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Who Packs Your Parachutes ? A Story about Gratitude

A friend sent me a powerpoint with the following story I extracted from it:

Charles Plumb was a US Navy jet pilot in Vietnam. After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands. He was captured and spent 6 years in a communist Vietnamese prison.

He survived the ordeal and now lectures on 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 Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down!” “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 surely did. If your chute hadn’t worked, I wouldn’t be here today.”

Plumb couldn’t sleep that night, thinking about that man. Plumb says, “I kept wondering what he had looked like in a Navy uniform: a white hat; a bib in the back; and bell-bottom trousers. I wonder 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 thought of the many hours the sailor had spent at 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, Plumb asks his audience, “Who’s packing your parachute?” Everyone has someone who provides what they need to make it through the day. He also points out that he needed many kinds of parachutes when his plane was shot down over enemy territory-he needed his physical parachute, his mental parachute, his emotional parachute, and his spiritual parachute. He called on all these supports before reaching safety.

Sometimes in the daily challenges that life gives us, we miss what is really important. We may fail to say hello, please, or thank you, congratulate someone on something wonderful that has happened to them, give a compliment, or just do something nice for no reason. As you go through this week, this month, this year, recognize people who pack your parachutes.

Flying over the Alps

4 Responses to “Who Packs Your Parachutes ? A Story about Gratitude”

  1. turpin Says:

    bonjour mon ami comment vatu je voulais dire que jaime toujourslamusique que tu ma envoyeravec les mndalas cest tres joli tout ls matins je les ecoutes afin d’avoir une journe positie car cest important de bien demarre lajourneeen plus la je suis malade jai attrapper un coup de froidet jetais pas bien de la journee et oui avec le temps quon a en ce moment il y a rien dttonnantpasse une bonne nuit et a bientotsi tu a loccasion davoir les secrets de lattraction nhesite pas a meles donners moi je les est mie n anglais alors je comprends rien bisous

  2. Flowers on the Wayside Says:

    Yes, the music with the mandalas is very beautiful

  3. V V B S MURTHY Says:

    One of the greatest qualities on this earth is “Gratitude” not only that expressing the “Gratitude” with open hands and heart is another super gesture of mankind. Not all men are capable to express with clean heart. Men forget the help, benefit they receive from the others. Only few have the soul to understand it and express it unreservedly.

    So when comes to expressing the gratitude, one should not think, just
    express it flauntly.

    thanks and regards

  4. Melodie Says:

    I love this story. Thank you. Melodie

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