Windfalls: Luck’s Lessons on Life and Wealth


Luck is something everyone wants to be on the good side of. Still, not many people know what it means to be truly blessed by the elusive lady. Now and then, an abandoned treasure will be found in a newly purchased house or a lottery winner will be set for life after a single bet. However, South Carolina’s $1.5-billion Mega Millions jackpot claimant almost missing her chance with the golden ticket demonstrates that these moments can easily be lost to carelessness or hesitation. What all the triumphs listed below have in common is people taking initiatives towards the possibility of a better life and not giving up when discouraged. A prime example is the story of Jordan Adland Rogers, the destitute British care worker turned prestigious heir. The report on Global News suggests that if he had not pursued a DNA test from his supposed father he would never have confirmed his $63-million heritage. What do other types of windfalls have to say about the concept of luck?

New Breath of Life

2016 saw North Carolina’s Ultimate Millions second-chance lottery boost Charlotte resident and cancer survivor Gina Short’s confidence with a check for $1 million. It was the hopeful nudge she needed to keep fighting. Her perseverance paid off with a clean bill of health and another lottery victory of $250,000. Repeated winners are no rarity, but it still makes you wonder how much of such happenings can be attributed to coincidence and how much to divine intervention. There is one thing we can all agree on. It is always heartwarming to see good things happen to good people. A lucky draw can happen to anyone, regardless of status or situation.

Service Rewarded

Remaining on the theme of lucky wins, it is hard to imagine what it must feel like to be suddenly handed an enormous fortune, virtually out of thin air. A 25p bet returning as £13,213,838.68, amounting to over $16.6 million, can cause a heart to stop. Fortunately, British soldier Jon Heywood held his ground and gracefully accepted his Guiness World Record of a win. He made this small yet life-changing move on Betway casino while playing an online slot called Mega Moolah, a progressive jackpot with features that double and triple your potential earnings. Such a millionfold return to a meager wager made in a moment of leisure would not have happened without him taking that initial chance.

Treasure in the Walls

Among the countless stories of old houses hiding riches, some are more amusing than others. While renovating their father’s property in 2005, Don Trachte’s sons found secret compartments in the walls that contained a number of original paintings. Belonging to an illustrator for the 90s’ comic strip Henry, these works were invaluable, perhaps as much as one of the paintings by Trachte’s friend and neighbour, Norman Rockwell, also discovered in the house. According to Lovemoney, Breaking Home Ties sold for $15.4 million in 2006, making the inheritors of the Trachte fortune extremely grateful for their father’s artistic connections, not to mention his ingenious hoarding methods.

Generous Gifts

Windfalls do not always originate from luck. Sometimes they are a result of openhanded donors, as in the case of CaroMont Health investing $325 million in the development of Gaston County’s medical facilities. Cramerton, Gastonia, Bessemer City and Belmont will receive in the next five years new state-of-the-art units, as well as a whole new hospital and expansions to existing campuses. Patients may feel luckier than lottery winners when seeing how much their government cares about their wellbeing and comfort. Money may be important, but it is that helping hand offered in moments of need, when you actually cannot make an effort of our own, that inspires the most blessed sensation.

Assisted by human effort, a lucky experience can be that much more potent and memorable. Putting the monetary aspect to one side again and looking at some amazing acts of kindness in the world today redefines what a windfall may mean to different individuals. Josh Coombes’s #DoSomethingForNothing initiative, praised by the Independent, has already helped dozens of homeless people with free haircuts, a service also provided to their pets through the hairdresser’s collaboration with Street Vet’s Jade Statt. The first thing this shows is that those with nothing consider the unconditional provision of such basic needs a luxury they would never forget. Secondly, it highlights another similarity between receivers of windfall gifts: surprise.

Just because someone makes an effort to win or help does not mean that they are certain to succeed in their endeavor. It is a chance after all. For that reason, when luck does come knocking, especially in spectacular ways, the delight that accompanies her is what makes the occasion special. The less expected that jackpot or donation or buried gold is, the more blessed their benefactors are compelled to feel.