Sometimes our most meaningful and memorable interactions are with someone we’ve just met. Here, people share the most amazing way they’ve ever bonded with a complete stranger.
1. Sometimes a hug is all you need.
My mom died suddenly a few months back. I found out in the morning. I went to my sister’s a few blocks away. On the way home late that afternoon, walking home in a daze I saw a homeless man pick up a cigarette butt from the gutter and try to light it with matches.
So I walked up to him gave him my almost full pack of cigarettes and lighter. Just handed it to him and started to walk away when he said, “Are you okay?”
I looked at him and said, “My mom just died.” He grabbed me in a big hug, kissed the top of my head and said, “I’m sorry sweetheart.”
2. Teamwork at its finest.
I was driving down a two-lane highway, and there was dude driving like a jerk. He kept passing me and cutting me off, speeding and swerving all over the road, and just being a typical Maryland driver in general.
I’m not one to succumb to the jerk drivers in my state, so I kept doing the same thing to him. At one point, I was in front of him, and glanced to my right to see if he was riding up on that side. Another car was next to me, and the driver, a male in maybe his 30s, rolled his eyes and pointed to the jerk behind us.
Suddenly, his expression grew serious and I knew what he wanted to do. We made eye contact, nodded at one another, and then proceeded to travel side-by-side so he could not pass either of us. I was satisfied when I checked my rearview and could see the anger in the jerk’s face as he threw his hands up in frustration.
3. He just had a good feeling, I guess.
I went to help my dad at one of his stores (he’s an area manager) and while we’re there, he’s talking to someone and me and some other guy are just standing there.
So we start making small talk and he asks me what I like to do. So we start moving this stuff around, which we came here to do, and he starts commenting on my work ethic. Then he says, “You’d make a great boyfriend for my daughter.”
I’d known him for 15 minutes. I was 13.
4. Why should you cry on someone’s shoulder when they can just cry with you?
I was crying in a stairwell one day when this girl sat next to me and started sobbing hysterically as well. We just sat together for a few minutes crying until someone else entered the stairwell, muttered “Oh God”, and left.
5. “You said never to cross the streams!”
About ten years ago, I was standing at a urinal when a guy came in with complete disregard to the “skip a urinal” rule. A need to assess this person and my surroundings left me making eye-contact with him.
Thinking back now a simple head nod (upwards of course) would have sufficed. I, on the other hand, took a different approach. When I realized that both of us had each broken two of the most important restroom rules, I said, “Cross the streams, Ray.”
Before I could feel any more uncomfortable, he replied, “You said never to cross the streams!”
This is the story of how my best friend and I met.
6. All you need is love.
I was on vacation in Ireland, and at the end of one night a fight broke out in the bar I was at with some friends. The guy who I would have been “paired up with” to fight came up to me, and I told him that I didn’t want to fight because I was on vacation (and just in general didn’t want to fight anybody).
We ended up sitting down, finishing our beers, and talking together for a minute or two while our respective friends beat the crap out of each other.
7. That was an, erm, spicy meet-up.
While executing a very drunken college night, some friends and I ended up at Steak ‘n Shake at 3am-ish. Not so uncommon considering that it’s one of the closest sit-in restaurants open that late at night. Of course the place was packed with other drunk college students and so it took over half an hour to get our drinks.
Drunk me challenges my friend to eat the hot peppers. He kind of copped out and said he’d drink the juice if I ate the pepper. Challenge accepted (continued).
So yea, I eat the pepper and he drinks the juice. Within seconds we realize our mistake…our mouths are on fire and we have no drinks to allay the pain.
My only idea is to go to the bathroom and drink from the water faucet (still very drunk obviously). I slam the door open and what do I see? Another drunk girl splashing water from the sink into her mouth. She immediately looks at me and yells, “Oh my god, don’t eat the peppers!”
I cry, “I already did, that’s why I’m here!” We then shared the sink. To this day no one has ever understood me quite as well as that girl from the Steak ‘n Shake bathroom. I think she may be my soulmate.
8. Well, it wasn’t *entirely* inaccurate.
I was outside of a bar at 7am (third shift worker at the time), and I was smoking next to this older guy (probably 70ish). All of a sudden, a naked man ran by holding only a briefcase, and in hot pursuit was the guy who had presumably had his briefcase stolen.
Well, we had quite a laugh about it, ordered another beer, and told the story to the other guys who get drunk at 7 in the morning. ANYWAY, about 45 minutes later, two cops showed up to the place, saying that the dude whose briefcase was stolen mentioned that two of us were outside smoking when he ran by, and asked if we could describe the suspect, as the man never saw his face.
The old man and I said yes, we were those two, and we went outside to talk to the cops. The old man said he was a retired artist, and would gladly draw a picture for the cops. I described what he looked like to the cops in the meantime, and when the old man finished his drawing he handed it to the cops. They started laughing and showed me the picture…probably the best drawn penis/testicles drawing I have ever seen.
9. “It’s not what it looks like!”
A few years ago I was out bar-hopping with some buddies and we decided to head over to the strip club. It was late summer/fall so I had a heavier sweater on, that had a lot of pockets. So we get into the entrance of the club & the bouncers give everyone a quick pat-down. I had a decent buzz going at the time so I only thought I had my phone, keys, & wallet in my pockets.
The bouncer starts my pat-down & pulls my dexedrine(ADHD meds) bottle out of one of my pockets. I usually left it in my dresser, but sometimes I would tuck it in a pocket of one of my sweaters that was hanging up. Just always felt like a good place to keep it.
The bouncer, who was 6’8, gave me one of those “The heck you think you’re doing” looks. I was thinking I’m gonna get kicked out or worse, because it obviously looked like I was trying to bring drugs into the club (continued).
The bouncer pulled me to the side and I quickly explained to him that it was my ADHD meds and I forgot I had them in there. He looks at the bottle then looks at me and says, “Ya know, that makes sense. No dealer would just be carrying these around in a bottle.”
He handed them back, I thanked him, then he asked me how long I’ve been on it and if it helped. Turns out he had a son who several doctors had diagnosed with ADHD, and he really wanted to hear a non-doctor’s point of view. We chatted for about 20 minutes and I explained what I went through with school & different prescriptions throughout my life.
Helped him give an outlook on how he would handle it with his son, and he thanked me for it. Went back to that strip club a couple times after that and we’d always have some good chats.
10. The most unlikely scenarios bring us together.
I was travelling forwards and backwards a lot to a hospital in Nottingham (about an hour train ride away) and as I’m leaving the station I can see an old man in a wheelchair fall off the curb. The old fella ends up in a crumpled heap on the floor and I jog over to help him and check he’s alright, some other guy had the same idea and we get there at the same time.
Turns out the former passenger of the wheelchair was fine but his wheelchair didn’t fare so well, one of the tires had come off the rim. The other bloke who ran over to help spoke no English but we set about trying to get the tire back on, both of us pushing and using hand gestures to coordinate where to hold and push.
This lasts for about a minute until the former chair resident suddenly proclaims, “Screw this crap!” stands up and walks off, leaving me and my new friend confused as heck and left with a broken wheelchair as we watch this guy waddle into the nearest pub.
We both share a laugh, shake hands and part ways.
11. Nothing like food to bring us together.
I was at the grocery store buying steaks and this man and I started talking about what a good deal these steaks were and how we would be eating them.
He is now a good friend of mine that I invite over to my area to have barbecue with.
12. Stuck together like glue.
First day of second grade. Accidentally glued a kids hand to mine. We’re still friends to this day. Quite literal, “bonding.”
13. That escalated quickly.
I went through a McDonalds drive thru around 11 at night, so when I ordered I went right up to the last window. I ordered a Coke and a diet Coke with my meal. When I pull up to the counter, a burly man (yes, he worked there) was holding my two drinks.
He looks at me in a straight face and asks “Which one is the diet?” in a voice actor, Morgan Freeman kind of voice. I randomly chose the one on the right, and apparently I chose the right one, because he screamed “Praise Jesus we have a saint over here! Oh Ho! I’m a happy man tonight!”
The meal was on the house and drove off, made me quite happy.
14. Guys, you know the feeling.
My favourite is when you’re with a girl, she’s looking at clothes and you see some other poor bloke with his lass and you catch his eye then you both just nod.
Solidarity at its finest.
15. Close call!
I was visiting family in a big city and was walking around just checking it out. I’m standing at this crosswalk and this big dude, probably 6’5″ and 230 lbs is walking past with headphones in and texting on his phone.
He didn’t even look up or check both ways, he doesn’t lose pace as he goes to step out into the road in front of a bus coming by at 30-40mph which is just a second away.
I grab this guys belt in one hand and his underwear in the other hand and pull him back and the bus misses him by inches. He’s a bit freaked out by the bus, then he looks down at his pants and boxers which I’ve mangled and then he gives me this stern look before extending a fist for a fist bump.
Then we smoked weed and ate fish tacos.
16. Sometimes the wrong train will lead you to the right place.
Accidentally took the train the wrong direction from downtown. I got off at the first stop and went to wait for the next train going back (this basically added an extra hour onto my 45-minute journey).
An older gentleman got off the train as well and I heard him asking people about the same train. I went over to him, explained how long we were waiting and spent the next hour and a half talking to this amazing man who was originally from England, liberated a camp in WWII, moved to Australia and then to Canada and raised a family (7 kids, 18 grand kids and 5 great grand kids!!).
We spoke of politics, global issues, history…it was the most pleasant conversation I’d had in months- all because I took the wrong train.
17. “A traumatic experience that was made better.”
Got stuck in a packed elevator (14 people in a 10 person max elevator) for about an hour once. One girl was having a panic attack and one guy was obnoxiously drunk. The rest of us chilled and sipped whisky out of a flask. A traumatic experience that was made better because it was shared among strangers.
18. What a special moment.
On a school field trip to a children’s museum, my 7-year-old daughter who is autistic and doesn’t talk, kept gravitating towards an elderly man who was sitting alone in a corner with a small drum on his lap.
I kept pulling her away, as the man seemed not to notice my daughter and appeared to be in his own world. She kept pulling and pulling me towards him though.
Finally, I relented. She went to the man, with me at her side, and stared at the man. He looked down at her, and they stared into each others eyes for what seemed like an eternity (continued).
My daughter picked up one of the drum sticks that was resting on top of the drum, and the man picked up the other. Wordlessly, they played that drum together for several minutes. By the end, the man had tears streaming down his face. I noticed a young woman nearby who was also in tears, the mans daughter or granddaughter I assumed.
When they stopped playing the drum, my daughter and the man gave each other a hug. I said “thank you”, and the man returned with his own, “No, thank you”.
With those words, the young woman began crying excessively and explained to me: “My father had a stroke nearly a year ago, and hasn’t made eye contact let alone talk to anyone since. He just sits with that drum. His thank you was his first words since his stroke.”
I can’t explain what happened that day, but it was magical.
19. Those who puke together, stay together.
At an all you can eat contest for hot dogs, me and this other guy ended up eating like 30 hot dogs each.
About 20 minutes later we were in the bathroom puking our guts out. Afterwards we went and grabbed a beer together.
20. He just needed someone to lend an ear.
When I was 18, I went to the mall by myself to pick up some new pants and maybe catch a movie. I went and bought my movie ticket, then went down to the food court to eat because there was still another 45 minutes before it actually started.
I got my food and went to sit down and the first open seat I saw was really close to this man. Maybe early 30’s. I sat down and started eating and realized this guy was just spacing out and looked stressed.
I sat and fiddled with my food debating if I should talk to him. After a little bit I finally decided to ask the man if something was wrong. He told me his wife had just left him. This was right after my girlfriend of a year left me.
While it doesn’t compare to marriage, it certainly felt close to home. So I just started talking to him and asking questions. He was a little reserved at first but he ended up telling me how they had met, how incredible the beginning of their marriage was, and how they decided to have kids. By this time, I had already missed the beginning of the movie without realizing it. But I couldn’t stop listening (continued).
After a while, he told me the reason she left. And I don’t know why he chose to share all of this with me. After a year of trying to get pregnant, they both decided to get a fertility test. Hers was fine. But he found out there was almost no chance he could have children.
He told me at first she was very understanding, but after a while she grew to hate being with him because something she had always wanted wouldn’t be possible. So she left. And now he is alone, with no family and no close friends.
After telling me all of this, he got up and so did I. He looked at me and said words I couldn’t ever forget: “You could never imagine how much you just did for me.”
Then he grabbed me and hugged me. A complete stranger. He thanked me, and told me his name. Then he walked away with a smile.
21. Taking advantage of a sticky situation.
Setting: Medieval History at university, day after our research projects are returned. The projects were to be written in first person using only primary sources (church records, old maps, etc).
Action: Woman in class walks up to the professor who is mid-lecture displaying powerpoint slides of stained glass. Proclaims with both hands in the air, “I MUST PRESENT MY STORY!”
She plugs a flash drive into the prof’s computer, who is a timid woman who is so shocked she hasn’t had time to collect her thoughts. Pulls up a map of Europe saying, “I will tell you how we made it all the way! Our Journey!”
After clicking in vain to get her documents to load she begins yelling at the computer. In tongues. If it was not tongues it was the language of Mordor, for it had no recognizable tones to anyone in the class. We are starting to fear for our lives.
I turn to the cute blond girl in class I’ve been trying to find something to say to, “We may die here. If we survive, pizza at [local place near campus] at 8:00.” Handed her my number. All went well.
22. Also, those who investigate together, stay together.
On a bus in Seattle, some jerk kept pulling the cord and not getting off. So me and some other guy lead the investigation to try and find out who it was. Finally we found out that some 5-year-old in the back had his coat stuck on the chord and every time he moved the cord was pulled.
23. What a great moment.
Started dancing to someone’s car radio up really loud, really stupidly breaking out my dance-y dance, and she shouts out the window, “YEAH YOU GOT IT!” and she started dancing too. Was awesome.
Was smoking a cigarette on campus, and some huuuuuuuuuuge guy comes up to me looking angry as heck.
He just whispers in my ear, “Can I have a cigarette?” Good friends ever since.
25. What a small world.
I went to a concert a few years back that was located about 3 hours away from my hometown. While sitting on the lawn waiting for the show to start, I notice a guy wearing the bright yellow shirt of a famous greasy spoon in my city.
I yell out, “Texas Tavern!”
He walks over to say hi. Turns out not only is he from my city, but we graduated high school the same year and were attending the same college. We exchanged phone numbers and kept in touch through school.
26. “Together, we could get a burger!”
In my first year at university (after a night out and whilst very drunk) I was in a fast food shop counting my coins on the counter when some other guy came up next to me and started to do the same.
We both realized that we did not have enough money individually, but together, we could get a burger! We hugged and high-fived then bought a burger and boy was that the best tasting burger I had had that day.
27. Now that is the quintessential American experience.
September, 2004. I was visiting America, and wanted to do something quintessentially American while there. I managed to get a ticket to the Yankee/Red Sox game, and went on my own.
I was right in with the season ticket holders. These guys who all knew each other from every game, and who kept notes of every pitch/strike/ball/walk made in little notebooks. They found out I was Irish and only sort of knew the rules for baseball, and the guy next to me put away his book, we bought beers, and talked about the game for the entire time.
28. Nothing like a little Al Green to cheer you up.
I was having a bad day and it showed. So when I was on a long bus ride home from school, two random, older men sat next to me. The older guy (about 50) said, “You look sad, what cheers me up is a song.”
So he starts to sing Al Green’s Lets Stay Together and I remembered it from my fathers constant playing of the song and start to sing along.
The other guy starts to sing and before I knew it people were clapping along. Made my day.
29. Sigh…just like the movies.
I was standing at a train station admiring the reflection of my beard in the windows of a train that was stopped. When it started moving, the reflection was getting blurry, and I thought about how in a film, this would be a great time for me to see a ghost behind me or something.
Then I remembered the match.com advert with the ukulele man and the blonde girl (it’s a UK dating site and the guy is playing a song describing the girl, but a train goes past and then she’s gone. He looks disappointed, then she appears next to him. A ‘happily ever after’ is implied).
When the train is gone, standing directly opposite me on the other platform is a cute girl. Slightly awkward smiling and eye contact ensues.
Both of us keep looking back at the other and looking away smiling to ourselves/each other. My train arrives and I take a window seat so I can still see her as the train departs. I look over and she is waving goodbye.
I smile, tip my hat to her, and never saw her again.
30. Thank you, mystery man.
Late night Walmart run with my dad when I was probably 12 or so. On our way out, we were walking next to some random guy. He looked down at me and I looked up at him. Next thing you know, we both break into a speed walking race to the parking lot, where the stranger congratulates me on my victory and we part ways, never to see again.
I miss you late night Walmart speed-walker man. I miss you.
31. It was short but sweet.
I go to school in Oklahoma but I’m from Kansas City. One weekend I was going home to visit my family and for the entire four hour drive, there was a car behind me, switching lanes when I did and going the same speed I was. We raged at the same slow drivers and shook our heads at crazy speeding bikers. If he got stuck behind a semi or something I would slow down and wait for him to catch up, I’m not entirely sure why.
When I finally had to exit the highway, I was actually really sad to leave him, and as I slowed down to get off and he passed me, I turned and looked and it was the cutest middle-aged man and as he drove past he made a sad face and gave me a salute. We had been together four hours, I was so sad to see him go.