Most of us go about our daily lives without even making eye contact with the people around us. It's gotten to the point where we'd rather stare at our smartphone the entire time we're waiting for a bus, sitting in a waiting room, or riding public transportation than have any kind of meaningful conversation with a stranger. It's so much easier to just stay in our own little personal bubbles than open ourselves up to people. But every so often, if we allow ourselves to be open to those types of experiences, magic can happen.
These 30 people reveal the rare moments in life when they connected with someone that they'd never met before and would never see again. These stories range from hilariously bizarre to beautifully touching to completely heartwrenching. Don't be surprised if you can't get through them all without getting a tad teary-eyed. Personally, I'm still ugly crying from #30.
"My year 11 inter-school dance. I had what I can now say was a panic attack and retreated to the bathroom. My best friend tried to talk me out but I wouldn't leave. I told her to go back out and I would be fine."
"A girl from another school came in and saw I was obviously distressed. She didn't ask me what was wrong or if I was okay. She said she loved my dress and asked me about it. She then told me about hers and we started talking about school and what we wanted to do when we graduated.
Her friends eventually came in and found her and she said goodbye. I felt so much better that I went out and joined my friends. I never got her name and don't remember which school she went to now but I am so incredibly grateful to her and I hope she is having a wonderful life." -punkynomie
"I was living in Houston and working at a FedEx Kinkos (Copy & Print shop) when Hurricane Katrina happened. An older women came in with a photo of her son who was missing that she wanted to post online.""She has no idea how to really use a computer and certainly no idea how to scan and upload a photo. We were way backed up in the in-house side of things, so I set her up at a self-service computer and did it all myself. Scanned and burned her a copy of the photo. Uploaded online to where she wanted and walked her through everything I did in case she found other places to post the photo. She was immensely grateful. Roughly 2 months later she came in and brought her son because he wanted to thank me for helping his mom find him. We hugged. I cried. Most intimate stranger moment of my life."-mizmac85
"Sat next to a middle-aged lady on an airplane. It was her first time flying and she was freaking out.""I held her hand and arm through takeoff, landing, and during the slight turbulence during the flight. Normally I'm not a touchy person, but this felt natural."-cheezydan
"Once, when my dog was just a few months old, we were out for a walk and we passed this guy on the street who was just leaning against a wall. She stopped, and refused to budge.""She looked at me, looked up at the guy, then looked back at me and just wagged her tail a little. So I said, "Do you want to say hello?" And she turns to the guy and puts her paws on his knee. Just for the record, my dog doesn't like people - she's really shy and doesn't approach strangers, so I was kind of surprised that she wanted to interact. The guy bends down and pets her for a minute or two. Then he stands up, and he looks at me and says thank you, and the look on his face was so vulnerable like he was about to cry. That was over a year ago and I think about that guy once in a while. He was so grateful to just pet a cute puppy for a few minutes, and my dog just seemed to know that he needed it. So, I guess my dog had an intimate moment with a stranger, and I just witnessed it."-particularshadeofblu
"I'm a dude of mid-20s, and I drive for Uber/Lyft. One really busy night someone got in my car when I had my "Guardians of the Galaxy Soundtrack" Pandora station playing.""I can't recommend it highly enough, all sorts of great older music. Anyways, this young woman hops in the car, we exchange a brief hi, how are you, and then American Pie comes on. Now I don't really sing along with my passengers, I'm not good at singing at all, and I don't really enjoy singing along with the music. But this young woman my age just starts singing. After a verse or two, I decided to join in too. And she starts to harmonize with my off-pitch singing on her own. The song ends right as I pull up to the hotel, and we exchange minimal pleasantries again then go on our separate ways. I don't even remember her name or face, but I definitely remember the random jam session that was good enough to join in on."-tmos540
"Former EMT here.""Crying with a family whose grandfather got his pulse back after 5 mins of me giving him CPR when he was essentially dead. Unfortunately, he didn't survive the brain damage but they were so grateful to me for giving them a chance to say goodbye."-Skavis18
I politely said to a man in the post office, 'Excuse me, sir, there is a line.' He replied, 'Fuck you, you stupid bitch.'""I broke down in tears after he left; I was having a very very bad day. The lady in line in front of me turned around and hugged me while I cried, told me he was mean and that it would be ok. I still get a little choked up thinking about her kindness in that moment."-IvyRoseOrre
"I got on a ski lift at one point with just me and a total stranger. For whatever reason, we started talking about our respective faiths almost immediately, but in a totally chill kind of fashion without any weirdness or awkwardness."
"The dude then admitted he was going through a pretty rough patch and doing some soul searching as a result. I offered my consolations and encouraged him to open up if he wanted to.
This was really bizarre for me as I'm usually an introvert. So then this dude, who I had just met as we sat down on a ski lift, opens up and tells me all about it. I won't repeat what he said, as almost all of it is deeply personal, but he really did have it rough. Some of it was his fault, he acknowledged, but most of it was out of his control. He started tearing up at the end and had to remove his ski goggles just to wipe away the tears. As we neared the top he thanked me for listening and gave me a coupon for a free hot chocolate from a restaurant on the slopes.
I wished him the best of luck with what he was going through and told him he seemed like an outstanding guy who had it in him to make it through this. He thanked me again, then we both parted ways.
I never saw him again, but I truly hope things got better for him."-Willshaper_Asher
"So I worked at the Apple Store and we have a tradition where on your last shift as you walk out, everyone stops what they're doing and just claps relentlessly the entire time you walk out and hug everyone and everything. Super awkward for customers (especially those that are pissed about having to wait all day in a store to fix their broken device).""I happened to have a closing shift and there was like one random dude in the store who just looked baffled as I went around hugging everyone. So as I make my way towards the door, homeboy's right in my path. I look this bastard straight in the windows to his soul, gesture with my arms out, and this guy and I just embrace for like 10 solid seconds and I whispered 'I'll miss you' in his ear and then walked out and didn't look back. I hope it was as good for him as it was for me."-Colonel_MuffDog
"On a cold winter day, there was a homeless man sitting on the front steps of the church where I was the music director."
"As I unlocked the door to enter the building for practice, I noticed the man was shivering and looked especially destitute. So I invited him inside and fixed food for him in the parish hall kitchen.
Feeding him nourishing food (and some hot coffee with cookies) made a profound difference. Plus, the church's rummage sale had a heavy winter coat and hat that fit him perfectly.
As he departed, the man gave me a warm smile, followed by a "bear hug" - a moment I'll never forget."-Back2Bach
"I recently walked into a restaurant women’s restroom and an elderly man profusely apologized to me for being in there helping his physically disabled wife. I offered to help not knowing if that overstepped boundaries, but they accepted and he stepped out.""I’m a mom so I've lost all embarrassment about helping with that stuff. After she was done I alerted him and he helped with the wheelchair/door and overly thanked me again. All I could think about was “relationship goals" because of those guys."-walnutspaul
"I was at the bus station a few years back. A girl I didn't know was being bothered by some guy.""He was being very pushy and she had a hard time telling him off. I walked up and acted like she was a friend I hadn't seen in a long time. She immediately went with it, and we walked away from the guy but he hovered. So we kept up the act, and we had a conversation as if we were old pals catching up. I learned so much about this girl and her life in those ten minutes we spoke. I made sure she got on her bus, and the guy disappeared. I never saw her again, but I hope she's still doing good. She was getting her nursing degree."-cutehulhu
"I used to live abroad a couple of years ago and when I came back to my "new" country after being home for Christmas I was waiting for the airport bus to go into town."
"While I was waiting there a woman my age (~20) comes up and asks me if I know the way to the airport bus and as I did we ended up waiting together there and then sat next to each other on the bus. She was so easy to talk to. The bus was about 50 minutes and we got talking really deep and it felt super natural.
Then we got to the main station in town, looked each other in the eyes and kissed before wishing each other well and going on our separate ways. I think of her quite often still, and years later and it pains me that I didn't take her number or anything; just her name, Katja.
However, I feel that maybe this is what made it so special: two strangers in a random country sharing one hour by destiny while sharing intimate stories and feeling connected in a way that I have not experienced before or after. Maybe she was my soul mate. I'm sure we will meet again."-sqarin1
"During my first week of uni I was super excited to meet new people and make best friends. I'd had a very traumatic experience that summer and so was looking forward to a new start."
"I'd always been sociable and never had trouble with this but for some reason, I just didn't click with anyone I met in my halls. I felt completely out of place and combatted this by throwing myself into any social activity I could. But it didn't work. I felt like it was my fault, that I wasn't fun or interesting or likable enough.
After another crappy night where I had gone out and felt so out of place that I just walked home alone, in the morning I sat outside and called my mum, and just broke down in tears about how lonely I felt. After a few minutes, this lady came up to me, handed me a note, patted my shoulder and left. The note simply said that she hoped I was ok, with her name and where she worked in the university, and to go and see her if I wanted.
I went to see her and, although she was a total stranger, opened up to her about everything. She was so incredibly kind and shared her own difficult experiences with me too. I will never forget her. She gave me hope when I had absolutely zero self-esteem and has inspired me to do the same whenever I come across people who seem sad.
Whenever I feel like my small actions don't have an impact I remember her, and how her small action that day changed my life for the better."-qwertyqwerty96
"Was flying back to the states from Europe. It was about a 14-hour flight. I have health problems and toward the end of the flight, I got very sick. Had a very high fever and the shakes.""My boyfriend was to my left, an empty seat to my right and next to that seat was a Middle-Aged Muslim woman she was wearing the full headscarf. I was getting so sick that I couldn’t hold my head up anymore so I kinda started to lay down on the empty seat. My boyfriend covered me with his blanket and mine. Anyone who has used an airplane blanket knows it’s basically a sheet. You know why this woman does? Without any communication whatsoever, she put her blanket on me and rubbed my back till I fell asleep. I cried so hard when she started to rub my back. She was a mom who saw a kid who was sick and needed help. Granted I’m in my 20s but nothing compares to a mom rubbing your back when you’re sick. I don’t think I would have survived that flight without her. I tried to thank her but she didn’t speak any English. But I hope she knows how much that meant to me and how much it taught me."-skeletoorr
"I broke my hand very recently in a bad, should-have-died car accident. The State Trooper who arrived almost refused to help me get my ID out of my wallet even with my express permission, let alone help me get out of my car. Then there was Vance."
"Vance was a normal-dude tow truck driver with AAA. When he got to me, shaking in my car, eyes, and nose running like a faucet, he offered to help me out of the car. His tone was thick with empathy, something severely lacking from the trooper. He helped me open the door and offered to scoop me out of the vehicle, though I just needed an arm. He grabbed me around the lower back and told me I could lean into him as much as I needed. Our faces were touching as he helped me out of the car.
Vance went above and beyond his duty. I wouldn't think twice about a firefighter or police officer doing this, but the tow truck driver gave me pause."-OnAMoose
"I was in Manhattan and I had bought a bunch of pills to try to commit suicide. I stepped outside the pharmacy and opened one of the bottles, but I dropped it and the pills went all over the sidewalk.""A homeless woman came up and somehow knew what was happening. She grabbed me and kept saying "don't you take all these pills. Don't do this" etc etc. She had me give her the pills and she threw them in a dumpster. I have no idea how she knew what I was planning to do but she probably saved me that night."-nm5678
"When I was a kid, maybe 9 or 10, my sister and I were walking through Harlem and I completely tripped and fell on the sidewalk, busting my lip.""I started to bleed and my sister, only 17 at the time, started to panic. A woman passes us by and asks if everything is okay, and eventually helps us. Luckily she lived in the basement apartment of the brownstone I had fallen in front of. She and her husband who was home with their 3-year-old proceeded to bring out a first aid kit, and even a glass of lemonade. We thanked her profusely and went on our way home. Still warms my heart to this day."-NYCGuy97
"I’m a server and I was having a particularly rough night with customers. This couple came in with their bulldog. They looked a little rough around the edges."
"They could tell I was rushing around and having a hard time keeping up. The women just grabbed my arm as I was walking by, gave me the warmest smile, and said “everything is going to be ok. You’re doing a great job".
I don’t know why that moment stuck with me so much. It was so simple, but her touch and smile just completely turned my whole day around.
That couple has become my regulars and I see them almost every weekend."-Gooderstuffs
"I once got stuck in an elevator for four hours with three other people."
"It was a tiny elevator as well with standing room only.
By the end of it, we were all leaning on each other in a big circle holding each other up."-flyingwoIf
"Saved a girl from a creep on a bus. I was inside at a gas station and I saw that he was hitting on her at the bus stop right outside, obviously getting too close and she wasn’t into him at all.""When the bus came, I walked out and boarded with them. He made sure to sit down right next to her. I walked up and pulled the old 'oh hey (insert made up name here), how are you? etc. etc.' then I asked if the dude would mind moving so I could sit next to 'my friend'. I’m a pretty big dude (6’6" 340lbs) so I can be pretty intimidating when I want to. He moved and I stayed with her till he got off the bus. She thanked me and then I just rode the bus back to the gas station so I could drive home in my car. Never saw her again."-JasonWKing6598
"Once while in Amsterdam, late in the evening, I decided to try hitchhiking at the bicycle lane.""A cool guy stopped and rode me to my hostel 30 minutes away. Great guy, a surgeon at a hospital, coming back from his night shift. It was a nice chat we had."-savarutsu
"Back in high school, I was on a school trip in a downtown city. I was lighting up my last smoke I had when suddenly a hand tapped me on the shoulder."
"As I turn around I see a 6'5" 300-pound black man leaning over me with tears in his eyes. Through a crying stutter, he asks in the politest voice ever, 'Excuse me, sir, could I trouble you for a cigarette?'
At this point, I tell him I literally just lit my last one and he gives me an understanding nod and walks off. Seeing his sad face broke my heart so I tell my friends to give me a smoke each and I run probably 2 blocks away to catch up with this dude.
Immediately this man erupts in a smile and thanks me over and over after the warmest hug ever. I have no idea why he was crying but I know we both had a great appreciation for each other that day."-Tokus11
"During a party at a frat house, random dude I've never met decided to sit next to me on the couch. I'm minding my business feeling tired after drinking a handle of Fireball."
"Dude ends up resting his head on my shoulder. I was too drunk to push him off and I did not want to be a jerk so I let him sleep. I eventually passed out resting my head on his head resting on my shoulder. Woke up the next morning with a blanket over both of us. He woke up and said, 'My bad bro. I got tired.'
'It's all good.'
'Thanks, man. I needed a place to crash. I got kicked out of my dorm recently.'
'Oh...I'm sorry bro.' He then got up and left. Never saw him again. He had a really soft head tbh. I hope he is doing well."-Cheetodude625