A man was once travelling to Chicago. He put his carry-on in the luggage compartment and sat down in his assigned seat. It was going to be a long flight. “I’m glad I have a good book to read. Perhaps I will get a short nap,” he thought.
Just before take-off, a line of soldiers came down the aisle and filled all the vacant seats, totally surrounding me. He decided to start a conversation. ‘Where are you headed?’ He asked the soldier seated nearest to me.
‘Chicago – to Great Lakes Base. We’ll be there for two weeks for special training, and then we’re being deployed to Iraq ‘
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 Chicago, and he quickly decided a lunch would help pass the time.
As the man reached for wallet, he overheard 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 Chicago.”
His friend agreed. The man looked around at the other soldiers. None were buying lunch.
He 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 his arms and squeezed tightly. Her eyes wet with tears, she thanked him. “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 his seat and asked, “Which do you like best – beef or chicken?”
“Chicken,” he replied, wondering why she asked. She turned and went to the front of plane, returning a minute later with a dinner plate from first class.
“This is your thanks.”
After we finished eating, he went again to the back of the plane, heading for the rest room.
A man stopped him. “I saw what you did. I want to be part of it. Here, take this.” He handed this kind man twenty-five dollars.
Soon after he returned to my seat, he saw the Flight Captain coming down the aisle, looking at the aisle numbers as he walked. When he got to his row he stopped, smiled, held out his hand, and said, “I want to shake your 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.”
Later he walked to the front of the plane so he could stretch my legs. A man who was seated about six rows in front of him reached out his hand, wanting to shake mine. He left another twenty-five dollars in his palm.
When they landed in Chicago he gathered his belongings and started to deplane. Waiting just inside the airplane door was a man who stopped him, put something in my shirt pocket, turned, and walked away without saying a word. Another twenty-five dollars!
Upon entering the terminal, he saw the soldiers gathering for their trip to the base. He 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 he walked briskly to his car, he whispered a prayer for their safe return. These soldiers were giving their all for our country. he 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.’ All too often we just send jokes, either off color or clean and we forget to send the ones that mean so much.
Submitted by: Marina