On his 76th mission, naval jet pilot Charles Plumb was shot
down over enemy territory. Although he survived, he spent
six years as a prisoner of war during which he learned many
lessons about bravery and leadership.

Today, Plumb lectures to others about these experiences.

But the experience most moving occurred after he returned
home. A man approached Plumb as he dined in a restaurant
prior to a speaking engagement.

“Are you the famous naval pilot Charles Plumb?” the man
asked.

“Why yes I am,” replied Plumb. “How do you know me?”

“I packed your parachute,” the man replied.

Plumb was immediately overcome. He realized it was
because of this man that that the stories of bravery and
leadership were possible. Without his expertise in packing
the parachute, Plumb would have perished in the crash.

From that day forward Plumb would challenge his audience
with the simple question, “Who packs your parachutes?” He
causes people to reflect on those that are behind the
scenes, working without recognition to make an organization
successful. Plumb confesses he never thought about the
person that packed his parachute until that night in the
restaurant. He nor any of the other pilots ever spoke to the
sailors that packed their parachutes. Yet it is precisely
because of people like the packer that others can survive.

Life Lesson: You are never too important to shake hands
and thanks the people that make you successful.

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Inspirational stories are great to illustrate
many points in workshops, coaching
sessions, or during personal reflection. To
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©2014 Max Impact, Rochester Hills,
Michigan, USA
Charles Plumb
Who packs your parachute