A Coin Stack’s Remarkable Role in Saving a World War I Soldier’s Life
A heartwarming tale recently emerged on Reddit, highlighting the unexpected heroism of a stack of coins that prevented a First World War soldier from being shot. The Reddit user, Vincent Buyssens, shared the story of his great-grandfather, Optatius Buyssens, whose life was miraculously spared thanks to the change he carried in his pocket.
Vincent, who resides in Antwerp, posted a photograph of the coins on Reddit, captioning it: “These coins stopped a bullet and saved my great-grandfather’s life during World War One.” He further revealed that his father had received these coins and Optatius’s war notes and journals as cherished family heirlooms.
Recounting the events, Vincent explained, “The incident occurred in the early days of the war, during a battle in the Belgian town of Lebbeke. Ironically, it was the clinking sound of the coins in his breast pocket that exposed Optatius’s position and drew the enemy’s attention.”
He continued, “Despite this stroke of bad luck, he proved incredibly fortunate when the bullet intended to end his life struck the coins, deflecting its deadly path. Although he was kicked in the head by the German soldier who had fired the shot, Optatius cleverly feigned death and managed to deceive the soldier into leaving. Alongside another wounded comrade, he mustered the strength to crawl to safety.”
Optatius and his son, Vincent’s grandfather, relocated to the United Kingdom after World War I, only to return to Antwerp following World War II. Unfortunately, Optatius passed away before Vincent’s birth.
Recalling his initial disbelief upon hearing the story, Vincent attested, “Years ago, when I first learned of this incredible tale, I found it difficult to fathom. However, after speaking with my father and grandfather and meticulously examining Optatius’s journals, the account’s authenticity became evident to me. Since then, the story has stayed with me, leaving an indelible mark.”
Reddit users were quick to point out that the stack of coins not only saved Optatius’s life but also ensured the existence of subsequent generations who owe their birth to his survival.
The astonishing account garnered over 131,000 upvotes on Reddit, with readers marvelling at Optatius’s extraordinary stroke of luck.
Vincent added, “While some Reddit users initially expressed scepticism, upon sharing the complete and detailed story, they were appreciative and found it fascinating. Most people simply found it to be an incredible tale, including my own family. I have no doubt it will become the highlight of conversations during our Christmas Eve celebrations.”