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Sunday, 24 July 2011

A Nice story

I’m not sure whether this is a true story or not. I’m not sure where it originates from as it was sent to me by a reader. Looking through Snopes it is undetermined.

Airline 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 from Gatwick. 'I'm glad I have a good book to read Perhaps I will get a short sleep,' I thought.

Just before take-off, a line of British Army Youngsters came down the aisle and filled all the vacant seats, totally surrounding me. I decided to start a conversation.

'Where are you blokes headed?' I asked the Young man seated nearest to me. “Cyprus . We'll be there for two weeks
for special training, and then we're being deployed to Afghanistan” .

After flying for about an hour, an announcement was made that lunches were available for five pounds.
It would be several hours before we reached Cyprus , and I quickly decided a lunch would help pass the time..
As I reached for my wallet, I overheard a soldier ask his mate if he planned to buy lunch.

'No, that seems like a lot of money for just an airline lunch. Probably wouldn't be worth five Quid. I'll wait till we get to Cyprus .....

His mate 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 Pound note. 'Take a lunch to all those soldiers..' She grabbed my arms and squeezed tightly. Her eyes wet with tears, she thanked me. 'My young bloke was a soldier in Iraq , it's almost like you are doing it for him..'

Picking up ten lunchboxes, she headed up the aisle to where the boys were seated. She stopped at my seat and asked, 'Which do you like best - beef or chicken?' '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 toilet. An old bloke stopped me.
'I saw what you did. I want to be part of it. Here, take this.' He handed me twenty-five Pounds..

Soon after I returned to my seat,  I saw the Captain coming down the aisle, looking at the aisle numbers as he walked, I hoped he wasn't 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 seat-belt I stood and took the Captain's hand. With a booming voice he said, 'I was an army pilot a long time back. Once someone bought me 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 kid who looked about 18 was sitting about
six rows in front of me reached out his hand, wanting to shake mine. He left another twenty-five Pounds In my palm.

When we landed I gathered my belongings and started to depart.
Waiting just inside the aeroplane door was a man who stopped me, put something in my shirt pocket, turned, and walked away without saying a word. Another twenty-five Pounds!

Upon entering the terminal, I saw the soldiers gathering for their Trip up to there training area..

I walked over to them and handed them seventy-five Pounds. 'It will take you some time to reach your training area. It will be about time for a sandwich. God Bless You Blokes.'

Ten young blokes left that flight feeling the love and respect of their fellow Brits.

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 British Serviceman is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank  cheque made payable to
' United Kingdom ' for an amount of  'up to and including my life.' That is Honour, and there are way too many foreigners in this country who don't understand it.'


  1. Thanks for sharing the story FE.

    No doubt someone at HMRC will be working out a way of trying to obtain the relevant 'Benefit in Kind' tax revenue.

  2. That there's an American and British version says it's probably made up, but it's still a damn good story.

  3. Well, nice though the sentiment is ...

    Yes, you do sometimes fly to Afghanistan through Cyprus. Often not, however. But always on an RAF or MoD charter jet from Brize Norton.

    RAF airline food is marginally better than short-haul Easyjet (if only because it's free!) But there is no first-class food (some of the charter jets do have "business class" sections, but all you get is a better seat.)

    And I'm not aware of any immediately-pre-operations training carried out in Cyprus (note that this doesn't mean it never happens). You do do your short operational decompression there on your way back - a chance for you to get reacquainted with beer (after 6 months, excluding your R&R, stone-cold sober) and work out that not everybody, who isn't one of your mates, is trying to kill you.

    And, even now, soldiers on civvy flights, where you don't get free food provided (or just a snack rather than a meal) are entitled to buy a meal and claim it back. Although most will do (as I do) x + chips'n'beer at the terminal and claim that.


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