People Who Are One In A Million Share Their Story Why
Every person in the world has something that makes them special and different: a skill, a talent, a quirky little thing they do that no one else can. But the people on this list are really special. They go beyond just being able to whistle really loudly or bend their legs into a funny pretzel shape. Whether it’s illness, family, body parts, or straight up survival, the stories of these unusual individuals will leave you wanting to know more about them.
Some have struggled to get diagnosed with their extremely rare diseases, some have survived insane and intense crashes, and some have totally changed their lives for the better in unexpected ways. These one-in-a-million stories might have you wondering what is so unique about you, or they might make you grateful that you’re not so special after all.
#1 Not A Good Surprise
I am a 19-year-old male. In August of last year, I was driving with my sister, when suddenly her face turned cold. “Gavin your eyes are yellow,” I remember her saying. I quickly pulled down the passenger’s mirror, and to my horror, two yellow eyes radiated back at me. I spent a month being sick, with the initial diagnosis being Hepatitis A. I went back to the doctor and nothing was better; things were worse, in fact. I was sent to the ER, then to the liver transplant unit at UCSF. By this point, my eyes had turned muddy orange. Anyway, the team of liver doctors at UCSF managed to save my liver. I was diagnosed with autoimmune hepatitis. Oh, and my eyes are white again.
#2 The 1%
When I was 14 years old, I woke up one day with heavy stomach cramps. We called the hospital and they told us that I probably have the stomach flu and should go to the doctor the next morning. After one of the worst nights ever, vomiting and sleeping next to the toilet, we went to the doctor. I had a fever of 40°C and was aching a lot.
The doctor told me I had to to go to the ER and have it checked out because she thought my appendix was inflamed and causing the pain. We went to the ER and I stayed in the hospital for about two weeks, but they couldn’t find anything. They treated me with a broad range of antibiotics and after two weeks, I was feeling a bit better and they told me to go home.
The night I got back from the hospital, I went to bed and started hallucinating that I lived in a retirement home and that pirates were coming to steal our food. I was flailing around trying to fend off pirates when my mother came in and asked what all the fuss was about. I told her what was going on and she looked at me like I had summoned something evil.
She took my temperature and she instantly took me to the ER again (I had a 41°C fever). When we went back to the hospital, I got treated immediately for inflammation and they did a wide range of tests again. They saw that something in my body was inflamed but they couldn’t find it. I stayed in the hospital for about two more weeks when they finally found what was going on.
My appendix was inflamed and burst the night I was having the hallucinations but on all the scans they couldn’t see my appendix. The doctor told me that if I came in two days later, I would have died because of the puss flowing in my body. Apparently, there is a 1% chance of all the appendix cases that the appendix is so stretched out that they can’t see it on the scans. So after staying on antibiotics for about two more weeks, they finally removed my appendix and all the pain was gone.
#3 Not Worldwide Unique, But Unique For Sure
My wife and I lived in Jacksonville, Florida. She rarely gets sick but she has mild insomnia. Around Wednesday, she had a low fever and complained of aches and sweats at night. That weekend, she wanted to see the doctor. I told her she probably had the flu and that she just wasn’t used to the aches. However, if she was still feeling bad Sunday, I told her we’d go to a clinic.
On Saturday night. she couldn’t sleep, so we made an appointment for Sunday afternoon. But on our way there, sure enough, she started to feel better. The doctor checked her out and said she probably had meningitis but is recovering. I was due to go on a business trip to California the next day and asked him if he thought it was fine that I go. He said, yeah, no problem.
That evening, my wife was perfectly fine. On Monday morning, I left early. That afternoon, my neighbor called and let me know that my wife was wandering down the street in a delirium. My wife didn’t know where she was, so the neighbor drove her to the ER. I booked a flight home that night. The hospital checked her out. She had a fever, her blood cell count was in the basement, and she was completely out of it mentally.
They were not sure what was wrong, and a bunch of specialists started descending on her. I had to fill out a bunch of paperwork on her medical history, where we’d been, etc. They thought it might be some weird autoimmune disorder. Not good. She got a bunch of transfusions and was put on a cocktail of meds while they tried to figure it out. On the third day in the hospital, the infectious disease expert came in. He said she had a blood parasite.
Maybe tick born—she’d been to the midwest recently, so she could have caught it when went walking in the woods. The next day, the infectious disease expert asked, “Why didn’t you tell me she left the country?” I replied, “Huh? She hasn’t.” Then, he said, “Well, she has malaria. You need to go home and bring me her passport.” What the heck? I retrieved her passport.
The CDC came, did a whole case study on her (which they wouldn’t release to us). Mosquito traps were set up around the neighborhood, and mysterious vans started driving by spewing clouds of stuff. My wife stayed in the ICU for a week but recovered just fine. If you look at the 2010 CDC Infectious Disease report, you’ll see a discussion of malaria, and how the number of cases all was related to people recently returned from endemic areas, except for one woman in Duval County, Florida who received it from a cryptic vector.
#4 Pretty Sweet
I’m from the Netherlands and my wife is from the US. We met in Israel. It was my first weekend in Israel, so I decided to go on a pub crawl to meet some people and have fun. As I was buying the ticket, my now-wife walked up to the counter to also buy a ticket. The girl working there introduced us and we hit it off the first night. I told her I was leaving in two days to stay with friends of friends in the middle of the desert for three months.
Two days after I left, I lost my phone and didn’t have any way to get back in touch with her. I still had enough money to stay with the people in the desert, but I kept thinking about her, so after a week, I told everyone I was leaving. I took the next bus, then a train to Tel Aviv. I had no idea how to find her, or where to stay. I emailed a couple of hostels to find a work/stay agreement, but those jobs were usually planned months in advance.
I got an email back from one company when I arrived in Tel Aviv, saying that I could come in for an interview because they had a spot open (this was already ridiculously lucky). Right after the interview and dropping off my belongings, I went back to the first hostel to see if they would give me any information, but they wouldn’t. At that point, I was at a loss.
Tel Aviv is a city of more than half a million people, I didn’t know anyone and had only a little more than the clothes on my back. Feeling kind of defeated, I start wandering around and exploring the city. After a couple of hours, I got hungry and decided to treat myself to a restaurant. I was well out of the tourist area and found a place that was almost empty.
I sat down, ordered a drink and something to eat. As I got my food, I saw my now-wife walking past the restaurant. She saw me, and I saw her. I was literally dumbstruck. I just kind of grinned and waved, but she didn’t know I lost my phone earlier and thought I had been ignoring her all this time, so she just kept walking. I threw like, 200 shekels on the table and sprinted after her, explained what had happened and the rest is history.
#5 Animal Interaction
When I was a kid, I was chilling in the water of the Mediterranean Sea in Turkey. Suddenly, I felt an awful burning sensation on my stomach and my legs. I looked like I had been brutally sandpapered. It turned out, I made contact with a jellyfish and later discovered that jellyfish incidents hadn’t happened on that beach for 10 years or so. I was just extremely unlucky.
#6 Lucky Kid
Not sure about the odds on this one, but I survived a “non-survivable” plane crash. I was on an old Po-2, an aircraft famous for being very safe and uncrushable, on a tour of the desert in western China when I was like, seven years old. My father’s friend who hosted me and piloted the plane didn’t survive, but somehow I got out with a concussion and apparently passed out for almost a day in the middle of the desert, among the wreckage of the crash, 50 km from the town.
The people who found me were some tree planters (they planted greens in the desert to protect towns from sandstorms). They found me on their way to pick up a shipment, and the only reason they looked was that they were making a bet on how fast an egg would cook in the sand. They went off-road to do the test and found me instead.
#7 Now THAT Is Bad Luck
I was in two separate car crashes in two separate cars, less than 45 minutes apart.
#8 Better Than A Stroke
I slept wrong one night and pinched a nerve in my neck so severely that I lost feeling in the right side of my body. It just went “silent” as if it wasn’t there for months. I woke up in the worst pain I’d ever experienced and couldn’t talk, move or do anything. The ER doctor thought I was having a stroke. My doctor had never seen a case as severe as mine and it was purely just a freak accident. Recovery took months, but I can use my leg and hand again, with some numbness. Other than pain and spasms, I’m mostly back to normal.
#9 Tumor Terror
I had two 11-centimeter benign tumors growing in my spine, resulting in gradual paralysis from my chest down. They had no idea how the tumors formed. The surgery took 11 hours because the tumors were so complexly woven throughout my spine. I now have pretty much half a spine and chronic pain, but I’d take that over losing my life from paralysis and being unable to breathe.
#10 Not Fun To Wake Up To
A bird got into my room through a tiny hole in the ceiling and took a huge #2 on me.
#11 Are They Connected?
I don’t know about the exact odds, but I was born on 7/7/77 and weighed exactly seven pounds and seven ounces. Unfortunately, I clocked in at 6:50 AM. I’ve always felt those numerical coincidences was linked to another event in my life when I was 14 years old. I started to notice the outsides of both of my feet starting to get much wider.
After a couple of years of buying expensive custom made shoes, they decided to perform surgery on my feet. Turned out, I had extra muscle growths on both of them. My podiatrist told me he had submitted a scholarly article on the phenomenon. It may also have been genetic since when my dad was three, he developed an extra toe growing out of each one of his big toes.
#12 Are You Related?
The middle toes on both of my feet are webbed. Apparently, so did Stalin. Quack.
#13 I Guess That’s Cool?
When I was a teenager, I had just started working at the local Sears Auto Center Express Lube shop. On day one, I attended a quick orientation and conducted my first oil change. The manager walked away when he felt I was good to go on my own. Fast forward a few days later, my manager asked me to come into his office and he explained that the oil filter I had used had one huge flaw.
I didn’t know what the flaw was and it turned out that the filter was pressed on backward into the filter can. Essentially, it wouldn’t allow the oil to flow in and it damaged the motor. They had to purchase a new motor for the person. Luckily, I still kept my job. He said cases like that were definitely one-in-a-million.
#14 Lots Of Testing For Not A Lot Of Result
I have an unknown type of autosomal dominant centronuclear myopathy. My type is so rare that doctors have never seen it before. Getting diagnosed was a multi-year struggle. They pretty much had to rule out everything else. It doesn’t feel great to be in this club by myself. Countless blood draws, MRIs, cat scans, a biopsy, and a genetic test. So far, it looks like my father and I are the only ones with it. Yay.
#15 What Does This Taste Like?
I have the rarest type of synesthesia called lexical-gustatory. It means I can taste words.
#16 Good For You
My father went officially missing. He was last seen in the USA. My mother was homeless living on the streets of downtown Vancouver. She was already pregnant, according to the test she took. Somehow, I was born underweight but with only mild FASD. I ended up in foster care going in and out from age two to five until becoming a ward of the province. I went on to get my Bachelor’s and have broken the cycle. My children have a safe home and food on the table. They know they are loved.
#17 No Ice For You
I’m allergic to the cold. Literally, I get intense hives and swelling, then I pass out and throw up. It doesn’t even have to be freezing. If it’s below 45 degrees, without a jacket, I can’t survive. I have to carry an Epipen with me in the event that I drink something too cold and have a severe reaction.
#18 And No Beaches For You
I’m allergic to the heat and break out, head to toe, in hives (starting with my legs). It happens especially when the temperature is around 80 degrees or more. We have to keep the house pretty cold for me.
#19 Rarer And Rarer
As a child, I had an extremely rare autoimmune disease. On top of having an extremely rare illness, I developed the rarer and most dangerous of the symptoms. My kidneys started shutting down. Most kids recover from this disease, but not always the ones with kidney issues. I was extremely lucky. I did not have to go on dialysis, and my kidneys eventually reached normal functioning levels. It took a decade to be completely cleared of the disease. My mother likes to call me a miracle child not only because of this but because she was not supposed to be able to have a kid due to health issues. She had several miscarriages before my stubborn self decided to be born.
#20 Technically, Yes
I went to Antarctica a few times. About 4,000 go a year, and there are eight billion people, so that’s like, one in a million.
#21 So Awful They Named It Twice
I have a very rare skin disease that only one in a million people get. I’ve been told that I’ll probably never meet another person in my life with it. It’s called Hailey-Hailey disease.
#22 Tiny And Unusual
I was so freakishly allergic to ant and bee venom as a child that a single sting from either one put me into anaphylactic shock. When my allergist was preparing to start immunotherapy for me, he found that the in-office lab equipment wasn’t sensitive enough to measure the infinitesimally small amount of allergen with which to start my titration.
He had to send a sample of my blood to Johns Hopkins so that their lab could determine how much to give me. I did immunotherapy for several years to reach an immune response level at which it would be safe for me to basically exist in a non-frozen climate. Good news, though: I’m good now. I’ve had a few run-ins with ants and wasps since my immunotherapy and my body didn’t freak out and shut down.
#23 What A Success
I bought $3 pong balls at one of those games at the state fair. I think you get 10 balls, and the grand prize was in the middle. You had to land them in a small glass container. I was having fun and just decided to throw them by flicking my wrist in a weird way. It bounced around for a while and landed right in the red glass container, which was the grand prize. Even the worker was surprised that I got it! I had to walk around the state fair with a giant Charmander plush toy after that.
#24 That’s Pretty Amazing
I was actually homeless for four years. As silly as it sounds, I used to earn some extra money at the time by helping around in a Yu-Gi-Oh tournament. It was my biggest hobby when I was younger and was something I felt confident about, I also didn’t have a passport or a bank account so I couldn’t get a normal job.
Anyway, at the time I was stuck not earning enough money, without a passport, a bank account, or a real job. In the UK, you won’t get hired by 99% of companies if you don’t have a passport to prove you have the right to work. So one day, I got a phone call from a studio asking if I played Yu-Gi-Oh and if I wanted to be on a TV show.
They said they would send me to another country as a part of the arrangement. Being homeless, the biggest problem was being bored, so naturally, I said yes, but told them I didn’t have a passport. “No problem, we’ll get you one straight away and pay for it ourselves,” they assured me. I ended up on a show called Geeks that you can still watch on Channel 4 OD. Because I got this passport, I was finally able to get a job, a bank account, and finally a house. Now I’m looking after my 10-month-old daughter. Yu-Gi-Oh saved me from being homeless.
#25 So Small
I weighed one pound and six ounces at birth. The doctors said I had like, a 15% chance of surviving or something like that. They also said that if I did survive, I would eventually turn into a vegetable. 20 years later and I’m alive and healthy. I can walk, talk and do all the normal things. The only thing really wrong with me is that my right eye is hanging on a thread. I guess that’s one in a million.
#26 Smart Mouth
I had eight wisdom teeth. The dentist had never seen anything like it and called the whole office to my chair to marvel at my teeth.
#27 Not A Miracle
I had Pygmy glandular fever when I was 16. Nothing special about that. But then I had pneumonia a few months later (probably due to my weak immune system from the first disease) which caused my lungs to collapse. Such was very unlikely for a 17-year-old. The hospital I was in couldn’t do any more for me, so another hospital came with a rescue team of eight people and a heart-lung machine to pick me up. They brought me to the other hospital and I was in a coma for a couple more days, but made it out three weeks after that, just before Christmas. A big newspaper wanted the story for ‘Christmas miracles’ but I said no thanks.
#28 More Than Not A Fun Week
I got a rare and potentially deadly rash from a medication. I laughed when I first saw the bottle with the warning, saying that knowing my luck, I’d get it. I did. I ended up in a burn unit with my skin sloughing off. Not a fun week.
#29 Good And Bad
I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia on my 12th birthday. It turned out that my sister was almost an identical match for the bone marrow transplant I needed. She is 14 years older than me. From what I was told, this type of match can only be found with identical twins. A year later, after remission, I developed a disease (GVHD) because of the bone marrow transplant I had received. The same thing that saved my life also made the rest of my life extremely difficult… but I’m still here.
#30 So Much Pain
My uterus ruptured into my bladder after the birth of my youngest. It was a quarter inch away from a major artery. I nearly died.
#31 Skills Plus Luck
I own a Lego mini-figure called Mr. Gold. This particular mini-figure was created to celebrate the 10th series of the Lego figurine line. They are sort of like grab bags—you can feel for them, but you don’t know what mini-figure you’re really going to get. Because they were celebrating, they thought it was a good idea to only make 5,000 of these.
Anyway, when I was younger, I was really good knowing which figures they were, simply by looking at the pieces of the figures and feeling them out. I really liked the mini-figures because I thought they were really cool, and I really wanted Mr. Gold. My mom and I hunted for it for a long time but after a while, I gave up. Then one day, I was at the Lego store and felt the distinct diamond piece and freaked out. Finding this figure was like a fantasy come true. I’m 18 now and still want to re-live 12-year-old me’s pure joy.
#32 That Is Not Good At All
I was kidnapped when I left work one day and was held for 18 months, along with two other girls. The guy who took us claimed himself to be an ineffable lower god and used cult tactics, manipulation, and control to have us be his family. I was allowed to leave for the grocery store as an errand but I knew if I didn’t come back the others would receive my punishment. I finally got away when the captor made a crucial break in his routine.
#33 Snaked Eagle
I lived in Florida for the first 18 years of my life and spent most of my free time outdoors. The summer before my junior year of high school, I found myself out hiking nearby by my home with a buddy. We were stomping around in some clay deposits inside of a little ravine (even minimal geographic relief is dramatic in a place as flat as the Gulf Coast) when it started to rain.
Our minds immediately jumped to the exciting possibility of a flash flood raging through the crevasses we were exploring. In an effort to make our day more exciting and not take any chances, we began to climb vertically out of the canyons. As soon as we got to the top, I felt the ground underneath me squirm. I had stepped on a snake.
I screamed and kicked the snake that was latched onto my foot. As an Eagle Scout, I immediately recognized the red and yellow pattern as the snake slithered away. It was a coral snake. We rushed to the hospital. The doctors informed my parents the nearest anti-venom was a three-hour helicopter ride away. The first symptom, lung failure, would occur after two hours.
My parents called my friends and family and we all spent time together without me knowing my fate. My friends and family arrived and subsequently left together. My parents turned off the lights and we prayed together. Around two hours after being bitten, a nurse came into our dark room with a gurney to collect my dead body. I asked the nurse, “Are there any developments?” to her surprise. The doctors came in, shocked I was alive. Then they found out it was a dry bite.
#34 Double Transplant, Double Unique
I was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of liver disease called Primary Hyperoxaluria. Some 300 people in the United States currently have it. Basically, I pass a lot of kidney stones and need a double transplant to fix it.
#35 So Many Unique Things
I have TMJ Disorder, an uncommon chronic issue where my jaw clicks and hurts sometimes. I was temporarily put on some medication to ease the pain. The medication has a rare withdrawal effect that leads to schizophrenic paranoid psychosis. When I ended the medication, I heard voices and chanting, saw hallucinations, thought my roommates were trying to poison me, experienced grandiose delusions, the whole nine yards.
Why one in a million? The withdrawal effect has a 2 to 4% occurrence rate in patients who received the meds via spinal injection regularly for several years. I was taking the medication orally at 5 mg per day and hadn’t been on it for more than two weeks, making my case so rare that there’ve only been 16 known instances of similar occurrences worldwide.
#36 Was It Luck?
My ex was struck by lightning several times and lived. He died in a car accident though… so I guess he’s not as lucky as he claimed to be.
#37 That Is So Crazy
I was on Tinder and was talking to this guy. He was supposed to meet me for dinner. I texted him but got no answer. Then, I texted him on Tinder. He said that he couldn’t make it, however, it wasn’t the guy that I thought I texted. It was the actor Gerard Butler. I thought he was lying until he FaceTimed me. Nice guy.
#38 On Both Hands
No idea on the actual numbers, but I was born with 12 fingers. Identical extra digits on each hand.
#39 What Are The Odds?
My mom once called her friend on the landline and another lady answered. My mom asked if her friend was there and the lady said, “Sure, I’ll get her.” My mom’s friend hopped on the phone and asked how she knew she was there. It turned out, my mom got a number wrong when dialing, called a random house where someone was hosting a Tupperware party, and my mom’s friend just happened to be attending it! What are the odds of that?!
#40 Good AND Old Fashioned
I was struck by lightning while talking on a landline. This was in the early ’90s. Lightning struck the telephone line and traveled through the handset to my ear. My parents drove me to the ER and the doctor said I might have permanent nerve damage. I couldn’t talk very well. My brain knew what I wanted to say, but my mouth didn’t want to say it. I had a terrible stutter. Luckily, my speech was normal the next day, but I get a terrible headache whenever a thunderstorm comes through.
#41 All From A Little Leaf
One day, there was a sudden windstorm while I was in an open parking lot on the outskirts of a city. A leaf flew right into my eye and it immediately started to hurt. I somehow drove home with my eye still in pain. I washed it a few times, but it didn’t work. I started to feel movement inside my eye but couldn’t see anything in the mirror. I freaked out and started gently poking around in my eye with my index finger.
A tiny little dot came out and moved a little on the tip of my finger. I ran to my mom, showed her and she couldn’t see anything. It was so freaking tiny and barely moved! I was convinced I wasn’t just “seeing things.” Finally, my mom took me to an eye surgeon. I was brought into the ER and the eye surgeon who examined me said I had living micro-organisms inside my eye. He wasn’t really sure if he could get them out, but he said he’d try.
It took about 20 minutes and they removed all 14 of them. I got a patch like a pirate that I had to wear for a few days. The doctor said he’d never seen anything like it in his 25 years of experience. He said I was a one-in-a-million case and if I had taken even an extra day to come in, chances were that I would have been blinded.
#42 A Lot Of Unique Going On
I have aggressive fallopian tube cancer, as well as a malignant pleural tumor. I also have a late diagnosis of stage 2 and 3 urogenital reflux which is usually discovered before a kid is out of diapers. I was too old for the surgeons to fix it properly. Lookswise, I’m a redhead with blue eyes, a hitchhiker thumb, double jointed hands and a double row of eyelashes. My kid is a pretty close copy despite her biological dad having dominant genes (he’s half Japanese).
One of my good friends got her Ph.D. researching thyroid cancer treatments. She ended up getting thyroid cancer at the age of 31. What the heck?
I survived earlier this month from hypothermia. I had walked with my brother in -40 windchills. We were already tipsy a bit and never checked the weather. We bought a bottle, headed back to chill in the fort, but I passed out. He ran to grab my dad and wake him up to get the truck, I was probably passed out for 10 minutes. They dragged me into the truck, then to the hospital where the doctor said I didn’t have a chance.
I remember I woke up, with the doctors shoving a big breathing tube in my throat. I couldn’t breathe; I was restrained to the bed trying to take it out and I remember a nurse saying, “Breathe.” I did, once every five seconds, until the doctor finally said take it out. I gasped for life when they took it out. I looked at myself, in a gown hooked up like a robot, wires connected to me, and three machines around me with like, six people in the room.
Then, the alarms on the machines went off and I blacked out. They monitored me for eight hours until I was stable. I died in cardiac arrest for about less than five minutes. I was revived successfully and monitored closely. I woke up a day later, seeing my mother and brother, however, I was so high on morphine I think that I mumbled a few words. I freaking survived.
#45 That Doesn’t Sound Possible
I got into a car accident where my truck took out two power poles. It flipped a few times and, when I was ejected from the vehicle, it landed on top of me. I had hypothermia when they found me and they airlifted me to the hospital. No major injuries, other than a severe concussion and some minor internal contusions. I have no recollection of the incident because of the concussion. Not sure if my story counts, but hey, I’m alive.