Life could completely transform for the better at any moment. All it takes it a fateful phone call or run-in with the right person. None of these people expected to get as much success as they did, so what's the secret behind all of it? Some of the most random events imaginable! Content has been edited for clarity.
"My grandfather was a popular animal veterinarian out in the country. He was driving home one night and noticed a guy on the side of the road who was trying to calm down a horse. He was not succeeding. My grandfather stopped and helped the man. It turns out that the horse was having some sort of medical issue, but my grandfather was able to fix it. After everything was done, my grandfather put the horse in a trailer he happened to have connected to the truck. He gave the man, who I'll call Joe, a ride home. Joe was to pay my grandfather, but he simply refused. Joe took the money we would use as payment and invested it. The two of them moved on from that fateful night.
Fifteen years later, a young man came by my grandfather's home. The young man was Joe's son, and he had come by to let my grandfather know that Joe had passed. His son was closing all the accounts. Joe had invested $200 for fifteen years and turned it into 1.2 million dollars. This took place in the 1960s. My grandfather was given all the money. My grandfather paid off all of his bills, expanded his farm, and sent all of his kids to college. Ten years later, he fulfilled his dream of moving to Alaska and retiring. He also gave the five oldest grandchildren (including me) five thousand dollars for each of our twenty-first birthdays. He never got to meet any of the other grandchildren, it wasn't like he just didn't care after the first five of us. My grandfather was the best guy."
"Back in the 90s, I fostered a dog for some friends who were leaving town and left their dog with me. This dog immediately made an impression on me, and even though I really didn't want a pet at the time, he was such an amazing dog. He convinced me otherwise. He was super smart, a half black Labrador, half Pitbull. I named him 'Wisdom' because he was so smart. When I first got the dog, I lived in an apartment that didn't allow pets. I kept the dog at the office sometimes, and he caused all kinds of trouble. I absolutely didn't want a dog. But he had this way of slowly crawling into your lap. I'd look at him and he'd stop, and when I looked away he would very, very slowly move towards me. It was really endearing. Fast-forward a few years later. I used Wisdom as a mascot for a recording studio that I set up. I registered the domain name 'wisdom.com'. My dog passed away several years later, and I was heartbroken and depressed for a very long time afterwards. I maintained the domain name, even though I didn't really have any projects associated with it. Over the years, people made offers on the domain name, but I always passed. The domain name was an homage to my long-lost best friend.
Then, in 2000, when the dot-com boom happened, there was a renewed interest in domains and IPOs. I had a few groups bugging me for the domain name, and they kept increasing their offers. Eventually, the numbers got into what I like to call the 'life changing' areas of money, and I simply couldn't ignore them. I originally secured the wisdom.com domain name for practically nothing. In the early days of the internet, it didn't cost any money to register a domain name, You just had to fill out the right forms. I actually would never have to pay any domain renewal fees if it wasn't for some eventual updated terms of service that forced me to pay some small renewal fees. Otherwise, the $475,000 I was ultimately offered in cash would have been pure profit. This was a massive change that gave me the opportunity to take that money and create a very cool community of wonderful people. I film online videos for musicians at a creative space that I established. There aren't enough subscribers yet to do much, but I have a blast working on it.
I continue to be in awe of my little dog. Wisdom has the ability to bestow such an amazing gift upon me so many years later, and I am determined to use that gift to help others. I was so on the fence about selling the domain because of my love for my old dog, so that's why I kept increasing the price tag. If I was really in it for the money, I would have settled for a whole lot less. Had I waited a few more weeks before doing that deal, it likely would have fell through. Right after I did the deal was when the dot-com implosion happened, and the entire market collapsed. I don't recall seeing anything happen with the domain from that point forward. I probably could have bought it back for much less."
"I was the victim of housing discrimination, and the morons put it in writing. They literally emailed me explaining that they wouldn't rent to me because of some very illegal discrimination reasons. Had they just not sent this email, they would have been completely fine. Nobody would have known that they rejected my application for a bad reason. If they had chosen a fake reason, or even given no explanation at all, they wouldn't have found themselves in such legal trouble. I made a complaint to my state, and the state assigned to me a free lawyer to handle it. I didn't even know that was something they did! Anyway, these housing people kept lying and said that I was making things up. They insulted my character in a wide variety of ways that went way beyond the issue at hand. They claimed that I faked the reason I was being discriminated against, so how could they discriminate against something I was faking? It was completely ridiculous. In the end, I wound up with a decent sized check. Again, when I reported them, I thought I would never learn the result of what the state would decide to do. I was just reporting a broken law.
The best part was that the lawyer asked me if I wanted these people to be forced into taking an anti-discrimination class because, if I did, then the state would include that in punitive measures. I happily agreed to it. The class they took was two hours away in the constant traffic of the area, and I enjoyed imagining them having to sit there in some ugly, depressing room while being educated about why they were gross people and how they needed to stop being so gross. Obviously, I was quite upset that they had done this entire thing at all, but I was also genuinely impressed by the level of stupidity it took for them to literally give me evidence in writing. I am not at all condoning illegal discrimination obviously, but it is kind of awe-inspiring when people actively give someone else proof of how they are breaking the law."
"So I briefly worked with a guy who was in his late twenties, a former military soldier. When finished his service, a military friend that he served with encouraged him to buy Bitcoin. He bought several thousand in bitcoin when it was worth nothing and pretty much forgot about it. When bitcoin first started spiking in value and getting some mainstream attention on the news, my friend started looking for the flash drive he had it stored on, because he recalled that he had some bitcoin. He had a ton of it, and he sold it well before it hit its peak. This dude made millions. He bought an $800,000 house, owned multiple high-end cars, and he still came to work at his manual labor job because he was bored. Needless to say, he didn't stay there for very long, and all he did from then on was show off his money and clock in hours that weren't spent actually working. Now I'm the type of person who, if I won the lottery, would still show up for work. This guy picked up a manual labor job and on his first day of training, he showed up in designer jeans. He told the person instructing him, 'I don't get my hands dirty' when asked to jump into the hole that they were all digging. During the six months that he was there, he never really did anything related to the work at hand, but the manager at the time didn't care enough to actually fire him."
"I was quite lucky enough to inherit a lot of money by a completely random chance. Around thirty years ago, I was required to get this pen pal for a school project. I wrote to a Hiroshima survivor. We ended up writing to each other twice a week on average for many, many years. I got to know the survivor very well, to the point that I was comfortable talking about how awful my home life was. He had asked me about it and I finally felt comfortable enough to tell him. I had learned to lie about my home life by the time I was three because it really was that bad. Everything kind of came to a head the night before I turned eighteen. At the time, the law allowed any form of discipline until a child reached legal adulthood. There would have been no legal legs for me to stand on growing up in pursuing arrest or punishment towards my folks. When I was eighteen, I was severely injured and left for dead by my biological father. I ended up in the hospital for four and a half months. Hajime, my pen pall, used a legal loophole to legally adopt me as his kid.
Long story short, when he adopted me, he made me the sole inheritor of his pretty generous estate. He passed away a few years later. During those few years that we shared together in person, he honestly loved me and treated me like I was his own kid. Hajime is the man I consider to be my true dad, and he always will be. When I found out the sheer size of his estate, I was shocked because he seemed to live such a normal, run-of-the-mill sort of life. When we got to an addendum on the last page of his Will, I completely broke down into tears and collapsed onto the floor. His final message to me was this: 'You are my son and I love you. I am leaving you everything I own so that you can have a life free from fear, misery, and pain. I want you to have a heaven on earth because you've already lived through purgatory. My last request is that you live your dreams that we spoke of often. No matter what you do with your life, I will always be proud of you.'
I am honoring his final wishes. I officially retired about six months after the estate was finalized, and I am set until several centuries after I have left this world. My dreams are simple things that are easily attainable. But I have many more dreams I want to complete before the end of my life. I had better get back to them."
"So I started an online private label business on a whim in 2015. I made about twenty-five percent of the sale in profit after the costs of making the product, shipping, and advertising it. I sold fogless shower mirrors and makeup mirrors. I found super cheap mirrors on another site that weren't already on Amazon, and I made a killing on it. Sales doubled every month for six months. In June, I made $4,000. In July, I made $8,000. In August, I made $18,000. In September, I made $40,000. In October, I made $84,000. In November, I made $175,000. Finally, in December, I made $362,000. I didn't know what to do with all of this. I decided to quit my job in January to focus on growing this business, but my time was spent mostly on trying to fend off competition copying my listing and posting fraudulent reviews to my page. It went well for a few years, but I never made as much as I made during that first December.
Nowadays, all the manufacturers that I originally got the products from just sell directly online and cut out of middle men. My husband and I actually did invest the money in another e-commerce business that did nothing for three years and suddenly blew up this year. During all the past year, I was in abject misery, as I was starting to resign myself to lifelong poverty. My investment really had not paid off whatsoever. I had to get a job working for someone else, which was a definite hit to my ego. I desperately hated that job, but I was so worried that if I lost it, I wouldn't find another job in my narrow field. I tried to save what money I had left over, but it ran out quickly while supporting my family. Now that this e-commerce business has done surprisingly well, maybe there's hope for me yet. This will be my fourth attempt to be a multi-millionaire. Wish me luck."
"My great-aunt and godmother were gay. Her partner, my Auntie Kitty, had been with her since the 1950s. They had met when my godmother moved to New York City to work as a magazine photographer. Auntie Kitty had been disowned by her family when it was revealed she was partnered with a woman. My godmother died when I was twelve. She left everything to Auntie Kitty in her will, which definitely strained things with my dad's side of the family. Flash-forward several years. I moved to New York at age eighteen to go to college, and knowing no one else in the city, I became quite close with my Auntie Kitty. She was thrilled that I wanted to have a relationship with her and spend my time with her. I didn't hesitate in thinking of her as my aunt, even though she technically wasn't. She was legitimately the greatest, and we spent numerous holidays together. She would attend events that I worked on, and I knew all of her friends and she knew mine. I basically spent a decade with her as another grandmother to me. As she got older, she repeatedly reminded me that I was the executor of her Will, that I was to follow it exactly, and none of her family was going to get anything. I inherited the bulk of her assets. My dad and uncle got some, and my sister and nieces got a little bit. I knew the woman had some money. She had a vacation home in the Carolinas and a brownstone in New York City. But since both of those were bought in the seventies, I figured that things had stagnated and there wasn't a whole lot left. Well, it turns out that I was very, very wrong. I inherited enough money that I wouldn't have to work ever again if I didn't feel like it."
"So there I was, celebrating my twentieth birthday. I decided to go to the fancy casino an hour away from my campus with my then boyfriend. We played bingo because that was what I could afford, and it occupied some time for us. We lost. I called my dad, who loves casinos when he has the money for them, for advice. He told me to play three card poker. I had watched him play this game before, but I wasn't sure of how it worked, and I was down to my very last twenty dollars. My dad told me that twenty dollars would be more than enough for a hand or two. He just wanted me to give it a shot. The dealer would explain the rules. So I sat down to that table by myself. I won. The dealer was super excited for me, but I was very clueless. I had a straight flush. Then I just kept winning. People would take the seat in front of me. They would lose, and I would just keep on winning. It didn't matter. I got two more straight flushes that night and a ton of other good hands. I kept betting the minimum just in case, but now I sort of wish that I had put down more. That fateful night, I turned $20 into $3,000 that night. My dad was completely astonished over the whole thing."
"Way back when, when I was like fifteen, I came across this news story on ESPN. It was all about how a Tiger Woods 'rookie' trading card that been published in the kids edition of Sports Illustrated had sold for about one hundred thousand dollars. I happened to be subscribed to Sports Illustrated for Kids at that particular time, and I spent most of that afternoon looking through my old magazine boxes for that one issue. Lo and behold, I found that exact issue with the page of perforated trading cards perfectly intact. The card wasn't perfectly centered, and I didn't want to risk detaching it and ruining its value. I decided to put up the entire magazine for sale online. I sold it for five hundred dollars. That felt like a small fortune for me at that time. I acted like I was a king for that entire day. Once everyone realized that selling that trading card was even an option, they also looked for their card from their magazines. The supply quickly outstripped the demand. By the time I had listed my magazine online, people were getting between $100 and $300 for the card. The amount I got was fortunately well above average when it quickly sold."
"My wife's aunt had suddenly passed away. She had been institutionalized for her whole life, and neither me nor my wife had ever even met her. We sort of forgot about it after a few months, until my wife's uncle emailed her, telling her that she would be receiving some money. We thought it was a little weird an unexpected, but we certainly weren't complaining! One night, my wife gets a phone call from that uncle. I hear a lot of 'Um,', 'Okay,', and, 'Geeze!' coming form the other room. It turned out that we would be receiving over $300,000. Both of us had been grinding away, making $15 an hour and barely making rent every month. And then this happens. Boom! Out of nowhere! This event ended up being the difference between having a house and not having a house, being able to start a family and not starting a family, and having a retirement fund instead of hoping not to be evicted every month."
"I was a 'gentleman companion' for almost seven years. It wasn't usually intimate, it as specifically as a companion. I would go out with clients, usually all women, but sometimes men. I would pretend to be their perfect boyfriend or partner in front of their friends, family, or coworkers. It started out very much as an accident, but it ended up making me a ton of money. I recently 'retired' from the gig and started focusing on continuing my education. I can't be a companion my entire life, and I honestly dislike people in general. Most of my clients were extremely wealthy, which was how I made so much money. Before anyone asks, yes I did pay taxes on it.
I am pretty good at putting on a face, molding myself to what the client is looking for. My clients would tell me their likes and dislikes, and I would fit into the person I needed to be for the evening. Some weeks I worked a ton, and other times I had a week or two of downtime. I also don't get anxious or nervous very easily, which I imagined helped me out on the job. So this job sort of fell in my lap, pretty much out of the blue. I had just moved to Las Vegas with my girlfriend. One night, I went out with some people I had met and I ended up dancing a little bit. This older woman, most likely in her fifties, asked how much I would be for a night. I joking told her $500. She gave it to me. I texted my girlfriend about this, who thought it was hilarious and told me that we needed the money anyway. It sort of grew from that one night. Most of my clients had some sort of issues with their job being too consuming for romance, or family bothering them about not having a partner. So I made an excellent cover."