Fancy meeting you here: 9 people tell us their ‘it’s a small world’ stories
A million years ago, when I had money and a passport photo that didn’t get me stopped at customs, I would holiday often.
One such jaunt was to Zanzibar, an archipelago off the coast of Tanzania.
I got on the plane at Heathrow and sat next to a pretty woman.
The flight was long and eventually we spoke to each other; it turned out she was the barmaid at my local pub in north London.
I was never sober there, so how would I recognise her?
We gave it the, ‘What are the odds?’ chat and went our separate ways when we landed in East Africa.
Bye bye, neighbour stranger. Until I saw her again, a week later, on the remote Prison Island in the Indian Ocean.
When I got back to Crouch End, I never ever saw her. What in the name of Judith Chalmers is that about?
I asked my friends about their crazy ‘small world’ moments…
Angie, 40, from Lewes
‘My daughter went to a charity shop in Brighton and bought me a red leather handbag that she thought was ‘really you’.
She was right, it was really me.
Which is why I bought it about five years before and gave it to the charity shop in Brighton when I was bored with it.
Anthony, 26, from Taunton
‘I never leave the house so I have no stories. But my aunt reckons she ran into her next-door neighbour from home, in Newcastle, on a beach in New Zealand.
She said she was screaming at my uncle and she heard a familiar voice cough and say, ‘Ah, it’s you…’
Jane, 45, from Carshalton
I had a week to find somewhere to live.
I was in a total panic about it and rang some friends.
One said his mate had a spare room I could stay in.
I’d never met this man before and I felt quite nervous about staying at his place, but I had no choice.
I walked down the road and saw him outside the house. I looked at him and thought, ‘You look so familiar…’
It turned out we’d met at a party 30 years ago when we were 15.’
Charlie, 32, from Bromley
‘When I was little my parents had a cafe and did outside catering, including running the tea and butty van on the building site of a now well-known building in this city.
Years later I worked in the building, in a call centre, and a customer called who had been a builder on the site.’
Jools, 38, from Luton
I was in the pub with my friend Mark when I saw my sister and her new boyfriend walk past the window.
I quickly rang her and told them to join us in the pub.
In they came, we got some drinks in, and all chatted happily.
Mark kept staring at my sister’s boyfriend.
And then started asking bloody odd questions: ‘Did you used to throw your Action Man into your neighbour’s garden?’
But the boyfriend said he did.
Mark went on: ‘And did your sister ever marry George Michael?’
Mark started laughing and revealed himself.
He’d lived next door to my sister’s boyfriend when they were little kids in east London. Mark recognised him straight away.’
Harry, 29, from Dulwich
I bumped into our old HR manager in a pub in Sydney.
That’s a s*** story but it was nevertheless quite improbable.’
Emma, 28, from Shoreham
I shared the last rickshaw home from a tiny place in Kerala in India. They were only from Edmonton and I lived two miles south from them.
Richard, 40, from Warrington
I went to Texas on holiday.
Went to see a band play with some friends and was introduced to some other people.
I went out with one of them for lunch and it turned out she was best friends with the daughter of a friend of mine who lived in Ohio 1,000 miles away.
Daniel, 35, from Islington
I hailed a black cab in Angel to take me in to central London.
Not paying attention as to what the cabbie looked like, I just asked to go to Soho.
As with most cabbies, a conversation struck up and we just started talking about life and family.
We started talking about London in the 60s and 70s, and I mentioned my dad who had passed away a few years before and told the stories he had told me.
The driver then asked where I was from and I told him Eastbourne.
It was at this point the cabbie looked up at the rear-view mirror and asked if I was Johnny Lynch’s son. Which I am.
It was then I realised the cabbie was a really close friend of my dad and they went back way before I was even born.
When we got to the final stop, the cabbie, Ronnie, got out of the cab, came up to me and gave me a hug.
I tried to pay him for the fare but he wouldn’t accept it.
Bibi thinks it’s a teeny world. But she still wouldn’t want to Hoover it. Read more about vintage jokes at bibilynch.com