Three people whose luck saw a drastic turnaround…
The thing about luck is that it likes surprises. When things are going terribly, that’s when Lady Luck likes to throw you that one-in-a-million miracle that makes everything so much better. When you’re top of the world, that’s when Lady Luck likes to kick you in the soft parts that hurt a lot. We don’t know why. Maybe it’s the completely disinterested laws of probability. Maybe it’s just because Luck has a really sick sense of humour. Whatever the reason, here are three people who have had their luck turn on a dime.
The Luck: A $30 Million Winning Lotto Ticket
On Friday the 21st of May, 2010, at a shop in Goulds, a small community in Newfoundland, an unknown soul walked in to buy a $12 lottery ticket. The cashier accidentally printed off a $27 ticket instead, which bore the combination of numbers 14-16-30-35-36-45-49, winning a $30 million jackpot for the lucky customer, as well as $300,000 for the store that printed the ticket.
This was particularly fortunate for the customer, who was in a particularly frugal mood that evening.
The Sudden Twist
In fact, this customer (whose identity remains a mystery) was so frugal that upon seeing they’d had a $27 ticket, not a $12 ticket printed out, decided to void the ticket and have a $12 ticket instead. The new $12 ticket did not contain the winning numbers, and both customer and store were denied a really rather substantial windfall. We can only hope that they never found out the horrible truth.
The Luck: A Man Buys a Scratchcard, Wins $73,450 on a Gameshow
Unlike our previous anonymous winner, Carl Atwood actually knew about his good fortune. In the scratch card based game show Hoosier Millionaire, Car was the luckiest of six contestants to buy “automatic seat” scratch off instant tickets, Carl won $19,000 in preliminary rounds, trippling his winnings at the final.
Carl, who was in his seventies, said of winning, “I am very thankful. I must admit that I never expected to be leaving the show with this amount of money. Now I can purchase a very nice car.”
This was only the beginning of his good luck. He was invited back to the show to play for a potential $1 million grand prize in a few weeks.
The Sudden Twist
Or he would have. After his first round of winnings, Carl returned to the grocery store where he bought his original ticket. He was wearing dark clothing, and passing an unlighted intersection, and that is when he got hit by a truck, dying shortly after at a hospital in Indianapolis.
His family chose someone to take his place on the show.
The Luck: A Wartime Pilot Gets Lost, Runs into Entire Japanese Fleet
The Battle of Midway was one of the most brutal engagements of the Second World War, giving the US a decisive victory following Japan’s attack of Pearl Harbour. One of the pilots in that battle was Lieutenant Commander Clarence Wade McClusky. You might think that being called “Clarence” was bad luck enough, but Fortune had still more punishment to deal out to the young Lieutenant Commander. Send to find the Japanese fleet carriers Kaga and Akagi, McClusky couldn’t find the ships where they were supposed to be. His fuel was running low, but after spotting the Japanese destroyer Arashi heading north, he thought that might take him to the enemy.
By this point his squadron was taking a beating, and coming face to face with three Japanese carriers meant almost certain obliteration.
The Sudden Twist
By sheer dumb luck all three fleet carriers, the Kaga, the Soryu and the Akagi, were reloading and arming their aircraft at that moment. The boats were sitting ducks and in a matter of minutes McClusky was able to launch an attack that would result in all three craft being sunk, marking Japan’s first naval defeat in over three centuries.
So sometimes, just sometimes, your luck can change suddenly for the better.
Jason Falls works with Butlers Bingo, and lives at home with his black cat and collection of ladders, broken mirrors and upside-down horse shoes.