"I once confronted a guy was trying to subtly force a girl that was too inebriated to get into his car. I'd known the guy for years and wasn't surprised. The girl was a friend's sister out visiting, had never met this guy before that night, and didn't speak to him at all until she was full on sloppy wasted.
The guy got mad and cornered me at the bar to threaten me to shut the eff up. I told him that what he was doing was wrong, but the whole time my legs were like jelly and I thought I was going to throw up. I'm not a fighter and I've never even thrown a punch.
Some of my friends saw what was happening and got me away from him. He ended up following me across the bar and grabbing my arm while yelling at me. I pulled my arm away and separated myself from him.
I heard a scuffle and turned back to see him being dragged out of the bar by three of my friends. Turns out he had raised his fist to hit me from behind and they had my back. The girl went home that night with her sister who was oblivious of the whole situation until near the end. For me, it was a very intense and scary experience, I'm just glad she didn't have one as well."
"My family is all redheaded women and my little sister was tiny and beyond adorable as a child. She also had hearing problems and speech delays, and probably ADHD, so she was always off in her own little world. One day, I was out with her and my mom, shopping at TJ Maxx. This was in the early 90s, so I was maybe 10 or so, and she was around 4.
After a while, my mom demanded, 'Where's your sister?' We looked all around and found nothing. This was before stores went into lockdown for lost kids.
All of a sudden, my mom saw a woman walking out the front door of the store with my sister by the hand. My mom shouted, 'Hey lady! That's MY KID!' The woman never even looked down. She just dropped sister's hand and kept walking out the door. I found out much later that redheaded kids are highly prized in trafficking."
"When I was 10, a guy waved down my family's car (full wagon with my parents up front, my two siblings and I in the back, and our dog in the way back) about two blocks from where we lived.
My dad, being a nice guy, pulled over, and the dude walked up to my mom's door. She rolled the window down, and the guy casually reached in and opened the door. He started grabbing my mom to pull her out. When she screamed, 'GO,' my dad floored it.
We blasted out of there and my mom shut the door. In the rearview mirror, we could see the dude jogging after us, holding a weapon.
We sped past our house and drove around for a bit before my parents decided that we had to go home since there was nothing else we could do. Pulling back into our driveway was the most scared I've ever been in my life."
"I fell into a tree well while backcountry skiing 30 years ago. If a member of my group hadn't seen it happen and saved my butt, that would've been it for me. For those who don't know, a tree well is an area of loose snow around the trunk of a tree that's enveloped in deep snow, and they can be very dangerous.
What happened was that I ended up dangling upside down after I fell near the tree and toppled in. It all happened pretty fast. I suspect the fall may have been caused by snow giving way beneath me, which might explain why I fell toward the tree rather than away from it. If that's what happened, then the tree well caused the fall itself, not just the predicament that followed.
I needed to release my bindings to get out. I had enough core strength to get a hand on one, but no leverage to pop it open. There were no other branches within reach that I could use to climb my arms up, so that's how they would've found my body in the spring, presuming nothing else found me first.
I was dangling high enough up that I was clear of the snow, but others aren't as lucky. If you auger head first into the snow and can't get free, you've got a bit of time but then you suffocate. I was a New Englander skiing in conditions we don't get back east. Contrary to popular belief, we do get some powder days, but not as many and not with a ten foot base.
An experienced Westerner wouldn't have skied as close to the tree as I did. I was with a pack of locals who wanted to show me a good time skiing off the back side of a major ski area. Fortunately, our leader hung back and kept on eye on the rest of us. It took him a bit to get to me, but he found me and popped my bindings. We both laughed when I fell headfirst into the snow below, but it was a nervous laugh. We both knew I would've been done for if he hadn't been in the right place at the right time."
"I was grocery shopping on a Friday night, alone, and in passing made eye contact with this 6'4" man in his 60's. There was something in the way he looked at me that put a wrench in my stomach immediately.
I brushed it off, thinking that I was just being stoned and paranoid, and continued shopping. Within five minutes, I realized he was following me. He showed up in four different aisles, and never had anything new in his shopping cart.
In the second or third aisle, I saw him licking his lips with the same sinister look from the first time I saw him. I somehow managed to lose him for a solid 25 minutes and thought there was no way I could run into him again.
I headed to the self-scan checkout line and he was second or third in a line of about 7 shoppers, now including myself. He let every single person that was behind jo, go in front of him. I realized what he was doing as soon as he let the first person go ahead.
I was wide-eyed and my jaw is practically on the ground as all of this happens. He went ahead of me, I was next in line, and by some messed up turn of events, the next self-checkout was the one directly next to him.
With a line of people behind me, I reluctantly walked over and started scanning. I was side-eyeing him the whole time I checked out and he was deliberately taking forever. I checked out as fast as possible, as I saw his card is still being read. As soon as I passed him, I heard his receipt print out and he booked it behind me.
In my head, I was thinking, 'What the heck am I going to do if this actually escalates further than it already has?' Now in the parking lot, I was speedwalking to my car, and what do you know, his car was parked four spaces away from mine, and the spaces in between us were all empty.
He stood there the whole time I put my groceries in my car, doing absolutely nothing but staring at me with this vacant, terrifying look. I felt like I could hear the awful things he was thinking about me. He didn't move. He didn't unlock his car or play with his keys, he just stood there and watched me.
Luckily, the cart return was right next to me, and then I briskly got in my car and peeled the heck out of there. As I was pulling out of my parking space, I looked back in my rearview mirror and he was by his trunk, still not doing a thing with his groceries, looking at my car and smiling. It was one of the most terrifying things I've experienced. People suck sometimes."
"I'm a volunteer teacher at a Chinese university for traditional medicine. About a year ago, I was having dinner with a colleague and meeting his family for the first time. The restaurant we were eating at was actually located on campus, and finals had just finished so the place was filled with would-be doctors, nurses, and other students studying health and medicine.
My colleague's wife was kind and his son a bit hyperactive, but everything seemed to be going fine. But then things went wrong. I hadn't eaten that day so I was exceptionally hungry, and I ate a little faster than I should have. Suddenly, a chunk of pork had lodged itself in the entrance of my windpipe, and I couldn't breathe.
'Okay,' I thought, 'I just need to stay calm and get someone's attention so that they can perform the Heimlich maneuver on me.' So, I put my hands around my neck and tried to show my colleague that I couldn't breathe, dry heaving all the while. I'll never forget the look of confusion on his face as he said, bewildered, 'Is it too spicy?'
Now I started to panic. I jumped up out of my chair, making some noise as several students turned to look at me, and all the while I was giving the supposedly universal sign for choking and looking like I'm about to puke but not making a sound out of my mouth.
The students, with zero comprehension on their faces, turned back to their meals. My colleague was saying things to his wife like, 'Get him a napkin, or some water, it's probably too hot for him.' At this point, I started to realize that nobody in this whole restaurant knew what to do if someone was choking, or could even recognize it happening in front of them.
I realized that I was going to die surrounded by fake doctors and medical students who learned to give people herbs for their back pain and stick needles in their skin but never learned first-aid. I realized I would die in front of this man, his wife, and his son, who all had no idea what was happening and would soon see me pass out and turn blue, and STILL probably do jack to help me.
I didn't want to die. Well, at least not like this! Not surrounded by slack-jawed idiots wearing lab coats and playing doctor. Not choking on a piece of pork right after my semester ended, when it could have been avoided if just one person knew, 'Oh, that guy is choking.'
At this point, it'd been at least 30 seconds since I last took a breath, possibly longer, and the corners of my vision are starting to get blurry. I knelt down onto the ground and tried to block out all other distractions. I began to massage my throat. I thought that I could dislodge it myself. I couldn't rely on anyone else, after all, so I was pretty much out of options (although later I read up on how to perform the Heimlich using the edge of a chair, which I didn't know at the time).
I swallow really hard. The food disappears and I gasped for air. I lived (obviously) but I've never come so close to death in my life. Later, I learned that China generally doesn't really have food safety laws requiring posters to be up in kitchens with the Heimlich maneuver, nor is there much awareness of what choking is despite it killing millions every year. I have a lot less respect for traditional Chinese medicine now."
"Over the summer, I woke up to cops pounding on my door and screaming, 'POLICE, OPEN UP, WE HAVE A SEARCH WARRANT!' I opened the door to two police officers with their weapons drawn and an FBI agent in a huge bulletproof vest taking cover beside the door.
There were three or four other cops, and one other FBI agent hanging out in the yard beside a few cruisers and a giant surveillance van. They threw me up against the wall, patted me down, and told me to sit down outside.
The first agent ran in, making quick tactical turns around the corners and in the rooms with his weapon out. I asked one of the cops what was going on a few times before the words 'Inappropriate Child Material' dropped out of his mouth like an anvil in my gut.
I didn't say anything and I could not comprehend what was really happening. I've been through some stuff in my life, but I've never experienced the level of total bewilderment and unreality that I did when I realized the FBI's Crimes Against Children unit was raiding my house.
Long story short, I cooperated and they took all of my electronics and analyzed them for six weeks. Then the detective called and said my case was closed, that they didn't find anything and I needed to go to the station to get my stuff.
All they know is my IP address was tied to 'hash values' of known CP that was downloaded. I'm fairly sure I was hacked, although the detective did say I could have just destroyed the evidence before they got there. Very cool of him to leave me on that jolly note.
That was last summer and I still have panic attacks if someone knocks on my door. When I order delivery food, I always meet them outside so they don't knock. I just walk out and pretend like I'm grabbing a smoke and it's a coincidence. They don't know I've been standing at my window like a heavy-breathing psychopath with my finger in the blinds for fifteen minutes.
Then about three months after the raid, I mysteriously lost consciousness and woke up in my burning car. I barely made it out. I was in the paper a couple of times and witnesses on Facebook told me what they saw and sent pictures of my car.
They thought I was on fire when I ran out of the car because the flames had totally engulfed my vehicle and I was just a running cloud of smoke. I had first degree burns on my forehead and eyelids, with second degree burns on my left arm and the backs of both legs from the knee to ankle.
I just woke up and realized I'd wrecked into a yield sign, so I opened the door; that was the 2nd degree on my arm. I saw it bubble and slough off, but I didn't feel anything, just thought, 'Oh, that's too hot, better shimmy out the passenger side.' I had to stick my feet out the door and slide across, so my legs spent a few seconds hanging over the fire like a couple of campfire weenies.
It sucked. I started therapy shortly thereafter and she told me it was PTSD. She said there's a part of your brain that is a warning system for danger. Having two nearly life ending things happen, back to back, flipped my danger switch to 'On All The Time, Always.'"
"I woke up around 3 am one night to loud tapping outside my bedroom window (my room was in the basement of our house). I assumed it was raccoons or something trying to get into our neighbor's shed. After listening for a while longer, I managed to fall back asleep.
In the morning, I brought up the noise to my mom, who said she had heard a similar noise coming from that same side of the house, only she got out of bed and went to the living room window to investigate.
What she saw was a man emerging from between our house and our neighbor's place. He stopped in front of our home and took a long look before removing a pair of latex gloves, and then proceeded to walk down our street. I assume he was testing for weak spots or something and luckily didn't manage to make it inside that night."
"I had my ex not only stalk me but also light my car on fire when I was 19. It was the scariest thing ever because he wanted me dead. He even said so in court when he got busted. I had a restraining order but the problem with those is that you can't have anything done until they violate the restraining order, and by then something bad has happened.
And when I say stalk, I don't just mean drive by my house a few times at night (although he did, even though he lived 45 minutes away). He also sent sympathy cards to my mom saying, 'Sorry for the loss of your daughter.'
He watched me sleep from my bedroom window up in a tree (I woke up to him just staring at me). He made multiple attempts to break into my home and left very disturbing 'love' letters for me under my windshield wiper (they'd start off sweet, going on about how he loved me and couldn't be without me, but slowly turned into weird ramblings about how he was gonna beat me to death for doing this to him).
He did some time in jail for it after lighting my car on fire. So stalking plus that charge. I had a brief stay at my local mental ward because of the anxiety it caused me, but I'm alright now. It just took me a long time to trust people and my own judgment again."
"I went to Boy Scout Camp growing up. I was probably around 15 at the time this happened, but I can't really remember. I used to love it but the year this happened, I quit. These events took place over 2-3 nights or so.
Night one, it was probably sometime after midnight when I needed to use the bathroom. Instead of walking to the bathroom hut area, I just went outside of my tent. There was someone standing at the back of my tent, and I'm pretty sure I took a leak on him. He didn't say a word.
I freaked the flip out and zipped myself back up mid-pee. I thought it was really weird. Since I still had to pee, I went out the front of my tent and walked to the stalls. On my way there, I saw people raking around the fire pit. I assumed it was my troop, but it was dark. I said hello to the people tending to the fire, but as I got closer I realized it wasn't anybody that was part of my troop. They didn't say a word to me.
From that point, I basically sprinted to the bathrooms, finished peeing, and speed-walked back to my tent. By the time I got out of the bathrooms, whoever was tending to the fire was gone. This whole event maybe took five minutes; I was baffled. I got in my tent and went to bed.
I asked some of my troop about it the next day -- no one knew a thing. This is where it gets messed up. Later that night, maybe around midnight or so, I heard something thumping up against my tent. I thought it was just small branches falling down from the trees or something. The noise didn't go away though. It was actually getting worse, and the thunks were coming in louder now.
Suddenly, I started seeing rocks and sticks coming into my tent. Someone was actually throwing stuff at me or my troop. I freaked out and woke up my bunkmate, and he saw what was going on, too. We sprinted out of our tent and ran into the troop master's tent. We kind of woke him up in a panic, so he wasn't too pleased.
We started telling him what was going on, and midstory we started hearing more rocks and sticks being thrown at the tent. My troop master was ticked, so he got out of his tent and started screaming into the darkness, telling whoever was listening to cut the crap. This woke up most of my troop mates. A good chunk of us ended up outside in the middle of the campsite, kind of huddled around each other.
From there, the sticks and rocks started coming right at us, all around us. We're all losing our minds, my troop master was screaming, and we were trying to see what's going on with our flashlights, but all we saw was darkness and the campgrounds around us. I panicked and ran into the bathroom stalls.
From there, the noises started getting louder. Like, these people were throwing huge rocks at the bathroom stalls. A bunch of us were just stuck in there for what felt like hours as we were bombarded with whatever these people could throw.
I don't remember if the noise stopped on its own, or if I just made a break for it and ran back into my tent. And I don't remember if I blacked out because I was insanely terrified, or if I just fell asleep on my own. Either way, it was the next day where we reported it to the leaders of the campground. There were some announcements made at lunch and dinner, but nothing came of it.
Later that night, more sticks and rocks were fired into the tent. I just chose to ignore it, and eventually, they stopped. Whoever these people were just wanted to mess with us from afar.
I called my dad the next day and told him that I was done, and wanted him to come pick me up four days early after what had happened. I quit Scouts a month or two later, and we never found out who those people were. To this day, it's still the most terrifying thing that's ever happened to me."
"I was babysitting my little sister one night. We'd recently moved, and this was the first night in the new house without her parents being there (it's my half-sister), so she was a bit scared. To comfort her, I left the light in the hallway on and went in her parents' room to watch TV so she could hear me.
About an hour or so later, I needed to use the bathroom. The door was wide open and makes a lot of noise when you close it. I decided to leave it open so as to not wake up my sister, who was fast asleep. Also, turning on the light would activate the ventilation system, so I decided to make my way with the light from the hallway, which was enough.
I peed, washed my hands, and bent over to take a sip of water from the tap. Now, apparently my sister DID wake up, even though I really tried to be silent. She walked over to the bathroom and stood in the doorway. I only saw her when I got up again...but through the mirror.
Now imagine, you bend over, take a sip of water, get up -- and in the mirror, you see something that wasn't there before. And that something is a little girl: nightgown, teddy bear, long hair, and lit from behind. I'm pretty sure that took ten years off my life."
"About 6 years ago, I was interning for a criminal court judge in Denver between law school semesters. I was cool with another clerk, and we got drinks every once in a while. One night we planned on going to see a late night movie, it was the premiere so I was kind of pumped but I was also super tired.
I headed home and my mom called me and asked what I'm up to. I told her I was going to see the movie and where, but right as I hung up, I was like, 'Meeehhh I'm not feeling that tonight.' So I went home after work and ended up smoking a good bit of not-quite-yet-legal-but-pretty-much-legal Colorado weed and eating a pizza. I told my buddy I was likely out for the movie, and he ended up going regardless.
I decided the next day would be a great day to sleep in, so I decided I would just go into work late and passed out. I wake up the next day at 10:30 am (2 hours after I was supposed to be at work) to literally 200 texts from my parents, and 100+ missed calls from them and various other people.
I was very confused until my tearful and relieved parents informed that the night before, the Dark Knight screening in Aurora, Colorado I was planning on going to had been shot up by a lunatic. It's still surreal thinking about it."
"I was 13 and babysitting two 7 year old boys, and one of the boys found his dad's glock. They proceeded to point it at me and threaten to shoot me, because they found it funny. I still don't know how I talked them into putting the weapon away. I had been babysitting them for a year on Wednesdays. That was the last time I ever did."
"I once blew a tire on I-75 in Georgia while my wife and kids were in the car with me. The car spun around 180° and we were facing a Mack truck for a second before the car swung back around forward and skidded off the road to the left.
Traffic stopped completely and several guys helped push my car to the right shoulder. I don't know how that truck didn't destroy us. We should have died."
"I was driving home late one night when I saw a girl on the side of the road, asking for help. I distinctly remember every nerve in my body suddenly going on edge, and I locked the doors as I drove past (old car had manual locks). But something was telling me that no matter what, I shouldn't stop and help this girl. As I went by her I remember her yelling 'Eff you!'
I felt guilty for not doing anything about it, so the next morning I looked up reports in the area to see if I could find information on her. Turns out a guy got car jacked in the exact same area trying to help a girl in distress.
He pulled over, and a group of people beat him and left him on the side of the road while they took his car. The girl in the report perfectly matched the description of the girl I saw."