Follow TV Tropes

Following

Lifesaving Misfortune

Go To

There's a little boy and on his 14th birthday he gets a horse... and everybody in the village says, "how wonderful. The boy got a horse" And the Zen master says, "we'll see." Two years later, the boy falls off the horse, breaks his leg, and everyone in the village says, "How terrible." And the Zen master says, "We'll see." Then, a war breaks out and all the young men have to go off and fight... except the boy can't cause his legs all messed up. and everybody in the village says, "How wonderful." note 
Gust Avrokatos, Charlie Wilson's War
Advertisement:

Misfortune is common in life. We suffer minor misfortunes like stubbed toes or accidentally dropping things. We suffer major misfortunes like broken limbs or loss of money. But sometimes, these misfortunes have an unexpected and lucky consequence: preventing our deaths.

For example, Alice is late for a meeting. She runs down the sidewalk to try to make it. She sees the bus about to leave and runs even faster. Unfortunately, she doesn't see the rock she then trips over. As she's picking herself back up, she sees the bus drive off without her.

So, Alice waits for a taxi and takes that to her meeting. As she's riding the taxi, the driver has to take a detour due to an accident. Alice later finds out the accident was that the bus she almost boarded crashed with no survivors.

Alice has just had a Lifesaving Misfortune. If she hadn't suffered the misfortune (missing the bus), she would have died (in the bus crash). Also see Unluckily Lucky and Serendipitous Survival. Often involves an inversion of Unwitting Instigator of Doom. Occasionally results in the affected character gaining a Disability Superpower.

Advertisement:

Subtrope of Necessary Fail. Compare Happily Failed Suicide.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • The Sabaody arc of One Piece ends with the Straw Hats being taken out one by one by Bartholomew Kuma, but what they don't realize at first is that he was actually saving them, sending them from a place where they would almost certainly die to several far-off locations where they could recuperate, and in Luffy's case, also give him a chance to rescue Ace.

    Comic Books 
  • During the Scourge saga in the Captain America comic, the Water Wizard suffered a flat tire that made him late to a meeting of supervillains to discuss what to do about the vigilante Scourge. When he finally got there, he discovered Scourge had murdered everybody at the meeting.
  • A Superman arc sees Jimmy Olsen way way down on his luck, losing his job at the Planet, and missing a job interview by missing his train. The train is attacked by the Parasite, and he drains the passengers down to clothed skeletons, which are found at the next stop. Jimmy decides his luck may not be so bad after all.

    Fairy Tales 
  • In The Grateful Beasts, the king locks the princess in a tower because she objects to the tasks he demands of Ferko, just before the last task, which was to summon all the wolves in the realm. The wolves make short work of everyone else in the court; Ferko, chosen to succeed her father, sets her free and marries her.
Advertisement:

    Fan Works 
  • Second Wind: As Luffy notes in his thoughts, the Krieg Pirates running into Mihawk was this for Gin. While a lot of his crew mates died, Gin himself survived and the incident is what eventually led him to stop following Don Krieg, whose ego would've led to him Bullying a Dragon and gotten them all killed before they even had a chance to think about entering the New World, even if they hadn't ran into Mihawk.
  • In Arc Of The Revolution Amber's horse is stolen by Jaune so she avoids Cinder, Emerald, and Mercury's ambush. As a result, part of her Aura is never stolen and she is never left comatose as her life slowly drains away.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Titanic: Applies to the character who loses a card game, and with it his ticket on the Titanic, to Jack Dawson.
  • In The Avengers, Tony Stark implies to Bruce that his Freak Lab Accident might have been this.
  • The Hobbit:
    • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug has a variation. Bard's kids probably owe their lives to Bofur drinking himself into a stupor in Laketown. If he hadn't missed the boat, Fíli would be the one sent to find kingsfoil, leaving only the elderly Oin and the incapacitated Kíli to fight off the Orcs until Legolas and Tauriel arrived.
    • In The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, when the Master of Laketown and Alfrid flee on a large boat from Smaug, the latter complains that they are too heavy and too slow, so the Master tosses him in the water. Minutes later, Smaug's corpse falls on the boat, killing the Master, while Alfrid survives and becomes a Karma Houdini — for a couple of days, anyway. In the Extended Edition, he dies in a bizarre and humorous manner while trying to desert Dale during the battle.
  • A brief scene in Interstate 60 features this. An executive is getting out of his car when a cyclist crashes into his car door, as a result of which the executive realizes he will be late for an extremely important meeting. Frustrated, he wishes that the event in question had never happened, which is granted by the cyclist. This time around, the executive gets out of his car safely, but is too distracted by his phone call to notice the enormous truck coming his way, which fatally runs him over.
  • In Kangaroo Jack, the protagonists are tasked with delivering $50,000 to a mysterious "Mr. Smith", which goes awry when one of them puts the jacket with the money on the titular 'roo. As it later turns out, had they delivered the money to Mr. Smith, he would have killed them as they were unknowingly paying him to do.
  • Charlie Wilson's War: Discussed in Gus' Zen Master story, which is about a boy who gets a horse, loses the use of his legs in a riding accident, but is then excluded from the draft when a war breaks out and all the young men in the village except him are killed. Charlie does grasp the moral in not assuming that it might not turn out to be a case of misfortune after all. As the Zen Master says: "We'll see."
  • In Jurassic Park III, one of the mercenaries mentions that there was a fourth member of their team who came down with the flu a couple days before they left, so he couldn't make the trip. Considering the three mercenaries who did go all end up being eaten by dinosaurs, the guy who got the flu is the lucky one.
  • The Story of a Cheat: A boy steals a few francs from the cash register of the family bakery to buy marbles. He gets caught, and as a punishment is not allowed any of the gourmet mushrooms the family is having for dinner. The mushrooms are poisonous, and everyone in the family except for him dies.

    Folklore 
  • There's a Chinese fable where a man's horse runs away. He and his son go looking for it, find it frolicking alongside twenty wild horses, and capture them all. The man's son tries to break in one of the horses, but it rears up and breaks his leg. While he is waiting for it to heal, war breaks out, and every able-bodied young man is drafted, sparing him. Every time the man's fortune seems to go up or down and people congratulate/feel sorry for him, he only answers "We'll see."
  • The tale is told of how Rabbi Akiva traveled with a candle, a rooster, and a donkey: the candle so he could study the Torah at night, the rooster - his alarm clock - to wake him up to study the Torah, and finally the donkey to carry his possessions. Rabbi Akiva stopped at a city. He tried to get lodging at an inn but there was no room available. Rabbi Akiva went from house to house but nobody would let him in. So what did he do? He walked into the neighboring woods and set up camp. All of a sudden, a strong wind kicked up and extinguished the candle. A few moments later, a ferocious lion emerged from behind his tent and killed his donkey. What was left? The rooster. A ravenous cat appeared and devoured it. Rabbi Akiva was completely stuck. What did he say? "whatever God does, must be for the good." The next morning, Rabbi Akiva discovered that a band of robbers had attacked the town during the night, mercilessly killing the people and stealing their money. The robbers escaped into the forest. If they had seen the candle, or heard the noise of the rooster and donkey, Rabbi Akiva would have met the same fate as the townspeople. God had saved his life by extinguishing his candle and taking his animals.

    Literature 
  • In Dune Messiah, Muad'Dib knows that his wife Irulan is poisoning his consort Chani to prevent her from conceiving a child. He tolerates this because his precognitive abilities have shown him that Chani will die in childbirth, and thus Irulan is actually prolonging her life. Eventually, Chani adopts a strict diet that makes it impossible for Irulan to keep slipping contraceptives into her food, and thus becomes pregnant. She dies after giving birth to twins.
  • In The Call of the Wild, Buck (a sled dog) is beaten to within an inch of his life by his cruel owner, before being saved. The owner leaves Buck behind and he and the rest of the sled dogs die when the ice gives way just a short ways out of camp.
  • In the Dirk Pitt Adventures novel Vixen 03, Thomas Machita is betrayed by Randolph Jumana and thrown in a jail cell to await execution. The execution never comes because the South African Defense Forces attack the compound that night. The construction of the cell prevents him from being crushed when the building is blown up. Machita ends up being the only survivor of the attack.
  • There is a short story in Russian called The Lucky One, about a woman whose entire life was a string of these.
  • In the science fiction story The Day of the Triffids, the protagonist (and a handful of other characters) miss a spectacular meteor shower. The next day, however, it's revealed that the meteor shower blinded everyone who witnessed it, leaving them utterly helpless against the titular killer plants.

    Live-Action TV 
  • A non-fatal variation in The A-Team episode "Holiday in the Hills". Near the beginning of the episode, the team crashes thanks to Murdock having stolen their plane off a repair lot. Some of them, especially B.A., are not at all happy about this. Then, near the end of the episode, the team narrowly escapes Col. Lynch and realizes that, had they not crashed, they would have been right on time to fall into his trap.
  • On one episode of Crossing Jordan, Macy races another man for a taxi, but loses. He gets to work at the medical examiner's office through other means. One of the bodies that comes in is the other man who was killed when the taxi crashed.
  • One episode of Millennium has a pair of criminals kidnap a school bus full of children. As Frank and the locals race to find them, a tornado approaches the area. The tornado sweeps over the spot where the criminals are hiding the kids, but the kids are recovered safe and sound. The tornado, however, does kill the two criminals... and destroys the school the children were supposed to be in.
  • A rare comedic example from Spaced: Tim Bisley survived a dog attack because he was struck by lightning, which scared off the dogs. However, the incident left him with a phobia of both dogs and lightning (and, bamboo, apparently).
  • In one Merlin episode, Arthur and the Knights eat all the stew that Merlin made. However, the Villain of the Week shot a hunk of poison into the stew. Because Merlin didn't get any, he's able to save the others and the dragon's egg the bad guy is hunting.
  • A Criminal Minds Serial Killer Of The Week, obsessed with killing people because they seemed to have happier lives than him, mentions in passing that his Greek Mythology obsession (which he's built his mofit around) made him want to go to Greece 20 years ago, and he discovers that his Bad Boss got him drunk and prevented him from going to the airport (he couldn't afford another ticket, had to stay at home, and miseries stacked up until he was diagnosed with terminal cancer and let go of his job). The BAU tells him during the final Mexican Standoff that the bus he was supposed to get on to get to his flight had a crash and everybody in it died.
  • On an episode of Dusty's Trail, the wagon train comes upon a deserted town. Somehow Dusty ends up locking everyone in a jail cell, so they survive when the military shells the town for an exercise (which is why it was deserted).
  • In an episode of Early Edition, Gary is trying to prevent a severe car crash/pile-up on a freeway from happening by redirecting people named in the future-predicting newspaper away from the scene of the accident, but the only thing that changes is who ends up in the accident. Meanwhile, Erica's son Henry goes missing, and she asks Gary to help look for him. Gary realizes that his death by drowning is reported in the newspaper below the car accident, and decides to send Patrick and Marissa to the freeway while he and Erica intercepts Henry at the river. Without a fast means to get there, they steal a car. After they are able to rescue Henry (with the help of the police), the car's engine burst into flame. It turns out that the car's owner was going to use the freeway to go to his business meeting and that it was his car that would have caused the accident.
  • Veronica Mars:
    • Veronica is on a bus on the way back from a Class Trip, but gets off during a pit stop for a bottle of water. Thanks to Meg, the bus leaves without her, and she has to catch a ride on Weevil's bike. Not too far ahead, however, they find out that the bus went over a cliff, killing everyone inside it.
    • During the second season, it's discovered that Woody Goodman molested several of the players on the softball team he managed. Keith assists in tracking him down and arresting him, but Sheriff Lamb refuses to let him join them on the plane back to Neptune. This ends up saving Keith's life when Cassidy Casablancas blows up the plane.
  • In The Twilight Zone episode "Twenty-Two", a dancer refuses to board an airplane because the stewardess reminds her of a recurring nightmare. The plane explodes on takeoff.
  • In episode 16 of The Flash (2014), Cisco gets kidnapped by the Rogues, beaten, and forced to build them weapons, but this prevents him from investigating Dr. Wells as he did in the previous, reset timeline, which got him brutally murdered.
  • In the Seinfeld episode "The Busboy," Elaine accidentally gets a busboy fired. He is initially angry, but then is grateful when a gas explosion at the restaurant kills five employees, including his replacement.
  • NYPD Blue: A man's wife is trying to kill him, yet he remains oblivious to her hatred of him. At one point before his story is shown, he was attacked and got his jaw broken. Later, he is shot in the head by a would-be killer but the bullet is deflected by the wires in his jaw, resulting in serious but not fatal injuries. His doctor says it was a one in a million chance that the bullet hit in the exact right spot to save his life.
  • Sometime before the pilot episode of Knight Rider, police officer Michael Long suffers a head injury requiring a metal plate. When his partner betrays him, she shoots him in the head and leaves him for dead. The bullet is deflected by the metal plate. It doesn't do any damage to his vital organs, but his face is severely damaged. Plastic surgery makes him look like David Hasselhoff and he becomes Michael Knight, the show's protagonist.
  • The Thundermans: "It's Not What You Link"; Phoebe gets suspicious that Max is trying to turn her boyfriend Link evil. To avoid being caught, Max freezes Phoebe in his lair. Meanwhile, Billy and Nora discover Hank's secret hideout. Nora accidentally lasers the security system, causing the three of them to be locked inside. The only way out for the three of them is for Barb to use her electrical powers to cause a power surge in the house. She does just that, which enables the three of the to open the door...and also thaws Phoebe out after being frozen for half a day.
  • My Name Is Earl:
    • One of Earl's misdeeds involves siphoning gas out of a Yugo he found in someone's driveway. After he repays the man by buying him more gas, he discovers he was inadvertently saving his life. The man was suicidal and repeatedly tried to kill himself with the car's exhaust fumes. But since Earl repeatedly siphoned his tank, he kept running out of gas before it could take effect. He previously thought that running out of gas was a sign from God that he should stop trying to kill himself, but goes right back to trying after discovering it was Earl's doing.
    • Another episode showed that Earl had broken the taillight of a gangster named "Hash Brown", causing him to be pulled over by the cops, which kept him from a deal gone bad, where his other gang members were killed. Believing he was saved by some Divine Intervention, he turned to religion. Unlike the above case, Hash was having a particularly bad day, by Earl's fault, and was considering returning to a life of crime, until Earl apologized for the taillight. That reminded him of what turned him away from the gangster life, and reaffirmed his faith.

    Video Games 
  • Near the beginning of Assassin's Creed III young Conner stumbles across some Templars in the woods who proceed to beat him up and threaten to kill him. When he comes to and wanders back to his village he finds the whole thing burning and many people, including his mother, dead or dying.
  • In Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, Rafiel, one of the herons, tells how he was captured by slave drivers and was sold to Hetzel, one of the Begnion senators. However, Rafiel grew ill, so Hetzel tried to care for him. Then, the Serenes Massacre occured, which wiped out his kind (save for his father, brother, and sister), and destroyed Serenes Forest, his home.
  • Inverted in a case from the third Ace Attorney game: Glen Elg was supposed to pay off a huge loan to Furio Tigre by way of giving him a powerful computer virus he created; the kind of stuff that could sell for millions on the black market. However, just as Glen was about to give Tigre the virus, he happened to win five hundred grand; just enough to pay off the loan. Unluckily for him, Tigre had a much bigger debt of his own to mob boss Bruto Cadaverini, which he couldn't pay off with "just" 500k. So Tigre resorted to kill Glen and steal the virus from him. Glen's luck at winning at the lottery led to his death, something that The Judge lampshaded as being tragically ironic.
  • In the final level of Medal of Honor: Airborne, Travers is left behind by his squadmates following a German ambush in the basement of the Flak Tower his unit was assigned to destroy. This forces Travers to fight his way out. When he finally manages to get out of the tower, he finds his friend and superior dead and dying following an ambush by a German squad, making him the Sole Survivor of his original squad since Sicily.
  • Fate/Grand Order:
    • At the beginning of the game, you fall asleep during the orientation lecture at Chaldea Defense Institute, angering the Director and prompting her to kick you out of the mission to Singularity F. The mission departure is sabotaged with explosives, killing or incapacitating all the other summoners.
    • It becomes doubly-lifesaving when it is revealed in SE.RA.PH chapter that prior Chaldea's organized effort to deploy the Masters into an army to tackle the Singularities, Chaldea dabbled in experiments on Master candidates in the Mariana Trench. Experiments which, when we finally see it ourselves, had left the facility a killing ground for almost 200 personnel. It was one of the previous Director of Chaldea, Marisbilly's, greatest sin against humanity that he was supposed to save. Combine this with the backstory of the protagonist, that they only became a Master candidate because they were broke and needed money, so they applied to a part-time job they found only to be the last Master of Chaldea to save the world. The fact that they were broke at that moment instead of before or after saved them from being a mere statistic for Chaldea's effort to save humanity.
  • In the Pokémon series, a Pokémon can only be inflicted with one status ailment at a time. This can lead to some situations where your Pokémon being inflicted with a less harmful status can be beneficial because it makes them immune to another more harmful status.
  • Rakenzarn Frontier Story: Makoto is saved from being assassinated by Solo thanks to being summoned by accident when Shaft's ritual is interrupted.

    Visual Novels 
  • Makoto Naegi in Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, despite his title as the Ultimate Lucky Student was the only student whose personal bathroom door gets stuck, which was really just a minor annoyance. Later on, it becomes a key point in the investigation that proves his innocence, since the murder took place in his bathroom and the killer broke down the door thinking it was lockednote . Keep in mind that in this game, being accused as a killer in the final vote invariably leads to execution (either for the actual killer, or the class that got it wrong).

    Web Comics 
  • In Stand Still, Stay Silent, the Denmark portion of the Just Before the End prologue focuses on an executive who gets stuck in the island of Bornholm after the country suddenly closes down all national and international boat traffic to keep The Plague from spreading. His Mean Boss, who was mad at him for taking the trip because it was happening too close to an important meeting, fires him on the spot by phone. The first Encyclopedia Exposita from After the End describes the nations that still exist. The document reveals that Denmark is among them, but that it now consists only of Bornholm island. That executive from before? The Medic of the main cast is his great-grandson.
    • Said great-grandson is implied to have had the same happen to him, by being fired from his front-line position in the Danish army shortly before said frontline was annihilated in an attempt to reclaim Kastrup.

    Real Life 
  • The 9/11 Attacks had many instances of this. Some are documented, while others are apocryphal:
    • On September 11, 2001, Seth MacFarlane was scheduled to take a flight to Los Angeles from Boston. Due to a hangover and his agent giving him the wrong time for the flight, he missed the plane. He tried to find another flight, only to find that the terrorist attacks that day grounded all flights. He also learned that one of the hijacked planes, American Airlines Flight 11, was the one he was supposed to be on.
    • There were people who worked in the buildings, but weren't there, either because they were sick, at somebody else's funeral, and one case even tells about someone who wasn't at his work on time because his shoelaces weren't tied.
    • The History Channel documentary 102 Minutes that Changed America shows an instance of this. A man who worked in one of the Towers can be seen on the phone with a friend, telling them that he overslept that morning because he was watching Monday Night Football the night before and stayed up too late. He ends the conversation with, "Monday Night Football saved my life."
    • As detailed in The Falling Man, Michael Lomonaco (the executive chef at Windows on the World) normally arrived early for work in the morning, but was running late because he had to drop his son off at school and get his glasses fixed at an optometrist in the lobby. He was ready to step on the elevator when the first plane struck, and was evacuated shortly afterwards. He became the only member of the staff to survive the day's events.
    • All My Children actress Eva LaRue (Dr. Maria Santos, 1993-1997, 2002-2005) was scheduled to be a passenger in American Airlines flight 11, the first one to strike the World Trade Center. However, she felt ill due to her pregnancy and deciding to postpone to a later flight, thus saving hers and her unborn child's life.
  • The Pan Am Flight 103 bombing produced several stories like this also, including Sex Pistols frontman Johnny Rotten (John Lydon), who's wife had failed to pack. This and the subsequent argument caused them to miss the flight.
  • Sometimes thought of as an urban legend, but marked as true by Snopes. In 1950, the Reverend at the West Side Baptist Church in Beatrice, Nebraska lit a fire in the furnace and went home to eat with his family before choir practice at 7:20. Before he could go, his wife soiled her dress and they had to wait while she ironed another. Additionally, every other member of the choir had something delaying them as well. (Car trouble, a persistent math problem, oversleeping, etc.) As a result, every member of the choir was late for practice... good thing since the furnace ignited a gas leak and the empty church exploded five minutes after practice was supposed to begin.
  • On November 28, 1942, the Boston College football team faced off against its cross-town archrival, Holy Cross. Boston College was undefeated and headed to a New Year's Day bowl game, and the Golden Eagles were heavy favorites against lightly regarded Holy Cross. Holy Cross proceeded to shock the college football world by demolishing Boston College 55-12, ruining the Golden Eagles' perfect season. The stunning defeat led to the cancellation of a victory party scheduled for that night at Boston's Cocoanut Grove nightclub. That night the Cocoanut Grove burned to the ground, killing 492 people.
  • Guitarist Tommy Allsup lost a coin toss to Ritchie Valens, who then took his spot on an airplane which later crashed, killing Valens, The Big Bopper, and Buddy Holly. Mentioned in passing in the Jukebox Musical Buddy.
  • On August 26, 1990, musician brothers Jimmie and Stevie Ray Vaughan played a concert at Alpine Valley, Wisconsin. Following the concert, Jimmie, Stevie Ray, and Jimmie's wife Connie had planned to leave the venue by helicopter, but they arrived to find that members of headliner Eric Clapton's crew had taken some of their seats. Stevie Ray asked for, and was granted, the one remaining seat, while Jimmie and Connie stayed back to wait for a later flight. The helicopter crashed due to pilot error less than a mile from the takeoff point, and everyone aboard was killed on impact, including Stevie Ray.
  • On the night of May 7, 1902, a man named Louis-Auguste Cyparis got into a fight in the town of St. Pierre on the island of Martinique. He was booked for either assault or murder (accounts differ) and placed in solitary confinement in an underground cell. The next morning the island's volcano, Mount Pelee, erupted, wiping out the town of St. Pierre and killing thirty thousand people. Cyparis was one of only three documented survivors.note  The sheltered underground prison cell saved Cyparis's life. He later spent years traveling with the Barnum & Bailey Circus, telling his story from inside a replica of his cell.
  • Ivan Basso crashed on stage 5 of the 2015 edition of Tour de France. The days after the crash, he still had testicular pains, so he asked the race doctor to take a thorough look at what could be wrong. The diagnosis: Early stage testicular cancer. So early that he made a full recovery after the surgery is done.
  • Similar to the above, Philadelphia Phillies first baseman John Kruk was holding someone on base (during 1994 spring training) when pitcher Mitch Williams threw the ball at him to keep the runner on, which bounced and hit Kruk in the groin, also breaking his protective cup. In the course of the subsequent medical examination, early stage testicular cancer is discovered, and Kruk also made a full recovery after surgery.
  • Something similar also happened to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. On November 7th, 2018, Ginsburg fell and broke three ribs. When doctors x-rayed her to examine the rib injures, they found very early-stage cancerous growths on her lung. The affected lobe was removed, and doctors later confirmed that no traces of cancer remained following the surgery. On February 19, 2019, exactly two months after her surgery, Ginsburg once again took her place on the bench.
  • Yuri Yudin, a student at the Ural Polytechnical Institute, joined a group of nine fellow students to conduct a long-distance ski/hiking expedition. A day after leaving the last permanent settlement on the route, his chronic health problems forced him to turn back. All nine others in the group perished under mysterious circumstances in the Dyatlov Pass incident.
  • While he was just an average businessman, John D. Rockefeller booked himself on a routine train ride from Cleveland to Buffalo. However, he arrived at the station too late to catch his train. While passing over a bridge near Angola, New York, the last two cars of the train derailed. All but two of the passengers in the car he would have been in were burned alive.
  • Enrique Wilson of the New York Yankees was planning to fly home to the Dominican Republic on November 12, 2001, a week after the Yankees were to play the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Diamondbacks won and Wilson decided to go home early since there would be no celebratory parade. The plane he would have been on ended up crashing in Queens. There were no survivors.
  • Stalin and Hitler signed a nonaggression pact for their joint occupation of Poland. Several Jews escaped from the Nazi occupied parts of Poland to the Russian occupied parts only to be deported to gulags and Siberia. When Hitler double crossed Stalin and attacked the Soviet Union, Stalin granted amnesty to his Polish prisoners and let them form their own army.
  • In April 1865, William Seward, Abraham Lincoln's Secretary of State, had been injured in a carriage accident a week before Lincoln's assassination and was confined to bed wearing a jaw splint. On the night of the assassination, one of Booth's conspirators snuck into his house and stabbed Seward in the neck, but his jaw cast blocked the assassin's knife. His son Frederick too also had a lucky accident that night. When trying to fight off the assassin, the attacker Powell pulled out a gun but it jammed. Rather than clear the jam, Powell pistol-whipped Frederick and knocked him out. Painful, but it broke the gun in the process and kept him from following up with a kill shot.
  • After the Paris attacks in 2015, at least a few Eagles of Death Metal fans ended up on the news because they were meant to go to the Bataclan theatre but ended up missing the concert because they were sick or had family commitments. At said concert, roughly 89 people were shot dead by gunmen working for Daesh or Islamic State.
  • There have been quite a few stories from April 1912 of passengers who were scheduled to travel on the maiden voyage of the ill-fated RMS Titanic but never making it due to either cancelling for unknown reasons, or for losing their tickets prior to sailing. One man who was hired as a stoker was reported to have had his workbook stolen, thus saving his life, most likely at the cost of the thief's.
  • One girl at the 2017 Ariana Grande concert attacked by ISIS in Manchester only survived because she misread a text from her mother telling her where to meet up. The mother died.
  • On April 15, 2002, a South Korean tour group was shifted to the rear of the plane back to Busan because the tour guide had to retrieve his belongings from the hotel and the good seats were taken by the time they got to the airport. However, this blunder ended up saving most of their lives; that plane ended up flying into a mountain because the pilots mishandled the approach to Gimhae Airport, leaving only 37 survivors, most of them in much the same crappy seats the guide caused his group to be shifted into.
  • The Guidepost magazine column "His Mysterious Ways" often features stories like this. For example, a woman had her shoes stolen while at a conference. She was forced to give her speech in a pair of flats. When a crazed gunman stormed into the conference room and opened fire, a bullet struck the wall two inches above her head—where her head would have been had she been wearing the high heels that were pilfered.
  • Five men serving on Franklin's lost expedition were forced to disembark at Greenland due to being judged unfit for service. This meant that they avoided the horrible fates everyone else on the expedition suffered.
  • In 1960 Marilyn Meeker & Larry Pierce were fifth in the world in ice dance, and were looking almost certain to win their first U.S. National title and return to the World Championships, but that December Meeker broke her ankle and was unable to compete for the rest of the 1960-1961 season. Pierce teamed up with another partner, and they won the National title and a spot on the World team. Then the plane the entire World team was on crashed, killing everyone. Meeker would struggle with survivor guilt for a long time afterwards.

Top

Example of:

/

Feedback