What Was That Like
Real people in unreal situations. Each episode is a conversation with someone who has been through something extremely unusual. The guest comes on the show and tells the story of what happened, first hand.
Personally, I’ve never had a fear of flying. In fact, I really like it. I’m not sure if it’s the flying itself, or maybe it’s the fact that the flying just means I’m probably going somewhere to see people or have fun. But I’ve never had that feeling like “Oh…what if the plane just falls from the sky and we all die.” I don’t think I’ve ever worried about that. Which might be kind of odd, since I do have a fear of heights, but that only started after I fell off a roof. But that’s another story.
And if you’re on a flight and you’re sitting next to someone who is just terrified, it doesn’t really matter if you tell them how safe it is to fly in an airplane. I mean, there are around 100,000 flights that happen every single day all around the world. There’s really nothing to be afraid of.
But what if you’re on a flight…and there is actually cause for concern? Like, the pilot sees a thunderstorm ahead that you’ll be flying through, or maybe something is not working right on the plane, and he makes the announcement that the plane might be in trouble. That would probably scare most people.
That’s what happened on a commercial flight from Phoenix to Dallas a couple of years ago. The pilot didn’t say what the problem was specifically, but he came over intercom and gave the passengers the instructions to brace for impact.
Fortunately, the pilot was able to land the plane safely and no one was injured. But I’m guessing a few prayers went up, and some phone calls were made to loved ones. Can you imagine how happy those passengers must have been when they finally felt the wheels touch down on that runway, and they knew they were safe.
My conversation today is with Matt. Matt is a licensed airplane pilot. And there was one day when he was flying a small plane, and it was just him – no passengers. He took off and got up to cruising altitude, and for a while everything seemed fine. What Matt didn’t know was…that plane would never touch down on an airport runway again.
If this is your first time discovering the What Was That Like podcast, you need to know that this is NOT a normal episode.
On this show, each episode is usually a conversation with a regular person who has been through some type of extremely unusual situation (such as a plane crash or a mass shooting). The guest comes on the show and tells the story of what happened, first hand. Check out some of the past episodes – I think you’ll like it.
But this is a bonus episode, and it’s different. A bunch of listeners called in their questions for me, and I answered them.
A couple of things that came up, in case you’re interested:
Big thanks to all those who sent in their questions! We’ll do this again sometime.
Trains are a big part of American culture, because they are really fascinating in so many ways. If you stand next to one, you realize – they are just so BIG.
And they have so much power, to be able to pull all that weight. And wow, are they LOUD. Not just the sound of the engine, and the steel wheels on the track, but that horn – you can hear it even if you’re nowhere near the railroad tracks.
Kids and adults of all ages are fascinated by trains. And they are fun to watch, as they rumble by. Maybe you get a wave from the engineer. It’s great entertainment, as long as everything works like it’s supposed to work.
Deneen was with her two little girls one day, at a railroad crossing, watching the train go by just a few feet from the front of their car. Then she realized that something was very wrong, and that train was about to crash.
December 26, 2004. That was the day a huge earthquake happened.
In fact, it’s the third-largest earthquake ever recorded, and it had the longest duration of faulting that has ever been observed – between eight and ten minutes.
But there was something different about this earthquake. It happened underwater. It took place in the Indian Ocean. The epicenter was off the west coast of northern Sumatra, Indonesia. The result of this enormous earthquake happening under the ocean was that it created massive waves of water, up to 100 feet, or about 30 meters, high. These waves arrived without warning. More than 227,000 people woke up that morning and went through their normal routine, not realizing it was their last day to be alive.
I remember when it happened. It was a Sunday, the day after Christmas. Of course it was the leading news story all over the world. I heard how the story unfolded, how the underwater earthquake happened, and the unbelievable numbers as the death toll kept rising. It was an incredible tragedy. But I was in the US, and that horrific scene was on the other side of the world. It didn’t seem real.
But for my guest today, Aaron, that scene was very real.
He was there.
What’s the most scared you have ever been?
I’m not talking about being on a crazy roller coaster ride, or watching a scary movie. What we’re talking about on this episode is the kind of fear that just grips you, and controls you, and won’t let you think about anything else.
I asked some of the listeners of this podcast that very question recently, in our private Facebook group. And at the end of this episode, you’ll be able to hear some of their answers – and there’s quite a variety. Turns out being scared can show up in our lives in a lot of different ways.
And our guest today, Kira, has experienced that kind of gut-wrenching fear. She was on a downtown street, alone. It was dark, because it was 3:30 am. She was walking to work, and thought everything was okay.
But she suddenly realized, she was not alone.
Mentioned in this episode: the Noonlight app. It’s free for both iOS and Android, at Noonlight.com (there are paid versions with additional features).
You can contact Kira at email@example.com.
Alaska is home to a lot of wildlife, including bears.
Dan loves the outdoors. You name just about any outdoor activity, and he has done it. Hiking, camping, boating, climbing, and his main obsession – fishing.
In his time outdoors, Dan has had more than one encounter with a bear. Typically, they just run off when they see a human. But there was one day when Dan unexpectedly crossed paths with an angry grizzly bear. It was a day he’ll never forget.
Music at the end of this episode is part of the song Comatose Rider, written and performed by Dan Bigley.
Let’s take a walk, by the river side
Fish in the basket, red dog by my side
Feels like so long ago, I was 25 years old
I cannot see, through the visions in my head
Feels like I’ve been for so long in my bed
Seems like the more I learn, the more my life seems new
And you’re coming into view
I don’t know how I got to the top of the mountain
I don’t know, but I believe that its true
I don’t know how I got to the top of the mountain
But its got something, something to do with you
Its got Something to do with you
Its got everything to do with you
Something to do
When it feels like, the desert sun and the canyon wren
Are a million miles away
I can hear you voice inside my head, whisper its gonna be OK
I don’t know, how I got to the top of the mountain
I don’t know, but I believe that its true
I don’t know how I got to the top of the mountain
But its got something, something to do
Its got something to do with you
Its got everything to do, with you
Something to do
Oh, are you feeling alive
Oh, are you feeling alive
Oh, are you feeling alive
Oh, are you feeling so alive so alive singing
Oh, so alive, singing
Oh, yes I’m feeling so alive so alive, singing
Oh, so alive
Oh, so alive
It was an early morning in Indiana.
Steven, 18 years old, was on his way home from an overnight shift at work. Around 6:30 am, he got into the first car accident of his life – a minor fender bender – and was exchanging information with the other driver.
He had no idea that his second crash, a much bigger one, was about to happen.
Industrial Cinematic by Kevin MacLeod
According to an article in Business Insider magazine, one of the most stressful jobs in the US is being a 911 dispatcher. Out of 600 listed occupations, a 911 emergency operator’s job ranked at #13 for stress levels.
They’re trained to remain calm on every call, regardless of how panicked the caller might be, or what’s happening on the other end of that phone line. But what about when a call comes in, and the caller is someone you know?
My conversation today is with Mariah. One day, she received a text message in which her brother, Nate, was threatening suicide. Mariah and her boyfriend immediately started driving to where Nate said he was, at the back of a local forestry. On the way, Mariah called 911 to get help – and the voice that answered “911, what is your emergency?” was a voice that she knew very well.
If you are having suicidal thoughts, please call this number: 800-273-8255 anytime night or day to talk with someone. Your life is worth living.
Brandon spent 17 years working as an equestrian stuntman. But he didn’t grow up on a farm, and he didn’t spend his youth around horses. Back then, he was more interested in playing hockey.
But he and his family did enjoy visiting Renaissance Fairs, and he met the right person at the right time. He got the opportunity to start learning how to be a stuntman – first working on the ground as a “squire”, then later helping to train the horses, and eventually to work as a stunt rider.
But his very first “stunt riding” experience was not what he expected.
Do you have questions for Brandon? He’s in the What Was That Like private Facebook group – join us over there at WhatWasThatLike.com/facebook.
You can also follow Brandon on Instagram (stickfigurehero) and Twitter (stickfigurehero).
Do you worry about your privacy on the internet?
Do you ever think about how much someone could find out about you, if they wanted to?
Have you wondered if your life could be destroyed, over the internet, by a stranger?
Maybe you should.
Monika was happy. She was a successful real estate agent. She used social media to connect with friends, and family, and clients. Just like everyone else does.
But one day, without realizing it, she made a mistake. And she had no idea what was about to happen.
Photo courtesy of Margo Gray, WAFF 48 in Huntsville, Alabama
Mechanolith by Kevin MacLeod
Very few things in life could be more traumatic or horrifying than discovering a suicide.
Remember how shocked we all were back in August of 2014, when police announced that legendary actor and comedian Robin Williams was found by his personal assistant, having committed suicide.
There are so many factors to consider in that case, but I remember that when this happened, I kept thinking about how that person, his assistant, felt as she entered that room and discovered him on that Monday morning. She had worked with him for over 20 years, and it was more than just an employer – employee relationship. They were also close personal friends. It’s hard to imagine going through something like that.
Our guest today is Liz. She has experienced this as well. But the suicide she discovered was not her boss, or just a close friend. It was her husband.
Going through that would be bad enough. But for this podcast episode, Liz has even another story that is almost completely unrelated to her husband’s suicide. She’s been through a lot, and now she works trying to help people who have gone through similar tragedies. Check the links below for information on her book, and the work she’s doing.
A warning: this episode contains descriptions of graphic violence against a child. It’s definitely not suitable for everyone.
If you’d like to support this podcast and get access to all of the exclusive bonus episodes, you can do that at WhatWasThatLike.com/support.
Special thanks to J.T. Tschirhart for doing the voiceover for the message from Levi Aron.
Dr Liz website:
Dr Liz’s book:
Leiby Kletzky Memorial Fund info:
800-273-8255 – available 24 hours a day, every day
Do you remember when you were young, and going through your teenage years? Didn’t time seem to go by a lot more slowly back then?
All those years, waiting, and looking forward to that one big day when you’re finally out on your own. Now that was something to be excited about, right? You’d have your own car, your own place, you could come and go whenever, you could stay up as late as want, it would be like heaven on earth! Of course, now that we’re past that stage in life, we know that being out on your own and responsible for yourself is not always the paradise and freedom that we might have anticipated.
My guest today, Terri, was right at that breakthrough stage. Leaving home for the first time, being on her own, even moving hundreds of miles away – it was all very exciting.
But then as soon as she moved in to her new place – the very first day she was there, actually – she found out that the real world can bring with it some unexpected and horrific things. It was a day she’ll never forget.
If you like the show, please consider becoming a supporter. That not only tells me you enjoy the podcast, it also means you can get access to all the other bonus episodes that are only available to patrons. There are different levels of support and all the details are at WhatWasThatLike.com/support.
Today, we have a really fun episode that is going to make you smile.
My guest today is Robin, and Robin likes to have fun. She’s different. And she’s on today’s show to tell us about an experience she had – she was hired by the Oscar Meyer hot dog company to drive the Wienermobile.
And I realize some people might not be familiar with the Wienermobile, especially those outside the US. What we’re talking about here is a large vehicle that is designed to look like a giant hot dog. Yes, this is an actual street-legal vehicle, 27 feet long (about 9 meters). If you’re in the US, you might be surprised some day and see one traveling on a street, right there in your city.
And while this kind of vehicle seems like it would be unique, there are actually SIX of them traveling the country at any given time. They show up at grocery store grand openings, theme parks, pickle festivals, all kinds of events. And the drivers give out merch such as Wienie Beanies, Wienermobile Hot Wheels cars, and the ever popular Wiener Whistles.
Well, my friend Robin decided that she wanted to be a Wienermobile driver. So today she’s going to talk about how she made herself stand out from the other ONE THOUSAND applicants and got the job, and what the job is actually like.
And a couple of other things – Robin lives in New York City. You’ve heard of The Moth, right? Really popular podcast. In New York, they regularly do storytelling competitions, and Robin has competed in these. They’re called Story Slams. And she has actually won!
And at the end of this episode, I asked her to tell me about the time she was able to meet the comedy legend, Jerry Stiller. Great story.
So I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did. If you’d like to support the show, and get access to all the bonus exclusive content, you can do that at WhatWasThatLike.com/support.
YouTube channel – https://www.youtube.com/user/YumsTheWordShow
Robin’s blog – https://www.robingelfenbien.com/blog
Robin’s website – https://www.robingelfenbien.com/
Recess with Auntie Robin - https://www.facebook.com/groups/2579481095698218
Is the Wienermobile in your area?
Podcast - http://www.yumsthewordshow.com/
Instagram – https://instagram.com/robin.gelfenbien
Today is September 11. Today is the day we remember and honor those who lost their lives here in America on September 11, 2001.
246 innocent people aboard the four planes that were hijacked.
2,606 people in the World Trade Center and the surrounding area. 343 of these were firefighters, and 71 were law enforcement officers.
125 people in the Pentagon.
In today’s episode, we’re going to hear from two people who were there.
Lori Brody and her brother, Scott, both worked at the World Trade Center. She survived; he did not. Lori will tell us what happened to her that day, and in the years since.
Joe Falco was a New York City firefighter. He was working to save lives at the World Trade Center, and was injured when the buildings collapsed.
May we never forget those who were lost on September 11, 2001.
Every sporting activity involves some degree of risk. Risk of injury or even risk of death.
I bike about 10 miles each morning and I’m pretty careful. And I record video with a GoPro mounted on my helmet for every ride, which was inspired by my interview with William, episode 20 of this podcast if you want to check that out. But I know that no matter how careful I am, there is still the small possibility that something could happen. Same with almost anything else – running, playing tennis, swimming, you name it.
But for most people, when you think of the question, “What is the most dangerous sport?”, the answer that comes to mind is skydiving. It just seems like common sense that jumping out of a plane is really dangerous, right? But in reality, just driving a car is a LOT more dangerous. In fact, statistics show that if you decide to go and do a skydive, you’re 24 times more likely to die in a car accident on the way to the drop zone than you are to die while you’re skydiving.
But, the unexpected does happen.
Today we’re going to hear from Eric. Eric lives here in Florida and he and I have known each other for years. We’re mostly connected through the ultrarunning community, even though I don’t think either of us actually runs ultramarathons currently. Eric is an avid skydiver.
One day Eric was skydiving with about 10 other people. It was a fairly routine jump when they exited the plane, but one person had a serious problem with his main parachute. Then he had a serious problem with his reserve parachute. As you probably know, there isn’t a third parachute.
Somehow, Eric was able to see what was happening from thousands of yards away. And he ended up saving someone’s life that day.
Today you are going to hear from James. He’s a young man who lives in England, and he has quite a scary story about something that happened to him one day at work, in 2019.
He and his partner were cutting down a huge tree, and things did not go as planned. I’ll let James fill in the details.
And at the end of today’s episode:
It gets pretty cold in Mason City, Iowa in the winter. Just ask Gael - he lives there.
Gael is 18 years old. One day last December, on a particularly freezing day, he was on his way to a class. Just a routine day, driving along, and he’s approaching a bridge that goes over a big river.
Except he doesn’t make it to the bridge. Instead, he finds himself in the middle of the river, and the water is rising in the car. And somehow, during the crash, his phone got lost. But a young lady named Siri was still listening.
This episode includes the 911 call that Gael made, while trapped in his car in the river.
A warning about this episode, if you use an iPhone – during the story, Gael will use that lady’s name. You know, the lady in the iPhone whose name starts with “S” and he tells her to call the police. So be aware of this, so that YOUR phone doesn’t hear that instruction and make a phone call to your local police department.
And after today’s story, we’ll get a sneak preview of Raw Audio 3, as well as some of the reviews that have come in recently.
Bridge photo courtesy Amy Fleming/KIMT
There’s something that you and I do every day, all day. We make decisions. That’s something that we literally do all day.
In fact, some sources say the average person makes 35,000 decisions every day. I don’t know how accurate that number is, but I’m sure it’s a lot. Most of them we don’t really even think about consciously. Which shoe to put on first, how much toothpaste to put on the toothbrush, which checkout line at the grocery store – those are all kind of subconscious.
The bigger decisions we do think about – what to have for lunch, what kind of car do I buy, those are more deliberate. You even make a choice about what podcast you want to listen to – and I’m happy to tell you right now, when you choose this podcast, you have made the right choice!
But what if you were suddenly in an emergency situation, and you didn’t know if you were going to make it out alive, and you were faced with making the decision of how you prefer to die?
That’s the spot Lesli found herself in one day. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and she’s been through a pretty incredible experience. She survived, thanks to a couple of men named Bill – one was her friend, and the other was a stranger. And you’re about to hear her tell me what happened.
It was crazy enough that she was invited to Ellen’s show to talk about it.
And be sure to hang around til the end, because after our conversation I’ll have a sneak preview of the new bonus episode, Raw Audio #2, which are 911 audio stories and exclusive content, and it’s live and available right now for patrons of the podcast.
Katmandu, the capital city of Nepal. April 25, 2015. A magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck without warning.
In the end, nearly 9,000 people lost their lives, and close to 22,000 were injured. Entire villages were destroyed, leaving hundreds of thousands homeless.
And not far from the epicenter was Mt Everest. There were a lot of people on the mountain that day, and 19 climbers were killed.
Michael Churton is an adventure filmmaker based out of New York City. He’s done work for National Geographic, NBC, ABC, Discovery, and the Science Channel. He’s been doing this for more than 20 years.
Michael was at Mt Everest Base Camp when the earthquake happened. And he was right in the path of the deadly avalanche that was triggered immediately after. And even though he survived, not all of his teammates came back.
Michael was on the mountain to document an adventure. But what happened that morning has turned that project into a documentary that he’s currently working on, to tell what happened on Mt Everest’s deadliest day on record. This film is called Bound To Everest, and you can see the trailer on his website.
And if you want to support this podcast, and get exclusive access to bonus episodes, you can do that at WhatWasThatLike.com/support.
Website – https://BoundToEverest.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/michael.churton
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/michaelchurton/
YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/user/churtz
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
This is an off week for the What Was That Like podcast, but I’m here to introduce you to something new for the show that I’m pretty excited about.
Today you’re going to hear a bonus episode to kick off a new, ongoing series. These episodes are called Raw Audio.
One of the most popular features in some of the episodes for this podcast have been the 911 calls. When you hear the voice of a person calling the 911 emergency number and describing what’s going on, it can feel like you’re right there with them. These are not actors reading lines on a script, and they’re not re-enactments for a TV show. These are real-life moments, recorded as it happens.
I’ve wanted to incorporate more of those 911 calls into the show, but it’s just not always practical for each episode. So I decided I would create some new episodes, and the actual FOCUS would be on that emergency call. You’ll hear the backstory on what was happening, and you’ll hear the 911 emergency calls that took place, and you’ll hear what happened afterward. Unfortunately, not all of these stories have a happy ending.
So the first episode is happening right now, and this episode is available to everyone. After today, future Raw Audio episodes will only be available to patrons, through my Patreon page. Any supporter at the $5 level or higher will have exclusive access to these new episodes. So if you haven’t yet signed up, you can do that at WhatWasThatLike.com/support.
In today’s premier episode, you’ll hear:
- an off-duty officer on the phone with the 911 operator, as someone is breaking into his house, where his two young children are sleeping
- a man calling the emergency number from his car, while he is driving with his family
- some restaurant employees calling for help after one of their co-workers is attacked
As I said, these are intense. They are not for the faint of heart. But if you want true life, real life stories, that’s what you’ll get with these exclusive episodes. I mean, the regular episodes you hear on this show are crazy enough, and those will continue as always, and they will always be free. But the Raw Audio ongoing series takes it to the next level.
So see what you think of today’s show, and if you want to support the show and hear every episode, get over to WhatWasThatLike.com/support and become a patron.
Our guest for this episode is Dave, and Dave recently found himself $113,000 richer, and he attributes that to some practice, some luck, and a pretty good talent for solving word puzzles. He won that money by being a contestant on Wheel of Fortune.
- How he prepared for the game
- How he actually got on the show as a contestant
- The special instructions he was given
- What Pat Sajak and Vanna White are REALLY like
- How he’s handling taxes on his winnings
And there’s a bonus story toward the end of our conversation about how Dave actually saved someone’s life (unrelated to his game show appearance).
Here’s Dave winning cash, a trip to Barbados, and a new BMW:
And if you’d like to join the other listeners who support this podcast, you can do that at WhatWasThatLike.com/support.
If this is your first time listening to this podcast, you need to know this is not a typical episode. Usually, each episode is a conversation with someone who has been through some type of extremely unusual situation, and that person comes on the show and tells what happened, first hand.
Not this week.
This week our country is in turmoil because a black man in Minneapolis died at the hands of the police. The video of that happening in broad daylight has – again – shown that racism in America is alive and well. So I have to do something different here on this podcast, for this episode.
Some people run for office to get elected and try to bring change from the inside. Some people hold signs. Some people go through police academy and become skilled police officers. I know that, because they are my close family members. Some people riot in the streets. I’m not here to comment on any of those things. For me, what I have is this podcast. It reaches a lot of people. So this is how I’m using it for this particular episode.
When something like this happens, you see it on your TV or your computer or your phone and you read the story. But those are just words on the screen. There’s distance between you and what happened.
With this episode, I want to put you at the scene.
I’m going to present you with three true stories today. In each one of these stories, a person of color died at the hands of the police. What puts us at the scene is the phone call that was made when it happened.
My hope today is that what you hear makes it more real. These are not just names in the newspaper or on the evening news. These are people, and what happened to them needs to be known. We need to be aware of this reality, and we need to find a solution to this problem. Because what we’ve been doing so far isn’t working.
For more information about these three people:
Atatiana Jefferson - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shooting_of_Atatiana_Jefferson
Botham Jean - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Botham_Jean
Breonna Taylor - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shooting_of_Breonna_Taylor
What’s your biggest fear?
As humans, we have found that there are a lot of things we’re afraid of. Spiders, needles, flying in an airplane, thunderstorms, public speaking. Or death, that’s a big one.
For some people, one of their biggest fears is having to go to prison. Of course, no one wants to go to prison. And most people don’t expect that they would ever have to spend time there.
But consider this scenario. You’re a model citizen. You’ve never been arrested. Your worst run-in with the law is a speeding ticket. You’ve never used drugs. But then, you find out that your business partner has been doing some double billing for insurance payments, and as one of the owners of the company, you’re responsible. Insurance fraud. Or one day you’re driving home from work, and you have just a brief moment of inattention, and you clip someone riding a bicycle, and they die. Vehicular manslaughter.
Your lawyer tells you your best option is to take a plea deal. And that means you’re going to spend some time in prison. Maybe several years. Pretty scary.
That’s the situation that Dan found himself in. The plea deal he was offered meant that he could spend up to 60 months in prison. Five years of his life. He hoped it would be less than that, but he knew for sure that prison time was in his future. And he didn’t have any idea what to expect.
He didn’t know what the inside of a prison looked like, what would happen on his first day, or if he would even be in an environment that was safe or dangerous. He actually made a video, asking his friends and family if anyone could offer him any advice.
Fast forward six years – now Dan is the one offering that advice to people who are scared and heading to prison. He has his own business, working as a Prison Consultant.
In this podcast episode, Dan told me all about his own prison experience, and how he works with his clients to get them prepared for their time in prison.
Have you ever found yourself in some kind of weird situation or predicament, and you actually have no idea how you got there? And you’re asking yourself, “What just happened?”
This is something I find really fascinating – when our brain is trying to figure out the reality of what is going on, but it just doesn’t have enough information to make sense of it. So the end result is usually confusion. But in some cases, it can be terrifying.
Our guest today is Deb, and that’s what happened to her one day while she was downhill skiing with her friend Gary.
It was a beautiful day, she’s in fresh snow, and she’s having a great time just flying down the mountain. But suddenly and without any warning, she just stopped. She’s on her back and unable to move. Then she finds that breathing is getting more and more difficult. There’s no one else around.
And she has no idea what just happened.
She figured out what happened eventually, of course. And get this – Ski Patrol took longer than they should have to get to her, because they couldn’t find her. And Deb says that mistake is what allowed her to survive this whole ordeal.
If you like these stories and want to be one of the very special listeners who support the show, visit WhatWasThatLike.com/support.
Today’s bonus podcast episode is being released in an “off week”, outside of the regular every-other-Friday schedule. This is being done to introduce you to the podcast called This Is Actually Happening.
The host of This Is Actually Happening is Whit Missildine. He and I recently connected after realizing that our two podcasts are very similar – people telling their stories of unusual experiences, first hand. This week, we are trading episodes. He recently published my episode “Tyson was Abducted” for his show, and today I’m broadcasting his episode, which deals with a person who was struck by lightning.
This is how Whit describes This is Actually Happening:
“What is the most extraordinary event in your life that changed everything?”
Over the last 6 years, no single question has fascinated me more. We live our everyday lives with a sense that we know who we are, what we want and what will happen. But at some point in our lives, many of us will experience something unthinkable – a massively unpredictable disruption that rattles our sense of self at the core. Who are we then? How do we recover? What do we become?
I have explored these questions in over 100 interviews for This Is Actually Happening – a bi-weekly podcast that probes the extraordinary, life-altering events that shape the lives of ordinary people. We meet a woman who’s sister has five personalities, a son who was shot by his father, a man who wakes up in the morgue. Through stories like these, we gain intimate access to the chaotic interiors of the human story.
With no narration or host interjections, This Is Actually Happening is a highly distilled, heavily edited, first-person show that cuts straight to the heart of the narrative.
This episode is exactly the type of story I cover for each episode of WWTL so I think you’ll enjoy it. And I would like to get your feedback – just email me at Scott@WhatWasThatLike.com.
This Is Actually Happening can be found on any podcast app, or at the website Permatemp.org.
Today’s guest is Kimberly. Recently, Kimberly tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, also known as Coronavirus. She is a doctor.
Note: No information on this website or this podcast should be construed as medical advice. The host is not a doctor. The guest for this episode is in fact a doctor, but she is in no way offering any medical advice here. If you have any questions concerning your health, you should consult your own physician.
Kimberly was aware early on of how the COVID-19 virus was spreading, and she took extraordinary measures to avoid getting infected. She was concerned for herself, her husband and their 3 year old daughter. But even more so, she worried about the possibility of her parents contracting the virus; in particular, her father, who already has health issues that would make COVID-19 especially dangerous for him.
But in spite of her efforts, she tested positive. And her case has been a rather severe and drawn-out one. She described her symptoms each day as she fought the virus for over a month. Just when she would think she was recovering, it would return.
Kimberly agreed to come on the podcast and tell her story because she wants others who have tested positive to know they are not going through it alone. And to advise those recovering to take things slowly.
Kimberly kept a journal of her journey through this experience, and you can read that here:
We’ve all experienced embarrassment at some point. It’s not something anyone enjoys or wants to go through.
But there’s another level of embarrassment: humiliation. I think it’s safe to say to say that very few people have experienced the level of embarrassment or humiliation that William has.
Imagine being on the most popular talent show in the country – American Idol – and failing badly. The judges laugh at you and send you home. One of them even calls your singing “grotesque”. Then the video of that terrible audition gets broadcast on television, and ends up going viral worldwide. So your huge failure is seen by millions of people everywhere, and your name becomes synonymous with that bad performance.
That’s what happened to William.
What I just described is what most people know about William Hung. But there’s a lot more to his story, which you’re about to find out.
If you’d like to join the other listeners who support this podcast, you can do that at WhatWasThatLike.com/support, and I thank you.
William Hung links:
Champion by Choice (Amazon affiliate link)
David Tyler lives here in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. David is the person who introduced me to James Bain.
James was arrested at age 19 as a suspect in a horrible crime, which you’ll learn about in a few minutes. He was convicted for that crime, and sentenced to prison. He spent 35 years in prison as part of his punishment for that crime. James was released from prison on December 17, 2009. David figured out how to get in touch with him, and invited him to a Tampa Bay Buccaneers football game. They've been close friends ever since.
What’s interesting about this is the story behind WHY James was released. It’s not because he finished his prison sentence, or because he convinced the parole board that he was ready to enter society again. James was released because after he had spent 35 years in prison, DNA evidence cleared him of being connected with the crime.
He was innocent.
It’s kind of hard for me to even wrap my mind around being out of normal society for 35 years. I mean, that was the mid 1970s. No one had computers, no one had cell phones. Even a lot of televisions being sold then were still just black and white. So you can imagine it was quite a revelation for James when he was released and saw how the world and technology had changed over 35 years.
David introduced me to James a few months ago, at the 10 year anniversary of the day James was released from prison. I asked him if he would like to come on the podcast and tell his story. I hope you enjoy it.
What would you do if you were asleep with your spouse, and it was the middle of the night, and suddenly you heard loud noises like someone banging on your door?
What about when you got up and before turning on any lights, you could see the figure of a man standing there on the other side of your sliding glass doors?
And when you turn on the lights, and you see him, and he sees you, and he explodes with anger and starts trying to break through the door?
What would you do?
None of wants to be put in a situation like that. But that’s what happened to Eric one night. He was trying to figure out what to do, his wife Jennifer was on the phone trying to get the police there as quickly as possible, and this man was using all his strength to get into the house.
And then things took a big turn for the worse.
Did you know you can support this show for just a dollar or two per month? You can do that at WhatWasThatLike.com/support.
In 2018, the Federal Trade Commission processed 1.4 million reports of fraud. The total losses for all those fraud reports came to almost a billion and a half dollars. And that’s for a single 12-month period.
The FTC publishes statistics, and they have said that the most common types of fraud complaints were fake debt collections, imposter scams, and the traditional identity theft. And in the category of identity theft, the most common one was credit card fraud – someone opening a new credit card account, using the identity of a different person.
One of the groups most at risk for identity theft are children.
This is because if a scammer can find out a child’s Social Security number, he knows it will be easy to establish a clean slate account, since the child has no credit history at all. That’s why experts recommend that parents monitor the credit reports of their children just as closely as they monitor their own, to prevent a scammer from stealing that child’s identity and clean credit.
But what about when the parent IS the scammer?
That’s what happened to Lynsey, and she told me all about it. Unfortunately, it’s not an extremely rare thing, but it’s something you really don’t hear much about. It’s just pretty sad to think that a mother can do something like this to her own child.
If you like this show and the unusual stories we hear from the people who experienced them, you can become a supporter at WhatWasThatLike.com/support.
Today is February 14 and in most places around the world that means a special holiday – Valentine’s Day. If you didn’t realize that’s what today is, you might be in a bit of trouble with your special someone by the end of the day.
And since I knew I would have a new episode coming out on Valentine’s Day, I wanted to find a story that is related to love and romance, but would still be unusual and interesting enough to be an episode here on What Was That Like.
Then I came across Matt’s story of how he proposed to Ginny, and I knew I had to put this one on the show. You know how when you go to the movies in the theater, and before the actual movie comes on, you see the trailers to preview other movies? Well, Matt created his own custom movie trailer. And he got the movie theater to show it, right there in the theater. And Ginny, his girlfriend, was in that theater. And she had no idea what was about to happen.
Matt’s video is right here - watch this first!
The video not only shows the movie trailer that he made as part of proposing to Ginny, but it ALSO shows her real-time reaction as she watches it herself for the first time.
And actually, if you’re a member of our private Facebook group, you saw that I went in there a couple of days ago and posted this video so that everyone in that group could watch it AHEAD of time and be fully prepared for when this episode went live. Just one more reason you should be in that group!
Anyway, I think you’re really gonna love this conversation I had with Matt. I get a big kick out of talking with creative people who like to do things that are way outside the norm. And Matt is definitely outside the norm. His creativity with this proposal made this video go viral, and he and Ginny were invited out to Los Angeles and appeared on the Ellen show (in addition to a TON of other media appearances). Ellen even paid for them to honeymoon in Jamaica.
I had a great time talking to Matt, as you’ll be able to tell. And if you’d like to join the other listeners who support this show - for as little as a dollar per month – just go over to WhatWasThatLike.com/support.
Today we’re going to hear from Jami. Jami had something happen to her when she was a teenager, and it clearly had a huge effect because she still thinks about it to this day.
One night she came back home from a trip to the grocery store. She parked her car, and before she got out she saw a strange man standing on the sidewalk, right in front of her car. He stood there looking at her, through the windshield.
Less than 10 minutes later, that man was in her bedroom. Yeah, this is a creepy one.
And if you like the way Jami tells this story, hang around til the end because we’ll talk about the true-crime podcast she hosts.
And as always, I invite you to join the other listeners who support this show – you can do that at WhatWasThatLike.com/support.
Today’s conversation is with Lauren. A few years ago, Lauren worked at a private zoo here in the United States. And one of her jobs was to take care of the monkeys.
But these weren’t just any monkeys – these were howler monkeys. You want to guess how howler monkeys earned that name? You got it, because they howl.
But it’s probably not the kind of sound you expect to hear when you think of howling. You know, you kind of think of a dog with that kind of high-pitched noise, that’s kind of charming because it seems like they’re trying to sing. Nope, this is something very different. It sounds more like something from The Exorcist. But that’s just what they do.
Part of Lauren’s job was giving the howler monkeys their food and water. But there was one howler in particular that didn’t like Lauren. And one day, he had a brief opportunity to act on it, and he took it.
This experience led Lauren to actually leave her career with animals. She went to graduate school and his now a high school science teacher, teaching Earth Science and Biology. And that knowledge plays a part in the podcast she co-hosts with her fiancé Nick, called Just Na Science. You can check that out at JustNaScience.com.
Right now, What Was That Like is supported only by the listeners. If you like this show, I invite you to join the others who help out with a dollar or a few dollars each month, and you can do that at WhatWasThatLike.com/support.
Can you imagine having a job that required you to live on an island, and your primary purpose there was to make sure ships avoid running into the land?
It’s definitely not a job for everyone, but for some people it’s perfect. Spence is one of those people. He’s a modern day lighthouse keeper.
This is a bit of a different type of episode for this podcast. Sometimes when I come across opportunities like this, I think, okay, I would find this really interesting, but would other people find it interesting? So when I saw I might have the chance to do this one, I posted it as a poll in the Facebook group. And the vote was unanimous – everyone wanted to hear what it was like to be a lighthouse keeper. So here we are.
And yes, it was really interesting! Spence told me all about the different aspects of the job, and what he has to do each day. And the fact that he works 7 days a week, but it’s okay because he loves his work.
So, I hope you enjoy this episode, and if you’d like to support the podcast and keep it going, you can do that at WhatWasThatLike.com/support.
If you’re a parent, you know that the birth of your first child is an incredible experience. For Steve and Camre, it didn’t happen at all the way they expected it to.
Steve got the call at work that Camre was at the hospital and had already delivered the baby. He dropped everything and drove there frantically, and he was confused because the baby wasn’t due for another 7 weeks.
He ran into the hospital, and the first thing he saw was his newborn son, Gavin. He quickly scrubbed up and held him for the first time. There was an immediate bond between them.
What Steve didn’t know was that, at that moment, Camre was being put into a medically induced coma in order to save her life. He also didn’t know that when she would come out of that coma, she would have no memory of anything. She would not recognize Steve, and she wouldn’t even know she had just had their baby.
That was the beginning of a long journey for this family, and Steve wrote a book about it. It’s called But I Know I Love You, and you can get it on Amazon.
And if you enjoy this podcast and would like to support it, you can do that at WhatWasThatLike.com/support.
I really enjoyed my conversation with Steve, and I hope you do too.
Henry is an educator in the field of marine science. And as you’ll hear when we’re talking, it’s not just his job. It’s his life work. It’s as much a passion for him as it is a career.
When he goes diving in a river and kind of rummaging around the bottom, he never really knows what he’ll find. What he expects to find mostly are rocks and sand. What he HOPES to find are ancient shark teeth, or even the skeletal remains of prehistoric creatures.
What he did NOT expect to find was a live alligator. But one day he did, and he was lucky enough to live through it and be able to tell us the story today.
And I want to say a big thank you to the patrons of this show. If you’d like to join them and support the show, you can do that at WhatWasThatLike.com/support. And if you hang around after today’s episode, I’ll tell you about the podcast that I support through Patreon.
You can follow Henry on Instagram: @thinkseek
My conversation today is with Ray, who lives in St Augustine, Florida. Just a couple of years ago, Ray was on a downward spiral in terms of his health. Like a lot of people, his weight had gotten out of control. He didn’t realize how far off track he was until he visited a doctor one day.
That doctor visit was his wake-up call. And he definitely woke up. I think you’re going to love this story.
I also wanted to mention something right up front. Part of Ray’s amazing turnaround is the fact that he underwent gastric bypass surgery. And I want to be clear, and Ray will tell you this as well, this is not for everyone, and it’s not an easy quick fix. If you’re considering it, or really if you’re thinking about ANY change in your diet or exercise regimen, you should consult your doctor for advice. In this case, this surgery was just a tool that was available to Ray, and he used it to his advantage.
And his transformation has been amazing. Calling this a “weight loss success story” is a huge understatement. He has plunged headfirst into the world of long distance running, which, as you might be aware, is also a personal interest of mine. Hopefully we didn’t geek out too much on the details of ultrarunning, and I hope you find his story and his progress as interesting and inspiring as I did.
And if you like this podcast, I invite you to become a patron at WhatWasThatLike.com/support.
Acaimie and her husband, Clay, have been through a pretty bizarre experience. When I heard this story, I knew I needed to talk to this young lady.
She and Clay were doing a volcano hike. That in itself might seem story-worthy. But this was not actually an “active” volcano so it wasn’t spewing lava. They hiked the 2 ½ miles up to the rim, hung out for a while, took some pictures. Then Clay decided he wanted to climb down into the crater. Acaimie didn’t feel safe because of the steep incline, so Clay ventured down on his own. Things didn’t go as planned.
This happened on an island, and they were all alone, and Acaimie had no phone signal to call for help.
And, they were on their honeymoon – they had only been married a few days.
Acaimie and Clay are back home in Indiana now. What you’re about to hear is an experience they would not have chosen to go through, but they do have quite a story to tell their grandchildren some day.
And did you know we have a private Facebook group for listeners of this podcast? We’d love to see you there – WhatWasThatLike.com/facebook.
And if you’d like to join the others who support this show for as little as $1 per month, you can do that at WhatWasThatLike.com/support.
In an ideal world, children should be able to trust their parents. After all, it’s the grown-ups in the family who are responsible for the kids. No child should ever have to worry about safety when mom and dad are around for protection, in an ideal world.
That’s the world Ross thought he was living in when he was 8 years old, with his older brother Ryan, who was 10. They were happy kids with no reason to be afraid. Until one night at their home in Charlotte, North Carolina, when his mother told his father she wanted a divorce. That’s when something snapped in Ross’s dad’s mind, and he got a gun, and forever changed the history of their family.
Ross is 21 now, and he’s permanently blind. And he’s amazing. He’s currently at the Colorado Springs Olympic and Paralympic Training Center, where he’s training to swim in the Summer 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo.
We talked about a lot of things – what happened that night, how he and his mother have adapted, how difficult it was to learn Braille, getting his first guide dog, how he is able to play computer video games, why he sometimes wears earplugs, and how he can swim competitively without being able to see.
Ross has plans for a career in software engineering, and there’s no doubt in my mind that he’ll meet that challenge.
If you’d like to contact him, you can email Ross at email@example.com.
And if you’d like to join the others who support this podcast for as little as $1 per month, you can do that at WhatWasThatLike.com/support
Investigation Discovery show called “Unbreakable – Live to tell”
Ross’s YouTube channel
Meeting and training with Dixie
Lexington, Kentucky. 1 pm on a Friday, Labor Day weekend.
Diana, a medical flight nurse, was sitting in a Lear jet. The pilot was unconscious. The co-pilot could not move because he had a broken back. Diana’s patient had died on impact.
The plane was sitting on Versailles Rd in Lexington, after it had just slid across the road on it’s belly. The landing gear was gone. The right wing had been ripped off the plane. And now that it had come to a stop, Diana knew she had to get the door open and get people out, because she could hear the crackling of fire, and the cabin was filling with smoke.
Except she couldn’t stand up, because she had a broken back and two broken legs.
I think you’ll hear from our conversation that Diana is pretty incredible. She’s the type of person who arrives and takes charge. She’s a natural-born leader who was born to help people who are in a bad situation. But for this story, that was turned around – she was the one in desperate need of help.
I want to thank our mutual friend Sandi for connecting me with Diana. Really, I continue to be surprised at the people and stories that are right in my own network.
And hang around after the conversation for a couple more things that might be of interest. I now have bumper stickers available, if you’d like to let everyone know about your favorite podcast. And, I recently appeared on another podcast hosted by my friends Glenn and Jamie, where we talked about this show and other podcasting-related stuff. That’s about a 15-minute interview that will play in full if you want to listen to it.
If you’d like to contact Diana with questions or to have her speak to your group or organization, you can contact her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if you’d like to be a supporter of this show, you can do that at WhatWasThatLike.com/support.
One summer day in Jacksonville, Florida, Karen got the surprise of her life. She was with her friend Sheryl. They were pulled over on the interstate, I-95, and Karen was holding a blanket to her face. She was bleeding, and she didn’t even know what had happened. In short time, she learned from a police officer that she had been shot.
And she wasn’t the only one. Nine cars that afternoon, on that section of I-95, had been hit by bullets from an unknown source. Six people were injured. And the manhunt was on for the shooter, a 16 year old boy, who was eventually caught and arrested.
Karen and I talked about what happened that day, what it feels like to be shot in the face, and the lucky break she caught when she was taken to the ER. And at the end of our conversation, Karen gives the scoop on her area of expertise, angel investing and the Compassionate Capitalist Movement.
And if you'd like to join the others who support this podcast for as little as one dollar a month, you can do that at WhatWasThatLike.com/support.
Today’s episode is a little different. I’d like to know what you think about it.
My guest today is Chloe. Chloe is a university student in New York, and in the last couple of months, she has gone through a pretty radical change.
Two months ago, Chloe was in a desperate state. She was unemployed, having lost her job with no notice. After losing her job, she had gone through her savings. She was 48 hours away from having her electricity disconnected. She was a week away from losing her apartment. And she had 33 cents in her bank account. She was in a panic.
Fast forward 30 days. Her rent is now paid up. Her electric bill is current. And she is working, from home, 70 hours a week. And here’s the funny part – she didn’t find a job. She created one. How she did that is what we’re gonna talk about today. You can check out her website at advicebychloe.com.
From my point of view, I’m an entrepreneur myself, and I’ve been running my computer business for over 20 years. If you’re not aware of it, you can see my website at ComputerTutorFlorida.com. So I am always pretty fascinated with a business success story. But, like I said, this is not really the type of story I usually do on this podcast. That’s why I’d like to hear what you think of it. You can email me at Scott@whatwasthatlike.com.
And if you’d like to join the others who support this show, for as little as a dollar a month, you can do that at WhatWasThatLike.com/support.
If you were out in public somewhere, just going about your day, and you saw someone collapse – someone you don’t know – what would you do? Most people don’t really know what they would do, until they’re actually put in that situation.
There are stories of people who witness something like this, and they just freeze. Or, if it’s a busy place like a public sidewalk and someone is on the ground, a lot of times everyone will just walk by. It’s an unfortunate psychology thing with humans called diffusion of responsibility – everyone thinks that someone else will help. And as a result, no one helps.
Thankfully, not everyone is like that. There are some people who see a situation, maybe a person in distress, and their first thought is “What can I do to help this person?”.
One of those people is Kevin Purcell, who you’ll meet in today’s episode.
Kevin is the Executive Director of the New Jersey State Golf Association. One day about a year ago, Kevin was finishing up a round of golf, and he saw something was happening on the course. As he looked more closely, he could see that a man was on the ground.
The man who had collapsed was Carlos Tapia, and he was having a heart attack.
In today’s episode, we’ll hear from Kevin what happened. And I was also able to get a few comments from Carlos, to get his perspective on that day.
Links to what we discussed in this episode:
And I also want to thank my friend Paul Kondo for connecting me with Kevin. If you’re looking for new podcasts to listen to, Paul publishes a weekly email newsletter that helps with that. Every Wednesday he highlights three podcast episodes that he has found interesting. Check it out at PaulKondo.com. I don’t know if he’s related to Marie Kondo or not, but his sense of humor does spark joy for me and maybe you’ll like it too.
And if you’d like to join others who support this show for as little as $1 per month, you can do that at WhatWasThatLike.com/support.
My guest today is Travis. He lives near Bismarck, North Dakota. Travis is a man in pain. You’ll hear it in his voice. He just lost his 16 year old son, Brandon.
Brandon had asthma. That in itself is not really anything unusual. The CDC says that 1 in 13 people have asthma. Here in the US, that means more than 25 million Americans have it. And it’s actually been increasing for the past 40 years.
Brandon had had asthma for almost his whole life. He knew what it was like and how to deal with it. He always had his inhaler handy for when his breathing felt restricted. On some occasions when it was bad, Travis would take Brandon to the ER for some special treatment. It was just a way of life, something they were all used to.
But one evening it was different. Brandon was at home, and the only other person at home with him was his younger brother, Aaron. Aaron is 14. That night, Brandon’s asthma flared up worse than it ever had before. His inhaler didn’t help, and he ended up unconscious while Aaron performed CPR until the ambulance arrived. Brandon never woke up. But before he passed out, Brandon told Aaron something that Aaron kept secret until he told their dad a few days later. I’ll let Travis tell that part of it.
And when did this all happen? Father’s Day weekend.
At the time I had this conversation with Travis, Brandon had only passed away about 6 weeks earlier. I wondered if it might be too soon. But Travis wanted to tell this story, because he wants other parents to be aware of the limitations of the medical facilities that are near where you live. And he wants everyone to be aware of the importance of being an organ donor. Brandon was able to donate several of his organs, including his heart. And his liver saved the life of a 10 year old girl. That’s the part of this story that Travis hangs on to, knowing that Brandon’s death meant that others were able to have life.
I’m a parent, and this story had an effect on me. If this episode affects you, whether it makes you think about life, or cry, or just give your kids an extra hug, then it’s a success. If you’d like, I invite you to support this podcast by becoming a patron for as little as $1 per month at WhatWasThatLike.com/support.
If you’re a parent, you can probably identify a little bit with this story. Especially if you have teenagers.
My kids are grown now, but I remember back when they were teenagers. And my kids were really good! They never got in trouble or anything like that. But even with responsible, mature teenagers, you just dread that some day you might get a phone call.
It’s that phone call from one of your kids that starts out, “Now Dad, I don’t want you to freak out or anything, but something’s happened…”
Westin was 18 years old when he had to make that phone call to his parents one summer day. He and a couple of his friends, they were all teammates on the high school football team, were out on a boat all day.
Just before it started to get dark, Westin was standing out on the bow, and he fell forward off the boat into the water. The boat, and the spinning propeller under the water’s surface, continued forward directly to where Westin was treading water. He couldn’t move out of the way quickly enough.
He survived of course, but what happened that day is something he still thinks about even today.
This podcast is supported by you – the listener. If you like these stories, please consider joining the others who support the show for as little as one dollar a month, at WhatWasThatLike.com/support.
Today’s conversation is one I’ve been looking forward to, ever since I first came across the story. As you might know, I’ve said in the past that one of my goals for this show is to never be boring. And today’s topic fits in perfectly with that goal.
My guest’s name is Shiny. Not his real name of course. Shiny was presented with a rare situation. Some might even call it an opportunity. How would you respond, if you were given the opportunity to actually eat meat that came from a human being? For most people, the reaction would be “Absolutely not! That’s disgusting.”
But what if it could be done in a way that was legal and ethical? And in addition, what if it were done in a way that was healthy, so you wouldn’t have any worries about disease, or infection, or any of that? Well, honestly, for most people, I think the reaction would STILL be “No way!”
But Shiny is not like most people. He and a bunch of his friends are pretty open-minded, and they seem to be willing to try just about anything. And they did.
Usually when you hear stories about cannibalism, it involves a serial killer like Jeffrey Dahmer. Or it might be about a group of people who are stranded somewhere for an extended period of time, and they end up eating the weakest in the group just to be able to stay alive. Shiny’s story does not involve murder, or survival. It’s really just a story about a brunch that none of them will ever forget.
We’ll definitely be talking about this one over in the Facebook group, and you’re welcome to join us there, at WhatWasThatLike.com/facebook.
Probably most people have been in some type of car accident at some point in their life. I've been in more than one myself. None of them were serious, or even involved injuries. These things are common - human drivers make mistakes, and cars just run into each other sometimes.
But the crash we're talking about today wasn't a simple fender bender.
Luke and five of his friends were just having a fun, 4th of July vacation. In fact, this episode is being released on July 5, 2019 - the 5-year anniversary of the day of the accident. Everyone in the car that day was seriously injured. Two of them did not survive.
My hope with this episode is that as you hear Luke tell the story of what happened that day, it will serve as a reminder to drive safely and use good judgment. Your passengers are depending on you to do that. What happened to these six young men could easily happen to any of us - all it takes is a brief lapse in judgment or focus.
As a note, going forward I’m probably not going to do any more stories about auto accidents. I do get submissions pretty regularly from people with a car crash story, but if you’re a regular listener to this podcast, you know I have a pretty high standard on what I consider to be an unusual story. Most car crashes aren’t unusual or extreme enough to get on the show. Today’s story is the exception.
And if you'd like to join some other listeners who are supporting this show, you can do that through my Patreon at WhatWasThatLike.com/support. We now have levels of support for patrons! You can get What Was That Like stickers, you can get your name listed on the website as a supporter, and you can even get a shout out on the show! Thanks for your support.
And for those of you who use Reddit, the podcast now has its own subreddit! Check it out and join the community at Reddit.com/r/WhatWasThatLike.
And of course you are welcome to join the What Was That Like private Facebook group. You can talk about episodes with other listeners, and you’ll even find some of the guests in there in case you have some questions that I forgot to ask on the show. That’s at WhatWasThatLike.com/facebook.
When you hear the word “lost”, what comes to your mind?
Honestly, it seems like these days I don’t really worry too much about getting lost. Most of that is because of the amazing technology called GPS. I mean, I’m here in my office in Safety Harbor Florida, in the Tampa Bay area. I could get in my car, look at my phone, and enter some random house address in Los Angeles, California, 2500 miles away, and within seconds Google will be ready to direct me turn by turn to get to that address. Even though it will take me 37 hours to make that drive.
But that’s only because I have a phone that can stay fully charged for the whole trip. And I have a car to keep the air a cool temperature, and I’ll have places to stop and get food along the way, not to mention snacks while I’m driving. And I’ll have my bottle of water right there in the console for whenever I get thirsty. And when I get tired of driving all day, I’ll have a hotel to spend the night and get the sleep I’ll need to keep going the next day.
Well, today we’re talking to John. John had none of those things. He was on foot, his phone was dead, he had no water, and he had no food. Even though the weather included rain and snow, he was only wearing a sweatshirt and shorts. He was alone. And the only place he could sleep at night was on the ground.
John was in a remote area of southern Utah, in a place called the Bryce Canyon National Park. This is a huge place, mainly full of rocks and trees and thorny bushes. It’s 56 square miles, or 145 square kilometers.
And that’s where John was lost. His plan was to spend a few hours there. He was still there after a few days – exhausted, dehydrated, dejected, hallucinating - and he still had no idea how to get out.
How did he get in this situation? What did he do each day? What did he end up drinking, out of desperation? And how did he finally get rescued? You’re about to find out. And partway through John’s story, we’ll hear from Cody Sherriffs, one of the Garfield County Search and Rescue workers who ended up finding John and getting him to safety.
On this podcast, you hear stories from people first hand – true stories you just can’t get on other podcasts. If you like this show and would like to support it, you can do that by going to WhatWasThatLike.com/support and signing up to be a patron. This show takes a lot of time to put together, and it’s all done by me, so your support really means a lot. And I thank you.
Today we’ve got a really fun conversation. Still a weird story with an extra unusual twist thrown in partway through, but it’s a fun one and I think you’re gonna like it.
And if you didn’t already know, you now have the opportunity and ability to support this podcast through my Patreon at whatwasthatlike.com/support. So if you like this show and want it to keep going, that’s how you do it! I’m still working on how it will work for different levels, so that’s coming up in the near future. But in the meantime, if you like the show, check out whatwasthatlike.com/support. And I thank you!
Today we’re talking with Kasey. She lives in St Louis. And one day she sent a text message to her friends, because she was looking to hang out with someone. But she sent that text to the wrong number. Happens to everyone, right? Well, what DOESN’T happen to everyone is this – fast forward a few years, and Kasey and Henry – the guy she accidentally texted – are now married.
If there was ever a case of soul mates connecting, this is it. And this happened even though Kasey is 30 years older than Henry. Intrigued yet? Just wait til you hear the REST of the story (sorry about that Paul Harvey)!
I loved talking with Kasey because she is just full of energy and she loves to tell this story. And that’s something that will suit her well as she embarks on a new career, which we also talked about. And I’m pretty sure this is the only episode of my podcast where part of the guest’s story is the question “did you poop today?”
Kasey’s public speaking website: https://www.kaseybstl.com/
Kasey and Henry on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kaseyandhenry/
Kasey’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kasey.bergh/
Kasey and Henry’s website: https://Kaseyandhenry.com
Interested in having Kasey on your podcast or at your event? Contact Lindsay, her PR person: email@example.com
And of course, Matt Foley: Motivational Speaker - https://youtu.be/Xv2VIEY9-A8
What if you kind of knew someone in high school, then you became friends with that person when you both ended up at the same college?
What if you started hanging out with that person, and talking with him most days before or after classes?
What if you confided in this person, and came to really appreciate the friendship that was growing?
Then, what if you started to realize that this person was not at all the person you thought they were?
That’s what happened to Marina, and it was a pretty scary time – not just for her, but for her unborn baby. She’s just now starting to be able to tell this whole story out loud.
As you listen to Marina, ask yourself a question – is this podcast worth supporting? If you get any value from this episode, or any of the other incredible stories that my guests tell on this show, I would really appreciate it if you’d consider supporting the show through my Patreon. You can do that at WhatWasThatLike.com/support.
Sometimes great ideas show up in your brain at the most surprising times.
One morning last September, Whitney Austin suddenly had the idea that she was going to do something. She was going to take action and do everything in her power to reduce gun violence. And let me tell you, Whitney is a very determined person. When she decides to do something, it’s gonna happen. Since that day, she has started a non-profit organization, along with several of her colleagues, with the purpose of reducing ALL gun violence in a way that everyone can accept.
And what prompted her to have that great idea? Well, when she first thought of it, she was at the Fifth Third Bank building in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she worked. She remembers this very specifically, because she was inside the revolving door, the main entrance to the building. She was slumped on the floor, inside that revolving door. And she was bleeding, because she had just been shot 12 times.
That morning, as she entered the building, she had unknowingly walked into a mass shooting that was happening right there in the lobby. And as she lay there, pretending to be dead, with literally a dozen bullet wounds in her body, she thought about her husband and her two young children, and she also thought, “If I live through this, I have to do something to stop this from happening again.”
I love talking with people who don’t just talk about problems, they take action. That’s Whitney. The non-profit she started is Whitney/Strong, and you can get more info at https://www.whitneystrong.org/
This is Whitney with Officer Al Staples, who was the one who pulled her out of that revolving door to safety:
Included in this episode:
- Police communication audio as the shooting happened
- Whitney telling the story first-hand
- 911 audio calls
- Comments from Officer Staples
If you enjoy the podcast, please consider supporting it by becoming a patron at WhatWasThatLike.com/support.
The tag line for this podcast is “real people in unreal situations”, and today’s story is about as unreal as it gets.
Imagine you’re leaving work one night. It’s dark. You’re walking through the parking lot, and suddenly an SUV with two men inside pulls up beside you, one of them jumps out and grabs you, throws you in the car, and they quickly drive away. And there was no one around to see this happen.
They drive for a while but you can’t see where they’re taking you. You end up at a house. You don’t know where you are, but you know it’s very quiet. There are no sounds of traffic. No other human activity nearby.
Then they start beating you.
This might sound like a bad dream, or the opening scene to a horror movie. But for Tyson, it was real life.
When he first told me what happened, it sounded just a little too bizarre. On this podcast I don’t cover situations that are fictional – only true stories. So I did the research, obtained police reports, verified addresses, all that, to make sure Tyson’s story is true. Unfortunately for him, it actually happened.
You know, this isn’t really a true crime podcast, but today’s episode sure puts it in that category.
Ramon and Lulu got married, and for the first few years it was great. They had a business that was doing very well, they built a new house, they had cars and nice clothes. Life was good.
Of course, every marriage has its ups and downs. If you’re married, you know what I mean. But in most cases, a marriage that goes bad just ends in a divorce, and eventually everyone gets on with their lives.
That’s not what happened with Ramon and Lulu.
Ramon was okay with getting a divorce, and he wanted them to split everything 50/50. Lulu didn’t want that. She wanted everything. And if she couldn’t have everything, she wanted Ramon dead. So she paid someone to kill him.
I had a great conversation with Ramon, so obviously he is not dead. But he has been through quite a horrific ordeal, including lying in his own grave while being photographed as if he had been shot in the head.
Like I said, not your typical divorce story. Here’s the police body cam video of the day Lulu was arrested:
Ramon has written a book about what happened, and the book includes a lot of details that we did not talk about here on the podcast. It will be out soon.
Mundo has also written a book from his perspective, available on Amazon here.
(book links are affiliate links)
Today’s story happened last summer – July of 2018.
William was out riding his bike. He came up to an intersection where he had a stop sign, and had to turn either left or right. While he was stopped at that intersection, a car approached from his right, and turned left – coming straight at him.
What makes this story interesting is that the driver of that car didn’t see William sitting on his bike at that intersection, because the driver was looking down at his phone. He didn’t look up in time, and he drove right into William and his bike. William was knocked to the ground, and his bike was destroyed.
Oh, and there’s another part of this story that makes it even more interesting. The driver of that car was a police officer, and he was on duty driving his police cruiser.
Like a lot of cyclists, William has an action cam mounted on his helmet. So when this crash happened, the camera was rolling so the whole thing is on video. This video has been viewed over 11 million times:
This was a pretty interesting conversation. We talked about William’s high-end bike that was destroyed, the camera he uses when he’s biking, what happened when he got hit, who paid for his bike, as well as the coverage for his injuries. You’ll see in the video, the police officer that crashed into him two different times told him, “You’re fine”. But he wasn’t actually fine.
This is the other video we discussed, with his interaction with one of the EMTs:
Now, William has a new bike and a new camera. And that police officer is no longer an officer with that police department.
William’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXdapW5go7Jof99qzXcHFxw
I hope you enjoy this episode. And if you do, and you’d like to support this podcast, you can buy me a coffee at WhatWasThatLike.com/coffee.
I’ve lived in areas where it gets really cold, and I’ve lived where it’s warm most of the time. I’ve lived up north in Ohio and in Maine, and now I’m in sunny Florida. I definitely prefer the warmer climate.
But today’s story is about being cold. Really, really cold. Dan Burton brought his fat tire bike to the coast of Antarctica, and he biked from there to the South Pole. That’s 750 miles, and it’s uphill, and it’s against the wind, and it’s in temperatures that are colder than just about anyone would be comfortable with.
But he did it – and in fact, he was the first one to do it. And actually, it happened 5 years ago, and no one has done it again since then – at least not at the time we recorded this conversation, which is early 2019.
And I learned something really interesting. The elevation at the South Pole is 9300 feet. But only 300 feet of that is actual land. The 9000 feet of elevation on top of that land is solid ice. So at the South Pole Dan was standing on ice that was almost 2 miles thick. In fact, during our conversation he mentions that he actually walked over some mountains but he wasn’t able to see them, because he was actually on top of them because of that thick layer of ice.
I’m always intrigued by stories of human endurance like this, so I really loved hearing this story first hand from Dan. Here’s where you can learn more about his expedition:
YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/EpicBiking
Book: https://amzn.to/2VVRrHR (Amazon aff link)
Here’s the video Dan and I discuss, about the lady that fell into the crevasse:
And if you like this podcast, you’re welcome to buy me a coffee – WhatWasThatLike.com/coffee
This episode is a fun one for me. I’m an entrepreneur, so I love watching Shark Tank. If you’re not familiar with the show, it’s where some regular person who has the beginnings of a business comes on and pitches the idea to 5 investors, called Sharks. The investors ask questions and decide if they want to become partners with that person and invest in the business.
Some of the people who have gone on there have gotten deals and gone on to great success. Others have gotten no deal, but perhaps some constructive criticism and encouragement. And then there are others that have just gotten criticism. And of course that’s part of what makes it entertaining.
Here’s some interesting facts about Shark Tank:
- Each season, they film batches of episodes together. All of the sharks come out to California for 2 weeks in June and they see as many as ten product pitches in each 10-hour day of filming. Then they come out again for 2 weeks in September and do the same thing. Out of all that, they get the 22 episodes for a season.
- In a recent season, there were 158 pitches filmed, but only 88 of them actually got on the air. The pitches average about 45 minutes, and then they get edited down to about 11 minutes each.
- Many of the deals made on the show never actually happen. And really that makes sense. The person might get their sales or cost numbers wrong, or some other details that don’t add up, and that can obviously cause a change of mind for the investor.
But my conversation today is with a young business man named Max, and in his case, the investment in his business DID happen. Max is a 19 year old college student, and he has developed a cold-brew coffee filter that he hopes will soon become a household product and introduce lots of people to the idea of cold-brew coffee.
And it turns out Mark Cuban, who’s one of the sharks and is also a billionaire investor who owns the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, also thought the product has potential, so he and Max are now partners in this venture. And I agree, it’s a pretty clever idea.
As you’ll tell from our conversation, Max is a really bright kid and he’s got a tremendous future. I loved talking with him, and really I liked kind of getting the perspective of someone that has actually gone on that show – how he prepared for it, how he got the deal, and what’s happened since then. Going on a show like this to pitch your idea to investors is one of those things that’s part exhilarating and part terrifying.
If you want to watch the episode with Max, it’s this current season of Shark Tank, which is Season 10, and he’s on episode 9. It aired on January 6, 2019.
Here’s Max, showing how his cold-brew coffee filter works:
To connect with Max:
- Website: https://www.bruw.net/
- Facebook: https://facebook.com/bruwcoffee
- Instagram: https://instagram.com/bruwcoffee
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/bruwcoffee
And as always, I’d love to hear what you think of this episode! Email me at Scott@WhatWasThatLike.com.
I’ve been friends with Sue for several years, so I know what she’s like. And after you hear the conversation I had with Sue recently, you’ll have a pretty good idea too. I hope you’re ready.
October 24, 2015 – Sue was with her daughter Jessica, who was 14 years old at the time, and her friend Elise. Sue and Elise were skydiving buddies, and they were doing what they often did on a beautiful Saturday morning – they were going to go jump out of a plane. Since she was 14, Jessica wasn’t yet old enough to jump – but she just liked being with her mom and hanging out at the drop zone.
The weather was beautiful, and everything was going fine, until Sue got to about 5000 feet. She tried to make a quick turn just before landing, and things went terribly wrong.
The thing about Sue is, she has a heart full of compassion and love like few people I know. And even though she was on the ground, unable to move, with broken bones and in just excruciating pain, her primary concern was for her daughter – she didn’t want Jessica to see her in pain and be traumatized by that.
Obviously, Sue survived. And wait til you hear what she’s done since then.
In the United States, 1 out of 3 women have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner. Alyssa Moore WAS that one out of three.
Alyssa lives in Tennessee, and she’s a musician, a songwriter, and an audio engineer. She was also a victim of physical and emotional abuse from her boyfriend, Jared McLemore. One day, at her request, police put out a warrant for his arrest. That night, while she was at work setting up audio at a bar called Murphy’s (in midtown Memphis), Alyssa got a notification on her phone that Jared was doing a Facebook Live video. What she didn’t realize is that Jared was doing this just outside the bar where she was working. Within a few minutes, Jared had covered himself in gasoline, and set himself on fire. Hundreds of people saw it live on Facebook. Alyssa saw it live in person. Jared died shortly after that from his injuries.
Alyssa told me about Jared, what drew her to him, about their relationship, and how she handled his death. And how she is enjoying her new sense of freedom.
In the video below, you can see the Facebook Live video that Jared created that night. This video will not be suitable for everyone, so view it at your own discretion.
Below are some of the resources that Alyssa talks about that are available to help domestic violence victims.
Domestic Violence statistics, compiled by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence: https://ncadv.org/statistics
National Domestic Violence Hotline: https://www.thehotline.org/
National Network to End Domestic Violence: https://nnedv.org/
On November 29, 2018, 50 year old Andrew Bush of College Station, Texas was driving his white Dodge Charger. Up ahead was a red light. Cars were stopped, waiting for the light to change, and one of those vehicles was a Ford pickup truck in the left turn lane.
Witnesses say Bush didn’t even brake before slamming into the back of that truck. The driver of the pickup truck was 20 year old Zane Wallace, a Texas A&M college student, who was with his girlfriend Mackenzie. They were shaken up but not seriously injured.
Zane got out of the truck to check on the driver of the car that just hit them. And that’s where our story today really begins. Zane had a day he’ll never forget.
As you listen to my conversation with Zane, I think you’ll get the same impression I did when we were talking. He’s a good kid, very polite and respectful. And throughout this whole ordeal, his concern was not for himself, even though it was his life that was in danger that day. Instead, he was concerned for the safety of his girlfriend, and the welfare of the driver of the car that hit them. I like Zane and I think he has a great future ahead of him.
The incident that Zane told me about was caught on video by someone nearby who happened to think quickly and hit “record” on his phone. This is his video:
Also, at the beginning of the episode, I mentioned a Saturday Night Live parody sketch that poked fun at the old TJ Hooker show, which starred William Shatner. Here’s that video:
And if you don’t already follow me on Instagram, you really should. I post something new there every day, @WhatWasThatLike.
Every year, thousands of people all over the world go hang gliding. Some people are experienced and pretty serious about the sport, and they own their own gliders and other equipment. And there are others who are just kind of curious about what it feels like to soar through the air silently, with the only sound being the wind in your face.
Chris was in that second category. He and his wife Gail live here in Florida, and they were vacationing in Switzerland recently, and they booked a hang gliding adventure. And since neither of them had ever done any hang gliding, they would each have their own pilot who would be handling the glider. So two hang gliders – Gail and her pilot in one, and Chris with his pilot in the other one.
They climb to the top of a big hill, and Christ gets his harness on just as instructed. When the wind is just right, he and his pilot go running down the hill and within seconds they are airborne and gaining altitude quickly.
Only one problem – Chris was not attached in any way to the hang glider. The pilot had somehow forgotten that critical part of the process. So Chris is literally hanging by his hands while they’re thousands of feet in the air, as the pilot tries desperately to land as quickly as he can. Makes you want to go hang gliding, right?
Chris had his GoPro camera attached to the back of the glider so you can see the whole thing as it happens, in this video:
In our conversation for the podcast, Chris told me the whole story. He’s really lucky to be alive. And he answered my big question – does he want to hang gliding again?
Four years ago, Jannike felt like a failure in every area of her life. She could not envision her circumstances getting any better, so she made the decision to end her life.
She wrote good-bye letters to her siblings and her four children, then she went out after dark one night, found a railroad track to lie down on, and waited for the next train.
Today, she’s a much happier person and loves her life.
In our conversation, Jannike told me about that night on the train track, why her life did not end then, and what she did to overcome her problem and become someone who enjoys each day.
You can see pictures of her, as well as lots of other thought-provoking content, on my Instagram, which is @whatwasthatlike.
Our story today takes place on the west coast of Finland. January 5, 2017 was a sunny winter day. And it was also very cold: -4 degrees Fahrenheit, which is -20 degrees Celsius.
That day, there was a woman who was at home, but outside. She was looking west, out over the Gulf of Bothnia – the body of water that separates Finland’s west coast from Sweden’s east coast. It’s about 60-70 miles across, and the surface is frozen in the winter.
As she is looking out over that ice-covered body of water, she sees a person skiing across the ice – about 500 yards away from land. And during that brief time that she’s looking that direction, she sees that person drop right through the ice into the water.
The person she saw go through the ice was an 18-year-old man named Matt.
That was a pretty scary day for Matt. He could have died that day, but he didn’t. Thankfully he survived, and he told me exactly what happened that day. I hope you enjoy it.
Jeremy lives near Corpus Christi, Texas with his wife Jennifer. In May of 2018, just a few months ago, they experienced a day that neither of them will ever forget.
This was on a Sunday, about 10:30 in the morning, and they were getting ready for a family barbecue that was going to happen at their house that afternoon. Jennifer was working in their rock garden, and came across an aggressive snake. But it wasn’t just any snake – this was a Western Diamondback rattlesnake.
She called out for Jeremy, and he quickly got a shovel and swung down on the snake, and chopped off its head. And of course, if that were the end of the story, it wouldn’t really be much of a story, right?
A few minutes later, Jennifer is about to let the dogs out in the yard, so Jeremy knows he needs to dispose of the dead snake. As he reaches for a nearby stick, the severed head of that rattlesnake jumps toward him and bites down on his right hand.
Jeremy immediately yelled for Jennifer that he’s been bit, and he struggles to pry open the jaws of the snake to get it off his hand – all the while feeling the pulsation of the deadly venom that’s being pumped into him.
Jennifer called 911 and they got in the car to meet the ambulance a couple of miles down the road, just to save some time.
I’ll let Jeremy tell it, but what I find fascinating about this story is how life can end so suddenly and without warning. I mean, Jeremy was just doing routine yard work on a Sunday morning, and literally within 15 or 20 minutes, he’s waiting for an ambulance to show up, and he’s thinking there’s a good chance he’s about to die, and he’s saying his last goodbyes to his wife and daughter. Just incredible.
Partway through the conversation we’ll hear from Jennifer, and the fact that she’s a nurse I think played a big part in Jeremy being able to survive this.
If you want to contact Jeremy, his email is Jeremy_sutcliffe@yahoo.com.
And you can see additional pictures about this story on my Instagram, which is @WhatWasThatLike.
What you’re about to read is based on a criminal complaint and investigation. All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
This happened in Waldo, Wisconsin. Thursday, September 27, 2018. Just after lunchtime, around 1 pm. Dean Hoffman entered the home of his former girlfriend, whose name I’m not going to mention. He was not invited in; he came in without permission. She told him to leave, and she started to call the police. He stopped her from calling, grabbed her by the waist, and pushed her backwards into the stairs that led to the second floor. He pulled her hair, ripped her shirt, and dragged her up the stairs. He punched her, causing a bloody nose and a black eye.
He locked them both in the bathroom for about a half hour while she tended to her bloody nose. Then he tied her up, and kept her from leaving her own house for the next several hours. He even used HER phone to text her children, who lived nearby, telling them that she was sick and not to visit for a few days.
Then he made a mistake. He ordered a pizza from Dominos.
The delivery driver that brought the pizza was Joey Grundl. While the suspect was checking the pizza, Joey was able to make eye contact with the victim, and she communicated with him silently that she needed help. And because Joey was alert and willing to help, the story has a happy ending. The woman is safe, and Dean Hoffman is behind bars.
Pretty exciting night for a guy who expected to just bring some food and collect some money. Like most people who are in some kind of situation like this, he said he doesn’t consider himself a hero. But he is.
And check this out – not long after this happened, Joey was at a Taylor Swift concert and she actually recognized him from when she saw this story on the news, because on the news story he was wearing some Taylor Swift merch. He was invited backstage after the concert and got to meet her. That story is here.
If you’d like to contact Joey and congratulation him on his quick thinking, you can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if you want to get some really cool content on a regular basis, including a photo of Joey when he met Taylor Swift, follow me on Instagram, @whatwasthatlike.
The story you’re about to hear, I love it and I think you will too.
It’s about two people. One of them is Tiffany, who is a probation officer. That means she sometimes works in a courtroom.
The other person is Brett. Brett and Tiffany started dating a couple of years ago and ended up falling in love with each other.
So recently, it came time for Brett to pop that all-important question. And even though they had talked about marriage, so it was already on both of their minds, Brett wanted to propose in such a way that it would take Tiffany completely by surprise. I think it’s safe to say he succeeded.
Brett conspired with some of Tiffany’s co-workers from the courthouse, including the judge, and came up with a plan. He would be dressed in a prisoner jumpsuit, handcuffed, and brought in to the courtroom by deputies to appear before the judge. And Tiffany would have a front-row seat to see it all happen.
And the nice thing is, the whole thing was recorded so YOU can see how it happened too. A couple of videos are below.
I love a great prank, and to me, a great prank has to have a couple of elements. First, it has to be something that is planned out in detail. And second, it has to be one that has everyone feeling good about it afterward. This one definitely is both.
I talked with Brett about how he planned this, how he worked with the people at the courthouse, how he felt when it was actually happening, and the publicity it has received. People really love this story.
And I also got some insight from Tiffany about what was going through her mind as the whole thing played out right in front of her.
If you want to contact Brett, he can be reached at email@example.com.
On the night of October 1, 2017, 64 year old Stephen Paddock opened fire from his room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel in Las Vegas. He was able to fire over 1100 rounds in just 10 minutes time, from 10:05 pm to 10:15 pm. His target was the crowd of 22,000 people in the open field below his room. These people were attending the final night of the 3-day Route 91 Harvest Music festival. Country singer Jason Aldean was performing when the shooting began.
The end result was that 851 people were injured, and 58 people died. This incident is the deadliest mass shooting committed by an individual in the history of the country. The shooter also shot and killed himself, so the motive for the killing will probably never be known.
But this story isn’t about the cowardly killer. It’s about a young lady named Kami. Kami lives in California, about 4 hours away from Las Vegas, and she was at the Harvest Festival with her parents, and her husband Eli. She was there when the shooting began. She saw the terror on people’s faces as they ran for safety, and she saw the unfortunate ones that didn’t make it.
And here’s another critical fact that will be an important part of Kami’s story. She was at the festival for all three days. Day 3 is when the shooting took place. On day 1, she learned that she was pregnant.
To contact Kami: KMBroute91@yahoo.com
Vincent lives and works in Chicago as a photojournalist. He takes a lot of pictures, and a lot of those pictures include crime scenes. In his line of work, he’s used to getting the call, and going to where the news is happening.
But there was one night when he didn’t have to go anywhere. The crime scene was just outside his front door. That was the night 17 year old Michael Patton was gunned down during a thunderstorm.
Vincent heard the shots, and ran outside while his wife called 911. The teenager had been shot in the chest and in the head, and he died while Vincent held his hand.
We talked about Vincent’s perspective on this experience, both as a photographer and journalist, and as a father. An experience like this is certainly something that none of us wants to go through.
If you’d like to contact Vincent, or see some of his photography, you can do so by checking out a project he’s currently working on, called Lost Americana. You can see that at lostamericana.com.
Vincent also wrote an article for the Chicago Sun-Times about this incident. I’ll have a link to that in the show notes for this episode, at whatwasthatlike.com/07
Have you ever thought about what it would be like to lose one of your legs? I think just about everyone just takes their legs for granted. We’ve always had them, they get us where we need to go, they just do their job.
Until they don’t.
My guest on the show today is Josh. He was in the Army and stationed in Iraq, and he worked as a gunner inside an Abrams tank. One day his tank parked over a roadside bomb, and there was an explosion that destroyed the tank, along with Josh’s left foot.
Josh told me the whole story, from the moment it happened, to somehow exiting the tank and getting to safety, his multiple surgeries, and his decision to finally just amputate and be done with it. He talked about prosthetics and what it was like to put that on for the first time, and what he is able to do.
And Josh also has some advice for other vets and amputees about how he has dealt with this situation. He’s come a long way.
Some of the things we discussed:
The M1 Abrams tank:
Josh’s email address:
To see pictures of Josh as well as the destroyed tank, you can follow me on Instagram at https://Instagram.com/whatwasthatlike
What kind of person gives one of his own kidneys to a total stranger? Well, you’re about to find out.
Mark works as an attorney here in the Tampa Bay area so he’s actually not too far from where I live, but that’s actually just a coincidence. I heard about his story and contacted him because I knew it would be interesting, and I had lots of questions for him.
I wanted to know how he found out about this person who needed a kidney, if they actually met in person, and what lead him to make the decision to actually do something like this for someone he didn’t even know. I also wanted to ask him about his own risk assessment – since he only has one kidney himself now, what if that one fails? What if HE needs a kidney later on.
We also talked about the actual process – the testing, the surgery, the recovery, all the details. So if you’ve ever thought about donating a kidney to someone, this will give you the kind of overall information about what you might expect.
If you want to contact Mark, his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tampa General Hospital Living Kidney Donor Program (outside of the Tampa Bay area, contact your local hospital to ask about their own kidney donor program)
There’s a huge need for this, and most of us are walking around with the ability to literally save someone’s life. For me, it’s just kind of hard to ignore that, especially after this conversation. I definitely learned a few things, and I hope you do too.
Have you ever had one of those moments in your life where your life just changed dramatically?
Like, your life is suddenly divided into two chapters – before that moment, and after that moment.
Well, that’s the kind of moment Justin had recently.
Justin was adopted the day after he was born. So he never knew his birth mother. He was adopted immediately into a loving family who gave him a wonderful childhood and a great start in life.
And now he’s 26 years old and making a life of his own, but he always wondered about his birth mother, and he searched and searched for her. And at the same time, she was wondering about him, and hoping they would eventually connect again.
Then, just a couple of months ago, they finally found each other. This is the story of how that happened.
I’m not really gonna tell you a lot here ahead of time, because Justin tells the story himself so wonderfully. But I do want to let you know a couple of things.
Just to keep the names straight, Justin’s birth mother’s name is Heather. His adoptive mother’s name is Sandy. So birth mother Heather, adoptive mother Sandy.
And the other thing is this. Partway through the interview, I kind of surprised Justin with something. Before he and I talked, I got in touch with Heather, his birth mom, and she recorded an audio message to him for me to play during our conversation. Justin wasn’t aware of that until I told him, while we were talking. You’re gonna love it.
A big part of the reason Justin wanted to come on the podcast is to encourage other people who have been adopted to try to find their birth parents or other biological family members. It’s true it might be a little scary because you don’t really know what’s gonna happen, but Justin says you should still take that step and make the effort to do it.
If you want to get in touch with Justin, I’ll have his email in the show notes for today’s episode, which is at whatwasthatlike.com/04.
In this episode, we’re talking with Samantha. And that’s not her real name, by the way.
She has an interesting story, and it has to do with a medical condition that she’s had since childhood.
Samantha has hyper insomnia. I’m sure you already know about insomnia. Maybe you actually experience it from time to time.
But what Samantha has is HYPER insomnia. That’s more than just trouble sleeping sometimes. For her, it means that she typically goes about 8 days at a time without having any sleep. Can you imagine going more than a week with no sleep?
In this conversation, we talked about the medical aspect of it and what’s actually going on. She also has some other medical issues that kind of complicate things. I also asked her the question she probably gets asked more than any other – what do you do with all that extra awake time? We talked about the advantages, and the disadvantages, of this particular condition. And I also asked her, “If there were a cure for this, would you accept it?”
There are some online resources available to learn more about hyper insomnia, and Samantha also has a blog where she talks about it in detail. I’ll have those links in the show notes for this episode, which is at whatwasthatlike.com/03.
Luke remembers that day in January of 2016 pretty vividly. He was 23 years old, recently graduated from college with a degree in engineering, had his whole life ahead of him. On that particular day, he was in Ft Lauderdale, Florida and he went into a Subway fast food restaurant and bought a couple of bottles of water. He was feeling very sick, and he knew exactly why he was sick, and it wasn’t food poisoning. He knew that the awful feeling in his gut was because a little rubber packet had burst inside his stomach, and some very high quality cocaine was now flooding into his insides. Shortly after this happened, he would be in a coma, and he was in that comatose state for 10 days.
As you might imagine, Luke has a pretty interesting story to tell. And we talked about every detail. He told me about why he made the decision to travel to Panama in order to smuggle cocaine into the US. How he researched it and planned the whole process, even though he had never done anything like this before. What it was like to be in a coma, and what it was like to come OUT of a coma. And then, the next sort of chapter in his big adventure – going to prison, and how he was able to get through that.
What you’re going to notice about Luke is that he’s no dummy. He’s very intelligent and well spoken, and he has a really positive outlook on life. He also has a lot of confidence in himself and his abilities, and although usually self confidence is a GOOD character trait, in this case it was partly to blame for him making the bad decision to make some quick money. He figured, high risk, high reward, but he also did as much as he could to minimize his risk. But… it just didn’t work out the way he expected it to.
October 4, 2016 - For Jennifer and her husband Chris, and their 4 children, it was just a regular Tuesday. Up until around 8 pm that evening. Jen was driving home and she had their two daughters in the car, ages 12 and 4.
Jen stopped at a stop sign, and then proceeded into the intersection without seeing the motorcycle that was approaching on her left. The motorcycle hit her car, and with that collision, the lives of two families were forever changed. David, the driver of the motorcycle, was taken to the hospital, where he died two days later.
In my conversation with Jen, we talk about a lot of different aspects of what happened. She told me a little of what life was like before the accident, and she described what happened from the moment of impact and the hours and days that followed. We discussed her feelings of guilt at being responsible for the death of a person, her overwhelming sadness that it happened, her fear of what was going to happen to her from a legal or criminal standpoint, and what happened when she had a chance encounter with one of David’s friends. She also talked about what she’s doing today to help others who have found themselves in similar situations.
There’s actually an acronym for someone who has gone through this. That person is called a CADI. That’s spelled CADI, and it stands for Caused Accidental Death or Injury. You’ll hear Jen use that acronym during our conversation so I wanted to let you know what it is ahead of time.
For people that have caused the accidental death of a person, there are resources available and I’ll have those listed in the show notes for this episode, at whatwasthatlike.com/01.
Also, a warning. Around 14 minutes into our conversation, you’ll also hear the actual recording of the 911 call that Jen made at the time of the accident. In the beginning she’s on the phone with the 911 operator, then she hands the phone to a man who was also on the scene, and he talks to the operator briefly. Following that is a second brief 911 call from a female. Again, this is about 14 minutes into our conversation, so if you might find the intensity of that audio to be upsetting, you can fast forward about 4 minutes to skip past that.
One of the takeaways from this conversation is that it’s good to see things from a different perspective. You know we hear about accidents like this almost every day, and it’s really easy to assume that the person is just some selfish jerk who was talking on their phone, or texting, or just not paying attention, even though we really don’t know what actually happened. Sometimes those assumptions are true, but not always. Today we get to hear the other side of that story.
This is a summary of what to expect for the What Was That Like podcast.