When Your Luck Turns from Incredibly Bad to Incredibly Good

If you’ve been following the news, then you’ve probably heard about the terrible bushfires that have been raging all over Australia in the last month or so. The dry, arid lands of Australia are prone to bushfires, but the 2019-20 bushfire ‘season’ has been particularly nasty.

By two weeks into January 2020 it was estimated that 66,000 square miles of land had been lost in recent weeks, destroying nearly 6,000 buildings and killing one billion animals and 30 people. It’s the worst bushfire season in Australian history.

One man who lost his family home in a bush fire has experienced he has dubbed a ‘miracle’. Just one day after losing his home, the man purchased his usual lottery ticket and was amazed to find he’d won AU$1 milllion!

The man – who has chosen to remain anonymous – could do little when the fires approached his home in Mount Cotton, Queensland, and even less when the flames engulfed his residence, leaving behind nothing more than “a few charred teacups”. What made matters worse is that the man could not even afford to insure the building – he had indeed, lost everything.

While staying at temporary accommodation, the man was determined to purchase a lottery ticket as he did, without fail, every week. He bought a ticket for the state ‘Gold Lotto’ draw, using his wife’s lucky numbers of 9, 11, 13, 22, 24 and 42 and the supplementary numbers 1 and 26.

To his amazement, upon checking his numbers after the next draw he found he had won the ‘division one’ lottery prize of AU$1,000,000! The man discovered his good fortune while at work, and said “I can’t wait to go home and give my wife a big kiss and a cuddle.”

Here we take a look at a few more examples of when your luck turns from incredibly bad to incredibly good:

Man’s air conditioner breaks – survives death

A broken air conditioner may seem like just an unlucky annoyance, but for Jack Ridout his bad luck of having to live with a broken air conditioner caused him to make a decision that ended up saving his life. Towards the end of 1978 Ridout was staying with a friend in Los Angeles during a heat wave when the air conditioner decided it wasn’t going to play ball anymore. Due to fly back home Monday morning, Ridout decided he couldn’t take the heat any longer and altered his flight to Sunday evening.

He arrived home safely – and was horrified later to learn that the flight he had originally been booked on had crashed in North Park, killing all 144 occupants.

What makes this story even more remarkable was that fate seem intent on sending Ridout off to heaven via an air crash. Just eighteen months earlier Ridout had been on a flight that collided with another aircraft that killed nearly 600 people. Ridout survived but was left with severe burns, a bad back and a commendation for helping save the lives of one dozen people.

Man gets sent to solitary confinement – survives exploding volcano

Often is the time that you make your own luck, and bad luck at that. Ludger Sylbaris was a convicted felon who was often in trouble with the authorities. In 1902, in the town of Saint-Pierre on the Caribbean island of Martinique and after one drunken bar fight too many, Sylbaris was picked up by the authorities and thrown into a special ‘solitary confinement’ cell of the local jail that had no windows, very little ventilation and was built partially underground.

The following morning the nearby mountain Mount Pelee tore itself open, releasing a super-heated cloud of gas and debris. In less than one minute the town of Saint-Pierre was completely obliterated, killing the entire population of 30,000 … or so it was initially thought.

Four days after the explosion rescue workers found Sylbaris within his tiny prison, badly burned but alive. He’d managed to prevent the super-heated gas from entering his cell by stuffing his clothing into the ventilation slots. He was one of only three survivors.

Sylbaris was pardoned and joined Barnum & Bailey’s circus as “The Man Who Lived Through Doomsday”. He survived another 27 years before passing away at the age of 54.

Man gets roped into looking for hammer – stumbles upon a fortune instead

In 1992 Eric Lawes was probably hoping for a quiet day in the little village of Hoxne with his wife, Gepha, and his sons Peter and Andrew, when he was contacted by a friend named Peter Whatling who had dropped a hammer in a field and couldn’t find it. Lawes was a fan of metal detecting, and being a helpful chap he dusted down his trusty detector and resigned himself to a day of searching for his friend’s missing tool.

Unfortunately, Lawes did not find the hammer (although it was found later). What he found instead was a hoard of 14,865 priceless silver Roman coins, plus over 200 items of jewellery, ornaments and tableware.

Lawes immediately contacted his local archaeological unit, even though at the time there was no legal requirement for him to do so. The discovery – which became known as the ‘Hoxne Hoard’ – was the largest hoard of Roman silver and gold ever discovered in the United Kingdom. It was thought that the horde was dated from around 407AD, possibly left behind in error by a wealthy family fleeing Britain as the Roman occupation came to an end. The Treasure Valuation Committee went about valuing the horde, and in 1993 announced the discovery to be worth the princely sum of £1.75 million.

Eric was therefore award £1.75 million for his slice of good fortune. Not being the greedy type, Eric split the award straight down the middle with his friend Peter, the owner of the land upon which the hoard had been discovered. The hoard was passed to the British Museum, where it can still be seen on display to this day.

Eric passed away in 2015 at the ripe old age of 92.

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