Englishman Bobby Leach lived an interesting life. On July 25, 1911 he became the second person to pull off the stunt of going over Niagara Falls in a barrel. The feat didn’t come without some injury, though. He spent the next six months in the hospital recovering from two broken kneecaps and a broken jaw.
Upon his recovery, Leach, who had once been a performer with the Ringling Brothers & Barnum Bailey circus, toured as a celebrity throughout Canada, England, and the United States. He made a good living speaking in the vaudeville shows and lecture halls of the day. He would show off his steel barrel, talk about his experience, and pose for pictures.
In 1920 Leach attempted to bolster his declining fame by swimming Niagara Falls’ whirlpool rapids. He made several attempts but was unsuccessful each time. What made the attempts all the more incredible was the fact that by then Leach was his sixties.
Then came 1926. While on a publicity tour in New Zealand, Leach slipped on an orange peel, took a bad spill, and broke his leg. Infection set in, and eventually the leg became eaten up with gangrene. The leg was amputated in an attempt to save Leach’s life, but it was to no avail. He died two months afterward.
Isn’t it ironic that Bobby Leach survived his daredevil attempts at Niagara Falls, but saw the end of his life begin when he slipped on a simple orange peel? In Knight’s Book of Illustrations, Dr. Stewart Anderson uses Leach’s life as an illustration of spiritual truth. He says:
“Some great temptations, which roar around us like Niagara, may leave us unharmed. But a little, insignificant incident may cause our downfall simply because we are not looking for it.”
The truth is, we get into trouble when we don’t have our spiritual guard up, aren’t paying attention, and think we’ve got everything under control. That’s just when some “little” temptation will bring us down. Keep this in mind as you move through life, and be sure to watch out for those orange peels!