(Submitted by reader Tracy M)
In the early 1970s I was working for a large telecommunications company in Dallas, as was my friend Rick with whom I shared an apartment. During that time my brother had recently been discharged from the military service and we had celebrated his homecoming with a party at our apartment which lasted until the wee hours and involved way too much indulging of alcohol. When my brother left the party that night, he told me that he might need to borrow my car the next day and asked me what my phone number was so that he could reach me if he needed the car, so I gave it to him.
The next morning my friend Rick woke up with a bad hangover and, though it was a Saturday, he was scheduled to work that day. Feeling very groggy, he decided he would rather walk to work instead of drive since it was only about a mile, and he thought that it would make him feel better; so off he went. When he got to work though, he was still feeling quite bad, and since he was the only one there, he made as comfortable a spot for himself as he could and curled up on the floor and went to sleep.
About a month later, Rick and I again threw a party which my brother attended. We all got around to discussing the last party, and how bad we had all felt the next day, when Rick said “I was so sick that morning that I curled up on the floor at the office, and then your brother calls and wakes me up asking if you were there. I told him that you were at home, but he really ruined my nap!” My brother looked confused, and said “I didn’t call you at work, I called him at the apartment at the number you gave me.” We all seemed confused at this point, and I asked Rick “What line did he call on?” He said “Well that’s the weird thing, he called on a test line.” (Being a telephone central office, we had banks of test lines.)
Well, it took a bit of unraveling. It turns out that the test line at the office was coincidentally one digit off from my home phone number, and my brother had accidentally misdialed the number, thinking he was reaching me at my apartment, but instead waking my hungover roommate. Now,what are the odds?
[EDITOR: Many of us have had the experience at some point in our lives of being just one number off (or reversed numbers, or something similar) from a popular number, such as a pizza place, a security company, etc. Wrong numbers aren't at all uncommon, obviously. But it's a pretty unique event when the wrong number still happens to be directly connected to you (or someone in your direct circle) without you even knowing it. But this is another one of those examples of a coincidence that's freaky enough to stand out, but meaningless in the end. Which means when enough of these happen (and they do), they're bound to occasionally add up to something more meaningful for a select few. - Jarrett]