6 People Saved by Literally the Last Person They Expected
We all have at least one enemy we'd love to see crawl on their knees to beg for our help, only for us to say no and laugh at their misery because screw you, Joey, we'll never forgive you for dropping our ThunderCats Pogs in the toilet. Some of the most powerful people in the world have found themselves in this exact situation ... and when the time came to tell their rivals to eat shit, they instead turned around and said, "Sure thing, buddy, let me help you with that."
Bill Gates Saves Apple from Bankruptcy
Few corporate rivalries have gotten so nasty as the one between Microsoft and Apple. Both companies have been known to get their hands dirty and leave morals aside to get ahead of the other. Microsoft has made millions of dollars shamelessly copying Apple's patents, and Apple did those "I'm a PC, I'm a Mac" commercials.
So they're pretty much even.
But Apple wasn't always the giant it is today -- in fact, in 1997 the company was on its last legs. Co-founder Steve Jobs had been out of the company for the past 12 years, and business had been dropping steadily since then (the aforementioned "Microsoft keeps stealing our shit" shit didn't help). In desperation, Apple allowed Jobs to rejoin the company, but he knew they were going to need a little more help than he could provide to save it from bankruptcy.
Fortunately, Jobs convinced an old pal to come to the rescue. His name? Bill "I Invented Motherfucking Windows" Gates.
From Steve Jobs' private collection.
Yep, Microsoft's president ended up saving his biggest rival, although his motives weren't entirely selfless. Apple had been trying to sue Gates for patent infringement, but Microsoft's lawyers kept the lawsuits dragging for years. However, everyone knew they couldn't keep stalling forever, and a ruling in Apple's favor could have cost Microsoft billions. So Jobs went up to Gates and hammered out a little deal: He would drop the suits if Microsoft invested $150 million into Apple. Also, Microsoft had to continue developing its Office software for the Apple OS.
"Everyone loves Clippy, Bill. Gotta have that Clippy. This is non-negotiable."
Gates agreed, and the cash influx not only helped with Apple's financial troubles, but also made other investors want to get in on that action -- if even Apple's biggest competitor was investing in it, the company had to be on to something. Apple was saved and, as you may know, went on to push the boundaries of computing by inventing the devices that we all say we hate but secretly have. Think about it: Without Gates giving Apple the cash lifeline, there would be no iTunes, iPod, iPhone, or iPad, which means half of you wouldn't be reading this article on the toilet.
Pepsi Protects Coca-Cola's Industry Secrets
The 20th century was marked by a brutal rivalry between two international giants; a "cold war" that resulted in a lot of heavy-handed propaganda, a race to get to space, and David Hasselhoff performing overseas. We're talking, of course, about Pepsi and Coca-Cola.
Historically, Coca-Cola has always managed to stay several steps ahead of its rival, and one of the reasons for its success are its fiercely protected secrets (for instance, only two people in the world know Coke's formula). So, let's say that you come across some top secret Coca-Cola product info, and let's say you're an unscrupulous ass looking to get rich through illegal means. The question isn't "Who would you sell the info to?" It's "How much would you ask Pepsi for?"
"I was thinking all of the dollars, but I'm flexible."
So it isn't surprising that, when Coca-Cola employee Joya Williams contacted PepsiCo offering some highly confidential documents and product samples she had sneaked out of the building, Pepsi expressed interest in purchasing its rival's secrets. After all, such information could have given the company an edge and potentially allowed it to make millions at the expense of Coca-Cola.
However, while Williams and her accomplices celebrated the deal with some Mountain Dew, it turned out that Pepsi had already called her bosses at Coca-Cola. Also, the FBI.
The FBI files called it the worst cola betrayal since New Coke.
Working together with the two companies, the feds sent in one of their Cola Affairs agents to take care of business. Setting up a sting, the FBI recorded Williams' pal (who only went by "Dirk") handing over a product sample and brokering a deal where the agent promised $1.5 million in exchange for the secret files. Finally, after the FBI captured video footage of Williams stealing more files, the gang was rounded up and sent to the slammer.
It's rare for giant corporations to look out for each other like this, especially if they're longtime rivals fighting bitterly over market share. Unfortunately, this display of friendship didn't inspire Joya Williams and her pals, who lied and tried to blame each other during their trial.
"I swear, I thought she was talking about the other kind of coke."
A Founding Father Defends British Soldiers in Court
Despite not being as massacre-y as our history books tell it (as we've mentioned before), the Boston Massacre was nevertheless the biggest shit's-getting-real moment between the colonists and Britain before the American Revolution broke out. Eight British soldiers fired into an angry mob, leaving five dead, several wounded, and a whole city looking ready to premature revolution all over the goddamn place.
The soldiers were taken to trial in an effort to quell the masses. Unfortunately for them, they were in Boston, one of the colonies' most anti-British cities at the time. Any lawyers who even dared to represent them risked not only their livelihoods but also their lives. The soldiers had found themselves in a situation where no amount of blindly firing into a crowd could get them out of.
This would mark the last time people in Boston complained about violence toward Yankees.
But then one 30-something lawyer agreed to help them out -- his name was John Adams, the fourth most famous Founding Father, known for being the second president of the United States and for just generally making revolution stuff happen. Against Britain.
And whose sensibly short name made many a history test easier. We salute you, sir.
Adams was so into the principles that made the revolution that he was even willing to apply some of the biggies, like equality and justice, to the very people he later fought against. And boy did he apply them. Not only were six of the eight released free of charge, but the two who were convicted of manslaughter were let off on a sentence that involved a branding of the thumb and, well, that's it. If the court case had gone on any longer, Adams probably would have also convinced the jury that King George is an alright guy, bald eagles are kind of stupid looking anyway, and representation? Heck, who needs it.
"Look, they can't be that bad. They have wigs."
He was proud of it, too. In old age, Adams claimed it was "one of the best pieces of service I ever rendered my country," which means either it's one of the finest examples of what he believed America stood for, or he was just forgetting which one "my country" was in his senile years.
Muslim Leader Helps Out England's King ... While Fighting the Crusades
When you think about the Crusades, you don't think about people keeping it fair and civil -- you think about Catholics and Muslims continuously sword-stabbing each other in the dick for 200 years. In the 12th century, two of the main players in the conflict were Saladin, the sultan of Syria and a whole bunch of other places, and Richard the Lionheart, the English king who left England to fight his holy war all over Asia.
His decision to leave his kingdom in the hands of a literal lion would prove controversial.
Richard was an army all by himself, essentially the 12th century's Rambo, only with an actual army to back him up. Unfortunately, some of his main allies in this crusade died or left before shit really got started. It wasn't long before Richard found himself in the middle of the desert, leading an army too exhausted for battle, and to make matters worse, he fell ill to a fever. Stuck in a hostile land with no way to fight, Richard needed a miracle to save himself and his army.
And he got that miracle ... from Saladin, the very guy he was fighting.
"Hey, uh, God? Getting really conflicting signals from you right now."
Despite being enemies in a war, and a religious one at that (you know, the kind that usually end in massacres), Saladin and Richard respected the hell out of each other and were perfectly civil when they weren't catapulting shit at the other's army. When Saladin found out that the English king was ill, he sent his own personal physicians to tend to Richard, nursing the leader of his enemy's armies back to health.
Saladin didn't leave it at that, either. Since Richard had a fever, Saladin made sure to send him snow to alleviate his high body temperature. For those of you who aren't geography majors, snow isn't something that just lies around in deserts.
"Ill-Richard? Sal-a-din gonna snow him, gonna save him
A bringy fe-ver down"
This wasn't the first time Saladin had helped out his bro Richard. In an earlier battle, Richard's horse was shot out from underneath him. Saladin, seeing that this put Richard at a disadvantage (which is usually a good thing in a war), decided to send the king not one but two spare horses. Presumably to ride Zorro-style into battle.
American Soldiers Save Vietnam's President's Life
Noted straggly beard enthusiast Ho Chi Minh is best remembered for masterminding Vietnam's transformation from a minor French colony to a communist superstate capable of giving the finger to the world's most powerful nation. This led the U.S. to get involved in the Vietnam War, which in turn led to a shitload of awful folk songs in the '60s and '70s.
But all of that probably would have been avoided if a bunch of Americans hadn't helped out one Vietnamese dude in the '40s. You see, in 1945, Ho was deep in the jungles of north Vietnam, leading a guerrilla campaign against the occupying Japanese and their Vichy French collaborators, when he fell sick with a mysterious illness and seemed certain to die.
"This is the illiest Ho I've seen," the medics declared.
Luckily for old Ho, you know who else was fighting the Japanese around that time? Mothra. But also the Americans. And so, operating on the time-honored principle of the enemy of my enemy is my friend, an elite squad of American special forces known as the Deer Team was airdropped into North Vietnam to provide arms and training to the Viet Minh.
Among the members of the Deer Team (look, it was a world war, all the cool team names were already taken) was medic Paul Hoagland. Taking one look at the ailing Vietnamese leader, Hoagland quickly declared him to be suffering from a combination of malaria, dengue fever, and dysentery, a diagnosis he later admitted to pulling out of his ass. Luckily for Ho, Hoagland turned out to be right. After an intensive course of quinine and sulfa drugs, Ho made a full recovery and would go on to credit Hoagland with saving his life.
"No problem, us Ho's have to stick together."
Bear in mind that Ho Chi Minh was already an influential communist leader at the time, a thing the U.S. government generally tries to discourage from existing. Also, as we mentioned before, Vietnam was part of the vast French empire, and France was America's ally. The government didn't have to send a team to help Ho out, but they did anyway, and as a result, we're sure America and Vietnam stayed the best of friends for the rest of the 20th century.
Pictured: paintball game at the annual America/Vietnam summer cookout.
A Jewish Man Is Saved from the Nazis ... by Hitler
Ernest Hess was a regular guy who made the serious mistake of being Jewish in Germany during the 1930s. Despite being raised Protestant, his mother's ancestry was Jewish, which was good enough for the Nazis. Even though Hess had fought bravely for his country in World War I, he was treated like every other Jew: He had to wear the Star of David, and he was constantly harassed by Nazi supporters on the street.
But then an old war buddy came along and lent Hess a helping hand. This Nazi-foiling veteran soldier went by the name of Adolf Hitler. Wait, what?
Seen here, seconds before that dog bit off most of his mustache.
Hitler had served under Hess in the first war and decided to pull a few strings to give his old boss a break. That's how Heinrich Himmler, the guy who engineered the "Final Solution," ended up informing the Gestapo that Hess had been granted "the relief and the protection as per the Fuhrer's wishes" and that he was not "to be in-opportuned in any way whatsoever." He was even granted a new passport that made no mention of his Jewish ancestry.
"New rule: Only kill Jews I don't personally know. Nein, stop making eye contact! Neiiiiiinnn!"
While Hess did eventually end up being sent to a labor camp, he at least survived the war, which he probably wouldn't have done if it wasn't for Hitler's intervention. Fortunately, other people followed Hitler's example (that came out wrong). Take Albert Goering, the brother of high-ranking Nazi officer Hermann Goering. Albert was more or less the black sheep in a family of fascists. Where most of us would have rebelled against society by growing our hair out long and putting on a record of whatever passed for Skrillex back then, Albert took the higher ground and saved hundreds of Jews.
Kinda makes your eyelid-piercing phase seem half-assed in comparison.
Despite being a terrible person, Hermann liked his brother well enough to turn a blind eye to his actions. This included saving hundreds from the concentration camps by employing them Schindler's List-style in his factories, regardless of whether they could work or not. In fact, he saved so many that he's now being considered for the Righteous Among the Nations award.
Hitler's probably like "Hey, where's mein?!" It's all politics, man.
Alex has a sporadically updated blog you can stare at. Yosomono lives on the mean streets of Tokyo, writes for Gaijinass.com, and wants you to like their Facebook page. Robin would like to thank Deirdre B. for her help with research and her support.
For more unusual heroes, check out 6 Real-Life Vigilantes Crazier Than Batman. Or learn about 3 Reasons Real Heroes Tend to be Weirdos.