“It’s a small world” is a saying for a reason, and these stories of one-in-a-million coincidences from Quora are kinda proving to me that it’s much smaller than we think.
1.“It was summer of 2011. My husband and I were at the beach on the Jersey Shore. My eldest son was on his honeymoon in Hawaii. His shiny new Audi was in New York with my youngest son who with permission took the car to take out his then girlfriend (now wife). Being the gentleman who l raised, he proceeded to walk her to her door. Being the dumbass that his father raised, he left the car open with the keys in the ignition. Well, guess what happened next. Two guys jumped in and stole the shiny new Audi. We get the phone call while at the beach, not a little pissed, because like, what’s gonna happen now? Can’t call the honeymooners because how would that help? Can’t call the insurance company because he left the keys in the ignition. So embarrassing to make the police report, but we did it.”
“Dejected, we decide to come home early to Brooklyn and be miserable. We pack up and make our way back home. It’s, like, an hour ride. A very long hour with two very long faces, we pick up the police report. OK. So you made it this far in the story. You deserve to hear the CRAZY part. We’re on Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn, when at the same time, we see the shiny Audi. Yup, my son’s car. (We knew the plate number.) We’re kind of freaking out at this point. We start following the car. We call the cops. The cops box in the stolen car, and the officer has the audacity to tell me there’s no report! l pull out the police report and wave it in the officer’s face. At the exact moment, the bluetooth connects to the car. The perps get BUSTED.”
2.“At the age of 12, I met a new girl at school who had the same birthday as me. No big deal. Then I found out she was born in the same state, same city, same hospital, same floor, two doors down, and 15 minutes apart from me. We were born in Hawaii, and we met in a tiny unincorporated town in Louisiana.”
3.“My wife and I were living in our first house in Oklahoma City. One day while we were both at work, the city sewer department tore down all the fences in the rear of the houses on our block to replace the sewer main. When we got home from work, we were heartbroken because we had had our young dog in the backyard, and now he was nowhere to be found. We searched the area for days and put up notices but to no avail. We were starting to believe that we would never see our dog again. My wife was so upset she decided to call the city to ‘give them a piece of her mind’ about the lack of notification on the sewer work causing us to lose our dog. So she gets a person on the phone from the city’s Ombudsman Department. My wife explains the situation and tells the person that we loved that dog and had paid good money for him because he was a registered Irish setter.”
“The person asks where we live, and my wife gives our address. The person says, ‘Well that’s amazing. I live about a half mile from you, and there’s been an Irish setter hanging around lately.’ My wife tells me the address, and when I got to the person’s house, there’s our dog. Oklahoma City is a big metropolitan area. Of all the people in the metro area my wife might have got on the phone, our dog happened to be at that person’s house.”
4.“My brother had this happen. He and his family were on a roadtrip, and their car broke down. They were close enough to a gas station to push it there. There was a man there asking for gas money. My brother gave it to him, and the man turned out to be a mechanic and fixed my brother’s car at no charge.”
5.“As an almost 5-year-old, a little boy grabbed my hand in line waiting to see Santa because I was scared (as my mom explained). I was flipping through photo albums about 20 years later, and thought, ‘Gee he looks familiar.’ I was in a relationship with a young man named Chris who looked like he could be that boy; we grew up in the same town. I showed the pic to him and his mom, and sure enough, it was him! Seventeen more years, and two kids later, we’re still going strong!”
6.“I was in a big steakhouse in California about 30 years ago. The waitress, like many Americans, liked our Brit accent and happened to say their head chef was from England. Thought nothing of it because England is quite a big place with a lot of people. About an hour later, as we were finishing up our desserts, the chef came out.”
“The conversation went something like this:
CHEF: I heard your accents and had to come out because you sound like you are from Essex.
ME: Yes, all four of us are. We are from Southend on Sea. (A very famous large Essex town recognized around the UK.)
CHEF: Really. That’s where I’m from. Actually Shoeburyness just outside Southend.
ME: Really! I lived there for 12 years after I was born.
CHEF: Do you know West Road? I ran the Chippy (fish and chip shop) there for 10 years between ’71 and ‘81.
ME: You’ve got to be joking. I used to come in your shop the last Friday of every month with my brother and my parents to get fish and chips. What are the chances of that???”
7.“My parents told me this story. When I was 8 years old living in the UK, my dad took a job opportunity in the USA, and we emigrated. My parents decided to rent out our home in the UK, so before we left, we were showing the house to perspective tenants. One was an American guy. It turns out, he was from the same city in the US that we were about to move to in a few weeks time. They laughed over the coincidence, and the American guy said that his adult daughter is still in the US, and we should look her up when we get there. He gave us her name and that she works in a particular restaurant in the city.”
“Fast-forward a few weeks and fly to the US. We arrive at the airport, tired after flying halfway across the world! We are met at the airport by a representative of my dad’s new company, and he drives us to a hotel. On the way, we stop for some food. It’s late, and there’s not a lot of places still open. The rep says he knows a place that’s open late. Yep, the same place the American tenant’s daughter works at. We end up getting served by her! So we rent out our UK home to a random American guy and move to America and end up meeting the guy’s daughter working half an hour after leaving the airport!”
8.“My wife, then-7-year-old son, and myself were on vacation in Hilton Head, and decided to go out to dinner one night. The dinner table was covered in white paper, and the waitress brought out a set of crayons for my son, telling him he could use the whole table as ‘his canvas.’ My son had brought some toy cars and proceeded to draw out an elaborate set of roads and played happily around the table. An elderly gentleman approached our table and asked if it was OK to give our son a little car. He pulled a Hot Wheels from his inside pocket. We said it was OK, and he offered our son the car, which he happily accepted and added to the table/race-track.”
“I asked him why he randomly had toy cars in his pocket, and he told me he was retired but now worked with a Hilton Head classic car organization as a hobby, and in that function always carried a few cars with him. The gentleman then asked if we were Dutch, to which I replied that I am. He had overheard me speak Dutch with our son, and he said he recognized the language as he had worked for KLM Cargo in their US division for many years. I told him that was a huge coincidence as my grandfather for years was President of KLM’s cargo division. He asked for my family name, and then with great surprise, told me that my grandfather had been his boss throughout his career at KLM! He was now retired (and my grandfather had died many decades ago), but he remembered my grandfather and his trips to the Dutch KLM headquarters fondly.”
9.“My husband and his first wife went from Chicago to New York for a long weekend. As they waited to cross a busy street, they heard two businessmen behind them discuss how they were going to get the better of someone they were doing a deal with in St. Louis. Their ears perked up because his first wife was from St. Louis originally. As they walked along the next street, they were able to hear and identify enough details to realize that these two men were going to trick her uncle by not disclosing certain information. When they got to the hotel, his wife called her uncle, who verified that indeed he was in the middle of doing a deal with these two guys in New York! So no deal happened then! What are the chances?”
10.“About 25 years ago, I decided to buy some art for my house. I ended up finding a gallery in Toronto which did a fair business in resale contemporary art, which can often be picked up at a bargain. One of the pieces I found was a spectacular large painting of a cup, about 60 inches x 60 inches (1.5 m x 1.5 m), done by an artist named Christopher Kier. He did a series of large-format paintings of cup-like figures. What’s cool is that it’s done with encaustic, which is basically painting with liquid wax. Anyhow, this painting hangs on the wall of my breakfast nook, and since the pandemic, that’s where my wife sits when she works from home. The painting is in the background when she is on a video call. About a year ago, she had a call with someone she does not normally talk to, a senior VP in the organization.”
“They had the call, and at the end, he asked her to stay on after the other people left. He said that he noticed the painting in the background. He asked her if it was a Christopher Kier. She was pretty surprised, but said yes, it was. Then he said that he was good friends with the artist, and then said, ‘Look at this.’ He pivoted the camera, and there, hanging on his wall was a Christopher Kier encaustic cup!”
11.“This was probably 15 years ago. A newly married young couple had just moved in across the street from me. Shortly after that, he was deployed overseas. Not long after he was deployed, an older couple moved into the house behind them, and his wife got to know them quite well. After her husband returned, the four of them got together, and after some talking, they came to realize that he was their son! They had given him up for adoption when he was born in California and had just decided to move to Utah some 25 years later. One in a million coincidence, moved to be neighbors with their son!”
12.“My daughter moved into a flat which needed a lot of work. On the first day there, her best friend and her sister came over, and together we ripped up the carpets. Underneath the carpets and underlay, the floor had been lined with old newspapers, and in the hallway was an old local newspaper, and facing us was a photo of the two sisters in a dance competition when they were children!”
13.“Years ago I was in between jobs, so I decided to make the most of it. I started riding a bike just to get in shape. I proceed to make about a 15-mile roundtrip. On one of those trips, I was about three miles from my home, and a pedal came off. I thought I could make it home using just one pedal. Well, that didn’t work. I tried screwing the pedal by hand. That didn’t work. So, I decided to start walking the bike home. I didn’t walk very far when I saw a wrench all mangled in the dirt. (Probably run over by the trucks using the road.) I picked it up, and the business end was a perfect fit for the pedal nut. I tightened the pedal with the wrench and rode off into the sunset.”
14.“Back in 1998, I got my mother-in-law a copy of Pete Hamill’s Snow in August for a Mother’s Day gift. I wrote a little note to her on the fly leaf. Years later, her daughter, my wife, died, and my MIL had to leave her home out of state to go into a long-term care facility. She, herself, died almost 10 years after my wife, in 2016. I was making a dump run to my little town’s transfer station. I stopped into the Put and Take shed to see what treasures my neighbors had decided to part with. There’s a separate shed just for books, and that’s where I headed. After a few minutes, I spotted a copy of Snow in August. It was a bit beat up, but I grabbed it and found my little note to my MIL on the fly leaf.”
15.“This is more than 40 years ago now, but I still tell it. So there I was at university with my girlfriend. She shared a room with a girl called Siobhan. Got chatting. Where are you from, where are your parents from? Manchester. Oh, so are mine. Where in Manchester? Prestwich. Gosh, my father was from Prestwich, too. Where exactly? Canterbury Drive. Wow, Your father must have known mine. He lived on Canterbury Drive, too. So I ring my mum. Did you know [Siobhan’s dad]? Oh yes, he was our best man!”
16.“In a seaside French town, mid-August, height of the tourist season, I lost the key to a bike lock. It was my father-in-law’s bike, and I had borrowed his bike to shop at the other side of town from our vacation cottage. I must have left it in the lock and it fell out on the way home. Uh-oh! He was a RATHER difficult old man, and would be distraught at the loss. So, I said nothing, and the next morning, went in search of it. Walking along the path I had taken, I entered a busy street close to the beach, where hundreds of people strolled or hurried here and there. Suddenly, I spotted a bill on the sidewalk, a 10-euro note. Wow, cool! I leaned down to grab it, and it fluttered away, so I went after it, and again it fluttered away. Hmm, very odd. Then, I heard giggling. I looked up, and lo and behold, two boys were on a balcony with a fishing pole, and the lure was the 10-euro bill. I wagged my finger at them, and as an afterthought, asked if they’d found a key by any chance.”
“’Yeah, we found a key last night right on the sidewalk.’ HUH? I took the stairs to their apartment, and voilà, it was the very key to papa-in-law’s bike lock! In a big town with 50,000 tourists, I happened on the two who had found my key. If that ain’t a coincidence, IDK what is!”
17.“I’ve lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for about 30 years. My wife and I made reservations to stay at a little B&B on East Brother Light station, a tiny island with a lighthouse in the San Francisco Bay, near Richmond, that has a small house that can take about 10 guests. All the guests eat together at a communal dining table. At dinnertime, after the most basic introductions, people were describing where they were from. One guy said he was from New Jersey and Western Massachusetts. I said that I had spent a couple of college summers near Pittsfield, Mass. He asked for details. I told him I was a counselor at YMCA Camp Becket. He started singing the camp theme song, and I joined in. We found out we knew some people in common. He said he’d been a camper one of the years I had been a counselor. He asked me to repeat my name. It turns out I had been his counselor, for four weeks one summer, about 40 years ago!”
18.Finally, “My husband and I were shopping in New Hope, Pennsylvania in 1995. He really wanted a leather duster, but since we were going on vacation soon, we asked if we could put it on layaway. The young man sales clerk looked skeptical but said OK as long as we came back in a month to get it. I don’t think he believed we were actually going on vacation. So we crossed the country on the motorcycle and got to the Yellowstone National Park sign where, of course, we wanted to take pictures. A family was just getting out of a minivan so we went up to them to ask if they would take our picture. Wouldn’t you know it, one of the kids in the van was our sales clerk! I guess he believed us then, LOL!”
Have you ever had a one-in-a-million coincidence? Tell us in the comments below!
Note: Submissions have been edited for length and clarity.