Captain Charlie Plumb flew combat missions over Vietnam. On his 75th mission, with only 5 days before he was to return home, Plumb was shot down and he ejected into enemy territory. He was captured, tortured, and imprisoned for the next 6 years. He survived the ordeal and now maintains a web-site and is a motivational speaker.
Recently he narrated a story to his audience. He was sitting in a restaurant and was approached by a stranger. “You’re Captain Plumb!” The stranger exclaimed. “You flew jet fighters in Vietnam. You were on the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down and parachuted into enemy hands,” the stranger continued.
“All this is true. But how do you know?” Plumb asked.
“I packed your parachute!” replied the stranger. Plumb was speechless when he heard that. He staggered to his feet and held out a very grateful hand of thanks.
Plumb could not sleep that night. He kept wondering, “How many times I must have passed him on that aircraft carrier and not even wished him good morning. After all he was a lowly seaman and I was a fighter pilot!”
Plumb could not help thinking about the many hours the sailor must have spent alone in the bowels of the ship on a long wooden table laboriously hand packing hundreds of parachutes. And that he was alive today because of the diligence and sincerity of this man’s effort.
Plumb then looks to the audience and asks, “Who is packing your parachute?”
“I survived thanks to not only the guy who packed my physical parachute. I survived also because somebody packed my emotional parachute, my spiritual parachute, my health and wellness parachute, and so on.”
“We must take time and acknowledge all the people who pack our parachutes! For those who we do not even know, the only recourse is to pass the favor forward and make sure that we in turn pack somebody else’s parachute!”
To see Charlie Plumb in action watch this video.
While we are on the topic of Parachutes, you may like the following stress-buster joke.