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01/16/10 Weekend Grif.Net – Buying Lunch

01/16/10 Weekend Grif.Net – Buying Lunch

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 will 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’ was his response. 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 coast,
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. Not one was 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…

[Thanks for this forward from Carol]

~~
Dr Bob Griffin
bob@grif.net www.grif.net
“Jesus Knows Me, This I Love!”