Have you ever run into someone in a place you weren't expecting to see them, or met a stranger who ended up being a friend of a friend? Experiences like this can be startling because they make us realize that the world isn't always as big or as foreign as we think it is. Read on for some incredible stories that people shared about times that the phrase "it's a small world" was completely accurate.
Great-Great-Great Grocery Store Story
Some people believe that you can shape events in the real world with focused intention to your thoughts. They might call it "magical thinking" or maybe even “prayer.” Either way, some coincidences can really make you stop to wonder how the universe works. Or maybe it's just a small world after all as this Reddit poster describes an unusual turn of events:
"[I] Study family history. Have a photo of my great-great-great grandfather. Was looking at the photo and hoping I could find out more about him. Following week, I was in a vegetable store when an old man walked up next to me. I glanced at him and was struck by his resemblance to my great-great-great grandfather. So I asked him his name, and he had the same surname as my great-great-great grandfather. As I asked further questions, we established that he was his grandson. He knew some of my other ancestors personally and could recall specific events that they were involved in. It was great meeting him."
This Story Delivers
Crud3 offers this interesting tale about meeting someone from his past… the FIRST person from his past.
"Drove a taxi around 2008...picked up older gentleman at nice hotel I was sitting in front of... On the way to airport we chit chat.. Where you from? Small town around Kansas city MO... What hospital? I told him where it was and the Date... He confidently says 'yeah, I delivered you, I was the only doctor that delivered babies from 1970 to 1973' so I met the first person to ever see me alive 30 something years later.. Kinda cosmic or coininkindink? That's all I got."
Stop Over For Coffee In Amsterdam Sometime
There is something about putting yourself in an altered state that tends to lead you into unexpected situations. How many fantastic stories begin with, "you won't believe what happened in Amsterdam..."? Redditor frickshun recounts one such event.
"I was visiting friends in Belgium. We drove to Amsterdam for some overnight shenanigans. I was stumbling through a tulip-filled marketplace the next morning when some random dude stops me & says 'Hey, I see you every morning getting coffee in the deli back home!' In [Long Island], NY. Blew my mind."
Kahzgul shares an interesting story that spans over a decade and would have made a great plot twist for a Hollywood movie. But, he didn't get the girl in the end, so maybe this is more of an independent film?
"When I was 14 my high school drama class took a trip to New York. While waiting in line for a show there, I met a girl with a super unique name (I also have a pretty unique name). Then, at age 26, I went back to New York to visit my sister in college. We went to see a play and our waitress was... the girl with the really unique name. Didn't realize who we were until I gave her the credit card to pay. She saw my name on the card and I saw her name on the receipt at the exact same time. Weird. But, apologies Reddit, we're not married and I haven't seen her since."
"Hey, I Recognize That Bread!"
Bread is an important symbol in the ritual of Communion in the Christian religion. So it is fitting the "roll" (sorry) that a loaf of bread played in connecting these two former rivals.
"I had visited my parents in Massachusetts and brought some Portuguese sweet bread back with me to share with members of a choir I was directing in North Carolina. While I was handing the bread to my choir members after church, someone on the other side of church came over and told me that he recognized that bread from his home town. Turns out he went to the rival high school where I lived growing up. Ironically, I had gone to that church for several years before I knew that someone from my home town went to the same church I was attending, some 720 miles from where we both started."
Follow The Money
This Redditor illustrates how one of the common things that connects us all is money. Or maybe their buddy is just a really great tipper?
"A friend of mine used to draw 3 dots with a marker on his money just to see if he would ever get them back. 4 out 7 people in our group of friends got money that he had drawn on from completely different places."
'Small Freaking World' Indeed
"My mother, thousands of miles from home, struck up a conversation with a complete stranger who turned out to be a childhood friend and classmate of her older and much loved brother who later died in the Vietnam War. That's mine and my mother's 'small freaking world' story," says ma_miya. Here's the longer version.
"My mother and a friend were visiting me on the West Coast, from their home on the East Coast. It was raining that day and while we were at a local tourist attraction, I noticed an older man awkwardly attempting to shield his camera with a newspaper while he took a photo. I was just standing around while my mother and her friend were checking things out, so I walked over and offered to hold the paper for him while he took his shot. A while later we are leaving and he is on his way out as well, walking a few feet from us, and he nods as if to say, 'thanks again.' My friendly mother asks him if he too is a tourist and where is he visiting from. Lo and behold, he's originally from a town near our hometown back East. They get to chatting, talk about the streets they grew up on, the elementary and highschools they attended. He says, 'wait, what's your maiden name?' She tells him, and my mom's jaw drops to the floor when he says, 'hold on, are you Tommy's little sister?'"
TL;DR: Synchronized Costco Schedule With 2 Old Ladies
There's something really amusing about this Costco story that the Redditor describes as both "astronomical" and "mundane."
"This one is simple and sorta fruitless. Went to Costco a while back with my gf and we ended up randomly striking up a convo with two older women near the food area after checkout. We talked for a good while and parted ways. Went to Costco again like 5 months later. Ran into the same women in the same freaking spot. On both occasions we were in checkout at the same time so it's not like these ladies just hung out at Costco. I was so surprised and told them we hadn't been to Costco since we first met them. They said the same. The odds seem astronomical but it was such a mundane thing to happen. Tl;dr synchronized Costco schedule with 2 old ladies"
What Are The Odds?
They say that landing a job all boils down to who you know. Or in MindofKB's case, who you almost know.
"I became close internet buddies with this girl on Twitter. We would always go back and forth joking and sharing interesting links. One day, an old co-worker offered me a job at a big time game company here in the Bay Area. I had no experience at that particular position, but my best friend did and he had recently lost his job. I send the job to him, he applies, interviews, and lands it. In celebration, I tweet 'I'm so happy I could pass that job off at ____ to my friend _____ .' I get a private message from her like, 'You wouldn't be talking about _____ ______ by chance?' I confirm that I am and then she tells me that she's the hiring manager for that company. Out of everyone on Twitter, it was her. What a small world."
How Did They Not Know Each Other?
You have to wonder how many times albino_oompa_loompa must have crossed paths with his co-worker while in Buenos Aires.
"I work at a medium sized health insurance company. I discovered that one of my coworkers, who went to a totally different university than me, studied abroad in the exact same city as me and we studied at the same university in that country. We were there at the same time, too, and had just never seen each other until we met at our mutual company. The conversation went like this:
Me: Oh, you speak Spanish? Cool! Me too! Did you study abroad?
Him; yeah, in Argentina.
Me: No way, me too! When were you there?
Him: June - December of 2010.
Me: NO WAY ME TOO! Where did you study?
Him: At the university of Belgrano in Buenos Aires. You?
Me: NO WAY ME TOO."
There's A Dentist Joke Somewhere In Here...
Now, this is a random encounter for sure, and one that truly makes you wonder how the world works. We're certain that this Redditor took good care of the dentist in their time of need, and hope the dentist repaid the favor during their next dental checkup!
"I was driving down the highway five states away and saw my dentist in the side of the road, walking for gas." Bizarre!
Portland Poodle Meet-Up
Redditor TrueEnt is a professional when it comes to recognizing poodles.
"I was walking my poodle in Forest Park in Portland Oregon when I met another poodle owner. In the course of our rambling conversation I asked the woman where she had gotten her poodle; 'Oh you wouldn't know her, she lives way up off in northern New Hampshire.' the woman said. 'I know Charlene,' was my immediate reply and I was right! I was at a party at Charlene's house a couple years earlier (we won the prize for longest trip) and I had met the parents of the dog now in front of me."
Talk About Repeating A Grade
This story is one we might call "Déjà Vu Times Two." We certainly hope that Redditor everything_is_ kept in touch with her after the second meeting.
"I'm from Wisconsin. When I was in middle school, my family went on vacation to San Francisco. As we were crossing the Golden Gate bridge, we see my 4th grade teacher, who just happened to be on vacation with her husband. A few years later, my family's vacationing in Hawaii. Guess who we see? My 4th grade teacher again. The odds of seeing her once is slim, but twice...?"
The Portrait Of A Stranger
What are the odds of meeting someone whose picture you found on the ground years earlier? Dutch_Douche can tell you all about it.
"Found a portrait picture of a guy on the ground at the platform of a train station. It said: With love, [insertnamehere]. Clearly meant as a gift from a guy to a girl. I put it into my wallet for some reason. Flash forward a few years. I had been studying abroad for a while and just came back to the country. I was in a train and sitting opposite me was a guy and his girlfriend. The guy looked somehow familiar. I suddenly remembered, went through my wallet and gave him the picture saying: 'I think this is yours, your girl must have lost it.' Plot twist: He didn't give that to the girl sitting next to him."
This Story Is So Meta
GotHamm's story doesn't just involve a chance encounter proving what a small world we live in. It also happened to take place on the Disney ride "It's A Small World." Mind blown.
"On my 9th birthday I went to Disney and in front of the It's a Small World Ride I ran into a family member who went there for his birthday. It was the same day as my birthday which happens to also be my moms birthday."
She Was Just A Little Too Late
This one brings a new meaning to the phrase "missed connections!"
"Went to the cemetery to visit my grandfather for the first time since the funeral. We couldn't find the grave marker so we went to the office to ask where he is. When we told the woman in the office his name she said she knew someone who [spelled] their name the same way. It turns out he was a security guard for a company she was the receptionist at 60 years ago. She thought he was cute."
When The Phone Rings, You Better Answer It!
ChloeViolet describes what sounds like an amazing coincidence in the most unlikely of situations. Or maybe her friend is stalking her? Either way, we say it's a good idea to answer a pay phone that happens to ring when you walk by. You never know who might be on the other end.
"Answered a random call while walking past a pay phone. It was a very old friend of mine who just happened to call a wrong number.. at the very second I walked past it. In a town I was only visiting for the day.
Connecting With The McAfee Sales Rep
Franktheduck made an unlikely friend when he answered the phone and started talking to his new security software sales rep.
"Had a sales rep for McAfee call one day to introduce himself as the new rep for my state and mentioned that he was given the state because he had an aunt and uncle who lived there. As it turns out, not only did I know both the aunt and uncle, I was in their wedding."
We don't typically like to think about the other people who might have stayed in a hotel bed before us, but voice_of_craisin didn't have a choice when he misplaced his wallet and made a startling discovery.
"I was leaving a hotel in NY and realized I couldn't find my wallet. I looked under the bed and found a wallet but it wasn't my wallet. It belonged to someone who lived across the street from me in DC."
Can't Escape From The Ex-Girlfriend
This situation might make it rather tricky to move on past a failed relationship. Does Dutch_Douche ever regret the way things turned out with their ex?
"I moved to another country and while waiting for the tram to go to work noticed a big poster in the storefront window of a shop on the opposite side of the street. It was my ex-girlfriend in the picture, who apparently started a modeling career and was in an advertisement for a fashion autumn collection. I saw her quite often throughout the city for a while."
The Memory Was Coming From Inside The House
Imagine traveling all the way from California to Europe and meeting someone who had been inside your house many times. If we were remghoost7, we'd want to quiz her!
"My parents and I went to Ireland when I was a child. We ended up in a restaurant for dinner one night. They were packed full and ended up setting up a few extra tables (one of which we were seated at). Our waitress was called in on her night off because they were so swamped. We all got to talking and found out that she grew up a few houses away from where we lived. In California. She knew our house inside and out. She used to babysit the kids who lived there. Small world indeed."
Could Smell Her Coming
Most of us would prefer to be remembered for our charming smiles or friendly demeanor than for our unusual body odors. I_am_the_cool shared an unfortunate story about someone who was recognizable because of an odd smell.
"In my gap year I worked in a large library in the UK with a woman who wore incredibly stinky and unpleasant hippy perfume, I would smell her about 2 minutes before I saw her appear, at which point she would say 'awwww helloooo' in a really vague and dreamy hippy voice. 5 years later, I had moved abroad, to a small city in France. I smelled her about 2 minutes before I saw her appearing one day, thinking to myself, 'surely not... It can't be...' and suddenly there she was, saying 'ohhh bonjouuuuur' in a really vague and dreamy hippy voice, with a terrible french accent. Not a life changing coincidence, but it has always made me smile."
What A Way To Meet Your Neighbors
This is a completely roundabout, but amazing, way to get introduced to your neighbor!
KevinMcAlisterAtHome says, "Mom was in a fun golf tournament in Virginia. One of the other ladies she was teamed up with she had never met before. At some point the lady said she and her husband just bought their retirement home in Georgia (the state). Mom says so did she and my dad. Start comparing.... yeah... same county....same town.....same development... yeah their backyards abut each other."
A Play From Far Away
Redditor ActuallyReith seems pretty floored that this stranger across the pond had heard of a play that they'd acted in. We would be, too.
"I went to London earlier this year with my mom (I live on a small island off the coast of Canada). We went to a play called 'Come From Away' (which takes place on a small island off the coast of Canada). That wasn't the weird part! My mom had been randomly given a snack-box thing with her ticket, so we started talking to one of the servers at the bar while someone else prepared it for us. We said where we were from, and he said he'd dated a girl from there. It turned out to be a girl I'd acted with a few years prior, and he said he had actually heard of the performance! It was such a bizarre coincidence!"
Never Know What You'll Discover When You Find A Wallet
Something about chemo92's story makes us think that these two former co-workers were destined to be reunited. It's one of those encounters that's difficult to believe until something similar happens to you.
"My dad was walking in the mountains around where I live. After a few hours out there he finds a wallet on the ground, looks inside to see the ID. The owner of the wallet turns out to be a dude my dad worked with about 20 years ago. Anyways, he carries on walking not thinking much of it other than an interesting coincidence. After a couple of hours walking, he hears a land rover (4x4) driving on the mountain. The land rover pulls up next to my dad, and who should be the driver but the owner of the wallet my dad had picked up a few hours ago, the guy he'd worked with 20 years ago (hadn't seen him in almost as long). So dad hands over the wallet to the bemusement of his old friend who wasn't up there looking for it and had lost it up there over 6 months previously. What are the chances eh?"
Are They Reading This Message Too?
Here's a charming story, shared by pumbahlumpah, about two childhood friends who were later reunited on a dating site and then on Reddit. You have to wonder whether the friend saw this post sharing the tale with everyone!
"Found an old classmate (like elementary school old) on a dating site. Talked for a bit, didn't meet up. Ran into them months later on reddit when we both shared the same story about it."
Grandpa Sang To Them Both
Even though they were once rivals in romance, two grandmothers were later reunited by a chance encounter between college buddies.
"My Grandpa, who knew my Granny when they were children, told me about how he'd cycle for hours to see her, and she'd get her friend/ next-door neighbour to hang out with him instead. Then when they got too close, Granny realised what she was missing out on and chased her friend off, reclaiming him. They were together for another 70 years or so. Anyway, I told this story to one of my best friends, whom I met at university (nowhere near where either of our families came from), mentioning the name of this other woman. There was an incredulous pause, and then she says, 'But that's my grandma. You've met her.' After confirming a few details, we realised she was the right woman, and talked to her and found she still remembered songs my Grandpa had sung to her. We exchanged details for our grandmothers, and they chatted on the phone for the first time in decades, both in their late eighties."
What Happens At Cracker Barrel Doesn't Stay At Cracker Barrel...
What are the odds that you'll know someone in the bathroom of a Cracker Barrel halfway across the country? This reddit user learned the answer in an embarrassing way.
"I live in Michigan but was visiting Tennessee. I was in a Cracker Barrel when I really had to use the restroom. I heard some other people walk in while I was in the stall, but I just thought 'Oh well, not like I'll ever see these people again' and totally let the smelliest, loudest [expletive] ever loose. I went to wash my hands when the other person came out of the stall. It was a girl from my school. Her father lived in Tennessee and she was visiting him for summer break and they were at the same [expletive] Cracker Barrel."
1 + 1 + 10 = Reunion
Some people might not think of math as the most romantic subject, but shared interests can be one of the strongest bonds in a friendship or romantic relationship. Redditor hellohumanbean says that a middle school math club led to a chance encounter in a different country.
"When I was in sixth grade, I was in math club and met a girl through a mutual friend at one of the math competitions. We got along well, but never saw each other again. We always lived in the same city, though. Half a year ago, I decided to study abroad on a whim and upon my fourth month being here, I was added into a group chat for some Halloween party. She was in that group chat and when I was added she immediately recognized my name and face, even after almost 10 years! Turns out she's studying abroad at the exact same university, with classes in the same building. We are also in a country that is very uncommon for studying abroad... Two weeks after that we brought our friends together & took a weekend trip to the mountains!"
The Little White Dog Gave It Away
LilSebastianForLife had a surprise encounter that even his teacher didn't believe when she heard the story, "When I was in high school, I worked on the school newspaper and we were all required to try to sell a certain amount of ad space from local businesses to help fund it. At the time, my grandpa worked for the local town newspaper (a big funder of our school paper), so I volunteered to talk to him about buying ad space for the year. Another student in the class said that his grandpa also worked for the newspaper, so if I couldn't do it, he could talk to his grandpa about it.
Then, for whatever reason, this other student said something else to the person sitting next to him about his grandpa. He told him that whenever he visits his grandpa, he likes to play with his little white dog. 'That's funny,' I said, because my grandpa also has a little white dog.
He was like 'I don't visit him that often, but when I do I play with his dog and also like to look at this awesome antique phone booth he has in his house.' And at this moment, I realized that he and I, in fact, had the same grandpa.
Neither of us had any clue, and it was really surprising information. It was so strange (and such an odd way to find out), that our teacher didn't believe that we really didn't already know and that we were just trying to disrupt class.
I knew that my grandpa had had children from a previous marriage, before he met my grandma, so I knew that he had other grandchildren out there somewhere. Never expected to meet one of them that way!"