There comes a pivotal situation in everyone's life where they get a gut feeling that something is about to go wrong unless they do something, and much to our surprise, they mostly do. In these cases, people experienced these epiphany-like moments that ultimately ended up being the difference between life and death, or at the very least serious injury. Content has been edited for clarity.
A Workaholic Lucks Out
“Three years ago, I was planning a major fundraising event. I was working ridiculous hours trying to make sure everything was going to run smoothly. I had worst case scenarios planned out like a crazy person. One day I was climbing the stairs after getting home rather late when I became unnaturally short of breath. As I sat on my bed, my breathing returned to normal. My face became hot with what I can only assume is what’s considered a hot-flash in older women. I started to tingle with fear. I don’t know how to explain it exactly. It was like I could feel electricity in the air warning me something was wrong. I immediately packed my laptop, paperwork, extra clothing, toothbrush, and so on, and I slowly walked down the stairs to my car driving myself to the ER. As soon as I got through the doors, I collapsed, unable to breathe. I don’t recall everything that happened right after, but what I do recall was being in the hospital for 8 days because both of my lungs were littered with blood clots. I had gotten a blood clot in my lower left calf from sitting and working too many hours on the event. It broke loose and spread throughout my lungs (the Doctor said it looked like my lungs were filled with popcorn). Had I not driven myself to the hospital when I did, the nurse said I would have died. I will NEVER ignore shortness of breath again, and I WILL trust myself when I KNOW something is wrong.”
“Late Night Strolls”
“When I was in college, I lived in a sketchy part of Chicago (Humboldt Park/Logan Square before gentrification).
I liked to take late night strolls, even when I was living in that neighborhood as a 20-year-old woman. Yeah, I know. Pretty dumb of me.
One night, I was feeling stressed out so I embarked on one of my late night strolls.
I was walking along a somewhat busy road. Cars were zooming past me. Pretty normal. I wasn’t paying much attention because I was too wrapped up in whatever was stressing me out that night. Suddenly, a chill shot up my spine. Hyperviligance washed over me and I became more alert than I had ever been. Something was wrong. Someone was watching me.
I quickly spotted a car. It was driving in the opposite direction, a little slower than usual. It was too dark for me to see anyone inside the car, and the car was pretty unassuming. But I still knew something was off. They were watching me. I just knew.
The car drove past me and then made a u-turn. Now it was right behind me, creeping along the curb.
Luckily, there was a Walgreens a few blocks ahead. I started walking faster, and the car eventually sped past me and disappeared into a corner. I somehow knew I wasn’t safe yet, so I still sprinted to Walgreens.
I told the security guard what happened, and we both went outside. The car was parked up the street, about 50-100 feet away. The security guard was a big guy who looked intimidating. He marched toward the car, and the car immediately backed up, made a u-turn, and then booked it out of there. The security guard called the cops, and they drove me home.
I never took a late night stroll again.
My gut made me more alert, but it was really the security guard who saved my life. I’m positive that if he wasn’t there that night, something bad would’ve happened to me. I wish I could find that security guard to thank him.”
Mind The Lights And Sirens
“On my very first day as a full fledged police officer, I was called to assist on a single car accident. It had been raining that day and a car had crashed and turned sideways on a highway off ramp, forcing the first officer to shut it down. He was afraid that cars were coming by too fast, and he asked me to shut down the closest lane. I parked my car in a lane on what was a perfectly straight stretch of highway. Eventually, fire and EMS arrived to tend to the people who had been in the car, and a tow truck arrived to clear the wreck.
There were five vehicles with flashing lights on this straight stretch of highway at night. I was also wearing a full length high visibility rain coat with reflectors on it. I felt pretty comfortable standing near the center lane and so I wasn’t paying attention to oncoming traffic, but I suddenly got the feeling that I should stand closer to my unit. As soon as I moved, a car barely avoided striking my police car, veered to where I had been standing, crossed over two lanes, struck a car, veered in the opposite direction, struck another car, spun out, and then came to a stop after striking a guard rail.
I ran down the highway to assist the driver, who had totaled her car and had broken both her legs. She said that she couldn’t tell which lane was being blocked off. I’m almost 100% sure that she had been texting and driving.”
“Almost 8 months pregnant, normal, complication free pregnancy. Walking through the grocery store, I had a twinge of a headache and told my husband we needed to go home.
At home, I took a shower and relaxed a bit, but got an urgent ‘impending doom’ feeling. Still just a tiny headache, not even enough for a Tylenol. Packed my toddler’s diaper bag and requested we go to urgent care.
The whole ride there, I felt fine, wondering what I was even going to tell them at check in. But that ‘you’re not okay’ feeling was still looming.
We pulled in, I carried my sleeping two year old inside and basically said, ‘I’m pregnant and something isn’t right.’
My blood pressure was 256/148. I had a seizure 7 minutes after getting in the room. If I had told my husband to drive past and go to the ER, we would have been stuck in traffic, as a truck had rolled over. If I hadn’t left the grocery store or my house when I did, there’s a chance I wouldn’t have made it.
We got a ride to the hospital when I was stable, I was induced at 35-ish weeks, and my son was born perfectly fine, albeit small. I stayed on blood pressure meds for 8 days before it went back to normal.”
Always Wear Your Seatbelt
“When I was 16, my dad took me deep sea fishing in Ilwaco, Washington. We left our house in Portland, stupid-early in the morning (2am) to get to the dock in time to depart by 4:30am. We had a fun day out, caught loads of fish, and were on the road driving home in the early afternoon.
I fell asleep about 30 minutes into our drive. I remember waking up, my dad singing to the radio, eating a peanut-butter and jelly sandwich. My heart is pounding, and then totally clearly I hear in my head, ‘Tell your dad to put his seatbelt on.’ I distinctly remember feeling teen-embarrassment, and mentally voicing ‘What the heck? No way, I’m not going to tell my dad what to do!’ After a couple minutes, and more of my dad serenading me to some Willie Nelson song, I hear the voice again, this time very directly, ‘Tell your dad to put his seatbelt on, and tell him right now.’ I begrudgingly oblige and say, ‘Dad, you should probably put your seatbelt on.’
He says ‘Oh shoot, thanks! Silly that I even need the reminder!’ and he buckles up, and goes on singing and munching on his PBJ. I smile, my heartbeat settles down, I close my eyes and lean my head against the window and promptly fall asleep.
The next time I open my eyes, I’m staring at the coins that were resting on the dashboard, now floating in slow motion in front of me. I see my hands are outstretched, and for some reason they make contact with the windshield. Sunshine is flashing like a strobe light, refracting off thousands of tiny chunks of glass but also, there’s dirt? Why is there dirt floating in the air, in our car? I’m very confused.
My hearing comes crashing back as this memory shifts to real-time and I can hear my dad yelling for me, the engine whining, and the screech of bending metal, the crunch of breaking glass. I can smell the dirt, the engine oil, rubber. It dawns on me we’ve been rolling. We finally come to a stop, and we’re tipped sideways, with the driver’s side up in the air. I’m disoriented, but somehow coherent. My dad is in shock and confused, asking where I am. I’m able to unbuckle myself and crawl out through the now missing windshield and after a bit of a wrestle, I help my dad get unbuckled even though all his weight is on his seatbelt buckle. He’s bleeding pretty badly on his arm, but he says he’s fine as we both scamper up the hill to the road.
Traffic has stopped, and there’s now a crowd of people who gasp as we make it up road-side. ‘We watched it all happen in slow motion, we just knew there wouldn’t be survivors!’ multiple people tell us. ‘You need to sit down, you’re not looking good…’ one man tells me. I feel fine, but my ears are ringing, and my right ear is bloody to the touch.
My dad is really dazed, and keeps asking for me even though I’m sitting right next to him, telling him ‘I’m fine,’ and ‘I’m right here.’ It starts to dawn on me how crazy this all is as I look down and see just how far we climbed up to the road. We must have rolled 5 times AFTER flying off the road at 60 MPH. Onlookers said we hit a tree not long after we departed the road which slowed us down, but sent us rolling toward the small river below.
First responders arrive, they’re all in disbelief we walked away. As we’re being lifted into the ambulance, my dad says to the firefighter who had bandaged his arm, ‘Please, somewhere down there there’s a cooler full of fresh salmon. It’s all yours. I’d hate to see it go to waste.’ I always wondered if they actually went looking for it, and if they have a shared memory of ‘remember that time that father and son bailed off the road and gave us their salmon? That was the best bbq ever.’
We were whisked off to the hospital, to get checked out. ‘You are unbelievably lucky,’ the paramedics kept telling us. ‘It’s not called the bloody highway for nothing’ says his partner. At the ER, one of them pulled my dad aside and said, ‘When you go to collect your things from the tow yard, you may experience some pretty intense emotions seeing the vehicle.’ Despite this warning, we were totally unprepared for the flood of emotions while walking up to our mangled, shredded (the cabin roof was totally peeled open) Ford Ranger pickup.
My dad and I often reflect back on this and make the occasional pilgrimage to Ilwaco. He thanks me at least once a year for ‘listening to that voice’ and my kids regularly ask for a retelling of ‘that time you saved your dad’s life!’ And I tell it, again and again. And I tell them I’m grateful teen embarrassment lost that battle so they can grow up knowing my old man.”
An Itch In The Throat
“I was maybe 5-6 years old, had bronchitis due to a bacterial infection, was being treated with antibiotics. The night after I took the second dose, I’m lying awake coughing and I suddenly start to feel really weird, couldn’t say what but something just felt wrong. I decided I should get up and go to my parents’ room. My chest felt tight and itchy as I got out of bed. By the time I made it to the door of my bedroom my airway had started to swell shut and it was getting very difficult to breathe. By the time I made it into my parents’ room, I was barely getting any air at all—my limbs and face were starting to feel tingly from lack of oxygen. It felt like someone big was kneeling on my chest and squeezing my throat. I had to shake my mother awake because I couldn’t even speak. By the time the ambulance arrived I was losing consciousness from oxygen depravation. I woke up in the hospital and was informed that I’d had an extremely severe allergic reaction (we eventually deduced that I was reacting to the antibiotics I was prescribed, we hadn’t noticed the milder allergy symptoms I’d had after the first dose because I had a cough and chest pain already due to the bronchitis, and I’d thought the hives on my legs were just bug bites) and the reaction had almost killed me. If I hadn’t gotten up when I did, I might have lost consciousness before I was able to wake my parents up, and most likely wouldn’t have survived.
I started carrying an epi-pen with me after that, and haven’t taken that specific type of antibiotics since. Apparently, it’s a documented ‘thing’ that someone having a severe allergic response will sometimes experience an intense feeling of dread before it really starts. Well, not sure how common it is but it sure as sugar saved my life there.”
“The Adrenaline Took Over”
“I was driving home from work when I hit a part of the highway that was full of heavy construction. The lines for the lanes had recently been repainted but you could still see the faint old lines on the road. Because of that, people normally slowed down below the speed limit since it was hard to tell which line was new and which was old. As I was driving through the construction, I was almost sideswiped by an SUV that was matching speeds with me in the left lane. I had a really bad feeling and slowed down even more to let this car go ahead of me. Once I was behind him, the SUV drifted into my lane and frantically corrected itself a few seconds later. He had a hard time staying in the lane after which could have been because of the lines that had just been painted. But the bad feeling wouldn’t go away. I was beginning to get scared that he was going to cause an accident and stayed as far as I could behind him so I could keep my eye on the car.
As we neared the end of the construction zone, there was a part where there was a break in the concrete barriers off to the left side where the construction crew could get their cars or trucks in. The guy in the SUV started to drift again, this time to the left towards the break in the barrier. He wasn’t slowing down either. My heart started racing as he went off the road and head first into the barrier without even braking. The force of the impact sent his car flying backwards towards my car. My body automatically reacted and pulled the steering wheel to the right into an exit lane that thankfully had no one in it. If I hadn’t done that, the back wheel of the SUV would have hit the windshield right where I was sitting. I was running on adrenaline and didn’t think to stop right after. I looked in my mirror and saw that the SUV was faced sideways on the road taking up both lanes of traffic. I spent the rest of the drive in a complete daze thinking about the ‘what ifs’ that could have happened if I hadn’t gotten that bad feeling and decided to keep an eye on that guy’s car. I never found out what happened to the guy to cause him to run head first into the barrier but I’m always more cautious about driving through constructions zones now.”
Don’t Be So Ready To Lend A Hand
“I used to live in a 200 year old building. The windows were the old sash weight type and the weights had all broken off. The windows had also been painted. It had been an old opera house but it had been gutted and those apartments were thrown together and thrashed.
My neighbor was a crazy guy when he took his bipolar medicines and he loved whatever they had him on. He asked me to help him install an old window AC unit that he had. I went over to lend a hand.
We got the window open and I was holding it. He came running in with the old window AC unit because he was all medicated and thought it would be best to hurry. He slammed the AC unit into the opening and I tried to lower the window down upon it.
Apparently, I’d opened the window a bit too much because it was stuck, even though it weighed 50 pounds. Somehow we switched and I was holding the AC unit on the window ledge and he was trying to unstick and close the window.
I thought; hands, hands, hands and then something exploded in my brain. ‘Move your hands,’ was the only thought.
The voice originating from within the depths of my brain, being impossible to ignore; I moved my hands to allow my neighbor’s old AC unit to fall 20 or so feet down to smash on the pavement of the parking lot. This isn’t what happened.
What happened is the window became suddenly unstuck and came crashing down onto the AC unit the very instant that I’d let it go. I would have broken every bone from my wrists to my fingertips.
That window would have shattered my hands. It would’ve turned them into applesauce. I probably wouldn’t have died but I bet I’d wish that I had for awhile.
My neighbor and I figured it was a job well done and I left. Went into my apartment and told my SO that I couldn’t be so nice anymore and helping people with their chores. If I’m going to break my hands, it has to be at work so they’ll pay me compensation; there would’ve been nobody to take care of us.”
A Big Red Bookcase
“This needs some context first, so bear with me:
I must have been maybe 6 or 7 years old at the time and back then, I was a bit of a worrier. Mostly thanks to my mom constantly worrying and telling me ‘careful, you’ll break your neck’ anytime I even so much as stood up.
In my bedroom, I used to have a big red metal bookcase (If you lived in the UK in the 90s, you probably had one, it looked like industrial shelving but made from Meccano) which was about 6ft tall and was about 3ft from my bed. It was old and beginning to bend and warp out of shape due to the amount of books shoved into any space the shelves could offer.
It was there for several months before one night I was lying in bed an a random worry popped into my head ‘if that thing were to ever collapse, that would hit me and probably kill me.’ I laid worrying about it for several hours, visualizing where it would land if it did fall over. I realized that if it did, I was done for, as most of it would come down on my head and torso.
I finally got out of bed, and quietly and carefully moved my bed about 2ft further away as to not wake anyone else. I got into bed and again started visualizing its fall. Unsure of my initial predictions, I moved my bed a further foot or so again. After about 30 more minutes of late night anxiety about my impending doom, I finally fell asleep.
I was woken up about an hour later by a sound so loud I thought a car had crashed through our house, it was the bookcase tipping over and hundreds of books coming crashing down in unison.
It missed my mattress by about 5mm and wedged itself between the wall an my bed frame, after the sharp shelf edges had carved into the wooden base of the bed like it was made of butter.
Always trust your gut, and never be ashamed of being a worrier. That crud saved my life!”
“So it was the early 90’s and I was 13 at the time (though I looked probably about 9-10) and it was the Friday afternoon of Memorial Day weekend and a buddy and I were opening up packs of baseball cards on the side of the party store we just got them from.
A dude in his 40’s approaches us and starts to try to make small talk about the baseball cards and such. Our bikes are laying by the side of us and the stranger starts telling me he has a son that passed, how much I looked like him and so on. Then he says that his son had a bike exactly like mine and wanted me to have it. So my bike was an old beater ten-speed and at this point I am still pretty oblivious and think to myself, ‘Why the heck would I want two crappy bikes?’
I kindly decline and like a flip of a switch, he starts getting really aggressive and says I need to come with him. At this point, my buddy and I are freaked out and I tell him no and we are going in the store. We get in the store (which is a family run Italian joint) and hide somewhere toward the back corner of the store. The counter guys notice us and question what we are doing, we break it down and the oldest one of them goes into super-hero mode, jumps over the counter and heads toward the front door.
As he’s going through the double door, the stranger pulls up in his car like a bat out of heck and seems like he was about to charge to go inside (I presume to snatch me). He noticed the employee coming out the door, got back in the driver’s seat and rocketed out of there.
No one got plates in all of it and probably not the wisest decision, but the store owner tells us to hurry, get home and tell our parents. I get home fine but decide I am not going to say anything because it was a holiday weekend. I wanted to be able to go out and hang with my friends. Once school came back around on Tuesday morning, I kind of forgot about it until I was called down to the office, questioned by officers and all that. My parents weren’t happy, but in my defense, the school/city turned it into a huge deal, it made the metro-area news and all that.”
“Back in the late 90s, some friends and I were into Inline Skating. Don’t laugh, it used to be cool! Sort of.
Anyhow, we all had similar work shifts and used to go night skating. I used to live in central California (near Fresno), an ungodly place high in crime. Just throwing that in for reference.
So me and my buddies get off work, meet up, and hit the streets like we did 3-5 times per week.
Our route used to take us quite a few miles through town. Down main roads, through parking lots, through parks, bike paths, etc. One of our usual routes took us through a nearby park, where we could throw a few grinds on some park equipment, leap over some decorative rosebushes, have a little fun with it. Basically, one of us would just take off in a direction, and the ‘rule’ was to have the rest of the guys (there were usually no more than three of us) follow suit. Challenge and fun, if you will.
Sorry, rambling about my beloved hobby. On to the creepy part.
So we are blazing down the street, following the lead guy, and we get interrupted by heavy traffic. Dang, we have to actually stop at a light, instead of jaywalk/skating across the street. Okay, no biggie. It happens. We start talking about the nearby park, and how that’s our usual spot, so let’s just go there.
My buddy Don (lead guy that night) turns to us, and says, ‘Nah, let’s head over down this street here. The park is looking kinda dark tonight, and we don’t want some creep trying to touch us or something.’
We all turn to look at the park, and sure enough, half the dang lights are out, or have not come on yet (it’s 10PM at this point, easily). We get a bad feeling about the park, and abandon the idea of going there in favor of just hitting the parking lot across the street, and then heading to wherever the wind took us. No problem.
We finish the evening skate session, and head on home, bed, work the next day, etc.
The lead guy, Don, has his mom tell him the next day (we were about 20, but that loser still lived with his parents) that a bum was killed in that park around 9PM-12AM. He was stabbed something like 20-30 times. Probably for 3 bucks or something stupid.
I’ve never forgotten that night, and how crazy close we might have come to getting killed. All because we were just out having a good time.
Also, I’ve never stopped missing rollerblading. Being old and having a bad back sucks!”