Eating with a stranger 3 times in 3 different European cities

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was produced by the Winton programme for the public understanding of risk based in the Statistical Laboratory in the University of Cambridge. The aim was to help improve the way that uncertainty and risk are discussed in society, and show how probability and statistics can be both useful and entertaining.

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My family and I were travelling in Europe in the summer of 1976. We stopped to eat in Utrect, The Netherlands. I stayed to lock up the car while the rest went to find a table. When I entered a bit later and stood in the entry scanning the room, a man seated at the bar sized me up and said "your friends go that way". I guess we Americans all dress alike. Two days later, after a morning of wandering Amsterdam (about 50 km away), I met up with my mother in a cafe. As I started to order, this same gentleman walked up and said "Oh, we eat in same place". We got a chuckle out of it, but thought that was the end of it. Not quite. Three months later, as we settled down for the school year in Aix-en-Provence, France (1200 km away), we decided to visit the university cafeteria for the first time. And there in the buffet line, unbelievably, was this same guy! Well, naturally we had to sit together and share our stories. Later, as, we parted, I joked "Well, I guess we'll see you around". The whole year living (and eating) there, we never saw him again. Or, I suppose he could have just decided he'd seen enough of us.
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Date submitted:Sat, 20 Nov 2021 07:14:21 +0000Coincidence ID:11932