Patterico's Pontifications


What Is the Craziest Coincidence You Ever Experienced?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:49 am

Lurkers, I want to hear from you as well as from all the regulars. This is the kind of thread that works best when everyone participates. Think of the craziest, weirdest coincidence that ever happened to you, or someone close to you, and tell us about it in the comments.

As regular readers know, I’m a fan of the “This American Life” show on Public Radio International. Last night I listened to one of the most delightful episodes I’ve ever heard, which is saying a lot. It was an episode about coincidences. They asked listeners for examples of their crazy coincidences, checked out the stories, and reported them for an hour.

I think my favorite was a guy who was getting ready to ask a girl out, and earlier that day just happened to find a dollar bill with her name written on it. He framed it and showed it to her just after she said yes. She seemed to have a strong reaction but said nothing, saying only that he should ask her about it later. Years later, after they were married, she told him that years earlier, she had written her name on a dollar bill and put it into circulation, telling herself that whoever found it would be the man she married. When the guy found it and told her, she didn’t want to say anything, for fear of scaring him off.

The show was full of stories like that: stories that make you grin and exclaim out loud: “No way!”

After hearing the show, I started trying to think of my own examples. What is frustrating is that I know there are several, but very few spring readily to mind. Still, I fell asleep last night thinking about them, which is a pleasant pasttime that in a strange way forces you to review your entire life.

One example I came up with involved a trip Mrs. P. and I took to Hawaii. A friend of ours from the D.A.’s office named Frank was getting married in Maui and invited us to the wedding. Most of the guests stayed at the Four Seasons, which was the site of the wedding, but to save money we stayed in a condo about a mile away, up a hill. One morning, Mrs. P. and I were walking down the hill alongside a side road when a car pulled up next to us. A man sitting in the passenger seat rolled down the window and asked us for directions to some landmark. I looked at him and said: “Franco??” It took him a second to recognize me. It was another D.A. named Franco who was the man asking for directions.

Not so odd, right? He was there for the wedding, too, right? Here’s the weird part: no, he wasn’t. When I asked Franco if he was there for Frank’s wedding, he seemed to have no idea what I was talking about.

I saw Frank later and asked him if he had invited Franco to the wedding. No. Had he talked to Franco about coming to Maui? No. Did he know Franco was coming to Maui? No.

No, we just randomly ran into someone we knew in Maui. And if his wife had been the passenger, and Franco had been driving, we wouldn’t even have known.

Another fun one is my wife’s affiliation with the number 444. At some point a few years ago, she started noticing that number cropping up in her life virtually everywhere she looked. It started when she started waking up in the middle of the night at 4:44 a.m., night after night. After this happened several nights in a row, she read a police report about embezzlement, in which the thief would steal $400 at a time, as a cash advance, which charged 11%. The spreadsheet was filled with the number 444. The next day, she reviewed another police report where a 911 call came in at 4:44. That night our son was playing Wii bowling, and got a new high score. (He did not yet know about the 444 coincidences.) He came running in to tell Mrs. P. about his score, and kept saying: “Isn’t that weird?!” It was, of course, 444.

It started happening all the time. I tell her she should write down the examples. When you’re looking for it, the number comes up so often that it is comical, and indeed it is a running joke in our household. Any time we notice the clock at 4:44, we cry out: “444!!!” and Mrs. P. professes shock. There’s that number again!

There are other coincidences that are less jaw-dropping, but are the sort of thing that become part of the story of your life. Mrs. P. grew up in Frankfurt, KY, and I grew up in Fort Worth, TX. We met in Austin. Yet her grandparents lived on the same street in southwest Fort Worth as my parents. As a young child she would visit her grandparents and go often to the Southwest Public Library, the same library I frequented as a child. We’ll never know if we were there at the same time, but somehow it seems inevitable that we were. In any event, it is fun to imagine the closest we ever came to each other as seven-year-olds in Fort Worth, before we met as adults at law school in Austin, TX.

Of course, to rationalists, it’s perhaps even more fun to debunk coincidences, and I am open to those stories as well. Perhaps the guy who found the dollar bill never “found” it — he heard about the story from a friend of his romantic target, and wrote her name on it himself. Maybe my D.A. friend Franco heard someone talking about Frank’s wedding in Maui and thought, hey, that sounds like a good idea — and then forgot where he had heard it. My wife and I both have roots in Fort Worth — she was born there — and that contributed in some way to our getting to know each other. For one thing, we would carpool up to Fort Worth during breaks, me to see my parents, and she to see her grandparents, uncles, and aunts.

Some people say: there are no coincidences.

On “This American Life” they put it differently. They quote a Chinese saying: “No Coincidence, No Story.”

So tell us your stories about your own coincidences in the comments.

100 Responses to “What Is the Craziest Coincidence You Ever Experienced?”

  1. Ding.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  2. First, I have begun to notice that every time I glance at the clock it is something like 444, 2:22, 1:11, etc. Maybe that just attracts my attention? Or maybe I should play those numbers in the lottery! :)

    The biggie: after my father passed, we sold his car to a woman I worked with. About six months later, I asked her husband, “Hey, how is the car working out?” “Great,” he said, “but funny thing, my son had a little fender bender about a month ago with a guy with your last name.”

    So after a few questions, turns out the guy was my uncle, my father’s brother. My dad’s car had sought out his brother’s car in this big county and then bumped into it! Just saying hi, I guess.

    Patricia (be0117)

  3. I have terrible handwriting. In college you use the Blue Books (or did in my day). After one such use in a test, my college adviser, DR. Weisser, returen mine with the comment that my writing was worse than an eplictic rooster going across a sandy barnyard. Later I talked with hime and he said it was worse than a previous student. This was at a small midwestern college, a thousand miles from my college. He had that student take exams using a typewriter outside of the class room.Several years later while serving in the Navy aboard the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt I was talking with a fellow sailor. He mentioned that he was also a history major in college. He also mentioned that he had to take his exams using a typewriter. Yes, he was that same student that my Prof had mentioned. True story. I have another, for another day.

    LYNNDH (3b6dda)

  4. Hee hee. Just learned this phrase. Just now. “får får får?”

    SarahW (b0e533)

  5. Couple years ago, taking a back roads ride though NH and Maine, came upon a really out of the way antique store. Happened to be looking around and started going through old postcards. Found a great old post card of my Town and the back had been signed and mailed by one of the old matriarchs of my town.

    That very same day the funeral of this fine old woman was taking place in my town.

    Hank_M (6c274e)

  6. My wife and I moved from Cleveland to Sacramento. We moved into a house, met our next door neighbor, and were surprised to find that she had moved there several years previously, from a Cleveland suburb very near where we had lived. We thought that was interesting.

    When our neighbor’s sister came to visit, though, she recognized my last name. “Are you related to [my dad]? He’s my mom’s doctor!” We thought that was really surprising.

    I called my dad, and asked, “So do you know [my neighbor’s mom]? We just moved in next to her daughter.” He replied, “Yes, I know her. She’s a patient, and I went to high school with her. And I went to grade school with [my neighbor’s father], too.”

    Wiz (d2104e)

  7. I had a roommate my junior year of college, who I lost track of over time. About 20 years later, we moved to a new town, and subdivision, 3 doors down from my former roommate. We were there 4 months before we crossed paths.

    JD (b63a52)

  8. One day when I came home my wife says to me “guess what I held today”. So I replied with the most improbable thing I could at the moment: ” a wallaby” I said. She looked at me like I had slapped her, for indeed she had held a wallaby at the pet store. I can’t be sure there had ever been another wallaby in my small SouthmCarolina town.

    Tmitsss (24d225)

  9. My wife and I both misspelled the same word in our 6th grade spelling bees, a continent apart.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  10. My wife and I bought a house in 1994. I was talking to my new neighbor and asked him about his family. Turns out he has a brother who does computer training for the military. He said that his brother had recently been to Guam. I told him my brother was currently living on Guam as a civil servant. He said his brother had told him about playing golf while he was there. He played golf with some guy named Al Miller. His brother and my brother had played golf half a world away.

    Weird, huh?

    Joe Miller (00407a)

  11. It gets mystical fast, but Carl Jung wrote a whole book about this kind of thing, a long time ago:

    And I recommend the Koestler book, as well:

    We have all seen it. Is it real, or perhaps more relevantly, important? Confirmation bias? Or are they gentle taps on the shoulder from a deeper Reality? Or dare we say it, God?

    Simon Jester (c8876d)

  12. Similar story to J.D.

    I lived in Ossining NY for only one year during my childhood. During that year, I took the school bus to kindergarten. It was never a crowded bus — just the same six or seven kids going to elementary school. One day, I was dared to kiss a girl on the bus whose name I didn’t know (a second grader!). I did, and got (appropriately) smacked.

    Fifteen years later, in Boston, I have a date with Vicki, who I had known for a couple of years at college, but not well. In the course of getting to know her better, I discover she was the girl on the bus. The relationship never took off. She lives abroad now, but we’re still friends.

    Kman (5576bf)

  13. More of a quirk in timing than a coincidence, but it may qualify:

    When I was working at the Bureau of Sanitation Environmental Monitoring Division (EMD) as a lab tech, I had been encouraged to apply for a lab tech opening in the Department of Water and Power (DWP). I called the number, and was told the position had been filled, but another one would be opening up in a month or two. “Okay,” I said, “I’ll send you a resume,” and then hung up before the secretary could tell me not to bother, “that trick never works.”

    Over the next couple of months, due to a hiring freeze, I was transferred to the microbiology unit to fill a spot vacated by attrition. Other people were moved out of the office I’d been working in, so that room in Administration was left pretty much empty.

    A month after I was moved, when the regular mail delivery person was out sick, I was tapped to drive downtown (to the L.A. City Hall) to pick up mail for the EMD. (That had been one of my occasional duties before the move.) That meant I needed to stop briefly in my old office.

    While I was there, my phone rang.

    It was the supervisor of the water sampling and water quality inspections unit at the DWP. He had read my resume and wanted me to interview for the lab tech position that had just opened up. I accepted and made plans to interview the following day. I had not been working in Micro for long enough to memorize the phone number, so when he asked for that at the interview, I told him I’d have to call back the following morning. When I called back, he offered me the job. I accepted and have worked for the DWP ever since.

    Because of attrition and transfers out of the Admin unit, had I not been in that room during that twenty-minute block of time, nobody would have answered that phone call, and my life would have taken a very different direction two decades ago.

    Karl_L (e37f42)

  14. Years ago in March, I went to play golf in Maui with a 7:30 t-time. I played with a young couple from Tokyo I had never met. In September, 18 months later, I played golf at the same course at 9:00 in the morning and was paired with the same couple from Tokyo. Weird.

    Steve W. (05367e)

  15. I live in Northern California. My best friend moved about 200 miles further south of me twenty years ago. We now inly see each other maybe once a year .
    About 10 years ago, while vacationing in Pugent Sound ( about 900 miles away) on a sailboat – We docked at Friday Harbor for a jazz festival. We tied up at one of maybe a thousand berths on one of many fingers of floating docks. As I walked down the dock headed to town, I hear a familiar voice coming from another boat three slips away. It is my best friend traveling with his family – completely unknown to either of us. Made for a great weekend .

    builder (fb1ba3)

  16. When I started in practice in Orange County, one of the first doctors I met was a high school classmate from Chicago. We hadn’t known each other although it wasn’t that big a high school. He told me there were several other classmates who were doctors in Orange County. I guess I didn’t hang around with that group in high school. I went to college and medical school in Los Angeles while they had stayed in the midwest until moving out here to practice.

    Mike K (87eb3a)

  17. I had an experience similar to your “Franco” story. I grew up in Arizona and had a friend named Nancy. When I lived in Massachusetts later, I saw her across a very crowded bar. I excused myself from my party, fought my way through the crowd, and went up to her. I said “Nancy?!” She said “Yes?” Her reply didn’t match what I thought would be her expression. I said “You don’t know me, do you?” She said “No.” “But your name is Nancy, right?” “Yes.” I tried to explain and then returned to my table.

    Another Nancy from another place, with the same face.

    Just Some Guy (37d01a)

  18. In the winter of 1986, I was in grad school in Virginia. It was a very cold winter. One night, I went to bed early and dreamed that I was in Florida, watching a rocket launch off the coast. As the rocket went up into the sky, there suddenly appeared a large plume of smoke and sparks. The people standing near me started clapping, but for some reason I did not. I did not know what had happened, but it seemed wrong. Then pieces of the rocket started to fall back towards the earth, and the people who had been clapping realized that the rocket had exploded, and they began to scream and cry.

    The next morning as I was driving home after my morning classes, I heard on the radio news that the space shuttle Challenger had exploded shortly after liftoff in Florida that morning. I went inside and turned on the t.v., and saw video of the crowd that had watched the launch, and it was eerily similar to the dream I had had the previous night.

    Observer (b1c63e)

  19. Dude, two nights ago I was talking to a friend of mine, telling him about the Robert Heinlein short story “…All You Zombies…”. I drew up blank on a particular word, and did the usual, “Oh, crap…what’s the word…” snapping my fingers. My friend said “Hermaphrodite.” I said, “Yeah, that’s right, hermaphrodite,” and continued with the story. He looked at me in shock. He had just blurted out a random word to be silly. It just happened to be the exact word I was trying to remember.

    Jim S. (2e35b0)

  20. Jim, as you know, The Glaroon is in control of our reality.

    Simon Jester (c8876d)

  21. In the DFAC on Al-Asad Air Base in Iraq in December 2005, I ran into my rackmate from Parris Island for the first time since we graduated on July 20, 2001. I was just getting my breakfast and turned around and just bumped into him. Same thing happened with my first roommate from A school in Pensacola – hadn’t seen him since mid-2002 and just happened to run into him at that same chow hall in Iraq. As they say, the Marine Corps is a small world.

    radar (257ad5)

  22. Back when I was a Fed an FBI agent recognized the surveillance photo of a bank robber as a county probation officer. He was a dead ringer.

    We did a grand jury subpoena for the guy’s bank records, and it turned out that, the day after the robber, he made a deposit for the exact amount that had been stolen from the bank.

    Turned out not to be the guy. The deposit was the guy’s paycheck, which just happened to be the same amount as was taken from the bank.

    Roscoe (15d927)

  23. Sometimes it is happenstance. Sometimes it is coincidence. And, sometimes it is enemy action.

    Jim (ba6a58)

  24. In 1976 a friend of mine and I were in London. We had made plans for the day, but at the last minute we changed our plans and took the underground to a different place. We entered the last door on the last car of the train. Entering the same door of the train 2 people ahead of me was my cousin from South Dakota. The last I had heard before that was that he had gone to Japan to teach English for a year. We had no idea he was in Europe, let alone London. He could easily have been on that same train without our ever having seen him.

    Keith Tellinghuisen (219e4f)

  25. I came from a small town in Wisconsin and moved to Portland, Oregon in the 70’s. My father died in 1984 and in 1985 my little sister planned a trip to New York city for my mother and the two of us would accompany her. They flew Milwaukee to La Guardia nad I flew Portland/Denver/La Guardia. I had changed planes in Denver, had a window seat, and the aisle seat was filled by a middle age woman who worked out of her briefcase for a while. Finally, she put her work down and initiated small talk. One of her questions was “Are you from Portland?” I replied that I was, but that I had grown up in a small Wisconsin town. She asked where, and I replied with the name of the town (less than 1000 residents). She then asked if I knew the (insert name of my family). Flabbergasted, I replied “I know them very well, I am one”. Blew her mind also. Turned out she had been married to a distant cousin. When I related the story to my mother, she remembered her. Love to tell this story.

    dougfir (55b9b5)

  26. In 2008, I was told that if I voted for John McCain and Sarah Palin, the economy would go into the toilet and not recover for years. Well, I voted for John McCain and Sarah Palin, and, sure enough, the economy went into the toilet and still hasn’t really recovered.

    How’s that for a coincidence?

    The Dana who votes (3e4784)

  27. wif one breath wif one flow

    you will know


    happyfeet (4bf7c2)

  28. I know I’m a lurker, but I hope you will permit me to tell a few “coincidence” stories.

    Five of my six great-uncles enlisted in World War II, which sent those Minnesota farmboys all over the globe. My great uncle Roy flew a B-24 for 41 missions in the Pacific, which included bombing Okinawa to smithereens (where my husband has spent more than one TDY). One day, as he was walking along the flightline after landing on a base in the Philippines, an Army jeep went flying by and suddenly skidded to a stop. A familiar voice bellowed “ROY!” and he found himself being tackled by his brother, Lester, who had no idea until that moment that Roy was there.

    When I was a kid, our family would sometimes go to my aunt’s church 45 minutes away, where she played organ for Sunday services. I’d play with the other kids in the church yard before my mom would round me up for dinner. Years later, I found out the guy I wound up marrying also went to that church for a few years as a kid, and his mom played organ too. We looked at the dates and while we don’t specifically remember each other, we played together as kids and our parents sort of knew each other. Now we joke that we were destined to be together since childhood.

    pookysgirl (d5ee6c)

  29. I am friends with two brothers who are 18 months apart in age. The eldest brother began dating a girl named Katie Holmes (like the actress) and they eventually were married.

    Then Katie Holmes (the actress) marries Tom Cruise and becomes Katie Cruise.

    The younger brother a couple years after the eldest brother’s wedding began dating a girl also named Katie. Her last name? Cruise.

    Josh Arr (801a51)

  30. Oh, I forgot to mention, the younger brother also ended up marrying his Katie.

    Josh Arr (801a51)

  31. when i was young and had a future, we would often go down to San Pedro for the big holidays to celebrate them with relatives there.

    turns out that Resident Evil was also down there often enough, visiting the house next door, where their family friends lived.

    instead, we met through w*rk, years later.

    redc1c4 (403dff)

  32. I have a couple of stories, both happening on Christmas.
    My parents originally came from Britain but wound up in Kentucky after my dad retired. I was living in Georgia at the time. One year they made the acquaintance of a British couple who were doing a one year exchange teaching program at a local private school. My parents asked them to share Christmas dinner with us. It was the year when there had been a lot of heavy rain and flooding in England and it had affected their hometown. They mentioned that they had an American neighbor, a retired foreign service officer who had been looking after their house. Some of the details rang a bell in my mind and I asked them if the neighbor had a daugher named [Name] by any chance. It turned out that he did and that she was a former co-worker of mine during the five years I spent in California that I had lost track of.

    The other Christmas coincindence happened a few years later. I was flyng to KY with my family on Southwest from Arizona via Midway where we changed planes. In the seatback pocket in front of me I found a childrens book. Opening up I found it was checked out of the school library of an elementary school in my town. I’m sure the kid that checked it out eventualy realized he’d lost it and was probably worried about how he’d explain it when school started again. He needn’t have worried because I just brought it home with me and dropped it off at the school the day it reopened after the holiday.

    Brother J (8b0442)

  33. A couple in our church recently lost their adult mentally-challenged son, John. He died suddenly and unexpectedly in his sleep. Three days after his death, his mother was sitting on their front porch when a UPS truck pulled up. Suzanne knew that her John had placed an Amazon order the night he died and she had been dreading its arrival. As the UPS man approached her, she began to cry. He kindly asked her what was wrong and she explained. The young man put down the package, took Suzanne by the hands and asked if he could pray for her, her family, & John. After he finished, he asked Suzanne if there was anything else he could do for her. She asked him (Oscar) to call his mother and tell her that he loved her. Oscar promised he would call his mom as soon as he returned to his truck.

    Two days later, a note arrived for Suzanne. It was from Oscar’s mother. She wanted Suzanne to know that Oscar had done exactly as she had asked. Oscar’s mom also said that she was so moved by Suzanne’s request that she had looked up John’s obituary and discovered that John and Oscar shared the same birthday – month, day, and YEAR.

    The following day, Oscar called Suzanne to tell her that he had requested (more than a year earlier) to be transferred to an office position. He had grown tired of driving the truck every day. He kept getting passed over and could not understand why until his encounter with Suzanne and her family. His supervisor had called that morning to tell him that his promotion had finally been granted.

    Susan (4d6083)

  34. I don’t believe in luck, so this must be a coincidence. About a month ago, I stopped off for Panda Express and my fortune said, “You will take a chance in the near future. And win”. I put it in my purse and forgot about it. Two days later, I went to the casino (my once a month visit) and won $1,750 on Keno. Brought it all home too. Except for taxes.

    My library story: I checked out a book and inside was a receipt from the last person. It was a man that I had worked with about 10 years before. I had just read about his funeral a few days before that.

    Close to Mrs. P’s number, mine is 44. It’s in my email and I use it anytime I need a number.

    PatAZ (d0625f)

  35. This is a true story, tho’ it is perhaps stretching the notion of “coincidence” a bit but bear with me…

    I was standing formation at my Air Force technical school barracks one morning. We typically gathered up in formation, squadron news was barked out and then we marched off to school. This particular day, the sergeant in charge of my particular shift finished his announcements for the day and, almost as an afterthought before dismissal, looked out into the formation and said, “I need to see Airman You when everyone falls out.”

    This meek little voice answers from my rear left, “You mean me?”

    The sergeant replies, “Yeah, you.”

    Only now, another voice answers to my rear right, “Oh, you mean me?”

    The sergeant frowns a bit and says, “Yeah, you.”

    The rear left voice pops up again, “You mean me?”

    “Yeah, YOU!” comes the increasingly gruff reply.

    “Do you mean me, sir?” comes the voice from the rear right again.

    By now, the formation is having one of the largest collective hernias ever recorded from trying to stifle our collective laughing. Hell, even the First Shirt, well behind the sergeant, is chuckling his a** off.

    This goes on for another round of “me and you” and finally the sergeant stops and approaches the formation. He points at the rear right and said loudly, “Come with me NOW.”

    As you have most certainly guessed, one of the airmen was a Korean-American named “Mee” and the other, of course, was a Chinese-American named “Yu.”

    Gawd, it was hilarious!

    J.P. (bd0246)

  36. Comment by The Dana who votes (3e4784) — 3/4/2013 @ 11:03 am

    Same thing happened to me in ’64:
    The Dems were constantly saying that if you voted for Goldwater, we’d be in a war in just a matter of months.
    I did, and we were!

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  37. My wife and I were eating dinner in a little booth in an Italian restaurant back in Madison, Wisconsin, where we had gone to school (as well as her home town). We overhear a conversation in the neighboring booth where a drug rep is telling her date/friend about some of the bad experiences she has had with doctors. Then she says, “But the most arrogant and worst of all are at the University of Pennsylvania”, which is where I was working at the time. My wife and I snickered and thought about sticking our nose around the dividing wall and make mention of the situation, but we decided against it. Besides, as I told my wife, I had met a few myself that matched her description.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  38. I had a wild one happen to me about 10 years ago. I was back in New Jersey on bidness and had to put something in the mail, so headed for the post office. An older gentleman and I struck up a conversation while standing in line… He said that to his ears, it sounded like I was from California. I replied “yes, I am”. He told me he had lived in Anaheim for several years as a young, married man. I told him that I, too, had lived in Anaheim from the age of 5 to when I turned 24. I then asked him where in Anaheim and he told me near Lincoln and Rio Vista. Long story short, turns out they lived right down the same street, not even 1/4 mile away. And here we run into each other 3,000 miles away over three decades later.

    Colonel Haiku (5644f5)

  39. I went to college in Edinburg,Texas, which is along the US/Mexican border, where I worked at a Domino’s Pizza. I later moved to San Antonio for my big boy job.

    The Alamodome used to host a weekend of high school football games where some of the top teams in the state would play each other. My uncle from CA would fly in, and my dad would drive up and we’ed go watch games and hang out. We always sat in the nose bleeds so we could talk easier, and see the entire field.

    One day a group of coaches sat behind us and were scouting a game. I recognized one of the coaches as a guy I worked at dominos with. What’s even more ironic is the guy was a major pot head that wasn’t even going to college at the time, and now he was responsible for a group of high achool kids.

    BradnSA (acab35)

  40. In a similar vein to your Maui story: My parents and I were traveling in China on a tour in 1987. Part of the tour involved taking a river cruise down the Yangtze. One afternoon we stopped at an island in the middle of the river, and had a few hours to explore the little town and market.

    We walked through the marketplace that was crowded with Chinese locals and the occasional group of Westerners whom we assumed were from our boat. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I spied a profile of a westerner that looked oddly familiar. It was one of my father’s closest friends! We knew that he and his wife were going to China around the same time that we were going, but we had made no attempt to align our itineraries because of the complexity of travel in China at that time. Running into them on an island in the middle of the Yangtze was a highly improbable but very happy coincidence.

    Sparrow (611000)

  41. I traveled to watch my sister play in a high school basketball game. I remembered a girl on the other team in tears gathering her stuff and leaving with her family, who looked concerned. She was also kind of cute.

    Later, when my I was dating my wife, she started talking about when her grandma died, and she had to leave one of her basketball games.

    It turned out that the girl was my wife.

    BradnSA (acab35)

  42. One more thing on the topic of coincidences — one of my friends is a minister and is often asked if answered prayer is just a coincidence. His answer is, “It could be. But all I know is that when I stop praying, coincidences stop happening.”

    Sparrow (611000)

  43. redc1c4 wrote:

    instead, we met through w*rk, years later.

    I like the way red sees “work” as such a nasty word that he can’t spell it out. :)

    The amused Dana (af9ec3)

  44. My wife was telling me one day about toys she used to play with when she was a girl in China. Apparently she had an Etch-A-Sketch and also something I don’t think they make anymore called a Ghost Writer. Those are made by Ohio Art, and the factory which built those toys (at that time) was in my hometown of Bryan, Ohio. So she, on the other side of the Earth, played with toys which came from my town, many years before she and her parents came to America and we met and married.

    Eidolon (1858aa)

  45. He’s a post-modern Maynard G. Krebs, Dana.

    Colonel Haiku (372591)

  46. My wife had a pretty good coincidence recently, but first some back story.

    My wife grew up in NYC until she was about 9, when she moved to California. A friend of her’s from California (LA) was getting married in Washington (the state) to a guy that was from the midwest.

    So, my wife was on facebook and she had recently added a childhood friend from NYC that she hadn’t seen or talked to since she moved. She noticed a comment on a picture talking about going to Washington for a wedding.

    Turns out it was the same wedding AND she was a close friend of the Groom’s from when they were in college.


    One that happened to me hilariously recently.
    Went to a child’s birthday party and one of the mom’s has a limp from a skiing accident. My wife strikes up a conversation with her about the limp and then they start talking about ER visits. My wife says “I’ve never gone to the ER, only he has (pointing to me).”

    That evening, while helping my wife in the kitchen I lop off the tip of my finger with a potato peeler and go to the ER.

    Then I go in to work 2 days later and get nominated to make a statement about safety for a wall poster.

    NaBr (a094a6)

  47. Have one more sort of coincidence… Have a friend from my yute (school, little league, Hs basketball) who had gone back to Boston on 9/9/11 for a job interview. Had the interview on the afternoon of the 10th and was ticketed to fly back to L.A. on flight 11 the following morning. The Co. he was interviewing with asked if he could stay over another day for further discussion, so he changed his reservation to a late Tuesday return… Very providential… Our classmate and BB teammate’s brother was captain of flight 77 that hit the Pentagon.

    Colonel Haiku (64fbab)

  48. At a job interview I had shortly after graduating from college the interviewer asked me about the jobs I had while I was in school. One of the jobs was a bouncer at the college pub. I was asked what kind of problems I had to deal with as a bouncer. As part of my answer I mentioned that the other bouncer was a 6’6″ football player and we had very few problems. I walk out of the interview and to find the other bouncer was the next guy scheduled to be interviewed. We went to college in MA and the interview was in NYC. We both got hired.

    While visiting Israel I ran into somebody from high school.

    Mattsky (7c21d0)

  49. On a Disney cruise to Alaska, I was in line with my daughter for a character greeting. The woman behind me asked for my advice on whether the Disney timeshare program was a good deal. We got to talking, and then she asked me where I was from. Turned out she was also from Northern California. Turned out she lived in the adjacent city as me. Turned out she also lived near the border between our two cities. Turned out she lived on a street about 1/4 mile from my home.

    After getting a photo with Minnie Mouse my daughter and I got in the line for the next character, and so did this woman and her son. She mentioned that she grew up in an area that was the same geographic region as mine. Turned out we grew up in the same city. Turned out we went to the same high school. Turned out we were two years apart. When she told me her maiden name, I recognized her as a fellow member of one of the extra-curricular clubs — we were friends in high school, but hadn’t seen each other in 27 years.

    It really is a small world after all.

    aunursa (c257b8)

  50. I just thought of one.
    When I was in middle school my latin class went on over to the University of Richmond to see a student production of Medea.

    I remember taking a fancy to one of Creon’s guards as Medea entered to beg for a day’s reprieve of her banishment and the diologue just seemed to fade out while I observed the tall, square-jawed young man just silently standing there with a scowl, a spear and modified rubber totes.

    To my surprise, some 35 years later our kid wrote a paper on staging Medea for his world lit class and the prof wrote to him it was the best she’d ever seen.

    SarahW (b0e533)

  51. My father-in-law worked at a deli in Chicago. A woman he had started dating met him at the deli. Seeing them together, the owner predicted that my father-in-law and his girlfriend would end up getting married. (They did.)

    The deli owner had a son who joined a fraternity at a school near Chicago. One of his fraternity brothers introduced him to his sister. They fell in love and got married. The fraternity brother was my best friend growing up. He became a rabbi and officiated at my wedding.

    So the deli owner correctly predicted that his worker would marry the girl. But he could not have predicted that 30 years later, the brother-in-law of his son would officiate at the wedding of his worker’s daughter 2000 miles away.

    aunursa (c257b8)

  52. Many years ago, when I was in my twenties, I was in Prince George, B.C. (Canada), and joined three friends for dinner at a Bavarian restaurant. On leaving the restaurant, we encountered three playing cards, face down, on the sidewalk. My friend jokingly asked me to predict what they were, and I just randomly guessed three cards – suite and number, and they were exactly right. We were all struck speechless. What would be the odds?

    A couple of weeks after that, I was going camping with a boyfriend, and we were in the middle of nowhere in Northern B.C., in a place I’d never been, when I said “We forgot to bring a corkscrew” for the wine we had purchased. A couple of miles down the road, there was a road leading off to the right, called “Corkscrew Road”. Go figure.

    Lynne W (105e42)

  53. So why does the name Bobby Baker come to mind ?

    Hint: it’s not because his secretary shared an apartment with Mary Jo Kopechne and also died under mysterious circumstances

    Neo (d1c681)

  54. 203, Baghdad, at the palace in the Green Zone. They said if you stood in the rotunda, sooner or later, you’d see everyone. They were right: my ex-husband, stationed in Germany at the time, almost walked past me!

    Former SSG (0bf3f8)

  55. The summer I was six my parents took me to Washington DC and northern Virginia. A couple of my little friends (whom I envied) were going to Disneyland that summer but Mom was a school teacher so she always wanted us to go somewhere she thought would be both interesting and educational. As we were walking up the mighty steps of the U.S. Capitol building I got a major nosebleed which dribbled all down the front of my pretty new yellow smocked dress. A lady came up to us from behind and said, “Here. Looks like you could use a hanky”. When we turned around it was a woman from our church and our little midwest town with a population of only 1600 total inhabitants. Neither family had any idea the other was going to Washington that week.

    We all exchanged the obligatory “it’s a small world isn’t it?” niceties. Later that day my mom snarked to me that obviously one need not go to Disneyland to hear the phrase “It’s a small world.”

    elissa (60a83b)

  56. Last night my wife and I were discussing internet boards and thought it might be interesting to see someone write about coincidences. Today I opened and voila!

    Jim (ba6a58)

  57. Great stories! I believe it’s Jungian in the sense that there’s a pattern but we just can’t see it; or it’s prayer, which puts us on the path to our destiny.

    My question is: can we somehow put ourselves in the frame of mind to follow this path to our destiny on purpose?

    Patricia (be0117)

  58. Comment by Eidolon (1858aa) — 3/4/2013 @ 2:07 pm

    One day I was reading this website called Patterico, and somebody from the metropolis of Bryan, Ohio posted about Etch-A-Sketch, which are now made in China, though the parent company (Ohio Art) is walking distance away from the home of Dum-Dum suckers.

    I have one of the last Etch-A-Sketch’s made in Bryan, in the original wrapping still.

    My mother is from Bryan and I spent many, many days there over the last 50 years visiting my grandparents and now my retired parents.

    Where a “divided family” means one spouse is a Michigan fan and the other an OSU fan.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  59. In college (UT-Austin) in the early ’80s students went through a random drawing of seat assignments each game. I asked a girl to a particular football game and she declined, so I asked another girl who said “yes.” My date (Girl #2)and I walked in, and Girl #1 who had rejected me was sitting directly next to me, with her date on the other side of her. I’m guessing that about 10,000 to 15,000 student tickets were allocated each week, so the odds of her sitting directly next to me had to be very small.

    grgeil (2c0dac)

  60. Most “coincidences” are due to Observational Bias.

    The fact that some random event happened in a recognizable way makes you notice it far more than all the billions of random events you don’t notice at all.

    Your wife’s 444 scenarios are a lot like that. Once you spotted just a couple in short order, you became sensitized to the specific number, and now you notice it anytime you bump into it.

    I mean, it’s a three digit number, so it’s got a 1 in 1k chance of showing up at ANY three-digit number instance, and, as you note with the clock, there are a LOT of 3-digit number instances.

    Smock Puppet, 10th Dan Snark Master and Gender Bïgǒt (98ae1f)

  61. A recent one happened to me, and I would like to share it. I had been teaching college in SoCal about twelve years ago. I got to know a young student who had trouble fitting in, so she and I got along fine. She had been a child actress, had wonderful stories, and she had a fine, incisive mind. She graduated, we lost touch, and I hadn’t heard from her since.

    About six months ago, I thought about her, and decided to see if I could find her—to see how her life turned out. I found out that she went to veterinary school, and was working in LA as a veterinarian. So I wrote to her there, and asked how things were going. I told her that I remembered fondly our many conversations about Hollyweird, the world, and trying to find the right job. I went on to tell her the truth—that I was pleased that she was a veterinarian, but always thought she was born to be a research scientist. And I wished her well.

    I didn’t hear anything back, until two weeks ago.

    I received a note explaining that my former student was happy to hear from me, but was a little scared. She had received my note on the day that she finally admitted to herself that she wan’t happy being a veterinarian, and wanted to find a path back to neuroscience. To do research.

    The timing of my note to her frightened her. So after a few months, she wrote to tell me “thank you” and that she was in fact trying to find her “best path” after all.

    So…this was a coincidence of which I was unaware! But was it a coincidence?

    People often hate it when I gently introduce quasi-religion, but I would simply observe that God whispers sometimes.

    Simon Jester (c8876d)

  62. These are great comments.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  63. In high school I was shopping with a friend and found the most fabulous sweater ever, but it was way out of my price range so I did not buy anything. After leaving the store I realized I had a bag in my hand. The sweater was in the bag! Only then did I realize that I accidentally picked up someone else’s bag – someone who purchased the sweater I so badly wanted. Of course I took the bag back to the store. Was it a coincidence or a test?

    Bond Girl (b14f00)

  64. When my husband and I were first married, money was tight enough that purchasing a music CD was something we had to budget for. He became really interested in a new band, the Fine Young Cannibals, and talked for several weeks of scraping money together to buy their album but still didn’t think he could justify the expenditure. Then we came home from work one day and found the CD. In its case, dry and undamaged,laying in the middle of our yard, on our little one-block dead-end street.
    Several years later, we were living in Philadelphia and my husband had a temp job with a firm that would have been his dream place to work, but thousands of people apply there every year for a small handful of positions so he didn’t have high hopes. Driving home one night, he saw a man on a bicycle at the side of the road, being seriously hassled by some jerks in a car. He pulled over and used Voice of Authority to tell the jerks to move on along—and they did. He had never EVER had done anything like that before; something just impelled him to stop and help. The cyclist had been terrified, and began to thank my husband for rescuing him, when the two got their first good look at each other. The cyclist he had stopped to help worked at the firm my husband wanted to get hired by. On the hiring committee. When my husband’s contract was up later that year, he got the job. Yes, his work is superb…but saving the life of one of the senior people probably didn’t hurt his prospects either.

    RigelDog (0d4bcd)

  65. Returning to university after my time in the Navy, three friends and I went to a popular college hangout on a Saturday night. While nursing a beer and conversing with my companions, a female friend I had known since childhood passed by our table. She was surprised to see me, and invited me over to her table to see her friends, all of whom were from our home town some 20 miles away.

    Telling my buds I would be back shortly, I walked over to see six or seven young ladies. I had known each of them since grade school, save one. Her, I asked to dance.

    As I soon discovered, I knew her older brother; she had been a high school classmate of my younger sister. Our parents knew each other socially, but she and I had never met. Nine months later, we were wed. The marriage lasted 40 years, until her death.

    The kicker: she didn’t attend school in that city; her university was 150 miles away. On a whim, she had decided to join her friends that night, which gave us the chance to meet.

    navyvet (02dd07)

  66. I reconnected with an old college friend on this very site based on my postings. The weird part was that when the friend knew me back in the day, I was a liberal.

    Well, maybe it wasn’t so weird. Anyone who knew me in college could probably figure it out. Or maybe it was because it’s a great big world and a great big internet and we both happened to be posting on the same blog.

    Regardless, it was fun to catch up.

    Ag80 (b2c81f)

  67. I have a nice little Army story: I was enlisted, did Basic Training at Ft. Benning, served three years, then commissioned through OCS and went back to Benning for Infantry Officer Basic Course. My Senior Drill Sergeant for basic training was also one of my instructors for OBC. I was in his last Basic Training Platoon and his last OBC class.

    Robert C. J. Parry (a5133c)

  68. Jung would say that many of these anecdotes involve archetypes known to us all through the vast collective unconscious that binds all humanity. Disney would say they’re all good plot twists.

    Beldar (de838d)

  69. I like the coincidences that involve this blog.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  70. Among my milder coincidences, then, I can now point to the fact that in the very first massively multiplayer online game I ever played, something called “Underlight” on the MPlayer network that involved a few thousand people around the end of the last millennium, the character I created and roleplayed for several months claimed to be the reincarnated spirit, soul, and consciousness of Dr. Carl G. Jung. (My nickname among the other players was quickly shortened to “Doc.”)

    Beldar (de838d)

  71. Many years ago, there was an LAPD officer who was on video striking a suspect a the end of a long pursuit. He was fired and fought it. A mutual friend asked me to try to draw some media attention to the case. So I had this guy and a well-known LA Times reporter over to my home to present his side of the case.

    Much to my surprise, the officer in question was the brother of a high school classmate.

    Robert C. J. Parry (a5133c)

  72. Almost forgot my most basic coincidence:
    I was born on Christmas day. No big deal – yet.
    My parents divorced when i was a baby, my Dad remarried and had my younger brother 5 years later.
    To the day. Christmas Day – five years later.
    Same hospital, same Doctor, different wives.
    Flash forward 35 years. My Brother has a son – born on Christmas Day.
    My two relatives that I will never forget their birthdays. . .

    builder (fb1ba3)

  73. Both of my sons were born on November 23rd, exactly five years apart. But it wasn’t a coincidence, it was a choice. The option was presented by the ob/gyn because the second delivery was to be induced and we had some flexibility. But the actual decision was made by my older son, who decided he’d rather have a special brother with whom he always would share a birthday, rather than have his own separate birthday that was just pretty close to his baby brother’s. The younger got no vote but has always been thrilled with the entire arrangement, and they do indeed consider themselves “special brothers” who share a birthday without being twins.

    Beldar (de838d)

  74. But on the other hand, as coincidences go:

    Both my sons were born while I was mid-way through long jury trials in complicated business fraud cases. In both trials, their birthdays fell just before Thanksgiving, so both trial judges gave everyone the entirety of Thanksgiving week off.

    (You’ll want to know — everyone asks — what the results of the two trials were. They were close: The first ended in a bizarre mistrial that effectively turned into a win for my client, and the second I won outright.)

    Beldar (de838d)

  75. Two quick stories:
    1. In a bull session in the dorm in college, we were talking about strange people we knew. One of the guys, from a Denver suburb, talked about the eccentric family next door and their weird children, who eventually moved away. One of the girls –raised in England — said they sounded just like her next door neighbors in London, who were American. After some more discussion — and sharing the names of the family and the kids — yep, it was the same family.
    2. In 2003, I’m attending a musical event at a church with my fiancee. A nice young woman takes our tickets and shows us to our seats. Three years later, the marriage ended. Five years later, I meet the woman who is now my wife. Come to find that she’s the one who led me to my seat in 2003.

    Tragic Christian (2cc0a0)

  76. 4 from me and 1 of a cousin:
    1: I’m originally from Michigan, when I was in late grade school we had a large family reunion and it was held in a blip in the road. I wondered off and was doing some fishing and an old man next to me, asked what all the crazy people were doing around this quiet little place. I told him we came there for a family reunion, and told him the family name was Kalishek … He said he knew one from long ago. A crazy woman who walked on plane wings … That was my Great Aunt Babe.
    2: in 1985 my Parents were thinking of moving to Memphis and were staying with my Dad’s cousin. I went to visit them, having moved from our dinky town (population 4500) to N.O. several months earlier, and we went to the Mall Of Memphis. Walking along we bumped into family friends from home who were passing through from Little Rock going to Atlanta but stopped into the Mall to look around and get some lunch.
    3: When in N.O. I was in the bank and the lady behind the counter, with the bindi (hindu spot) on her forehead, was looking at me a bit strangely. There not being anyone behind me waiting she asked where my last name came from so I told her it was Czech but the spelling was changed a bit and only one distant relative there I knew of had that H in it, so it isn’t all that common of a name, and asked her why she was asking? She had some friends in India who spell their name that way in English, but it wasn’t all that common of a name so she was double shocked to not only see it here in the U.S. but used by someone so obviously not from the Kali River region of India.
    4:(a double shot from work) I’m now in Texas. I quit the job I moved here for and got a job as a temp (now 8+ yrs my job) and was talking about watching a fishing tourney on TV and seeing it won by a couple from Gladstone (who’s older sibs were schoolmates of mine) and the Chemist was walking by and asks “How do you know where Gladstone is?” I grew up there …”I’m from Stephenson and my wife is from Escanaba” (Esky is next town over and Stephenson is nearby). Not long ago we got bought out by an International and the integration team had a guy who’s wife is from a family who owned a mink farm my Grandmother used to work for to get xmas money.

    My cousin was at a resort in Mexico and was giving some guy a hard time and being a general wiseacre, The guy finally started giving back a good as he got and finally they started talking a bit more. He mentioned my cuz had a familiar accent (Yooper!) and my cuz told him he was from Gladstone … Gave his last name … “Sonofa!@#$%! I helped put the roof on your Dad’s camp!! We’re 2nd cousins!”

    JP Kalishek (6652ba)

  77. Comment by Smock Puppet, 10th Dan Snark Master and Gender Bïgǒt (98ae1f) — 3/4/2013 @ 5:02 pm

    Swedish Sheep – YOU CAN’T EXPLAIN THAT.

    SarahW (b0e533)

  78. Two items from a lurker.

    1) Freshman orientation and I’m talking with people at dinner about having lived in Germany several years ago as a dependent (Dad was Army). A girl in the group asked where I lived and went to school. Turns out we both were in Frankfurt at the same time (4 years prior) going to the same American Junior HS and we both had the same friends but had no memory of each other.

    2) At the Field Artillery Advance Course at Fort Sill, the CPTs were paired up with new LTs for some mentorship meetings. As we are all introducing who we are one of the LTs in my group says he graduated from a HS in Hinesville, GA. I remarked that I lived in Hinesville during Elementary School and we started talking about who we knew. Turns out he was married to a friend of mine from Elementary School and he gave me the 20-yr update on all of my friends from that time.

    SeanT (20b028)

  79. I’ve enjoyed these stories; here’s one of mine:

    In the Spring of 1944 my mother was having great difficulty with her fourth pregnancy, so the three of us kids were shipped by train 1000 miles from Philly south to Miami when I was 10 years old, the eldest of the three. We were to stay with my Aunt Olivetta and 6 year old son John. Her husband was serving in the war effort as a merchant marine in the Middle East.

    Three months later after my sister was born and mom had recovered, then it was time to return home to Philly. Aunt Olivetta wired my dad to meet her in DC at a certain intersection at 4:00 pm on a certain date.

    Her car was a pre-WWII Plymouth coupe with a rumble seat. Behind the two front seats was a small space, which is where Olga her old German Shepherd rode. The rest of us four kids, plus luggage, shared the front passenger seat and the rumble seat, the latter of course only when there was no rain. It took four days with three stopovers to make that thousand mile trip, yet at exactly 4:00 pm four days later there was my dad standing on the appointed street corner as we drove up. Amazing!

    How my Aunt was able to navigate the trip so precisely, given the times and circumstances, I’ll never know. Aunt Olivetta was an amazing person as her numerous accomplishments over the many years hence would well attest. This one was just one of them.

    Perry (329aa5)

  80. My grandfather was a slave as a child in Sweden. He was sold to a Family and one day he fell asleep in the fields and was beaten till they broke his shoulder. Another time he spilled the salt, and he was beaten so severly he lost most of his vision and his hearing in his left eye.
    The Lutheran church grabbed him in the middle of the night, sent him with his cousins to Canada, where he snuck over the border and made his way to Chicago.
    He and his cousins worked any job they could get, met my grandmother who was rom a great Sedish nobel house and married her causing him even more grief that he tried to escape from the motherland.

    He formed a construction company as a child I was on the sites sat in his lap as he drove his trucks directed his crews. He hired any able bodied man including aftican americans to work on which he was again beaten almost to death for hiring minorities by the demorat union machine mob just a few blocks from where Michelle Obama grew up.

    Imagine that a real live slave hiring decendents of slaves, being beaten for it by the same party that today is calling his decendants racists for not liking Obama.

    Glad he didnt live to see that.

    But we carry on.

    EPWJ (1ea63e)

  81. I have to proof read these things but he lost his hearing in his left ear and some of his sight. And its noble not nobel –

    BTW at his funeral in the 60’s 100’s of african americans came soo many peoiple my mother and my grandmother never met came and gave them story after story about how he gave them work, sent food home with them during hard times, all in the neighborhood where Barack did his community activism, before he as there a slave did it for him.

    EPWJ (1ea63e)

  82. About 15 years ago my wife and I decided to escape at the last minute for a long weekend on the beach in Florida. The in-laws came to stay with the kids.

    Once down there and strolling the beach we noticed a couple very actively engaged in a public display of affection on a beach towel. The woman looked very familiar to us but the young stud muffin she was locking lips and other body parts with did not, but was obviously not her husband. We tried not to stare.

    The woman was half of a couple who had moved to our town a year or so earlier who were good friends of good friends of very good friends of ours who live out East. They had asked us to help acclimate the couple to the area and we had.

    It turns out we had been observed by the woman on the beach because we were cornered by the woman in the lobby of the hotel later that day to “explain” the situation with the boy toy. After our faces showed we weren’t buying the completely innocent story she was selling she fessed up to marriage problems of which we were unaware.

    It reminded me of one of my high school language teacher’s frequently repeated mantras, that you can’t run away with the milkman because you’re bound to run into somebody you know.

    Factcheck – True

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  83. Oh and my youngest had Obamas half sister last year as somekind of counselor/administrator in Jakarta.

    weird huh, Obama speaks to Haley’s class, Clinton crashes Tory’s girl scout jamboree thingy in Doha, Biden shakes Haley’s hand at graduation and Obama,s half sister is all over worrying about Erica’s visa status in email after email.

    Guess this isnt a good time to tell them we are republicans.

    EPWJ (1ea63e)

  84. At my 20th high school reunion, I ran into one of favorite trouble-making pals. We chatted, found out we were working for the same company. In the same city. In the same building and on the same floor, our mail codes were sequential. Our desks were about 20′ apart, if you looked at a blueprint, but to walk from one to the other was almost an eighth of a mile because of the firewall down the center of the building.

    htom (412a17)

  85. Coincidentally, my mother and her best friend of 45 years share many of the same coincidences, so my family appears a few times in a book she wrote… about coincidences.
    If you’re interested the book is “What A Coincidence” by Susan M. Watkins

    Ben (a5650f)

  86. Just reminded me of the vacation in Cape Cod after 3rd grade where I ran into a kid who been in all my classes between kindergarten and 3rd.
    In 2000 or 2001 my best friend and I went on vacation in Florida and ended up seated behind two girls who were best friends who lived within 2 miles of us.
    I also have that number thing with various combinations of 143.

    Ben (a5650f)

  87. This is probably more a karma thing then a coincidence but…

    Years back I worked at a silkscreening and embroidery shop owned by friends of the family while I was finishing up college. They were willing to work around my school schedule. Their son worked with us and did some work in trade for a local charity thing, and asked for help. I did some work for him for a day and got one of the pre-season Chargers tickets that he’d gotten in trade. When we were walking into the stadium for the game, I heard someone call out my name. Normally, I completely tune that out, since I have such a common name, but something made me turn and there was a friend I hadn’t seen since we’d been lab partners in a course on Unix Systems Administration at SDSU. His first words to me were, “Hey, how have you been? Would you like a job?” Turns out he, and another member from the same lab team had been at a local huge tech company for about 6 months and had wanted to bring me in (I had really stood out in the class and doing the lab work) and couldn’t find my contact info. A week later I was interviewing and the week after that, was hired. I’m coming up on 15-1/2 years here now.

    Another somewhat silly case… in high school, we had a “semester break” day, which just meant we got the 3rd or 4th Friday in January off each year. So Jr. and Sr. years plenty of us took that day to do things like drive up to Disneyland for the day. A weekday off season is a great day to be there. Sr year we went up in a few car loads. After a pit stop about 1/2 way there we split up (some wanted to get going faster) and had decided to meet at the lockers at Disneyland. Unfortunately the two groups were thinking of completely different lockers, we found out later. During the day (this was ’91 so long before everyone had cell phones) we looked for each other and neither group ever found the other. We did, however meet two completely different groups of other students from our school that none of us knew would be there. We later found out that we’d all basically run into each of the groups of other students at various times and had been told the other group had been seen by them, and where.

    Miguelito (d383d1)

  88. I have the weirdest coincidence I’ve ever heard of.

    During the summer in my college years we visited my grandmother who lived at the New Jersey shore. She lived less than a mile from the beach. I went over by myself and was relaxing on the sand when a middle aged woman came up to me. She whipped out some official looking ID written in a foreign language and told me she had headed up some institute in Hungary that investigated paranormal phenomena. She said something about aura’s and asked me my birthday, which I told her. She stared at me for a few seconds and then left.

    A few weeks later I’m watching the old Tomorrow Show hosted by Tom Snider. He sometimes had his guests answer questions from the audience and he did that with his first guest, some actor whose name I can’t remember (he wasn’t a big star). The first question was from a woman who was staring intently at him asking him for his birthday. It was the woman from the beach!

    Gerald A (f26857)

  89. I went to a Chinese ballet thingy with my mom and her mom. They were sitting one row forward, directly in front of me. When the show was over I moved to help my grandma down the aisle. I saw that on the outermost armrest of each aisle, there was a brass plate with a donor’s name in it.

    The plate for their aisle said “Shirley Leslie.”

    My grandma’s name is Shirley. My mom’s name is Leslie.

    That just happened, tonight. True story.

    Leviticus (17b7a5)

  90. This may be the most unlikely one yet:

    In the late spring of 2002, I was preparing to take the GMAT for MBA school. The test was on a Saturday morning and on Friday night, living in Venice, I wandered down to the beach to gather my thoughts and relax.

    A few hundred yards from my apartment, I found a seal lying on the sand, well away from the surf. It did not look well, most likely a baby, but it was near midnight and pitch black.

    Being an animal lover, I called the police who transferred me to the live guards who gave me the number for “whale rescue” or some such. I left them a voicemail and went to bed, now much, much later than I’d planned.”

    I got up the next morning and drove to Culver City for the GMAT, which covers bunches of stuff in math, spacial relationships, story comprehension and the like. It was stressful, but I did well enough to get into a very good B-school, and that night went out to celebrate.

    While wandering back from the bar, around 7:00 that night, my cell phone rang and it was “Whale Rescue.” “I got your message,” said the man, “there’s really no need to worry,” he said “that’s a California Grey seal and” — I quickly cut him off. “and,” I said, “he’s about a year old, and being coaxed to go out on his own by his mother, who was lying in the surf watching to make sure he’s OK.”

    “Uh, yeah,” said the man, “how did you know that, and why did you call?”

    “Because I took the GMAT this morning,” I replied, “and one of the reading comprehension vignettes was about how California Grey seals are raised by their mothers.”

    But, the strangest bit of all was that, despite spending the night on the beach with the seal, I did not connect the two until the moment the man said “California Grey seal.”

    Robert C. J. Parry (a5133c)

  91. Here’s a cool one, not mine but my husband’s:

    Mike was out driving over on Rivah road and musing as one does on a routine drive – having a daydream, that became rather fully formed: There were these people, their dad, some kind of an architect, has passed on, and they are clearing out his office and come across blueprints/specs for his projects – and they decide to be good samaritans and deliver the plans to people who live in the homes now.

    Where this idea might have come from I have no idea, but these were his thoughts and that was the little story.

    So three or four days later on a fine Saturday BING BONG. It’s the son of the guy, now passed on, who built our house and here are the building plans.

    I struggle with my house. Cycles of war, resignation, plotting revenge, honoring its quirks – It’s older than I am, well built but oddly built. Over the years I have wanted revisions or complained about this or wondered about that and wanted to have a chat with the builder, who I knew was not an architect, but a builder.

    The plans, in a rubbermaid bin for a few years now, and maybe I will pull them out and look at them today.

    SarahW (b0e533)

  92. I accidentally a verb or two. I figure you can fill them in.

    SarahW (b0e533)

  93. Just for clarity’s sake the builder had served as his own architect. He lived in the house himself and raised his family, including that son, in this home for many many years.

    SarahW (b0e533)

  94. My career.

    In 1981, we had a career day at my middle school in NKY. I went to the presentation on credit bureaus, because I was interested on what type of math they used. It turns out that in those days, they didn’t use math, but cards in boxes, and I decided I wanted to get involved in the industry to modernize it.

    I forgot all about that idea then ended up studying math at CSU, Fullerton. The career center got a posting from TRW Credit Data in Orange for a statistician, and they had never seen a posting for one of those before. So they sent it to the department who recognized that I would be the guy for that.

    johnl (2d8adb)

  95. I’ve got 3 I’ll use. One coincidental but light, one horribly sad, and one the hope after the horror. First the light one. One evening in a snow storm at college I was walking along in the main part of the campus when I saw a car stuck in the snow. I walked over and gave the car a push which got it going. I didn’t think any more about it, but a few weeks later I was at a party. A guy said, “You’re Hugh ____, aren’t you?” And then he said, “And you pushed a car that was stuck in the snow at the Corner.” I was dumbfounded. Turns out that it was someone who i had gone to elementary school with. I moved away after elementary school, but returned to Virginia to go to college. He had recognized me the night I pushed his car even though he never got out the car or got a good look at me except out of his rear window. Those were the only two times that we crossed paths in college.

    Hugh (cc4a28)

  96. Robert C. J. Parry,

    That is a great story.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  97. The next happened last October. I was at work on a Friday afternoon talking to a colleague on the phone. He asked if I knew another colleague–Ivan _____, and I did, although not very well. He then asked if I knew that Ivan’s 19 year old son had died earlier in the month, which I didn’t. I looked up his son’s obituary while we were talking and was very sad, but didn’t think much more about it. Little did I know that my 18 year old son would die later that night in an accident at college. Since then Ivan and I have become close and meet regularly to give each other support, counseling and therapy.

    Hugh (cc4a28)

  98. The last happened the night I learned that my son had died.

    We reached out to our pastor and many of our friends in the middle of the night, and soon our house had at least 10 people in our family room, comforting my wife and me. In the midst of my grief I went up to our playroom, checking on Facebook to see if word had gotten out. While apparently there had been many texts among friends of David, it was only just getting out on Facebook. I sat on my sofa, when I heard a loud noise. I noticed that our DVR was recording a show. I thought that maybe the DVR was malfunctioning and making the noise that I was hearing, so I walked over to it and put my ear up against it. It was making a light whirring sound as you would expect it to. I realized that the noise was coming from high in the corner of the room, and looked over the door at the “big” clock. The clock was making the noise. I walked over the few feet to the door and saw that the second hand of the clock was spinning wildly. I would estimate that for each second of real time that the second hand was going 5 or 10 seconds on the clock face. I reached up and took the clock down. I noticed that even though it was after 3:00 am, the clock had one of the “big” hands on the 11 and the other on the 12. I didn’t pay attention to which was which, so it was showing either 11:00 or 11:55. I knew what I was seeing, and it brought me immediate comfort that God had let me know that David was alright. After all, I’ve never seen or heard of a clock running wildly fast. TV shows or movies might use a spinning clock to represent time passing, but again I’d never seen nor heard of it in real life. And if the story stopped there I would be content knowing that my son is in Heaven with God the Father and Jesus Christ his Son, knowing that the Holy Spirit deigned to give me a sign of Peace. But the story does not stop there.

    I decided to take the clock down to show the people gathered in our family room. And so those 10 or so people looked at the clock. I asked them if they saw what I saw, and all agreed that the second had was spinning wildly and that they had never seen or heard of such a thing. So I was not a hallucinating, distraught and grieving father, or at least not a hallucinating one.

    There’s a lot more to the story of the clock that I won’t bore you with. And obviously I don’t think that it was a coincidence, but if your not prone to believe then that’s the only explanation–that the clock just happened to malfunction in an unprecedented way the night that I found out that my child had died. And the clock settled down after having other “malfunctions” that I could detail for a week and is now continuing to keep time over 4 months later (on the same battery).

    Hugh (cc4a28)

  99. When I retired we moved from the SF bay area to the backwoods of the central Sierra. Settling in can be interesting and it requires among other things hooking up with local service providers like doctors, dentists, barbers, etc… My coincidence involves dentists.

    Being new to the area and not knowing one dentist from the other, the wife and I checked around and ended up making an appointment with the dentist that the neighbor across the road recommended. The first exam by the new dentist had him poking around in there and commenting on what is non-traditional dentition (baby teeth in a 55 year old) to which I told how my former dentist held the belief that any natural tooth is better than anything they make in a lab and counseled to let them stay until they decide to leave. I did that, three of them presenting themselves at this point. New dentist agrees and when I tell him my former dentist’s name this guy says “I knew I had seen this mouth before…” Back in the day, that former dentist had sought my permission to use my “condition” in his teachings at a local dental school; this dentist had been one of his students and remembered the lecture. [Two of those teeth are still working well for me over 50 years beyond their intended replacement.]

    A second shorty: again in the new locale, my mail includes someone else’s magazine. Different street and totally different numbers. I note that the name (rather common) is the same as that of someone I had known from high school and later when we worked together; 40-odd years had passed.

    As a lark I put a post-it note on the magazine naming the employer and saying if that name meant anything to him, to call me. I drove over to the address, about a half-mile away (and 150 miles from that hometown) and dropped off the magazine. Shortly after dinner, I got the call… same guy.

    gramps (bf1b3d)

  100. Long-time lurker here.

    A letter arrived in the mail a couple of years ago. Hand written addresses, probably a greeting card. It was mistakenly delivered to my house but addressed to a house just a couple hundred yards up the street. The coincidence: The return address was on a street in city I grew up in – over 200O miles away, and just a couple of hundred yards from my boyhood home.

    I gave the letter back to the postman, and I didn’t follow up with my neighbor. Perhaps I should have.

    equitus (e4bb2f)

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