Turning Bad Luck into Something Great

Experience has taught me that many times something we think of as bad luck or a negative situation can very often be turned around into a positive advantage. It all depends on how we look at the situation. We can make the choice to view a bad luck story as experience gained, or better yet, even turn it into a funny story. Good things can come from bad luck!

When I was a very young woman (yeah, I’m old now!), I wanted to be a flight attendant. I applied to a couple of airlines, and I received a letter from one saying that there would be interviews “in my area,” and I was invited. Instructions were included with place and time.

Turning Bad Luck into Something Great

“In my area” turned out to be Orlando. I lived in Pensacola, which was an eight or nine hour trip by car. New Orleans was less than four hours away, but they had already determined that Orlando was better for me. I guess I’m lucky they didn’t think a 15-hour drive to Miami was better for me!

For some reason I can no longer remember, it was necessary for me to take a bus to Orlando rather than drive myself. The bus was scheduled to arrive in Orlando late in the night, and I reserved a room in the same hotel where interviews were to be conducted the next morning.

A few hours into the bus ride, I put down the book I’d been reading. There were only a few people on the bus, and it was very quiet. After it had gotten dark, there was nothing to see out the windows, and the rumbling engine from the bus gently rolling down the long stretch of highway made me sleepy. I turned off all the overhead lights from all the empty rows of seats around me, lied down and fell a sleep.

You’ll never guess in a million years what woke me up!


Some drunken guy thought the darker space I created with all the lights off meant he was in the bathroom. I started yelling, and the poor driver pulled over to take care of the situation. He kindly offered me a flashlight to go outside behind a closed building to change clothes while he radioed for the police to come and get the guy. The guy was completely whacked out. Maybe he really wasn’t drunk. Maybe it was drugs, I don’t really know. Eventually we got back on the road and made it to Orlando.

So the next morning after just a couple hours of sleep in the hotel, I was getting ready for the interview. I got my suit out of the closet, and guess what I smelled? I’m sure you guessed it this time. Urine! I hadn’t noticed that some of it must have pooled on the floor where I had my bag on the bus. I guess I was so used to the smell of it from the night before that I hadn’t even noticed.

This sounds so far like a tragedy, right? It could have been, but it actually wasn’t.

Well, I showed up for the interview anyway. I had come all that way, so why not? I figured it would still be a good experience. I’d learn things that could help me be better prepared and a step above everyone else for my next interview with the other airline I applied to.

But instead, the interview with me wearing part suit and part ratty tee shirt went great! My interviewer was impressed because I wasn’t demonstrating any histrionics over my bad luck story. I was calm; I made eye contact and smiled. She hired me! I was completely surprised.

When I got up to shake her hand and thank her, I told her my story from the night before. The gracious lady said hadn’t asked me about my clothing because she was afraid of making me bring up whatever tragedy had occurred to make me dress like that. She thought I showed great poise by behaving naturally, so she had followed suit and acted like everything was normal too. We laughed and laughed, which also is wonderful because laughter bonds you to other people.

Well, I was a flight attendant for 16 years before “settling down” and starting a family. (That’s the reason I am an old mom now!)

Sometimes we see the good in a bad luck story right away, like this one. Sometimes after several years we look back and realize that something we viewed as a tragedy at the time actually worked out for our benefit in the big picture. Other times we may never know or understand why bad things happen. But if you have a positive attitude and a little faith, you can often turn a mishap into an advantage—or a great adventure!

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