Friday, October 21, 2011

HELP A SOLDIER.....Sack Lunches......what a great story

You'll love the story you have one to add to it? Where you or people you saw did an amazing kindness for a soldier or two? Please share it with us! Thanks...Z (and thanks, Mustang)

Sack Lunches

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


'Petawawa. We'll be there for two

weeks for special training, and then we're being

deployed to  Afghanistan  


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, 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. None were 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

arm and squeezed tightly.

Our eyes met, it looked as if she was about to cry,

she thanked me. 'My son was a soldier in

Iraq   ; it's almost like you are doing it for


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,' I 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, 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


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...

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




Silverfiddle said...

Reminds me of the banners and the nice USO folks at Baltimore IA who handed out goodies to us as we were on our way to the middle east...

Brooke said...

I think I've read this before; it is nice.

Would that we all had an opportunity to do something so kind in person.

Z said...

I wish we had that opportunity, too, Brooke.
SF, I'm glad you were treated well.......

cube said...

I've read it before, too, but a very worthwhile read. It does my heart good to think that we could all make a story like that real one soldier at a time.

sue hanes said...

Z - That is a beautiful story.

I'm sure other people have done 'pay it forward' things for the troops and have been 'rewarded' for it - with a good feeling inside.


When I started reading your post I remembered that once when I saw a troop in the airport I wanted to thank him - but didn't.

As it turned out he was sitting right beside me on the hour flight.

I thought - Oh boy now I can really thank him.

But instead I jabbered the whole time - questioning him on all sorts of things and I'm sure he really wanted to take a nap - but he was very polite.

When we parted I realized I had said everything else to him - except just a 'thank you.' :(

BB-Idaho said...

During Gulf-1, we sent packages to
'any soldier', cookies mostly. Somehow, we adopted a USAF kid
over there and sent stuff every
month. The Sgt. looked us up when
he returned, and he being a sports
hunter, I was delighted to take
him on a personal tour of an ammunition factory where I worked.
(I was active duty so long ago that it was considered just a job-
no free lunches back then, darn)

Lisa said...

What a fabulous story Z,especially the part when the passenger gave the soldiers the $75.00. They deserve that and much,much more.

At first when I saw the title I thought it was about your Mac-n-Cheez blog asking what is your favorite sac lunch items.

cube said...

For years we have sent Care packages to unknown soldiers... we didn't know anyone in the wars, but we still wanted to help and there were organizations that put us together. We told them we didn't expect any thanks, but we did get letters and emails thanking us for the goodies we sent them. It was very emotional getting thanks from individual soldiers thanking us for our tiny little help.

Anonymous said...

"I wanted to thank him - but didn't."

Nice job. All that jabbering and you couldn't muster two words to him?

Maybe he thanked you instead...cause he didn't have to listen to you anymore?

Z said...

Imp, for pete's is sad Sue forgot but that can happen...

Thanks to all of you for all you do for the soldiers; I was hoping to get a LOT more wonderful stories.

Maybe too many of my commenters are like Lisa and thought this was something for geeeeZ and I'm going to change the title.
But I LOVE that idea for geeeZ, Lisa :-)
I'm working much more these days and hate spending money on lunch....maybe I'll get some ideas for good sack lunches! xx

Anonymous said...

"Imp, for pete's SAKE.."

Maybe you ought to read her statement again? She had opportunity, time, location and she didn't say....she forgot.

IMHO...she couldn't. That's my interpretation.

Z said...

Imp, I don't (and won't) belabor this, but she said "When we parted I realized I had said everything else to him - except just a 'thank you.' :( ", ...and when someone says they 'realized' something and adds an unhappy face, it looks to me like Sue wishes she had thought of just thanking him instead of chatting.....

BB-Idaho...VERY cool that you got to meet your guy.
A friend of mine and I got letters during high school from Marines that we were to answer and we did; she married hers when he came to town and I had a nice letter relationship with Tim W. from Longmeadow, Mass...until I HEARD HIS ACCENT! Isn't that awful of me? Yup, he landed at LAX and called me early one Sunday morning and I found his accent so horrid, I don't think I wrote again! WHat a shallow PUNK at 18, I was, huh?

Timothy Walbridge, I think it was....anybody know him? :-) I'm not sure about the last name, darn.

sue hanes said...

Imp - I'm not sure why - becuase I am used to your comments - but your unkind remake was like a small stab in my heart.

sue hanes said...

Z - Although I'm not surprised that you supported my comment - I still thank you very much for that.

You know, I didn't forget - it's just that I am a talker - or a jabberer - as Imp puts it.

Sometimes I just don't 'think.'

But whatever the reason, I will say this:

I will living one hour south of the Indianapolis Airport in a week and I intend to make a point of being there when one of those planes lands with the troops on them that are coming in from Iraq -and I WILL be there waving my little 9/11 flag and hugging more than one of them.

I hope to get others to join me.

Pris said...

A great story Z. I'd love to have that opportunity. But, since I won't, I'll contribute to the USO, and Wounded Warriors.

Last year when I contributed toys to Toys for Tots, two Marines were standing there next to the bins. I shook their hands and thanked them.

Their broad smiles were my reward. It takes so little but means so much. I recommend it.

Actually, I wanted to hug them, but restrained myself.

sue hanes said...

Pris - I'm a person of little restraint - and I am determined
to have a least one hug. :-)

And who would deny me that on what I believe will be a most joyous occasion.

Bd said...

Really? Ghadaffi is dead, Obama announces the end of the Iraq was and THIS is all you can post. Child.

Bd said...

Powell's infamous presentation at the U.N.
The Obama administration’s announcement of a withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Iraq by the end of the year offers the possibility of a definitive conclusion for the U.S. military’s involvement in Iraq. But while the return of all U.S. service men and women by Christmas is a cause for celebration, the costs of the war are only beginning to be fully understood. The “cakewalk” to Baghdad, as George W. Bush adviser Kenneth Adelman infamously wrote in February, 2002, has been anything but. The Iraq War, and the faulty premise that Saddam Hussein was developing weapons of mass destruction, has had a staggering humanitarian and economic cost.

Here are some relevant numbers:

8 years, 260 days since Secretary of State Colin Powell presented evidence of Saddam Hussein’s biological weapons program

8 years, 215 days since the March 20, 2003 invasion of Iraq

8 years, 175 days since President George W. Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” speech on the USS Abraham Lincoln

4,479 U.S. military fatalities

30,182 U.S. military injuries

468 contractor fatalities

103,142 – 112,708 documented civilian deaths

2.8 million internally displaced Iraqis

$806 billion in federal funding for the Iraq War through FY2011

$3 – $5 trillion in total economic cost to the United States of the Iraq war according to economist Joseph E. Stiglitz and Linda J. Blimes

$60 billion in U.S. expenditures lost to waste and fraud in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001

0 weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq

Leticia said...

My dad, who was in the army, at the time, used to invite soldiers to our home for Thanksgiving dinner, most of these guys weren't able to go home and would have stayed on base.

God bless my mom for cooking for these wonderful men in uniform, not to mention the fact, that at 15, I thought some of them were, umm....HOT! LOL!

But, these guys were so respectful of my parents, and dad being a higher rank, never once flirted with me or my sister. PERFECT gentlemen.

God bless our wonderful troops.

Z said...

Pris, I have to admit I'd probably give a hug.......:-)

Bd.. Will you ever understand that not all people must agree with you and that you don't have the right way or some secret? Talk about a child, you poor thing :-)
Isn't it ODD that "0 weapons of mass destruction" somehow killed about 400,000 Kurds? Imagine that!

Leticia, That's so fabulous that the servicemen never hit on 'the daughters'.....that's saying a lot, isn't it. Thanks for that.

christian soldier said...

theses stories of those honoring our BEST always bring 'tears'...

Z said...

By the way, Bd, stop copy/pasting whole articles.

sue hanes said...

Leticia - 'these guys were so respectful...PERFECT gentleman.'

I can attest to that.


In 1968-69 my husband was stationed in Germany.

We would have what we called - as I remember - mixed functions - something like that and one time we were outside - just sitting around listening to LP's - like Procol Harum - stuff like that - officers, nco's, elisted -we just sat around chillin' and you are right - they were perfect gentleman.

No uniforms, just people having a nice time. There were other times, too, and I can't recall when there was ever a problem - when everyone wasn't on their best behavior.

Cause we were all just people.

Wanting to have a good time.

Enjoying each other's company.

Just chillin' out.


Ah, the good old days when life was simpler, not as complicated.


Before we started choosing up sides.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

"In 1968-69 my husband was stationed in Germany."

I wonder if I bumped into him? Air Force or Army?

Nah...Germany's a big place with a few US military bases.

And Procol Harum....? We're really dating ourselves now.

MK said...

A lovely story and a lovely sentiment, thanks for posting Z.

sue hanes said...

Imp - Army.

In 1968-69 we lived in a great town called Aschaffenburg.

There were hills surrounding it and one of them was called Three Cross Hill and in fact there were three large wooden crosses there put up after the war where an American general - not sure who - fired on the town with his big guns set up on the hill.

I used to take my Girl Scout Troop on a hike all the way up there.

He used to work in Hanau - not too far away.

Then we were back in 1978-80 in Frankfurt.

Loved Germany.

cube said...

I guess my comment was chopped liver ;-)

Z said...

cube, because I didn't respond?
I'm sorry...i have less time these days and try to respond to everybody but am not making that by a long shot.

NEVER 'chopped liver'....I'm always happy to have you here....
and ya...wouldn't it be great if we could all help EVERY soldier.

Maybe bringing them home yesterday might help. Sadly, it won't help my friend's nephew who was married 1 1/2 months ago, deployed, and has been at Bethesda now for almost 3 weeks; missing parts of both legs and the left arm.
Thankfully, he's got an amazing spirit and is already in PT! The docs say his recovery is "UNIQUE"...I say it's cuz he has about 1000 people praying for him.