Everyone has that little voice inside their head that sometimes tells them that they should do something they hadn't thought of or avoid something they wouldn't have otherwise, only to discover that by doing so, it saved them from terrible pain, or helped them avoid financial problems, or even saved their lives.
We found these 15 incredible stories of people trusting their gut and by doing so, their lives were changed forever. Listen to the voice! It matters! Content has been edited for clarity.
"I used to be a banner tow pilot and was often tasked to fly banners over NYC area, especially over the Hudson River. I would pick them up at an airport in NJ and make my way over from there. Typically, if you were to run into some kind of engine problem, you have a fair number of places you could theoretically land if you had engine trouble. Not so much over the NYC metro area. So I picked out a 'trail of breadcrumbs,' if you will, of specific places I could try to land my plane if I ever had to.
On the one year anniversary of the Miracle on the Hudson and Captain Sullenberger, I was given the job to fly a banner over a boat on the Hudson that would be carrying the crew and some passengers from the flight. On the way there, my engine failed while I was less than 1,000 feet above the ground. Sinking quickly, I needed to find a place to land right away. Fortunately, my best previously selected spot was just to my left, a landfill on Staten Island, and I put the plane right on the top of it.
I had a handle I could pull to cut the banner loose. I was over a packed freeway when it happened, and I didn't want to drop the banner until I had turned away far enough that I felt the banner wouldn't land on traffic, so I waited a few tense moments while losing huge amounts of altitude that thought I could afford. Turned out I was right."
"I saved a receipt from my dentist. They charged me then delayed the procedure I paid for. When I asked for a refund, they changed my entire bill and told me I owed them another $300 when all they actually did was a cleaning and x-rays. I submitted both copies of the invoices to my dental insurance company and told them what happened.
Three weeks later the insurance company, Delta Dental, resolved the issue with the dentist and I got a refund. Despite the dentist attempting to defraud me, they still regularly call me asking me to come back in.
Recently they changed their name and moved a block down the road to try and hide from the plethora of negative reviews on Yelp."
"I'm a Level 3 Rope Access Technician. What that means is I am usually a supervisor on a job where we work at height using rope systems to access hard to reach areas. I do most of the rigging, client interaction and occasionally, if I have inexperienced techs on my crew, I am supposed to babysit/supervise them to make sure they are safe.
We were working in a major NFL stadium on a painting project about 300ft off of the ground. We were using devices called beam sliders which we attach ourselves to and slide across I-Beams. In rope access, we have to maintain two points of contact at all times. A 'working line' and a 'back-up line.' In this scenario, the technician, we will call him Johnny, was attached to the I-Beam by two beam sliders. Some of the beams in this stadium have small gaps on the ends of them that would allow the beam sliders to go right off of the end. I notice, from quite a distance away, that Johnny, one of my less experienced techs, is attaching his set of beam sliders to one of these beams that have the gap on the other end. I get on the radio and tell him that once he gets close to the end to be very careful and stop 10' from the end and throw a sling around a vertical beam near the end as the third point of attachment that would catch him in the event his beam sliders slid off the end of the beam. I watch as he attaches himself to the vertical beam with a sling and he chokes it around meaning, that if it were to be weighted, it would cinch around the beam and hold him in place.
I turn around to start making my way back and I hear the sound of beam sliders clanging together and slamming against steel. I look back and I see Johnny hanging on the single attachment point I told him to put on as a safety. Johnny is frozen in fear hanging there. He fell about 5-6ft before the extra point caught him and he hurt himself pretty bad. I radio down to the ground to have the rescue kit brought up under us. I made my way over to him and attached a second point between him and the beam. I lowered my tag line and pulled up the rescue lines after climbing above him and setting some anchors. After attaching the anchors, I got on the ropes and lowered myself next to him, attached him to myself and hauled him up a foot or so so that I could remove his lines and then lowered us both to the ground.
He wasn't too hurt but he was in shock. He didn't remember what happened. He said he remembered reaching to paint some bolts and then he was hanging in midair.
We called a safety stand down and we had a meeting about what had happened. After completing an incident report and rescue summary, I sent him home. He didn't come back to that job.
Had I not told him to tie off to a third point, he would have been dead. Effectively, I'd also saved my behind from fines or prison as I am responsible for the lives of my crew and can face charges if they die."
"My mother's coworker convinced her to get the best possible insurance when pregnant because this coworker had kids deprived of oxygen at birth. She said she could lower it once the kids were five and seemed healthy. It was a struggle as my parents were both in college and working while raising my brother, so they were looking to cut costs wherever possible.
I ended up being born with a birth defect that required a transplant before 5.
My mother is as furious about this part of the story even today, almost 28 years later. Before the new doctor even told her what was wrong (after rushing me away via ambulance), they asked her if she had insurance. She was able to say, yes, gold star platinum whatever. The idea that it was the first thing out of his mouth when meeting young parents terrified and unaware of anything other than that their baby was so desperately sick that it had been rushed away from them. It was such a lack of empathy and humanity, it still makes her reel. Many kids died, even with the top class care I received, so I surely wouldn't have made it without it.
I'm turning 30 next year.
Thanks, random lady I've never met!"
"I was heading out for a ride in the hills to kill some time and enjoy the sun - I had my helmet, my jacket, my boots, and a pair of jeans and was standing by my bike when I thought, 'I should probably go grab those knee pads. Just to be safe.'
Fast forward about 45 minutes: I hit a patch of sand on a curve and crash. My leg gets dragged through rocks in the roadside ravine with the weight of the bike on top of it and the only real injury I suffer (aside from a broken thumb) is a few cuts and bruises. The knee pads saved me from two things: A probably broken leg and a huge amount of skin loss. The pads extended down over my shins.
I'll be thankful that I stopped and put those on at the last second for a long time."
"Back when I was in a high school, I had a big stencil/street art phase.
One fine day, my friend and I were hanging out, sitting on the couch and talking and we decide to wait until it gets dark and head out to go 'tastefully' stencil some of our designs in hidden parts of the high school, like under benches, hidden alleys, etc. We were always pretty respectful and wouldn't throw a stencil up in an obnoxious/hard to clean place.
While we were sitting on the couch, we saw this dark truck drive by with a bunch of 20-something-year-old dudes in it. They parked at the end of the street, got out, and stared at us in my house. Like for an UNCOMFORTABLE amount of time. I thought it was weird, so before my friend and I left, I wrote down the license plate of the truck in the notes section of my phone and didn't think much more about it besides, 'Eh, just in case something happens.'
About two hours later, my friend and I were done being teenage hooligans and we come back to my normally quiet dead-end street with two police cars in the road with their lights on. My friend and I instantly freaked out and thought we were busted. I walked up to a police officer and nervously asked, 'What's up?' and that's when I noticed my mom's car was completely totaled in front of our house.
The police officer explained there was a collision and they suspected drinking and driving. I whipped out my phone and gave the officer the license plate number I had written down and told him about what had happened earlier. He left the scene right after talking with me and returned to my house no more than an hour later and said they had arrested one of the guys for drink driving and for hit-and-run because they found the dark truck in the driveway with half of the bumper caved in with matching paint from my mom's car.
The police officer said there were no witnesses of the crash or evidence they could have gone off of and that he was absolutely amazed that we came out of nowhere with the lead."
"I've had a handful of these in my life.
The one that popped in my head first was from a party when I was 16. It was in a small farm town about 20-25 minutes from my actual town and everyone was out partying in somebody's parent's barn and having a really good time.
I didn't realize that our DD had been drinking all night. When it was time to go, I couldn't even tell she was tipsy. But something wasn't right so I didn't want to drive back with them... For whatever reason I decided to get the verbal tongue-lashing from my mom when she came to pick me up.
Well, my friends in the first car were apparently veering across the road and got picked up by the cops and all of them got to spend the night in jail.
Glad I opted for my mom."
"After enlisting in the Army, I got a list of everything I had to bring to boot camp. On this list was a padlock.
During 'processing,' the five or so days before the real training starts, recruits are given their military equipment including duffel bags and told to put the things they were supposed to bring with them into the duffel bag. After finally getting everything in I was left with just the padlock. I had no idea what to do with it, but I noticed if I closed my duffel bag in a certain way, I could close the lock on the hook.
When we get to the training unit and off the 'cattle trucks' there are a few hundred drill sergeants yelling and screaming and telling us to line up, which we do, with our duffel bags in front of us. The drill sergeants then check if the bags are locked and if not, they grabbed them at the bottom and whirled them around flinging the entire contents on the ground. Everyone in the entire company had their stuff dumped except for me and one other guy. Only because locking my duffel bag was the only thing I thought of doing since putting it in my pocket was not an option because they were very clear about not having any 'civilian' items in our uniform pockets."
"One day I got a hit in the head while surfing. It turned out to be a concussion and I went to the hospital with my mom. I was 17 at the time.
We met with the doctor in the emergency room and he said, 'It's a concussion. We can do a CT scan if you want, but there is probably no need.'
I was unsure but just said, 'Yeah, I would like a scan.' After the scan, I was told that they didn't see anything but the radiographer would be checking it in the morning.
The next day, I got a call to be told that I needed am MRI and that they found a tumor in my brain. If they didn't catch it then, I would have lost my vision from the tumor and it would have been too late to do anything at that stage."
"I worked for a security company for a while where I drove around in their marked vehicle all night long, 12-14 hours. We had hit sheets where we documented when we stopped somewhere. I compiled and saved all of my hit sheets just in case, who knew when or why I would need them. My company got the original and I got the copy.
One day I was accused of not going to accounts. I asked for the hit sheet but they couldn't provide it to me. So at this point, I'm confused as to why they are saying I am skipping places. So I ask them if I could grab my records. My boss looked confused and worried but said yes. I came back with a giant 3-ring binder with all the copies of my hit sheets and showed them that I did indeed go to the accounts. My director said that the sheets didn't mean anything. I could mark whatever time I wanted to in the sheet. I replied, 'If these don't mean anything, why are you making me fill them out every night?' He had no answer and said he would get back to me with a possible disciplinary action. I walked to my squad and called HR and told them what had just occurred. I then faxed over every hit sheet I had ever done from the time I had started with the company. I had three years worth, many weeks where I worked seven days a week and double shifts on weekends. It amounted to just about 900 hit sheets that I manually had to fax over. I never heard from my director again on this subject.
A year and a half after this, smartphones came about. My company said that they had GPS on the phone and if we were speeding, they would get an alert and we would be written up for it. I hated this. If I did the speed limit all night, I would never get to all of my accounts. I would go 5-10 over all night. So I did the speed limit until I figured out I could forward calls from my work phone to my personal phone. Then I turned my work phone on, forwarded the calls and put it in my desk drawer, plugged in. One night, I got a phone call from my director saying I was speeding. When asked where and how fast, he said 15 over on the highway in front of our office. That's when I knew there wasn't a GPS app that was tracking us.
1, I didn't have the phone on me
2. That road was under heavy, heavy construction and doing 10mph on that road during rush hour was going fast.
I told him if he was going to write me up, I wanted to see the alert that he got and would like the app inspected to make sure it was accurate and see that paperwork as well.
Once again, I was never written up and soon left that company."
"I'm in the military and for that reason, I obviously cannot possess, use, or sell any illegal substance whatsoever.
While I was at basic training, I let my brother, who is an avid weed smoker, use my car so he could keep it running and take care of it. When I finally came home on leave for the first time in a while, he gave the car back to me like normal, and I specifically asked him if there was any weed and/or paraphernalia in the car. He said no and I got in the car to leave, while still in the driveway, I was kind of paranoid and figured I'd search my own car and sure enough, my stupid brother left a wax pen in the driver's side door.
Thank god I found it and returned it (cursing him out the whole time) because not only is wax a felony charge, but it would've ruined my career if I had gotten caught with it being pulled over or whatever. So yeah, I'm always trying to be safe."
"About 11 years back, I was in the military and stationed overseas. Not a combat zone but a nice duty station. I was a mechanic in our unit who was attached to another company in the battalion. A few other mechanics and I maintained their vehicles.
Well, this company had some mighty big trailers that had these stabilizer legs that lowered down by a hydraulic fastener. There was an upper arm, a lower arm, and the vertical arm with a large foot on the end of it. The arms are held together with pins. Also, these arms weigh about 600-800 lbs each.
We were replacing the vertical arm and had to lift the upper arm to be able to move the lower arm and put the lower pin through it. I wanted to use the crane on the HEMTT wrecker to support the upper arm while we worked, but some higher ranking idiot decided it would take too long and told us not to.
Cut to my good buddy holding the upper arm back and up on the trailer and me moving the lower arm up to place in the pin. I am bent down while attempting to line up the lower leg and place the pin in. I hear a 'Look Out!' and do not have time to react as the upper arm comes down from near vertical and catches me on the side of the head. It splits my scalp open and knocks me to the ground.
Blood is everywhere as head wounds bleed like a stuck pig. But I am alive. Several staples later and I would be fine. All the supervisor got was a talking to. Moral of the story: always do things the right way even if it takes an extra five minutes. Listen to that little voice. If my head had been one inch further inward, my skull would have been popped like a watermelon."
"I was skateboarding with my two friends.
We were just messing around in this parking lot and I was gonna do a board slide on this little metal structure. As I'm starting to go, my friend, David, literally pulls me back and goes, 'Hold on, hold on. Just to be safe...' and then pulls out this longish metal rod that was sticking out the other end of this metal thing I was about to try grinding on.
I didn't even notice it because it was stuck in about 5 feet back from where I was attempting to skate. So I go up to it. I ollie. I turn, and my skateboard is dead center, just like I planned. But I messed up because I'm leaning back, so the board immediately kicks out from under me, I go flying backward through the air. Straight back. I end up falling right in the middle of this metal thing I was trying to boardslide on. I didn't get hurt. at all.
However, I looked over at my friends and all of us had our mouths agape... Because all of us knew right then that had David not took out that metal rod, I would have fallen directly onto it with a lot of force. It would have gone right into the back of my head, right at the top of my spine.
Saved my life, and saved themselves possibly years of therapy having witnessed such a brutal accident."
"I had originally booked a rental car for a trip to Iceland using my credit card points. Two days before, I canceled and booked it with my credit card which provides rental vehicle coverage because it looked like the weather wasn't going to be great while we were there and I wanted the extra protection. I waived all coverage from the rental company to get the credit card coverage so there was no excess limit.
While there, we got into an accident for which we were not at fault. We were only there six days and I was told the police take awhile to process fault in an accident. The rental company said they would refund my money if the police sided with me and the company was able to go after the other driver's insurance, but the rental company completely ghosted me and refused to communicate after I left the country. I assume so they could get paid twice
The car was almost a total loss and I had to pay $12k+ out of pocket to the company. It took a few months and a ton of paperwork, but the credit card company refunded all of it. I still think about how so so lucky it was that I changed the booking. I would have been ruined for a very long time otherwise.
The company was Orange Car Rental."
"I was going on a road trip. We packed everything in the trunk. Then I realized that I forgot to check the air in the spare tire.
Faced with unpacking the and repacking, I thought, 'What are the odds? We've had the car for years, never had a flat, we probably won't have a flat now.'
Then I thought, 'forget that,' and tossed the floor pump I use for my bicycle into the trunk, 'just in case.'
Got a flat in the middle of freaking nowhere. Spare was too flat to drive on. Floor pump saved my behind. It gets packed on every trip now."