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Vintage Dilbert February 22, 2003

Vintage Dilbert
February 22, 2003

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, Newfoundland.

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, Newfoundland, 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 travelers.

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 kilometers 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 harbors. 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 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 travelers.

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 travelers. 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, a 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 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. Let’s not forget THIS fact.

I hope you enjoyed this story as much as I have..... Explore the
 MS&D archives for over 1000 additional stories...  
 Take Care and God Bless  :-)  Kenny T
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Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
October 23, 2015

Twas’ 11 days before Christmas, around 9:38
When 20 beautiful children stormed through heaven’s gate.
Their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the air.
They could hardly believe all the beauty they saw there.

They were filled with such joy; they didn’t know what to say.
They remembered nothing of what had happened earlier that day.
“Where are we?” asked a little girl, as quiet as a mouse.
“This is heaven” declared a small boy. “We’re spending Christmas at God’s house”.

When what to their wondering eyes did appear,
But Jesus, their savior, the children gathered near.

He looked at them and smiled, and they smiled just the same.
Then He opened His arms and He called them by name.
And in that moment was joy, that only heaven can bring,
Those children all flew into the arms of their King…

And as they lingered in the warmth of His embrace,
One small girl turned and looked at Jesus’ face.
And as if He could read all the questions she had,
He gently whispered to her, “I’ll take care of mom and dad.

Then He looked down on earth, the world far below…
He saw all of the hurt, the sorrow, and woe…
Then He closed His eyes and He outstretched His hand,
“Let My power and presence re-enter this land!

“May this country be delivered from the hands of fools”
“I’m taking back this nation. I’m taking back the schools!
“Then He and the children stood up without a sound.
“Come now my children let me show you around.

“Excitement filled the space, some skipped and some ran…
All displaying enthusiasm that only a small child can.
And I heard Him proclaim as He walked out of sight,
In the midst of this darkness, “I am still the Light.”

 by Cameo Smith
Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
October 14, 2004

A woman who died found herself standing outside the Pearly Gates, being greeted by St. Peter.

She asked him, “Oh, is this place what I really think it is? It’s so beautiful. Did I really make it to Heaven?”

To which St. Peter replied, “Yes, my dear, these are the Gates to Heaven. But you must do one more thing before you can enter.”

The woman was very excited, and asked of St. Peter what she must do to pass through the gates.

“Spell a word,” St. Peter replied. “What word?” she asked.

“Love,” answered St. Peter.  The woman promptly replied, “L-o-v-e.”

St. Peter congratulated her on her good fortune to have made it to Heaven, and asked her if she would mind taking his place at the gates for a few minutes while he went to the bathroom.

“I’d be honored,” she said, “but what should I do if someone comes while you are gone?”

St. Peter reassured her, and instructed the woman to simply have any newcomers to the Pearly Gates to spell a word as she had done.

So the woman is left sitting in St. Peter’s chair and watching the beautiful angels soaring around her when a man approaches the gates. She realizes it is her husband.

“What happened?” she cried, “Why are you here?”

Her husband stared at her for a moment, then said, “I was so drunk when I left your funeral, I was in an accident. And now I am here. Did I really make it to Heaven?”

To which the woman replied, “Not yet. You must spell a word first.”

“What word?” he asked.

The woman responded, “Czechoslovakia.”

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Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
September 12, 2011

Bernard Mears had arrived in America in his mother’s arms.

He was two years old in 1878. The Mears family were all hard workers and made a place for themselves in the land of opportunity.

Bernie was smart and wanted to be his own boss. When Bernie was 25 he took a wife. Bernie had saved some money and decided on a dry goods and grocery store combined.

He and Marie found an empty building to rent and proceeded to fill it with inventory. There was an apartment upstairs. They were not blessed with children, so the two of them worked side by side to become established and build a trade.

Marie had a knack for arranging the merchandise to appeal to customers and Bernie didn’t mind the long hours. He was happy, life was good.

The business thrived until the great depression hit the entire country. No one had money to purchase pretty things or even food. In 1930, Marie had a heart attack and left Bernie alone.

Following Marie’s death, which Bernie felt was brought about from worry about the store, he lost interest in everything. He was keeping odd hours of opening and closing the store. He had few customers and did not make them feel welcome. Bernie wandered about the store, dusting a bit and sweeping the floor. His inventory remained almost the same, as nothing much was sold. After awhile, he stopped sweeping and dusting.

The grocery part still had canned foods but little else. Bernie was loosing weight and not eating much once his fresh meats and cheeses were depleted. A deep depression set in. He had lost Marie, his true love, and now his business seemed lost as well. Why did he want to live?

A few houses down the street lived a family who had also fallen on hard times. They seldom had three square meals a day. Julie, the youngest girl was fourteen. Julie worried about Mr. Mears getting so thin. At meal time, she would take a portion of their meager meal to Bernie. She would stay and talk to him, dusting and cleaning.

After several months Bernie began to improve. He still had no customers to speak of, but from what he had left in the store, he would sack a few cans to take to Julie’s family.

In early spring, Julie saw her father planting a garden. This gave her an idea. She suggested to Bernie to make a garden in the big space beside the store, which they had once thought would become a parking lot, and sell the produce really cheap in the store. It would help the neighbors and also Bernie to have money for new merchandise. They would plant half the garden space now and half in three weeks giving them fresh produce for a long time.

Julie prayed hard as they placed the seeds in the ground. When the seeds sprouted, Julie looked anxiously at the rows and there were no empty spots. They all came up and produced the best crop of vegetables Bernie had ever seen. Julie gave another prayer of thanks.

You might say those two had the idea for the first Dollar Store as they reduced the prices until nothing in the store cost more than a dollar with many items a penny or nickel. They soon became well known in the community for having the best prices and finest produce in town. They also extended credit to their neighbors and accepted various items as trade for merchandise.

The two of them worked hard throughout the 1930s and made a very successful business. Julie earned a salary. As the economy picked up, so did sales at the store.

Bernie was now in his 66th year. Julie was doing most of the work while Bernie clerked a bit and kept books. They had hired a man to plant and tend the garden.

One afternoon when Bernie closed his ledger, he smiled at Julie.

“We are now knee deep in black ink, Julie. Our hard work has paid off. Please give me a dollar bill.”

Julie had no idea why he wanted a dollar, but pulled one from her purse and gave it to him. Bernie smiled.

“Julie, you now own this store. I have given it much thought, and since my parents have passed and my sister married well, there is no one I want to leave it to, or who deserves it more. You saved me and the store years ago. As soon as the paperwork to transfer title to you is complete, I plan on going out and seeing the rest of this great country.”

Julie thanked him and added that she would always keep the name of Mears Family Store, and he could come back when he wanted to.

A few days later, Bernie packed and loaded his car and left among many tears and good luck wishes from the neighbors. Many postcards, letters and phone calls would be forthcoming over the years. Bernie would meet many interesting people in his travels, and view wondrous things.

Julie sighed, wiped her hands on the big white butcher apron she wore and went back to work. She sat down at Bernie’s big desk and thought to herself, who would ever imagine a Jewish man, a part Indian girl and a few seeds would have survived the worst this country could throw at them and come out on top?

We truly reap what we sow.

 Author - Clara Wersterfer, Copyright © 2008 
Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
September 10, 2010

Mary and her husband Jim had a dog named “Lucky.” Lucky was a real character. Whenever Mary and Jim had company come for a weekend visit they would warn their friends to not leave their luggage open because Lucky would help himself to whatever struck his fancy. Inevitably, someone would forget and something would come up missing.

Mary or Jim would go to Lucky’s toy box in the basement and there the treasure would be, amid all of Lucky’s other favorite toys. Lucky always stashed his finds in his toy box and he was very particular that his toys stay in the box.

It happened that Mary found out she had breast cancer. Something told her she was going to die of this disease….in fact, she was just sure it was fatal.

She scheduled the double mastectomy, fear riding her shoulders. The night before she was to go to the hospital she cuddled with Lucky. A thought struck her…. what would happen to Lucky? Although the three-year-old dog liked Jim, he was Mary’s dog through and through. If I die, Lucky will be abandoned, Mary thought. He won’t understand that I didn’t want to leave him. The thought made her sadder than thinking of her own death.

The double mastectomy was harder on Mary than her doctors had anticipated and Mary was hospitalized for over two weeks. Jim took Lucky for his evening walk faithfully, but the little dog just drooped, whining and miserable.

Finally the day came for Mary to leave the hospital. When she arrived home, Mary was so exhausted she couldn’t even make it up the steps to her bedroom. Jim made his wife comfortable on the couch and left her to nap. Lucky stood watching Mary but he didn’t come to her when she called. It made Mary sad but sleep soon overcame her and she dozed.

When Mary woke for a second she couldn’t understand what was wrong. She couldn’t move her head and her body felt heavy and hot. But panic soon gave way to laughter when Mary realized the problem. She was covered, literally blanketed, with every treasure Lucky owned! While she had slept, the sorrowing dog had made trip after trip to the basement bringing his beloved mistress all his favorite things in life. He had covered her with his love.

Mary forgot about dying. Instead she and Lucky began living again, walking further and further together every day. It’s been 12 years now and Mary is still cancer-free. Lucky? He still steals treasures and stashes them in his toy box but Mary remains his greatest treasure.

Remember . . . live every day to the fullest. Each minute is a blessing from God. And never forget…. the people who make a difference in our lives are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones that care for us.

If you see someone without a smile today give them one of yours! Live simply. Love seriously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.

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Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
September 4, 2004

At first, I saw God as my observer, my judge, keeping track of the things I did wrong; so as to know whether I merited heaven or hell when I die. He was there sort of like a picture of a president. I recognized His picture when I saw it, but I really didn’t know Him.

Later on when I met Christ, it seemed as though life was like a bike ride, on a tandem bike, and I noticed that Christ was in the back helping me pedal. I don’t recall when he suggested we change places, but life has not been the same since.

When I had control, it was rather boring, and predictable . . . It was the shortest distance between two points. But when He took the lead, He knew the exciting paths to take, up mountains, and through rocky places at breakneck speeds — it was all I could do to just hang on! At times it seemed like madness. He said: “Pedal!”

And by faith I did, although I worried and was anxious. “Where are you taking me?” He laughed, but no answer, and I started to learn to trust. I forgot my boring life and entered into the adventure.

When I’d say, “I’m scared,” He’d lean back and touch my hand. He took me to people that had gifts that I needed. Gifts of healing, acceptance, love, and joy. So many priceless gifts to take on my journey — my Lord’s and mine. Then we were off again. He said, “Give the gifts away — they’re extra baggage now — there’ll be more gifts to come.” So I did, I gave them to people we met, and found that in giving I also received, and my burden was lighter.

I didn’t trust him at first to be in control of my life. I thought He’d wreck it — but I discovered he knows how to handle even the roughest roads in my life. Now I’m learning to be quiet and pedal in the strangest places. I’m beginning to enjoy the view, the challenge of the ride, as well as the cool breeze on my face with my delightful constant companion — Jesus Christ.

When it seems I just can’t take anymore, I keep my eyes and faith on Him. He looks at me, with a big smile, and says: “. . . Keep on Pedaling.”

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Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
September 4, 2002

My classroom was a sort of “dumping ground” at one point in my career.

The counselor, Mr. H., had a habit of coming to me with a timid smile and saying, “I have a kid for you who you’ll just love.

That was code for “I need to put a ‘bad’ kid in your class who’s gotten kicked out by another teacher.”

I sighed and answered, “Well, alright.” And thus, in walked Josh.

Some kids put up a little wall to prevent others from knowing their vulnerabilities. Josh had military-grade body armor.

He was a typical, tough-acting, fourteen-year-old boy: smack in the middle of adolescence, something to prove but nothing to prove it with just yet.

He didn’t like school and school didn’t like him.

The mention of Josh’s name yielded growls and steam in three grade levels of middle-school teachers.

I got him for four periods during his eighth-grade year.

He was in my history class, my study hall, my “student assistant” period, and he sat in my room during another teacher’s class, with whom he “didn’t get along.”

He worked some, but mostly, he drew lots and lots of pictures.

He brought with him frustration from other classes every day and would come in angry, ignore me, and get out paper.

I let him draw, but I frequently complained to him that he ought to be doing work for his other teachers.

He was difficult, so I just left him alone most of the time.

Pretty soon, Josh and I had come to an understanding. He held it together just enough to keep me sane.

When he was finished with his work for me he would ask for paper and pencils to draw.

I would reluctantly agree, as I knew it was not a battle I needed to pick during my busy day.

Other teachers had complained over and over that he drew pictures in their classes, so I was reluctant to encourage him.

He left a folder in my classroom with his drawings, but I never looked at it. I made it through the year, just barely, with my Josh-heavy experience.

At the end of the school year, I spoke briefly with Josh’s mother.

She explained that Josh’s father had been deployed for over fourteen months to Iraq and was frequently in combat.

I do not know how I didn’t know this — no one at the school had mentioned it.

I suppose there were so many deployments among our military families that it was overlooked.

Josh had to help her take care of his younger brother with special needs.

He hadn’t had a good year at school, but he’d had an even worse year at home.

The stress of the deployment had taken a toll on his family.

Because Josh liked to draw, the family psychologist suggested he draw whenever he felt frustrated or angry or sad or scared.

He drew all the time at home too. I felt so terrible.

Josh’s mother gave me a beautiful, handmade book. It had several of the most amazing drawings I had ever seen, and a couple of photos of Josh “to remember him by,” since they would be moving soon.

I couldn’t believe he was so talented and I had never taken a moment to notice.

He had drawn me working at my desk, the view out the classroom window, the furniture in my classroom, vegetables, fruits and many other things. They were amazing.

When I asked why she had given the book to me, she explained that she knew what a difficult child he was.

She told me that I was the only teacher who had not thrown his drawings away.

She said Josh had actually described me to the family psychologist as the “glue” that held his world together since his dad left. He said that I was the only teacher who was kind to him.

Because I had let him draw when he was sad or angry, he wanted me to have the book to say “thank you.”

She said he was too embarrassed to give me the book himself. She gave me a tearful hug and she left. I have not seen them since.

I do think about Josh a lot; I have one of his pieces — a radish — framed in my kitchen.

I am grateful that he thought of me as his school glue. But I regret not taking more advantage of a situation in which I could have more of an inspiration and encouragement to a young man who needed me.

I will not miss the opportunity again. I look for it in every encounter.

A teacher’s job is difficult. We forget sometimes, however, that day-to-day life can be far more difficult for many of our students.

I try to find something special in every student, but because of Josh, I try harder with the “complicated” kids.

I knew I had tried to be kind as difficult as it was sometimes, but I never knew I was glue — my eye opener.

But now I want to be more than glue; I want to be the cement stepping stone to encourage a child to the next level.

We all need a Josh to open our eyes to take a closer look at those around us to whom we can make a life a little brighter and be the glue that helps them keep things together.

Dorothy Goff Goulet
Teacher Tales
Chicken Soup for the Soul...
http://www.chickensoup.com
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