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 The Good There Is In The World

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WAMcKinley

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PostSubject: The Good There Is In The World   Tue Mar 24, 2015 5:37 pm

While we're waiting for Susan news, I thought this might be a good time to feature a compilation of good things that happen,---things that have happened to us personally---or stories passed along by someone else. Every day we seem to be bombarded with bad news and stories of doom and gloom, while there are always good things happening, too, that we often never hear about.

This particular story was passed along to me by my friend Martha. I'd never heard about this before now. I think everyone, particularly those of us here in the U.S., should know this well enough to never forget the positive side of the human spirit:
*****************************************************

"A good story after all the bad ones we hear. I had never really thought of what happened to all the other flights headed for the States on 9/11.

It is 13 years since 9/11 and here is a wonderful story about that terrible day.

Jerry Brown, Delta Flight 15...(true 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 terrafirma 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 U.S.

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 U.S. 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 U.S. 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 twin towers 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 of10,400 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 U.S. 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 laundramats 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."

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WAMcKinley

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PostSubject: Re: The Good There Is In The World   Tue Mar 24, 2015 5:59 pm

BTW, this story has been verified by Snopes (www.snopes.com):

Origins: Gander, a town of about 10,000 people (and 550 hotel rooms) in Newfoundland,
image: http://www.snopes.com/rumors/images/canada.gif

Canada, lies in the northeastern tip of North America and has long served as a refueling stop for trans-Atlantic flights and a temporary haven for flights diverted from their destinations. On 11 September 2001, a total of 240 flights were rerouted to Canada when American airspace was closed after the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, and 39 of those flights ended up in Gander. The townspeople of Gander (and surrounding areas) came through magnificently in the crisis, as 6,579 marooned passengers and crew members swelled their population by two-thirds:
Read more at http://www.snopes.com/rumors/gander.asp#FMjTUh2zHsJVsbpg.99
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fudgemeister

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PostSubject: Re: The Good There Is In The World   Tue Mar 24, 2015 6:27 pm

Check out the name of the constable at about 2:10 cheering

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WAMcKinley

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PostSubject: Re: The Good There Is In The World   Tue Mar 24, 2015 7:12 pm

Oz Fudge,----I LOVE it!! Never heard that one before!! I know I must have heard this story back when it happened,---but the details were all new to me. What an amazing place to take care of so many strangers like that at the spur of that awful moment in time!
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PostSubject: Re: The Good There Is In The World   Tue Mar 24, 2015 7:17 pm

Another wonderful story from that day--


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PostSubject: Re: The Good There Is In The World   Tue Mar 24, 2015 7:33 pm

I DO remember that story! Those men did an incredible job! Inspiring to see it all once again.
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PostSubject: Re: The Good There Is In The World   Tue Jun 02, 2015 5:35 pm

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WAMcKinley

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PostSubject: Re: The Good There Is In The World   Tue Jun 02, 2015 7:07 pm

Awwww,----that's adorable!!   All those little guys would have been in a bad way w/o help.   So glad these folks were brave & resourceful enough to intervene!---- I love you I love you I love you I love you Great stories!!
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PostSubject: Re: The Good There Is In The World   Sun Jun 07, 2015 3:15 pm

Thank you Wam and Fudge..... clap clap clap clap
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PostSubject: Re: The Good There Is In The World   Sun Jun 07, 2015 5:04 pm




Thankfully, there are people like this around the world. 

Little things in life can be a very big thing in life.  Smile
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PostSubject: Re: The Good There Is In The World   Sun Jun 07, 2015 5:31 pm

Good one Wabbit. Here is another one--

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WAMcKinley

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PostSubject: Re: The Good There Is In The World   Sun Jun 07, 2015 6:22 pm

Love those stories, Wabbit & Fudge!   Thanks,----they're keepers!! I love you I love you
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