Picture this: you’re on your way back home from working a long night and your train is moments away from leaving without you. You hasten to the platform only to see the tail end of the train slowly fading into the darkness of the tunnel ahead. And just like that, you’re stuck waiting for the next one. Oh, joy.
To your surprise, you spot the face of Ben Franklin glaring at you from beneath your foot. You realize it’s a crisp bill that just happened to find a home between the ground and the sole of your shoe, and there’s no one on the platform to claim it. Congratulations! You were just in the right place at the right time.
Timing is everything. We tend to chalk up all of our good and not-so-good experiences to "everything happens for a reason," but that cliché wouldn't make much sense without the concept of timing. These people decided to share some of their experiences from a moment when timing factored into a make-or-break moment for them.
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#35 A Street-Crossing Miracle
I was going back home from the bakery with my aunt. For some reason, she decided to cross the street, which was unnecessary because my house was on that same sidewalk. As soon as we crossed the street, a car crashed through that very same place we were standing, going straight into a house. I was like six years old when it happened.
#34 The Brat Who Cried, Eiffel
My family vacationed in Paris for a week in the mid-'90s. I was about ten years old. My mom and stepfather were planning to go to the Arc de Triomphe on a certain day, but I wanted to go to the Eiffel Tower. When I was told we would see the Eiffel Tower another day, I threw a fit.
It became a whole argument. Eventually, my mom caved in (probably to just shut me up) and we went to the Eiffel Tower that day. My stepfather was upset for the rest of the day. We got back to the hotel and saw that a pipe had exploded near the Arc de Triomphe and a bunch of people got hurt.
The last we spoke to any other family was before the fight and my stepfather told them we were going to the Arc de Triomphe that day. They were frantically calling the hotel to try and get a hold of us. My brattiness might have saved us.
#33 Under Pressure
When I was about 13, I came home from playing outside, entering the kitchen through a side door. I went up the stairs and about halfway, I heard a crazy, loud metallic clanging, like pots and pans, falling.
I came running downstairs to find that the pressure cooker top had popped off and shot into the ceiling. The pressure release propelled the cooker into the living room, smashing into a wall and rolled to a stop in front of my dad on the couch. The whole time it was spewing chicken grease, as my mom was making chicken soup.
Had I come in 10 seconds later, I would probably have been disfigured from grease burns and maybe hit by the flying cooker itself.
#32 Penny For Your Thoughts, Dollar For Your Life
When I was 12, I went to a dollar store with my mom and my sister late at night. As soon as when we went in, a sketchy car pulled up into the parking lot.
My mom got paranoid and rushed us in to get candy and a soda. Right when we left, two men got out of the car and speed-walked into the store. The next morning we saw on the news that the store was robbed by them. I guess they waited for us to leave before they did it.
#31 You're Safer In The Daylight, They Said...
There had been a couple of armed robberies along my route home from work, which I usually walked. One of my coworkers, who lived in the same apartment building as me, was nervous about going home after dark, so I agreed to switch shifts with her so that she could get off in the afternoon and I'd close instead.
I found out the next day that she'd been mugged and shot after her shift. She didn't die, thank God, but the fact that I should have been the one walking that same route freaked me out for a while.
#30 Speed Can Kill
I was in the car with my father-in-law, husband, and baby boy. My father-in-law was driving us to lunch. We were the first car at a red light. The light turned green but he hesitated to go for about a second and a half, for absolutely no reason. Then, out of nowhere, a car ran the red light.
If my father-in-law didn't have that moment of hesitation, the car would have hit us, and at the speed it was going, it would have been fatal.
A highway patrol just getting off the interstate saw the entire thing and pulled the driver over immediately.
#29 Never, Ever Going Hungry
One day, I was visiting my mom's work. I didn't eat breakfast that morning, and I was starving. I asked my mom if she could take her lunch break and we could go somewhere to eat. We eventually did, and when we got back, there were police cars around the building and we weren't allowed into it.
It turns out that some crazy lady threatened someone with a knife and a gun right next to my mom's office and we would've been right in the middle of it all if I wasn't hungry at that exact moment.
#28 Set Vases to Stun
A flower pot flew off of a balcony and fell right where I had been standing just a minute earlier. Unfortunately for the guy behind me, it grazed his shoulder and he was left with a small cut. It could have been dangerous if it hit him on the head.
We called the cops on the guy since we saw other vases on his balcony. The dude was very upset but he took them in.
#27 But Is The Deer OK?
I almost forgot to wear my helmet before taking the scooter out for a ride in the country. I hit a deer that day. EMTs and shock trauma hospital doctors agreed that I'd be dead if I had not worn that helmet.
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#26 Picked Up Milk, Almost Left With Toast
When I was about three or four years old, I was with my mom and my older brother. We were on our way home and she decided to stop at the grocery store. I was asleep in the car and she told my brother to stay with me with the doors locked as she ran in to get some milk. For some reason, while she was walking into the store, she decided to go back to the car and bring us in with her.
Five minutes later, we paid for the milk and walked outside to see that our car was on fire! It turns out, there was a new heated seat feature on the car that had malfunctioned. I vividly remember getting driven home by a nice police officer and my mom being on the phone with her parents for hours crying about what could have been.
#25 A Flight Worth Missing
When I was two years old, back in 2001, my mom and I flew to New York to visit my grandparents. My dad, who is a surgeon, stayed home in San Francisco as the hospital put him on-call for that week.
After our trip, my mom and I said goodbye to my grandparents and we went to Newark International Airport on September 11th. We had tickets for American Airlines Flight 93, which would later end up being one of the planes involved in the attacks. The only reason we canceled our flight was that my dad had a last-minute operation scheduled and would not have been able to pick us up on time in San Francisco. If my dad hadn't been called to the hospital, we would've boarded Flight 93 and crashed in Somerset, Pennsylvania.
#24 The Gang's All Here
I had just gotten off a bus near my home. My mom worked in the building up the block from where my stop was. I called her and she said that she was going to pick me up. As I waited outside the stop, I noticed a few guys outside the nearby 7/11 who seemed off.
Five minutes later, more guys showed up. I assumed they were gang members so I kept my distance. My mom finally came and we left for home.
The next morning, we turned on our local news and saw there was a gang-related shooting at that 7/11.
#23 Almost Aboard a Sinking Duck
My girlfriend and I were vacationing in Branson two weeks ago. We rode the very same boat on the Ride the Ducks tour that sank in a storm only five days later.
#22 Things Tend To Pop Off On Your 21st Birthday
I was out with some of my friends downtown for my 21st birthday. Everything was going well until we started to get a weird vibe from the crowd in the club that we were in. We decided to call it a night, as it was getting close to last call anyway. My girlfriend picked us up to drive us home.
When we woke up the next morning, it was on the news that some guy had shot a gun randomly into the crowd, hitting four people right outside of the bar. It happened only five minutes after we left! We narrowly avoided being right in the middle of it.
#21 Skipping Out On The Darkest Night
I almost went to the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises at Aurora Century 16. It was my local theater and I saw plenty of midnight releases there. But that night, my boyfriend and I were too tired and decided around 11 p.m. to sleep instead.
#20 A Back-Breaking Revelation
I was supposed to study abroad in Istanbul while I was in college. I would have gone in the spring semester of my junior year, but I broke my back in an accident the summer before. I was on pain meds and was barely able to move, so I had to withdraw from the program.
During the period I would have been in Istanbul for the program, there were several bombings at the airport. At the time, I took morbid comfort in the fact that my junior year of college would have sucked either way.
Yesterday, the metal awning on the food truck I was approaching collapsed from the wind and slammed into the sidewalk.
I almost got sandwiched while trying to get a sandwich.
#18 Heaven Sent An Angel
A few years ago, we were going bar hopping in Baltimore for my buddy’s bachelor party. We got down there nice and early so we could grab some dinner and not get stuck in rush hour traffic.
This was on the night of the riots for Freddy Gray...
We decided to go out anyway and just try to avoid the areas where we heard there was trouble. We were a group of six dudes who were smashed, and at some point, we ended up pretty close to the action.
A guy stopped us and warned: “Look, it’s getting pretty crazy where you're headed and people are getting out of control. It’s probably not safe for you guys to walk through there. I’d take another route.” We thanked him and went to grab a pizza.
The next morning, we saw that a couple guys got the heck kicked out of them by a group of rioters about half a block away from where we were.
#17 Off the Tree and Onto the John
I was playing in the rain during a progressive thunderstorm. I climbed a tree, then had to go "Number Two." I went inside to do my business and while on the toilet, the power went out. It turns out, lightning had struck the tree I was climbing and a branch took out our power lines. Saved by nature's call.
#16 A Love That Capsized Before It Flourished
When my sister was in college, her boyfriend had a party on a yacht and all her friends attended. She didn't go because she had to study for her test the next morning. Everyone on the boat got very tipsy and crashed there. A few people, including her boyfriend, died. When she was helping his mother clean out his dorm room, they found an engagement ring in a drawer.
#15 "Mom Senses"
There's a popular bridge in our area that people often visit to walk on and take pictures. My family stopped to take pictures on our way to a campsite when I was a baby. All my siblings and my dad walked out onto the bridge but my mom had a very, very bad feeling about it. She told herself she was being crazy and just to enjoy the scenery, but the feeling just got worse and worse to the point where she said she could taste blood in her mouth. She lost it and told my dad to get all the kids off the bridge and back into the car. He thought she was crazy, but he obliged. The next day, a boy that went to our church who was on the bridge with his family later that month was hit by a truck.
My mom has had a few weird premonitions like that. I call it her "mom senses."
#14 Mom & Dad Didn't Raise a Snitch
When I was 10, I snuck into the kitchen for a midnight snack just as a stranger walked into the lounge. I hid in a cupboard where we stored our brooms and stayed there for what felt like hours. Eventually, I got out and being the dumb child that I was; I didn’t wake up my parents or anything. I just went back to bed.
In the morning, we found out that the thief had taken our TV, iMac and some other expensive technology, but luckily it was all insured. I didn’t tell my parents about it at the time because I was scared that it would mean the police would ask me questions and potentially arrest me despite having done nothing wrong.
#13 Swimming in Trouble
We went to the beach with all my cousins when I was little. All of us would compete to see who could swim out the farthest (stupid, I know, but we were kids). After the last day of beach fun, we packed up and headed home. Later that day, we had learned that at the same beach, just an hour or so after we left, there were large sharks spotted in the deeper parts of the water and everyone had to evacuate for a bit.
#12 Taxi Cab Premonitions
We were out partying one night in Bali, Indonesia. It was midnight and we were all inebriated to the max, but we still wanted to check out this renowned club we kept hearing about.
The taxi driver would not have any of it. He kept saying, "No, I take you home." Two hours later, we heard and felt a MASSIVE explosion.
The next morning, we woke up to the news of 204 people dead after two explosions burned down the club we wanted to visit. The airport was hectic the next day...
#11 Stranger Danger
When I was eight years old, a guy came up to me and asked for directions. He asked me to come outside to show him the way to go. I called my dad because I couldn’t remember, and when I told the guy my dad would talk to him and help me, he got spooked and said nevermind. Fifteen years later and I still remember it.
#10 Nearly Demolished At The Derby
I was at a demolition derby a couple of years ago with my family. We got a random feeling to get up and move seats to the other side of the arena. About 10 minutes after we moved, a truck rolled over and the driveline on the truck got ejected into the crowd right where we had previously been seated. Three people experienced major injuries and it could have killed the little children who were with us.
#9 Bedtime Extended
When I was about eight or so, my parents sold our house but the one they were buying fell through, so we had to rent a horrible apartment to stay in while they found a different one.
One night, at about 8.45 pm, we were watching TV when we heard this massive crash sound upstairs. We went up and chunks of the ceiling we scattered all over my bedroom. My bedtime was 8.30 p.m. but my parents let me stay up late that night, so I got lucky.
#8 Never Forget To Fuel Up
I was getting my pilot's license. We started the plane and moved ourselves to take off. About a third of the way down the runway, we decided to abort take off. We were permitted to fly a different route, but we needed to refuel. As we taxied the plane back, the aileron pedal broke. Had we been in the air, we would have started spinning out of control and crashed.
#7 Saved By The Bladder
When I was five, my family was traveling from Dallas to Houston to visit our extended family. We already made a rest stop, but only a short time later, I said that I needed to go again. My parents were a bit irritated—I mean, I'd just gone—but I insisted, so they pulled into a gas station. When we got back on the highway, we hit crazy traffic that wasn't there before. It turned out, there was a multi-car pile-up about five miles ahead of us. We almost certainly would have been one of those cars had I not had an especially small bladder.
#6 When The Clutch Comes In Clutch
I was driving through town roads to get to work when a pickup lost control while exiting the freeway. He skidded into the road in front of me and I had a solid four seconds to react. I got safely to work that day because I was a little more gentle on my clutch at the light before that freeway exit. I have a dashcam video but I need to clip it down.
#5 Hiking Sounds Much Better Than Dying
We were visiting some friends in Kansas City and I wanted to go to the Schlitterbahn water park, mainly because it had the world's largest water slide. However, the people we were staying with already had plans to go on a hiking trail. When we were leaving Kansas, I was still a little bummed out about it. However, my attitude immediately changed when we saw on the news that a little boy was severely hurt on that waterside the same day I wanted to go.
#4 Twist Of Fate
I went to a banquet one evening after work. Around 9 p.m. that night, my mom called me and told me that weather alerts had been going off and I should probably head home soon. I told her ok, and that I would head home shortly. I hung out for a little while, then decided to roll out. I had to stop and get gas on the way out of town and while I stood there pumping, it got extremely dark and the wind picked up blowing stuff around. I didn't pay it much attention; I just finished pumping and headed on down the road.
My mom called me again and asked where I was. She proceeded to tell me that a tornado just touched down in town. Luckily, I was driving away from it and nothing happened to me but had something delayed me for just five minutes or so, I would've been right smack dab in the middle of a tornado.
#3 Missed By The Crosshairs
My parents went to our local Home Depot one weekend. Within a couple of hours of them coming home, someone in the parking lot of that same Home Depot was shot by the DC sniper.
Had they gone just a couple of hours later in the day, one or both of my parents could have been killed.
#2 When The Smoke Clears, The Damage Is Done
When I was 17, I was about to head over to my friend's house for band practice. I would usually walk to the train, but about a block down I realized I forgot something and had to go back to my house. When I got to the train station, my train was pulling away so I had to wait for another, which luckily came pretty much right behind it.
I had to transfer lines downtown to get to the one that would take me to his house. As I'm going down to the subway, I see a bunch of people being evacuated. Apparently, there was some sort of electrical fire or something on the train that pumped smoke into the cars. A bunch of people had to be taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation. If I hadn't missed that first train, I could have been one of those people.
#1 Red Means Stop
I was approaching a light turning yellow. If I had floored it, I would have gotten past the intersection before it changed to red. I decided not to risk it since I had gotten a ticket for going 5 mph over a few weeks earlier. As I was braking, a car came speeding right through the red light perpendicular to me. I would have been T-boned if I tried to make that light.