Ms. Stoffa’s Series of Unfortunate Events


DHS Social Studies teacher Ms.Stoffa

Giselle Morales, Senior Editor

It’s fair to say that most of us have experienced a bad day in our lives, but what happens when one bad day turns into a series of unfortunate events. Social Studies teacher Lindsey Stoffa has experienced a fair share of peculiar events that most would find hard to believe. From getting stepped on by an ostrich, to falling on a lake while ice skating, and even getting struck by lightning have all been events that Ms. Stoffa has thankfully survived. Some could say that she carries some type of bad luck, others could argue it’s the universe’s way of spicing up her life. In the end, no matter how you wish to interpret this, I think we can all agree that these can make some of the best storytelling experiences to share. 

Around her elementary school days, during second grade, Ms. Stoffa’s interesting experiences began. It all started when a bunch of elementary school kids including her were gathered to see animals that had been brought in. Surprisingly enough an ostrich was one of these animals. “There was this guy with an ostrich on the leash,” said Ms. Stoffa. “The ostrich freaks out, gets off the leash and starts running through the crowd of kids.” Herself and a couple of other kids got stepped on by the ostrich and were later taken to the nurse’s office. In the end no one was injured, but they lived quite a rare experience compared to those of a second grader’s day to day living.  

Later during her fourth grade year, Ms. Stoffa went ice skating with her dad, sister, and her friend on a lake. She says it was one of those windy days when the air pushes you around, when she suddenly fell through the frozen ice with her sister, cutting off a large chunk of ice from the lake. They were eventually pulled out, but after that day she never went ice skating on a lake ever again despite the fact that she used to love doing it. It’s fair to say that some experiences can definitely be more traumatizing than others. 

Fast forward to her 20s is when the highlight of this series takes place. It’s quite shocking to believe but Ms. Stoffa was in fact struck by lightning and was lucky enough to survive such an event. This story goes way back to the summer of the year 2005, when Ms. Stoffa and a group of friends were camping at an old YMCA camp, typical to the ones you see in movies. She stayed in this camp for a couple of days with a group of her friends, including her husband who at the time was her current boyfriend. At this camp there was also a pond that they used to go kayaking in. 

“We were kayaking in those plastic kayak things and we noticed it started to get stormy,” said Ms. Stoffa.  “We take our kayaks in and of course we get to the shore and it clears. It’s August so it’s one of those summer days. So were like ‘we’ll just go swimming and we’ll stay near the shore’. There were six of us total at the pond at that time and a couple dozen other people back up at the campsites. My friend [Bill] was on the dock and he was trying to jump off the dock and land on the surfboard and stay standing, so he was out of the water and saw this whole entire thing happen. We hear the thunder and so the five of us in the water are swimming towards the dock and the lightning hits the water.” At this point of the story you could say that Ms. Stoffa’s chemistry with her husband was at its peak. 

Bill, who was on the dock, saw the lighting splintering all over the surface of the water which then struck all his friends. Ms. Stoffa described the strike of lighting like an electrocuted feeling through your entire body, that was very hot and prickly. At that moment they all screamed and got pulled out of the water in disbelief, questioning themselves if what had just happened was real. She claims that if her friend hadn’t seen it all unfold they wouldn’t have totally agreed that lighting had struck them. Thankfully they were left with no scars or side effects after the incident, but the unexpected factor of this event made the emotional part the most difficult to deal with.    

“The jolt itself was just a moment, but the feelings of your heart beating really fast and that prickly feeling all over your skin that probably lasted five or ten minutes,” said Ms. Stoffa. “The emotional part was also coming up too, of being like ‘did that really happen’… My friend who saw the whole thing, he took it worse than we did. He’s like, ‘what would I have done if you all just died or passed out in the water.’ Cause there were five of us in the water and he saw the whole entire thing happen. I think emotionally it was more difficult on him to see it happening to his friends than to us who were there and not really understanding what was happening.” As of today Ms. Stoffa feels grateful to have survived this incident and although she does not have a fear of lighting she is much more aware of the dangers it can pose to those in the water. 

It might come as a surprise to some, but Ms. Stoffa’s rare encounter with birds did not end after her experience with an ostrich. Last summer she was driving to the playground in Brookfield on a hot day with her son by her side. She had her windows rolled down as the air conditioner of her car wasn’t working at the time. There was a flock of birds flying close to her and one of the birds hit the outside of the car causing it to hit her on the neck and fall inside her car. 

“We’re like a minute away from where we’re going,” said Ms. Stoffa. “Then I look over at him [my son] and I go, ‘Did a bird just fly into my car?’ and he’s like ‘there’s feathers, there’s feathers.’ There were a couple of feathers around. And I’m like, ‘is there a bird in the car?” and he’s like, ‘I don’t know, what should we do?’. So the playground was right there so I parked the car and was like ‘now I gotta figure out if there’s a bird in here’. So I go to open my door, as soon as I open my door I could see it under my seat.” It turned out that the bird had snapped its neck due to the strong impact, causing it to die right under Ms. Stoffa’s seat. While this was not as traumatic as getting struck by lightning it was definitely a strange and unpleasant experience to come across with.

Coming across these types of events dont come as a surprise to Ms. Stoffa anymore. With time she’s come to learn that you can plan for things in life, but you never know what’s actually going to happen. Life can sometimes bring these random and embarrassing events, but we should all learn to face the unexpected with a positive attitude and even come to embrace it. As of now, Ms. Stoffa’s series of unfortunate events has come to an end, but it’s not safe to say that another surprising episode won’t be occurring any time soon.