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The Sack Lunches

I put my carry-on in the luggage compartment and sat down in my
assigned seat… It was going to be a long flight. “I’m glad I have a
good book to read.. Perhaps I’ll get a short nap,” I thought.

Just before take-off, a line of soldiers came down the aisle and filled
all the vacant seats, totally surrounding me. I decided to start a
conversation.

“Where are you headed?” I asked the soldier seated nearest to me.
“Petawawa. We’ll be there for two weeks for special training, and then
we’re being deployed to Afghanistan.”

After flying for about an hour, an announcement was made that sack
lunches were available for five dollars. It would be several hours
before we reached the east, and I quickly decided a lunch would help
pass the time..

As I reached for my wallet, I overheard a soldier ask his buddy if he
planned to buy lunch.

“No, that seems like a lot of money for just a sack lunch. Probably
wouldn’t be worth five bucks. I’ll wait till we get to base.” His friend
agreed.

I looked around at the other soldiers. None were buying lunch. I walked
to the back of the plane and handed the flight attendant a fifty dollar bill.

“Take a lunch to all those soldiers.” She grabbed my arms and squeezed
tightly. Her eyes wet with tears, she thanked me. “My son was a soldier
in Iraq; it’s almost like you are doing it for him.”

Picking up ten sacks, she headed up the aisle to where the soldiers were
seated. She stopped at my seat and asked, “Which do you like best – beef
or chicken?”

“Chicken,” I replied, wondering why she asked. She turned and went to
the front of the plane, returning a minute later with a dinner plate from first
class. “This is your thanks…”

After we finished eating, I went again to the back of the plane, heading for
the rest room.

A man stopped me. “I saw what you did. I want to be part of it. Here,
take this.” He handed me twenty-five dollars.

Soon after I returned to my seat, I saw the Flight Captain coming down
the aisle, looking at the aisle numbers as he walked, I hoped he was
not looking for me, but noticed he was looking at the numbers only on
my side of the plane. When he got to my row he stopped, smiled, held
out his hand, and said, “I want to shake your hand.”

Quickly unfastening my seatbelt, I stood and took the Captain’s hand.

With a booming voice he said, “I was a soldier and I was a military pilot.
Once, someone bought me a lunch. It was an act of kindness I never
forgot.” I was embarrassed when applause was heard from all of the
passengers.

Later I walked to the front of the plane so I could stretch my legs. A man
who was seated about six rows in front of me reached out his hand,
wanting to shake mine. He left another twenty-five dollars in my palm.

When we landed I gathered my belongings and started to deplane.

Waiting just inside the airplane door was a man who stopped me, put
something in my shirt pocket, turned, and walked away without saying
a word. Another twenty-five dollars!

Upon entering the terminal, I saw the soldiers gathering for their trip to
the base. I walked over to them and handed them seventy-five dollars.
“It will take you some time to reach the base. It will be about time for a
sandwich. God Bless You.”

Ten young men left that flight feeling the love and respect of their
fellow travelers. As I walked briskly to my car, I whispered a prayer
for their safe return.

These soldiers were giving their all for our country. I could only give
them a couple of meals.

It seemed so little…

A veteran is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check
made payable to “The United States of America” for an amount of
“up to and including my life.”

That is Honor, and there are way too many people in this country who
no longer understand it.


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A friend here in the States sent me this story. I thought it worthy enough to share here on RB.

Besides photographing things I find beautiful, I love to paint in watercolor! It can be loads of fun, creating its own beautiful color combinations as they run together on the paper, or it can be surprisingly independent, doing “its own thing” where you pretty much have to give up control – one never knows! That’s all just part of the fun!

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Comments

  • Fred Mitchell
    Fred Mitchellabout 5 years ago

    Thanks for sharing it.

  • Nanagahma
    Nanagahmaabout 5 years ago

    Wow, I’m practically in tears. This is awesome Pat! Not sure I would have even thought to do this! Good for you and those other people who handed you money. You were just elevated to the top of my “Red Bubble People I enjoy getting to know!” list :-)

  • MischaC
    MischaCabout 5 years ago

    A touching story. Good Job!

  • Nanagahma
    Nanagahmaabout 5 years ago

    I just realized this was a story that you were sharing! It helps to read the description area first! You have good friends!

  • NatureGreeting Cards ©ccwri
    NatureGreeting...about 5 years ago

    Thanks for sharing this Pat. It brought tears to my eye, the same as it did the first time it was sent to me by a friend and I read it!!!!! So very touching, we all are our brothers keepers, and little kindness goes a long way……. xoxo Carolyn

  • Lynda Robinson
    Lynda Robinsonabout 5 years ago

    A very touching story Pat.

  • Leslie Gustafson
    Leslie Gustafsonabout 5 years ago

    Thanks for sharing it! Yes, honor!!

  • Irene  Burdell
    Irene Burdellabout 5 years ago

    A very moving story . My mother always used to say just do one act of kindness you get repaid threefold .

  • LorusMaver
    LorusMaverabout 5 years ago

    Wonderful story Pat,& this is how people should behave in life generally,Kindness & compassion fo mankind,

  • elfevans
    elfevansabout 5 years ago

    Well Done and well said.

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