Who were they?
A coal miner working in China, which is basically like poking Death in the face on a regular basis for a living.
How They Stared Down Death:
Meng Xianchen and Meng Xianyou were working hard in a coal mine when the tunnel they were working in collapsed, burying them alive. Generally coal mines anywhere are not safe places to work, but the Mengs were working in an illegal mine, which meant that the safety budget was probably spent on booze and bribes instead of things like oxygen or emergency training.
After the mines collapsed, a rescue team was sent in to try and dig Meng and his brother out, but then quickly gave up. Their fellow miners then gave it a try, and were promptly arrested for illegal mining, presumably on the basis they could accidentally dig up some coal along with the two human beings trapped under it.
So, trapped underground with no food or water and a system too retarded to save them, everyone gave up hope. The Mengs' relatives even conducted burial rites at the mine.
The brothers, however, were still alive. Realizing the rescue effort wasn't coming, the brothers started digging themselves out. Armed with only one pickaxe and their bare hands, they tunneled their way through 66 feet of coal.
In between making jokes about each other's wives and drinking their own urine, they also tried chomping on some coal to take the edge off their hunger. According to Meng, coal tastes great when you're starving to death. Otherwise it tastes like ass.
Once they pulled themselves to the surface, Meng Xianchen and Meng Xianyou gave Death the double bird salute and gave the officials who called off the rescue a hard stare. Then they went to the hospital, where Meng Xianchen said he crapped coal for a few days.
Thanks for nothing, fuckers.
Who was he?
A surveyor working up in Canada, which is like the US, but with better beer and fewer guns.
How He Stared Down Death:
Brent was minding his own business while working in the forests of British Columbia when Death came to visit in the form of a 900-pound adult grizzly bear.
Brent was carrying an ax at the time, but that probably doesn't help a lot against a bear unless it's the kind of ax that shoots shotgun shells. Brent, knowing better, decided to play dead.
Unfortunately the bear wasn't looking for a fair fight and started munching on Brent's skull. At one point he thought the bear was actually eating his brain. While this may not have been true, from the picture below you can't blame him for thinking this.
The bear took a few more chunks out of Brent, threw him into a bog and jumped on him WWE-style a few times before saying "Screw it" and walking off leaving Brent for dead.
It should be noted that playing dead still probably saved his life, as bears typically won't eat an already-dead victim (we're not sure why, but we think it's considered dishonorable according to the code all bears live by). Regardless, with his scalp hanging in huge flaps from his skull and bleeding heavily, Brent managed to get up and go for help. He got back to his car and drove 15 miles, covered in blood and bear bites. Death could only stand on the side of the road and shake its fist.
Who was she?
Just an ordinary first grader, attending classes, hanging with her friends.
How She Stared Down Death:
She had to save her mom from some crazy dude. She did this by jumping in front of him and taking six bullets, point blank, including a couple to the head.
It started when some lowlife kidnapped Alexis and her mom (OK, the lowlife was the mom's boyfriend). The mother tried to stall the bad guy and managed to call 911, but the cops said they couldn't send anyone. Apparently they were all busy with more fucked up situations than a man holding a child hostage at gunpoint.
It was at this point that the gunman decided he should stamp his passport into hell and started shooting. Two bullets struck the mother before little Alexis dove between them, begging the shooter to stop. Without hesitation, he shot six times, little Alexis taking the bullets that would have killed her mother. By this time the cops arrived, as they figured things were getting really serious because now someone was actually shooting.
Alexis thought about dying for a second then decided she still had some shit to do. Death could only watch as she grabbed her stuff and headed back to the land of the living, despite some serious injuries that would have killed most of us twice and some of us three times.
This would be jaw-droppingly impressive for a 250-pound Marine combat vet, let alone a seven-year-old girl. And while we would like to cling to our original theory that she's actually an immortal Highlander, the truth is this seven-year-old girl is simply more man than we'll ever be.
For a list of names suitable for the seven people you just read about check out The 9 Manliest Names in the World or for a look at what these people might be like if they were better at science, read about The 6 Most Badass Stunts Ever Pulled in the Name of Science. And don't miss our look at The Worst Drinking Game Ever (NSFW).