(Submitted by reader Andrew Law)

To start with, I live in New Zealand which is important to know for this story.

When I was 11 years old my family and our good friends who lived a couple of houses down the street, took a once in a lifetime trip to Disneyland in LA. We took a week off school to do this.

We were all having a ball in Disneyland as to be expected, when it was time to have some lunch outside of the park; so we jumped on the mono-rail.

After sitting down I looked up and sitting on the seat opposite was the teacher from the class next to mine back in NZ, and who also happened to be the teacher of the friend that was with me! As you can imagine he asked my friend why he wasn’t in school.

Below are the extended notes provided by Barbara Drescher for use in Skepticality Episode 215.  Take a look and leave your comments below. Also, please be sure to listen to the podcast for our own sarcastic and hilarious commentary.

It seems that we all have an amazing travel story like this one. On the one hand, it is possible that all of the parties were prompted to consider visiting Disneyland by the same advertisements or because someone else in their town visited and that may increase the probability of such an occurrence by a great deal. The distance between New Zealand and Los Angeles increases the shock of such an event as well. On the other hand, the odds are still pretty astronomical that they would visit the same immensely crowded place at the same time and enter the monorail in the same place at the same time. I am always amazed by these stories and I often wonder how many times I passed by someone I know while far from home and just didn’t see them.  As with other travel stories like this, I can only say that it would be unusual if we did not experience many low-probability events in our lifetime.

On a less serious note, is anyone else wondering why the teacher wasn’t in school?

Barbara Drescher is a cognitive psychologist and statistician. Visit her blog ICBSEverywhere.  As a lecturer at California State University, Northridge,  Barbara primarily taught courses in quantitative/experimental research methods and topics in cognitive psychology. She currently serves as educational programs consultant for the James Randi Educational Foundation.

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