March 1, 2013

No Coincidence, No Story!

We asked listeners to send us their best coincidence stories, and we got more than 1,300 submissions! There were so many good ones we decided to make a whole show about them. From a chance encounter at a bus station to a romantic dollar bill to a baffling apparition in a college shower stall. 

Dollar photo courtesy of Paul and Esther Grachan.


Hannah Jacoby tells the story of when she and her best friend Lindsey bonded over those toy soldiers with the parachutes, called (really) Poopatroopers — and how the little jumpers perfectly bookended their high-school years. And guest host Sarah Koenig explains the very interesting trends we discovered in our listeners' coincidences. (9 minutes)

Act One


A surprising number of coincidences involve grandmothers — that’s one of the things we learned doing this show. One grandma has so many coincidences happen to her, it drives her granddaughter, 16-year-old Juliana Bontrager, to try to beat her at her own coincidence game. And we also hear from Blake Oliver about a very strange appearance his grandma once made. You can hear more from Blake Oliver in an interview on The Story. (9 minutes)

Photo courtesy Blake Oliver

Act Two

In God We Trust

When it comes to love, coincidences tend to loom extra-large. Stephen Lee tells about the time his parents first met his fiance’s parents, and his future mother-in-law dropped a coincidence bomb. And we hear how a dollar bill ended up clinching a marriage, after floating around Chicago for years. (10 minutes)

Scrapbook image from Stephen Lee

Act Three

Brother, Can You Spare a Dime

Ryan Rozar told us about a confounding coincidence that was visited on him in college. We didn’t think it was a coincidence at all, so we set out to prove him wrong. (8 minutes)
Act Four

Don't Lift the Manhole Cover

More stories of dazzling coincidences: an old boyfriend is conjured in Morocco, a jazz singer seems to rise from the dead, and three boys believe they’ve seen a corpse. Plus stories of errant fathers, lost and found. (13 minutes)

Act Five

What Are The Chances?

Sometimes the best way to appreciate a coincidence is to look past all the rational reasons it might have happened. Other times, it’s better to face facts — even very, very large facts. Kerry Weeks tells about the time he lost a pocketknife, and turned to the galaxy for help. His story was recorded live at a Moth StorySLAM in New York City. (7 minutes)