"When my mom was a senior in high school, a bunch of seniors went up to the mountains to drink a week before graduation.
My mom's best friends showed up late in their topless jeep. They were drinking and decided to go stump jumping (basically where you drive over fallen trees) in the jeep. They drove up the path a bit, messed out of their minds, and my mom begged them to stop and wait for her while she took a leak. When she hopped out to go do her thing, her friends left her. She hiked back to camp and told everyone and so they went out looking for her three friends.
They finally found them the next morning, jeep completely turned over, and everyone was dead. If my mom went with them, she would have died too.
It messed her up, and she said she has never had a best friend since that night, despite her being very social and a wonderful person."
"I was 4 years old and was with my dad at the Train Station in Bologna, Italy, on August 2, 1980, where we were taking a look at the train timetables. We were planning our trip to the seaside the following week.
Unknowingly, I was standing no more than 10 meters away from where a bomb was about to set off. We heard the explosion while entering the car to get back home.
I didn't fully realize what happened until much later. I just remember my father being terrified while driving us home. My family would go on to shield me from the gravity of the situation for some time, avoiding the topic entirely until I was much older
What hit me the most when I grew up and thought about it, is the huge impact such a thing could have on a city. A total of 85 people died that day due to the attack. So many in the city lost a loved one, or a friend, or a colleague. It is incredible how large such a wound can spread through degrees of separation.
I later discovered that it was one of the darkest periods in Italy's history. Not just the Bologna Massacre, but the whole decade between the late-'70s and early '80s was full of terrorist attacks. They are called 'Anni di piombo,' or 'Years of Lead.'
What is true is that many of the victims (and their relatives) never found justice and probably never will, even if some people got jailed for life."
"I was hitchhiking and got a ride from a trucker. I had a bad feeling about it but decided to get in anyways. He saw me testing the windows to see if they could go down and up in case I had to escape, and he knew what I was doing. He said, 'The windows go up, but not down. That way I can have my way with you.'
He locked the doors and started the engine. He drove off fast. Even if I jumped out the window I would die. I put my hand on my knife and didn't talk. I just started praying. He drove for many miles, and eventually, there was a weigh station where he had to stop. He tried to hide me in the back, but a cop knew something was sketchy. The cop pulled me out of the truck and let me know that truck driver had been convicted of picking up girls and forcing himself on them against their will.
The cops detained me, but let me go on account of having no warrants. Then I had to walk many miles in the rain to the next town. No one picked me up probably because it was raining and they didn't want to get their car wet. Plus, I probably looked weird walking on the side of the highway.
I later found an onramp near a gas station and started hitching again. The first car that went past was a mom in a minivan. I told her about what just happened. She had such a mom response: 'That is just awful, sweetie, thank God you're ok.'
She made sure to drop me off in a nice town that was friendly to travelers. She gave me a sleeping bag, money, and some snacks. Then she gave me the warmest hug. Seriously, she was a perfect person and the perfect ride after that whole mess. I hope where ever she is now, she's happy."
"It was a very windy, snowy morning, and I was driving my two little girls to daycare before work. Got to an intersection, and I was turning left, so had to wait at the red light for a green left turn arrow. The light changed from red to a green arrow, I hit the gas, but my tires slipped in the snow/didn't get traction, and the engine did a weird sluggish pause/hiccup as well. In fact, I thought my car died for a second.
A semi-truck then BARRELED across the intersection in front of me at full speed, not stopping at their red light. We would've been pulverized. T-boned by a semi at full speed in an SUV doesn't end well. I was stunned, started shaking even, and felt like I was going to throw up.
I looked around to understand why that truck did that. I later found out that the snow was blowing into the streetlights and covering up the red/yellow/green completely. So the truck just - blew on through the intersection and almost killed us.
I made a left turn (looking carefully as can be) and drove down that street and dropped off my girls at daycare. I then proceeded out of the daycare lot and back on the road I earlier turned left onto - now turning right to go back the way I came. I had a green light, and on most days, I would've just turned right. But as I'd just flirted with death by semi-truck, I stopped turning onto the road and looked left and ZOOOOOM. Another semi-truck blasted through that intersection, through a red light, and again would've turned me into bits on the road."
"When I was about 18, on a peak of bipolar disorder, extremely short of money, alone in a capital city far from my native town, tangled in problems and lies and desperately looking for a part-time job while studying in uni, I basically dodged human trafficking because I didn't have a cell phone.
I went to a job interview for a 'sales associate in a clothing boutique' with a bunch of other girls. They called for girls who were relatively attractive and could speak English. They took photos of us, asked some basic questions about our families, finances, and what not. Then, they shortlisted about one-third of girls (as I later realized, all the selected girls were not from the capital, living far from their families or not having any, and being poor) and asked us to come next day not to this shop, but to another location.
The next day, they gathered us all in some 'photo studio,' told us all that, unfortunately, they already hired a salesgirl for the shop, but we had a great opportunity there to try ourselves in their other businesses and asked us to fill in a questionnaire asking if we could sing or dance and are ok with working topless if needed. They said they hired girls to work as dancers, hostesses, and waitresses in restaurant/hotel business all around the world, so after short training in this city that can totally be adjusted to our study hours, they'd send us to work in Tokyo or Seoul for a couple of weeks during Easter/Christmas/Summer holidays so we would be able to make enough money to not need to work until the next holidays. They asked our phone numbers to call us next day to tell us when and where we should come and bring our passports for them 'to be able to make visas, you know that takes long.'
I told them I didn't have a cell-phone because it was too expensive for me to have. They gave me a card with the number I should call the next day. I was totally going to. Not that I didn't understand what all of that was about, but at that point, I was so desperate I didn't care. I was considering suicide at the time, I was totally sure I was finished, I had no chances of going out of the swamp of problems I was in and nothing can be done, so being sucked into that 'edgy' thing seemed almost entertaining.
The next day I wanted to make the call, I couldn't find the card with the number. It was just gone and I've never found it."
"When I was a kid, I decided to open up a lemonade stand on the side of our street just in front of our house. My parents always told me to stay away from strange people and always make sure that people came to the stand, and not to go to them if they were on the other side of the road.
After a couple people came up to our stand to buy lemonade, someone parked across our street and told me to come over and they would give us money, so being a forgetful child I did exactly that. I checked both ways, and then I crossed the street. The guy in the car handed me a $5 bill and asked for a cup of lemonade. I turned back instantly to go and grab the guy a glass of lemonade, but right as I turned, I felt the guy reach out of his car window and grabbed me by the collar of my shirt, yanking me back.
I initially thought that I was getting kidnapped, but right as he pulled me back, a car came flying down our street out of nowhere, just barely missing me. Had that man not pulled me back, I would have been another story on the 6 o'clock news."
"One evening, relatively early, my parents both had bad headaches and decided to go to bed. A little while after that, there was a knock at the door, but they ignored it - for a while, but it went on and on, getting louder. Finally, my dad got up and answered it.
It was a police officer, checking whether they were alive.
My parents had their carpets cleaned earlier that day, and the guy who performed the service had collapsed and was taken to the hospital. Somehow, he had set things up improperly and the house had filled up with carbon monoxide, which led to him collapsing after he left. It occurred to someone that they ought to check the house he'd been cleaning.
My parents weren't dead, obviously, but they probably would have been by morning if no-one had checked."
"When I was like 17, I was your typical deadbeat looking for some weed on a Friday night, and my normal connections were out or not responding. After many desperate messages were sent, I finally got an address of someone selling. It was a friend of a friend of a friend type of deal.
I got there and it was basically a small trap house but not too sketchy. I bought my stuff and started chatting with some of the people there. We were all getting to know one another, and it was pretty chill until these two dudes entered the room.
The main dealer there and the two guys were negotiating a price on a quarter pound, and I just knew this was weird and that someone was about to get robbed. There was nothing to indicate that at all, I just knew something bad was about to go down. I told them that I had to dip and I got out of there.
I found out about a week later that right after I left, the two guys pulled out some weapons and robbed everyone in the house. I was relieved I got out of that situation; it was a wake-up call that I was being too reckless with what situations I put myself in. I'm a stoner, not a criminal.'
"I once went down into an underground mine with friends. We walked and walked, with aid of lamps and flashlights. We stopped to rest in a large room of sorts.
Then our lights burned out, and we had to slowly make our way back out a maze of tunnels, in pitch black, even walking over two-by-fours in places that bridged huge holes in the tunnel floors where you would plummet hundreds of feet to your death should you misstep.
It took half a day to find our way out. And I will never go exploring underground again."
"When I was young, I was pressure washing my driveway with my dad. My dad was watching the whole time but he had to go do something else, so he turned off the washer and said not to touch it. Stupid idiot me didn't listen to him and didn't appreciate the actual power of these things. So, I turned it back on when he left and ignored his instructions.
It suddenly cut out. I had no idea why, and I was freaking out as to why it was only pushing out a tiny trickle of water, and that my dad would be mad. I was trying to fix it, and I remember looking down at the nozzle.
I am so lucky that thing didn't go off for whatever reason. So lucky.
It was terrifying to me as a kid, now that I'm an adult, I appreciate just how lucky I am to be here. It developed into a healthy respect and fear of high power machinery, and I didn't even need my dad to kick my butt for it to be ingrained into my mind.
It's one of my most cringe moments ever, and I'll never forget it."
"When I was studying in London (I'm American), I was picking up some drinks at a local store late one night. This lady came up to me and a friend and started talking to us. Everything seemed normal and she was nice enough.
She told us she was just a few blocks away, and we were heading the same way as her, so my friend offered to help carry one of her bags since he wasn't carrying anything. As we kept walking, the apartment seemed to be nowhere in sight. We walked past our destination a few blocks and I started to get weirded out. She proceeded to make a phone call to someone, where half the time I thought she was speaking Russian, and the other half of the time she just kept being really specific about us being nice American boys. Every time we asked about her apartment, she would say, 'No, just a few more blocks away.'
The whole way she was talking about us to the other person on the phone and it sounded incredibly strange and made me think she could possibly be a human trafficker or something as she was getting oddly specific about us, our looks, and our heritage. So I grabbed the bag from my friend's hand and dropped it at the next intersection saying we were leaving now, and she started to grab his wrist and pull him with her, which was a massive red flag for me, for a woman with two random men to be grabbing their arms and pulling them. So I just ripped her hand off him and we just took off at a brisk walk. It was seriously an odd situation.
I'm not sure if she was up to anything but she was for sure giving me the creeps and my friend. Midwesterners like him have a hard time being mean or rude though."
"I had just turned 18, graduated high school, and took a temp job at a manufacturing plant. My shift was 6 am until 2 pm, and I was usually home by 2:30 when I would normally take a nap. This particular day was no different. However, I awoke to my mom and stepdad shouting in the kitchen about their impending divorce, and that's when I heard it. He hit her... again.
This had been happening on and off for years but at that moment, I had my fill of the violent reign this man had over our entire family for the last 14 years. I leaped out of bed, opened my bedroom door, and saw them standing in the kitchen, intensely staring at each other. My mom was holding her face. I closed my bedroom door to open the closet to retrieve my 20 gauge. I reached inside the closet, and I did not feel it in its normal spot. I looked around the closet and it was missing. I reopened the bedroom door and my stepdad was standing there, chest bowed, taunting me and trying to get me to throw a punch at him. I calmly asked him why he didn't just leave already, his stuff has been packed by the front door all day. With much posturing and yelling, he did.
I asked my mom why my 20 gauge wasn't in its place and she admitted that she hid it so he wouldn't find it, as she knew the entire day was going to be a roller coaster of violence. Little did my mother know that the small action of moving my weapon kept me from killing my stepfather that day. He, in fact, had not hit her but had thrown a glass of milk at the wall.
My life has been pretty awesome since that summer day when he left, exactly 25 years ago."
"I've escaped death twice.
The first time, I was 21 and was having stomach pains, like screaming in sheer agony type stomach pains. But I didn't think it was anything crazy, I've always had stomach issues. Finally, after a couple of days, I went to the ER where I had to undergo emergency surgery. I found out that I have diverticulitis and one of the nodules had popped, spilling bile into the rest of the stomach and had infected my appendix as well. The doctor said I had about 12 hours left to live.
The second time was this past year after I developed two hernias around the scars from my diverticulitis surgery. They weren't a bother for the longest time, but finally, late last year, they started hurting. Each time I went to the hospital, they were able to calm my body down and then pop the bigger hernia back in and I was good to go. Until the last time (mid-May), the surgeon came in and said: 'We're going into surgery now to fix this.' Good thing too because he found some intestine had gotten stuck and was getting strangled and was dying. He said I was probably about a day or two away from having all sorts of problems if not straight out death.
I hate my stomach and it hates me."
"I was walking home from school one day listening to music as usual when I decided to remove my headphones. I'm so glad I did because as I took them off I was about to cross a street.
I then heard what sounded like a car approaching that didn't plan on stopping. I looked to my left and there was a car coming straight for me and the woman driving wasn't even paying attention to the road, she was too busy texting.
I stopped and she was literally like two feet in front when she passed me and crashed into a car that was waiting for me to cross and make a left turn. I was glad I stopped when I did because the lady was going full speed and she would have run me over and still crashed with that other car."
"There was a bad windstorm in 2008 in Cincinnati, Ohio, that came from a hurricane. Cincinnati is actually in the Ohio valley which means it doesn't typically get that windy.
It was my future father-in-law's birthday, and we were trying to make it over to their house for lunch, which was only five minutes away. The main road was blocked by police cars as trees and power lines had fallen, so I decided to take the back way. I went a little further and had to turn around because another tree had fallen and blocked both sides of the road. I turned around and went another direction. I got to the end of the street and could go either left or right. The left was blocked by a cop car and another car just turned around so I was going to go right. It was a three-way stop and I stopped first.
I started to go and the car on my left who just turned around wasn't stopping and ran the stop sign. I was frustrated but heard a creaking sound. A 25-foot tree fell with the trunk perpendicular to where my wife and I were sitting covering all of the windows with branches. We crawled out of the car and noticed the tree itself was only being held up by stretched out power lines. If those power lines wouldn't have held the tree, we would have been crushed without a doubt.
We just celebrated our ninth wedding anniversary and have four beautiful children, but it all could have ended that day."
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