Recently, Redditors were asked, "What's your most unexpectedly genius decision made on a whim?" People shared the small decisions they made that shockingly changed their lives in a big way. Here are some of the most fascinating — and wholesome — stories:
1."Once, I randomly took a route to pick my daughter up from school that I never usually take. Along that rural road, I saw a puppy in a ditch looking starved and very scared. Put him in the car, picked up my daughter, and went to the vet."
"After being declared healthy, other than being malnourished, I brought him home, and he has become the best pet ever!!! All because I wanted to drive with my windows down!!!"
2."Went to the birthday party of an old work acquaintance I hadn’t seen in months (years?). He was literally the only person there I knew. That night, I met my wife and made several new, close friends."
3."I was hanging around in a university, waiting for my brother to finish a group project. I was 18, unemployed, and had been looking for a job for months with no results. I randomly decided to apply for several jobs in my industry that I wasn’t totally qualified for, just because I was bored and felt I should probably do something productive in such a studious environment. Two hours later, I got a call from a recruiter, two days later, I got a job."
4."Bought over 3,600 shares of GameStop mid-January 2021 after seeing many posts about it. Worked out alright."
"Man, that was a wild time. I remember my brother convinced me to buy GME options because 'there’s a short squeeze, no way you can lose money bro, I’m telling you throw a good chunk in there, and you can’t lose.' He had a history of risky investments, but I still threw in $1,000 of 'what the hell' money and ended up turning it into $20,000. My brother, meanwhile, YOLO’d $22K into options and turned it into $418,000. He ended up paying like $80k in capital gains taxes, but even after accounting for that, he was up like $316,000 on a single bet, having started with just $22K. Absolutely wild."
5."Dropped out of university (BA philosophy). Returned to study molecular biology. Went on to do a PhD. Now, I'm a professor of bioinformatics at one of the world's more prestigious universities — 10/10 life decision, no notes."
6."I had a roommate with a drinking problem. One time, he got really drunk and decided to fight the cops when they showed up because he was fighting people on the street in front of the house. I was at work on the night shift at the time, and I came home that morning to my front door kicked in, and the entire house was just absolutely trashed. Then, a few hours later, the landlord showed up with an eviction notice. I was too broke to move into my own apartment, so I asked a work colleague if I could rent the spare bedroom in his basement for a month or two while I saved money and planned my next move. He agreed. About a week later, I moved in, and he got caught cheating and just up and left his wife and child to be with his mistress. I felt bad about that because it left them in the lurch really bad, so instead of saving up money to move out, I covered the rent for a few months. In those few months, the lady got involved with another guy, and he and his kids moved in with us."
"It's been 12 years, and I still live there. They ended up getting married and were so appreciative that I kept them off the streets those first few months that they asked me to move into a much bigger house with them, where I'd have my own apartment in the renovated garage. I wouldn't trade these last 12 years for anything. I love the three kids as my own and watching them grow up into talented and kind adults has been probably the most rewarding and satisfying experience I'll ever have. For the first time in my life, I felt welcomed and that I had a family that loved and supported me. I laugh out loud when I think about how close I was to just moving back in with my mom back then."
7."After sleeping on a new pillow, I had severe neck pain for the first time ever. Even when I went back to my old pillow, the pain persisted. I tried five or six different pillows, and NOTHING HELPED. This went on for two months. Some days were so bad, I could barely get up and dressed for work. One day, at Aldi, I came across a pile of super soft (SO goddamn soft), super fluffy pillows for sale. Everything I'd read said to steer clear of super soft pillows if you have neck pain. I figured I'd tried everything else, so I snatched one up and gave it a try that night. It's been four months now with zero neck pain. Best $14 I EVER spent."
8."Corrected something on Wikipedia. Ended up meeting my husband."
"I started to edit more and more. Turns out, the people who are really active in editing and basically all know each other (or did at the time). We started talking, and it was a met-online story like any other from there. This is actually a shockingly common story. There are A LOT of married Wikipedians."
9."My academic record wasn't that good, but on a whim, I applied for an internship in a different country. Every university and job application since has said how impressive it was. I'm pretty sure this helped me get into one of the best universities in the world, which is now equally the most impressive thing that employers mention; all snowballed from that decision."
10."I asked this girl sitting on my left in my English class if she wanted to go to the coffee shop after class. We've been married 40 years now."
11."I went on a road trip a couple summers ago as what I’ve been referring to as a 'Pandemic Life Crisis.' I stopped in Panama City, Florida, on a whim as a stopping point between New Orleans and Jacksonville. I got a cheap hotel, and that night, walked to a Hooters to get some food before going to bed. I planned on waking up and just heading east to meet my friend across the state. While I was sitting at the Hooters, one of the other guests mentioned that there was a cool air show tomorrow at this beach in a state park. I couldn’t care less about air shows, but I decided I should do something in every city I visit, and I hadn’t planned on visiting Panama City. I woke up that morning and drove to the state park and set up a lawn chair on the beach."
"Lo and behold, it wasn’t any BS air show. It was a training session for the Blue Angels, and I got the best photographs of my entire trip. Such an exhilarating experience. Like, being inside a real action movie and watching the best professional jet fighters do amazing stunts all across the horizon."
12."We live next to a Vrbo vacation rental. My wife makes fun of me for always saying hi to new neighbors who come in for the weekend; she says it’s weird. One day, I’m walking the dogs, see the neighbors have Jersey plates, and say hi. I ask if they are in town for the Springsteen concert, which I can in no way afford to go to, so I’m jealous. They are, and they said they have extra tickets if I know anyone who wants to go. I said I’d love to, but I know what they cost. So, I send them to a few neighbors who are into music and might go."
"A few hours later, there is a knock. They ask how much money I have for the tickets (an hour before show), and I said I got $100 for my birthday, but I don’t want to offer that, because it’s too low. They are drunk and say we’d rather have that than nothing, so let’s go! I tell them to cancel the Uber, I’ll drive them (I get free parking there), and I end up having an amazing time with new friends. They even sent me a video of my favorite song. All because I said hi…"
13."I impulsively flew to Asia for no reason whatsoever other than to shake up my comfort zone and face some fear. Ten years later, I live there."
14."Convinced my husband to apply for a USDA rural development loan. We were able to get out from under our trailer and have a home now."
15."Decided to apply for one more school just in case, and looked up who has one of the latest application deadlines, (and was relatively close to the beach). That resulted in a chain of events that moved me across the country, gave me some of the most fun times of my life, and essentially set me up for a successful career, which I love, but would never have imagined. Now, I'm married to a woman from the East Coast and have no plans to move back West, so that 'let's just try this one' decision 15 years ago completely redirected my life."
16."Purchasing line insurance when we bought our house. I honestly didn't understand what it was, but said 'yeah, sure, whatever' when the insurance agent asked. We found out the sewer line collapsed five days after we moved in, and it needed to be entirely replaced. It was absurdly expensive and fully covered by that $47/year added line insurance."
17."I quit a job I hated. Like, I literally hated every person I worked with, but I'm not a quitter. One day, they called me in on my day off to yell at me. So, I tossed my work computer at the boss and walked out the door. On the street, I met a bunch of old coworkers and told them what I just did, and they were like, uh, a job JUST opened with a guy you know. I texted him, and he hired me the next day."
What's an unexpectedly genius decision you made on a whim? Feel free to share your story in the comments below!
Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.