Last Wednesday Alden Provost was in the United terminal at O’Hare. At the same time Justin Stangel, Alden’s childhood friend, was in the Continental terminal. The two grew up next door to each other, but hadn’t seen one another since Justin’s family moved away twenty years before. 180,000 people pass through O’Hare every day and the United and Continental terminals are located quite a ways away from each other, so Alden and Justin didn’t even come close to bumping into each another.
Don Mackinnon was walking to work when he thought he spotted Mrs. Zelikson, his fourth grade teacher, up ahead. Don raced after the woman and stopped her. It turned out not to be Mrs. Zelikson; in fact, this woman didn’t even speak English.
Billy Norrett met Nancy Agostini at a party in Boston. During the conversation Billy mentioned he had gone to Duke. Nancy told him she knew tons of people who went to Duke and proceeded to rattle off four or five names. They were all a few years ahead of Billy, and he didn’t know any of them.
After undergoing a religious awakening, Rich Killeen quit his job as an investment banker and became an English teacher in a small village outside Calcutta. Some afternoons he sat and watched the village women gather water from the Ganges. As he sat basking in the late day sun, Rich occasionally thought about how remarkable it would be if he suddenly spotted someone he knew from his old life in New York strolling by the river. He never did.
A few years ago all the living Presidents met for a dedication at the Reagan library. Jimmy Carter was getting a glass of lemonade prior to the ceremony when Gerald Ford spotted him across the room. Ford ran over and exclaimed, “Oh my God, Jimmy! Imagine running into you here of all places! What are the odds?” When Ford left, Carter turned to his wife and muttered, “What a tool.”
While driving around Ireland’s West Coast, Jay Johnson’s car broke down in Dingle. Waiting for it to be fixed at the local garage, Jay stopped into a tiny pub — Tir Nir Og. There, 4,000 miles from home, in a small pub with a thatched roof and six people speaking Gaelic, Jay didn’t know a damn person.
Jean Chappelle was a social worker in France who shared the same birthday as Lou Gehrig. In fact, Jean was also the exact same height and weight as the Iron Horse. At forty-eight, Jean was stricken with Lou Gehrig’s disease and died on the same day the Yankee great did. Of course, the French don’t really follow baseball so everyone just said he died of amyotrophic sclerosis.
Last May 19th Chris Albers went to the Cloverleaf Mall, in Medford, Oregon, and parked in space 219. Amazingly, at the very same moment in the Cloverleaf Mall, in Duluth, Minnesota, a man also named Chris Albers parked in space 219. The only one aware of this odd coincidence, however, was God.