Tip: Keep inconveniences in perspective.

This incident took place on a four and a half hour, non-stop flight from
Seattle, Washington, to Atlanta, Georgia.

In all my years of traveling, I have learned that each time a plane has
the opportunity to stop, there is potential for unexpected challenges.
Flight delays, weather and airline crews can create unanticipated
challenges on any trip. Therefore, I always try to fly non-stop between
my destinations.

About an hour into this particular flight, the Captain's voice rang over
the intercom. He asked if there was a physician or nurse on the plane.
If so, he asked them to identify themselves by ringing the flight
attendant call button beside their seat.

I listened carefully but heard no one ring their bell.
I immediately began to wonder what was happening.

In a few minutes the Captain informed us that there was a medical
emergency on board and asked again if there was a physician or a nurse
who could help.

When there was no response, we were told that we were going to make an
emergency stop in Denver, Colorado. He apologized but told us that
there would be a medical emergency team waiting to meet us at the gate
that we would probably only be delayed by about thirty

Though it was necessary, we knew we would all be
inconvenienced by the extra stop. About half an hour later, we landed
at Denver International Airport and the medical crew immediately came on
board. However, everything took longer than had previously been
expected. An elderly gentleman, about 85 years old, had suddenly taken
ill. It was not clear whether he had experienced a stroke or heart

Even after the gentleman was carried off of the plane, we still sat
there for quite a while. The original "short" stop turned into about an
hour and a half.

When we finally pushed back from the gate and were in the air, the pilot
apologized profusely for the unavoidable delay. He said that since the
stop had taken longer than expected, those passengers who needed to make
connections in Atlanta would miss their flights but would automatically
be booked on the next flight out.

You could almost hear the moans and groans throughout the airplane of
everyone who was being inconvenienced by the unexpected stop.

Then the pilot did one of the classiest things I have personally ever
seen or heard anyone do. He spoke into the intercom and said, "Ladies
and gentlemen, I thought you might be interested in one bit of
information. The elderly gentleman who was taken off the plane was a
Marine in WWII.

I am holding in my hand a copy of the Congressional Medal of Honor that
was awarded to him and signed by President Harry Truman in 1945." The
pilot went on to say, "I realize that we have all been inconvenienced
today. However, in light of the fact that this gentleman was a war hero
and was inconvenienced for four years of his life in order that we might
experience the freedoms that we enjoy today, I thought you all should
know that."

Immediately the airplane was filled with applause. Everyone was
cheering and so pleased to know that the gentleman had been cared for in
a way that was fitting and appropriate. As we continued to fly, I
thought to myself, "Isn't that interesting? We were concerned that we
were inconvenienced for a couple of hours and yet, this gentleman's
entire life was interrupted and inconvenienced for over four years while
he went and fought in a war to protect the freedoms and values that we
love and hold dear
in this country today."

I breathed a prayer for the gentleman and asked God to bless him for all
he had done to help us understand what freedom is all about.

"History does not entrust the care of freedom to the weak or
timid." - Dwight D. Eisenhower


Anonymous said...

Well, that does it for me - I'm going to fellate the next veteran I meet.

Potato Head said...

So I take it that, had the geezer not been a veteran, the original "fuck him for inconveniencing my life" attitude would have been OK. Interesting.

bend said...

from where did the pilot get a copy of his Congressional Medal of Honor?

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