Potentially life-saving

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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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It was a few years ago now but I still can't believe I was where I was when this happened. My mother became ill, and if I hadn't have been with her... well I'm not sure. I was commuting to and from the university in Aberdeen at the time, and it was a 2 hour journey for the train part alone. Heading home, I missed my usual train just after 1pm, and had to wait for the next one, which was around 3pm. A stop before my home (F) station, they told everyone getting off at the current stop (E), and there would be a bus for us. Now, I couldn't cope with the bus. So I called my mother to ask for a lift, and she said she'd pick me up as she was on her way to E anyway, even though it was 45+ minutes from her work, 25 of which took her past our home. When she did arrive between 5-10 minutes after I got off the train, she was incredibly unwell. She's also very stubborn and insisted she didn't need me to call an ambulance, or to go to A&E. She did need to go. She nearly died. If I hadn't been there, it's likely she would have passed out and a stranger /might/ have helped, but who knows. The reason it's such a coincidence to me is for the following reasons: - I'd never missed my train before - The doors on one side of the train were broken (the side needed for my station) - My stop was 1 of only 2 stops on that line with just one platform - The doors broke after the first one-platform station - There was hardly enough warning to know what was going to happen/plan for us to both be at E - Being too anxious to get on buses isn't that common, most people would have got on the replacement bus (it was just a particular problem I had at that time) - The stops E and F are about 16 minutes apart by train (it's a rural route), 20-25 minutes by car, so my mother was already on her way to E (she never said why she was going there) - My mother was on the early shift pattern, meaning she'd finished at 4pm that week (every week they'd be on a different start/finish time) It still boggles my mind how many things had to work together for us to both be in that exact place at that exact time, as it's somewhere that, on a normal day, we never would have been near, except me passing through it on a train 2 hours earlier. If it anything else had been different, I might never have seen her again—and certainly wouldn't have before she was in intensive care.
Total votes: 41
Date submitted:Tue, 29 Mar 2022 02:24:59 +0000Coincidence ID:12663