Is this Florida man the unluckiest guy ever?
If you think you’re unlucky, that’s just because you haven’t met Kyle Cook of Lakeland, Florida. Cook has been hit by lightning and has been bitten by a rattlesnake, a brown recluse spider and an alligator. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
He’s also been stung by man-of-wars and stingrays. The rattlesnake wasn’t his first snake bite, he’s been bitten by indigo, corn snakes and a Burmese python.
“I need to get a (protective) bubble,” Cook told the Ledger.
At least three of his instances of bad luck have happened in just the last four years, beginning with the lightning strike in August of 2012. While doing construction work operating a sweeper truck, Cook had left his vehicle to release a hydraulic line that caused his vehicle to become stuck in a gutter.
It was his misfortune that lightning struck at that moment about 10 feet away and the electricity flowed through the puddle, into the sweeper’s metal bristles and eventually his hand. “It was like Mike Tyson hitting me with a jackhammer in the jaw,” Cook told the Ledger.
The blast knocked him back six feet and knocked him out for almost a minute. The incident caused Cook to have a minor heart attack and he now suffers from severe spinal and nerve damage. “I still have severe PTSD when a storm comes through,” Cook told the Ledger. “Lightning scares me so bad now.”
So far 2016 has not been a good year for Cook, as both the brown recluse and rattlesnake bites happened since January. The first was back in April when a highly-venomous recluse bit Cook’s left hand while he was working at a warehouse.
Cook’s reluctance to go to a doctor at first nearly cost him his hand in the incident. He continued to work for at least a week because he didn’t want to lose a paycheck. Eventually he had to have surgery to save his hand from being amputated as result of toxin buildup almost leading to osteonecrosis.
The incident has also left the 31-year-old father of four with limited use in that hand.
Most recently, the rattlesnake bite provided quite the scare as he worked to finish up mowing his lawn on August 11. He was using a push mower and thought something might be wrong with the machine when he heard a loud rattling sound.
When Cook spotted the 5-foot long eastern diamondback at the edge of his lawn, he tried to back out of the area, but, in a scene that sounds straight out of a movie, he stepped onto a stick and set the reptile off.
“When it snapped, it moved so fast,” Cook told the Ledger. “I’ve heard they can move half the length of their body in less than two milliseconds. I didn’t even see it bite me. I just screamed and ran to my wife.”
The rattlesnake incident may have been the most fortunate of his bad-luck incidents. The snake’s fangs didn’t get adequate penetration beyond adipose tissue in his leg.
“They (doctors) said the tissue saved my life because it didn’t allow (the venom) to go into the bloodstream,” Cook said.
Cook went home after a night in the hospital, but the ankle is still bothering him to the point he can’t even put a shoe on.
“He’s still in a lot of pain,” Cook’s wife Sara said. “There’s not much he can do.”
Cook’s main focus in the snake incident is not so much on himself but his family. “I’m just glad the kids were not back there,” he told the Ledger. “These creatures, they don’t go out looking for us. We just stumble upon them.”
Such was the case of his alligator bite. He told the Ledger that happened after he accidentally hooked the reptile while fishing.
As for explaining his bad luck, Cook is pretty much at a loss.
“It’s been a rough four years,” he told the Ledger. “Maybe the higher up–I believe in Jesus–is trying to get your attention that maybe something is going wrong. Or maybe I’ve simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time my whole life.”
In case you’re wondering about the odds of some of these bizarre incidents, Cook has definitely been going against some big numbers. The National Weather Service estimates a 1 in 12,000 chance of being struck by lightning in an average lifetime. For a venomous snakebite, the Department of Wildlife reports only 1 in 37,500 people are bitten each year.
When it comes to a brown recluse, the Ledger reports only around 342 spider bites are reported in Florida each year. And the University of California Riverside says on their website that 90% of brown recluse bites result in small red marks that heal without scarring.
If I were Kyle, I’d be avoiding the ocean just in case I defy the 1 in 3,748,067 odds of being attacked by a shark! What do you think? Is Kyle Cook the unluckiest guy ever?