[thechat] mystery email - Who's packing your parachute?

Tony Crockford tonyc at boldfish.co.uk
Wed Feb 20 03:44:00 CST 2002

Hi guys.

Today I got the message below, sent to xxxxxx at allmymates.com - a
domain I have registered but yet to use.

it came from a hotmail address that appears fictitious.

Anyone know the source?

I'm just curious, it's a nice sentiment.

Here's the text:

    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 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
sure did. If your chute hadn't worked, I wouldn't  be here

    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 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 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, 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
- 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 parachute.

    I am sending you this as my way of thanking you for your
part in packing my parachute!!!

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