Here is an amazing story from a flight attendant on Delta Flight 15, written following 9-11:
On the morning of Tuesday, September 11, we were about 5 hours out of Frankfurt, flying over the North Atlantic.
All of a sudden the curtains parted and I was told to go to the cockpit, immediately, to see the captain. As soon as I got there I noticed that the crew had that “All Business” look on their faces. The captain handed me a printed message. It was from Delta’s main office in Atlanta and simply read, “All airways over the Continental United States are closed to commercial air traffic. Land ASAP at the nearest airport. Advise your destination.”
No one said a word about what this could mean. We knew it was a serious situation and we needed to find terra firma quickly. The captain determined that the nearest airport was 400 miles behind us in Gander, New Foundland.
He requested approval for a route change from the Canadian traffic controller and approval was granted immediately — no questions asked. We found out later, of course, why there was no hesitation in approving our request.
While the flight crew prepared the airplane for landing, another message arrived from Atlanta telling us about some terrorist activity in the New York area. A few minutes later word came in about the hijackings.
We decided to LIE to the passengers while we were still in the air. We told them the plane had a simple instrument problem and that we needed to land at the nearest airport in Gander, New Foundland, to have it checked out.
We promised to give more information after landing in Gander. There was much grumbling among the passengers, but that’s nothing new! Forty minutes later, we landed in Gander. Local time at Gander was 12:30 PM… that’s 11:00 AM EST.
There were already about 20 other airplanes on the ground from all over the world that had taken this detour on their way to the US.
After we parked on the ramp, the captain made the following announcement: “Ladies and gentlemen, you must be wondering if all these airplanes around us have the same instrument problem as we have. The reality is that we are here for another reason.”
Then he went on to explain the little bit we knew about the situation in the US. There were loud gasps and stares of disbelief. The captain informed passengers that Ground control in Gander told us to stay put.
The Canadian Government was in charge of our situation and no one was allowed to get off the aircraft. No one on the ground was allowed to come near any of the air crafts. Only airport police would come around periodically, look us over and go on to the next airplane.
In the next hour or so more planes landed and Gander ended up with 53 airplanes from all over the world, 27 of which were US commercial jets.
Meanwhile, bits of news started to come in over the aircraft radio and for the first time, we learned that airplanes were flown into the World Trade Center in New York and into the Pentagon in DC.
People were trying to use their cell phones but were unable to connect due to a different cell system in Canada. Some did get through but were only able to get to the Canadian operator who would tell them that the lines to the U.S. were either blocked or jammed.
Sometime in the evening, the news filtered to us that the World Trade Center buildings had collapsed and that a fourth hijacking had resulted in a crash. By now the passengers were emotionally and physically exhausted, not to mention frightened, but everyone stayed amazingly calm.
We had only to look out the window at the 52 other stranded aircraft to realize that we were not the only ones in this predicament.
We had been told earlier that they would be allowing people off the planes one plane at a time. At 6 PM, Gander airport told us that our turn to deplane would be 11 am the next morning.
Passengers were not happy, but they simply resigned themselves to this news without much noise and started to prepare themselves to spend the night on the airplane.
Gander had promised us medical attention if needed, water, and lavatory servicing.
And they were true to their word.
Fortunately, we had no medical situations to worry about. We did have a young lady who was 33 weeks into her pregnancy. We took really good care of her. The night passed without incident, despite the uncomfortable sleeping arrangements.
About 10:30 on the morning of the 12th a convoy of school buses showed up. We got off the plane and were taken to the terminal where we went through Immigration and Customs and then had to register with the Red Cross.
After that, we (the crew) were separated from the passengers and were taken in vans to a small hotel. We had no idea where our passengers were going. We learned from the Red Cross that the town of Gander has a population of 10,400 people and they had about 10,500 passengers to take care of from all the airplanes that were forced into Gander!
We were told to just relax at the hotel and we would be contacted when the US airports opened again, but not to expect that call for a while.
We found out the total scope of the terror back home only after getting to our hotel and turning on the TV, 24 hours after it all started.
Meanwhile, we had lots of time on our hands and found that the people of Gander were extremely friendly. They started calling us the “plane people.” We enjoyed their hospitality, explored the town of Gander and ended up having a pretty good time.
Two days later, we got that call and were taken back to the Gander airport. Back on the plane, we were reunited with the passengers and found out what they had been doing for the past two days.
What we found out was incredible…..
Gander and all the surrounding communities (within about a 75 Kilometer radius) had closed all high schools, meeting halls, lodges, and any other large gathering places. They converted all these facilities to mass lodging areas for all the stranded travellers.
Some had cots set up, some had mats with sleeping bags and pillows set up.
All the high school students were required to volunteer their time to take care of the “guests.”
Our 218 passengers ended up in a town called Lewisporte, about 45 kilometres from Gander where they were put up in a high school. If any women wanted to be in a women-only facility, that was arranged.
Families were kept together. All the elderly passengers were taken to private homes.
Remember that young pregnant lady? She was put up in a private home right across the street from a 24-hour Urgent Care facility. There was a dentist on call and both male and female nurses remained with the crowd for the duration.
Phone calls and e-mails to the U.S. and around the world were available to everyone once a day. During the day, passengers were offered “Excursion” trips. Some people went on boat cruises of the lakes and harbours. Some went for hikes in the local forests.
Local bakeries stayed open to make fresh bread for the guests.
Food was prepared by all the residents and brought to the schools. People were driven to the restaurants of their choice and offered wonderful meals. Everyone was given tokens for local laundry mats to wash their clothes since luggage was still on the aircraft.
In other words, every single need was met for those stranded travellers. Passengers were crying while telling us these stories.
Finally, when they were told that U.S. airports had reopened, they were delivered to the airport right on time and without a single passenger missing or late. The local Red Cross had all the information about the whereabouts of each and every passenger and knew which plane they needed to be on and when all the planes were leaving. They coordinated everything beautifully.
It was absolutely incredible.
When passengers came on board, it was like they had been on a cruise. Everyone knew each other by name. They were swapping stories of their stay, impressing each other with who had the better time. Our flight back to Atlanta looked like a chartered party flight. The crew just stayed out of their way. It was mind-boggling.
Passengers had totally bonded and were calling each other by their first names, exchanging phone numbers, addresses, and email addresses.
And then a very unusual thing happened.
One of our passengers approached me and asked if he could make an announcement over the PA system. We never, ever allow that. But this time was different. I said “of course” and handed him the mike. He picked up the PA and reminded everyone about what they had just gone through in the last few days. He reminded them of the hospitality they had received at the hands of total strangers.
He continued by saying that he would like to do something in return for the good folks of Lewisporte.
“He said he was going to set up a Trust Fund under the name of DELTA 15 (our flight number). The purpose of the trust fund is to provide college scholarships for the high school students of Lewisporte.
He asked for donations of any amount from his fellow travellers. When the paper with donations got back to us with the amounts, names, phone numbers and addresses, the total was for more than $14,000!
“The gentleman, an MD from Virginia, promised to match the donations and to start the administrative work on the scholarship. He also said that he would forward this proposal to Delta Corporate and ask them to donate as well.
As I write this account, the trust fund is at more than $1.5 million and has assisted 134 students in college education.
“I just wanted to share this story because we need good stories right now. It gives me a little bit of hope to know that some people in a faraway place were kind to some strangers who literally dropped in on them.
It reminds me of how much good there is in the world.”
“In spite of all the rotten things we see going on in today’s world this story confirms that there are still a lot of good people in the world and when things get bad, they will come forward.
— Author Unknown
Meditation: For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men. – 1 Peter 2:15
You will succeed because Jesus loves You!
1. God won’t ask what kind of fancy car you drove.
He will ask how many people you took to church who didn’t have transportation.
2. God won’t ask the square footage of your house.
He will ask how many people you helped who didn’t have a house.
3. God won’t ask how many fancy clothes you had in your closet.
He will ask how many of those clothes you gave away.
4. God won’t ask what social class you were in.
He will ask what kind of class you displayed.
5. God won’t ask how many material possessions you had.
He will ask whether those material possessions dictated your life.
6. God won’t ask what your highest salary was.
He will ask if you trampled over any people to obtain that salary.
7. God won’t ask how much overtime you worked.
He will ask did you work overtime for your family.
8. God won’t ask how many promotions you received.
He will ask what you did to promote others.
9. God won’t ask what your job title was.
He will ask did you perform your job to the best of your ability.
10. God won’t ask how many promotions you took to chase a dollar bill.
He will ask how many promotions you refused, to advance your family’s quality of life.
11. God won’t ask how many times you didn’t run around on your spouse.
He will ask how many times you did.
12. God won’t ask how many degrees you had.
He will ask how many people you thanked for helping you get those degrees.
13. God won’t ask what your parents did to help you.
He will ask what you did to help your parents.
14. God won’t ask what you did to help yourself.
He will ask what you did to help others.
15. God won’t ask how many friends you had.
He will ask how many people you were a friend to.
16. God won’t ask what you did to protect your rights.
He will ask what you did to protect the right of others.
17. God won’t ask what neighborhood you lived in.
He will ask what other neighborhoods you visited.
18. God won’t ask how many times you told the truth.
He will ask how many times you told a lie.
19. God won’t ask about the color of your skin.
He will ask about the color of your heart.
20. God won’t ask how many times your deeds matched your words.
He will ask how many times they didn’t.
All of us will stand before God someday, and everything we did, said, and thought will all come to light.
– Author Unknown
Meditation: For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men – 2 Corinthians 5:10-11
You will succeed in Jesus Name!
An Interview with God
“Come in,” God said to me, “So, you would like to interview Me?”
“If you have the time,” I said.
He smiled through His beard and said: “My time is called Eternity and is enough to do everything. What questions do you have in mind to ask me?”
“None that are new to you. What’s the one thing that surprises you most about mankind?”
He answered: “That they get bored of being children, are in a rush to grow up, and then long to be children again.
That they lose their health to make money and then lose their money to restore their health.
That by thinking anxiously about the future, they forget the present, such that they live neither for the present nor the future.
That they live as if they will never die, and they die as if they had never lived.”
His hands took mine and we were silent. After a long period, I said, “May I ask you another question?”
He replied with a smile.
“As a Father, what would you ask your children to do?”
“To learn they cannot make anyone love them. What they can do is to let themselves be loved.
To learn that it takes years to build trust, and a few seconds to destroy it.
To learn that what is most valuable is not what they have in their lives, but who they have in their lives.
To learn that it is not good to compare themselves to others. There will be others better or worse than they are.
To learn that a rich person is not one who has the most, but is one who needs the least.
To learn that they should control their attitudes, otherwise their attitudes will control them.
To learn that it only takes a few seconds to open profound wounds in persons we love, and that it takes many years to heal them.
To learn to forgive by practising forgiveness.
To learn that there are persons that love them dearly, but simply do not know how to show their feelings.
To learn that money can buy everything but happiness.
To learn that while at times they may be entitled to be upset, that does not give them the right to upset those around them.
To learn that great dreams do not require great wings, but a landing gear to achieve.
To learn that true friends are scarce, he/she who has found one has found a true treasure.
To learn that it is not always enough that they be forgiven by others, but that they forgive themselves.
To learn that they are masters of what they keep to themselves and slaves of what they say.
To learn that they shall reap what they plant; if they plant gossip they will harvest intrigues, if they plant love they will harvest happiness.
To learn that true happiness is not to achieve their goals but to learn to be satisfied with what they already achieved.
To learn that happiness is a decision. They decide to be happy with what they are and have, or die from envy and jealousy of what they lack.
To learn that two people can look at the same thing and see something totally different.
To learn that those who are honest with themselves without considering the consequences go far in life.
To learn that even though they may think they have nothing to give when a friend cries with them, they find the strength to appease the pain.
To learn that by trying to hold on to love ones, they very quickly push them away; and by letting go of those they love, they will be side by side forever.
To learn that even though the word “love” has many different meanings, it loses value when it is overstated.
To learn that they can never do something extraordinary for Me to love them; I simply do.
To learn that the shortest distance they could be from Me is the distance of a prayer.”
– Author Unknown
Meditation: Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it. – Psalm 139:6
You will succeed in Jesus Name!
The Warm Flame of Love
“I can master it,” said the Ax. His blows fell heavy on the hard, strong steel. But each blow only made his edge blunter until he ceased to strike.
“Leave it to me,” said the Saw. With his relentless teeth, he worked back and forth. But to his dismay, all of his teeth were worn out or broken off.
“Ha!” said the Hammer. “I knew you could not do this. Let me show you how.” But with the very first blow, his head flew off, and the steel was unchanged.
“Shall I try?” asked the Flame. And it curled itself gently around the strong, hard steel, embraced it, and would not let it go. And the tough steel melted.
There are hearts that are hard enough to resist the forces of wrath and the fury of pride. But hard is the heart that can resist the warm flame of Love.
– Author Unknown
Meditation: For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them. But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it. – Matthew 13:15-17 (NIV)
You will succeed in Jesus Name!
The Pencil Maker took the pencil aside, just before putting him into the box. There are five things you need to know, he told the pencil, before I send you out into the world. Always remember them and never forget, and you will become the best pencil you can be.
One: You will be able to do many great things, but only if you allow yourself to be held in Someone’s hand.
Two: You will experience a painful sharpening from time to time, but you’ll need it to become a better pencil.
Three: You will be able to correct mistakes you will make.
Four: The most important part of you will always be what’s inside.
And Five: On every surface you are used on, you must leave your mark. No matter what the condition, you must continue to write.
The pencil understood and promised to remember, and went into the box with purpose in its heart.
Now replacing the place of the pencil with you; always remember them and never forget, and you will become the best person you can be.
One: You will be able to do many great things, but only if you allow yourself to be held in God’s hand. And allow other human beings to access you for the many gifts you possess.
Two: You will experience a painful sharpening from time to time, by going through various problems, but you’ll need it to become a stronger person.
Three: You will be able to correct mistakes you might make or grow through them.
Four: The most important part of you will always be what’s on the inside.
And Five: On every surface you walk, you must leave your mark. No matter what the situation, you must continue to serve God in everything.
By understanding and remembering, let us proceed with our life on this earth having a meaningful purpose in our heart and a relationship with God daily.
– Author Unknown
Meditation: For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. – Ephesians 2:10
You will succeed in Jesus Name!
Love Always Finds A Way
Jeffie was in his playpen and he was crying. Tears were rolling down his little cheeks, his face was red as it could be. He was crying, and he looked pitiful in his little baseball T-shirt and a diaper.
Then Jeffie’s Grandpa entered the room; Jeffie’s little face lit up when he saw his Grandpa! He immediately reached out his little arms in supplication and said, “Out Pa Pa out.”
What is a Grandpa to do? How can someone resist that?
So Grandpa went over to the playpen, he bent over. He reached down to lift his little buddy from captivity and distress. Just then “Law and Order” walked into the room.
Momma said, “Jeffie, you stay right there! I’m punishing you because you have been naughty! Dad, leave Jeffie alone!”
What is a Grandpa to do?
Grandpa backs off and is thinking, “I can’t just pick up a book and read it with Jeffie here. He would think I was uncaring and distant. I can’t leave the room because he would feel like I have abandoned him.”
What is a Grandpa to do?
But you know what? Love always finds a way. Since Grandpa couldn’t take Jeffie out of the playpen, Grandpa climbed in with Jeffie!
Grandpa said, “If you are in the playpen buddy, I’m in the playpen too. What are you in for? What is your sentence?”
Having Grandpa join him in his “prison cell” brought Jeffie great comfort and joy. In the midst of his captivity, Jeffie no longer felt so alone.
What Jeffie’s Grandpa did is also a picture of what Jesus Christ did for us when He came to Earth as a baby.
God the Father yearned to reach down into our “playpen of captivity” and pull us out. He could not because of our disobedience, because of our sin. What did God do?
God climbed into our “playpen” with us! When Jesus Christ entered into our “playpen of captivity,” He took the sin and disobedience that should have been ours alone, releasing us from our captivity, allowing us the opportunity to experience the fullness of life God has for us!
The message is simple, clear and personal: God with us. He loves you so much He sent His one and only Son, Jesus Christ!
— Author Unknown
Meditation: For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have Eternal Life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. – John 3:16-18
You will succeed in Jesus Name!