20 Incredible True Stories That Will Change How You Think About Luck

Think luck is just for the Irish? Enjoy these short, true stories that celebrate luck, coincidence, and the joy of being in the right place at the right time.

Found money at the grocery store

groceryisak55/ShutterStockI was third in line at the checkout, and the lady at the cashier was purchasing basic items. Two cans of cat food, a can of tuna, a loaf of bread, a quart of milk, a package of cookies. Her money was in her hand as the cashier gave her the total. She was 86 cents short. She checked her purse to no avail. “I can put something back,” she said. The man ahead of me reached into his pocket, palmed a dollar, bent down as if to pick something up, and said, “I think you dropped this.” --Michael F. Heberger, East Rochester, New York Read these others stories that show how kind stranger can be.

The cat and the fire

cat-fire534231748/ShutterStockI was deploying overseas so I decided to leave my black cat with my mother. My mother had been feeling alone lately, and I hoped he would change that. After two years, I was ready to get him back. Before I could do that, I got a call from my mother. She said she had fallen asleep earlier and woke up to him on her chest, meowing and pushing her face. He had never done that before. She smelled something funny, jumped out of bed and found the kitchen on fire. My mom is alive because of him. He’s hers now! --Helen Jones, Pflugerville, Texas These stories about forgiveness will make you want to let go of your grudges.

A ride in a cop car

copBennian/ShutterStockSome sixty years ago, I left Tokyo, Japan, to live in a small town in Oklahoma. One day, I took the bus to go shopping but ended up with quite an armful of packages. I thought it best to take a taxi home. Within a short time, it appeared my ride had pulled over. I gave the driver my address and off we went. The driver even helped me carry my packages into my apartment. "What do I owe you?" I asked in my then broken English. "Not a dime, Miss,” he replied with a big smile. “I'm a police officer." --Fumiko Cascio, San Diego, California

Content continues below ad

The cat that knew

catSuzanne-Tucker/ShutterStockWhen my son was two years old, our cat scratched him over his eye. I immediately brought him to the doctor, and during the examination the doctor said he felt a bump under the scratch. He advised that an X-ray be taken. The results showed a lump the size of a walnut and although not cancerous, if left alone, could cause problems. Of course, the doctor removed it. Thanks to the scratch, we don't want to think of what might have happened. --Jean DeLia, Lady Lake, Florida Read more survival stories here

Penny in the pocket

pennyKC-Slagle/ShutterStockOne day, on a walk, I noticed a penny on the ground. I didn’t bother to pick it up, and that made wonder why. Because the sum was so insignificant? I wondered, “What would I do if I found $20? Just keep walking?” Sure enough, I turned the corner and there lay $20. Long story short, I found its owner and returned it with a smile. And then a few hours later, I won $25 on a scratcher. With my pockets a little deeper, I then wondered, “What would I do if I found $1,000,000?” I’ll let you know. --Charlotte Stevens, Ellwood City, Pennsylvania

Help from Claire

claireAfrica-Studio/ShutterStockWhile shopping, I noticed a credit card on the floor. I picked it up, went to the courtesy desk and asked them to page the owner. I waited. No one came. They said that her cart was still there and she had gone out to her car to look for her card. When she came back, I approached her and asked if she lost something. She did, her credit card. I asked her name and established that it matched the card, which I then gave her. She said she had prayed to her mother, who had passed away recently, to help her find the card. We talked and I introduced myself. "My name is Claire," I said. She responded, "My mother's name was Claire."--Claire Salem, New City, New York

Content continues below ad

Sunglasses on the shore

sunglassesratmaner/ShutterStockIt was a hot, July day when my family arrived at North Carolina’s coast for a beach day. Upon arrival, my father became aware that he misplaced his beloved sunglasses. Not much of a beach enthusiast, Dad remained quite dismayed that he would be unable to read all day due to the loss of his sunglasses. Dad became so desperate; he looked toward the sky and exclaimed, “God, if you care, please help me find some sunglasses!” A moment later a small, gleaming reflection washed ashore. Jumping to our feet, we ran toward the sea, and what else washed ashore but a pair of coral encrusted sunglasses. --Travis Rager, Wendell, North Carolina

Always watching

always watchingSergey-Nivens/ShutterStockOn a crisp fall morning, my daughter Laura went to pose for her senior pictures with her brother Josh’s bright green snowboard. Josh had died in a motorcycle accident the summer before, and Laura, an avid snowboarder, wanted his board in the shot. The photographer knew the perfect ­backdrop—­a vibrant graffiti wall in town. He peered through the lens, focused and gasped. We all looked up and read the words spray-painted on the wall above Laura’s head: “Big Bro Is Watching.” What a beautiful reassurance that she has a guardian ­angel.--Lynn Elsner, Missoula, Montana

The soldier's surprise

soldierswelcomia/ShutterStockIt is spring of 1943 during World War II. Standing among hundreds of new soldiers at Camp Grant, in Illinois, my father, Sam, just 18 years old, waits as a truck slowly drives by. A full field pack is randomly tossed to each soldier. “How strange,” my father thinks, as he sees his last name, Litrenti, marked on each item in his pack. “How did they know it was me when they tossed the pack?” He was impressed! Beating all odds, my father was tossed a field pack from World War I—his own father’s. --Gail Litrenti-Benedetto, Park Ridge, Illinois

Content continues below ad

A date with fate

date-fateurbazon/ShutterStockIn a kitschy bar in Cambridge, he asked to sit at my table, though later he would insist that I made the first move. I was intrigued by his tattoos. He thought I went to Harvard. All we had in common was that we’d both almost stayed home. Friends had dragged us out on a frigid February evening. We still never agree on anything, except that it’s a darn good thing we sucked it up that snowy night. Our wild blue-eyed son always stops us in our tracks, reminding us that fate is just as fragile as our memory. --Emily Page Hatch, Wilmington, North Carolina

Lucky black cat

black-catMaren-Winter/ShutterStockA wee bit of a kitten, she meowed louder than a freight train from behind the shelter’s cage. “Can we get this one?” asked Kate, then seven years old. “I don’t know,” I said. “A black cat may not be good luck.” To her, I was the young live-in girlfriend and sometimes the one claiming her dad’s attention. A week later, we picked up our loud but little black kitten and named her Jasmine. Twenty years later, Jasmine’s old and loved, and when Katie comes home to visit, she greets me 
with a hug. We both agree: Black cats aren’t bad luck! --Kelly Henningan, Lacona, New York

Wrong number

payphoneDoucefleur/ShutterStockI answered a ringing pay phone—a call meant for another. I was enamored by the angelic voice of the girl on the other end of the line, and we spoke for what seemed like hours. She was from Iowa, I from Florida, and I was spending the summer in New Mexico’s mountains. I immediately knew that I wanted to know more about her. We exchanged letters and became pen pals. Six months later, I traveled to the Midwest to meet my mystery girl. It was love at first sight. In September, we will celebrate our 30th anniversary. --Randy Aronson, Cooper City, Florida

Content continues below ad

Like son, like father

father,-sonGorshkov-Igor/ShutterStockCaught in a sudden downpour on the last day of a bike-packing trip, I ducked into the lobby of a nearby supermarket for cover. As I waited out the storm with my bicycle and gear, a teenage boy invited me to spend the night with his family. I gladly accepted, and he went to find his parents. While I waited, an older man made me the same offer. I thanked him and said I already had a place to stay. Shortly after, the boy returned with his parents. The man who had approached me was his father. --Philip Wood, Orlando, Florida

A small fortune

fortuneLucy-Gold/ShutterStockWhile walking across an open, grassy field, I became excited as my hand swooped toward the ground like an eagle attacking its prey. I picked up half of a $5 bill. I continued to walk around looking for the other half but thought to myself it would be impossible to find it on such a windy day. As I lifted my head, I spotted the other half of the bill tangled in crabgrass. Somehow, finding two halves of a ripped $5 bill felt better than working for a twenty. --Ron Fleming, Fort Drum, New York

SS Serendipity

SS-Serendipityeldar-nurkovic/ShutterStockIn July 1915, Henry and his eight-year-old daughter, Pearl, were excited for the company outing the next day. That evening, Henry had a violent argument with his landlord, ending with the landlord spitting on a painting of the Virgin Mary. Henry was so upset, he fell ill and canceled their trip. He and Pearl missed the cruise on the SS Eastland, which sank with over 800 people on board—but not my future grandfather and mother. Thanks to that miracle argument 100 years ago, 22 descendants are alive today. --Vernon Magneseen, Elmhurst, Illinois

Content continues below ad

The backup Band-Aid

band-aidBankoo/ShutterStockI was riding the subway and happened to be seated between two young guys. The one on the right eyed the slightly grungy Band-Aid on my thumb and said, “You should really change that, you know. You have to keep it clean.” Then the one on my left said, “Here, I have one,” and pulled a fresh Band-Aid out of his knapsack. “I keep them on me because I’m always hurting myself.” Incredulous, I thanked him, changed my bandage, and got off at my stop feeling pretty good about people, life, and New York City. --Babette Lazarus, New York, New York

A shining light

ground-zeroNick-Starichenko/ShutterStockI volunteered at Ground Zero after hometown firefighters responded but never returned. Lt. Timothy Higgins was one of them. I felt Timmy’s presence during dark moments, guiding me along every path. Working in sight of the burning piles, I met a fire marshal named Steve. I told him I was from Freeport. Steve said he’d been a firefighter with a guy from Freeport. I asked, “Who?” He replied, “Tim Higgins.” I followed this path and married Steve in 2005. I think of Tim every day. He must have been a shining light. Certainly, he was my beacon. --Deborah Kahn Schreck, Sayville, New York

Destiny at the dentist

destinypikselstock/ShutterStockHaving just cemented a new bridge, my dental-assistant mother said to her patient, “Your girlfriend’s going to love your new teeth.” He replied, “I’m between girlfriends right now.” She said, “Don’t go anywhere. I have two daughters, Kathy and Vicky. Let me get their pictures from my wallet.” Dan was still reclined in the dental chair with his bib on and wasn’t going anywhere. Rushing back, she showed him her daughters’ photos, saying, “Here is our phone number. Give Kathy a call—she’s the older one.” He called, and we’ve been happily married for 39 years. Thanks, Mom! --Kathleen Curran, Canyon Country, California

Content continues below ad

An angel with a donut

angelLane-V.-Erickson/ShutterStockSeveral years ago, my tire went flat while I was driving with my young son asleep in the backseat. It was a heavily traveled road, so I pulled over. I looked in my rearview mirror and saw that a man had pulled up behind me. He offered to help. As he installed the donut, we talked. He explained that he was from a long distance away. His face was kind, his voice gentle. My son awoke, and I went to care for him. When I looked back, the man was gone. Do angels walk the earth? I believe they do. --Mary Beth Asenio, Timberlake, Ohio

Good vibrations

good-vibrationsAfrica-Studio/ShutterStockMy dad died unexpectedly at age 78, leaving our family heartbroken. During the funeral mass, my sister felt her phone vibrate in her purse. She was a little surprised that someone would be calling her, knowing she was at dad’s funeral mass. Afterward, she found there was a message: “Hi, this is your dad,” said the male voice. “I wanted to let you know I made it home.” The caller obviously had the wrong number, but the message was clear. My dad had completed his journey to heaven and wanted us to know. Thanks, Dad—until we meet again. --Nancy Perkins, St. Johns, Michigan

Content continues below ad

View as Slideshow

Become more interesting every week!

Get our Read Up newsletter

how we use your e-mail
We will use your email address to send you this newsletter. For more information please read our privacy policy.