Stories of Kindness from Around the World

Who's Packing Your Parachute?

--by arthurhen, posted Dec 9, 2011

Charles Plumb, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate, who was a jet pilot during the Vietnam War. After seventy-five combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb safely ejected and parachuted into enemy territory. He was captured and spent six years in a Communist Vietnamese prison. He survived the ordeal and now lectures on the lessons he 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!"

Somewhat surprised, Plumb asked, "How in the world did you know that? 

The man replied, "I packed your parachute."

Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude. The man pumped his hand and said, "I guess it worked."

"It sure did. If the chute you packed hadn't worked, I wouldn't be here today!" Plumb responded.

Plumb couldn't sleep that night, thinking about that man. He says, "I kept wondering what he might have 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 else, because, you see, I was a fighter pilot, and he was just a sailor."

Today when Plumb speaks professionally, he asks audiences, "Who's packing your parachute?"
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Readers Comments

sachineha wrote: Wonderful story!
annjav wrote: A good reminder to remember the behind the scenes people in our lives. And we are the same thing in the lives of still others.
RMB333 wrote: Very interesting and an amazing story. Thank you for sharing.
Ricky wrote: I had the pleasure of seeing col. Plumb present this story in person at a toastmasters conference. He was very inspiring and really gave us all a lot to think about!
bilkis yusuf wrote: What a wonderful story, thanks for sharing, yes we never remeber the people who help behind the scenes
Aysha wrote: Thank you. Each of our lives is so utterly meaningful :)
stephanie wrote: I just heard this story this morning while watching joel osteen. God is so very good. This is my confirmation that my prayers are being answered and all is well.

Some would say this is a coincidence. In my world to borrow squire rushnell's book title, this is a god wink!

Thank you for this site.
tannaz wrote: Wow! I enjoyed it thank you a hundred times. Ya, that's all! We should be aware of people who are behind the scenes. You know, they are not : out of eye out of mind people!
Rosemary wrote: Wow, this was an amazing story, it made me stop to think how just a few words may open another persons heart just like that young sailor did with col. Plumb. Thanks for sharing it.
RICK HIGDON wrote: I worked for montgomery ward for 34 years and everyone of my 43 formal appraisals said that i was to lienient on my employees. I hope that i somehow helped them pack someone elses paracchute. Life is to short to be an ah.

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