Tag Archive: hotel

One Word: Coincidence

(Submitted by reader Bernhard Liefting)

About 10 years ago, I worked in Germany for a few months (I live in the Netherlands) and I spent weekdays in a hotel. One day I picked up a magazine from the hotel lobby to read in my room.

There was an article in there about the plastic industry, titled “One word, plastics”, a famous quote from the movie “The Graduate”, starring Dustin Hoffman, in which the character he plays is given career advice by his uncle.

After a few minutes, I put down the magazine, and switched on the TV, having no clue what was on. What do I see: the movie “The Graduate”, and which specific scene, well, you probably guessed it, the first thing I hear was “One word, plastics”.

Below are the extended notes provided by cognitive psychologist and statistician Barbara Drescher for use in Skepticality Episode 223.  Take a look and leave your comments below. Please be sure to listen to the podcast for our own sarcastic and hilarious commentary. Also, visit Barbara’s blog.

There is no way to quantify this. We’ve had stories like this before, though, so I know that I’ve commented on it.

Things like this happen all the time. For example, last night we were watching “Raising Hope” and Damon said something to the boys about how he wishes they were old enough to see Garret Dillahunt (plays Burt Chance) in “Deadwood”, in which he played two different characters.

A couple of minutes later, Burt (the character) uttered a line from “Deadwood”.

So far, yet so close…

(Submitted by reader Sandra J. Smith)

Back in 1964, some friends and I decided to take a holiday from England to Southern Spain in a 1949 Morris Oxford.  It was quite a journey, taking us nearly four days, to travel the almost non-existant road in Spain.  After two days non-stop driving, we came across a wayside hotel in the middle of nowhere, somewhere north of Madrid.  We decided that enough was enough and that we were going to chill-out. So we booked rooms and asked if we could get something to eat as it was 4pm and we were starving.  The waiter was fabulous, spoke excellent English and we had a wonderful meal followed by numerous Spanish liquers recommended by our waiter.

I started chatting to the waiter about his excellent command of English.  He informed me that he had spent time working in England and that he had worked for several years at the Majestic Hotel in Harrogate.

What a surprise!  My brother-in-law (an Italian) had worked at the same hotel!  Not expecting a positive reply, I asked him if he had known my brother in law.  He gasped.  “He was my best friend in England!” They used to play football together whilst off-duty.

Unfortunately they had lost touch some eight years earlier. Needless to say I was delighted to provide him with a current address so they could once again make contact.

So what are the chances of driving nearly 1000 miles to an isolated hotel in the wilds of Spain and meeting a long-lost friend of your brother-in law?

[EDITOR: What a wonderful reconnection, and a heck of a surprise. This IS a common theme for our site in one way or another, though, with people managing to find others connected to their home town, families, or friends while traveling far from home. While it’s a big planet with a huge number of people, the number we run into regularly continually and constantly raises the odds of an encounter such as this one. Can you imagine how many people you merely walk past and never communicate with who may have just as shocking a connection but will never get the opportunity to tell it? In that sense, I’d argue it’s the mere fact that they even GOT the opportunity to learn the connection at all that’s the real surprise here. – Jarrett]

Chance Meeting in Vegas

(Submitted by friend of the blog, Brian Hart)

How are odds calculated in Vegas?  The only thing I know for sure is that the house will always eventually win.

My wife, Karen, and I stayed in Las Vegas over the Thanksgiving weekend at the Encore Hotel.  As we waited for the elevator in the lobby, which only served half the rooms at the Encore, we ran into 2 friends we know from Los Angeles.  Neither of us had any idea the other was in Las Vegas, let alone which hotel.  Both of us couples were staying at the Encore!  What are the odds of us meeting randomly in this elevator lobby?

Nineteen of the world’s 25 largest hotels by room count are on the Strip, with a total of over 67,000 rooms [source]
Total Number of hotel rooms in Las Vegas: 124,270 [source]
Total number of rooms at the Encore: 2034 [source]

Sounds like The Odds Must Be Crazy…