Charles Plumb, a US val Academy graduate, was a jet fighter pilot in Vietm. After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted down, but fell into enemy hands. He spent six years in a Communist prison. Maging to survive that ordeal and work the bitterness out of his system, he now lectures about lessons learned from that experience.
One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up and said, “You’re Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietm from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down. It is good to see you!”
“How in the world did you know that?” asked Plumb.
“I packed your parachute,” the man replied. Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude. The man pumped his hand and said, “I guess it worked!”
Plumb assured him, “It sure did – if your chute hadn’t worked, I wouldn’t be here today.”
Uble to sleep that night, Plumb kept thinking about that man. Life had taught him to be thankful for every small favor.
“I kept wondering what he might have looked like in a vy uniform –– a Dixie cup hat, a bib in the back, and bell bottom trousers. I wondered how many times I might have passed him on the Kitty Hawk. I wondered how many times I might have seen him and not even said ‘Good morning, how are you,’ or anything because, you see, I was a fighter pilot and he was just a sailor,” Plumb reminisces.
Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor had spent on a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship, carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute –– holding in his hands each time the fate of someone he didn’t know.
Now, at the end of every lecture, Plumb asks his audience, “Who’s packing your parachute? Everyone has someone who provides what they need to make it through the day.”
If we only appreciate that life is an adventure and sometimes does not give second chances, we would lose no time in acknowledging each and everyone who help us on the way.