I love a good coincidence story. The kind of story that makes you smile and gasp “No way!”
I recently listened to the podcast, This American Life, where they collected coincidence stories. Throughout the whole episode, I thought, I got you beat. Well actually David’s story would beat any one for those that made the cut. I’ll save it for the end.
When I think back there have been random coincidences like picking up the landline to call my best friend only to hear her already on the line. She dialed me and I picked up even before the phone rang.
Or stories that reveal the world truly feels like a small place. For example, my first day on the job in Edmonton, I met a fellow colleague. I had already met him on a chemical engineering conference in Hamilton 4 years earlier. Or how David’s ex-girlfriend’s roommate in university ended up marrying my high school friend. Or while celebrating my last day at a bar in Edmonton, I ran into a high school friend who was in town for work.
And stories that defy probability and statistics. Like the fact that every women I know who has gotten pregnant while living in Paris, has had a girl (and there are 7 of them). And the two that moved back to the US and then got pregnant with boys. *cue Twilight Zone music*
But wait, it gets better.
I’ve found that the rest of my stories all involve travel and living in another country. Which to me makes it all the more amazing. So in the vein of This American Life storytelling…
Act 1: 2 degrees of separation
I spent 6 months in Australia during my final year of University and I lived in student housing with four other roommates. Fast forward three years later, I’m living in Edmonton and meeting new people. A girl I work with invites me to her book club. I scope out the other members on the Facebook group and come across an American girl living in Edmonton as well. We have two mutual friends in common. Which doesn’t make sense. That second friend we have in common was my roommate from Australia. Turns out this American girl also studied abroad in Australia. She went to Sydney University like I did. She lived in the same student housing. And had the same roommate. Just one year before me.
Act 2: Toronto? No really where are you from?
During my time in Australia I traveled along the east coast, a typical backpacker route. Along the way I met many different people from all over the place. One night while hanging out in someone else’s dorm, I met a Canadian who asked where I was from. I’d always say Toronto. But once you realize you are actually from the same province, you get more specific. This Canadian was also from Mississauga. I thought what are the chances!
So you can imagine my surprise when five years later, I walk into a Crossfit gym in Mississauga. I see a guy that looks very familiar and work up the courage to ask: are you Eric? And did you travel to Australia in 2006. It was him.
Act 3: The expat world In Paris
Since moving to Paris, I’ve had two encounters that truly show how small the world can be. I met a new friend for brunch and she brought along another friend. When I met her I thought, she looked familiar. And she was. We both worked at Petro-Canada in Mississauga just 3 years earlier. She was working in Paris with another company now, the same as my husband’s.
Then during book club, there was a new addition. Another Canadian girl who came to Paris with her husband. So we go through the typical string of questions to find some common ground. We had more than expected. She was from Victoria, BC. That’s cool – same city as my husband’s family. She went to boarding school there. That’s curious. I asked if it was Brentwood by any chance. It was. She knew my sister-in-law through the rowing club during highschool.
Act 4: One in a million chance I’d say
David was sitting in a first year chemical engineering class during his first week. An Indian guy sitting next to him asks “Are you David Small who lived in Oman?”
Many know this story and when I tell it, it always makes me smile because it is so wild. David grew up as an expat child, moving from place to place every few years. One of those places: Muscat, Oman. You can imagine how many people he met and also lost touch with. After high school in Victoria BC, he chose to go to University in Toronto having no prior connection to the city.
This Indian guy, also an expat child, lived in Oman for most of his schooling. He went to David’s 11th birthday. He met David’s grandma when she visited. There are pictures of them together. But shortly after David moved away and they never stayed in contact.
Ten years later and 7000 miles away, he also moved to Toronto having no prior connection to the city. He started the same chemical engineering program at the same university. In the same year as David. And he recognized David during the first week of classes.
With a story like that, you can only become best of friends. He was the best man at our wedding and is of course still in our lives. This time, distance won’t make us lose touch.
Do you have an unbelievable or heart warming story of coincidence? Share below! I’ve love to hear it.