Chance Encounters

chance encountersLast week was traveling week for me and I had a very uneventful trip to and from Ohio unlike the week prior when I tried to get to Chicago.  Now that was a disaster from almost the first mile.  Thankfully my time traveling to see my mom was easy and fun and I encountered a couple of interesting things along the way.

When I was in the waiting area at Minneapolis St. Paul airport I sat amongst a bunch of Target employees. They were having several lively discussions and were definitely having a good time as they waited.  One young man sitting across from me was trying to take a head count of who was there and who wasn’t and stated loudly “Wait—we are missing Beth Ann!”   I looked up from my Kindle and quipped “No you aren’t!  I’m right here!”.   He just looked at me.  I haven’t met many Beth Ann’s in my life and it made me smile to think that there was another one going to be on the plane with me.  We had a little conversation about that and then the Target Beth Ann walked up.  The group all introduced her to me and she sat down next to me and we struck up a nice little conversation. The funny thing was that she was the younger version of me that day since we were both sporting jean jackets (even though my oldest son is not a fan of them I still wear them because they are fabulous especially for travel).   When I left to board the plane before their zone was called the entire Target team said “Goodbye Beth Ann!  Safe travels”.   Fun.

Fast forward to Chippewa, Pennsylvania a few hours later.  I stopped at the local Walmart (oh I know –but it was convenient) to pick up a few things after I landed in Pittsburgh to take to my mom’s house to cook a few meals while I was there.  I had planned to make a shopping list on the plane but didn’t so I had my printed out recipes in hand and was standing in the canned vegetable aisle taking a gander at what I still needed to get into my shopping cart.  I must have had a puzzled look on my face or something because a lovely lady stopped and commented that I must have quite a list or something.  I joked that I was just trying to figure out what I actually needed since I had not made the list and was trying to figure out what was left from the recipe list.  A conversation ensued and she found out I was going to see my  mom for a bit and that I was planning to stock her freezer while I was there with easy meals she could just take out and cook without much fuss.

As the conversation continued she asked me where I was from and when I told her Iowa she got a funny look on her face and asked specifically where.  When I responded with “Mason City” she just looked at me and stated that SHE was from Mason City!   What are the chances that the ONE person I actually had a conversation with in Walmart was from the town where I am currently living?   A zillion to one?   While I do not actually know most of the people she mentioned I had heard of a lot of them because she knew a lot of folks who work for Hospice where I volunteer.  Small world????  Yes.  Very.

I think it is experiences like these that make me realize that not only is it a very small world at times it is also important to look for those opportunities to “find the extraordinary in the ordinary”.  A simple trip grocery shopping left me with a marvelous story and a lovely conversation with a very lovely woman.  When I allow myself the chance to engage with someone and have a conversation and not be so focused on “me” I open myself up to some wonderful experiences.

Do you have an experience that could have been an ordinary one that suddenly turned memorable because you opened yourself up to a simple conversation?  I would love for you to share with us in the comments.

Next week is going to be special on It’s Just Life.  I am going to have a post every single day featuring one of My Favorite Things. The best part is that each day there will be a giveaway for that same item!  Don’t miss a single day.  All it will require is a comment and that means a comment for Bridges Mentoring as well as a chance to win a fun item!  Come back every single day and don’t forget to share with your friends.


  1. I love those experiences! I recently met one of my blogging buddies who happens to live near where I grew up. Not only did we know a lot of the same people, but it seems my hubby’s cousin used to be their next door neighbor. And as we were talking outside a brewery, my fourth grade teacher came out…just so happens my blogging buddy’s hubby has known her for years!

  2. These are fun stories. What are the chances? Now that you mention it, I don’t think I’ve ever met another Beth Ann either.

  3. Those are two great stories. I am always chatting it up with strangers. Makes life more interesting.

    Just yesterday, for example, a woman at the grocery store asked which cake mix was the best and I told her I didn’t know since I seldom bake cake mixes. That led me to telling her I’d just made the best homemade chocolate cake with a great peanut butter cream cheese frosting. She then requested both recipes so she could make this today for her daughter’s 23rd birthday. We exchanged emails and I sent the recipes.

    Yup, that’s how I roll sometimes. A lot like you.

  4. I love these chance encounters and I strongly believe there are no coincidences. I was at an artist’s presentation with my daughter on the weekend. My daughter struck up a conversation with the woman sitting beside us. Turns out she is also a writer and an employment counsellor like me. We have now connected on social media and we are following each other’s blog. Glad your trip went smoothly this time (and no obnoxious seat mates).

  5. Becky Miracle says:

    SO the mystery is solved! I was so curious how you met someone from Mason City at Walmart in PA. I apparently have “the look” too and have total stranger talk to me when I am out and about on errands or ask me for help finding something. I get tickled by it and often wonder “why me?” Do I have a look that makes me approachable or am I just in a handy spot at the time? MOST of the time it’s a fun experience!
    Looking forward to next week and your favorite things and I am thrilled to be included!

  6. When our paths cross some day, do I have some stories to tell you about “chance encounters.” I agree with Darlene that they aren’t just coincidences. We cross paths for a reason. I think such experiences drove me to write several posts in my first two years of blogging just marveling about them. Did you ever watch the film Serendipity? It’s a fun “chick flick” I could watch over and over with the girls.

  7. 6 degrees of Separation!!! I love that idea — that if you just took the time to talk to someone, and made the right inquiries; you will find a link in 6 steps. Although I never find someone named “Leslie” – it’s very rare it seems. I only know of a popular actress, and I highly doubt she and I will be crossing paths any time soon! 🙂

  8. I struck up a conversation with a greeter at Wamart. It turned out that day she needed someone to listen to her. She had tears in her eyes as she said to me,”I don’t normally share my feeling, I don’t know why I am with you.” This came from simply thanking her for always having a smile on her face and making a very horrible Walmart much easier to go to.

    The next time I went in I gave her a card thanking her. Now we know each other by name. I don’t know who was more blessed, myself or her.

  9. What fun, meeting someone with your same name and chatting with someone from your hometown! Beth Ann, you have such marvelous adventures — thanks for sharing them with us!

  10. Since I’ve been married to Motor Man, I have learned just how small our world is WHEN you venture to start a conversation with a stranger (in a safe place of course. Talking to a stranger just has a bad connotation.) MM has no problem doing that. It’s amazing how many times we’ve “known someone that the stranger also knows”….!
    Looking forward to your favorite things week of posts AND the giveaways!
    Have a good weekend!

  11. Ohio. 😀
    Carl Jung claimed these kind of occurrences stemmed from synchronicity and that they connect you and grounded you for a specific reason Only you can tie the loose ends together. I wrote more here – I find the whole concept fascinating and in my own life I pay attention to these kinds of “signs.”

  12. I think your favorite things for next week sounds like fun. CH is a meet and greet kind of guy and talks to anyone. I am much more shy and don’t tend to initiate conversation with people I don’t know. But almost every day I find myself in a conversation with someone I don’t know or don’t know well through the blogs. Always fun because I almost always find a connection.

  13. Helen Brown says:

    I live in a wonderful rest home, Copeland Oaks where we have many people to share our time and life with every day.

  14. I love these chance encounters, Beth Ann. You can’t help but think, what are the odds? Maybe there’s a reason you were supposed to connect with these people.

    Tell your son that all the cool kids wear jeans jackets. 🙂 lol

    • I know–what are the odds? But then I try to look for those unexpected meetings in life so maybe I just have that “look” about me. And thanks for the tip about the jean jackets. I keep telling him that but he isn’t buying it. 🙂

  15. Oh! I thought your name was Path. 😉

  16. I’ve had those experiences too and I always marvel at them! It is indeed a small world. And speaking of that, when you flew into Pittsburgh, you were in my neck of the woods! 🙂

  17. Mary Ellen says:

    One of my chance encounters started as a conversation with my dad. He was cleaning out a closet and found my old accordion which had not been played in 20 years. He wanted to know if he should save it for me for my next trip home or he could sell it and send me the money. I just kept saying, “Dad, it’s OK. You can bless someone else with it.” He was reluctant to give something of mine away. The next day he went to church to volunteer and by chance ran into a man whose daughter & son-in-law were missionaries in South America. The parents always collect toys and coloring books to take there. The dad said, “Unfortunately, the one thing my daughter really wanted was an accordion to play for the Bible schools; the guitar sound just doesn’t carry sometimes and it would be easy to take places.” My dad said, “You’re in luck. I have one just for you.” So now somewhere in South America, children are enjoying music! My dad was always great about talking to people and finding what they needed. Who would’ve thought someone needed an accordion?

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