People lived in fear of the Y2K bug, which was supposed to cause incredible problems in all computer software and cause nuclear missiles around the country to malfunction and fire.
Curious to see how the general public reacted, Reddit user nikkefinland asked:
A friend and I thought we were so f*g slick. We were standing by an ATM at the stroke of midnight. We thought that the Y2K virus was going to cause the ATMs to just start spitting money out. Right before midnight, a police officer, seeing us in our all-black garb, asked what we were doing. When we told him, he started laughing his ass off and told us he'd split the money three ways with us if it started shooting out. No money was made that night, but it left a lifelong memory which is okay...I guess.
I would have been 12 on the millenium. My mother genuinely believed in all that 'y2k' stuff and had stockpiled water etc. We weren't allowed to go into the town (about 15 miles away) to watch the fireworks or have a party because she was worried we wouldn't be able to get home. We had New Years the same way we always had it when I was kid. Everyone had to stay up til midnight and after the bells we went to bed.
Parents had a huge blowout party with all their friends. I was 12 at the time. I decided it would be funny to turn off all the lights when it turned midnight to freak everyone out a little bit. So at midnight, I went into the garage and flipped the main breaker for the whole house. Heard a couple of screams, but everyone was so drunk that they didn't even notice as I turned the lights back on about 5 seconds later. I was a little s**t as a kid.
I was a senior in high school. My buddies parents went out of town, so we had a party at his house. Busted into the liquor cabinet making horrible mixed drinks like gin, rum, and kool-aid. Danced to Prince's Party Like It's 1999 over and over. Got to third base with my girlfriend, and then had to take her home at 12:30 because of her curfew. Went back to the party and played Atmosfear...this board game that had a VHS "dungeon master" that told you to do things and interrupted play as you tried to win. Then more booze concoctions and passing out in the buddies parents bed. Ah memories...
I worked on a Y2K team for an international company. The whole team spent New Year's Eve at work. We had a huge spread of food and beverages. A couple of TVs were setup to watch every time zone ring in the new year starting with the first one. And we got to talk to people all over the world in the company at each of our locations to verify everything went ok. Even though I was at work, it was a nice and interesting time.
New Year's Eve 1999? I broke off with my first boyfriend (he'd been seeing another guy behind my back) then went to a big party some of our punker friends invited us to. Which turned out to not actually be their party, but a party hosted by someone none of us actually knew. They'd discovered it via the friend of a roommate of the host or something and decided to mount an invasion. Good times. Drank until I was in a good mood, slithered home, slept on the couch, then spent the next decade telling anyone who'd listen that my first relationship ended because it wasn't Y2K compliant.
I went out drinking and partying with friends. Ended up at a private rooftop party and got yelled at by the cops for "accidentally" throwing our empties into the street. As I recall I wasn't too worried about Y2K, but I had a bag of rice and a gun in the trunk just in case. I expected a few power outages and random wonkines with minor systems, but I guess enough people were on the ball fixing stuff that nothing bad happened. I myself had fixed some Y2K code a few months earlier, so for once I was part of the solution.
At like noon my Aunt had already called people and gave the update from Australia. 12:30 a.m. the first me and my friend paused the game we were playing and checked our watch and were like, "oh, yeah Y2K", looked out the window and didn't see any flames or such and went back to playing video games.
Told my parents I was staying at a friend's house, told his parents I was staying at home, went to another friend's house for a party. Ended up getting really drunk, took a tree branch to the head while riding in the back of a truck, fell down a flight of stairs, used a dog as a pillow, and got punched by a friend for trying to fluff his dog.
It was a good night.
I was in Las Vegas with my girlfriend and a group of friends. Dressed in a suit and her in a dress, we hit the strip and walked from various casinos until our group found a spot we liked. Las Vegas was prime for a Y2k breakdown being that they relied on a tremendous amount of power and automation for a relatively small city. You could feel there was a slight tingle of uncertainty in the air that night and people were meandering around with a bit of a high anticipating what we all thought would be a total breakdown of society.
Las Vegas had blocked off the strip and set up a fireworks show (I believe they did this for two reasons - 1: Y2k celebration and 2: In the case of a breakdown, you wouldn't have people running out of hotels/casinos into streets packed with cars). So, right before midnight, as i'm in the middle of an amazing roll on the craps table, my girlfriend and group of friends drag me outside the casino onto the strip to watch the possible Y2k implosion/fireworks show.
Everything goes off without a hitch, I kiss my girlfriend at the strike of midnight and we return back to the casino. However, now that Y2ker's are streaming back into the casino, the table minimums have been bumped up. I was on a $10 craps table and they are now $25 minimums...so, with the foolishness brought on by the joy of the world not imploding, I rallied and laid down some serious (for me at the time) coin on my regular numbers and let the dice roll. It was serendipitous! I couldn't lose and sat at that table as long as my girlfriend and friends let me (which was only 15 minutes or so) and had an amazing roll...It was a great way to kick off the millenium!
At home with my parents drinking sparkling grape juice and pretending I was drunk. I was 7. Oh, and we watched the typical New Years stuff on tv.
I was working at a pizza shop and was sent out to deliver a pizza to a guy in Times Square. On my way there I discovered my girlfriend Michelle was cheating on me, and later she dumped me. Eventually I discovered that the pizza delivery was just a result of a prank phone call, so I stayed at the cryogenics lab I delivered it to and ate it myself. When New Year's arrived at midnight, I toasted to "another lousy millennium," and fell backwards into an open cryogenic tube and was frozen for 1000 years.
I was going to our local teen friendly, no alcohol party. I borrowed my mom's truck. Driving past the gas station, the sign read $1.09 per gallon. I arrived at the party. I got some cash from one of those tornado cash grab machines, where you step in and money flies around. The clock struck 12, and the lights were still on. I met up with one of my friends, returned to the gas station to top off the tank with my winnings. Driving home, I couldn't help but think, "I guess it's not the end of the world like they said it'd be."
We spent it eating pork and saurkraut at the house of my parents' Amish friends. The theory was, if all technology suddenly gave out, we'd be in the right place.
I went to a huge party with my family because I was only 8 at the time. All night all the adults were getting tanked, not just a little bit... They were full blown wasted, falling over etc.
I kept getting sparks in my eyes from party poppers because every adult in the hall was wasted and kept popping them in my face and then laughing before doing it again. Being 8 years old and wanting to go home I did it back and one woman got all the confetti in her eye and spent the rest of the night nursing a sore face. I had to go sit on these horrible plastic chairs for the remainder of the evening as a punishment. Ahh the good times.
I was 13 or so. We were all at a family friend's house, not worried at all. It had been pretty well debunked that anything bad would happen.
There was a plush bug-like toy that we were all playing with that would make a crash sound upon impact; it was marketed as The Y2K Bug (probably sold at Target at the checkout line or something). We tossed that all over the living room for hours.
In my parent's home village in Mexico, at the time each house had a lightbulb in the kitchen if they're lucky and the running water for the town was from a local well running on a gas powered pump. My dad would tell me "We won't know if civilization collapses here."
I was 13, at church and terrified that The Rapture was due to arrive at midnight. We all had knotted stomachs at the prospect of a tormented damnation for all eternity, and as the hour came, there was a brief, audible silence before a collective sigh of relief as the hour passed.
My kids, should I ever choose to have any, will never know that kind of torture.
I was with my family (my parents and younger brother) at a cabin outside Pidgeon Forge Tennessee.
I ate millennium m&m's (which were all white if I remember correctly) and watched my dad set off fireworks that we weren't allowed to be shooting off. It was cold and dark and lovely. I ate collard greens, black-eyed peas and cornbread with butter for luck, and a sip of champagne because it was a special occasion.
On the first day of the new millennium we drove by Dollywood and decided not to go because it was packed. We got barbecue instead and I read a book and took a nap.
Pretty uneventful, but I'll remember it till I die, unless I get Alzheimer's.
I was 13 years old, living in the UP (of Michigan). I was with my father at a huge party out at someone's camp- now, if you know anything about the UP, sometimes camp is nicer than the house that people live in officially. This was one of those, in my opinion. The only "downside" is that there was no electricity already- but the guy that owned the place had a huge generator to light the place up. The most memorable thing about that night is that my dad let me drink a few beers! Also, there was a bonfire that was about 20 feet in diameter, with flames that were at least 30 feet high at its apex. I am NOT s**g you. My father would never admit to being superstitious, but he found me wandering around talking to people just before midnight and and grabbed my hand as the countdown began. He was white-knuckled by the time it hit midnight. I honestly think he thought the world was going to end. He was an interesting fellow- he passed away last November, telling stories about him still tears me up a bit. Thanks for listening, anonymous friends!
What I remember most about that new years was actually the next morning, the first. I was in college and we drove to another university a few hours south (Southern Illinois at Carbondale). When we went to sleep there was snow on the ground, and when we woke up, it was almost 80 degrees outside, on January first, 2000, in Illinois. It was really creepy and strange, everyone was outside I shorts and t-shirts playing basketball and hanging out. That's when I knew something was drastically wrong with our climate.