Who’s Packing Your Parachute?
Every now and then I hear a story that is so great I just have to pass it on to the people I care about.
Here it is:
Charles Plumb was a U.S. 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 six years in 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 in another table came up and said, “I guess it worked!”. Plumb assured him. “It sure 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 might have looked like in a Navy uniform: a white hat, a bib in the back and well 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”.
Plump 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. Plumb also points out that he needed many kinds of parachutes when his plane was shot down over enemy territory – his physical parachute. He called on all these supports before reaching safety.
Sometimes in the daily challenges that life give 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.
I am sending you this as my way of thanking you for your part in packing my parachute!!!