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The Day I Was (Almost) Struck By Lightning

The Day I Was (Almost) Struck By Lightning

A few years back, I worked at a Children's Museum as a manager. We had this huge outdoor water area with a lot of metal parts and high trees, things that lightning tends to get along with very well. Our protocol was that if any staffer reported seeing at least 2 lightning strikes in the nearby area, we had to shut the whole area down to visitors. This was one of those days.

I got the call on my walkie and gave the affirm to close it down. At the time there was only one staffer in the outdoor area, so I asked some of the volunteers to help him guide the visitors out. The second call I got after that was for help from the staffer that he could not get this one family to leave and the lightning was getting closer. I came to his aid, and was met with a really menacing sky. A few minutes back, it was just a light gray, and now it was an ominous black and the wind had picked up.

The Day I Was (Almost) Struck By Lightning

The family refusing to leave was a mother and her two young sons. I approached and informed her of the dangers of being on the outside during a storm, but she just would not listen. She made no attempts to move her children and so I had to break literally every rule in the book for this one, and asked the staffer to start walking the children out by hand if necessary so maybe the mom would get a clue. FINALLY the mom started to walk with us. My staffer ushered the children out of the courtyard and into the building through our back metal doors, and the mom followed.

Right as my staffer was about to walk in with me behind him, the sky opened up and I heard the sound, like sizzling in the air. For the next few seconds, my entire vision went completely white as the lightning cracked somewhere extremely close to us. I could feel the charge in the air, and not too long after that the loud boom crack of thunder. I couldn't see anything, and I was unaware of where I was in space and time.

This is what it looked like to me
This is what it looked like to me

The next thing I knew "I woke up" on the ground at the feet of my staffer who was also on the ground just inside the door frame. I don't remember physically jumping out of the way or anything, just ended up there. The volunteers, some visitors, and some other staffers who had been watching the storm inside the door were screaming and immediately ran to us. I was disoriented for a few seconds as I caught my bearings. I thought my staffer had been hit and he thought the same.

I cannot tell you how absolutely terrifying that sound was and then the fear of thinking I'd been hit or my staffer. It's something as a manager you are hyper focused on as a tenant of your job, ensuring that with visitors and staff, no one is hurt on your watch. The relief that flooded over me as I checked him over and he assured me he was not hurt. That day, I felt super lucky because at the time I was walking in those doors, I had on a metal key around my neck, my chain of master keys to the building, the walkie talkie, my chain bracelets, and had metal wire in my bra.

The damage looked something like this
The damage looked something like this

After the storm passed, I went outside to assess any damage, and we saw it, right in the concrete, the very spot the lighting hit and it was pretty f*cking close to having potentially killed us. Another strike had actually hit one of the water pump covers, destroying it and flooding part of the outdoor area.

This is absolutely why you don't mess with lightning. You say, who needs that lesson...that mom for sure who almost got us killed because she wanted to freaking look around for a little longer.

The Day I Was (Almost) Struck By Lightning
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