Petrinja, Croatia



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The World's Luckiest Man?



Before Reading

  • What is the man holding in his hand?

  • Why do you think he is lucky?

  • Do you think you are a lucky person? Do you know any lucky people?



Petrinja, Croatia-

Frano Selak has lived an incredible life. At 82 years old, the former music teacher is believed by many to be the world's luckiest man. He has survived war in his country, a train wreck, a plane crash, several serious car and bus accidents, and has even won the lottery. With all of his near-death experiences though, some argue that Frano may actually be the world's unluckiest man!


Mr. Selak's amazing story starts over 50 years ago in Yugoslavia. In 1962, Frano, was traveling from the city of Sarajevo to Dubrovnik. The train he was on was traveling too fast, jumped off the train tracks and fell into a freezing, ice covered river below. While 17 people drowned in the crash, Frano escaped the icy river with hypothermia, a broken arm and some bruises. This would be Mr. Selak's first of many brushes with disaster.
Many believe that Frano's second time cheating death was the most spectacular. Only one year after surviving a deadly train wreck, Mr. Selak boarded an airplane for the first and last time in his life. While flying from the city of Zagreb to Rijeka, the plane's cockpit door suddenly burst open. People began to get sucked out of the plane, including Frano. Nineteen people were killed in this accident, but the world's luckiest man survived. After being sucked out of the plane, Frano fell from the sky and landed on a haystack! Frano was knocked unconscious, and woke up several days later in the hospital with only minor injuries. If this story were to end now, Frano Selak's life would still be considered incredible. But the story of the world's luckiest man is far from over.
After Frano Selak's close calls on trains and planes, he decided to stay away from them for a while and give buses a try. But in 1966, disaster struck again for the luckiest man and four of his unlucky fellow passengers. The bus Frano was riding on skidded off the road. Once again, Selak crashed into a river. Four people on the bus drowned, but the luckiest man in the world swam to safety with just some cuts and bruises.
By now, Frano Selak considered himself a very unlucky man. Even though he was still alive, he had been hurt in three terrible accidents that had killed 40 people. Mr. Selak decided that he was done with all modes of public transportation. No more planes, trains or buses! From now on, Frano would travel from place to place in the safety of his own car.
Cars turned out to be very dangerous for Frano Selak though. Four years later, in 1970, Frano's car suddenly caught fire as he drove along a highway. The fire grew quickly and Frano slammed on the brakes and jumped out. Seconds later, the car exploded in flames. Then three years later, most of Frano's hair was burned off when his car caught on fire again!
War raged throughout Frano's country in the 1990's, but the luckiest man was able to stay safe until 1996. The UN was in his country trying to stop the war, but a UN truck almost killed Mr. Selak on a mountain road. Frano's car was forced off the road by the UN truck, crashed through a guardrail and fell 100 meters off the side of a cliff. The car exploded in flames at the bottom of the steep cliff, but again Frano was alive. He had jumped from the car just as it broke the guardrail and landed in a tree!
While some believe that these accidents prove that Frano Selak is the unluckiest man in the world, his last amazing story may prove that he is indeed the luckiest. In 2003 Frano Selak bought his first ever lottery ticket and won roughly 1 million dollars! Though Frano was now rich, he was not so interested in money and decided to give most of it away to family members. Frano Selak kept just enough money to pay a hospital bill and build a shrine to the Virgin Mary, who he thanks for all of the good luck in his life.
After all of the incredible accidents that Frano Selak has survived, money didn't seem very important to the man. "All I need at my age is my (wife) Katarina. Money would not change anything," he said.

Vocabulary

Complete the sentences with the vocabulary words below.

hospital bill unconscious shrine considered

done with modes fellow passengers haystack

hypothermia brush with disaster roughly
1. If your body temerature falls too far, you can get ______________________.
2. Talking loudly while on the subway may anger your ____________________________.
3. There was a crowd of _______________________ 60,000 people at the soccer match.
4. There are _________________s all over the world built for famous religious figures.
5. Cars, buses, trains, and airplanes are all ___________________ of transportation.
6. I hate skiing! I'm ______________________________ it!
7. This horse's food is often piled in a ___________________________.
8. In a boxing KO, the loser is sometimes ___________________________.
9. A ________________________________________ is a narrow escape.
10. If you have heart surgery, you may have a very big ____________________________.
11. Many people ___________________ 이승엽 to be the best Korean home run hitter.

Short Answers

Try to answer each question with a full sentence.


1. Why did the train that Frano was riding on crash?

________________________________________________________________________________________


2. How did Frano survive falling out of a plane?

________________________________________________________________________________________


3. Why did Frano consider himself unlucky?

________________________________________________________________________________________


4. Why do you think Frano considers himself lucky now?

________________________________________________________________________________________


5. What did Frano do with most of the money he won?

________________________________________________________________________________________


6. What does is mean in the story that Frano's car was "forced off the road?"

________________________________________________________________________________________


Discussion

1. Some people consider Frano very lucky for surviving all of his accidents and winning the lottery. Some consider him very unlucky for experiencing so many accidents and almost being killed several times. What do you think? Is Frano lucky or unlucky?


2. Do you know any lucky or unlucky people? Have any of your friends or family had even one amazing experience like Frano?


Writing

Pick one of the following and write an essay answer for your homework.


1. While Frano feels very lucky to be alive, most of us have many things in our lives that we are lucky to have. Write about the things and people in your life that you are lucky to have, and talk about why you are lucky to have them.
2. Some people say that luck is simply when "opportunity meets preparedness." Talk about what this means and if you agree with this saying or not.
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