My life could have been much different right now and I doubt I will forget that anytime soon.
Last summer, on my way to the airport after a four week community service project in Tanzania, I experienced my first serious accident on the road. When the ordeal was over, one thing was very clear to me – I believe in luck.
I was traveling in a bus that had only a few seat belts, but my row had one and I buckled it out of habit. I brought a snack with me to eat at some point during the six hour drive to Nairobi, Kenya. I sat on the bus thinking of all the memorable times I had, and as the sun went down, my hunger began to grow. I looked at the clock that read “6:52” and decided I would wait a few more minutes until 7 p.m. to eat. Unfortunately, the clock never reached 7:00.
I remember feeling the bus slow down. I looked out the window and saw a huge animal that resembled an antelope about 100 yards ahead of us. Within seconds, I felt a sudden jolt, and then another. I had no idea the animal had charged the bus. I just felt myself tilting to the right as the bus began to roll down into a ditch on the side of the road. I was very frightened and closed my eyes as tightly as I could. My head whipped from left to right uncontrollably as the bus tumbled over. Just as I thought the worst was over, the bus started to roll again until it finally came to rest. When I opened my eyes, I was dangling in the air upside down by my seat belt. At first I could not see anyone. As my eyes focused, I saw duffle bags thrown everywhere and there was just silence. My group leader tried to quickly make his way through the mangled bus to check if everyone was all right. With my heart beating a mile a minute, I unfastened my seat belt and was able to climb out the broken back window.
As I sat on the side of the road, I realized just how lucky I was. That accident could have turned out very differently, but fortunately the worst injury anyone suffered was a broken knee. I knew I had been lucky to be wearing a seat belt because I believe that is what kept me from getting even the slightest scratch as the bus continued to flip.
My accident taught me the importance of living each day to the fullest because something completely unexpected can happen at any time. I also realize that luck has been responsible for many things that have happened in my life, some big and some small. Luck was on my side when I found a favorite necklace I had lost in a box I was about to throw away. Luck was definitely with me when I won two tickets to see Fergie at a sold out concert last year. I know now that luck has been with me for a long time, not just on that bus ride. When I look back on my Tanzania trip, I think about the wonderful memories I have and the friendly people I met, and how lucky I am to be able to tell about them.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.