Stranger things have happened.
Many thanks to the Redditors who responded. You can check out more answers from the source at the end of this article.
1. Train ride home from a Stampeders (Canadian football) game. Guy get on the train with us and he’s vaping and grooving to his music. He’s starting to sing away. “Oh, God!”, thought I, “What a douchebag.” before too long he had the whole section of the train car doing a sing-along.
2. When I was a teenager I worked the night shift at a grocery store. There’s some pretty funny folks who do their food shopping overnight.
One older guy came in every Wednesday when he was done work around 4am. He’d always buy some canned soups and whatnot. When he’d come up to my till, he would take the cans out one by one and roll them down the conveyor belt and try to get them to scan across the machine before plopping into the bag. They never did register on the machine- but it made a mundane job so much more fun.
It was such a routine that as the summer was coming to an end, I told him the next week would be my last night shift as I was starting college soon (which was the most I had ever said to him). He congratulated me and promised he would be back the next week.
Well sure enough the next Wednesday he was back with a small army ration of canned foods. He looked at me and I just knew we would get one of those damned cans to scan into the machine before falling into the bag.
It took around 15 tries, but we finally heard that fateful ‘Blip’ as one of the cans slowly rolled across the machine before tumbling into the bag. We jumped. We cheered. We high-fived. I never saw him again.
3. Was at a Festival and some girl walked up to me and started talking to me about how her and her boyfriend had just had a big argument. A couple minutes in her boyfriend storms over and points at me and says “who is this guy!?”.
Feeling a bit tired and too worn down to be intimidated or argumentative I said “I’ve got the sh–s”. He suddenly changes his tune and tells me to try peppermint capsules, then his girlfriend chimes in and starts talking about charcoal tablets and the two of them bond over their respective remedies for IBS and walk away wishing me a pleasant evening.
4. Studied abroad in Japan once and had some interesting times, both good and bad.
One of the good ones was the day I got on a train to visit a temple. I was sitting there, minding my own business, and this elderly Japanese man sits next to me. He had this big, happy grin on his face, and immediately started chatting with me. It took me a second to process that A: he, a Japanese man, had voluntarily started talking to a complete stranger; B: he wasn’t being creepy at all; And C: he was speaking perfect, fluent English.
Yeah, everyone in the country knows a little, but this guy sounded like a native speaker. Also, no one in Japan would start talking with a stranger in a train. We got some weird looks for clearly being two strangers who were launching into conversation.
We ended up talking for hours, I wound up missing my stop and we got lunch instead. The guy was really cool, he had studied abroad in America in the 50s, coincidentally in my home state, and had worked for years as a professional translator. He still had a notebook of something he was translating for fun, and I helped him smooth out a few phrases.
We talked about religion, politics, food, traveling…I wish I could have talked with him more or at least kept in touch. We eventually just parted ways and I never saw him again. Talking to that man was like being at home again for a little while, and it really helped me move past my homesickness and start interacting more with the people around me. All because we got on the same train.
5. A homeless guy came into the church where I was practicing the organ during the week. At first, he seemed to be sleeping in a pew.
Later, he called up to me in the loft and asked if he could see the organ up close, which I was happy to do. He was fascinated with its size and complexity.
He told me that he had been a professional painter, but lost his job because of drinking (which he claimed to have since given up – and I believed him).
The memorable part was that I introduced him to the pastor who decided to take a chance and have him do some painting around the church in return for a place to stay on the grounds (a room in the former rectory) and food.
It worked out perfectly. The man painted many rooms throughout the campus with professional workmanship and eventually became the church sexton.
6. I was at a gay bar and asked the old guy beside me: “Come here often?” and he answered: “Not since they plastered over the glory holes.”
7. I was at a black tie event for New Years Eve. At midnight, they dropped hundreds of balloons from the ceiling and almost instantly people started to pop them. An hour or so later, drunk me decides to roam around to see if I can find an unpopped balloon. After fifteen or so minutes of searching, I find one by the dj table and start walking back to my group of friends with it. This guy, who also has a balloon, stops me and yells “You found one too!” We were instantly friends and referred to each other as “Balloon Guy” for the rest of the night.
8. When I was 15 I was on a tram heading home after school, this lady in her mid 40s who sat across from me asked if I knew where the local town hall was which is renowned for being a pretty lush concert hall for orchestras and such. I told her it was on my walk home and I’d show her in person.
She then proceeded to tell me she was heading to a concert to watch her son play the piano. Being the proud Vietnamese mother she was, she invited me to join. I accepted the request and next minute I find myself sitting in a reserved row with all the extended family members all dressed in formal suit and tux etc… while I sat there with my back pack and jumper tied around my waste. I was introduced to everyone. Went home afterwards to do my homework and it kicked in what a strange moment of time that was. For some reason I didn’t tell me my family my experience and only now I really appreciate that memory.
9. I decided to take a break while driving from one side of the state to the other and stopped at a rest stop. Upon getting out of my car and heading towards the McDonald’s/Dunkin donuts/convenience store plaza, I looked down as I came upon a pile of hair.
Someone had either lost their weave or got into a rest stop fight and had it pulled out. I said out loud to myself “that’s unbe-weavable!” Some random business guy in a suit and tie passed by and told me to “weave it alone”. It was the best interaction ever.
10. I was in a hostel in Paris and dead tired from the flight over from … I think Minneapolis? Anyways, it was just me and some girl from Argentina who was equally tired. The room at bedding for six. It was six in the evening and I’d already showered and lying in bed flipping through a guide book. She’d just showered and lying in bed flipping through a guide book. We kinda stared at each other and I asked her if she wanted to go somewhere since it was still early.
She didn’t speak a word of english. Which is fair because I didn’t speak a word of spanish. Neither of us spoke a word of french either.So I point to a photo in my book and she points to a photo in hers and off we went exploring paris.
Despite the language barrier, it turned out to be one of my favorite memories. My only regret is that I dropped off a roll of film somewhere in Georgia (US) back in January 08 and promptly forgot about it.
Mailen, if you’re seeing this and can read english, hope you also had fun.
If anyone ever developed film in Hinesville Georgia in January 2008 and saw a roll of an asian dude and a white girl in Paris, that’s mine. Hope they turned out well.
11. I used to work at a hardware store called Menards as a cashier. As part of the job, we’re required to have small talk with the guests to make things friendly. Well this couple comes in my line with a ton of screws. A ton of screws. The whole cart was full to the brim in boxes of screws. For some dumb reason, the greeting I give them is.
“Wow, looks like you guys have a lot of screwing to do!”
I immediately realize what I said as my heart drops and they just respond with “Huh?” as if they didn’t hear me. I just continued the small talk for the rest of the check out while sweating bullets and praying that they didn’t hear me imply that they had a lot of upcoming sex to take care of. I finish the check out and tell them to have a nice day, thanks for shopping at Menards, yadda yadda yadda. Then he grabs the receipt out of the printer box, looks back at his wife and sees she’s already walking away, says “You too. Oh, and you’re right we have a lot of screwing to do”, winks, and walks away.
12. I was out in an unfamiliar city and ended up separated from my mates with no phone battery. Being beyond drunk I got talking to a couple of homeless guys.
One of them had a power bank I could use but didn’t have the right cable. One gets up, walks around the corner to an off license and buys me a cable and a can of carling to drink while I charged my phone enough to call my friends. They were actually chill too. Really funny dudes.
It stuck with me and I can’t stand it to hear people talk badly about the homeless now. They could’ve robbed me, I mean I literally gave one of them my phone and I was too pissed to chase anyone. The dude didn’t even want the money back for the can and the cable because he didn’t want me to break a twenty. It really drove home that all people are just people kinda thing.
13. On my 18th birthday I was on my way to Vienna to meet up with my GF at the time. I had arrived the morning before my birthday but got restless and decided to just take random trains. I ended up in Zagreb that night but didn’t want to spend money on a hostel so I got a piece of cardboard and started sleeping in front of the station. My then GF was from Zagreb, hence my desire to see her home town even though I was alone.
After an hour or so a security guard told me to follow him back to his office. I figured I was getting arrested, but was 17 (for a few more hours) and didn’t give a crap. When we got there he said ‘it’s dangerous, you can sleep in here’. We started chatting, he spoke English really well, and said he learned it from the Simpsons. He said aye caramba and no problemo a lot.
We chain smoked together, and talked. We went through 6 pack of cigarettes that night, walter wolf I think the brand was called. We talked about women, he’d just met a girl but wasn’t sure if he was in love, the war since he was ethnically Croatian from Bosnia (he said he hated serbs but hated himself for hating them), music, Wages (19 kune an hour). We drank coca-cola and joked about getting some hookers (he tried to find some but they were too expensive). At 3am we went to another guard shack and made Bosnian coffee, which he said was the best coffee in the world. It was shockingly delicious.
At one point he asked if I wanted a hat, I said yes, and I had indeed been looking for a hat. He gave me an ozujsko pivo hat (I’m sure I still have it somewhere), I gave him a CD I’d been listening to. At 7am I walked out of the shack, could barely inhale, and got on a train for Budapest, which is a story in and of itself. I made it to vienna eventually, met up with my GF and her family and had a nice couple of days. This was 2004, he was 25 then (15 during the war). I saw him from the window of a train a year later but didn’t say anything. Never saw him again after that.
14. Paid a bus ticket for a guy once. Well, not really for him, but for his 20-year old dog.
Guy hadn’t any money with him and would be forced to walk 2 hours to his destination if the bus driver wouldn’t let him in.
He just hugged me while crying, saying “Thank you” a thousand times. Will never forget that.
15. During my freshman year of college one weekend me and some friends went out drinking, and I had waaaaaay too much. I ended up wandering away from my friends so that I could explore the scene I guess and ended up passing out in the bushes in the quad on campus. It was pouring rain and I’m not really sure how long I was asleep but I ended up getting woken up by a guy who walked me back to my dorm while we facetimed his girlfriend. Never got his name but anytime I see him on campus we share “the nod”. If it wasn’t for that guy I would have for sure been arrested so I’m very thankful.
16. It was more of a group of strangers. You know those pirate ship rides at the amusement park? Yeah, it was near closing time so I chose that to be my last ride. It began to rock slowly as usual, and as the side I was on gained reasonable height, people started to scream. The people screaming thing is a normal thing anyone would expect when they ride this, so when the other side went up and then down, they screamed but just a little louder. What ensued was a screaming competition between the two sides. I don’t know why, but it always makes me happy to think back to the time I had a screaming competition with strangers.
17. I was in a Steak and Shake about 10 years ago in the summer at 2AM. Not sure if you have been to a fine establishment such as this, but at the end of the meal you get up and pay at the register. A girl is paying for her food and at the end of the transaction goes “Keep the change ya filthy animal” a la Home Alone. The entire place erupts in laughter. It warms my heart to think that at that Steak and Shake at 2AM we were all united in the Christmas spirit.
18. A 6 foot 5, 1/4 Comanche, 3/4 Irish dude built like a demigod danced into the quad and pirouetted to my table, sat down, and started chatting with me. I was dazzled by his dancing and charm so my natural introversion was flipped off and we talked as he picked at his salad. After a few minutes he finally looked at my face, gasped and said, “OH MY GOD I THOUGHT YOU WERE MY FRIEND KATE!” I said, “Well, I could be your friend?” Made a lifelong friend.
19. Was hanging out with my friend at a cafe. My friend brought his art stuff to sketch, I was there to pass him a pomade. 3 girls walk in, it was crowded, we offered to share our table. At first we tried to ignore the other group’s conversation, but the ice was broken when one of the girls started asking me about the pomade I brought. We ended up going to the Mexican bar across the road afterwards where the girls treated us to margaritas and tacos. We’re all still friends on social media.
20. This random student at my uni asked me for a cig, he then started rolling a joint. we never spoke, we just smoked, then we said bye and went our way. Stupid? yeah. but a nice memory.
21. Leeds festival in 2003.
Camped next to some Darkness fans and I was walking back to the tent where they were. They asked what I was doing.
‘Trying to find a marker, Justin Hawkins is at the bar.’
They then ran with me to the bar, I had a picture with him and they all got something signed.
I didn’t like The Darkness but he was really nice. When we went back to the tent they gave me all sorts of food and drink as a thank you and then stayed up until the early hours talking.
Said bye the next day.
22. At Cedar Point, a roller coaster park in Sandusky, Ohio, there is a ride called Gemini. This wooden coaster has two tracks and two trains running at a time, side by side, one red and one blue. They are meant to feel like you are racing.
My father, my 3 brothers, and myself sat in the middle of the red train. As both cars went up the original hill, there was plenty of taunting. All of a sudden, my youngest brother starts chanting “row! Row! Row!” and moving his arms as if he were on a rowboat with a team. My family members joined in and we started to pull ahead.
As we went down the hill and around the first curve, we were in the lead and cheering. The blue car then passed us as we went down the second hill. Coming around the second curve, my family again begins to chant and pretend to row, as a few others further up began to chant with us.
By the end of the ride, we had the entire red train (my guess of person count would be 24) chanting and acting like we were rowing. We ended up “winning” the race (our train pulled in first). We chalked it up to our train’s rowing. We had a big high five fest with everyone after, as well as the blue train congradulating us and laughing.
My fondest memory of an interaction with 43 other strangers.
23. I’m a LEO and I’ve had too many funny encounters with strangers to count but one that always sticks out in my mind was an elderly lady that would call dispatch just to talk. The dispatchers were always really kind to her but it was getting to the point where it was becoming too frequent and taking away from real emergencies. One day I go on a call and it ends up being the old woman. I asked her what was going on and she said “the lady in dispatch said you’d come over and give me a hug. I really do need it. For my health.” I chuckled to keep from crying and gave her a hug. She now does once a month ridealongs with me and everyone in the department makes sure to swing by for a hug and to check on her throughout the week. They even made a spot for her on our local citizens patrol so she can wear a uniform and ride around town.
24. Was at a hookah bar. It caters to a Middle Eastern crowd some nights and a group of guys started doing a dance. they gathered in a circle and kicked their feet out – kinda like a dance/jig/jog.
Drunk me cannot resist. I run up to the group, break into the huddle and start doing the same dance (never seen this type of thing before or since btw). They cheered and were very pleased! It was great! Drunk me laughed.
25. Was in a small sushi place with some friends. The entire thing is just one room, dining area, sushi pick-up and cashier all together. So whenever someone walks in to the place, instinctively most people look up to see.
Well in walks this good-looking woman, pretty enough to make most people stop what they’re doing and take a glance. Just happens that day most of the patrons inside are men, so of course everyone’s heads are turned. She walks in, pays for her take-out order and walks out, entire process takes no more than 2 min.
As soon as she walks out, everyone (again, pretty much all men) looks at each other and gives a small chuckle. We all knew what we saw, and we all know everyone looked. Well, in the corner is a couple having lunch. We all look over and they guy gives everyone a little nod, like yeah me too. His GF however, is giving him one hell of a stare. He sees her, his smile immediately disappears and he just puts his head down. We all break out into laughter.
26. 21st birthday and went with some friends into the city (no way of anyone external to us knowing it was my birthday though). Arrived into a fairly quiet club on a weekday (we were students). As soon as I walk in, a guy grabs me (I’m a guy too) and waltzes me very quickly around the entire place without saying a word, buys me two jagerbombs and two for himself, downs them, then just leaves the club. I just stood there not entirely sure what had just happened and drank my jagerbombs 🙂
Friends also got the house band to play sweet home alabama when it hit midnight!
27. About 15 years old on holiday with friends when I found a 2 coin in the floor. Told some random guy he could keep the 2 coin if he swallowed it. He swallowed the 2 coin and I seen him a few hours later being sick, helped him be sick and he gave me the 2 coin back. Great investment!
28. I was driving with my girlfriend to a date and I played rock paper scissors with some random guy at a red light. Later that night when we were walking back to my car the same guy and his gf were getting in the car right next to mine. We high fived and called each other bros. Never came across him again.
29. I was looking at shoes and decided to try one of them on. I took my own shoe off and set it on a box for a minute. A lady came by, picked up my shoe, and started examining it like she was interested in it. I started laughing as I explained to her that it was my shoe and not one to buy.
30. I wait tables at a local restaurant a few nights a week, and an older man came in last night with his wife, daughter, and granddaughter. I get their drinks and come back for their food order.
Man: You really need to change the name of this menu item.
Me: Which one?
Man: The poontang.
Me: ……sir, that’s poutine.
Man: starts cracking up
31. I work in a large office building. There are over a thousand engineers and technicians working here so while many faces become “familiar” you definitely do not know anywhere close to everyone.
One afternoon at work I went into one of the men’s restrooms to use the urinal. There are a couple other gentleman there as well and we are all studiously staring at the wall and taking care of business. Suddenly, a loud buzzing sound intrudes upon our tranquil respite. No one looks around but everyone definitely heard it.
A few moments more go by, and suddenly there is more buzzing. At this point everyone has definitely heard it and is tentatively looking around.
Finally, an even louder buzz. We all simultaneously come to the realization that someone has fallen asleep in one of the stalls and is LOUDLY snoring. We all break the cardinal rule, make eye contact and try not to laugh so hard we pee on our own shoes.
32. When I was 19, I worked at a record store. One night, I confronted and tussled with a booster (shoplifter targeting bulk amounts for resale). Unbeknownst to me, he had a box cutter and he opened my face from the top of my ear (near the temple) down to the corner of my mouth.
I’m bleeding all over the place and freaking out (as one does). A random customer dressed in chef’s whites is the only person in the store not freaking out. He takes me calmly to the employee bathroom, applies a wet compress to my face, and just talks to me very nicely, keeping me as relaxed as possible, until the ambulance and police arrived.
I’ll never forget that guy’s kindness and composed demeanor. Never got his name and never saw him again.