This wide variety of stories shows how truly insane life can become in an instant. These people came shockingly close to either certain death or an absolutely miserable life. I honestly don't know how they were so lucky enough to escape these bizarre and harrowing ordeals. Content has been edited for clarity.
"I was one split decision away from dying at age twelve. I was going to be home alone one evening, since my mom was attending a dinner party at her friend's house. She would be home around midnight, so it was up to me to tuck myself in and such. I was honestly looking forward to this evening, I was going to feel liek such a big girl! Since we live in a shared two-story townhouse, with a nice lady living upstairs and close neighbors in either side, I felt super safe being home alone at night. One hour before dinner time, a good friend called me and asked if I wanted to go over to her house and have dinner and watch a movie in their home theater. Having the chance to see something on such a cool setup convinced me to go. That evening was great, but the movie was fairly long, so I got back home pretty late. When I pulled up to my house on my bike, I only just noticed an orange glare in the windows upstairs. All of a sudden, the first-story windows exploded out into the garden. Glass shards went everywhere and sent a burst of heat out into the night. The fire department arrived only a few minute later and put out the fire, before it could engulf our part of the house as well.
Apparently the lady upstairs had fallen asleep on her couch with a smoke in her hand. The fire had smoldered in the couch, developing a very toxic smoke, which she ended up inhaling and suffering permanent brain damage. She was in a coma for a year or so afterwards, before her family ended up pulling the plug on her. Another awful part was that we shared a ventilation system with the upstairs apartment, and the interior of my apartment was jet black. So much of the poisonous smoke had permeated throughout our home. The fire marshal told me and my mom that with the amount of smoke int he apartment, along with my small stature, I would have slipped into a coma and died before anyone even noticed the fire from outside the house. The shock of this entire thing nearly killed my mother as well. She thought that I was home, since I didn't notify her of my sudden change of plans. She got the call about the fire from a neighbor, only to later learn that I was safe and sound. I guess that's the story about how my budding love for cinema helped me to dodge a massive bullet with a big fat 'death' stamped onto it. We had watched the sci-fi movie 'The Abyss', and I still love that movie."
I was twenty-three years old, recently married, and I had a bright future in software engineering. I was looking to buy a house with my husband, but I suffered a miscarriage, which caused us to miss a critical appointment to finalize the mortgage. Well, turns out that weekend I discovered that my husband was cheating on me with his ex. He was also embezzling money from both his employer and our shared account. Oh, and his employer was my dad. We put a hold on buying a house while we 'worked on our marriage', which basically revealed how completely twisted he truly was. He was emotionally abusive and addicted to blow. He never hit me, but he would scream at me and then go punch the walls to kick our dogs. I bailed out immediately, which led to me losing that bright future of a software engineering job. Don't worry, I took the dogs with me. That software job was closely connected to the housing market, which fell apart about a month after I moved back in with my parents. They closed the doors and laid everyone off. The boss wrote severance checks and then stopped payment before anyone could cash them. I narrowly avoided being married with kids to a cheating, abusive coke head, unemployed, and underwater on a manufactured home during the 2007 housing crash.
I couch surfed in the city with friends when I couldn't handle sharing a small apartment with my parents anymore, which led to me moving in with my childhood best friend and her art school buddies. They actually introduced me to my now-husband, with whom I traveled the world and opened up a business with. We are now raising an awesome little daughter and renovating a Civil-War-era historic building on the coast of Maine. It hasn't all been sunshine and roses though. We ended up starting a restaurant and had to renovate a pretty run-down space for it. We have been closed for most of the quarantine, but we are pretty used to being broke and happy together, so it's nothing new for us."
"I was at the Tacoma Mall when the Tacoma Mall shooting happened. I was walking right towards the area when the perpetrator opened fire. Suddenly, my then-fiancé decided to go back into a store we were just in. In the time it took us to get back to that one store, we could have walked right to where the nightmare was unleashed. Seriously, hearing the screams and shots ring out throughout the mall was completely insane. The two of us ended up getting locked in the Suncoast video store we returned to for a while before we were able to safely exit out of the back area. I had run into a person I worked with at the time about ten minutes before the shooting, I think he went back to Macy's and we went to the Suncoast. We were Christmas shopping, and the mall was pretty busy. It came down to my fiancé remembering she wanted to get someone a series of 'Friends' DVDs, so we headed back inside. Just as we were a few feet from the store, the first cluster of shots rang off, and there was this shared confusion as to what on earth was happening. My first thought was that it was gang violence or something, it was Tacoma after all. It seriously sounded like several people firing at once with all of the echoes throughout the building. Back when this happened, I didn't assume it was one person who brought a weapon into the space, since it was a very different time back then.
We had to yell at several women who were still looking around outside the store in confusion, telling them to shelter inside and waving them in. My memory might be off, but it felt like maybe there were around thirty of us crammed in the Suncoast, and the employees had to put the metal gate down and lock it. So we're all in there, just listening to the shots and screaming, wondering what on earth was happening. As time went on and the shooting continued, it seemed less likely to be some gang thing, as they would have left already, so me and some others started saying how we needed to exit the store. He could have shot through the metal gate. We were just fish in a barrel. I was spared from seeing anyone who was shot. The coworker I had seen just prior was not so lucky, as he was around the several who got hit. It understandably really affected him. He was this tough truck driver dude who doesn't take anything from anyone. When I later saw him and we talked about it, he started breaking down and crying. It is completely insane how much pain one person is capable of inflicting. I think about this day a lot. Being spiritual and not religious, I feel like God spared us that day. I am so sorry to hear about others who were adversely impacted by that day."
"My friend was giving me a ride to the bus station when we get pulled over by the police. It just so happened that I had several ounces of pot in my backpack. My friend had about $20 worth of pot in his underwear, which I had given him as payment for the ride. The cops give some nonsense excuse like failing to signal within fifty feet of an intersection, which was obviously just the pretext. The cops ask for permission to search the car, and my terrified friend gives consent, like an idiot. The cops tell us to exit the car. I grab my backpack and we both get out of the car. One cop begins to search the car, while the other two cops prepare to start searching us.
My mind is racing at this point. What can I do to get out of this?! This could put me in jail for a long time. Out of sheer desperation, I I asked the sergeant who was about to search me if I was free to go, since I was only a passenger. It was the only thing I could think to ask. To my surprise, the sergeant handed me back my ID and told me that I was free to go. I later realized that at that point, they had not yet found anything illegal, and they didn't have any sort of reasonable suspicion to detain either one of us. I am dumbfounded. That gambit wasn't supposed to work, but somehow it worked. I put on my backpack and stroll calmly to the nearest intersection, round the corner, and as soon as I'm out of view, sprint about three blocks to a construction site and hide inside a porta-potty, where I stayed for the next two and a half hours.
My friend calls me about an hour after the stop, while I'm still hiding in the toilet. He says that the cops found his weed right after they let me go and gave him a $500 ticket. He says that the cops suspect I'm the one who provided it to him, and they were out driving around at that very moment looking to pick me back up. I waited until well after dark to emerge from my hiding place and caught a taxi home. I laid low for a few weeks, expecting a knock at my door any day, but fortunately I never heard anything about it again."
"When I was a teen I was very sick. I was like ninety pounds and couldn’t hold down food. I knew something was wrong with me, but doctors were falsely under the impression I had an eating disorder. They somehow thought I was lying and that my parents were enabling me. At one hospital visit when I was seventeen years old, I was lied to by a doctor and tricked into joining an eating disorder program against my will. They kept telling me they were going to keep me in the hospital for three to six months and had this whole program planned out for me. They put me on an INSANELY high dosage of anxiety meds that turned me into a literal zombie person. They were not telling my parents very much info at all though. My mom actually caught them having secret conversations about me that they didn’t want her to hear. We were starting to get vibes they might forcibly take me away from my parents. So I made up an excuse to leave the hospital and said I would be back in a couple days, but I never did go back.
I waited a very hard year alone with no treatment until I turned eighteen, when I was legally an adult and couldn’t be kidnapped. Only then did I felt safe enough to try to give medical treatment another try. Finally, I found out that I had lupus the whole time! It freaks me out to think about what would have happened to me if I had been forced into eating disorder treatment for years for no reason, and gotten zero treatment for the pretty dangerous disease they were so sure I didn’t have. Everyone had good intentions and doctors save so many lives, so they are often really really really good people. But I hate that people like me slip through the cracks and almost die sometimes as a result.
For those wondering, I didn’t take any legal action. It honestly didn’t occur to me because I had been going to many different doctors for five years at that point, and I always had the same experience of not being believed and them trying to force treatment for eating disorder or mental illness. That last hospital visit was just the terrible climax to the story. I didn’t know any different because to me, that was just how the medical system was. In retrospect, I wish I had done SOMETHING though! I hope the system improves and this stops happening. Much love to those with similar hard stories, and also nurses and doctors who are actually compassionate!"
"I had a friend who asked if I wanted to move to California with him and his family. I was sixteen and thought it sounded fun. I didn't know this at the time, but he was actually rescuing me from my insane mother and a not so happy home life. When you are abused, sometimes it is hard to know you are abused until you become an adult and gain a perspective. I shudder to think what would have happened to me if I had stayed there. I only knew him for a year, but we became best friends. It was a weird situation. I only met his parents once before I moved out there with them. I was initially supposed to stay just for the summer, but I was told that I could stay longer if I wanted. I think this gave us both an out if things didn't work out. I ended up finishing my last year of high school living with them and I stayed with them until I was twenty-one. The father of the family has since passed, but I am still in touch with my friend. I didn't really find out that they where 'rescuing me' until way later, when the mother told me that my friend told her about my home life to convince her to let me move in. I had absolutely no idea at the time!
If I have any regret in life, it's that I still stayed emotionally connected to my mom. If I had to do it over, I would have left at sixteen and never looked back. I didn't go without any contact until I was thirty. JI wish that I had known that I could not change her by winning an argument. My mom was going to be the same person for the rest of her life. She would not change for anyone. I wish I felt less guilty over the whole thing, but separating is completely valid in order to find my well-being and happiness. My mom is actually dying right now, so I am talking to her for the firs time in ten years. Even though I am now an adult and have much better coping skills when dealing with her, I still get in a rotten mood after I talk to her, and this can last for days. But it's my life to live, and I really don't owe her anything."
"I was driving to Phoenix from Utah for a new job back in January of 1989. My new boss told me that if I wasn't at work by 8 in the morning on Monday, he would give my job to someone else. He notified me of this eight in the evening of the day before Monday. By the time I finally got to Flagstaff, I was delirious and hallucinating. I had not slept for the past two days due to partying, not realizing I would have to high tail it to another state so quickly. I eventually decided to pull over for a nap in a rest area. It was freezing outside, so I kept my truck on just to heat the car up a little bit. The next thing I remember was laying in the bed of my truck, and a random stranger was slapping my face.
It turns out that some trucker had seen me start up my truck and slump over to fall asleep. He told me he was worried since he could hear the exhaust leaking form my car. An hour later he checked on me again, and I was totally unconscious. After pounding on the windows for a few minutes, he noticed that my sliding window latch was busted, much like the one in his older car. He actually pulled me out through the back window and saved me from carbon monoxide poisoning. It took me a full week to get rid of the headache that came from that carbon monoxide. Believe it or not, I did not get that job in Arizona. I didn't get to the job site until noon on Monday, and my new boss was pretty upset. I did have a pretty solid excuse for being late though. On a somewhat brighter not one of the other guys on the job site saw me begging for the job and thought I had 'moxy'. He hired me for another job, which I ended up really hating. But at least the trip wasn't a total waste!"
"So I was caught up in a terrible pyramid scheme. I was young and unemployed, and I was way too naive about the world. I had previously been fired from an apprenticeship, so I was pretty desperate fro any and all opportunities. A friend of mine was approached by someone he knew about this new company that needed motivated young people, and they didn't require any particular training, so we decided to check it out. Everybody was super nice and sounded like they knew what they were talking about. It wasn't a 'traditional' pyramid scheme either, or at least it didn't sound like one, because at no point did they tell us to recruit others. Also, it featured none of that 'network marketing' nonsense where there is a huge load of buzzwords with no actual talk about what you're going to be doing. Instead it was about insurance, which to a young and inexperienced person, sounded respectable enough.
So we were basically tasked to start talking up this insurance stuff to people, and they told us a good place to start would be with our parents. The experience of me trying to tell my parents about how great this stuff was and how they should get it, basically just to help me out, was beyond embarrassing. I was quickly shut down by them and was told how I was clearly falling into a pyramid scheme. What was I supposed to say to that?! I was super ticked off at first, and after I fully realized just what I had gotten into, I was beyond ashamed. My parents made me feel incredibly stupid about the entire process, but honestly, it was the best thing that they could have ever done for me. Recently, I have seen the sister of a close friend of mine get involved in another pyramid scheme, and I was seriously wondering how someone could be so stupid. I was thinking that until i quickly realized how I almost went down the exact same road!"
"I was going to propose to my girlfriend of nine and a half years on December 31st, 2019, which was also her dad’s birthday. But a few weeks after my birthday, around September of 2019, I found out that she had been sleeping with my cousin for about two years at different clandestine meeting places. So I began formulating my escape plan before I even confronted her about it. While accessing our mutual savings account, which we were both supposed to have been dumping money into to buy our first home, I realized that the bank was many thousands short. It turns out that, aside from hooking up with my cousin, she was taking money out of our savings and giving it to her parents to pay for their mortgage. I was never consulted about this.
This, compounded with finding out many things about my ex through her text messages with my so-called 'family' member, led me to realize that I had no idea who this person was. Rather than even contemplate trying to work things out (something which her mom still implored we should try, even after I’d been gone for eight months), I packed my stuff, invoiced her for the money I put into our savings, and split. I never received my full amount back, but I consider it a such a blessing to be free of a lifelong deadweight, that I don’t care anymore. I am in a far better spot financially now and opened my own business, which I run from home. But I have already outgrown my space and will likely have to move soon. I know for a fact now I would probably still be stuck in a bitter and loveless marriage if I had stuck with that wretched harpy. I was literally gonna put a ring on the weapon that was gonna put the bullet in my head. Bullet = dodged!"
"I went on a date with someone, a friend of a friend who had only been in town about a month. I was fresh out of a painful relationship and honestly keen enough to ignore a couple of warning signs. The date rolled around, and we were to meet at a pub. Believe it or not, she actually arrived three hours late after giving constant 'I'm just round the corner!' updates. Despite this, we got on amazingly and had a lovely evening (which should have been an afternoon outing, but meh). We stepped outside to make out and smoke, and she grew pretty sullen while being very wasted. She started talking about being physically assaulted by her ex. She told ,e just about everything in graphic detail. And then at the end she blew my mind by saying, 'God, feel how wet I am after all that talk of assault!'
She then forcibly stuffed my hand up her skirt and into her underwear. I was completely stunned. I pulled away and tried to keep a little distance between us fro the rest of the night. The was definitely no second date. According to her, she rejected me, because I apparently wasn't over my ex, even though we had never discussed that subject at all. My gut reaction to that entire evening was that I dodged a major bullet. My instinct proved correct when this woman later moved two hundred miles away to be with a guy she had met at a Renaissance fair earlier that month. Apparently, she got into a stabbing match with him. It's unclear from my sources if the stabbing was performed using replica Renaissance swords, but I sincerely hope they weren't actual real ones!"