Our lives are built on the decisions we make. Some believe that our lives are predestined; however, you can’t deny that decisions have impact on what course our lives will take. Some decisions may have been mistakes, while some may have led to your dreams coming true. And it’s not only grand decisions like choosing your career, but also small ones, like accepting an invitation to go out.
Surely, most of us have such a story when a single action changed what was coming for us. Maybe some stories are more impressive than others, but they all make you believe that the butterfly effect must exist. Reddit user abayomi02 asked, “People of Reddit, What’s one mistake or decision you made that completely altered the course of your life?“ and people shared the most interesting tales.
Do you have such a story? Share it in the comments down below. Also upvote the ones in this list that made you believe in the butterfly effect!
More info: Reddit
Wanted to see the Eiffel tower.
Me and my girlfriend at the time were traveling from New Zealand to my family back home in Sweden. We both decided to spend a bit more money to fly back through Paris instead of Amsterdam, just because we wanted to see the tower. It cost us maybe an extra $50 and we got to see it on the landing and then take off, but never actually set foot in Paris proper because we were poor students.
When we landed in Auckland, New Zealand, jetlagged to s***, we turn on our phones and notice that we have about 50 missed calls from our travel agent, which was odd. When we call her, she sounds super relieved and out of breath. She tells us the flight she originally suggested to us, the one from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down over Ukraine. My brain couldn’t process that information at the time, but once I woke up the next day it hit me like a ton of bricks. $50 made the difference between seeing the big steel thingy that has so many photos of it and bring sent to Sweden in body bags piece by piece.
Sometimes the absurdity of my existence comes over me, and this story always gives me goosebumps. One hell of a story to tell over beers, though.
Image credits: Haxxer
Forgot hamburger buns.
Dad died, depressed, was without a job for over a year. Applied at a few different places and heard nothing back. Went to a bbq at a friends house and stopped at the store first. We got everything we needed, went out to the car, started packing up and realized we forgot hamburger buns.
I go back in the store, am walking down the frozen foods aisle and run into an old coworker, who happened to now be a manager at one of the places I applied at, months ago. Chatted it up with him for a little bit, and 3 days later, I get a call out of the blue to come in for an interview at his company he worked at.
Ive been with the company 18 years, last month, all because of that chance encounter in the frozen food aisle, all because I forgot hamburger buns.
Image credits: strongy78
When I was 27 i missed my usual train to work and had to wait another 30 minutes. So I got to talking to a random guy who turned out to be a doctor, he noticed dark patch under my nail and recommended i go get it checked out. It urned out to be subungual melanoma (Skin Cancer). I thought it was a bruise and probably wouldn’t of went the doctors over it. I never saw him again.
Image credits: TwizTa89
Freshman year I asked some kid in the college dorms cafeteria if we could sit as his table because all the others are full.
Start small talking and he mentions his tuition is free because his dad is military. I’m like wait… my dad is military and I’m paying?
He says that it’s because his dad is now disabled. Well it turns out some of my dads ailments from military service qualify him as disabled and guess who got free college after that. And my sister too.
They hide the website pretty well and they DEFINITELY don’t tell vets about the program for their dependents so my family never would have known if I hadn’t sat down with some random guy. Thanks guy!
Image credits: caliblondie
I flunked out of my first school. I imagine if I’d stayed and gotten my degree, my life would have been a lot different. Instead I ended up working for a few years, realizing the value of a degree, and re-starting my life.
It’s made me realize that kids shouldn’t be forced into college right after high school. Some of them need to work, or travel, or whatever, to figure out for themselves what their path is going to be. 18 is way too young to point a finger at someone and be like “okay now you need to decide the rest of your life.”
Image credits: beepborpimajorp
I have shared this before, but it’s crazy how much my life changed because I decided to ask my parents a question.
When I was about 10 years old my parents and I were in our backyard clearing out a ton of weeds that had gotten out of hand. I had trouble focusing because our next door neighbor had this really adorable puppy and all I wanted to do was play with him.
We found out that they were actually going to take him to an animal shelter because their son was not taking care of him like he promised. I decided to ask my parents if maybe we could get him instead. I was an only child and never really have anyone to play with unless a friend would come over and the thought of having a puppy to play with whenever I wanted to was great.
My parents agreed and our neighbors offered to sell him to us for $20, which is really cheap for a dog when you think about it, but a lot of money for a kid. I had that saved up and immediately agreed and promised I care for him and love him forever. So, he became my puppy and like a brother. After a few days of debating I named him Snoopy.
Snoopy became my closest friend. He made me laugh, played with me, and would just hang out and watch TV with me. He was always there for me, especially through some tough times in my life where I was extremely self-destructive. He saved me from myself. He was there at my side through tough breakups where all I ever wanted to do was lay in bed. He was an amazing friend. He was there to see me graduate 8th grade, high school, and college. I hoped he would be there on the day I got married and maybe be around for when I had kids, but unfortunately as much as we wish for things, sometimes they don’t happen.
Image credits: eDgAR
A buddy of mine called me up one day to tell me he and his toxic controlling girlfriend had broken up and he wanted to celebrate with a few drinks. At the time, I was living a very antisocial lifestyle, and I almost said no, but something that day told me I needed to get out of the house. So I agreed.
Turns out that was the night I’d meet my future wife. When we were reminiscing about that night, my wife said she, too, almost declined going out.
Image credits: LtJimmyRay
Not the biggest change compared to others since Im still a minor but I completely stopped playing games, and watching Youtube. One day something happened to my friend that made me realize these things I do thats been taking 10+ hours of my days are completely pointless and wanted to do something better. Now I got new hobbies like workouts, cardistry, and I also study more now.
Image credits: runner8810
Said yes to going to the pub.
I was on a backpacking trip around Europe. At a hostel in Belfast this Australian guy who was in the same dorm as me asked if anyone wanted to join him for a drink. Me and a New Zealander tagged along. We had an absolutely epic night in what was then still a city under martial law. Next day we all went in different directions but I kept in contact with the Australian.
At some stage, months later, he mentions that I should come and visit him in Australia. About six months later I did. I had a fantastic time, travelled around Australia and liked it so much that I applied for a residency permit.
Thirty years later I’m still here. It’s been absolutely great, but none of that would have happened if I didn’t say yes to a few beers all the way back in the 80’s.
Image credits: saugoof
Flying into Tulsa from San Diego in 1998- coming home on a 3-week Libo (leave from the service), after a 16-month deployment.
A few days before, there had been a bad ice storm and the roads were still slick.
My wife insisted on picking me up from the airport after I suggested taking a cab home. I didn’t want her driving on those slick roads., because there was an 8 mile stretch of country 2-lane road from our house to town, and it could get pretty treacherous, due to minimal maintenance. She refused to drive an old Cherokee Chief that I had at the house and chose to drive her 2WD Ranger pickup.
She lost control of the truck and went down a 40′ embankment, losing her life in the process. We had a 1-year-old daughter and a 3-year-old son at home, that grew up without a mother, and I’ve spent the last 22 years kicking myself for not simply p****** her off to the point that she wouldn’t drive, and I could just make up with her when I got home.
I should have argued harder with her or had one of her brothers come and pick me up.
I met my new daughter for the first time, with her mother gone. I was basically meeting both my children for the first time, as I had deployed when my son was my daughter’s age. Neither knew me, and both were absolutely terrified and confused.
I was still obligated to the Corps for another year, but they did right by me. I stayed home on hardship, drew base pay until my EAS/discharge, dealing with being a single parent, PTSD, and transitioning to civilian life.
The happy ending is that both children had a great childhood, grew up smart, well adjusted, and successful. Daughter is finishing her master’s degree, and my son is a successful electrician raising a young son on his own.
There’s always a struggle in my mind that I’ll always deal with. My wife wasn’t going to EVER move from Oklahoma, and I planned on being a career Marine, so we would have ended up divorced, no doubt, and I wouldn’t have the bond with my children that I do now. I lost the love of my life, but I gained a great relationship with my kids. My children lost their mother, but they didn’t have to grow up with an absent father.
Life is funny…
Image credits: Cordero_Biggs
I read the book ‘I, Claudius’. Loved it so much I scheduled a trip to visit Italy. While touring the sites, randomly met an american guy who was an IT guy (like me) for an american school there. A few weeks after coming back to the states, I email him and he tells me he’s getting married and moving back to the states and offered me his old position. Three months later I was on a plane back to Italy. Lived there for 4 amazing years and made some great lifelong friends.
Image credits: MorningAfterBurrito
One day my foreman just flat out didn’t show up to work. I was vaguely familiar with what had to go on at the site, and who needed to do it, so I just started calling people, and talking to those on site saying I was filling in for him for today…
Fast forward a few months and people are saying they greatly prefer me organizing jobs, and management starts giving me jobs of my own. I start getting great reviews from clients and my jobs are making money. Eventually my old foreman gets fired (not because of me directly, but because of some questionable antics and poor performance).
Now I’m enjoying a significantly better paying and more fulfilling job. What started as a job to make a bit of money while I figured out what I want to do has turned into something with serious career potential.
Image credits: P0ster_Nutbag
Turning on my old xbox.. Right after high school I didn’t go to college or work.. I stayed inside my parents house for maybe a year and completely isolated myself from the world due to fear of growing up.
One day I was bored and decided to power on my old xbox 360 I hadn’t played in a few years and I noticed my XBL account had a friend request from months before that. Accepted the request and it was one of my childhood best friends I hadn’t talked too in maybe 6 years. Then our third childhood bestfriend joins the XBL party and we all start to hangout and it completely cured my depression and got my life on track. Now 8 years later and we live together have good jobs and are all doing really well!
Image credits: [deleted]
When I was a kid, my mom, my cousin, my sister and I were all about to go to my great grandma’s house from my grandma’s house. It wasnt a far drive so my mom allowed my sister who was 11 at the time to sit up front, leaving my cousin and I in the back. My cousin chose the window seat behind the driver. For some reason I felt a need to sit in the middle instead of taking the other window seat. 2 minutes into the drive over, a woman who was clearly not paying attention, slammed right into the back seat of the car where I chose not to sit. Fire fighter later told us if anyone had been sitting there, they would be dead. Instead, all 4 of us walked out with 2 bruises and a scratch.
Image credits: bebraveeveryday
I failed an unfailable class at university because I totally flunk studying. I was so sure it is unfailable I didn’t study at all.
I had to re-take the class in which there were group projects. Second time over, I was in a team with this girl.
I married her last summer.
Image credits: MeddlinQ
I jokingly signed up for a computer science class in jr high because it was the first year they were going to teach it and I figured it would be some bulls*** easy A. Turned out I love programming and I’m currently in my 18th year of my career.
Image credits: TopMacaroon
Got accepted at the best state school where I lived. When my mom found out she tried to “not let me” leave for school. Her plan: get a job in a local factory and pay her rent (like she did when she turned 18) so she could use the money to pay for my 3 brother’s college. My older brother was in an expensive private school already and I had 2 younger brothers. I moved out, went to college on my own and turn out to be the first kid to graduate (my older bro’ flunked out twice), first to get a job, first to get married, first to have kids and first to be childless at a young age. If I had done what my mom had wanted, I would have been f****** for life by my standards….
Image credits: femsci-nerd
I met a guy online on AOL in 1994. Fell in love. Moved 2300 miles away from home to be with him. Could have been a disaster. But 26 years later, we are happily married and are still very much in love. Best decision I’ve ever made!
Image credits: VKH700
A friend asked if I’d drive with her to pick up her friend at LAX airport. This was so she could drive in the carpool lane. I said yes. I asked her friend to marry me 6 months later. We have two kids and have been married for 10 years now!
Image credits: Talakor
In 2003 I was coming to the end of university and wondering what to do with my life next. One particular evening, I was feeling a deep kind of existential depression, so I went online to distract myself. – maybe I could go travelling? Maybe I could find a job to apply for? Who knew? I just needed something as an anchor, something to work towards.
I landed up on the page for the Athens 2004 Olympics and decided to give myself a post graduation goal to work towards. I planned on buying tickets to a couple of events, then I saw a Volunteer section so I clicked on that and filled in the details.
The months went by and nothing much happened. I met a guy, he was horrible, we broke up, I got d***** depressed, worked in a call centre job I despised and eventually couldn’t handle it and moved home, cutting ties with the city, the s***** ex and everything else.
By the time the Olympics rolled around, I planned on concentrating on me so I headed off for some weeks of volunteering. Well, day one of volunteering I met the man who would go on to become my husband, moved to Greece, learnt a new language, got married, and 10 years in still happily married with two awesome kids, all because I felt s***** one evening and decided to surf the internets. I could have ended up on any number of websites so I don’t know why I took a look at the Olympics committee, but such is life.
Image credits: stuckwitharmor
Another “said yes to going to the pub” tale.
1991, I was in Edinburgh, walking home from signing on, and a mate from my previous job pulled up in his old yellow Mini and said he was off to meet another mate from the same job. It was noonish and I had nothing better to do, so f*** it, pint.
The other mate was in town with one of his pals to discuss a game (we were all RPG gamers) and I tagged along.
Long story short, we started an RPG company, got bought by Wizards of the Coast, traveled the world with them, got our game back when they canned RPGs and twenty odd years on, did a Kickstarter that raised well over $100,000 last year.
So, yeah, the moral of these tales is that if someone asks you if you want to go to the pub, the answer is yes.
Image credits: jaredearle
Went to meet my bio mom. 8 years later, a crippling disorder, brain damage, and some significant trauma later… turns out there was a very good reason I was adopted.
I got to meet my sisters though, and I’m the uncle to a whole herd of nieces and nephews, and I wouldn’t trade that for the world. Makes the damage worth it, honestly. The way their faces light up when they see me and how loved I feel with them is something you can’t ever replace.
Image credits: blackfox24
Quit my job without a plan.
ended up panic applying at every s****** little place in town, got a job at a coffee shop. met the love of my life, supported eachother through going back to school, got actual careers, got married, had two amazing little girls.
all because I got in a fight with my boss and walked out.
Image credits: VILDREDxRAS
Experimenting with my sexuality. Turns out i’m a flaming lesbo and i have the best girlfriend with a cute scruffy old dog living our best lives. Planning on buying our first home in the spring.
Image credits: casskll
Decision. It’s 1994. I work in a warehouse with my brothers best friend. He tells me about a concert that night that him and his girlfriend are going to and asks if I want to go. My brother was supposed to go but backed out the night before. They have 4 tickets, 1 each for him and his girlfriend, 1 for my brother and 1 for a girl his girlfriend works with. I went. The other girl and I have been together for 26 years now.
Image credits: jetsmetsrangers
Ordered a pizza from Dominos. Wound up with the worst case of food poisoning I’ve ever had, I was essentially bedridden for 3 months and I’ve since developed severe post-infectious IBS that I’ve been struggling with for the past 3 years. I’m basically not functional probably 50% of the time, it’s essentially destroyed my quality of life, and I’m terrified that I may never have a normal life again. It’s taken everything I enjoyed or was passionate about away from me.
Image credits: Holybartender83
There was an incident where a good friend of mine got kicked out of where we were living. The owner called me and told me the whole thing and said I was welcome to stay because I had not created any of the problems. My friend came to tell me about it and told me “we have to move out”. I told her I was told something different and she snapped at me that I couldn’t stay there if she wasn’t there. I was too much of a coward to stand up to her and deal with the consequences of losing that friendship. So I left that house and struggled for years. School would have been easier, I could have saved, gotten a car. That was such a defining moment and I’m so sorry I chose wrong. I was 18.
Image credits: Unicorn7000
When I moved and switched middle schools wayyy back I threw out all my stuff except for my math textbook. When I went to my new school the math class I was in was a little bit behind from where I was and I told them but they didn’t believe me. But then I showed my old math textbook to show that I was way ahead of that class. Two of my classes were changed, and in both of my new classes we’re a bunch of friends I made. If i threw away that math textbook I wouldn’t have any good friends right now.
Image credits: [deleted]
Taking Videography as an elective in middle school instead of Photo like my sister. Throughout high school I won numerous student filmmaking awards, made tons of friends I never would have had I not joined those classes, developed a super useful skill, and got paying jobs throughout high school because of my skill set. I even got hired at my current job because of my video skills.
Image credits: itsme_kaity_
I moved in with my then boyfriend after only knowing him for three months. I had a bad feeling about it like we’d crash and burn.
That was in 2001. We’re still together and married now.
Image credits: Ohsoeasy
When I was 7 I was at a Cubscout summer camp (Boyscouts but for smol child) and I saw a Garter snake in the grass. I tried to pick it up, and of course, it bit me. I cried and got myself patched up but from that moment on I’ve been OBSESSED with Reptiles. Their Physiology, Behavior, eating habits, mating procedures, etc. All because I decided to f*** with a Garter.
Going away to college out of state. Met my wife, got her pregnant while we were both in college. With a lot of hard work and a supporting family we both finished with a degree. We got married and now own a home in the state I went to school. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought my life would turn out like it did. Zero complaints.
I lied to CPS when I was 13, I finished growing up with my dad instead of being taken away. I knew what I was doing and looking back I wouldn’t change it. I’ve met some wonderful people and I don’t think I would’ve met them if I had told the truth that day
Playing Catch with my Buddy on a Parking lot right after Winter time. I slipped on Rock salt as I threw and tore a bunch of muscles in my back.
Went from throwing 85mph at the age of 15 down to low 70’s. Still played college Ball but I was never the same. My dreams were crushed and I think about it every day.
Dropping out of school illegally in 8th grade, bad decision at the time, led me to join the army at 18, I would have graduated high school at 20.
The army enabled me to invest in real estate, get my current career, it overall set my entire life up for success.
Telling a long term friend in my social group that I had feelings for her, it basically split our group.
I knew she probably didn’t feel the same way but I couldn’t hold it in anymore I had to say something, if there was even the slightest possibility I needed to know.
Aftermath was very meh.
Image credits: Man_Bear_Beaver
I can trace where I’m at right now in my life to one single event: switching schools in 3rd grade. It’s a crazy butterfly effect and if it didn’t happen I have no clue where I’d be right now.