• The Gentleman in 13B

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THE GENTLEMAN IN 13B

By Barry Cameron
November 23, 2016

Talk about Thanksgiving! Twenty-seven years ago, in one of the most famous, horrific plane crashes in aviation history, a United Airlines pilot became a national hero. Footage of the accident has been seen hundreds of thousands of times around the world. The pilot was Captain Al Haynes. The aircraft? A DC-10. It was United Airlines, flight 232. The date was July 19, 1989. The plane was en route from Denver to Chicago, flying at 37,000 feet when the crew in the cockpit suddenly realized they had a major problem.

One of the engines exploded. Debris from the explosion severed the hydraulic lines. Instantly, the pilots radioed for help and it was determined Sioux City, Iowa would be the closest airport to attempt an emergency landing. Captain Haynes and his co-pilot turned the plane toward Sioux City and prepared the flight attendants and passengers.

The pilots attempted to control the plane manually using throttles on the two remaining engines, struggling to line the plane up with the airport below. Barely controllable, the DC-10 finally made contact with the runway bursting into a massive ball of smoke and flames, tumbling several times until it came to a stop in a huge cloud of dust and smoke. Incredibly, 184 of the 292 people on board walked away from the wreckage, many without a scratch.

Every saved person on the planet could learn something from “the gentleman in 13B.”

In 2004, Captain Al Haynes was back in the news again — still trying to save lives. This time, his daughter’s. Laurie Haynes Arguello was 39 years old and needed a bone marrow transplant to live. She had a donor, but couldn’t afford the $250,000 to pay for the operation. She’d been diagnosed with aplastic anemia, a life-threatening disease that requires a bone marrow transplant.

No stranger to tragedy, Al Haynes had not only dealt with “survivor’s guilt” from the crash back in 1989 when so many didn’t, but he also had to deal with the death of his oldest son who was killed in a motorcycle crash and the death of his wife two years later. Nevertheless, Haynes always attempted to maintain a positive attitude.

He put out an appeal for the $250,000 needed for his daughter’s transplant. Both the pilot’s union and flight attendant’s union responded immediately and generously. Then gifts began arriving from people who had been passengers on Flight 232. Even a number of folks from Sioux City, Iowa contributed.

One of the more notable donations came from a man who called Captain Haynes while he was being interviewed by the media in his home following Christmas. “The gentleman in 13B” is how Haynes described him. The man had called to offer his support and to make a donation. Evidently, there were a lot of survivors from flight 232 who hadn’t forgotten what Captain Haynes did for them. Without question, that’s why “the gentleman in 13B” called to offer his support and make a financial contribution to help the Captain who’d saved so many lives save one more.

Every saved person on the planet could learn something from “the gentleman in 13B.”

We all have Someone we ought to thank this Thanksgiving.

© 2016. Barry L. Cameron

BARRY CAMERON

Senior Pastor

Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Today, more than 8,000 people call Crossroads their church home. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.

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