Good Luck or Bad Luck
Posted: January 23, 2009
I wonder whether there is such a thing as luck. And, I suppose if luck did not exist, then bad luck would be a non-issue as well. I prefer to think that good or bad fortune is more the result of one's ability to make sound decisions at the right time.
I began to think about the concept of luck as I departed Minneapolis last Thursday morning to meet eight high school friends in Las Vegas for the weekend. About 30 minutes into the air, Northwest/Delta flight #203 was forced to return to the Twin Cities because of mechanical failure. A one-hour delay ensued, but the aircraft was apparently safe enough to resume its trip to "sin city ".
As the plane approached landing three hours later, there was a sense of relief among the passengers in the coach cabin. I even heard one young gentleman proclaim that we were "lucky " to be able to avoid any aerial mishap. Unfortunately, about four seconds prior to touching ground at McCarron International Airport, the pilot revved the engines and buzzed the Las Vegas control tower. Twenty minutes later, we were finally able to land safely. Think about this: Two landings and one near-landing and I was just arriving to my destination.
The captain of the aircraft summed up our morning expedition very well. As a 25-year veteran of the airline, he explained that he has experienced two other occasions where he had to redirect his plane back to its starting spot due to a computer malfunction. The pilot admitted that ther was one other time he was forced to abort a landing. But he also acknowledged that he never had both incidents occur during the same flight. "Good luck this weekend in Las Vegas," he said, as passengers scurried to the exit.
I made my way into the airport terminal and noticed that all eyes were glued to the television coverage of the US Airways flight that unwillingly landed in the Hudson River. I wondered whether the passengers on that flight were lucky to be alive or just fortunate to have a skilled pilot make the right decision at the right time.
I really did not intend to lose most of the money I brought with me to Las Vegas, but I always carry the cash that I can afford to lose. So, as my return flight landed in Minneapolis, I began to reminisce about the weekend trip. I relished the opportunity to see my high school buddies again at our annual meeting place. I also started to think about the meaning of luck, either good or bad.