Ever had something happen that seems so unlikely, it doesn't seem real? An event so unlikely, it seems as though it was the work of the universe itself. When these moments do happen, they can be life changing. Just ask these people.
People share on Quora their strangest coincidences. Content has been edited for clarity.
"At the age of 18, I was in a frustrating relationship with a guy who was continually hammered or high. While I was at my university, in the commons' area, I saw a nerdy looking guy coming down the hallway. I had a weird sense of, Oh, it’s him, although I knew that I’d never seen him before. He sat down next to Linda, a nerdy girl I’d known since junior high, and I listened to them planning a date for that night. They were going out to a restaurant for dinner. They looked so compatible together, and I felt jealous. I certainly didn’t date a guy who’d take me out to a restaurant, the best I could hope for was McDonald’s.
For the next several days, I stewed over my sense of loss, that I’d never dated anyone who I felt truly connected to, and I desperately wanted to find my soulmate. At the same time, I was worrying that the ideal guy may not exist. I felt like Linda had found hers, where was mine? I spend the weekend at my church for a retreat, venting to my friends about how dissatisfied I was with every guy I met. I went for a walk downtown and passed a small store I’d never noticed before that sold magazines. I just burst out sobbing, standing on the store’s stoop, wailing that I wanted someone to love me.
A few months later, my boyfriend broke up with me. I started a new semester at school, and on the first day of class, I noticed that the nerdy guy was one of my classmates. I connected him with that wretched experience I had. We spent weeks having lively conversation before class, but I still felt that nerdy guys definitely weren’t my type. He ended up asking me out, and I thought at least we could have a nice dinner together.
I asked him about Linda, and he said that they’d only had one date before she dumped him. I was surprised, because I thought they looked so in synch with each other. I was, apparently, completely wrong. After we’d gone out a couple of times, he took me to the store his family had owned for fifty years, and I was shocked to find out that it was the same store I’d broken down crying in front of, Mau’s News and Smoke store.
We’ve been together for 43 years now, and I always remember that the desperation of wanting to find my soulmate occurred on the same day that I first saw him. In a way, I was wrong in every possible way, but it turned out right."
"It was my first week of college in a new city that I had just moved to, so I was really trying to make friends right away. On the first week, we were put into smaller groups to get to know each other more. I actually became friends with a girl, let’s just call her 'Alexa.' We hung out a lot and ended up being really great friends. So we decided to go on a little weekend getaway with some of our other friends from college. Alexa said her brother, who I’m going to call 'Sam' now, would also be there. I met Sam and well, we got along really well and actually ended up dating.
A few months after we started dating, his parents invited me and my mom over for dinner. I’ll never forget my mom’s face when she saw Sam’s dad. I remember seeing my mom’s face, she looked so shocked, so I asked her immediately after the dinner why she looked so surprised. Well, it turned out that Sam’s dad and my mom actually had a summer fling. It wasn’t anything serious but they did date for a few weeks. I ended up telling Sam and his parents, and luckily no one made a big deal out of it but it was definitely shocking and weird.
I mean, what are the odds! First, what are the odds that my mom moves to California from Europe and her ex moves to the exact same city from Europe? What are the odds that her ex has kids who are just around my age, that his daughter and I end up at the same college, in the same class, that we become friends and that on top of all of that, I end up dating his son? It is crazy to me to think about how big of a coincidence it all is."
"My dad was in the Air Force, and we were stationed in Alpena, Michigan back in 1968–69. I went to school at Besser Junior High School in Alpena. While attending school, I had a best friend, her name was Josephine Kasubowski. Of course, my dad, being in the Air Force when he retired we moved away from Michigan to Minnesota where he had been born. I lost contact with my best friend.
I later married and divorced, but I would occasionally think about my friend, Josephine. Because I was divorced and had house payments, I worked a couple of jobs, one was typing coupons and rebates into a computer while I was at home. As I was typing one of the rebates into the computer, I noticed the name Josephine Kasubowski - could it be her? How could there be two with that name? Mind you, this was in the late 1980’s when I found this.
Lucky for me, her phone number was on there, so I called her. It was her! We talked quite a while. I found out that she had gotten married and had changed her name, moved to Alaska, but unfortunately her marriage didn’t last. She moved back to Michigan and changed her name back. It was quite the coincidence that of all of the packs of rebates that the company received, I would find the name of my best friend and it would be her.
Unfortunately, because of my being busy and apparently she as well, we did not keep in contact again. But, I’ve often thought that was one of the strangest things that could ever happen."
"When I was young, I listened to a lot of music. I still do. At this time, The Jackson 5 were at their peak. I loved their sound and continuously singing about love and innocence. I had never been to Gary, Indiana at this point, but in the back of my mind I fantasized about meeting a girl from this city I knew zero about. I was living in Ohio at the time and dismissed this notion as wishful thinking.
Fast-forward 10 years
I'm attending Purdue University Northwest, and there was this young lady in one of my classes. She had the Greek letters from her sorority on her t-shirt. I was in a fraternity, so we struck up a conversation because we were acquainted with some same people. She had her leg in a walking cast because she had surgery on her right knee. She couldn't drive and some days I would wait with her after class until her stepdad picked her up.
What I didn't know was in the meantime she was asking her sorority sisters if they knew me. They didn't know me because the professor would call me by my first name. I went by my middle name with friends, and would not usually correct people like teachers who were only going to know me for a semester. She waited patiently one day for me to finish an exam, but decided to wait in the cafeteria. For whatever reason, I didn't go eat after class.
She wanted to invite me to an upcoming sorority party. I found out about it by another sorority sister. So I show up to this party much to this girl's surprise. She asked me how I found out about the party, and I told her so-and-so told me. It's also where she found it I go by Steve not Bruce like the professor calls me. It is also where I found out she grew up in Gary, Indiana.
We have been together 38 years."
"I was a freshman at the University of Evansville in 1989. The Internet was just getting going and chat rooms, as strange as it may sound today, were completely innovative and exciting. You created a pseudonym -mine was Thlayli- and logged into a room of thirty strangers and talked about whatever.
Unsurprisingly, on this particular day the talk turned to college basketball when someone posted 'Go Purdue!'
I responded with 'Hoosiers, baby!' and a little smack talk ensued.
A while later, I private messaged the poster saying that I was actually a Purdue fan when they weren’t playing IU, and that I didn’t bear them any actual animosity. He asked me if I’d ever been to party at Purdue. I said I had.
'Do you know Ben Watson?' he asked.
'Um, yeah,' I said. 'He’s my younger brother.'
'Seriously!?' he replied, in shock.
'Yep,' I said, confused.
'Have you ever been to one of his parties?' he asked.
'Sure,' I said.
'What was the last party you went to?' he asked.
'I was at that one last month where that idiot was dancing and dropped his girlfriend on her face,' I said.
'That idiot was me,' the guy answered.
The conversation died after that, but he told my brother he met me on the Internet and that I was very rude.
Regardless, I felt almost like I’d won the lottery or something. To be randomly matched up in a chatroom with a guy who went to the same school as my brother, for him to ask me out of the blue if I knew him when my real name was hidden, for us to both have attended the same party a month before, and for me to accidentally insult him so effectively were a pretty impressive set of coincidences."
"Between my sophomore and junior year in college, I was backpacking Europe. In the middle of my 3-month trip in early spring, at a hostel, I met two brothers from Canada who told me they’ll bike all the way from Portugal to Vietnam. We had a drink, and I didn’t think much of it.
Later that summer, many months after my European trip, back home in Istanbul I decide to go out with friends one night. I ended up in a multistory venue that’s full of people. I can’t even find my own friends in there easily. I go to the bar trying to buy a drink, and next to me I find one of the brothers, trying to do the exact same thing. He had a long beard, looked a lot more gaunt, and as recognition dawned on his face, his mind was as blown as mine!
What are the chances that I randomly run into the same two dudes biking their way across the world.. TWICE? If I didn’t go out that night, or go to that bar, or try buying drink that moment, we would’ve passed each other by."
"Earlier this year, I went to see my friend in a play. It was professional production at a small 30 seat theater, and it was about 45 minutes away from where I live. My two friends and I went to dinner in our hometown, then hit the road expecting to arrive to the theater a bit before 7 pm. We get to the theater at about 6:45, and we walk inside. Both of my friends who had never been said this looked kinda sketchy, but I assured them all was safe and that it was just a tiny theater. We walk inside, and there is no one to buy tickets from. We wonder around and see the stage is vacant.
We then find a poster on the wall that says the show on Friday nights (it was a Friday) began at 8 pm. We realized how dumb we were, and ran back to the call and called our friend who was in the show. She put us on speaker phone and her entire cast and crew made fun of us, and we laughed along with them. We figured we had time to kill so we drove around town looking for a coffee shop, and ended up finding a cute one called Café 1923. We go in and order our drinks, and an older gentleman stands at the counter with us cracking jokes with us and the attendant as she made our coffee. He was average height with a belly, a tight-fitting black V-neck, jeans, work boots, and a generic black beanie. He looked like a creepy older man to be perfectly honest.
He looks me in the eyes and says 'Hmm, you need to get off your butt and become an actor.'
My friends and I LOST it because it has been my dream for years to be a musical theater actor, and this man just knew. I asked how he knew and he said he could feel it in my soul. He then told me to start writing my own plays and movies and just make them with my friends. He noted how he could tell that I wanted to be an actor, but I have been worried about making it a viable career. We asked for his name and it was… Dan. My name is also Dan. We all lost it. We asked him to sit with us so he did. He gave me advice on starting my acting career, he gave my friends advice on their dream careers, and something about this experience felt surreal. He told tales of his time owning a store and of old girlfriends and everything there was to discuss, He cussed more than anyone I've ever met, and yet he talked like a great inspirational philosopher. We talked about existing and life and all kinds of things.
After a while we looked at the clock and saw we had to be at our friends show soon. We said our goodbyes and right before we walked out, I had a moment. I turned around and asked Dan for his phone number. He hesitated, but decided it would be alright. He put his full name and number into my phone and we headed out. The second we got into the car I googled him and found out he is exactly who he says he is. The store he owned and the life he lived was real and there were plenty of news articles to verify it. We got to the theater and when we walked in who did we see but our theater director for our competitive season! We sat behind her and her husband and immediately told her what had just happened, and my two friends noted how they felt like we were meant to meet Dan because I (other Dan) needed to hear that acting inspiration.
My director looked me in the eye and said 'I think you know what you have to do. Freaking do this thing.'
From there, we saw the show and it was great and my friend was fantastic! After the show, we talked to our friend and told her what happened and she laughed and asked what kinda narcotics we had done but we were serious!! It really happened. We went home that night and got ice cream and talked about everything crazy that had happened and I was dropped off late by my friend.
The next morning I explained the events of the night before to my mother over a cup of coffee. When I told her Dan's full name, she looked like she'd seen a ghost. Back in the 90s', she'd worked at a magazine and did a story on Dan and the store he owned. A few years later when she was pregnant with my older sister, she was driving home from that job late at night and her car broke down. Cell phones didn't exist yet, and she was a young beautiful woman in a bad neighborhood with a broken down car, so it's safe to say she was worried. Eventually, a big van came and pulled up behind her.
Out of the van steps a large man who approached my worried mother, and asked her if she wanted to use his car phone. She was worried because he was intimidating and it was dark and he had a creepy-looking van, but she decided she had to do it. After nervously calling my father (her husband) and AAA, the two struck up a conversation and low and behold they realized my mom had written a story on Dan a few years earlier. They'd never met in person, but that made my mom a lot more comfortable.
Dan ended up driving her to the police station to meet my dad and AAA picked up the car. My mom tells me all this and I LOSE IT. The same Dan whom I'd met and helped me in a time where I was unsure about my future, helped her nearly two decades ago when her car broke down. That was the biggest coincidence and fever dream I've ever experienced in my whole life."
"This was about 10 years ago. I was living in Bend, Oregon at the time. I had a cleaning lady come in every two weeks. I don’t remember how I got the name of this particular woman, but on the first cleaning appointment, I wasn’t thrilled with her. She was not very warm, she tended to be 'mouthy,' and she wasn’t very comprehensive in her cleaning.
At one point, she was on the phone with a friend. She was speaking in Spanish, and I guess because she saw me watching her talk on the phone rather than work, she hung up and said, 'I was telling my friend how dirty this house is.'
Well, everything about her was annoying and offensive, but I gave her another chance and set up an appointment to clean two weeks later. The bottom line was, her cleaning sucked and I couldn’t get her phone conversation out of my head. I told her that I wouldn’t be needing her anymore after that second appointment. Well, some time went by, maybe about a year. I was watching the news and there was a story of a woman found murdered (an uncommon event in Bend). Her name sounded familiar. The newscaster then said she cleaned homes for a living. Yep, it was her. Her boyfriend was suspected. It was sad but it gave me a creepy feeling."
"When I was 25, I moved to Santa Cruz, California. I met my first husband there. We often visited his parents in their home in Sunnyvale, CA, which was over the mountains in Silicon Valley.
Years later, after a divorce, I met my second husband while living in San Francisco, which is 90 miles from Santa Cruz and at the other end of the San Francisco Bay. We went out for a while before I found out his parents also lived in Sunnyvale, CA, which I thought was kind of funny.
Then I found out my first and my second husband had grown up just down the street from each other without knowing each other. They attended the same high school without meeting each other.
All the years I was growing up in Salt Lake City, Utah, my first and second husband were growing up just down the street from each other. I did not find this out until I was almost engaged to my second husband."
"Several years ago, I travelled from Berlin to a small city in Niedersachsen, Germany to visit a good friend of mine. When I travelled back in the evening, the express train I planed to take was delayed. So I decided to travel with the regional train.
The regional train had many wagons and I chose one which seemed pretty empty to me. As soon as I sat down, a young man came in my direction and asked if I came from China. And that he studied Chinese in Beijing, and he would like to talk to me in Chinese if I don’t mind.
So we started our conversation in Chinese. He told me a lot about his life in Beijing, the campus, the food he liked and also his favorite Chinese teacher whom he had a really nice relationship with. After he talked about this teacher for about one full hour, I had the feeling that he was still in love with her. And love sickness drove him to tell me everything about the relationship.
Out of curiosity, I asked him how does this girl look like. He took a picture out of his wallet and showed it to me. I was shocked and speechless at first. Then he asked me if there is some wrong with the picture. I asked him if the name of the girl was my friend's name. He was shocked and speechless.
Yes, the girl in the picture was a very good friend of mine, and the young man her ex German boyfriend whom I even heard of."
"I went away to college in Florida from my hometown in Mississippi. The first day there, I noticed a girl sitting alone in the front row. For some reason, I felt compelled to go introduce myself. We chatted and ended up becoming best friends over the course of the year. She was from Alabama about two hours away from my home.
So that summer, I went to visit and we went next door to visit her grandmother. We were talking and her grandmother asked who my grandparents were because I mentioned he was a preacher.
She smiles and says 'My late husband and I spent a couple nights of our honeymoon at your grandparents house.'
What were the odds of us meeting up and becoming friends when our grandparents had been friends so long ago?! And to meet up so far away. Definitely makes the world feel a little smaller."