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10 Unforeseen Decisions that Helped Evade a Catastrophe

Unforeseen Decisions

All of us have to make numerous decisions throughout the day. From choosing what to eat for breakfast to picking out our clothes for the day, we are required to choose something or the other without a second thought. But in some cases, such an unforeseen and innocent decision might just end up saving countless lives. Don’t believe us? Well, that’s alright, because we’re about to change your mind! So, here’s a list of ten unforeseen decisions that helped evade a catastrophe

1. In 1912, before giving an important speech for his election campaign, Teddy Roosevelt was shot in the chest from five feet away. Fortunately, Mr. Roosevelt had put a steel eyeglass case and a 50-page speech in his jacket, which helped stop the bullet from hitting his vital organs. After he realized that his lungs had not been harmed, Mr. Roosevelt went on to give his 90-minute speech as planned. 

Teddy Roosevelt
During Theodore Roosevelt’s third party, “Bull Moose,” campaign in Wisconsin 1912, he was shot in the chest with .38 caliber pistol by John Schrank, a New York saloonkeeper. Image credit: Shutterstock

On October 14, 1912, Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt was scheduled to make a speech at the Milwaukee Auditorium as part of his presidential campaign. However, on his way to the event, Mr. Roosevelt was shot in the chest from just five feet away. His alarmed companions then insisted that he go to the hospital, but Mr. Roosevelt refused to do so.

Instead, he coughed into his palms to ensure that there was no sign of blood and went on to deliver his speech as planned. Luckily for him, Mr. Roosevelt had put his 50-page-long speech and a steel eyeglass case in his breast pocket before leaving his hotel.

Together, these two objects had slowed down the bullet and prevented it from hitting his vital organs. Later, an x-ray scan of his chest revealed that the bullet had narrowly missed his heart and lodged itself in his ribs. (1, 2) 

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2. Joseph Strauss, the chief engineer for the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge, was one of the first to require workers to wear hard hats during a project. He also spent $130,000 on an innovative safety net that was placed under the bridge during its construction. This went on to save the lives of 19 construction workers on the project. 

Joseph Strauss
Joseph Strauss (Image to the left), Golden Gate Bridge. Image credits: goldengate.org, Shutterstock

Today, all construction companies in the US are required to follow certain safety standards to prevent unnecessary injuries. However, until about the 1930s, this was not the case. In 1933, Joseph Strauss was made the chief engineer on the Golden Gate Bridge project in San Francisco.

Under his instructions, this became the first-ever construction site to require workers to wear hard hats while at work. Mr. Strauss also insisted on spending $130,000 to erect a safety net below the bridge for the duration of the project. Thanks to this net, 19 workers who fell from the bridge were saved from otherwise certain death.

These workers then came to be known as the “Halfway-to-Hell Club.” Later, despite 11 other men dying on this project, Mr. Strauss was able to revolutionize the then-safety standards of the industry. (1, 2)

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3. Michael Jackson was scheduled to attend a meeting at the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001. However, after one of his events on 10 September, Mr. Jackson stayed up late talking to his mother and overslept the next morning. This caused him to miss his appointment on one of the top floors of the Towers.

9/11
World Trade Center smoking on 9th September. Image credit: Michael Foran/Flickr via Wikimedia.org

The King of Pop, Michael Jackson, is said to have narrowly escaped being a victim of the 9/11 attacks. On 11 September 2001, Mr. Jackson was scheduled to attend a meeting on one of the top floors of the World Trade Center. But on the morning of the appointment, he accidentally overslept and missed the appointment.

As it turns out, the day before the attacks, Mr. Jackson had arrived at Madison Square Garden to perform for his fans. After the show, he spent the entire night talking to his mother on the phone and did not go to bed until 3 a.m. Due to this, he was unable to wake up in time for the meeting the next day. Had he lost his life like the thousands of other victims that day, he would have been just 43 years old. (1, 2)

4. Caroline Kennedy came very close to being the third Kennedy to be assassinated. In 1975, Ms. Kennedy was visiting the British M.P., Sir Hugh Fraser, when a bomb planted in his car went off, killing Mr. Fraser’s neighbor. Luckily, she didn’t make it to the car because the MP had stopped to make a phone call.

Caroline Kennedy
Caroline Kennedy (Image to the left), Sir Hugh Fraser. Image credits: US Department of State/state.gov via Wikimedia.org, Walter Bird/npg.org.uk via Wikimedia.org

In 1975, a 17-year old Caroline Kennedy was attending an art course at Sotheby’s. At this time, she had taken up temporary residence with a family friend, the British MP Sir Hugh Fraser. On October 23, the duo was scheduled to leave the house at about 8 a.m.

As was routine for them, Sir Fraser would drop Ms. Kennedy at her classes and then go to work. But as they were about to leave, Sir Fraser decided to quickly stop and speak to another British MP, Jonathan Aitken, over the phone.

While he was on the call, a bomb in his car exploded and killed his neighbor, Prof. Gordon Hamilton Fairley. Fortunately, Ms. Kennedy was still upstairs at this time and was able to escape unscathed. Later, this well-timed phone call was dubbed the “call that broke the Kennedy Curse.” (1, 2)

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5. In Central London, two car bombs were found and dismantled before they could detonate. One of them was found only because the car it was in had been ticketed for illegal parking and was later towed. This incident was just one day before the Glasgow Airport bombing in 2007. 

Glasgow Airport bombing
Live shot of the 2007 Glasgow Airport attack. Image credit: CNN News via Wikipedia.org

In June 2007, a day before the Glasgow Airport bombing, two Mercedes cars containing numerous explosive devices were discovered in Central London. The first car had been parked in front of a nightclub in Haymarket. Around 1 a.m, an ambulance had been called to the club and when it arrived, the driver noticed that one of the cars in front of it had smoke inside.

He then promptly called the authorities who discovered the first bomb. However, the second bomb was not found until a few hours later. While the first car was being towed away, the second car had been parked illegally not too far away.

Around 2:30 a.m. the same night, this car then received a ticket for illegal parking. But when it still hadn’t been moved an hour later, the authorities towed it away. Later, at the impound lot, the bomb was found and detonated in a controlled explosion. (1, 2)

Also read: 10 Incidents of History That Sound Too Crazy to Believe

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