Some folks just don’t have no luck at all.

Everyone, from time to time, seems to have a string of bad luck. Usually, that means finding a flat on your parked car, getting a traffic ticket or just a bad day at work. For others it can be a bit more serious—like getting struck by lightning and then later being mauled by a bear. That person is Rick Oliver, 51, of Wake County, North Carolina.

What’s that old song lyric, “If I didn’t have bad luck, I’d have no luck at all…”? Here’s his story as it appeared in the Charlotte Observer.

N.C. man got hit by lightning – then mauled by a bear


  • Rick Oliver, 51, says he hasn’t slept well ever since he was struck by lightning in 2006. On a restless night a few weeks ago, as he tinkered on his farm, he went to investigate a distant noise. It was a bear.

  • Oliver says he was run over by a bear on June 3 at his 17-acre property off Yates Mill Pond Road. He sustained deep cuts, including this one.

Some guys have all the luck.

And then there’s Rick Oliver, who might be one of the unluckiest men in the state, if not the world.

Oliver was mauled by a bear in his otherwise peaceful front yard a few weeks ago.

“It was like getting struck by lightning,” he said.

Turns out, Oliver might be one of the few people in the world capable of accurately making the bear-lightning analogy.

And for Oliver, 51, the two incidents seem to go hand in hand.

Ever since he was struck by lightning in 2006, Oliver says, he’s had trouble sleeping.

On restless nights, he tends to piddle about his farm, checking on his chickens, working on his tractors and, as he was in the wee hours of June 3, fixing up his Chevy Malibu.

About 2 a.m., he heard a distant rustling on his 17-acre spread, which is off Yates Mill Pond Road in an unincorporated sliver of Wake County between Cary and Raleigh.

As he turned to investigate, he was dealt a heavy blow. “I heard this strange huffing,” Oliver said. “And the next thing I know I had been run over and stepped on by a bear.”

The black bear’s claws gouged his wrist so deep that when he first took off his bandage, blood spewed onto his farmhouse floor. “Like a hose,” he said.

“That was when my daughter said, ‘Dad we need to take you to the emergency room.’ “

The biggest cut was so deep and wide that doctors at WakeMed couldn’t sew it up. So doctors bandaged up Oliver and told him to keep pressure on the lacerations.

Nature 2, Oliver 0.

“He’s a little unlucky,” said Cameron Rhodes of Cary, who was married by Oliver at Piney Plain United Church of Christ in Cary, where Oliver is a minister. “But he’s even more lucky he has survived both of them.”

Read more:

I’m glad I’m not Rick Oliver. I hope his luck changes—quickly.