People From Around The World Share Their Fight-Or-Flight Stories

People From Around The World Share Their Fight-Or-Flight Stories

Most of us will, at least once or twice in our lives, find ourselves in dangerous situations. The details may vary: the cause of the danger, what exactly is at risk, but what always holds true is the hope that we will come through unscathed. Many times, bad things do happen, but we can often be grateful that the worst possible thing did not.

If you are very lucky, you may never find yourself in a seriously dangerous situation, but most of us don't have luck that good. Shared here are some stories from people who have found themselves face-to-face with imminent and grave danger and have chosen to share their tales. Hopefully, we can all learn from them and avoid finding ourselves in the same situations.


42. Fight AND Flight

A friend and I were walking down a road after a party in the middle of the summer. We hadn't eaten and we'd had a little too much to drink. It wasn't that late, around 11 PM, and it had just started to get dark. Now nobody suspects someone in the middle of a city when there is still light shining to pull a knife and try to rob you.

When this dude jumped around the corner holding a knife my first reaction was flight. Screw this, I'm out. My friend had the exact opposite response. Fight. He grabbed a loose brick and started shouting at the dude. Suddenly I realized I was running but my friend was still a meter or 7 behind me screaming. He realized I had run and started to get anxious.

I don't leave friends behind, so I started running back at the dude, but my friend thought well if he's running I am as well. He started running and I started running back to back him up (who brings a brick to a knife fight anyway?).

Surely I would have noticed he was running toward me? WELL NO. Now I was alone and he was running. I remember the robber looking very very confused. Then I started running back. It was a very weird situation and I don't recall as much since we were pretty wasted. But the adrenaline rush was fantastic.

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41. You Can't Fight When You're Frozen

My two friends and I were walking home from a bar to my place which is only 3 blocks away. A woman came flying around the corner in her car. She never made a full stop and turned left just as we were crossing the street.

I always thought myself to be more of a fight person, but I became frozen as I saw the car coming. The car crashed into my friend and he flew 10 feet in the air but only got a minor scratch. The woman driving made a run for it.

It has always bothered me ever since that I didn't react and simply froze. It haunts me to this day that something could have happened and I never acted. I just froze up.

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40. Harrowing Harrier

Ever seen and heard a Harrier jet up close? They're ungodly loud.

I was at an air show where a NASA Harrier was hovering, just floating right over the fence. Suddenly I got this weird feeling of terror expanding from the pit of my stomach and becoming stronger.

What in the world is this, I wondered? I love airplanes, and as a former military aviator, I'm perfectly at home walking across an active flight line.

Then it hit me: the plane was so loud that the noise had short-circuited my rational faculties and triggered my fight-or-flight response.

The moment I realized that, the feeling went away. Not instantaneously, as though a switch had been flipped, but in a rapid fade, like turning a dimmer switch. I enjoyed the rest of the performance with no further problem.

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39. Took My Sandals Right Off

After my freshman year in college, I was fording a river on a solo hiking trip that seemed only 2 feet at its deepest point. Nope! Halfway across I'm waist deep and the current is so strong that It knocks my hiking sandals clean off my feet and the only thing stopping me from being flown down the river was my hiking stick and both feet firmly planted against the current. I knew that if I tried to turn around I'd be swept away and if I took a step forward I'd have the same outcome. Had that self chuckle “holy smokes” moment... But then decided to take off my pack and throw it as far as I could towards the bank and make a go at it. Threw it, missed the bank, jumped... Ended up finally grabbing onto the rocky bank 100 meters downriver after a sickening battle with the rapids.



38. The (Not So Great) Escape

My friends and I climbed a 10-foot barbed wire fence to get into an "abandoned" construction site. A truck came and everyone scattered and I jumped in the bushes to hide. The truck parked right in front of me and stayed there for a while.

I got scared and thought he’d find me, so I left the bush and made a break for the fence. I jumped too close to the top of the fence and climbed over as quickly as I could (cutting my hands in the process) and dropped straight down the other side and ran as fast as I could through 10 meters of nettles bushes.

I felt absolutely no pain until about 20 minutes later when I had to get off my bike because I couldn’t hold the handlebars because of the cuts and felt excruciating pain on my legs because of the nettles. Moral of the story: don’t hide, escape.

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37. Man Vs. Car

My fight or flight is broken, man. I'm incapable of flight. So I'm in a parking lot, and this old dude smashes the gas instead of the brakes. I don't jump out of the way or run faster. Nope. My insane adrenaline-rushed brain says I should get ready to FIGHT THE CAR. I grab the cart and prepare to ram the guy. Luckily he slams the brakes after realizing his mistake and stops a few inches from me. He looks panicked and apologetic, and I probably look like a cornered cat.

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36. Just Knew They Were Up To No Good

I was about 12 years old walking my dog down a street in my neighborhood next to the bay. It was a beautiful place to go for a walk and a little secluded. One of the houses I passed had 3 men outside. They kept eyeing me up as a walked passed. I didn’t think anything of it.

Ten mins later and further down the road, a red SUV pulled up right next to me about 5 feet away. There were 3 men inside. I heard the doors unlock and the hair on my dog's back stood straight up. I immediately ran with a dog back home as fast as we could. Scariest moment of my life.

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35. Almost Lost My Life On A Snacks Run

I lived in Rochester for university. Terrible snowy winters. Driving through an intersection in a 95 Lebaron. Lost all control/traction. Just spinning in circles through traffic. My friend and I just laughed as he said, "You ready?" Meaning "Are you prepared for the end?" Responded with "Haha I'm with you." It was the complete lack of control in the situation, where everything was up to the universe, fate, chance, etc. Where you just sit back and let it play out. Didn't even turn the music down.

Needless to say, we eventually missed all the cars and several poles and came to a stop in an empty mall parking lot. No harm and kept going.

We were going to get snacks.


34. Playing The Good Samaritan

A girl grabbed me from a bar and said she needed an ambulance because her friend had OD'd. I followed her and started phoning an ambulance, she led me into an abandoned building. All that was going through my mind was "someone needs help." When she led me to some stairs and said we need to go up them, my brain finally kicked in and realized it could easily be a trap. Even if it wasn't I was about to walk into a sketchy den and was far enough into the building where escape wasn't easy.

Luckily my friend had followed us in and appeared. So I phoned the ambulance and we left.


33. Sheep Puts You To Sleep

When I was playfully pushing a sheep and he pushed forward. Next thing I know I am against a wall, sheep head on my chest and 5 seconds later I realize he is too strong for me. I literally thought I was done for right there.



32. New Driver Terror

There was this time on a school bus, we had a new driver.

The area is pretty hilly, and in this route, had this steep 50-foot drop off where the bus turned around with a 3 point turn.

But the bus driver kept backing up. Closer and closer, we almost went off the cliff. I'm sure that if we measured, it was within a foot.

I started looking at exits, how fast I could run to the front or the side exit. Man, we were all screaming in terror. Good times.


31. I Won't Go Alone!

I took an out of bounds ski trail that looked fun (by myself because intelligence is my strong suit). Came upon a tall cliff with a flat landing that I knew I couldn't make on skis but I had come too far to hike back to the main path. Took my skis off, tossed them over and climbed down. Hurt my legs, but nothing serious. Continued on. Several minutes later came upon a sign pointing towards a 20km bike trail ending God knows where. It was around that time I realized I could end up lost in the backcountry of a ski resort with no cell reception. Decided to hike in the opposite direction the sign was pointing since it was uphill and seemed more likely to take me back to the main trail. After several whispered swears and a good half hour of hiking uphill (and across a sketchy looking wooden bridge) through deep snow in ski boots holding my skis, I arrived at a populated ski run. I now make sure to have someone with me for all backcountry related adventures. That way if I mess up, I can bring them down with me.


30. Almost Swept Into A Minefield

I was doing aid work in Croatia in the late 90s, only a few years after the war had ended. Our group was staying in a small village about an hour outside Zagreb which had been caught up in the conflict; lots of shelled houses, mines in the countryside, even the main bridge had been blown up so residents had to use an army makeshift bridge if they wanted to cross the river.

We'd made friends with the locals and they took us down to the river where we had a fun time swimming and mucking about. I totally underestimated the river current and my ability to swim. So I start trying to cross the river and the current just picks me up - whoosh - and suddenly I'm on my butt, trying to swim against it. No deal. When I realize this I started trying to get footing but I'm being swept downstream and my feet are literally hitting rocks, no grip at all.

It seemed like forever (but was probably about 5-10 seconds) when I hit a shallow calm patch of the river where I could stand up. When the guys came over they were telling me it was no big deal but had I been swept a little bit further downstream I would've hit a heavily mined area and probably been blown to bits. I metaphorically peed myself. That's the closest I've come to losing my life. Really messed me up.


29. An Innocent Danger

I worked as an animator in a hotel. During the season the Mini Club (daycare) is filled with kids, but postseason there is not even one kid in the hotel. So postseason one older lady and one middle-aged guy entered the empty daycare. The lady quickly explained to me that this guy is her handicapped son who is mentally around 3-4 years old. He saw the daycare and really wanted to play there. Usually, I wouldn't accept but there were no kids around so I was actually happy that I'd be occupied for a while. He was really endearing and we often watched Mickey Mouse DVDs since he was a big fan. After a few days of me hanging out with him, his mother came to pick him up and asking me how was he. I replied that he was nice as always, to which she replied "Good, because he can get very violent and aggressive sometimes." It sent chills down my spine realizing that I was lucky but that also he'd be coming to the Mini Club for the rest of their vacation. So there I was, day after day playing with this dude twice as big as me completely alone, doing everything he wanted and being more than careful just that he doesn't get mad.


28. Panic Is Dangerous Enough Alone

My girlfriend and I were in London on Black Friday last December. We were walking towards the tube on Oxford Street when in a split second the mass of people walking in front of us started screaming, shouting and running. Then it just went nuts, there was like a wave of panic as hundreds of people sprinted off everywhere, running all over the place, into the road, into the shops, down the street etc. There was a cacophony of guttural screaming and crying. I just can't describe the feeling. My stomach just dropped, my first thought was to grab my girlfriend's hand and run indoors into the nearest shop and get off the street. There were so many people crying and shouting they'd heard an explosion, or shots, it was just total despair and a feeling I'll never forget. But then it got worse.

We ended up locked down in the underground floor of an M&S, with hundreds of others cramped together like refugees huddled away. There was no room to breathe, people were asking me what was happening and I could barely even respond, I was in full survival mode, all I could focus on was holding my girlfriend and trying to calm her down. Then it happened again, a second wave of panic blew across the room. I could almost see the panic spread. The instant thought I had was this is it, this is actually it. This wave, however, was so much worse because there was nowhere to run and nothing to hide behind. People started trampling over each other, scrambling desperately just to get away from whatever it was. One poor woman had fallen down and just couldn't get up while the masses stampeded over her (Props to the guy who yelled for people to help her up in the panic, he was an actual saint).

Ultimately, it turned out to be nothing but a scare. But even to this day, I have nightmares about it. I can't describe how it felt knowing there was an extremely real chance we would never see the outside of that room again.


27. Waiting To Be Robbed

I and my good friend (both German) were traveling with an Interrail ticket through Europe. In Serbia, we were on a train which was going really slow and stopping at every really little town/village. For some reason, the train got shorter and shorter every other station because they were uncoupling a wagon here and there. So everyone moved to the first two wagons because they were most likely to arrive at the final destination. I and my friend had already been in the second first wagon in a closed cabin where there's a bench on the left and the right. We were both sitting on the left when suddenly things went intense. Three obviously wasted men came in that cabin. At first, they only asked for a cigarette, which we gave them. But after a few minutes, they started discussing more and more intensely. I could feel that they were talking about us. So I asked my friend (whose father is Serbian) if he could understand them. He was pretty serious at that moment and told me that two of them wanted to rob us now and one wanted to wait until after the train ride. My friend gave me continuous updates about what they were saying. They were guessing how much money we might have and still discussing when to do the robbery. Their discussion heated up at one point and then stopped completely. I was wondering what happened and then suddenly it went all black. We were in the Tunnel. I was totally flexed and expected to get beaten up. They were only talking like 3 sentences. I asked my friend: Are they gonna do it now? He said: I'm not sure. After what felt like ten but probably was 2 minutes the light came back and I was sitting there like Jackie Chan on my bench, prepared to fight back in the dark. They knew now that we kind of knew. They decided to follow us at our destination. So we could kind of chill during the ride. At our destination, we just sprinted into the next taxi and told him to go to the next city as fast as possible.



26. Dangerous Rains

Calling an Uber in Houston right in the middle of a downpour. As a Brit who was staying there for work, I was only vaguely aware of the dangers of flash flooding and being from a country with no real inclement weather, I obviously didn't take it as seriously as I should have.

As Texas natives will no doubt confirm when it rains it rains HARD. At least it did that morning. I remember trying to call an Uber on the app, and a few drivers in a row canceled on me. But I was going home from a friend's house, so I didn't really have much choice and just persisted in requesting a driver. The driver who eventually did show up was a friendly Nigerian fellow who probably also didn't really consider how dangerous it was. In the short (as in, 4-second) journey from the front door to the cab, I got so soaked it looked like I had been thrown in a lake.

We were both chuckling like "Haha, look at all this rain" until it got so bad that we literally couldn't see one yard in front of the car. By this point, we were on the freeway and basically trapped, and then we both started getting alerts on the Uber app that we were in a "danger zone" and to vacate immediately. Then we saw the water rising on the side of the freeway, and cars starting to lose control.

That's when both of our smiles dropped and it was like "Yeah, people lose their lives in these conditions. We both might not be going home today."

It probably sounds silly to people who have to deal with that all the time, but that was the only time in my life I have experienced the genuine fear of "there's a very real danger that I could either drown or be sleeping in a community centre this evening."

Eventually, he did get me home and I've never been so grateful. He got a pretty big tip from me. And a hug.


25. Broke All Three Rules

When I was in school and did my psych rotation, the first thing we were told was never to split up from our partner so just in case of a dangerous situation with a patient, we would have a second person there to help.

I went to do an assessment on a patient, he seemed perfectly normal, and my partner judged that now would be a good time to use the restroom. The patient and I are having a pleasant as can be conversation, he asks me to look at his drawings which he hung up proudly on the wall. I oblige, I like art as much as the next gal. I look, they're plenty nice. And then I turn around and find that the second thing we were told never to do, which is to let the patient get between us and the doorway, has happened. And he was not seeming so friendly anymore, which is when I thought to myself, "Well darn it I'm in a pickle now."

This man is telling me how he has to get out of here, I have to help him, and all of I don't even hear what at this point because I'm realizing how potentially in trouble I am. But then I realized that I had also done the third thing which we were told never to do, which was to keep our cell phones on us on the floor. I was just hoping at this point that I could keep this guy talking a little while I call my preceptor to save my dumb butt.

My friend was at the same clinical site the following semester and the preceptor used that as a cautionary tale to emphasize the first two rules and get rid of the third one.


24. Into The Deep End

At my best friend's going away party, more inebriated than I've ever been before or since, I was barely able to stand when the bros collectively decided to pick me up and throw me in the pool. All I could do was grab a nearby screen door with one white-knuckled hand.

The host was a big, burly musclehead who'd just made Sergeant. Stopped them and told them they were idiots, I was too inebriated to swim.

Then I blacked out.


23. Yeah, I'm Fine

I swam from a beach out to a buoy, not even that far - maybe 200m from the beach. I am a strong swimmer, so thought I'd manage it easily. Something about the cold water and current... I was really struggling coming back even with trying to swim horizontally to the beach etc. Went all light headed and felt really tired, then just started thinking that this was it, I was going to drown and how stupid it was of me. Floated there for a bit laughed to myself like a maniac about how stupid I was dying like this. Eventually snapped out of it and started swimming again, ended up crawling back onto the beach. My partner asked how the sea was and I just croaked "Fine."


22. Hanging In There

Me and my friend were scaling a cliff. He wanted to go around which would take about an hour, I said we could climb it. Fast forward 10 minutes and I’m hanging off a cliff 30 feet tall and hanging on for dear life with two hands. I found the situation quite funny. I was so confident in my ability to climb it, and I lost my footing just as I got to the top. I was holding onto the rock for what felt like forever (most likely less than 2 minutes) until he managed to climb up and pull my butt up there.


21. Locks Are Good

Was on a school trip to Austria (skiing), when a guy who didn't like me and repeatedly picked on me came into my room with all his mates and pushed me to a window. I thought it was just a joke until he put a knife to my throat. I instantly stopped laughing. He stared at me for a good 30 seconds and walked out of my room which didn't have a lock on the door. Didn't sleep that night.



20. Blind And Carrying Explosives

I'm part of a tank crew, and that day I was the designated loader for the cannon. We were doing live fire exercises and as we fired, one of the gas-extractor seals blew up. What this is basically is a circular rubber ring around the gas tube of the cannon (if you look up a Leopard A2 tank, it's the thick tube at the base of the cannon) that acts as a seal to prevent smoke backlash into the crew compartment, and instead vents it outside. This led the sealed crew compartment to fill up with smoke and the acrid smell of cordite and essentially blind us all.

So here I am, a 25kg High-EX shell in my arms that you don't want to drop on the floor, blinded and winded by smoke, thinking "Well, this is how I go apparently." Managed to fumble around, slot the shell back into the carry tray as well as engage the co-ax machine fan (it's mounted under the ejection port, and pulls the smoke outwards when turned on) and open the top hatch to let it cycle out.


19. Am I Invisible?

Was watching Archer on my laptop in college, had my headphones on and in the episode, there was an alarm going off. After about 3 episodes I finally realized "Hey wait why can I still hear the alarm?" I look up and just see the end of the corridor I was in completely engulfed in fire and it was coming at me fast. The best part was like 40 people just walked by me after the alarm started and let me sit there, nobody even bothered to warn me.


18. Cows Are Not Always Friends

Friend's stag party. Ended with us camping out in the desert. I woke up to mooing and a cow with two much smaller baby cows near our campsite. Having had interaction with cows before I thought I could just walk up and start petting. As I'm walking towards the cows, I realize a few things:

We aren't near a farm or anything, these are likely some "wild" cows whose ancestors escaped domestication a while ago.

And more importantly, cows, even female cows, have horns.

As soon as I was maybe 30-40 feet from the cows, she lowered her head at me like a bull does right before they charge. I'm sure her motherly instinct was kicking in or something, I just turned around and laughed at how stupid I was just about to be, thinking I could walk up to a wild horned animal, and just like, pet it. As soon as I backed off she and the little baby cows just wandered off and continued eating whatever they could find in the desert.


17. On The Roof Of An Explosive

I was VP of Engineering for a company that made flavorings, so on any given day, we had 50,000 gallons or more of denatured liquid stored in process tanks in the manufacturing areas. This was a Class I, Div 1, environment, meaning strict explosion-proof wiring devices, sophisticated fresh air controls etc. I had strict rules requiring work permits for anything that had to be done in those areas that might produce a flame or spark. Two supervisors working under me in charge of all those details.

One Saturday morning I showed at work to pick up some stuff I had left in my office. We had hired a contractor to cut a new access hatch into the roof to install a new explosion hatch for some machinery. The whole system of fire protection controls broke down that day, as no one issued a hot work permit, no one checked on the contractor before they started work on the roof to ensure they had a fire watch team, in fact, no one from my Engineering Department was even on the roof with them.

As I entered the building through the Maintenance area, I saw smoke billowing into the plant from the newly cut opening. I grabbed a mechanic and told him to call the fire department, and I then proceeded to climb up to the roof on an access ladder in the shop. On the roof were four contractors frantically trying to put out a very small but growing roof insulation fire. They were trying to do it with standing rainwater and coffee cups. I could hear the fire engines coming, but the smoke had gotten so thick I couldn't go back down the ladder, so I did the only thing I could. I grab another coffee cup started frantically filling it with rainwater, and I thought, "Madpainter, you are standing on a roof that is on fire, over top of 50,000 gallons of highly flammable material. You need a new job." I got a new job, but not before I terminated the supervisor who let that work be done without all the permits in place.


16. A Girl Alone In The Dark

To put a long story short, when I was 16 I severely misinterpreted how long a hiking trail was. I discovered it a couple of hours before sunset, I had never hiked it before so I glanced at the map at the trailhead before setting off. It was essentially a loop with a slash through it so I wasn't too worried about getting lost.

I hiked it for an hour or so, I reached what I thought was the halfway point and sat for a while. When I got up, I decided to hike the rest of the loop instead of going back the way I came. Bad idea, the sun was almost down at this point and I had to start using my phone as a flashlight. Then I realize that I'm at 15%. At that point the reality set in that I was a 16-year-old girl alone in the woods, no one knew where I was, and I'm about to lose my only light source. As I continue hiking the loop I start to realize that it's much longer than I initially thought. I started to get frantic and ended up turning around, at this point my phone dies and I start thinking to myself, "If something happens to me here they won't find me for days."

The rest of the story is essentially just me being terrified in the woods but I did eventually make it back to my car unscathed. Moral of the story: don't be an extreme idiot and read the trail maps thoroughly if you're gonna go hiking right before sunset. Also charge your stupid phone.


15. Pork Monsters!

Hunted Wild Boar (razorbacks) in Australia.

Since I was a teenager (14) they wouldn't give me a weapon. They set a line of the teenagers up with long poles and what looked like metal trashcan lids to bang and make noise in a line abreast formation.

We stomp forward, pigs run the other way toward the hunters with the theory.

Occasionally, a male (the ones with the horns) will have enough testosterone stored to charge at us. That's when we're supposed to take the pole and push them away. Yeah. 14-year-old-dumb-butt-me dressed in a leather apron is gonna push this 400 lb pissed off pork monster off me with a stick.


14. Flipped Off The Wrong People

On a road trip going through a town at about midnight. Some car behind us beeped us because we didn’t take off the millisecond the light turned green, so we flipped them off. Bad idea. Two sketchy fellows in that car, one on the passenger side window hangs out the window screaming profanities at us. We stop at the next red light and he jumps out of his car and starts ambling towards ours. My mate is driving and starts reversing his car so we can drive away. Turns out the no-teeth sketchy gents had a large metal pole concealed against his leg. He gets one heavy hit against the car before my friend steers away and drives off. They followed us for a bit until they lost interest.


13. The Lesser Tumble

I was rollerblading and fell down this hill. It was a maybe 60-yard path with a button hook ending. I didn’t notice that at the end of the button hook were two large boulders, maybe four feet high and just as wide with sharp edges. Got to about 30mph before I realized there was no way I was stopping. I remember chuckling and saying, “This might hurt.” Made a game-time decision before I picked up any more speed and threw myself on the side of the path. Ended up rolling well past the boulders maybe another 20 yards or so. Luckily it was the dead of night and the hill was grassy and well maintained. Also, the dew helped a lot. Honestly felt like a slip and slide. I remember feeling as though I teleported. One second I was on my skates the next I was laying on my back at the bottom of a hill. Patted myself down and I was totally fine, wet, but fine.


12. Bottom Of A Stampede

I went to an Amon Amarth concert inebriated, fell in the mosh pit, and nobody helped me up. I was essentially Mufasa in the Wildebeest pit for the entire duration of that song. Nobody stopped, the pit just kept going on around me.


11. Almost Tainted

When I was called in at 1 AM to deal with an inebriated client. I worked in substance addiction. The police told me (girl half their size) that she was placed on a 96-hour hold and had been masked because she was biting and spitting. Okay, whatever, not the first time I'm dealing with this. I have to have her sign paperwork and she's bled all over. Whatever. I mask and glove up because blood is gross. And I'm not stupid. She's screaming and spitting into this mask when big cop has to leave to answer another call. The smaller cop (still bigger than me) says that he's sorry for all the trouble and blah blah, small talk as we wait for her latest screaming match to end. She jumps up out of her chair and lunges at me. I laugh out of terror and surprise because this inebriated, masked, handcuffed, hobbled woman just lunged at me. She bites her tongue when she misses me and smashes her face into the table. Whatever, again I'm trained to deal with this. That sobered her up so she's calm but blood is streaming behind the mask. THIS NEWBIE COP TAKES THE MASK OFF OF THIS SPITING PERSON AS I'M READING THAT SHE HAS A BLOOD DISEASE! IT WAS ON THE LAST PAGE OF THIS PACKET OF INFORMATION ON THE CLIENT AND WHY SHE'S BEING HELD ON A 96HH! NO ONE EVEN TOLD ME OR HIM! THE OTHER COP KNEW AND SAID NOTHING. Luckily, she was pretty sober and chill and apologized. I had to sterilize an entire building floor because of the blood. By myself. At 1 AM. Laughing like a crazy person because apparently, no one knows heck all about telling other people that someone who is ACTIVELY SPITTING AFTER BITING THEMSELVES TO THE POINT OF DRAWING BLOOD that they have a CONTAGIOUS BLOOD DISEASE.


10. When The Woods Go Quiet

Fly fishing in Canada and noticed that the forest had suddenly got very, very quiet. I was was with another lad who had been kneeling down eating lunch while I fished. I turned around to move upriver and saw cougar sitting on a rise behind us in the forest. I screamed and started trying to act as big and scary as I could while being the most afraid I have ever been in my life. It all happened in a split second but I remember feeling absolutely helpless knowing I couldn’t reason with this wild animal. The thing gracefully just jumps into the thick of the forest not making a sound.

We were a couple hours in and had to walk out which was the most terrifying 2 hours of my life. We did it back to back shouting at anything that moved just knowing we were being watched.

I rang Parks Canada when we got back into reception range and the lady just said, "You’re lucky. I’ve never heard of someone seeing a cougar before it attacked."


9. Do You Have A Stove?

I was sitting in a Tram in Amsterdam and a clearly inebriated guy sat next to me and started talking to me in a quite intense way. In a few minutes, he managed to regale me most of his life story, including years of imprisonment on separate occasions for violent crimes. He showed me a plastic bag that contained six or seven pork chops he informed me in a hushed voice he stole from a supermarket. He was looking forward to eating them but had no stove at his place. Did I have a stove? He knew exactly how to cook them, he wanted to share them with me.

The only thing I could think of to do to stop this potentially dangerous and very insistent sketchy gent from following me home was to quickly jump out at a stop just before the doors closed, shouting back I needed to get something here. I heard him say "Wait for me," but I walked out without looking back, quickly walking past the back of the tram and heading to a canal. I quickly looked back while I was half-running forward and saw the guy looking around at the stop, confused, unsteady and clutching pork chops.

I spent the next ten minutes crisscrossing the canals and making my way to a bus to take me home. Needless to say, I shook quite a bit on the way home.


8. The Brakes Are All The Way Down There

I was working in a bucket truck 30 feet in the air when it started to roll backward down the road (the engine stalled, the park mechanism in the trans was faulty, and the e-brake was slipping). At first, I figured I'd just hit the brakes but I had to get down first. As I'm slowly descending on emergency power heading towards a grove of trees, I had the "I'm in danger" thought.


7. Sometimes They Come Back

Sitting in the bank when a really irate man enters. He kept entering then shouting about his missing card and then leaving without listening to advice. He finally returns and shouts, "Don't get me angry! I will return with a weapon." I sat and watched him quite unfazed. It was when I saw the shock on the other patrons' faces that it dawned on me that I could lose my life. So what did I do? I chuckled and said to myself, "That's unfortunate."


6. So Undignified

In Iraq in 2004, my unit was tasked with pushing from Hit to Fallujah in order to find and destroy Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army. In one of the cities we cleared, we were about to assault a 5-story building that intelligence had informed us was defended by more than 100 insurgents.

We were stacked up outside a medium-high wall that surrounded the building, and I was carrying my SAW (~20lbs weapon). I got a boost over the wall and immediately fell into, and got stuck in, a thorny bush. I remember thinking, "Oh, man, what a stupid way to die" as I waited to start getting shot at.

Turns out that this insurgent stronghold was actually a school with two friendly dudes in it.


5. The Bear Had Fight Or Flight Too

I was backpacking once upon a time. I rounded a corner and there stood a grizzly bear looking right at me.

I stopped in my tracks and tried to decide if I should just stand still or run like the wind. Either option seemed likely to result in instant death.

Before I had a chance to make a decision, my idiot of a Basset Hound ranges out of the woods and starts barking his brains out. I was like "shut up you furry little dope! You're a one-foot tall spit in the face of evolution and that is a giant killing machine!"

Remarkably, the bear turned around and ran off. As soon as my legs stopped shaking, we ran the other way.

bear-1245807-300x200.jpgImage by

4. Like A Cartoon

On a 14,000 foot glacier in the Italian Alps, I just wanted a peek around the corner of a prominence. Then I wanted to see if I could get down a bit to take a good picture. Then the screen slid out from under me and I was stuck on the face too far from anyone else and I knew I couldn’t use the gondola to get down.

I did a controlled slide to a lower point that just got me in further trouble. Then I knew my life was in danger. For ten minutes I hung there trying to figure out what to do. Finally, I spotted a rotting timber stuck in the ice forty feet below at an angle. I decided if I could get to it before my feet slid out I could hang there until they found me.

I leaped, scrambling across the face of a mini-avalanche as I fell at an angle. I reached the board and I held on tight, but it came out of the ground and I started falling down the mountain.

So I shoved the board under me and rode it down the glacier for nearly a half mile like a darn cartoon character. Somehow it worked. It deposited me in a talus field and I hiked back to the Refugio in time to see the Alpini mustering in the square to rescue me. They yelled at me something fierce, telling me how many people lost their lives on the mountain and how I could have vanished in a crevasse, never to be seen again. Then everyone forgave me and my uncle got me some drinks for my heroics.


3. Worse Than Quicksand

Snowboarding in Colorado, I took a spill into a tree well of a large Douglas-fir. Where I had fallen you couldn't see me even if you were riding ~10 feet from me since I sunk about 4 feet below the level of the snow upon falling in and was stuck in a bowl-shaped depression in immediate proximity to the tree. Decided to unstrap my board, and reverse the orientation of my body so I was facing out of the well only to sink more. I remember it so vividly being like quicksand but worse, any tiny movement of my body and I would sink a few inches. I ended up being in chest deep snow, with my head approximately 4 feet below the level of the glades run ~5 feet away I sat there still until someone rode close enough for them to hear me yell. Totally understand how people lose their lives in those things.


2. Rushing Water Cart

Marching band camp, sophomore year. I decided to sprint full speed across the parking lot while pulling the (very heavy) water cart. I remember thinking how fun it was, then wondering how I was gonna stop the cart mid-sprint. Literally laughed to myself going full speed and thought about how dangerous and stupid the thing I was doing was and how there was no way it could end well.

I didn’t have to stop it, as it hit my heel and I went tumbling. The cart kept rolling and almost took out a few flutes. One surgery later, I now have a metal plate and six screws in my left shoulder. Marching band is no joke, kids.


1. An Empty Feeling

So I woke up one morning feeling kind of empty. Like if I’d lost more energy than usual. I slept my usual 8 hours, so it was a bit weird. "Can’t be the kidney stone I had a week earlier. Never heard of it being a side effect. Can’t be the Dilaudid, right?" I went to the bathroom, feeling unwell and started throwing up. It was not typical throw up. "Huh," I thought like an idiot. "Guess I need more sleep." I fed the cats and went back to sleep, thinking I just needed a power nap of some sort to feel refreshed.

An hour later, I woke up sweating like a beast and even more empty in terms of energy than before. I tried to get up but it felt like I could faint just from walking. My roommate had already left for work, so I had no one to rely on to. I dragged myself once more to the bathroom, throwing up once again and feeling like I was in a volcano. I was able to draw myself a really low amount of water in the bath and climbed in just to try and reduce my temperature. As I got in, I felt a tad better but I had no energy left and felt myself lose consciousness. "My God, I’m gonna drown in this bathtub."

Luckily I regained consciousness not long after and called the ambulance (and like an idiot, instead of waiting for them, I got dressed and limped to the lobby of my building because I did not want to be a nuisance to them and make them work harder by climbing to the third floor. EMT thought I might be okay since I walked by myself until I started vomiting again in front of him.)

Turns out the anti-inflammatory they gave me for the kidney stone, Naproxen, was something my stomach didn’t like. So I developed a big ulcer inside and I was not doing well internally.