Ever wanted to just get away? For one reason or another, sometimes you just become desperate to get out of a situation. The need to leave could occur gradually over a certain period of time (such as at a party that grows increasingly hazardous) or in a split second (such as during a suspicious encounter with a stranger).
People who survived such encounters took to the Reddit to shared their experiences. These are stories of times when a person realized, "I gotta get the heck outta here!"
"When I was about 8 years old, I was in the car with my parents. They were arguing, which they did a lot, but being trapped in that metal box with both of them screaming back and forth became too much. We stopped at a red light and I unbuckled my seatbelt and got out of the car and started running.
My mom, who was in the passenger's seat, ran out after me. After he pulled the car over, my dad ran after me as well. They caught up to me and their attitudes completely changed. They promised they wouldn't fight again, a promise they broke time and time again until their divorce. But, they never argued again in the car."
"On a New York City subway, I watched a grown man pull his pants down. Then, he used the support rod in the middle of the train as leverage to take a wicked steamy dump. All the while, he made aggressive eye contact with me and a few other passengers."
"I pulled into a gas station to fill up my car at 4 am on the way to work. The station was well lit and actually pretty busy, so I didn't feel unsafe. I pulled up next to a pump, got out, and, just when I put the nozzle in, I heard someone trying to get my attention.
I turned and it was a guy who had been leaning against the wall of the station when I pulled in. There was a van nearby him. He asked if I could call his girlfriend to come pick him up. I called one number. The voicemail box was full. He gave me a second number. The mailbox was also full. Then, he asked if I had jumper cable and if I could give him a jump. I agreed, thinking the van he was nearby was his vehicle.
Then, after I agreed, he told me the story of how he got there. According to him, his car had broken down at another gas station up the street. He said it was closed so he couldn't get any help, so he borrowed a bike from someone and rode it down to this gas station. Then, he went into the gas station to leave the bike there. As soon as he started walking away, my brain started racing and pointing out all the things that didn't add up about this story.
First, all I could imagine in those voicemail boxes were a bunch of people hearing, 'Your boyfriend is stuck at the gas station.' Then, I thought about how in the heck would he legitimately borrow a bike from someone at a closed gas station in the middle of the night in the middle of winter. At that point, I decided it was time to get the heck out of there. Thankfully, I hadn't pumped any gas yet, so I quickly put it back on the pump, got into my car, and tore out of there.
I actually felt a little bad because what if he actually needed help. Then, I reminded myself about him 'borrowing a bike' in that situation, how he was trying to get me to a dark, secluded secondary location. This dude was absolutely trying to rob or murder me."
"I was visiting London and just got out of sports bar by myself at 3 am, wasted as can be. I decided to walk from the bar to my hotel, despite not knowing exactly where I was or how to get to the hotel.
I started walking in a direction. Within a minute, I was walking down a rather wide shopping street when I saw two bald guys coming the other way. Both were, pretty much, built brick houses and looked like they wanted to start something. They hadn't spotted me yet, but one guy suddenly walked to the side of the street and just, flat out, punched the steel grate in front of a shop entrance as hard as he could.
I did a straight 180, double timed it back to the bar, and asked the nice bouncers to get me a cab. The cab dropped me off in front of the hotel and I went to bed without getting the snot kicked out of me first."
"My cousins invited me to this church that was several hours away when I was about 10. My mom thought it would be fun. They were throwing some huge party. I, as the local Jew, wanted to experience this whole 'Christianity' thing. I did not learn much, since it wasn't exactly a Christ-oriented event, but there was lots of pizza, fun, and games. That was until everyone had to go into this concert hall thing to listen to the pastor.
The pastor started talking about the Bible, random youth groups at the church to join, and taking 'leveled classes.' That part seemed super off to me. Even friends who were Catholic and took CCD didn't describe it like entering certain levels to ascend to higher levels of the church. Eventually, the pastor started talking about giving money to the church, but it definitely bordered on 'to save yourself' instead of 'to support the church.'
My older cousin, who was around 16, asked me if I wanted to come to his youth group with him. I told him maybe. He started asking me questions about what I believed in, and I answered. When I would say something he disagreed with, he would start cringing, turn to my uncle and say, 'Can we fix that?' When I was waiting around to go back to my cousin's house, I started getting really worried as adults walked up to me asking me if I would join the church. They started asking me if I was interested in their 'services.'
I called my mom immediately. The vibes were getting so bad. She picked me up within two hours from my cousin's house. When I got home, I did some research. It turned out that my cousins were trying to recruit me for their cult."
"I was in the park with my younger brother just playing football, having a nice time. Suddenly, I saw a man looking over in our direction. However, I couldn't be too sure because I didn't have my glasses and I did not want to scare myself for no reason. He was carrying an orange bag, so it was easy to see him. I ignored him.
My brother and I started walking around, kicking the ball to each other. The last time I went to this park, a man of the same build and ethnicity followed me, so I felt myself getting paranoid. This man kept his distance but, for instance, when we went into the basketball area and he would come to the entrance and lean against the gate just watching us. He could go behind the trees and follow us, which I wouldn't notice if it wasn't for his bag. It was clear he knew his way around this park.
I wanted to confront him, but I was with my younger brother and didn't want to cause trouble. I wasn't really scared, but more angry and frustrated. The man suddenly started getting braver and walked faster toward us. We decided to quickly run home, even though we were only out for 15 minutes."
"I go to school in Poughkeepsie. One time my friends and I were walking along some train tracks by the river on a foggy night. Not smart. We could barely see five feet ahead, but we weren’t afraid because it was a popular hangout spot. All of a sudden, we heard loud barking.
A freaking dope fiend lunged out of the fog at us, barking like a dog. The fog around him cleared up and we could see more users lying under some leaves by the side of the tracks, watching us and laughing. I never ran so fast or came so close to soiling myself in my life."
"My best friend convinced me to go to a concert with her. I told her I couldn’t because I had a long drive the next morning and didn’t want to waste gas or go to bed too late. She said it was fine. She would drive and get me home right after the concert. We went to the concert. It was fine. I was ready to go home, but she told me she wanted to go to an after party with the band because her crush would be there. I agreed because she REALLY wanted to get with this guy, the chances of it happening seemed high, and I wanted her to be happy.
Turns out the afterparty was at a decent hotel. Underage kids were straight up walking in with handles of adult beverages and it was really obvious what was going on. The receptionist was eyeing everyone, but nobody gave a care. My friend and I got to the room. We were the only girls there. There were around 40 wasted college guys and us, two girls less than 110 lbs. I had never experienced being looked at like a juicy steak until that moment.
I told her we had to go, but she was determined to stay with her crush. I couldn’t convince her, so I called my mom to have her pick me up. It was the most awkward phone conversation of my life. It turned out that the receptionist called the cops soon after I left and the party got broken up. I think some people got charged.
My friend turned out fine and got with the guy. But, I was so freaking worried about her. No matter what I said, I couldn’t convince her to leave. When my mom showed up, I was crying because I was scared she was going to get hurt. So, my MOM called her and tried to convince her to leave too. She really couldn’t have cared less how concerned we both were. She ended up being a pretty bad friend and showed her true colors shortly after this. We don’t talk anymore."
"I was at a baseball card convention when news of the incel van attack in Toronto broke. It was a slow afternoon, so a group of us dealers gathered around the lobby's TV to watch and the other guys started defending him.
'If he had been an Islamic terrorist, the freaking media would have kept that junk under wraps,' one guy said, followed by, 'What do you think is going to happen when women only go for punks?'
Then the egghead in our group argued that those with less access to love-making suffer just as much as those with low incomes and that we should re-educate women to find those men with 'low market value' attractive. I did not want to find out what he meant by 're-educate,' so I packed up my cards and left."
"My mom and I were walking in Gastown, in Vancouver, British Columbia. We were looking for her sister, who was missing and homeless. The downtown east side of Vancouver is something else - a really tight knit family of homeless, mentally ill, possible substance abusing men and women, many by choice, but not all. My nani used to live in a sort of hotel there, so I know it well, but this moment rattled me.
A dude who was 30, or so, walked up to us, dressed sort of business casual. We looked up and were about to say hi, when he covered his eyes and started counting down really slowly and drawn out.
Nope. Big ol' nope.
We backed up and he followed, eyes still covered. He got to '4' or '5' and my mom just grabbed my arm and yanked me away toward people."
"Some friends of mine from high school were renting a house about half a mile away from my parents' house and they decided to have a party to break the place in. My boyfriend at the time and I decided to go and just walk down to my parents' afterward so we wouldn't have to drive anywhere and could both get wasted for once and not have to worry about transportation. It was super convenient for us.
Almost as soon as we walked in, I felt like something was off. The vibe felt kind of adversarial and uncomfortable, which was weird because everyone there knew each other and no one had historically had an issue with anyone else. Something just told me to leave. We stayed for about an hour and then walked down the hill mountain to my parents' to watch movies in their guest house.
About an hour later, both of our phones start blowing up with frantic phone calls from the party. Apparently, a fight had broken out between two guys who were actually pretty good friends. One of them was bleeding all over everyone and everything. Then, a third guy started threatening them both with a 9" kitchen knife. Everyone had run out onto the lawn screaming. The neighbors called the cops. Since the majority of the people there were 18-20, they needed somewhere to go.
I walked downstairs, told my parents what happened, and let them know that we were, basically, about to provide shelter to about 25 wasted, underage people fleeing through the woods toward our house. What was bad about it was that the most direct path to my house lands at a 20' cliff. So, we had to go get ladders and flashlights and direct all these drunkards onto the deck on our guesthouse porch safely. It was super dangerous, super stressful, and they were all lucky as heck that my boyfriend and I decided to go home and not drink too much that night and that my parents were cool with helping them all out."
"One night, a couple friends and I went out and decided to bar hop. Nothing crazy. We just wanted to check out the different places. We walked into one hole-in-the-wall joint with only a handful of people in there. Everybody’s head turned and looked at us like we were from another planet. I got a weird vibe immediately. The bartender approached slowly and asked how we were doing and what he could get us. We ordered our round of drinks, bartender very slowly says, 'Is that all?'
Again, that weird vibe. A random guy came and sat next to us and started chatting us up. He asked where we were from, what we were doing in the area, if we were 'cool' - lots of weird conversation starters. At that point, we wanted out, but our drinks had not come back yet. We got our drinks and tried to keep to ourselves. The guy kept asking if he could get us anything.
'Anything at all,' he insisted. 'Off the menu.'
It was at that point when I realized that the two women at the other end were doing blow OFF THE BAR. There was also two large men standing against the wall right behind us, just grilling us. Not wanting to make a scene, we all shared a Let’s get the heck outta here look, talked amongst ourselves for a minute, finished our drinks as fast as possible, paid, and left.
The random guy, who we found out was actually the 'owner,' was trying to talk to us the entire time we were paying and making our way to the door, trying to keep us there as the two large men slowly closed in. We got the heck out and said NOTHING until we hit the other side of the street."
"I live in a postcard picture Australian coast town. It's nice and quiet with plenty of holiday makers over the summer, but mostly family friendly and relatively safe. When I was about 11, my mom had taken me and my youngest brother, 7, to the beach for her afternoon walk. It is not a long beach and is in a harbor, so it is always full of families with young children. My brother and I stopped about 50 meters from the end of the beach to dig for mollusks while Mom continued her walk. Then, things got weird.
This strange dude started dancing around in the whitewash. He was trying to get our attention. He picked up some seaweed and was pretending it was a wig and kicked and danced around in the small waves. He was gesturing to come play with him in the water. He was a young, good-looking dude, with long blonde hair, but I was having none of that garbage. I picked up our mollusks, yelled at my little brother, made him cry because he wanted to stay, grabbed his hand, and tore off to Mom. All of this happened in less than five minutes. When I tried to point him out to Mom, he was gone.
The next day he was on the front page of the local paper. Apparently he had skipped bail in Queensland and was picked up near the beach. It didn’t say what his crimes were. That was a long time ago. Years later, 60 Minutes did a special on Brett Peter Cowan, a child predator who murdered a little boy named Daniel Morcombe. It is one of Australia’s highest profile murders. 60 Minutes did a good job chronicling Cowan’s life. When they showed a picture of him when he was young, my feet went cold. He was the man at the beach. When I did the math, it added up to the first time he was arrested in Queensland. It took until then for me to realize that I didn’t save myself from a predator that day on the beach. I saved my little brother."
"I was grabbing some Waffle House in a not so good part of town at around 2 am after work. A dude whipped out a loaded weapon and was screaming at the chick he was with. A few years later, I got a job as a 911 call taker. The same Waffle House got shot up. So, there is that."
"When I was 19, after graduating from my two-year college studying film, a professor whom I and many other students looked up to a lot, asked me to travel with him to Colombia to finish a documentary he was working on. Having traveled with him internationally in the past for class trips, I thought it would be a great opportunity. It was an all expense paid trip so, how could I not?
I traveled from New York to South America all by myself, and once I got there, he gave me a tour of our AirBNB that went like this.
'So, here's the office, kitchen, living room, bathroom, and bedroom,' he explained. 'There's just one bed. I hope that's okay.'
I tried to keep cool and slept head to toe the first night. The next morning, he sat me down to talk. After a long introduction, he finally got to the point. He asked that the next part stay between us.
'So,' he began, 'I've only ever been with my wife...'
That was the moment when all the hairs on my body stood up. That evening, I told him that while I was 'flattered,' I wasn’t interested and thought it was wildly unfair for him to do that to me. I tried to be polite because I didn't know what to expect at that point. The last thing I wanted was for him to get violent. He backpedaled the entire time, all of which I have an audio recording of. I slept on an arm chair in the living room for the rest of the stay. I also had a family friend that lived in the city so he picked me up my last night and took me to the airport. I’d never felt so safe in my life.
Also, for reference, my professor looked like a small Venezuelan Gandalf, long white beard and all."
"I was a French American at an international school in Israel. I had both Israeli and Palestinian friends. I was 15 or 16 years old. Usually on Friday nights during Shabbat, I would get on one of those Palestinian collective taxis, which were white vans that cost something like 50 cents and left from the old city in Jerusalem once they were full of passengers. They would take me on a 15-20 minute ride to the city of Ramallah. There, I would smoke shisha and eat with my friends on the roof of their 10-plus floor shopping mall that was mostly empty beyond floor three.
It is worth noting that, at the time, the Fatah was very much in charge, but the Hamas was still a thing (suicide bombings and anti American flag burning shenanigans, etc.). From what I recall, Ramallah was also their stronghold of choice. Having known this without having anything other than welcoming experiences, I just chug along with life.
One Friday night, I went to Ramallah as per usual, smoked, and ate with friends, but started feeling really sick. I decided not to leave early because I was accompanying a couple of female friends and didn’t want them to go back by themselves, so I just sucked it up. We ended up leaving really late that night compared to usual. So late that we actually only found one collective taxi left and we were the only passengers. The driver did something that was pretty uncommon, but not particularly alarming. He had a friend of his join him in the front seat. At that point, I basically just started sleeping from being exhausted and having my fever running.
After a while, my friends woke me up and they kept asking me to ask the driver where we were in French. I was the only person fluent in English. I had totally passed out and it took me a while to register what was going on. I checked my watch. We had been gone for 45 minutes. I looked out the window. I saw nothing, all black. We were in the middle of the desert. There was not even a paved road. It was a dirt road. I sat there and my brain was on loop going, Speak English with and American accent and you’re dead. Speak English with an American accent and you’re dead. Speak Eng...
I mustered my best attempt at a credible French accent, which is actually really hard when you’re fluent in both languages, or me at least, and asked them what the heck was going on. The driver was very apologetic and explained that he was just avoiding Israeli checkpoints. That did NOTHING to reassure us. I, for one, have no idea if I could trust what he was saying. Also, at the time, Israeli soldiers were still shooting dumdum bullets and didn’t worry too much about their image. A van trying to avoid checkpoints would have become Swiss cheese with us inside. It was not like we could just open the door and bail since it was the middle of nowhere.
We decided to stick with it, keeping a flight option open if at all possible. We eventually made it back safely after an extra hour to slightly worried parents for some, sleeping parents for others. It was a pretty uneventful, albeit stressful, second half of the trip. The information was then relayed to proper authorities on the off chance his passenger was a wanted individual, but more likely, he just didn’t have proper paperwork and didn’t want to run the chance of being arrested over it."