Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

Professor David Spiegelhalter of Cambridge University wants to know about your coincidences!

Triple birthday coincidence

In the late 1980s, I worked behind the front desk at a small boutique hotel in Toronto. In total, there were 6 of us on staff who manned the front desk at various times, no more than 2 at a time. It came up in conversation during a shift that it was my birthday, and my co-worker said, "no way, it's my birthday too!" She showed me her driver's license to prove it because that seemed like a big coincidence.

long lost cousin on a plane

My last name is unusual. I'd say there are maybe 3 or 4 dozen people in the country with it, based on some googling. It's not even a very common name in the region my family came from. One day I was on a flight back from a conference on an airline with open seating. It was a two leg flight, both on the same plane. Between legs, the flight attendants take a head count to make sure they have the right number of through passengers before letting the new ones on. The count that day was off, so they needed to check names against the manifest.

The Day It Became Legal to Be a Jew in Spain Again

As I was researching historical facts to color the setting of my hopefully soon to be published novel, somewhere between writer's block and progress, I spotted it, my birth date, December 16, 1968. It's the exact day that the edict of expulsion against the Jews of Spain, the Alhambra Decree, was officially annulled. I interpreted that as the Divine wink I needed to complete my first novel, to give voice to Sephardim from the Middle Ages and to Israelis of today, with a sense of seriousness and playfulness, mindfulness and celebration.

Is this 3155 Main Street, Apt. 2?

I met my boyfriend at the bar next door, a few months after moving to New York - he was a bartender there and had been for 5 years. The first time he came over to my apartment, it was late at night and he slept over. In the morning as he was getting ready to leave, he gathered up the courage to ask, "Is this 3155 Main Street, Apartment 2?" "Yes...why?" I said, thinking he was just trying to figure out where he was in relation to where he had to get. "OK please don't think this is creepy or weird, but I used to live here, 12 years ago.

The Gas Cap

After graduating college, I took a long road trip with my best friend (very long - the Alaskan Highway). We took his car, and traded turns buying gas. At one gas station somewhere in a remote stretch of British Columbia or the Yukon Territory, it was his turn to buy gas, and he discovered upon opening the tank door that the gas cap was missing. There was only one real explanation and it was clear who to blame. We hadn't stopped since our last refueling a few hundred miles before, so I must have failed to replace the gas cap on his car at the last station.

Traveling in Europe

I was in Europe traveling with a tour group. We took a train from Paris overnight to Pisa. On the train myself & some other women on the tour met up, and hung out, with an older woman & her 40ist year old daughter - all partying in the dining car until it closed. We parted ways in Pisa. Our group toured Pisa then traveled to Florence to spend a day or so & tour there. We were then on to Rome for a couple days before we flew home.

Double chance meeting on the other side of the world

On a Saturday in my early 20's, I was sitting at a sidewalk cafe in Tokyo when I recognized a woman walking by as being someone I'd gone to high school with in Connecticut (USA). After I stopped her to say hello, her husband turned as well and he turned out to be someone I had gone to college with in Massachusetts.

An Irish-American in Paris

I am American and have worked in Paris for several years in real estate. I just started working at a new agency and was assigned certain neighborhoods to work on. I recently came into contact with a very good client,"Mrs. Cooper", a French woman who was married to an American, and had already sold property with our agency before I arrived. She now had another fabulous apartment to sell, an inheritance, that happened to be on one of my assigned streets. Before going to meet her for the estimation, I dug up her old file from the sale of her first apartment : property titles, etc.

Las Amarillas Calandrias

I drew this self-portrait to give to my friend Daniel the last day I saw him, to remember me by, when I graduated from university. I had drawn myself releasing yellow birds from a cage and flying to him and singing along with his guitar-playing, as he sat inside the moon, above a desert night scene. I was purposely doing the picture of myself in the style of Frida Kahlo's magical realist self-portraits.

Fancy Meeting You!

On a flight from Florida to Heathrow (UK), I told the pleasant stranger seated next to me that I was from the Isle of Wight, whereupon she said that her best friend lived there.