Sometimes we're confronted with circumstances or situations that could ruin a life, sometimes in dangerous ways. When you escape them, it seems like you "dodged a bullet." For these people, they got away from situations, either real or imagined, that left them feeling grateful for what they have in their lives. And in some cases, they really did dodge literal bullets.
“This is a story of my almost being murdered by a now convicted murderer.
Back around 2007 I wanted to learn to scuba dive. I signed up at my local dive shop in Spokane, Wa. Having never done a course like this before I really wasn’t sure what to expect. Everyone was super chill, including the instructors. I knew scuba was kind of dangerous so maybe these guys were just trying to keep people calm and focused by being kind of pranksters.
We go through the entire course over several weeks and schedule our open water dive in the hood canal during spring. We’re talking 40 degrees outside and water that’s around 38 degrees.
First big clue something wasn’t right is they gave me a wetsuit that was way too big. They knew it was too big, laughed about it being too big but gave it to me anyway. For those that don’t know, wetsuits only work correctly when they are directly connected to your skin. Any gap eliminates the benefits.
Little side detail, one of the dive cons was a cute little blonde girl that had gotten a little flirty with me. I didn’t think this was going to cause issues since the dive master instructor was a married man. More on this later.
So here we are in March going on my first open water dive. Second issue comes up immediately. My weight belt is way too light so I’m too buoyant, floating to the surface and unable to stay submerged.
The divemaster instructor, Dan, comes up and asks what’s wrong, I tell him I’m too buoyant and need to weight on my belt. He says they don’t have anymore weights and to hold on.
Now he’s behind me and I don’t have my regulator in my mouth or hands (the thing that gives you air underwater). He grabs my BC vest and drags me 25 feet to the bottom of the canal so he can start loading rocks in to my vest. Every time I reach for my regulator he blocks my arm. After about 45 seconds I elbow him as hard as I can and grab my regulator to start breathing.
I think, okay that was weird but nothing too suspicious. Maybe he didn’t realize what was going on.
We continue the dive and catch up to the group. Now the water is super murky where you can maybe see 10 feet in front of you and it’s freaking freezing. My wetsuit, as mentioned before, does not fit so I’m literally fighting hypothermia while trying to keep up with the group.
Third massive red flag I didn’t realize at the time, we are 110’ feet deep. The max depth we are supposed to be at is 60. At 110’ you have to do calculations to make sure you stay at specific depths for a specific amount of time in order to not have nitrogen build-up and potentially kill you.
After a few minutes, we begin to head back up and only stop at 10’ for a few minutes to help clear out the nitrogen.
We finally make it out and I’m happy to be alive because I was literally freezing my butt off.
Now here’s where it gets crazy. The next group that goes out, one of the students, an older gentleman in his 50’s drowns. There’s chaos and panic as they bring him up and start doing CPR. His wife is there and hears I’m an ordained minister, a story I had told during class about getting ordained to do a friend’s wedding. Definitely not a real minister.
The wife of the deceased asks me to pray over her husband and give him his last rights. I don’t know what this means at the time but I try and oblige anyway. (Sorry dead guy if you didn’t make it into heaven. I tried…)
The EMS finally come and take him away.
The next day we go out for our second and last class and though everyone was very somber, nothing seemed weird.
Fast-forward 3 years. I’m called in to give my account of the events that day for the attorney of the late guy’s wife.
Attorney asks me if anything weird had happened, so I tell her about the wetsuit, the being dragged to the bottom because I didn’t have enough weights, and the 110’ depth detail.
Her jar drops. Asks me if we had ever been trained to take our weight belts off in an emergency situation, a standard lesson for all scuba divers. I answer no, no we had not.
She says the student that was found had his weight belt around his ankles because he didn’t know how to take it off while panicking. Crazy!
Several years go by and I hadn’t heard anything more about what had happened to this dive instructor.
I’m invited to a wedding in Costa Rica and decide to go get some snorkeling gear at a local dive shop in Coeur d’Alene, ID. I mention to the owner that I’m certified, but wondered if I should just do a refresher course or get recertified because one of the students died.
The owners jar drops as he says, ‘Oh my gosh! Were you in Dan Arteaga class?’ I said yeah, why? He says, ‘You know he’s in prison now, right?! That dude is a convicted murderer?’ I told him I had no idea, and he said to look it up on Google.
Now here’s what’s crazy, remember that little cute blonde that was flirting with me? Well turns out Dan the dive instructor was having an affair with her at the time but had gotten caught a few years into it. And after a few other students reported almost dying in this guys class the cute little dive-con came to his apartment to tell him she was going to turn him in.
The dive instructor shot her in the head and killed her.
I don’t know if the student’s death was ever pinned on him, but this guy was a straight-up killer and from my experience, playing super loosey goosey with the protocols for diving students which was leading to their deaths.”
One Tiny Detour
“I was on my way to Taco Bell in the back of a friend’s small truck. The cab was full, so I was in the bed. We passed by my apartment on the way and I chose to have him drop me off (it was a bit chilly in the open air back there).
By the time I got into my apartment, I had a Snapchat from the driver. It was a picture of his totaled truck.
While he was stopped at an intersection, a wasted driver approached from the opposite direction, going 100+. The driver clipped a bus causing an abrupt stop and his whole engine to rip out of his car, fly through the intersection, and into my friend’s truck where I had been riding, unseatbelted moments before.
None of my friends were injured. I think both the people in the other car died.
Dozens of people have pointed out to me that my friends were only involved in the accident because of the deviation to drop me off, they are not wrong. But it still feels like I dodged a bullet.
Furthermore, the route from point A to point Taco Bell went directly past my apartment on a low-speed residential street. The time it took for me to hop out of the back as they drove by added maybe 30 seconds to their journey. In a small, rural college town at night, this may have made enough of a difference. But if we had been there earlier, maybe we would have been turning into the intersection and I’d have been broadsided by the flying engine instead of it hitting my friend’s car head-on. Who knows?
I’m just happy to be alive and excited to see what today holds.”
Ride With Dad
“When I was a kid my family was going to take a 10 minute drive to the nearby beach to hang out on a Sunday afternoon. My dad had to work after, so he and my mom were going to drive separately, and he was leaving first. On his way out the door he said– ‘Want to ride with me?’
My brain said ‘Yeah!’ since I was ready to go and I don’t get along well with my mom. So I was astonished when my mouth said, ‘Nah, I’ll ride with Mom.’ It was literally like someone had used my body to say something against my will. I was too shocked to say anything else and he shrugged and left.
When we (finally) got to the beach we didn’t see my dad there, but it’s a long beach and the parking area is huge, so we weren’t worried.
A few minutes later, though, my mom calls me back and tells me we have to go to the hospital– Dad was in a car accident on the way to the beach (yeah, there are multiple routes and we took different ones). He was ok, just bumps and bruises.
Then I got a look at the photos of his car after the accident– the passenger side, where I would definitely have been sitting if I had successfully said ‘Yeah!’, was totally obliterated.
Still gives me chills to this day.”
They’re Back At HQ
“I was dating a girl for a while, and despite living and working on the opposite side of town, she’d always be near this one neighborhood coffee shop that I frequented, so I’d randomly run into her there and ask what brought her to that neck of the woods. She usually replies, ‘grabbing some coffee’ or ‘I had a hunch you’d be here and wanted to say hi.’
One day, she up and moves out of the state with zero warning, and tells me that we aren’t dating anymore. I was confused, but it was casual, so while it sucked I just thought, ‘Oh she probably had some family emergency or something and didn’t want to tell me.’
A few weeks later on her Snapchat, I see that she’s just making absolute STACKS in San Diego, and is always wearing the same uniform in these pictures. I was a bit confused, but didn’t think much of it.
I started dating this other chick who frequented the aforementioned coffee shop, and after a month or two of dating, the first chick comes back and starts hanging out with her a bunch around the same neighborhood the coffee shop was in. A week later, BOTH of them are moving to San Diego, and want me to come with them, live with them, and work where they work. Something just felt EXTREMELY fishy, so I said no, and off they went.
Eventually, a picture got posted with both of them in it, in front of a very strange but very instantly familiar building. The HQ of the Church of Scientology.
The reason the original chick was always in that neighborhood is that kitty corner from the coffee shop was the local chapter of the church of Scientology. She got pretty ingrained in the church, and moved to San Diego to work for them, then came back to recruit gullible people to come back with her.
And that’s the story of how I lost two girlfriends to the church of Scientology, and was none the wiser.
Definitely glad I dodged THAT bullet.”
“When I was a dumb young woman I moved to a new city. I worked in an area that could be very sketchy after dark. One night after work I got really wasted. I stumbled into a taxi to head home. So wasted I’m not even sure how I gave him my address. When we arrived I started digging in my pocket for cash to pay the taxi driver and he reached over and said, ‘No, no baby. I’m not a taxi. I just wanted to make sure you got home okay.’
Apparently, I had just jumped into a random car. I will be forever grateful to this stranger and much more careful in my after work decisions.”
Routine Surgery Gone Wrong
“Had gall stones and the doctor game me a choice between surgery to remove the gall bladder or antibiotics. I choose the surgery, which is very unlike me. When they started the surgery, they found out the gall bladder had burst and the stones were in my body cavity. What was supposed to be a short procedure through the belly button turned into a 10″ incision to remove the stones. I was supposed to leave the hospital that day, but it turned into a week. However, if I chose antibiotics and went home with a burst gall bladder, I probably would have died of sepsis.”
Never Do A Rush Job
“I left a store and it soon became obvious something was wrong with the car – I pulled into the Walmart parking lot I was by and yep – flat tire on the front left side. My rather pregnant wife, and three-year-old daughter get out. It was HOT.
Got out the stupid scissor jack that came with the car and I was about to get started when my brother-in-law stopped to see if we needed anything – so I said maybe let them sit in your car while I change the tire.
I loosed the lug nuts, jack the car up, pull the lug nuts off, and the tire is a little stuck. I lay down partially under the car to pull on the tire.
The next thing I hear is my brother-in-law shouting ‘LOOK OUT’ – so I just roll away from the car and the very next thing I hear is crunching metal. The jack had snapped in half, dropping the car all the way to the ground where my arm/shoulder had been like one second earlier.
No damage done to me, but I had to walk the adrenalin rush off for a few minutes after that. Fortunately we had triple A, so they sent a guy to come fix it. The tow truck driver said he’d seen those jacks snap a bunch of times.
So if the only jack you have for your car is the stupid jack that comes with your car- please buy a better one. PLEASE. I do not expect to come that close to getting injured and not have anything happen twice in one lifetime.
With a pregnant wife and daughter with me I was rushing to get things done. Rushing is ALWAYS where I make mistakes and all that. In retrospect, I should have handled it differently. But anyway, I DID dodge the bullet in this case.”
Break The Chain
“I’ve got an almost literal ‘dodged a bullet.’
I was cutting a tree with a chain saw. The saw wasn’t mine, it was old, and I don’t know how well maintained it was. The chain broke and came whipping back at me. I didn’t even react, it was too fast. I didn’t feel any pain, I turned and saw the chain was hanging, half stuck into a tree behind me at head/neck level. The tree was directly behind me, in a straight line, from the chain saw. Somehow the chain whipped off, curved around my head/neck and buried itself in a tree three feet behind me. If it had gone straight, I would be dead or disfigured.
I didn’t even try and take the chain with me, I just called it a day, walked off, and didn’t pick up another chain saw for about six or seven years.
Second story was the time I was shot at while delivering pizza. I missed my turn in a rural area and used a gravel driveway to turn around, it was wooded on both sides, so I went down farther than I should. I finally turned around and saw a guy with a weapon in a little field off to the side of the driveway. Saw him raise the weapon in my direction, saw/heard him shoot. Never heard the bullet pass, and it didn’t hit my car, so I think he was just trying to scare me. It worked. I peeled out, flinging gravel, and made it back to the road. Because of our positions, this prick shot back towards the road (maybe 200 yards) and there were houses on the other side of the road. It was wooded, but that’s not a shot I would have ever taken (beyond the obvious reasons).”
$50 To Avoid Death
“Me and my girlfriend at the time were traveling from New Zealand to my family back home in Sweden. We both decided to spend a bit more money to fly back (to NZ) through Paris instead of Amsterdam, just because we wanted to see the Eiffel Tower. It cost us maybe an extra $50 and we got to see it on the landing and then take off, but never actually set foot in Paris proper because we were poor students.
When we landed in Auckland, New Zealand, jet-lagged like crazy, we turn on our phones and notice that we have about 50 missed calls from our travel agent, which was odd. When we call her, she sounds super relieved and out of breath. She tells us the flight she originally suggested to us, the one from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down over Ukraine. My brain couldn’t process that information at the time, but once I woke up the next day, it hit me like a ton of bricks. $50 made the difference between seeing the big steel thingy that has so many photos of it and bring sent to Sweden in body bags piece by piece.
Sometimes the absurdity of my existence comes over me, and this story always gives me goosebumps. One heck of a story to tell over drinks, though.”
Teenage Rebellion Saved His Life
“I stayed out of the house overnight while in high school. My dad was ticked off and told me that I better be home that night. I didn’t listen and instead stayed at a friend’s house with my girlfriend. At around 2 AM, a kid from high school drove a Denali into my house. It ran directly into my room and destroyed my room, bed and anything else around. He was estimated to be going around 60mph. My dad is blind and thought that I may have been in the room. He was searching for me frantically, my mother said. I remember getting a ton of phone calls from home, knowing that I was going to get into trouble for staying out against my parent’s wished. The next day, when my girlfriend dropped me off at home, I found a massive wood board and tarp covering my room. I would definitely not be here today if I had stayed home that night. In best case scenario, I’d be a paraplegic. I guess sometimes it does pay to not listen to your parents.”
Literal Bullet Dodge
“I’d planned on doing some grocery shopping one afternoon after running other errands in the morning. By the time I got done with my morning errands, the weather looked quite gloomy so I decided to leave the groceries for another day.
Just as I got home I got frantic texts from a friend of mine asking if I’m okay and to respond immediately. Apparently around the time I decided last minute to forgo shopping, someone opened fire at that exact grocery store I planned on going to.
If I remember correctly, fortunately nobody got hurt and the shooter got apprehended quite quickly.”
At Least She Knew She Was Wrong
“Making out with my girlfriend at the time. She was on top of me and leaned in and whispered that she wanted to sleep with me. I told her I didn’t have any rubbers and that we’d have to go get some, but she got frustrated and said that we could anyways, but eventually said never mind.
Next day I’m at work and she pops in to apologize. I tell her it’s not a big deal and that I’ll see her after work only for her to say, ‘No no, I shouldn’t have put pressure on you and acted like that. I need you to know to have hepatitis C, so we need to be careful.’
Big bullet dodged. We broke up a couple weeks later after even more stuff from her past that she hid came out into the open.”
It Blew Him Away
“Not me but my dad.
He placed hockey as a child and one day he wasn’t going to go to the practice. Decided at the last minute that he would go after all and headed to the arena. When he got there and walked in the door the entire roof collapsed, blowing him back out of the doorway.
Several of his classmates were killed that day.
If anyone wants to look it up it was the Listowel Ontario arena collapse.”
Love At First Sight
“I went out with some friends to a bar, the bouncer kept flirting with me, so I flirted back. He seemed funny and charming enough, so as I left the bar he ran out to ask for my number, which I gave him. We texted for a bit and had plans to meet up for our first date. The day before this date, he tells me that he loves me. Which throws me off completely, I then tell him that I do not love him. I don’t even know him. He says that is okay, but I have to admit that I have never felt this way about someone before. What the heck? NO!
As the time nears to meeting him I just get this overwhelming anxiety and obviously just don’t want to go, but I felt bad about just canceling on some guy who seems to be nice, and other than the weird love outburst, has been really sweet to me through our limited interactions. Cue detective work. After some intense searching, I find out this dude is a registered assault offender for attempted assault by excessive force and violence. It even says that he has a high risk for repeating. I am so glad I didn’t dismiss my feelings and decide to go on that first date, who knows what would have happened.”