’t let him borrow her car.
8. Captured And Caged
I met this one guy as a young adult. He was a mutual friend in my group and I thought he was cute. I gave him my social media information and we chatted back and forth for a little bit. I eventually moved away from the area not long after we met, and he messaged me constantly asking me to come over to his house and attend parties with him. I politely declined every time. This went on for literally a year.
Eventually, I entered into a committed relationship. Shortly after, he asked if I had a boyfriend, and when I said yes, he proceeded to send me a bunch of sensitive pictures of himself. I instantly blocked him. Two years later, through our mutual friends, I found out that he had been accused of taking advantage of several women. Oh, but that’s not the most horrifying part.
When the authorities came to his house to arrest him, they found a woman who he kept against her will…in a KENNEL…in his living room.
9. Get Me Outta There
In November 2019, while working in China, I asked my employer when we would be taking our spring break in 2020 so that I could book a flight ticket. Bizarrely, none of my coworkers wanted to give me an exact date, claiming they didn’t know when the term ended. It’s important to note that I was an English teacher at a private boarding school…in Wuhan.
For some reason, they didn’t want to say. It was like nobody wanted to take responsibility for me. So, I decided to ignore their stupidity and I just picked a random date to book a ticket. As it turns out, the date I picked was a day or so after Wuhan entered lockdown for the first time ever. I was in Tokyo with a friend when all that chaos went down.
10. Fast Food Shelter
I went to Boston University and lived less than a mile from the finish line of the Boston Marathon. In 2013, my friends and I decided that we were going to walk down to the finish line to see the end of the race, after “light” drinks at 9 am, as was tradition for college students on marathon Monday. We got way too tipsy and decided to go to McDonald’s instead. We quite literally dodged the explosion.
For those who might not know, 2013 was the year of the Boston Marathon tragedy.
11. An Inch Away
I was snowboarding in Breckinridge when I lost control on some ice and smoked a tree. I ended up breaking my femur in half and the surgeon said if it had broken an inch to the left, it would’ve ruptured my femoral artery and I probably would’ve bled to my demise before ski patrol got to me.
12. The Right Choice
I was hired last September by a Russian company in their Cyprus office. It offered incredible money and career prospects, so naturally, I was excited. In January, I was approached by a very good company in Vienna, a place where I always wanted to live. I got a good offer in early February, so I was torn to take the risk to leave such a good position. I ultimately accepted.
A week later, Russia began its invasion of Ukraine. Another week later, the Cyprus branch shut down and everybody in that office got fired.
13. A Lost Cause
My ex-wife befriended a man on parole at her job. She bought him cell phones with cash which he used to “keep in touch” with his former young lovers, thus violating his parole conditions. She was dumb enough to admit all of this in front of security cameras with microphones outside of the house. The footage was provided to the local sheriff’s department once it was discovered.
Soon after this, she secretly planned to move him into our home, and she even gave him our WiFi password. I work for a school district, so I am mandated to report things I observe, especially things that involve potential offenses against children. I can’t imagine any school district looking too kindly upon sharing an address with a recently registered offender.
As she was planning how to get this guy into our house, she acquired a pistol and bragged to her coworkers about how she was going to get rid of me and give the man his freedom back. Luckily, one of her coworkers got ahold of me and told me her plan. Within an hour, I confronted her and our seven-year marriage was over. But the nightmare still wasn’t over.
Since she didn’t get to use the pistol on me, her psychosis drove her to use it on our dog once I left the house. Apparently, she “didn’t like the way the dog was looking” at her.
14. Taking The Back Seat
A very long while ago, when I was really young, my mom was taking me and my older brother to gymnastics. We were allowed to sit in the front as long as we didn’t distract our mom while she was driving. My mom asked us if we wanted to sit in the front and we both decided not to for some reason, which was weird because we usually fought with each other to sit in the passenger seat.
We were on our way there and right as we started heading down one of the main roads, a very large truck swerved into our lane, hitting the back of our car. We were thrown forward into a parked car on the side of the road. My mom’s leg was broken and my brother needed stitches on his lip. I was fine; I just came away with trauma that I still have.
The passenger seat, however, was decimated. The chair was in a ball, with the engine on top of it, a large hole in the dash, and tons of broken glass in the seat. If my brother or I sat in the passenger seat that day, we would be six feet deep right now.
15. A Brush With Bundy
My friend was out at a bar and she met a cute guy. He was charming and suave, and he wore a sports coat to this dumpy little campus bar saying he was a law student. She almost gave him her number. Almost. Now, this was at the time there were girls mysteriously disappearing from a sorority house a few streets over; many of whom were later found lifeless in remote places. Women in town were on edge, so she was playing it safe.
A week later, she saw him in the paper. She got a call from the Tallahassee PD saying they found her ID, among others (who were deceased), in his personal effects. Turns out, she was his type: slender, blond, age 17 to 30. He was probably casing her at the bar and had nicked her ID for her address. The suave law student was Ted Bundy.
16. That’s A True Friend
My dad and I were having lunch at this diner. The waitress was cute and I flirted a little. My dad noticed and on the way out, he left my number on the table. The girl then texted me and we chatted for a few days. We even went out a few times. Then, at one point, I ran into a friend of mine and mentioned the girl to her. My friend said, “She’s engaged to a guy I know. They’re trying to get pregnant, but his swimmers aren’t working so well.”
So I decided not to continue this relationship. Turns out, some other guy fell for it. She got pregnant and acted like it was her fiance’s.
17. A Dark Night
Well, I’m kind of nerdy and I have been into superhero movies for a long time since Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy. I started dating a movie buff in high school and after a few years, we got into the habit of just going to see them when they came out in theaters. One night, I had just worked overtime at the office supply store where I had been working for years. It was just a few miles from the nearest theater.
When my boyfriend came to get me, I was so exhausted that I told him we should skip the movies that evening. I just wanted to sleep. The next morning, I woke up to like thirty missed calls from my mom and the neighbor banging our door down. My boyfriend had already gone to work at 4 am, so he had no idea and I was home alone.
As I said, it was a known habit for us to go to superhero movie premieres. Everyone assumed we had gone because we ALWAYS did. If I hadn’t taken on the closing shift and worn myself out, I would have been sitting right in the center of one of two theaters at Century 16 watching The Dark Knight…on the evening when James Holmes walked in dressed in riot gear and lit up the place.
I literally dodged a bullet.
18. Hidden Agendas
A guy I met at my old job seemed really sweet and he would talk to me during my shifts almost every day. I’m a female and he’s a male; only a couple of years older than me. One day, he asked for my number, and I liked being his friend, so I gave it to him. He started texting me and we’d have causal conversations about our days. After a while, he’d start showing up at my work with candy and flowers for me.
I thought it was nice but kind of weird since we were just friends. Eventually, he ended up confessing his feelings for me, but I wasn’t looking for a relationship of any kind at that point, so I cut it off. A couple of months later, there was a party at his house. I went with some of my friends who were also friends with him. I was hesitant on going but my friends convinced me.
At some point in the night, he was absolutely trashed and he pushed me into a corner, telling me all the dirty things he wished he could do to me. I was extremely uncomfortable and luckily, I got away from him and ended up leaving. I never talked to him again. Some time went by and I noticed he hadn’t been coming to work at all recently. I thought he was maybe just embarrassed about what happened with me.
I later came to find out that he was on house arrest for taking advantage of a young woman. I ran into him at the grocery store while he still had his ankle monitor on and awkwardly said hi. He then went on to say, “I’m sure you heard about what happened. That witch was talking about being a freak over text but didn’t want to deliver in person, so I had to show her what a real freak is like.”
I was mortified and just walked away. I later found out the details of what he did to that poor girl and it was absolutely horrific. He’s behind bars now.
19. A Window Of Opportunity
When I was 16, there was some guy going around breaking into people’s houses to watch women sleep. He ended up fondling at least one of them. My mom was spending the night with her boyfriend, so I was home alone. It was around 6 am, and I woke up for some reason. I was up for like one minute and I couldn’t see anything without my glasses, so I was just mindlessly staring out my open window. That’s when some guy just started climbing in!!!
I screamed at him, saying: “AH! WHAT ARE YOU DOING??” He quickly dropped back down and ran away. By the time I got my glasses on, he was long gone. I’m pretty sure it was just the surprise that I was awake that made him run, but I like to think I made him stop and rethink his actions. I am always so thankful that I just so happened to wake up at the right moment.
They caught him a few months later. I don’t keep my windows open at night anymore.
20. Living On The Edge
When my dad was younger, he used to sell motorcycles for a living and he rode them frequently as well, never wearing a helmet. One day, he decided to wear a helmet for whatever reason. That day, a car T-boned him, sending him flying from his motorcycle and skidding across the road. His helmet got sanded down from the impact against the pavement.
Despite having major back, shoulder, and hip problems to this day, without that helmet, he probably would have ended up as a red smear on the road.
21. Chernobyl Vibes
I applied for a job cleaning hazardous materials from demolition sites. I’ve always wanted to work in demolition, and it sounded like something I could do. Instead of calling me for an interview, they sent a generic email inviting me to an info session. My last job started with a group interview and it didn’t go well. I went to the info session and the instructor explained what the company was, the history of asbestos, yadda, yadda, yadda.
And then he got to the actual job description. Apparently, employees were required to fully undress, shower with other people (both genders), and work while wearing nothing but a hazmat suit. The job also carried a high risk of developing cancer later in life, so it basically sounded like a Chernobyl cleanup crew. The worst part? It was all for barely over minimum wage.
I noped the heck outta there as soon as they were handing out the paperwork and contracts.
22. Accepting Their Fate
At my high school, the main auditorium was massive and was completely detached from the main school building. I did musical theatre, so I was in this building a lot. Well, as stupid teenagers, my friends and I would often go there to light up in the theatre catwalk; you know, the place above the stage with all the ropes and lights and stuff. Well, it started to become a weekly thing, and we’d risk our lives in the ceiling to enjoy ourselves.
Once during our senior year, after the main show, my friends asked me if I wanted to join them as a post-show celebration. I wasn’t feeling that well that night and I decided not to. The next day, none of them were at school—they had all gotten suspended, with two of them up for expulsion. Turns out that while they were mid-sesh, maintenance, along with the theatre director and the assistant principal, made their way up to the catwalk to look at getting some new lights or something.
My friends, realizing they were coming up through the only exit, accepted their fate and just continued puffing, even while the assistant principal yelled at them. I still talk to the entire group regularly. They’re great guys.
23. In The Clear
In March 2020, I was backpacking in South America. It was not my first time and I had been on the road for about two months already. The side of the world I was in was not yet hit by the pandemic because I knew Wuhan pretty well and I have close relatives in Europe. North and South America wasn’t affected much yet. My Santiago to Toronto return ticket was for March 17.
A week before that, my husband, who was already back in Canada, suggested extending my trip since things were apparently better in South America. It was hard to reach Air Canada, so we were taking turns calling to change the date on my ticket. And then the atmosphere suddenly changed in Santiago. It was very weird. It went from “Meh, we’re fine” to “Holy heck, we’re in trouble too”.
I called my husband and told him I had to be on the March 17 plane because suddenly, I had to go home. The last few days in Santiago were crazy and I was one of the lucky few with a return ticket right. I’m glad I didn’t change my flight reservation.
24. Inside A Glass Cage
I used to work the third shift at a gas station. It was open 24 hours, but we still shut down for about 30 mins at around 2 am to close out the register for the previous day. I’d also mop the floors, so I didn’t have to worry about people slipping on them while we were open. Well, during one of those times, I had a guy come up and try the doors, he signaled me to come to him but since the floors were wet I just shouted, “We’re closed”.
I pointed to the paper sign that I’d posted to the door. He then went to the gas station across the street and proceeded to rob them at gunpoint. He shot once (I don’t know if it was to scare the cashier or if he was just a bad shot), but the bullet only hit the back wall. It still freaks me out when I think about it. I was only at that job for about six months but I saw enough messed up things to convince me to never go back.
25. A Slithery Surprise
I was a dumb, eight-year-old kid on vacation in Mexico with my family, I wandered away from our group for a walk by myself in the paths around our bungalow. I was walking down one pretty jungle path when I saw a gardener up ahead. As I neared him, he glanced up at me, and then his face changed. He quickly jumped up and motioned for me to back away.
I did so and then immediately, a huge black, side-winding snake came out of the bushes to my left. It was so big that when it came out of the bushes, it made this loud rustling noise. It went right over where I was about to step next. We both watched it slither across the path into the next set of bushes. For a moment, we were both silent and just listening.
When I finally looked at him, he seemed relieved. In broken English, he said: “Most poisonous snake here in Mexico”. I thanked him like a million times and ran away to my dad. I still think about how that man saved me to this day! I also wonder what kind of snake that was and what other monster creatures he must’ve had to deal with while doing his gardening work.
26. A Split-Second Outcome
In 2018, I was driving to Myrtle Beach to run some errands. I stopped to get Starbucks on the way and as I was leaving the drive-thru, the cashier dropped my straw and handed me a different one. It took probably about five seconds and I wouldn’t have thought anything of it, except for the fact that about 10 minutes later, I missed getting hit head-on by a wrong-way driver by just a few seconds. So glad that straw dropped!
27. Something In The Water
Growing up, my family owned a vacation home in San Diego. We would spend a month or two there every summer enjoying the weather, the tourist attractions, and the ocean. I particularly enjoyed surfing, and I found myself doing exactly that on one sunny June afternoon. I was probably 10 at the time. As per normal, I paddled out, but not any farther than I should have.
I looked back at the beach, busy as ever, and I remember feeling like nothing could go wrong. It was a perfect day of an idyllic childhood summer. As I waited for a wave, I felt a large thump underneath my board, and something that felt like sandpaper scratched up against my lower leg. I figured it was probably a large piece of wood floating around in the surf, possibly part of a piece of a tree that found its way into the ocean.
I glanced around to find the culprit to avoid any future accidental collisions. Instead of wood, I saw something else. My heart stopped. Sheer panic set in as I saw a massive figure swimming off to my right just beneath the surface of the water crowned by an unmistakable, gray-colored fin that crested just above the surface. It was a shark. A big shark.
I felt like I was trapped in a scene from a horror movie. I was a hair over five feet tall at the time, and the shark looked to be around twice my size. It glided about 15 feet away from me to my right, then veered left, cutting in front of me as it circled back around counterclockwise while I lay there, too afraid to move. Just then, a large swell broke.
Despite the paralyzing fear gripping me, I took my shot. The shark disappeared behind me as I rode that wave in as far as I could. I didn’t look back once for fear of what I might see, and for fear of falling off my board. As soon as I got to the beach, I sprinted home, haphazardly chucked my board in the front yard, and ran inside crying and covered in sand, having eschewed my usual shower.
I’m not sure whether or not I dodged a tactical nuke or not, but it goes without saying that I did not spend much time in the water for the rest of that vacation! In retrospect, I suspect I was most likely face-to-face with a great white shark. I couldn’t make out the features of the face well enough, but the shark was rather bulky, and this area tends to be a hotspot for juvenile male great whites.
They are common suspects for attacks in the area, with mistaken identity being a common explanation for these bites as the sharks learn to hunt new prey. Given what we know about great whites, this one was curious, more than anything. If it considered me as prey, it would have jumped at me from beneath at full speed, which, I can assure you, would have resulted in much more than a simple surfboard boop.
That said, great white sharks are known to take curiosity bites, so I definitely still count myself fortunate. As a side note, large predatory sharks certainly pose a threat to humans in the water, but they’re not usually aggressive toward us. The odds of a bite are still next to nothing. We swim with sharks all the time and we don’t even know it!
28. Real-Life Hang Man
A couple of my friends and I were playing near a quarry when we were kids. I dropped behind because something had caught my eye. My foot slipped and I had to scrabble at the edge of this sheer cliff until I could lock my elbows on the ledge and hold on for dear life. I didn’t have the upper body strength to pull myself up, and compounded with my lungs being crushed in my ribcage from a birth defect, I couldn’t cry out for help because even breathing was laborious.
So I just hung there, waiting. Luckily, one of my friends noticed I wasn’t there and came back to grab me like five minutes later. It’s some scary stuff when you have to look down and try to formulate a plan to hit the nearest cliff face just in case you slip to break your fall.
29. Fate Had Other Plans
I used to go visit my boyfriend every day following the same routine—I’d take the bus to his place, do whatever, then catch the last bus at around 12:40 am, which would bring me home at around 1:15 am. I did this every single day for eight months; rain, snow, or shine. But one day, I woke up and I just didn’t want to go to his place. I called him and he asked if I was okay because it was so off-routine, but I told him I was fine.
I really just didn’t feel like going out and I wanted to stay home to catch up on my TV shows. I went to bed early that night and found out that someone else had gotten off at 1:15 am at my stop and got hit by a car as he crossed the street. He lost his life instantly. I was always alone on the bus and no one ever got off with me; but the one night I happened to decide to stay home, someone passed. I think about it a lot.
30. The Loyal Protector
When I was 14, my parents got me a dog because I was going through a rough time. Once, I took her for a walk late at night when I couldn’t sleep and a van full of college-age-looking guys started following me. When they got close, my dog started growling with her hackles up. We took off, cutting through some yards, and I lost them on the side streets. I then immediately booked it back home.
It scared the heck out of me, and I don’t think they had good intentions. To this day, my dog is an excellent judge of character and if she doesn’t like someone, I keep them at a distance.
31. Driving On Autopilot
I was on my way to pick up my wife from work, driving a bit fast through a residential area. I was heading west so the sun was directly in my eyes and I couldn’t see anything. I crossed through an intersection and suddenly my brain went, “Hey idiot, you are about to run a stop sign”. I slammed on the brakes. As I came to a stop, the sun fell behind a tree for a bit, and I saw four, wide-eyed elementary school kids, frozen in the crosswalk.
They were maybe three feet in front of the car. Luckiest moment of my life.
32. Legally Unbound
The girl I was dating was trying to help her family’s financial troubles. Her sister had gone to college but she fell behind on paying back her loans and they were going to repo the car. My girlfriend was going to take out a personal loan to pay off her sister’s overdue payments, but her credit wasn’t good enough on her own, and their mom couldn’t co-sign because her credit was also terrible.
They asked me if I could co-sign it. I told them heck no. We broke up two years later anyway. The whole family was a financial wreck, and I was never going to tie myself to that for life.
33. Good Karma
My kid got sick. The daycare policy was that he had to be symptom-free for 24 hours to return. He was sick over the weekend, so they wouldn’t have known if I’d decided to send him on Monday. Also, his little brother was two weeks old at the time and I absolutely could’ve used the break. I had never broken that rule before, but I’d had a C-section and neither kid had been sleeping while the toddler was sick.
My conscience eventually won and I decided to follow the rules. A few hours into Monday, with my kid safely at home, a mass email went out to all the parents. That’s when I thanked my lucky stars. The daycare said they found lice, but we escaped unscathed. Karma had me in her crosshairs while I made that decision.
34. Mother Knows Best
When I was 13, I befriended a kid who was a year younger than me. He asked if I wanted to hang out at his house for a summer BBQ, and I was like heck yeah. I asked my mom to take me, but she said no, telling me the kid gave her weird vibes. “You’re not going,” she flat-out said to me. 13-year-old me was super upset about this. I spent the entire night moping.
Well, the friend texted me a little while later saying the party got busted after the adults got caught giving drinks to minors. My mom was like, that’s right, I told you so. I was pretty grateful that I ended up not going.
35. Saved By The Gut
My grandfather served as a flight engineer on a Lancaster aircraft in WWII in North Africa. He contracted dysentery right before a flight and lay in the hospital bemoaning his bad luck as his guts tried to leave his body. He was replaced and the flight went ahead. The next day, he found out his aircraft had been shot down and none of the crew made it out alive.
He showed me a blurry photograph of him standing stone-faced in front of a row of wooden crosses that were the graves of his crew. It was one of only two times I ever saw him cry.
36. Winds Of Change
I lived about three miles south of where the May 3rd F5 tornado hit in Oklahoma. Literally the weather equivalent of a tactical nuke. Not only were houses and trees obliterated, but the ground was shredded in some places. My grandparents had a cellar luckily, but if it had gone slightly south, we likely would’ve lost everything.
37. On A Technicality
When my wife and I got married, the next day she was hospitalized with an ovarian cyst. $130,000 dollars later, when she was back to being herself, she changed. She became the most abusive person I have ever met. I won’t get into all that, but she didn’t have insurance, and because I hadn’t filed our marriage license, she would have to file bankruptcy.
Luckily, that was all out of my hands because…we were technically never married!
38. Transit Scare
I was waiting for a bus with my friend in rural Ethiopia (I was a Peace Corps volunteer). We were drinking coffee near the road while waiting because the buses showed up pretty randomly. One bus came through after about 30 minutes but it was nearly full. Two guys ran in front of us and got on first, and then the bus said no more people, so we went back to grab another coffee and waited for the next bus.
About 10 minutes later, a bunch of dudes on motorbikes started raising the alarm that there was a big crash just down the hill. The front of the bus that we had just missed was completely smashed by a large truck. I may have dodged a bullet that day, but many others didn’t.
39. Machete Mayhem
Several years ago, I wanted to run over to Walmart to get a few things but I decided I would just go the next day as it was getting late. Turns out, if I had gone, I would have been there at the same time when a mentally ill man took a machete from the sporting goods area and held a number of people against their will in the inside garden section. It was a terrifying event but no one was physically hurt and the culprit was taken into custody.
I’m doubly grateful as my daughter worked there but it was her day off.
40. Caught A Break
One day, my dad and I were going to go out and play catch in an area of my yard that we’d literally never done anything in. For whatever reason, we decided we would hang out there. Maybe five minutes into our catch session, my dad wanted to run in to go to the bathroom. I went in with him because it was hot and I wanted a drink.
While I waited, I sat on the couch and heard a loud crack, immediately followed by a crashing sound. A massive tree fell exactly where we were standing 30 seconds prior and 100%, without a doubt, it would have hit both of us if we were still there.
41. I Smell A Lawsuit
When I was in med school, a bunch of my classmates and I were walking home from being out at clubs. We passed by one that everyone liked and we all wanted to go in for one last hurrah of the evening. I personally disliked this place as the last time I’d been there, it reeked of desperation and swampbutt. Also, the floor was so sticky I almost lost a shoe.
I convinced everyone to stop for some street food instead, and everyone went home after. That night, a nightmare ensued at the club: The staircase collapsed, trapping 4,000 people inside. 70 were hospitalized with major injuries as it was an old building concrete building that had been condemned but the owners did not listen. The fire department spent hours taking everyone out with a cherry picker through the windows.
42. A Shocking Surprise
When I was 15, I got shocked by a lamppost. Someone had ripped the control switch out (it was a very old one) and me being young and idiotic, I slotted it back in. Cue full voltage carrying through my body. I was fine afterward, but I felt a genuine burning in my heart for five minutes. No superpowers manifested. I was disappointed.
43. Almost Kicked The Bucket
I was at work and a medium-sized excavator was digging a very deep trench in a confined area. Suddenly, the ditch it was right next to collapsed while the arm was up. Everyone started to run, and I started backing up and tripping over some cables that had been partially unearthed. As I landed on my back, the bucket hit the ground about an inch from my stomach, hard enough to go into hard-packed earth about eight inches.
It would have cut me in half if I had tripped up with my left foot instead of my right.
44. Deep Dive Danger
I was free diving in Mexico in about 40 feet of water. We were all headed back to the boat. I wasn’t conserving energy for a dive; just kicking and breathing normally when I saw something I wanted to dive down to. I took a deep breath and descended at about 30 feet where I would normally never feel the need to breathe, but this time I started feeling it. Very strongly.
It was quite bad to feel this sensation while still descending since I ran out of air long before I expected to. I flipped, headed back up, and whited out just as I broke the surface. I floated gently, breathing and waiting for my eyesight to come back. I felt pretty weak afterward. Not sure if I would have passed since there were several other folks around who would have definitely noticed if I was in trouble…
But floating lifelessly on the top of the water during a snorkel trip doesn’t always raise suspicion.
45. Miss Blessing
When I was 11, I narrowly missed my own demise. I was walking through the school corridors, which were thin and I was very small. Everyone was walking to the next lesson and the corridor I was walking down became packed with people. They were all pushing. Being unstable on my feet due to dyspraxia, I was pushed under. I was being trampled on all over my face and body.
People started falling on top of me, and I was screaming and trying to escape. There must have been loads of people because I was finding it hard to breathe and I could see no light at all. After that, I don’t know what happened. Apparently, I was pulled out of the crowd by a teacher called Miss Blessing. I has pressure spots all over me, I was bruised and pale. I couldn’t think properly.
Worst experience of my life.
46. Stop Sign Scare
I was 13 when this happened. My buddy left his gym bag on the school bus…but we were just starting to pull away from his stop. I leaned my head out to call to him and let him know, but we were still very close to the curb and there was a street sign right in front of me. Thank God I looked to my left in time, otherwise, it would have decapitated me.
47. Undisclosed Third Party
I used to meet up with guys on Craigslist. I was going through a really self-destructive phase of my life and that’s really all I have to say about that. I was supposed to see this one guy, and I was already on the way to his hotel when I received a text message from him. He sent it to me clearly by accident and you could tell he meant it for someone else. When I opened it, I freaked.
It was a picture of me and it said something like: “I got a new toy for us this week”. I don’t know who it was for, but it gave me the creepiest feeling and I immediately bailed.
48. A Glaring Red Flag
I became friends with this older guy in his mid-20s when I was 15. He seemed kind of lonely, but otherwise harmless. I probably should have recognized that a grown man being friends with a teenage girl was weird, but I was naive and very trusting. He started to flirt with me and eventually made some pretty disturbing threats, at which point I cut off contact with him and basically told him to get lost.
He was taken in by authorities a year later for indecent liberties with a minor. I can’t say it was much of a surprise, but I’m still so relieved that I got away from him when I did.
49. A Life Spared
When I was 11, my dad wanted me to come along with him to pick up some furniture about 30 minutes away from our house. I made a huge stink about it, basically being an annoying little brat, saying how I wanted to stay at home and play. He finally got fed up, stormed out, and told me to STAY PUT. About an hour later, he came home in an officer’s car, pretty shaken up, and he just reached over and hugged me hard.
Turns out that, as he was driving down the highway, traffic got busy ahead of him, and this semi-truck in the lane over stopped too late. After swerving all over the road, it fell over on the passenger side of my dad’s car, right where I would have been if I had gone along with him. The car was totaled, obviously, with the entire passenger side crushed down flat. Actually, he was lucky HE made it out alive.
He never made another big deal about me coming along if I really said I didn’t want to go.
50. No Survivors
Years ago I was going to be a groomsman for a good friend, and we were taking him to a bachelor’s party at some adult clubs on a Friday night. At the last minute, I got paged and had to go to work. I was off but on call, and I HAD to go. I was really upset about it. I called Big John, told him what happened, and apologized. I worked from 3 pm to 11 pm, then went home and went to bed.
At about 6 am there was banging at my door that woke me. At the door was John’s little sister crying her eyes out. John and the other guys had a terrible auto accident on the way home and there were no survivors. I still think about it now and then. I’m a non-drinker so I would have been the DD, and I assume that there would have been no accident if I was driving…but who knows.