March 26, 2020 | Andie Wood

People Share Their One-In-A-Million Stories That Will Never Happen Again

Life never ceases to surprise us. On a rare occasion, we may find ourselves in a situation that is so purely conceived by luck that it's hard to convince people it actually happened. From random twists of fate to serendipitous moments, here are some of the coolest one-in-a-million stories shared by people online:

photo-1485992012525-5e80165c7046 (1)Unsplash

#1 Small World

I took a job in a somewhat remote area of northeast China about 20 years ago. I had two roommates (one American and one Canadian) and we were part of just a handful of foreigners out of about two million Chinese people in that area. Fast forward 10 years and I went back to the USA. I was dating a girl who was going on a girl's trip to Mexico. She and her girlfriends went out to a bar and got to talking with another group of people.

One of the guys there started showing photos from his travels and lo and behold—there I was. He was my roommate from China a decade before and while chatting with these girls, he decided to share the pictures of his travels. After a few of those "prove that you know him" questions, they both flipped out. Small world.


#2 Fortune Cookies

I met my wife for Chinese food at a time when we were living separately and she had already served me papers for divorce. We both opened our fortune cookies. Mine said, "You have a lot to offer to the right person". Her's said, "Give him another chance." I saw the first hint of consideration in her eyes. We ended up not divorcing and we are happy 12 years later.


#3 The Same Bloodline

I was in US Navy “A” school (where you go after boot camp) several states away from home. I met a guy, “John,” at a local dive bar where Navy folks hung out. We got to be pretty good friends over the next few weeks and we always saw each other off base on the weekends and such. One day, I bumped into him when we were on base and in uniform:

Him: Wait, your last name is "Doe?"

Me: Yeah. Why?

Him: That was my birth dad’s last name. He was all the way over in Colorado though.

Me: That’s where I’m from!

Turns out, his dad and mine were cousins, but the family had split because of some old-timey feud. John and I had the same great-grandpa, then his family left the state never to be heard from until then. Six months later, after being transferred across the country, we bumped into each other again at our next schools and ended up being roommates for a couple of years.


#4 Struck By Lightning

I was struck by lightning on the 22nd story of John Hancock Tower in Boston (the big glass one) through a conference room window. The storm was very pretty, but I don't go near windows during storms anymore. The top of my head felt like a bad sunburn, but only briefly. The entire surface of my body felt tingly, like being gently electrified. When it happened my entire plane of vision was the whitest bright light I'd ever seen. It was very, very quick, as you might imagine.


#5 The Power Of Nature

I was doing a hike in Maui and at the top of the hike was a large waterfall on a sheer, cliff face. The moment I got to the waterfall, I heard this earth-shaking rumbling. I could feel the sound, kind of like heavy bass through speakers. When I looked up at the waterfall, a couple of huge rocks were falling down. If I had been a minute faster on the hike, I would have been right below those rocks as they were falling. Terrifying, but also breathtaking to see the power of nature.


#6 Three Times In A Row

I was in Vegas playing roulette. Being somewhat tipsy and a bit of a goof, I was saying I was psychic, and that the next number was going to be 17. It hit. There was some groaning, but I'm an amiable guy, so it was good-humored. I then "predicted" that it was going to be 17 again, claiming that my psychic vision said so. It hit again. Haha, it was hilarious. Third spin? Yeah, 17 again, boys—my "vision" was clear. It hit again. The whole table was so silent you could hear a pin drop. I'm thinking that was a one-off type of thing, though the odds aren't quite one in a million.


#7 Before The Fame

I ran into Passenger doing a street performance in Adelaide promoting his new album in 2015. Two weeks later, I ran into him again doing another street performance in Sydney. I did not know of either of these performances before just stumbling upon them. Passenger is a really cool guy. I met him around 2009 busking in Edinburgh at the top of the mile. I bought a CD and we had a chat. This was before he was famous but I'm willing to bet he's still a chill person.


#8 Riddle Me This

Before Google, when I was in college, I was trying for about 12 hours one day to remember the name of the instrument you use to take your blood pressure (a sphygmomanometer). I was obsessing about still when I went to pick up drinks for a party that night. The store didn't have the ones I wanted, so I grabbed some random seasonal mix pack. I helped myself to one when I arrived at the party and I opened the bottle only to find that the bottle caps had riddles and trivia on them. Mine read: "Pressure's On" and "Sphygmomanometer" was the answer on the inside.


#9 A Lucky Streak

I was at Dave and Buster's for a friend's wedding reception probably 10 or so years ago. I wanted to play skeeball. I'm not really good or anything, just like playing and their machines were in really nice shape. The very first game, I got a bunch of 100s and ended up beating the score to win the jackpot. I had like 860 points or something. There were flashing lights, the siren was going off, and everyone was looking at me.

It took about five minutes for all the tickets to spit out of the machine. It was a giant pile on the floor. Meanwhile, I just wanted to play some skeeball. The teenager minding the counter climbed up to the top and reset the jackpot counter. I put in another token and wham. I did it again. Bunch of 100s. Another jackpot (much less this time). The kid working gave me this look as if I cheated. "You can't play anymore." I gave all the tickets to my friend's daughter and she went on a shopping spree. She bought enough rubber balls and plastic trinkets to last her a lifetime.


#10 The Nickel Trick

Once upon a time, my brother and I were arriving late at night to a little cabin in the woods. It was winter, so it was pitch black outside and it was freezing. We needed to get a fire lit asap, but the firewood was stacked outside the back of the cabin, under the porch. Now, my brother and I used to watch a lot of horror movies together, and again, it was the middle of the night at a cabin in the woods. We decided to flip a nickel to see who would venture out to get the firewood. And here's the part that answers the question: The nickel landed on its side. Nobody went under the porch that night.


#11 Burnin' Up

I had two houses burn completely down two years apart from each other. I hope to god the odds are now in my favor. Fun fact: Nobody in the houses ever used candles, the stoves were not on during either house fire, and of course, I had no insurance. In House #1 the heating unit caught fire. In House #2, it was the hot water heater. Yes, those events still haunt me to this day.


#12 Cheese Celebrity

I won a whole cheese wheel because of my first name (it is really associated with cheese in my home country). I had to be in front of a tourist attraction really early in the morning and show my passport to a reporter. They took some pictures of me trying to hold the cheese for the newspaper. I can't remember why. I was maybe five or six at that time.


#13 A Piece Of Home

When I was 5, my parents took me to Disney World and Miami. Apparently, I was playing in the bathroom after one of them took a shower and I slipped. I ended up hitting my head on the toilet tank and got a black eye. Thankfully, this was on the second to last day. On the last day, we went to a mall in Miami and we end up bumping into my pediatrician. We’re from Brazil.


#14 Vacation Twinning

One year, during my childhood years in the Midwest, we ran into our next-door neighbors on vacation in Yellowstone. Neither family knew the other was going to Yellowstone, only that we were both going on vacation. A couple of years later, the same exact thing happened in Disney Land. After that, the moms started telling each other where and when they were taking vacations.


#15 A Cat's Calling

When I was looking to adopt a cat from the dozens available at the animal shelter, there was one very special one way up high near the ceiling (perched on a stack of boxes) looking down right into my eyes. When I said, "Would you like a loving home?" he let out an enthusiastic "MEOW!" and worked his way down through all the other cats. He started arching his back against my leg. The attendant said that in all her years at the shelter, she'd never seen anything like it. And I sincerely doubt it's ever happened since.


#16 The Miracle Baby

I don't know if it is one in a million, but my wife started leaking amniotic fluid at 21 weeks. They told us there was nothing they could do for the baby. We were so anguished at the thought of losing him. The fluid was very low and she was constantly leaking. They wouldn't even admit us to a hospital until she was 23 weeks, which was about 10 days out.

It was the longest 10 days of our life—we were going to the doctor constantly just for them to monitor her. The day before she hit 23 weeks. my wife said she didn't feel like she was leaking anymore. Our fear was that she ran out of amniotic fluid. On the morning of 23 weeks, we went to the doctor's and got a sonogram. The plan all along was that as soon as we hit 23 weeks, we'd to the doctor's office to confirm the fluid level, and then they would send us to the hospital straight from there. Somehow, the amniotic sac that was ruptured had sealed.

To everyone's surprise, the fluid was back to normal range. We were all in shock. The doctor told us to just take it easy. My wife later delivered our son at full term with no health issues. Everyone at the hospital told us how lucky we were to have the amniotic sack seal. After the birth, the doctor told me that in his 40+ years of delivering babies, he could count the number of times on one hand that he had seen amniotic sack ruptures heal.

I don't know the odds, but I do know my wife and I are incredibly lucky to have our little man. He is 10 months old today as well.


#17 It's Rarer Than You Think

I was upgraded to first class for free 10 minutes before boarding. The plane was one of those 2-3-2 seat layouts. We were flying as a group of three and I guess they needed to fill those seats. I was sitting on the toilet when I heard my name called over the PA and had a mild panic attack thinking I was in trouble, but I was pleased when we went up to the gate and they asked if we wanted to be upgraded.


#18 The Coolest Cat

I was the substitute teacher for a gym class. The class was sitting on the three-point line. I was facing them, telling them what we were doing that day. I had a basketball on my hip. A kid raised his hand. "I bet you can't even shoot a basketball." I stared at him and tossed it back over my head with one hand. They howled in shock. Apparently it went in. I never broke eye contact with the kid. "Alright. Line up." Cool cats don't look back.


#19 The GOAT

Robin Williams was an active member of the AA fellowship where I live in Marin County, Northern California. He would greet people at meetings he attended regularly here and would chit chat with anyone and everyone. He was as down-to-earth as you’d imagine. I made a point of not bugging him but would smile or say hello when I saw him. He’d always say something like “Hello, Chief.”

Robin Williams With Troops in IraqWikimedia Commons Robin Williams, Academy Award winning actor and comedian, takes a pause from the laughter and antics as he performs on stage at the Contingency Operating Base Speicher. Williams performed for troops at Speicher during a brief USO stopover at the base, Dec. 19. Williams was among several celebrities participating in the tour, to include Rachel Smith, Lance Armstrong, Lewis Black and Kid Rock.

#20 Perfect Timing

I stuck my hand out the window to feel if it was still raining and a bird went #2 right on it. Never doing that again. That bird was talking to his friends later that night like: “So I let one loose while flying and when I looked down, it landed on some random hand stuck out a window. What are the odds? Definitely doing that again.”


#21 A Stormy Situation

One time, a storm rolled through my area and I went outside to bring in my toys and bikes. A bolt of lightning hit across the street from me, then another hit our metal roof and shot out all of the screws on one panel. The wind then took the rest of that part of the roof off. It was pouring rain so there was no fire, but it definitely rained inside our house. Lightning is scary.


#22 Famous Hands

I attended a Linkin Park concert and managed to get right on the barricade. While singing "In The End," I had both my hands up in the air. BOTH Mike Shinoda and Chester Bennington jumped on top of the barricade fence held my hands to keep their balance. For about 20 seconds, I felt like a rockstar. I don't think that'll ever happen in my life again.

LinkinParkBerlin2010Wikimedia Commons

#23 Money In The Wind

One day, I was walking around downtown where I live when I found some money on the ground. It was pretty windy that day and I saw what looked like a bill coming towards me, so I did my best to catch it. When I finally got it, it turned out to be a $100 bill. Not a crazy story, but it made feel like that bill came specifically to me for some reason.


#24 Lemonade And Bagels

I was walking with my kid daughter to our knitting group, which always held meetings at a coffee shop. She was usually nice enough not to ask for food because she knew I couldn't afford it. She asked if maybe, just maybe, this time we could get lemonade. I told her no because I had no money. She pointed to the floor and asked with excitement, "What's that?" Yeah, it was a $20 bill just laying in the gutter in the middle of a big parking lot. We had lemonade. And bagels.


#25 Lost And Found

As a kid, we'd get pizza every Friday at a local place. One time, I dropped the $20 I begged my mom to let me hold. She wasn't upset and just paid. The next Monday at school, a rather poor girl in our class was excitedly talking about how she found a $20 bill outside the pizza place and they got to get pizza for dinner. I rushed home after school to tell my mom, upset that she’d gotten our money. My mom used the opportunity to teach me that some families are less fortunate and that it was not a major loss to us. It still sticks with me.


#26 An Underwhelming Prize

I was at the Texas American Legion Convention a few years ago. They had been selling tickets all week for door prizes as a fundraiser. I was talking to someone when they called the first number. While the winner was going up on stage to get his prize, the guy I am talking to said, "I better get my tickets out." I pulled five tickets out of my pocket and tore one-off. I said, "Don't bother, they're going to call this one next". They did. I won a stupid baseball cap. Really? A freak event like that and all I get is a ball cap.


#27 Through The Moon Roof

A wasp flew through my bedroom window one day. I reacted by kicking it across the room and out the window. On another occasion, I was driving behind a large truck that threw up a rock from its tire. Cringing in anticipation as I hope my windshield isn't damaged, I felt a sharp pain on top of my head. I found the piece of gravel stuck in my hair on top of my head. It came over the car and fell through the moon roof.


#28 The Friendly Sheriff

I was paid $20 by a sheriff who pulled me over for a broken headlight. I knew it was out and hadn't had time to fix it. I had one leftover from replacing the other side a month prior. I let him know this when he pulled me over. Turned out, someone in the county donated $300 for these kinds of incidents and he still gave me $20 even though he knew I had one.


#29 One Of The Lucky Ones

Not quite me, but my dad. He was diagnosed with a brain tumor about a year and a half ago. The doctors said he literally won the lottery of brain tumors. It was a meningioma, right on top of his brain. It was positioned right under the skull. They got 99.99% of it out so it would be a real surprise if it grew back. He's really one of the lucky ones.

photo-1532938911079-1b06ac7ceec7 (1)Unsplash

#30 Lucky Trick Shot

I was playing beer pong years ago. I was definitely past my limit on drinks. This really pretty girl showed up at the party and asked me how to play. I started explaining the rules and when I got to the "trick shots," she asked what they were. Never breaking eye contact, I threw my ball up and it hit the ceiling fan blades (which were going at full speed). The ball went straight into a cup. After laughing for 10 minutes, we all tried to recreate the hole in one. Never even slightly close.


#31 The Food Web In Action

I was out in a boat on a lake trying to catch fish, not having any luck. Then I saw an osprey dive out of a tree into the water. The osprey came up with a fish and started to fly away. A bald eagle then dived out of another tree and attacked the osprey in mid-flight. The osprey dropped the fish. The eagle continues to rip into the osprey. Pretty cool right? Not over yet. A huge raven dropped out of a third tree, plucked the falling fish out of mid-air, and flew away with it. No one believes this story. I mean, it is a "fish story" right? I'll never see that again. Dang smart raven, eh?


#32 Unexpected Reunion

My cousin had kids with this woman I only met once. She lives in Boston, he lives in Jamaica, and I live in NYC. One morning, I was running late from work and decided to take an alternate route. I got so confused and stressed out transferring to different trains. I got lost and ended up at the stop going on the ferry, which was ridiculously far from where I was headed. Anyway, I was walking on the platform toward the map and this small kid ran up to me to give me a hug. Confused, I looked up, and it was my cousin's baby's mother and his three kids.


#33 A Throw Of A Lifetime

When I was 10, I saw a mouse running around my house and at the time I was quite scared of them. I was on my couch and I looked for something to throw at it to scare it away. I just didn't want it near me. To my left was a single clothes peg. I whipped to peg from the couch at the moving mouse from a distance of approximately 4 meters. The peg hit the mouse on the head, knocking it unconscious. I used a dustpan and took it outside two blocks up to an area with lots of bushlands. I don't know if it was one in a million but 20 years later I still think if was the throw of a lifetime.


#34 Like A Dream

I saw a helicopter crash right above me. I was riding bikes with my cousin. We both saw it from start to finish. It crashed hard. Nobody believed us until the local news came on later. It just crashed right in front of us. We were first on the scene. I got interviewed by news reporters. We were even in the papers. It was so surreal. I remember us being so mad at the adults in our family for not believing us about why we were gone so long. The whole thing was like a weird, scary, dream.


#35 Summoning Flounder

One time, I pulled a "boy who cried wolf" move while I was at the beach. I kept running around the water saying, "Look, a flounder!" without actually seeing one. Then, at one point, I uttered those exact words and a flounder emerged from the sand right at my feet before swimming away. I was shocked and I doubt that will ever happen again.


#36 Meant To Be

To make this story somewhat short, I'll skip a few details. Early high school, my friends keep telling me I needed to meet this girl because we would really hit it off. After about a year of all our mutual friends trying to hook us up, I called her and we both laughed about them.

The next year in high school, I met this girl. We hit it off. We got to talking and realized that we had the same mutual friends. We were actually the people our friends tried insanely hard to get together. One day, I was walking her home and we walked past my old pre-school. I mention to her that I went there. She said she did too and we realized we were also best friends in pre-school. We've now been together for more than 16 years.


#37 The Same Neighbor

I grew up in rural Ontario, and my neighbor lived a kilometer away from me. Then, later on in life,  I moved to Whitehorse, which is 6,000 km away, and who should be standing there behind the florist counter? My neighbor from my old neighborhood. I was totally surprised to see him there. Turned out, he actually moved to Whitehorse too. Small world indeed.


#38 Six-Number Luck

I once typed the PIN code for my phone wrong three times in a row. My phone was locked until I typed in the correct TAN code (6 numbers). I was bored so I typed some random numbers and it was correct. It was freaking correct! I calculated it and the probability of that is literally one in a million. It was the coolest moment ever.


#39 Nailed It

I used to own a blow-dart gun and had a big plywood target set up in the back yard. One day, I'd been out blowing darts for a while, when a big old horse-fly started pestering me. I'd just finished loading a dart, and saw it fly in front of the board, so I took a wild shot at it. I was doing it more out of annoyance than anything else because I certainly didn't expect to hit a mid-air fly, but when I went to retrieve the dart, that fly was pinned right to the board, still trying to crawl away.


#40 Wake-Up Call

I was driving back from a day at the amusement park with my girlfriend. She was asleep and I was starting to nod off at the wheel. As I was just about totally asleep, a meteor streaked over the road in front of me, bright enough to turn night into day for a few seconds and startle me out of my doze. I woke her up as well. I was able to find a safe spot to pull off and re-group.


#41 The Brightest Star

I was working at a summer camp and a fellow counselor asked me if I wanted to go layout and watch the stars (they're crazy bright in the Catskills). We were laying there for two minutes when she said, "I hope we see a shooting star." As she finished her sentence, the biggest brightest freaking shooting star I've ever known to exist lit the entire sky up and it was absolutely insane. We immediately freaked out. No description can capture how epic and bright that thing was.


#42 Meeting Again

I met and befriended two Americans while traveling in Australia in 2003. I didn't really stay in touch that well over the years and we lost touch after we went our separate ways. Then I bumped into both of them again in a random bar during a storm while traveling in Belize in 2012. They said it was the first trip they had taken together since their Australia trip nine years earlier. Seven billion people in the world and nearly a decade later, I see the same two guys on the complete opposite side of the world.


#43 The Rare Day

As a father and married man, I got one full day of pure peace. No one was fighting, and no one was napping either. My wife was in a decent mood, the animals didn't have any accidents, everything was clean. I even had time to play a video game. That's something that I never get to do a lot of. It was just a good day. Hasn't happened again since.

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#44 Karate Kid Reflexes

Not long after the original Karate Kid movie came out, my family went out for lunch to a Chinese restaurant with all my cousins, aunts, and uncles. A fly was buzzing around our table and as a joke, I said to my cousin Mike: "Hey, watch this." Using the chopsticks (which I wasn't particularly proficient with) waited for the fly to come close, then I stabbed at it. I caught it in between the chopsticks.


#45 United By Pokemon

There was that period for about a month after the release of Pokemon Go when countless people were going out and socializing because of the love for these animated creatures. It was a moment of peace and support where everyone was so friendly to each other. I don't think we'll get that level of unity again (not for PoGo at least).


#46 Golf Joy

I hit a hole in one on a par 4. I shot a decent shot, with a bit of a draw on a shortish par 4. I noticed it bounced in the air really high for two bounces. I didn't see it roll it because there was a slight hill as it was a dogleg left. I went up towards the green with my dad and uncle and couldn't find my ball. I assumed I lost the ball. As we all got the green after our second shot, my dad looked in the hole. Lo and behold, there it was. The two bounces that went high were the ball hitting perfectly from two separate cart paths. It was enough for it to roll in. I will never hit a shot like that again.


#47 For The Love Of Disney

I won an all-inclusive trip for four people. It was for three days in Disneyland Paris. In order to have a chance to get it, you had to complete a game on a Disney magazine (very popular in my country) and send the sheet to the provided address. It was so random. I had done it just for fun but then I won the prize.


#48 Crossing Paths

In May 2014, I visited a resort in Malaysia and there was a “teen club” where you got to hang out and stuff. Fast forward to July 2016—I was in Mexico on a family holiday and I was chilling in the pool. I saw this kid with incredibly bright yellow board shorts and I’m like, whoa, I recognize him. I hopped out of the pool and it was one of the guys from Malaysia. He was from the Netherlands and I’m from Australia.


#49 No Surgery Required

I have a severely deviated septum that was supposed to be corrected (the surgery was postponed when they found a brain tumor on the pre-op CT). Then two weeks ago, I got kneed by my horse in the nose in JUST the right spot. Instantly, I could breathe through my nose for the first time in my life. It hurt a lot and gave me a nosebleed, but it was just dumb luck that the horse was having a bad day and hit me in a way that jimmied something into a better spot.


#50 Old Owners, New Owners

I bought a house in a small town in Ohio about two hours from Columbus. My wife and I decided to go to a random Ohio State game since we have never been and got tickets off Stubhub. When we got there, we ended up sitting next to the people we bought our house from.



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