Share your best personally experienced coincidences

My best was the time that my ex-husband and I were trying to see if our new phone number spelled anything interesting. It didn’t. So we decided to think of words that would make a cool phone number. I picked two words that fit the 3-4 pattern that phone numbers use, because that would make the ideal case, of course. At random, I picked a phrase. Let’s say the phrase was “Tar Foot” (it wasn’t, but it was something similar enough).

We looked at a phone to see what the phone number would be if it spelled that. The first number… the second number… the third number… and I said “Hey! That’s wild! That’s the first 3 digits of my social security number!”

So we kept going. The next number… was the next number of my social security number! We got a good “whoa” moment over that and checked the next number. Yes, it was the next digit in my SSN. It turns out, in fact, that the phrase I’d picked was the first seven digits of my SSN, in the correct order. And it was the first phrase I’d picked. For fun, we checked what numbers completed my SSN and found that the phrase still kind of made sense, like “Tar Footer.”

That was probably 1992 and remains my biggest coincidence event so far.

What is yours? Feel free to share several.

I do payroll at work on Mondays, entering hours from handwritten time sheets into a computer payroll system. I keep myself entertained while doing this by seeing patterns. One person will have worked 10 hours that week [most of these are student employees–I work at a university–so the hours are typically low] then the next person 8 hours, then the next person 10 and the person after that 8, then 4 which is half of 8… so I see a pattern of sorts, while realizing it’s all just random coincidence. Like I said, it keeps me entertained. That’s very, very minor coincidence type stuff, but if you have something on that level that is interesting feel free to share.

Not sure if this really counts, but: I once called someone at work by the wrong name. I was so embarrassed, I wished the ground would open up.

Yes, two seconds later we had an earthquake!

My first wife got a job with an attorney in Honolulu. Coincidentally, he owned rental property in one town…the small Missouri town where she graduated from college (Kirksville).

One day he needed her to call a tentant, and one of her good friends answered the phone.

That didn’t happen to me, though…did it? Hm.

A couple of years ago, a power steering hose started leaking on my '98 Corolla while my girlfriend and I were visiting out of town on a Saturday. I took it to the local Toyota dealer, knowing full well I had no idea how I was going to pay for whatever it was, seeing as the rental car to get us back home was going to exhaust my bank account.

Come Tuesday, when I returned from picking up my now-repaired car (having very unhappily put the cost on my already-overburdened credit card), I happened to check my mail to find a check from my mom (who knew nothing of the car troubles). Total random coincidence, and it couldn’t have happened at a better time.

My birthday is November 1. A woman in my office was pregnant. Her husband’s name is Gavin. My niece was also pregnant, and her baby was due on November 1. Office woman gave birth on the 1st, niece gave birth on the 3rd. She named him Gavin.

Six months later I was at a party, mostly with people I’d never met. I started talking to some random woman who had a baby. How old is he? Six months. What’s his name? Gavin.

I walked away and started talking to some other people. Then I got really curious, and walked back over. When is his birthday? November 2.

I was working for a cabinet company and we were planning a business trip to Germany to visit our suppliers and look at a new supplier perhaps. We flew into Dusseldorf, spent the day there then drove north. On our way back, we stopped in Wurzburg to spend the night and spent two hours trying to find a hotel with open rooms.

We finally found a place with vacancies and made our way there. We get to the place, park the car and walk into the lobby. There in the lobby was a client of ours whose house we had been working on the day before we left! My boss, to his eternal credit didn’t miss a beat. He walked up to her and said “Mrs. Steinberg, I have a question about the drawer pull placement, I’ve got the installer on the phone!”

Another; my birthday is 1-19, my ex is 8-19. The first date I went on after the divorce, it turned out that her birthday was 1-19 and her ex was 8-19 :eek: She never called me back…

I went to a county fair. There was a guy selling those puzzles where you have metal pieces twisted together and you’re supposed to figure out how to separate them. I had never bought any of those puzzles before but I thought they looked interesting so I bought a couple.

After I left the fair, I stopped at a local book store in the area. I saw they had a Martin Gardner book I didn’t own on sale. I always like his stuff so I bought it without checking the contents.

When I got home and was reading the Gardner book that evening, I found that the first chapter of the book was about the mathematics of coincidences. The second chapter was about metal twist puzzles and how to solve them.

That’s pretty cool. I love birthday coincidences. I dated someone last spring, and her ex-husband and I were born on the same day.

When I was in junior high I started collecting coins, and my grandfather gave me a small box with a number of old coins. Most were from the US, a few were from Canada, and one was from the UK: a 1948 one-shilling piece.

About a year later, I bought a soda out of a machine after a basketball game. Instead of a nickel in change, I received a…1948 one-shilling piece.

Back in the early 90’s, I was looking for an apartment in downtown Ft. Lauderdale. I saw a For Rent sign on some cheap crappy ghetto rental that looked like it would fit my budget and banged on the door. Guy opens the door. He’s not the landlord, but he showed me his place, gave me the landlord’s number, took mine and said he’d give it to the landlord and tell him to call me. Really nice, charming, hot, flirty guy. I thought he wanted my number for himself because the landlord never called me. But then, neither did nice, charming, hot, flirty guy. Whatevs. I find some other place to live and forgot all about him.

Fast forward about a year and a half. I’m standing in line at the 7-11 to buy smokes. This really nice, charming, hot, flirty guy strolls up behind me with his six-pack in hand (not his abs, actual beer) and starts chatting me up. I buy my smokes and I’m about to walk out when he asks for my number. I realize it’s the exact same guy from a year and a half ago so I tell him no. He asks me why not and I tell him, “I already gave you my number more than a year ago and you never called me, so why should I give it up now?” This cause much chuckling from the other people in line as well as the cashier. RNCHF Guy follows me out to the parking lot and somehow convinces me to let him sit in my car for a minute while we drink a couple of his beers. We both had somewhere else to be, so I drank a beer, booted him out of my car and went on my merry way. Moved to SC a couple months later, and back to Florida two years after that, and forgot all about the guy.

Fast forward about 15 years. I’m on a business trip in San Antonio and after I checked into my hotel, I’m having trouble getting on the interwebs. I call downstairs to the front desk and they give me the tech support number. I spend 30 minutes on the phone with really nice, charming, tech support guy but he can’t help me. He gives me a ticket number and tells me to call back the next day if I still have problems after I go into the office. I ask for his name so I can get the same tech. He tells me and I heard that record-scratching-my-world-just-stopped-revolving-for-a-second sound in my head.

It was RNCHF Guy. He has a very unusual first name, which I have never heard before or since as a first name. It’s usually a last name. The second he said it, I said, “Wait. Are you from Ft. Lauderdale?” pause “Yes.” “Did you live near Las Olas in the early 90’s?” really long pause “Um, yeah, I did. another pause Do I know you?” “Actually. I think we’ve met. A couple times.”

I reminded him of our prior encounters. We ended up dating for a little over a year. He even pulled up stakes (he was living in Atlanta by then) and moved to my fair city for a while. He turned out to be a creepy jerk, but it was the coolest story at the time. Now I’m a little bit sorry it doesn’t end with, “…And then I had to chop him into pieces and bury him in my backyard. But the roses growing over that spot are really lovely.”

My wife’s birthday is the day before mine - thirteen years earlier.

My wife’s mom used to do audits of one of the companies I worked for 20+ years ago. So it is likely that I might have walked past her and her pre-teen daughter going in or out of the building.

I was in EMT school and assisted with a suicide attempt patient while on my ER practical time, on my notes I had A. Smith for reporting back to teacher about my experiences.

Fast forward 1 year, now working as an EMT. I meet a girl and end up dating her. Just knew I had seen her before but couldnt quite figure it out. Until I met her mom who I clearly remembered from that ER shift and finally made the connection.

I asked her about it, and she denied it.

I dug up my notebook and sure enough patient A. Smith… age, etc everything matched. She finally caved and admitted to it.

So I dated and lived with a woman for several years who I first met as an attempted suicide coming into the ER I was a student EMT at.

The only coincidence I can recall is more of a shaggy-dog story. It involves the movie Dead of Night (1945) which I had seen on TV back in the 50’s. The most memorable section of the movie deals with a ventriloquist and his dummy.

I had forgotten the name of the movie, if I ever knew it, and in 1989 I got a copy of Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide as part of a book-of-the-month club. There was a review of Magic (1978) (which I had seen within the past few years) which said something like,

I immediately looked up DEAD OF NIGHT which said:

The date and description of the movie convinced me I had found the one I had seen decades earlier, so I called Blockbuster to see if they had the movie. The store nearest us didn’t have it but one across town did, so we raced across town, signed up for an account at that store and rented the movie. All the way there and back I was telling my wife the few details I remembered about it and stressed to her that I had forgotten a lot of it. We watched it and it turned out to be much like I had remembered but obviously I had fused details from it and Twilight Zone and maybe other stories involving ventriloquists enough that it was a bit of a disappointment in that my memory had played some tricks on me.

Next day, Sunday, I took the rental video back across town and since I was close to our favorite bookstore I decided to look around there. On the sale table out front was a copy of a collection of psychological stories with the title “Dead of Night” and a blurb something like “this collection is in the spirit of the post-war British movie with the same title that was the forerunner of the sort of tales made famous by Alfred Hitchcock.”

So there, within the span of less than a day, I had gone from not remembering the name of the movie to seeing it and seeing a book by that title.

Coincidence enough for me!

I graduated from high school in 1964 in a small town near Seattle. Our graduating class was a bit under 200. In 1974 I was floating around on an air mattress in one of the pools at my very large apartment complex outside Kansas City MO. It wasn’t the pool I would normally frequent, but I decided on a change of scene.

I heard someone come in the gate, and looked up. It was a guy wearing a UW tee shirt. I said hi and that I’d gone to high school in western Washington. He said he had too. I asked where. He’d been in my graduating class.

He was a pilot, staying for 4 hours in a friend’s apartment between flights. He’d never been to KC before.

Man. You be careful what you wish for, OK?

When my son’s father told me he got me a gift on a business trip.

“You got me a Slinky, right?” (I had never asked for nor mentioned a Slinky before.)
“How the f did you know?!”

He even included the receipt to show the date and time of purchase.

My wife and I grew up and went to college in different parts of the country 1000 miles apart. We met while working at a company in yet a third city, nowhere near where either of us had grown up.

At some point while we were dating my wife was invited to the wedding of her college roommate whom I’d never met. At the reception we sit down and I realize the people sitting next to me were my next door neighbors growing up. They were friends of the bride who had grown up one street over from where I had.

OK, I think I may have the most boring, mundane and potentially pointless coincidence story ever. But don’t worry, at least it’s long.

So, if you really have nothing better to do:

Earlier this year, for no particular reason, I decided to take up running. I was in terrible shape, though, and at first I could only get as far as the end of the block. However, I stuck with it, and gradually improved.

Now, some way from my house, along a nice tree-lined street, is a fountain. I figured that this would do nicely as a first goal for me to reach. Oddly, it turned out that the distance there is almost exactly one kilometer from my house - 1.05, according to Google Earth.

(A word of explanation here: Yes, I live in a place where the metric system rules, so distances are usually given in kilometers. Bear with me, it’s important to the story. In any case, a kilometer, often just referred to as a K, is a meaningful distance for runners, and is what the K means in the names of running programs like Couch-to-5K. One kilometer is just over 0.6 miles. 5K, five kilometers, is a common racing distance for beginner runners. That’s about 3.1 miles for you crazy yanks. Anyway, where was I…?)

After several weeks of sweating and panting, I triumphantly reached my goal and ran all the way to the fountain in one go. Hurrah! Great, I could now run as far as an overweight walrus with Parkinson’s (while undoubtedly also resembling one), but why stop there? Further on in the same direction there is a large public park. In the center of this park is another fountain. Distance to get there? Almost exactly one kilometer from the first fountain, at a total distance of 2.07 kilometers from my house, again according to Google Earth.

OK, that is in itself a bit of a cool coincidence, but nothing really creepy so far. In any case, I set this second fountain as my new goal. I kept up my routine of self-inflicted torture, and a couple of weeks later, I managed to drag my fat ass all the way there in one go.

At this point I’d decided that a good goal to aim for as a total running distance would be five kilometers. That’s what the running programs all seem to start at, and it takes about half an hour, which is a good amount of time for me. Yeah, no marathon, but hey, it’d still feel like an accomplishment. This meant that I should go a bit further out, and then I’d want to start heading back. So what I did over the next few days was to hang a right at the second fountain, start going in that direction along a pathway for a while, then turning right again to begin creating a loop back in the general direction of my house.

OK, still following? At this point my route had taken me back out of the park and into an area of office blocks. Right in the middle of this area, but sort of hidden in a cluster of buildings, I came across another fountain. This was totally by surprise, I just turned a corner and, bang, there it was. “Wow”, I thought to myself, “wouldn’t it be just too weird if this fountain was another kilometer from the second one? That can’t be, though…”

Still, it did feel like I had gone about another K. I couldn’t really say for sure, though, but as soon as I had limped back home, I fired up Google Earth, and… yeah, almost on the nose one more kilometer. Total distance now 3.02 K.

Starting to get strange now. Still, I didn’t make too much of it. Coincidences happen, right?

The following days, I kept upping the distance - I wanted my full 5K. As I kept going, still making up the route as I went, what seemed to make the most sense was to create a loop that went back to the first fountain, and then to run the final part as the first K in reverse. So, like a lollipop shape with a big head. I had figured out that this was the most convenient route as I’d been walking that way when going back after running, and, well, it just felt the most natural when I followed my feet.

That is, that *would *be really nice, and then I could get a full 5K… if only the distance between the third fountain and back to the first fountain was also exactly one kilometer… well, it had to be *about *that much, being the final part of the rough loop shape that I’d been making, but still, exactly…?

That would be too weird. Still, I traced it out in Google Earth to see, and now I could hear the Twilight Zone music starting to play: 0.98 kilometers, giving me a total distance of precisely 4 K at the point where I got back to the first fountain.

I suppose you’ve all lost track of the geometry of this now, so here’s a handy map (well, Google Earth screenshot).

As you can see, there’s no grid pattern, or any obvious reason to me why these distances would coincide like that. Even if someone set up the distances between the fountains on purpose, they would still need to know the distance to my house, which doesn’t make sense. Additionally, the paths between points obviously aren’t as the crow flies, they’re just along the route that happens to be the most convenient for my morning jog. No conscious effort was made by me to hit fountains at every K, beyond wanting to go a total of 5K and tracing out a rough lollipop shape.

Also, the one kilometer intervals aren’t exactly a kilometer, just really close, which makes it less spooky, and yet, at the same time, even more spooky, somehow.

There is one factor I’m unsure of, which is the average fountain density of my neighborhood - that is, the chance of running into fountains at the same intervals if I just went in any random direction. I haven’t made any proper effort to investigate this scientifically, but I have lived here for several years, and… well, there aren’t really that many fountains around, as far as I can tell.

Anyway, that’s the story, I guess. Boring? Probably. Still weird to me, though. (And, yeah, I did complete the full 5K. I’ve joined a gym, too! I’ll be an athlete before long…)

My husband’s birthday is the day before mine - thirteen years earlier.

I was driving on a toll road, and when I got near the toll booth, I had a sudden whim to pay for the car behind me, which I never had done before or have since. When I got to the toll booth, the collector told me the car in front of me, had already paid for me, which had never happened before or has since.