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I love to gamble. I am so frugal in every other area of my life that is amazing that I would enjoy sitting down at a slot machine. At the grocery store that I shop at the cashier rings a bell and announces over the loudspeaker if someone saves over $100. I have been that person on three occasions and screamed in glee each time. And yet, I can sit at a slot machine and feed it my money and almost mindlessly watch the reels go around hoping that I will hit the jackpot.

Over our anniversary weekend, my husband and I went to a casino resort. Early one morning, while I was still drinking my coffee, I was playing a Rock-N-Roll Buck machine. The play line had brightly colored bills of various denominations (ones, fives, tens, twenties, fifties, etc.) that have men with nineteen eighty style hairdos. Those bills spin around, and occassionally you get three bonus disks to start the bonus feature.

As I was playing the game, a disk landed in the first playline, then a disk landed in the third playline, and then a disk landed in one of the last play lines. A screen immediately popped up and the words, “Pick a Vault” showed up on the screen. I chose the first one, and a number three showed up. I was happy because three is the highest number of spins you can get. Then a colorful wheel with all kind of prize denominations was visible on the display.

I hit the large, flashing spin button to the right of the other buttons, and the wheel on the screen started to go around and around, and finally slowed down and hit the mini progressive. I was happy. The mini progressive was $17.59. Excited because I still had two more chances, I hit the flashing spin button again and around and around and around went the arrow, and it landed on the grand progressive. The grand progressive was $2029.00. The machine didn’t do anything. When I won the mini progressive, the machine flashed that I had won it. I sat there, with my heart pounding and I kept looking at the arrow pointing at the grand.

I flagged down a casino employee, and he came over, and I told him how I had won the bonus, spun the first time, won the mini progressive, and on the second spin, the arrow landed on grand, and nothing. He called another employee. I told the same story again. They agreed they needed a supervisor. A supervisor arrived, and she took pictures of the screen with the arrow pointed to grand, and she called a “specialist in that machine.” The specialist came to where we were all standing, and I told the story again. They said they would need to call someone else. Another man showed up, and they had their pictures, all of them saw the arrow on grand, and they told me to push the spin button again.

I pushed the spin button, and nothing happened. “Oh!” they almost all exclaimed at the same time. “The machine malfunctioned. Reset the machine,” someone told one of the employees. One of the men bent down, opened the slot machine door and then slammed it hard. The spin button lit up again.

“Okay, hit the spin button again and let’s see if it lands on grand.” I hit that button and watched that arrow go around and around and it landed on $45.00. They said, “You have one more chance!” I hit the spin button, and I don’t even remember what it landed on. By this time I was so hungry for breakfast, so disappointed and disoriented that I wasn’t sure what was happening.

Life lesson: I play the slots with my eye on the jackpot. In life, many people do things with their eye on the goal, but even if you hit the jackpot you can’t be certain it is going to be what you expect, so you better enjoy the process, the little wins along the way are what we should all be shooting for.