Little acts of kindness are remembered. This story tells why I always give to those Salvation Army bell ringers at holiday time. It has to do with the time I came close to dying in a plane crash.
In 2005, I took off from Kansas City aboard a Northwest Express flight to return to DC. We didn’t get far. Before we attained cruising altitude when you can settle back and use electronic devices you brought aboard, the plane plunged into a steep dive. We then pulled back into an equally steep upward thrust. This repeated several times. I knew we were in trouble because the pilot never came on the PA system to say anything. The plane was out of his control. A flight attendant took to the PA system to announce that we were going to make an emergency landing. Look at the card in the seat in front of you for the ‘crash position’ and get into that bracing move.
The plane leveled off as the flight attendant yelled ‘Brace! Brace!’ over and over. There were no lights from the ground. We had no idea where we were or what fate awaited below. The landing gear dropped into place and we felt the wheels touch runway. We were going to live.
The pilot put the plane into the most rapid braking maneuver I ever experienced. We came to a stop and the pilot came onto the PA for the first time to say “Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Kirkville.
He had landed on a deserted field not far from where we took off that handled a few small planes each day, none the size of what he put down. There was no tower staff here. The pilot landed on visual only. There were no stairs or jetport. They got us off the plane with an electric lift a few at a time.
It was a scene from The Twilight Zone with no sign of anyone around, no one that is except the Salvation Army. The terminal was deserted except for members of that organization with coffee and donuts. Like I said, a little act of kindness, and I remember it each time I see a Salvation Army red bucket.
Reporters filtered in later to record our story. Click here for one video report.