Who Packed Your Parachute?

When I got my hair done recently, the shampoo girl gave me a wonderful shampoo–no soap got into my eyes or ears plus a relaxing head and neck massage. In California, there are no shampoo girls because you need a license to work in a salon so the stylist gives you a shampoo which usually translates into soapy eyes and ears, and no massage.

You can find similar scenarios in health care, restaurants, housekeeping, etc. The people that provide the services that make us feel loved, pampered or cared for are usually not the ones with the money, titles, or prestige.

Who Packed My Parachute

Charles Plumb was a US 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 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?

‘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 today.’

Plumb couldn’t sleep that night, thinking about that man. Plumb says, ‘I kept wondering what he had 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 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. He 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, thank you, I missed you, or 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 parachutes.

I am sending you this as my way of thanking you for your part in packing my parachute. And I hope you will send it on to those who have helped pack yours! Sometimes, we wonder why friends keep forwarding jokes to us without writing a word. Maybe this could explain it! When you are very busy, but still want to keep in touch, guess what you do – you forward jokes. And to let you know that you are still remembered, you are still important, you are still loved, you are still cared for, guess what you get? A forwarded joke. So, my friend, next time when you get a joke, don’t think that you’ve been sent just another forwarded joke, but that you’ve been thought of today and your friend on the other end of your computer wanted to send you a smile, just helping you pack your parachute.

My thanks to you for making my life better.

 We can’t all be stars, but we can all twinkle.

52 thoughts on “Who Packed Your Parachute?”

  1. Thank you for posting that. I have heard his story before and been moved by it. It is far too easy to go through life without noticing all the people whose routine actions make your life better. And to forget how important your own small daily actions may be to people that you never meet personally.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a thoughtful story. I guess when we are busy we don’t realise whose packing our parachute until we retire from work. And then we look forward to a simple good morning message from someone who was also once as busy as we were.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. On a more humorous note, Malc from https://www.easymalc.co.uk/, sent me the following comment: Jim Davidson is a naturally funny British comedian, but I would have to say that his humour is more likely to be appreciated by a male audience. He has a strong relationship with the British armed forces and has been involved in several charities which help those who have been in combat and struggle when left to fend for themselves afterwards.
    Jim was on a mission in the Falkland Islands when Britain and Argentina were at war down there. His mission was to entertain the troops to keep up morale, and although he was never a warrior, he built up a strong camaraderie with the troops (as he has in Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere).
    In the Falklands he joined paratroopers who were having to make a jump – something he’d never done before. I saw him tell the story in a way that only he can and I can’t go through it all, but you might like the punchline.
    He had two parachutes, the main one on the front, and an emergency one on the back. To say he was reluctant to jump out of the plane was an understatement, and so an officer had to push him out, but before he did, he reminded Jim that in an emergency he had to pull the drawstring on the parachute on his back. As he got pushed he could be heard shouting β€œwhy can’t I have that one on the frooooont?”.


    1. Thanks, Roy. Glad you liked it. My husband I just flew out to San Diego. He ironically sat next to Captain Plumb who is still alive, well and continues to give motivational talks. He lives in Southern California.

      Liked by 1 person

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