Real Life Stories

You’ve got to read it to believe it! These true stories seem almost too good to be true, but we promise that we couldn’t make these up. From love to loss and from survival to unbelieavable coincidences—we’ve got the wildest stories to keep you informed, entertained, and inspired.

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When a Scuba Diver Didn’t Return to the Surface for Hours, This Diving Expert Refused to Give ...

It seemed impossible that anyone could be left alive. But an inner voice kept telling Nico that there was hope.

A Bear Followed Me on a Camping Trip—And We Developed a Real Friendship

The author had heard about wild animals 
that bonded with humans. But this 
seven-foot Goliath had claws that could shred...


This Pilot Took Off Just Fine, But When He Tried to Use the Control Stick, It Wouldn’t Budge

The pilot faced a desperate choice: stay with his crippled jet and die-or get out and turn loose a flying...


How I Escaped from Cuba in 1969 in the Wheel Well of a Jet

This RD classic from 50 years ago tells the thrilling story of a teen who made
 a daring escape...


The Night I Met Einstein

This Reader's Digest Classic of "My Most Unforgettable Character" offers a lesson in life—and music—from the most brilliant mind in...

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His Parachute Got Stuck on the Plane’s Wheel and He Was Suspended in Midair with Little Chance...

Almost 80 years after it unfolded in the sky over San Diego, a nearly impossible rescue mission remains one of...


Former Alcatraz Inmate Reveals What the Prison Was Really Like

This is the real story of a prisoner at the infamous Alcatraz prison, incarcerated at the same time as Al...

This Girl Wrote Her Dad a Letter to Cope with His Death—and Got a Response

Desiree was only four when she lost her Dad. She desperately wanted to talk to him one last time.


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Meet the Quadriplegic Who Defied All Odds to Become a Pilot

When an accident rendered him nearly immobile, one man learned the meaning of true grit. 



Her Husband Vanished Without a Trace—15 Years Later, the Doorbell Rang

For 15 years, Anne McDonnell lived in limbo, not knowing whether her Jim was dead or alive. Then, one Christmas,...


This Fisherman Was Attacked By a Shark and Lived to Tell the Tale

Cue the "Jaws" theme. This article, which appeared in the August 1965 edition of Reader's Digest, is a firsthand account...

One Father’s Battle Between Working and Giving Attention to His Daughter

In this award-winning story, originally published in Reader's Digest in 1969, a father learns to embrace the chaos of his...


The Greatest Gift This Dad Ever Gave His Daughter Will Definitely Make You Cry

One woman's father's fondest expressions of love flowed not from his words, but from his hands.


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This Powerful Story Will Convince You to Stop Saying “Let Me Know If You Need Anything”

What does someone who has suffered a sudden trauma and grief most need?


How a Boy and His Telephone Operator Formed a Lovely, Lasting Friendship

In this Reader's Digest Classic, originally published in 1966 as "The Voice in the Box," a little boy forges a...


A Neighbor’s Generosity Spreads Beyond Original Gift

The Reader's Digest classic, originally published as "Effie's Compound Interest," explores how one woman’s kindness became multiplied a hundredfold.

RD Interview: Robin Williams, in His Own Words

Robin Williams was unscripted and uncensored—and you could always expect the unexpected, as in this classic interview from 2006.


Me and the Supreme Court

Moments like this create the memories of a lifetime.


The Pig Who Loved People

He wasn’t what you’d expect in a pet—or even in a pig.


Staring Down a Sawmill Chipper With Two Seconds to Live

Suddenly, young Ron Gillis was being pulled, inexorably, toward the whirling blades of the sawmill's chipper. What possible chance of...


What I Learned in the Shoe Store

Mr. Hill taught me more than just selling.


The Summer I Learned to Really See

A wise grandmother opens a small girl’s eyes to the treasures around them.


The Unforgettable Legacy of Miss Bessie Taylor Gwynn

The lessons she taught went far beyond the three Rs.


A Reader’s Digest Classic: Kidnapped and Buried Alive!

His abductors had entombed him in a flimsy wooden box in the middle of nowhere. As days ticked by, hope...

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A Reader’s Digest Classic: Feathered Friend

"Why not get a parrot?" Pat Myers' daughter suggested. And so the unlikely love story began.


The Ordeal of John Cali

Police thought the deaths of his wife and daughter to be a murder-suicide—but he knew that couldn't be.


From Street Kids to Royal Knights

How a caring teacher and the game of chess changed lives in the ghetto.


The Star That Was Caught in the Branches

Eight-­year­-olds were not supposed to be astir at this hour. But I wanted to sit in the swing for a...


When Curtis Pride Heard the Stadium Cheer

In the history of baseball, few players with his handicap had made it to the Major Leagues. But Curtis Pride...


The Day I Finally Understood My Father

Dad didn't expect much from the new dog, but he had definite plans for me. (Originally published as "A Dog...