We’ve all had at least one encounter with someone we don’t know that has stuck in our minds forever.

Sometimes for amusing reasons, sometimes with far more sinister vibes.

What’s the scariest encounter you’ve had with a total stranger?
byu/anchovy7 inAskReddit

What are Reddit’s biggest Stranger Danger moments? Read on and find out.

1. The hitchhiker

I was once driving in the country and is was pouring rain in the dead of night. So hard that I was driving very slowly and couldn’t see any of the signs (before GPS). I mean I had never been in rain this heavy.

I had to pull over to the side of the road to try and see the sign to see if I was going in the right direction. I didn’t get out due to the rain so was craning my neck forward to try and make out where I was when suddenly the passenger door opened and a man got inside the car, sat down and looked at me.

Here is South Africa, there is a fair amount of violent crime and hijackings, so I instinctively started panicking and yelling and screaming at the top of my lungs, flailing my arms to try and do something, anything to stop this guy from attacking me. He started screaming as well in terror and jumped out the car.

I quickly leant over and closed the passenger door and sped off down the road. I was breathing so heavily at this point and trying my best to calm down, nearly in tears.

I kept replaying it in my head the whole time, and suddenly remember that the man smiled it at me. It suddenly dawned on me that it was probably a hitchhiker that I hadn’t seen, who thought that I was pulling over to give him a lift. Only to be greeted by me screaming and trying to hit him. Was probably his scariest encounter with a stranger as well.

– AndFinrodFell

2. Josh, Austin, Mason, and James

I was traveling home to California and I was in Nevada. It was an emergency so I’d packed and left at around midnight. It was about five thirty am or so in rural Nevada. I was at a stop on my usual route. I was very familiar with the particular stop, and it was just an hour or so before the California border.

Being a lone female, I concealed carry (I have my extended permit which allowed concealed through several states, except California) and I was at my truck at an empty spot, and I was in the cab disassembling and putting away my gun to be in compliance. Stepped out to go to the restroom and someone had managed to get close to my truck and was hiding along the passenger side, and I didn’t know it until I’d walked passed them.

Whoever it was grabbed me from behind. I let out the loudest, most blood curdling scream. Oscar winning scream. But there was no other people at this stop. I fought and tried to buck the guy off of me, but I wasn’t doing very well. Kicking lead him to lift me off the ground where I couldn’t get him, and trying to break through his arms made him bend me over with him still behind me.

I’m not sure how long I was screaming and fighting, but then I heard tires screech and I figured it was the creepy van my parents told me to avoid as a kid coming to take me away. Nope. It was a Toyota Corolla full of local teenagers headed to the gas station before school. The teens jumped out and ran towards us, and the driver stayed in the vehicle. The guy who grabbed me took off, two of the kids chased him through the desert beyond the gas station on foot, and the driver and the other kid made sure I was alright.

I send these four boys Christmas and birthday cards every year. I’m sure if it wasn’t for them I would’ve been kidnapped or killed. Josh, Austin, mason, and James, thank you guys.

– kittyonthet*tty

3. You can come with me

When I was about 6 I was with my family at an incredibly crowded street festival we’d go to every year. I remember we had stopped to watch a band play for a minute or two, and then my mom (I assumed) took my hand and we continued walking.

After a few seconds I realized the hand I was holding was puffy and hot, and my mom’s hands were always cool and more slender, so I knew it wasn’t her hand I was holding. I looked up to see a woman with long blond hair and sunglasses grinning down at me. I said “You’re not my mom” and she just laughed and said “That’s okay, you can come with me anyway!”

Obviously my mom and dad had realized I was not with them at this point and were freaking out. My dad just happened to look in the exact right direction at the right time and saw this lady leading me away through a break in the crowd. He ran over to us, grabbed her shoulder and she dropped my hand and disappeared in the crowd.

I still can’t believe he spotted us. It was like shoulder to shoulder people at this thing.

– I_Want_A_Llama

4. Pop his jaw

I was eleven, and at the park with my cousin who was three. My cousin being a stubborn three year old told me to leave him be, and I sat out on the bench.

I was just reading my book, and occasionally looking up, until this like fifty something year old man sat down next to me, and just started talking.

He asked me, which kid was mine like four times, even after I made it quite clear I was uncomfortable, and then he get’s all close to me, and was like:

“Do you want another one?”

So I started freaking out, until this homeless man, (who I later knew to be Marty) pulled me off the bench, and told him that he was lucky he didn’t ‘pop his jaw’ and told me to go home.

I’m glad Marty showed up, because I don’t know what I would have done.

– UrDadTxtMe

5. The parking lot

I (21F at the time) was in a store picking up some items for my house when I noticed a man was literally peeking at me from around a corner. I first brushed it off and continued my shopping, but was aware that this man was following me around the store. He then sang out to me and said I looked familiar and asked if I went to the local university, I didn’t so I said no.. at this point I got creeped out so I checked out and went to my car. I heard footsteps behind me and knew he had followed me so I just jumped in my car and locked the doors.

It was dark so I hadn’t noticed him go around the back of my car until he banged on my passenger window. I ignored him and started the car, this prompted him to Run around the front and start banging on my drivers side door trying to open it and asking me for a ride.

I was terrified and just pulled out of the parking space as fast as I could and drove off, with him chasing my car until i rounded a corner. I have no idea what his plan was but to this day I am nervous about dark parking lots at night.

– southside_best

6. And a large coke

I was at this run down movie theatre we had in town. Only one we had at the time, it was pretty bad. Turned into a place where the bad crowd hangs out.

Walking up to pay for my ticket and a guy approached me asked “want to by buy some coke?”

I said “no thanks”

Dude gets closer to me and pulls out a knife “don’t tell anyone” and then he walked away

For a split second there I thought I was going to get stabbed. I left and never went back

– Jeff-IT

7. The scoped rifle

I was once threatened by a man with a scoped rifle while walking my dog. I was out in a field behind my apartment building at night, and I heard a voice from behind me say “you better run fast, boy”. I turned and saw a backlight silhouette of a man on a balcony with a scoped rifle, and I heard him close the bolt. I decided that running would only add tension to the situation, so I yanked on my dogs leash while calmly yet quickly walking towards the closest cover I could find.

I immediately called 911, and when it was all said and done, the guy with the rifle claimed he was just showing the rifle to his friend.

BS, but I couldn’t prove otherwise.

– cqmqro76

8. Adult in the bathroom

I was taking a shower in the bathroom of the walkout basement. My 3 year old son was upstairs with my mother eating breakfast. I heard him open the door and told him “Mommy is in the shower, you have to wait.”

The door didn’t close but he didn’t respond either so I asked him to go back upstairs and ask grandma for whatever he needed.

Instead I see a shadow and outline of a hand touching the shower curtain and realize that there is an ADULT in the bathroom, not my son.

I scream and punch through the shower curtain. I don’t think I connected, but I heard the man run out anyway. As fast as I could I jumped out and grabbed a towel to check on my son and mom. At the same time my mom was coming downstairs to see if I was ok from the scream.

The man never went upstairs and they didn’t even know it had happened. The walkout basement door and window were open.

I called the police and they didn’t find him, just my empty wallet about a block away. […]

Never been so scared in my life.

– like_big_mutts

9. The truck stop

I was in high school and worked at a truck stop.

One night a trucker came in and stared at me for a long time. Wherever I moved to he was staring me down. I told him that if he needed anything that he would need to come to the counter and order it.

He just grunted and kept staring.

I’m not a small person and at that time I was in football, wrestling, and track. I was also at the gym 6 days a week. I was 190 pounds of muscle and teenager hormones. But the vibes I was getting from this guy were making me nervous.

I called up my other co worker and told them I was going to be in the freezer for a while. So I was stocking the freezers and coolers for a while and then went to the bathroom.

As I entered the bathroom the trucker jumped up and walked in behind me and just stood in there while I took a p*ss and washed my hands.

As soon as I got out I grabbed the trash bags and bee lined outside to take care of the trash at the pumps until he left.

My co worker asked me why the trucker kept following me after I finally came in.

I had no idea why. He never said anything. Didn’t order anything. Just filled up his semi and creeped on me.

I’ve never been as creeped out by a person as I was with that guy.

– memikeme

10. Such a sudden change

A very cheerful guy approached me and my friend in a park, in a very non-threatening way.

He was holding a frisbee and explained he was putting together an impromptu game of ultimate frisbee and looking for people to join him. Which was fine, but then he tried to grab me by the throat.

It was such a sudden change of mood.

My friend (an athletic dude, fortunately) got between us and just stared him down and he ran away.

The whole thing was just bizzare

– Jabberhakke

11. The yard sale

Went to a yard sale with my aunt when i was like 5. A little boy, about the same age as me, approaches me and tells me to come inside to meet his dad. I wander off with him without my aunt noticing, and he brings me into the house where the yard sale is taking place.

we go down to the basement and There was his NAKED dad, lying on a couch excitedly greeting me as if he’d been awaiting my company or something. I actually don’t remember much after that.

I just got out of there as fast as possible and it’s been a strange memory of mine ever since.

– Pale_Strength_7916

12. Come calling

I had just left my apartment to go for a walk down towards the beach at night when it was pitch black. There was a park along the way.

Some guy came up to me asking to use my phone. I apologized and lied and said I didn’t have one.

He didn’t believe me and started to get aggressive. He asked me where I lived and if I had a boyfriend. He started following me and that’s when I started to run and went back to my place. I didn’t feel comfortable going where I wanted to.

– pickledcheesecake

13. Fight me

I was 16 and sitting on a train station with my mother. Some man came over and started talking to her.

After a while I looked at the clock and informed my mother that we needed to go because our train was about to arrive. He flew up from the seat and started screaming at me and wanted to fight me. My mother was confused and tried to explain to him that I was her daughter and that we really did need to leave. He just continued screaming which of course made teenage me scream back at him. She had to pull me away from there.

I never understood what made him see red like that. All I did was inform my mother our train was coming and we needed to leave.

– WrestlingWoman

14. Ghostbusters 2

I will never forget it. When Ghostbusters 2 came out I wanted to see it. My mom took me to the local theater I think I was around 9.

I needed to use the bathroom so I ran down the small hall and turned the corner. When I saw a much older man come out of the bathroom. When he saw me he stopped went back in. When I didn’t move he opened the door peeking his head and arm out motioning me to come towards him.

I probably looked like a deer in headlights I didn’t move. It was frozen until he said: come on, come on in. Panic rushed over me and I ran back towards my mom, who said I was pale white. She quickly left the theater with me and went home. Stranger Danger worked out that day in the 80s.

I can still picture him, or at least the picture my brain made of this memory.

– butters991

15. Cat calling

I was walking home from the bus stop after school. About 15 years old. It was really not far but there were construction workers drinking on the side of the road. One of them got up and followed me home calling suggestive things. I honestly can’t remember what but his intentions were clear. This was about 200m from home so I sprint home. We have an automatic gate so I realize he will catch me if I wait for it to open or he’ll follow me in. So I climb over which is normally not easy but that day I flew over.

I was really shaken up. For me this story is actually about what happened next. Which is that I called my mom who had an intense job. She dropped everything at work, came home immediately, made me hot chocolate and pancakes. We had a long conversation where she validated my feelings and fear. She’s the best.

– Vonnybon

What can we say but SUPER yikes? Stay safe out there, everyone.

Have you had a strange danger encounter before?

Tell us about it in the comments.