A brush with death is nothing to sneeze at; dodging danger can really take a toll on someone and afterwards, it’s common for people who come very close to a catastrophe to have survivor’s guilt.
I truly hope that none of these people who had close-calls suffer from any kind of guilt. As we read their stories, I’m sure we’re counting their lucky stars too.
1. Break in
“When I was a teenager, my mom and I lived in a two-level condo. The basement consisted of my bedroom and a family room with sliding glass patio doors that opened to the backyard, as it was a walkout basement. Since we were two women living alone, we stuck a thick dowel in the sliding glass door for extra security. So late one night, I was walking down the staircase to go to bed and realized I’d forgotten to close the drapes of the patio door. As I hit the last couple steps coming around the corner, I heard this ‘Bang! Bang! Bang!’ I looked up and made eye contact with some random guy, and realized the banging noise was him repeatedly trying to open the sliding door, which was stopped by the dowel. I ran upstairs screaming to my mom, grabbed my car keys off the hook, and we ran outside and jumped in the car, with my mom in her robe and me in nothing but a t-shirt and my underwear. We had a family friend who was a cop, so we drove to his house to tell him what happened, since this was before we had cell phones. He handed me a pair of his jeans for me to put on and followed us home. He went in and scoped out the house and the exterior. No sign of the guy, but sure enough, the patio door was still open as much as it could be, and there were footprints outside the door. Even after getting the locks fixed, I still slept upstairs with my mom for quite some time after that!” —kittywhampus72
2. A feeling
“Two weeks ago, I was driving home from class and got this overwhelming urge to check for incoming traffic an extra time before driving through the upcoming green lights. I just kind of glanced both ways through the first one, and then, my entire body screamed at me to stop at the next one. I slammed on my brakes. Right after, a truck barreled through its red light. I could have been badly hit” —emersinning
3. Alcohol poisoning
“This new girl came to my school, and I made friends with her quickly since she didn’t know anyone. I had this other friend, and when I introduced them to each other, they hit it off big time, so much that I became a third unwanted wheel in our friend group. So, when the new girl invited me to her place for a sleepover, I was ecstatic. Her mom bought us a ton of alcohol, and showed us where the other many bottles of alcohol in the house were. She then left us there unattended all night. I drank way too much. I passed out on the floor and began vomiting. I was on my back, so I was aspirating my vomit. You can easily die like that. My friends decided to leave me in that state and go watch movies in her bedroom, and even invited a couple boys over to hook up. Luckily for me, one of the boys saw me, put me in a cold shower, and called 911 despite the protests of my ‘friends.’ Her mom went to jail, and everyone at school called my ex-friends murderers.” —goety
4. Train vs bus
“When I worked in San Francisco, I commuted to work by bus — the view of the Bay was beautiful traveling over the Bay Bridge. One morning, I got an eerie feeling as I looked out at the water from the bus, so I decided I’d take the BART train home after work instead of the bus. As I was walking home later that day, the 7.0 Loma Prieta earthquake hit. A section of the Bay Bridge collapsed. I’m thankful to this day that I decided not to return home on the bus, or I would’ve been on the bridge. Being outside while the earth was moving violently under my feet was terrifying and something I’ll never forget.” —ariesfire
“About 10 seconds after I put my seatbelt on in an Uber, we were t-boned by another vehicle. We spun around and crashed into the base of a bridge. I was in the backseat of a GMC, and if I hadn’t put my seatbelt on when I did, I would’ve gone head first through the windshield and right into the pillar. The seatbelt bruised my ribs — that’s how hard the impact was, and it hurt for three weeks. The driver was knocked out by the airbag, and his nose was bloodied. Hardly anyone puts seatbelts on in cabs and Ubers in New York as far as I know. The only reason I did is because my ex had gotten a traumatic brain injury from a cab accident years earlier” —jenmas
6. Neighbor tried to kill Regan
“My uncle had an odd neighbor that just gave off a weird vibe. They didn’t talk besides the occasional hello in the hall, because my uncle was creeped out by him, too. That neighbor was John Hinckley Jr. — he went on to try to assassinate former President Ronald Reagan. My uncle and the other people in his building were interviewed by the FBI for information about his character or to see if they knew anything about his plot, but no one knew anything because no one knew him. He freaked everyone out. My uncle still says it was the most nerve-wracking experience of his life” —lalalace1640
7. Driving too fast
“I was 16 years old and driving my mini van way too fast in the rain on a tiny dirt road in some hills. I slid off the road, causing my van to continue on two wheels in the ditch. I lost control for a bit, until the car miraculously popped back up onto the road. I just kept driving in complete shock since I was okay. But if I had driven off the other side of the tiny road, it would’ve been me rolling a long way down the hill.
“The entire side of the van was caked with mud, and a hubcap was missing, but no real damage. I went back later that day and couldn’t figure out what spot I could’ve slid like that. The entire side of the road was covered with boulders and trees. I continued to drive down the road for years and never found the hubcap; I’m still baffled by it.” —mischiefbrain
8. What if we hadn’t checked?
“In high school, my friend’s dad managed a motel in a kind of seedy part of town. They lived in an apartment behind the lobby, and occasionally, he’d allow my friend to spend a day or two in one of the motel rooms if she had friends over or whatever. One night, she and I were in one of the rooms, and someone knocked on our door. We assumed it was her dad, so she almost opened the door, but I told her to look through the peephole first. It was some strange man we’d never seen before. That was over 30 years ago, and I still think about what might have happened if she had opened that door without checking the peephole first” —keetawnandon
9. Mom’s story
“When my mom was in middle school, she was walking down the street, and a guy pulled up and told her to get in the car because he had a gun. He had a really distinctive gap in his front teeth. She ran away and fled into a mall but didn’t tell anyone. A few weeks later, she saw a picture of the man with the tooth gap — he was wanted in the kidnapping of a young girl” —sarahs402d05f80
10. The other side of the road
“Back in 2013, my then-boyfriend and I were driving to his parents’ place during a mild snowstorm when this huge truck came out of nowhere and cut us off. To avoid hitting the truck, my boyfriend hit the brake, and his car began spinning out of control before flipping over on the side of the road. The side we landed on was full of snowbanks that cushioned our fall, and we both crawled out of the upside down car with no serious injuries, just a bruise on my knee. But if we had landed on the other side of the road, we would have ended up in a ditch full of jagged rocks” —padawanryan
11. Cheap flight
“My friend and I had booked a city trip to celebrate my 18th birthday on March 22, 2016. Being young and cheap, we had a 5 or 6 a.m. flight from the Zaventem Airport. My parents drove us, as we are from the Netherlands and there was no train going that early. We could have spent 20€ more to travel at 8 a.m., but that’s like a whole dinner, so no. When we landed, I had so many texts and calls from friends and my parents, as did my friend. People were frantic. We learned that two hours after take-off, the Brussels bombings happened — Zaventem Airport was one of the locations hit. 32 people died. If it weren’t for us opting for the earlier flight, we could have been in serious danger. We could have died. Our city trip was definitely soured. Having fun felt incredibly disrespectful.” —cookiecutterssssss
12. Trip to Vegas
“My boyfriend and I took a trip to Vegas with plans on returning Monday morning. The entire weekend was great, and by Sunday, we were finally starting to relax before heading back home. My boyfriend and I were having dinner at the Sahara at the opposite end of the Strip. We had planned to meet his friends who were gambling at the Mandalay at 10 p.m., though we had a bit too much to drink at dinner. So in the cab afterward, we decided last minute to just head back to our hotel to relax before our flight in the morning instead. That was night of the 2017 concert shooting in Vegas. If we had went to meet his friends, we would have arrived at the Mandalay right when the shooting happened” —stephaniec4ca241dff
13. Hotel front desk
“About 20 years ago, my friend was working the front desk at a hotel. Her manager needed someone to work overnight, but my friend’s husband worked nights, so she had to be home with the kids. The manager ended up having someone else work that shift. The next morning, she was watching the news while getting her kids ready for school and saw that there was an armed robbery at her hotel — the front desk attendant had been shot and killed” —zesty-unicorn
14. Actual brush with evil
“10 years ago, our family friend was walking home from a party in a more rural part of my hometown. She got a little bit lost, and her phone had died. This guy pulled over and offered to let her use his phone, but only if she got in the car so she wouldn’t steal it. She really needed to call her parents since she was late for curfew, and the excuse seemed reasonable, so she got in the car. He immediately locked the door and drove away. Somehow, she ended up being able to escape the vehicle and ran inside a nearby house. But no one believed her story…until a young woman went missing from her job at a gas station a few years later. Our friend identified a van caught on camera in the parking lot as the same one she got into that night years ago.
“The young woman kidnapped from the gas station was never found, and neither was the man that kidnapped her.”
15. A cat owner knows
“I’m a heavy sleeper, and never wake up until my alarm kind of thing. For some reason one night, I just had a weird feeling, so I woke up and got out of bed. I went out to the living room, which is upstairs in our house, and my husband had left the window open. I went to close it and saw my cat hanging off the outside window sill, trying to hold on and panicked! I grabbed her and helped her in. She’s an indoor cat, so we probably would have lost her even if she somehow hadn’t been injured. I still have no idea why I woke up in the first place and went in there!” —britneybelle21
“40 years ago, I had plans to go out to a club with my friend, but I cancelled because a snowstorm was coming. My friend said she was going anyway because she was meeting one of her guy friends, and he was bringing his friend who she had a big crush on. The next morning, I woke to frantic calls from friends to see if I was okay — my friend had been killed. On the way to the club, her friend’s car skidded off the snow-covered road at a high speed and crashed into a tree. My friend was in the front passenger seat, and was killed. I know if I had gone out with Jenny that night I wouldn’t have let her leave with two guys alone, and I would’ve been in the front seat” —greeneyedmonster22
17. A change of direction
“The trail along the Mississippi was my regular running route. But on August 1, 2007, I decided to go the other direction rather than my usual route. As I was running, I heard the I-35 bridge collapse behind me up the river, right when I would have been under it” —foxsmoulder
18. Dad didn’t pick me up
“When I was 9 years old, my dad was supposed to pick me up from school, but he couldn’t drop me home straight away because he had to go back to his job, and I would have had to wait at his workplace until he was done. This normally happened, and usually, I’d just go with him because it was easier, but that day, I said I’d just walk home even though I refused to do things like that. I’m glad I did because as he was going back, another car hit the side of my dad’s van, and the whole passenger side was smashed in. I would’ve been sitting there if I went with my dad; I wouldn’t have survived that crash. The impact left my dad with some bad spine issues, and he can’t move his neck fully now.”
19. Pulse night club
“In June 2016, I was going to go to the Pulse night club in Orlando for the first time with some friends, but everyone canceled at the last moment because they all had things to do. So, I ended up spending the night with my boyfriend in Tampa. I woke up the next morning to all kinds of texts and links to articles about the Pulse shooting. It still shakes me” —nykiamarieb