Weird But True “Butterfly Effect” Stories

By Samantha Dillinger

The term “butterfly effect” has been around for a long time, but for better or worse it was popularized by the 2004 Ashton Kutcher movie. For anyone unfamiliar, the butterfly effect describes the phenomenon in which one random event or choice impacts something seemingly unrelated (e.g., the old myth about how a butterfly flapping its wings can cause a hurricane in another part of the world).

The butterfly effect is often used in movies, shows, and books to explain time travel and how doing something like stepping on a butterfly in the past can domino into the apocalypse in the future. As evidenced by Reddit, there doesn’t need to be a sci-fi hook for butterfly effect stories to happen, you just need to trace a major event back far enough.

A Mother’s Broken Leg Led To Her Son Getting A Younger Brother

From Redditor /u/busytoothbrush: My mother wore heels to work and slipped on the carpeted steps, resulting in a broken high heel and a broken leg. While she was home recovering, she somehow developed allergies that led to her needing an inhaler*.  The inhaler interfered with her birth control and now I have a brother 13 years younger than me.  *Edit: mother confirmed that it was the penicillin that she was prescribed.

A Friend’s Passing Led Her Friend To A Master’s Degree In French

From Redditor /u/avocadopixels: Grew up speaking Spanish so in high school my mom made me sign up for French. I didn’t really care, but figured whatever at least it’s something new. I was a good kid, bit of a cut up with absolutely 0 direction.  In that class I met a girl and we sort of became friends. She got sick that year, cancer. It was horrible. Visited her in the hospital, got close to her family (still am), she passed the following year.  French it turns out was her favorite subject and her dream had been to study abroad. Her parents asked if we (her friends from that class) could do that for her.  The years went on, I worked every summer try to save up to study abroad. I noticed the others who had made the promise weren’t making moves towards it, so I worked even harder. Finally went for a semester my 3rd year.  Tbf I always enjoyed French, but it wasn’t a passion. Except that semester something kind of shifted. Came home, finished undergrad, then got into a masters in French. The whole time my friend’s mom is excited, feeling like my friend is somehow vicariously living through me.  I graduated from my masters and then moved back to France. Been here 3 years now, and May 1st was the 11th anniversary of my friend’s [passing.]  As I type it out it’s not so outwardly obvious, but the entire time it’s been so clear for me that she’s been with me on this journey.

Not Getting Into An AP History Class Led One Person To A Career In Healthcare

From Redditor /u/shipscrubber: High school, I didnt get into the AP history class wanted. Changed up my schedule, including a different gym class, without everyone I knew. I was heartbroken. I really wanted to teach, and without an AP class senior year, I was screwed.  Made a new friend in gym class, who was wearing a volunteer firefighter shirt. He had just joined. Seemed interesting, and he invited me to check it out.  They paid for me to get my EMT. Fell in love with healthcare.  Fast forward quite a while, and I’m an ER Nurse and ‘precept’ students and new nurses, teaching them how to survive in the ER. I also do public outreach and injury prevention. And I love it. Glad I missed out on my class.

A Roommate’s Diarrhea Helped A Man Find His Wife

From Redditor /u/plateishot: I was going out to grab pizza and a case of beer for me and my roommate but he texted me he had a stomach thing so I walked to a restaurant and ordered dinner at the bar and met a girl there and now we are married and have two kids because my roommate had diarrhea.

An Overdrawn Bank Account Led To Four Marriages And Five Kids

From Redditor /u/nuckingfuts73: I was just out of high school and new in town with no job. I was living off what savings I had left and my account went below zero without me knowing. I was overdraft charged like 10 times and owed $300+. I went down to the bank spoke with a teller and she ended up being a lifesaver. She worked with me and got all the charges removed. On top of getting the charges removed, we got to talking about my situation and she said that her son worked at a local restaurant and she would help me get a job. She was a woman of her word and by the end of the week I was working full time. Fast forward, I meet a cool dude who worked there, we became friends, I introduced him to my sister, they fell in love, got married and had two kids. His best friend came into town for the wedding and I introduced him to my roommate at the time, they fell in love, got married and had two babies. I also got my best friend a job at the restaurant where he met a girl working there, they feel in love, got married and had a kid. Right before I left I got my roommate a job at the restaurant, where he met a customer, fell in love, got married and had a kid.  As a bonus, my best friend, who I helped get the job repaid the favor and got me a job at a different restaurant, where I met a girl, fell in love and got married.

An Arrest For Growing Weed Helped A Man Find His Wife

From Redditor /u/pakiranian: Got arrested for growing weed, moved back home. Got first job I could at Ikea. After working there for over a year, randomly decided to check Craigslist for jobs and saw an opening at a cafe and they were hiring right then, so instinctively went for it.  The cafe was connected and owned by one of the most popular brewpubs/beer gardens in the area. They hired me to host there, quickly worked my way up the ranks to eventually bar manager. Met girl of my dreams, we are now married with 2 amazing kids. Opened two more restaurants with them and currently assistant director of operations, overseeing three restaurants @ 3, 5, and 8 million a year in sales!  Love my job, love my family, love my life. No idea what I’d be doing if I never got arrested, or never applied for the cafe job.

One Coin Flip Led A Person To His School, Career, And Relationship

From Redditor /u/Sethrial: Almost everything that has happened in my life for the past eight years is a direct result of me literally flipping a coin to decide between two colleges. I play the sport I do, have the friends I do, am dating the person I am, and very nearly every other aspect of my life, is because a nickel landed on heads.

A Guy Met His Girlfriend After Getting A Former Friend Into A Ska Band

From Redditor /u/reallytinyyeti: When I was at college, I had this buddy who I used to give a ride to and from the campus each day because we lived a couple of streets apart.  One morning I’ve got Goldfinger (the ska band, not the bond movie) playing on my CD player in my car. He’d never heard them before, really dug it and asked me about them. It was the day before Easter break and he was like “cool, I’ll check them out”. Cut to two weeks later, he’s telling me how he has bought all their records, got his long-distance girlfriend into them when he visited her and has basically listened to nothing but them since we spoke about it. I feel good for helping a buddy discover his new favourite band, but think nothing more of it.  That summer me and this dude have a falling out (long story, but the tl;dr is that he screwed me out of nearly £1000) and a bit later, I stop seeing him around. After a while a mutual friend tells me he’s dropped out and moved away.  The next summer, A friend of mine asks me if I want a Ticket to see Reel Big Fish that evening. His sister was supposed to go but is really sick and can’t. I say sure and tag along. We get there and it turns out the support band is Goldfinger, which is pretty cool.  So we’re standing there, having a beer in between bands and I clumsily knock some girl who is walking past’s drink out of her hand. I turn and apologise and offer to buy her a replacement.  While we’re waiting the bar we get to talking and we’re getting on pretty well. Me and my friend end up hanging out with her and her sisters the whole night, having a great time and me and this girl end up exchanging numbers.  Cut forward again a couple of years. Me and said girl have been together basically since that night. We’re moving in together and it’s going really great. The night we move in together, we’re sitting amongst all our boxes of sh*t on the only seats that are unpacked and I say something like; “Imagine if I hadn’t taken [friend’s] offer to go to that RBF show that night. We’d never have met” She’s then like “Not only that, imagine if you hadn’t bumped into me and we hadn’t got to talking. Our original plan that night was to leave after Goldfinger played as they were the only band we were bothered about seeing”.  I commented something about how I really liked them or something, I forget what. And then I ask how she got into them and, I’m paraphrasing but the long and short of it was: “Oh my sister got me into them. Her douchebag ex-boyfriend got her into them. They were long distance while she studied in the US. They used to go to shows together when he would visit. He’s actually from round here I think”.  Yup. Same dude that I used to give rides to.  Bonus butterfly effect: my buddy who was with me at that show actually ended up marrying the sister in question last year.  TLDR: Managed to set myself and a buddy up with serious relationships, just by introducing some random dude who I used to give a ride to school to a band that I liked.  ***EDIT: to add clarity to all this, I will say that me and said girl are no longer together – this was all quite a few years ago now. We remain very close friends to this day and were respectively Best man and Maid of Honour at my friends/her sister’s wedding last year. She’s married to a lovely lady from Scotland and has been for 4 or so years now. They’ve just adopted their first son. I’ve been married to my wife for nearly 2 years now. Although you could even add that to the butterfly effect of it all, as it was the same girl that got me the job where I ended up meeting my wife.  Life is f*cking weird.

A Person’s First Tinder Match Led To A Cushy Job Overseas

From Redditor /u/Turkey_Tron: Was pretty lost after graduating University. Ended up having a few too many drinks, installing tinder, and swiping exactly one time. Matched with the first person and we started dating, doubled down on staying in that state rather than going home. Got a sh*t job for no money that ended up working out tremendously, promoting me, sending me overseas to an amazing new country and paying off 6 figures of student debt in 3 years with money in the bank. All because I moved my finger slightly to one direction.

Finishing A Beer Saved A Couple From Being Hit By A Car

From Redditor /u/mikevankempen: The wife and I were having dinner in Hawaii one night on vacation. As we were getting up to leave, I noticed she hadn’t finished her beer. I told her she should finish the beer since we paid some ridiculous price for it. Fast forward 30 seconds and we leave the restaurant and are walking the 3 blocks back to the hotel. About 50 feet in front of us as we’re walking (were walking down the sidewalk on the left side of the road), a car comes flying out of a side street from the right and crosses through the street, hops the sidewalk in front of us, and smashes into a wall. If she didn’t finish her beer, we would have been smoked by the car and most likely squished between the car and the wall. We always finish our beer now.

One Person Moving An Indoor Potted Plant Led To A Car Accident

From Redditor /u/Mr-Hats: I moved a potted plant on one side of an elevator about 3 inches up to be symmetrical with the other. The guy walks in and breaks his toe on it (I think he was running) and on the way to the er in his car with a coworker driving they got into a car wreck.


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