Believing is Seeing : Give your 100%, do not worry about the results – Himanshu Vaishnav, IIM Calcutta

In the next part of the series, ,”Believing is Seeing”, I am going to carry a few personal stories of youngsters who have realized their immediate dream, of securing their admissions in their dream institution. I asked each one of them to write a personal note on

a. What are the key factors that contributed to their success

b. In what ways has the personalized program (PDPP) benefited them

c. What would each like to share with the youngersters who aspire to get into these institutions

Here is a note by Himanshu Vaishnav, who heads to IIM Calcutta (IIMC) this year.

———————————————————————–

Career Launcher – A Wingman in my journey to IIM Calcutta

“Sir’, I don’t have any achievements to show, how I’m going to crack IIM interview?”
I asked my Mentor in Career launcher.

2 Months Later
“You have achieved a lot in your life and you should be proud of yourself” – said IIM C interviewer to me.

(A link to my IIM Calcutta interview experience is at bottom)

So what changed in these 2 months? The answer is my attitude towards life.
Let me introduce myself.

WP_20130709_085I’m an average engineer from an average engineering college (YMCAUST Faridabad) with average academics (Average as per IIMs criteria). After completing B.Tech in 2013, I joined Infosys, worked there for 2.5 years, later switched to Genpact. I had given CAT earlier but didn’t score much but I was more confident this time. And I did get a good score and got calls from IIM C, K, L, S.

To be honest, when I started preparing for the CAT, it was more because of a rat race rather than any other reason. So when results came, I got scared how I’m going to convert these calls, and as I had taken a test series earlier from CL, so I joined career launcher for my Interview preparation. And my expectation from the program was that they will teach me exact answers to questions like Why MBA (Most imp question). But it was nowhere close to that.

Later I came to realize why program name is PDP – Personality Development Program instead of GD-PI preparation. Mentor assigned to me were Sreeni Sir. The first class I attended of him was an eye opener for me, he showed a glimpse of how the world is going to change in next 5 to 10 years. And how important it is for us to be aware of these things.

When I wanted to prepare for my interview, he told me to forget about it and first understand myself, introspect and go through my life journey till now. And what are the things that are in my circle of concern and circle of influence? Sreeni Sir always said: MBA should not be an end rather a means to an end.

All the session which I attended – online or offline- of Sreeni Sir, GP Sir, Shivku Sir or anyone had a common theme, they didn’t want to prepare us for an interview but for life. They wanted to find us our goals, our vision in life not just an answer for the interview.

After a lot of introspection, I did find my vision – things I want to do in life and luckily MBA is going to help me achieve me that. But I became sure of one thing, MBA is just a means to achieve that, and even if I’m not going to get selected, I will find another way but still pursue my dream.

I also came to realize an achievement is something you achieve overcoming the hurdles which need not be always some competition with others. I had very humble beginnings but I definitely wasn’t an underachiever. I have become more confident in my abilities.

My perspective towards life has changed a lot in these few months. Now I try to look more into the bigger picture. I try to look at things if they fit according to my values. And this is not something I borrowed from outside, but it was always there inside me and I gained it back.

One of important realization I had is, an MBA interview is not a platform for the interviewer to ask you questions but it’s an opportunity for us to tell them our life story, and from that story, they are going to check how well we know our story and ourselves. Our aptitude has been already checked in the exam, and now they are just going to check our commitment/Attitude towards our life.

There were sessions on the economy, current affairs, and other things as well but for me, most important were the things I have mentioned earlier.

So my advice to all future aspirants is- Find Yourself. Then any interview will be a cakewalk (not necessarily the results 😛 ) And I’m quite sure that people like Satya Sir, Sreeni Sir, GP Sir, Shivku Sir and Gejo Sir can surely help you to move towards the right direction.

click here IIMC Interview Link to know about what I went through in the interview:

Luckily I have converted my IIM C call. And if someone ask me what is one thing that worked for me, My answer is I focused on myself: my story, my journey, my areas of interest and my goals.

Try to give your 100% and don’t worry about results. Even if hadn’t been selected, I would not have been sad or disappointed for more than 2 days and would have started my journey again.

“Always Focus on Character instead of Personality.”
Carpe Diem!!!!

You can reach out to me on below:
Email:
Facebook:
LinkedIn:

Believing is Seeing : “In life there is winning and there is losing, both happen. What is never acceptable to me is quitting”. – Beulah, IIMB entrant !

In the next part of the series, ,”Believing is Seeing”, I am going to carry a few personal stories of youngsters who have realized their immediate dream, of securing their admissions in their dream institution. I asked each one of them to write a personal note on

a. What are the key factors that contributed to their success

b. In what ways has the personalized program (PDPP) benefited them

c. What would each like to share with the youngersters who aspire to get into these institutions

Beulah is heading to IIM Bangalore, with over two years of experience in the IT industry behind her.

———————————————————-

JOURNEY TO THE DREAM

As they say “It’s not the destination but the journey that counts”. And now as I stop to step into one of the important landing place of my life, IIM B, I sit and reminisce the journey to this place. The ride has started 6 months prior to the CAT exam. The distance was long and the terrain difficult but the focus was clear, and the destination decided. I did hit some speed breakers and reach some road blocks, but was undeterred. The first few months were stormy as I had to battle to strike the balance between work and preparation. There were sleepless nights and stressful days. There were times when I hit low trying to explore new ways, paths beyond the boundaries and was left completely astray.But I was motivated to the core to not give up. I fueled my engine with the confidence that “I Can and I will”, no matter how many times I fall.

IMG_20160316_162825992For any journey to be successful, one needs a guide leading us in the correct path, helping through the rough and rugged times. And on my journey I did find that guide at Career launcher. The mocks were the perfect trail runs before the CAT exam. I didn’t score high and roar during the mocks. I wasn’t even the topper during any mock. But what was important was the analysis of the mocks. They gave me an idea of the amount of hard work and extra effort that is needed to reach the target. They prepared me for the unpredictable storm, and the icy winds that blow across our minds during the D day. What seemed impossible was only possible because the belief I had and the sincerity in the preparation. No matter what never give up in the middle of the Journey. Powered by the knowledge and driven by confidence I acquired through mock analysis and practice I was able to steer through the CAT Results.

But before I could rejoice and end my trip, I have just realized that the” journey had just begun”. It was not the end of the expedition but the start. The most crucial phase of the endeavor, the interviews, were on the way. To drive them was no child’s play. Myriad questions await and haunt you on the way. And the most hounding was the question why MBA? Finding an answer to this question was very important, not just because I had the impending task of impressing the Panels to reach my Spot(IIM), It was important because I had to answer myself as to why I have to leave a bread-winner, my job and pursue MBA spending lakhs. I had to discover my passion and the real reason behind me embarking on this journey.  I found myself lost in the woods finding an answer, I was not able to nail it down as to why I really want to do an MBA.

Enroute to finding an explanation I met a man who was compelling, motivating and engaging. I happen to meet him through the PDP personalized program. Through his compassionate words and engaging talks he gets the passion out of you, makes you realize your dream, makes you stand out of the herd. Sreeni Sir, an affable and empathetic teacher. He never taught me how to play safe, he taught me how to be different. And this made all the difference. I Jpegwent through one of his lectures as to how to write an SOP. Every word racked my brain and motivated every nerve to think. It was because of him that I have realized my area of interest, the solution to my question. I always wanted to enter Media industry, as I always thought of it as the real business in terms of money in and money out. There is a lot of creative control involved in it. Even though many had reservations, He encouraged me to pick this interest of mine and go forward. He propelled my engines and helped me steer through the interview. He never gave me a short route to answer, but he helped to enjoy the ride by myself. He was the charioteer leading me through the battles called “Interviews”. Filled up with the much needed Confidence I was able to crack the IIM B interview and reach the Destination. All is well that ends well, and I had a happy ending with all the support form CL team. Sreeni sir, Raj Sir and Nanda sir, I can’t pay gratitude to these people enough.

Now as I set sail into another interesting journey and plunge into a sea of challenges ahead I carry with me the words that has always invigorated me.

“In life there is Winning and there is losing and in life both happen. What is never acceptable to me is quitting”.

Always believe in yourself. It Is the repetition of affirmations that’s leads to belief and it’s the belief in you that leads to SUCCESS.

Acceptance

I came across this beautiful note on acceptance, that reminded me of soulfulness.. thought of sharing and having in my notes here.

When we don’t accept an undesired event, it becomes *Anger*;
when we accept it, it becomes *Tolerance.*

When we don’t accept uncertainty,
it becomes *Fear*;
when we accept it,
it becomes *Adventure.*

When we don’t accept other’s bad behaviour towards us,
it becomes *Hatred;*
when we accept it,
it becomes *Forgiveness.*

When we don’t accept other’s Success, it becomes *Jealousy;* when we accept it,
it becomes *Inspiration.*

Acceptance is the key to handling life well.
……… Have a beautiful day.

Building Self, Creating Impact, Enriching Profile

Most of us, in our youth, are enamored of the world around us that is always enticing with its glitters and sparkles. We have so much within! We hardly invest time to think about our self, not to talk of action. It is time each one of us starts doing.

We are all powerful. We can be winners. We can impact big time. We have enough examples around us – from the Prime Minister of the country to very many inspiring people from all walks of life, who are in a continuous pursuit of realizing their purpose, chasing every goal of theirs, passionately. Each one of us can be one such. The last article, ‘Ikigai’, initiates the exercise of finding our purpose and meaning of life. In this article, I am going to share about building our ‘Self’, while contributing to the context we are in, which in turn enriches our profile.

Let us look at the Abraham Maslow’s seminal work on ‘self’, hierarchy of needs. John Antonio brought it into social media context. I am creating a framework that is built upon these.

maslows-heirarchy-building-your-profile-in-real-world-and-social-world-v2-1

 

Every being goes through these phases, termed as hierarchy of human needs –

  1. Physiological needs – Oxygen(air), sleep, quenching thirst and hunger, clothing
  2. Safety and Security needs – Shelter, Protection from vagaries of weather, to safety and stability in life
  3. Belonging – love, affection, relationships and family provide the emotional needs
  4. Esteem – Enhancing and demonstrating Capabilities that builds self-esteem, reputation and status
  5. Self-actualization – Personal fulfillment, in the process contributing to larger good

Physiological and Safety needs are termed as basic needs – that of survival; while the needs of Belonging, Esteem and Self-actualization are termed as social needs. As one quenches the lower level needs, one starts thinking about the next higher level need. The journey is un-ending while it is incredibly enriching too. We grow in the process, while we keep pushing our boundaries, discovering our unknown self. More we push, greater is the realization and impact we cause and higher is the enrichment.

Each one of us, educated, is fortunate to have our basic needs – especially the physiological needs and to a great extent, the safety needs, fulfilled by our family and well wishers. Yes, with self-doubts that question our own capabilities, we may fall short on career or emotional stability. We can equip ourselves to overcome these shortcomings with positivity. Believe in our own selves, have confidence in our abilities and have conviction in our actions. We need to work on our state of mind, constantly, to be positive and purposeful.

Cycle of Excellence

excellence-cycle

Our thoughts are all powerful. Our positive thoughts influence the language, the words we use. Repeated use of the energizing words brings about the compelling action. Compelling actions will result in impactful outcomes, which reinforce the confidence and positive frame of mind. This cycle of excellence is unending. It is transformational. This fuels our journey to realize the infinite potential within.

[In this frame of positivity, it makes imminent sense to establish our profile in the social space – social media – the presence in the virtual space of this ever evolving connected world. Most of us are present in a few of these destinations like Facebook or Instagram to name a few, for fun mostly by sharing some interesting happenings in the form of stories or photos or videos. It is time we think of being in each of these spaces, with all the purposefulness that shall add to our ever evolving self, to aid our realization of the larger picture and public good ]

Once we get on to the cycle of excellence, fuelled by our purposefulness, the social context that we are in, can add that much more. Our family, friends and relationships can give the strength and confidence to head towards our larger vision. In this pursuit, we can connect with people or groups, bodies who work in our space of interest. The engaging conversations with people who share our beliefs and passions builds our community affiliations, that can further reinforce our purposeful and our journey. List out our passions and interests, and look out for people or bodies with whom we can engage to build your journey. Stretch yourselves and reach out, get involved. We need to consciously build these connects and affiliations.

[These affiliations and connects can be further fuelled by being alive and kicking on the social media, in the current context. The social media has the power to make connects in an unimaginable way. It is a double edged sword, and certainly depends on how we put it to use. If used wisely, it can make a big difference to our journey, in the process enriching our profile.

 Think of building your own website or a blog on one of the platforms like wordpress, which is very easy to handle. Be on Linkedin that enables you to connect with professionals in your area of work. Get onto Twitter to follow people, institutions and journals of eminence while sharing your thoughts too. Start engaging and interacting with the connects in a purposeful way. Slowly build your web presence that can build your community and affiliations.]

As you become active in various spaces, engaging with people and involved in activities, voicing your thoughts and opinions while helping others also to grow in the process of your growing, the journey will start becoming more meaningful. This brings more opportunities, more doors open to push your boundaries and to realize greater possibilities and potentials. In the process, knowingly or unknowingly, your brand building is happening.

[Continue to share your learning on your website or blog as a regular process of self-growth. In the connected world, you will be surprised how you create new connections with strangers and friends, who are on their path of excellence; who feel that you resonate with their thoughts and journey. It adds the domino effect to your growth, evolution and excellence. Many an entrepreneurial journey thus began]

As you continue on this journey, you will reach new heights, of course not without a lot of struggles. The struggles are part of every success story. As someone said, “Overnight success is a result of twenty years of slogging.” The struggles actually help you realize that you are more capable and you are on the path to realize the higher goals that you have set for yourself, the big picture will continue to refine itself. Your mission of realizing your potential and goals, will certainly be aided by the profile that you have been building on the social media in more ways than you had ever imagined.

4P FRAMEWORK for showcasing your PROFILE

I shall wind up this article with my 4P framework to share your profile. Kindly dig deep and explore on each of these dimensions to give insights into who you are and will be. Work towards enriching each of these dimensions, by creating opportunities or taking advantage of one. Identify the leadership roles and activities that you have done in each of these dimensions to highlight.

Purpose

 Sharing of your larger vision and purpose conveys your outlook towards life. It conveys the direction you are heading and how your past or present connects to the future.

·         Institutions, employers and employees alike will enjoy seeing what goals a person has. Let these goals be both career oriented and personally oriented, such as scuba dive, rock climbing, music or blogging, shayari…

Professional

 ·   Learning/knowledge – Share the schools that you have attended and every degree or certification that you may have; other courses that you might have pursued beyond your graduation or academic requirements

·   Skills are important because they show Institutions / Employers and networking connections why they should connect with you. They showcase why you would be an asset to the institution/company and to the person. Skills can include leadership, management, organization, communication, hard work and interpersonal skills.

Passions

·         Interests and passions give people a feel of who you are as an individual. This makes people connect to you as a person on a personal level.

·         This also shows you being a keen learner who is not afraid of exploring the unknown;

·         As a very balanced individual with avenues to reduce stress and rejuvenate oneself to be on the path of purposefulness.

Public Good

 This is an opportunity for you to stand apart from other candidates because many people overlook this dimension.

  • Share personally meaningful values, important ones – such as innovation, health, fitness, responsibility, success, challenges or intellect, and share instances of demonstration

·         List your experience and contribution to any form charity work or public good.

Believe in yourselves. Build your profile. Enjoy the journey of realizing your larger purpose.

Empowerment to Excellence Program @ Dibrugarh University

The EMPOWERMENT TO EXCELLENCE Programme by CL Educate at Dibrugarh University has been a big learning experience for every active participant of the programme, including me in some sense. The impact in the four days has been no less than ‘transformational’, as most students shared. Of course, a 2-day outbound program preceding this would have been even more impactful and life-changing.
‘Empowerment to Excellence’ at Dibrugarh University was a four-day intense, interactive programme to initiate and facilitate every student of Engineering and Management faculty to –

  • Understand one-self
  • Create a vision for oneself, for one’s career and life
  • write a “Statement of Purpose” : Set Long term and Short term goals
  • Realize the elements of personal effectiveness, and plan to work on self
  • Understand the secrets of an effective communicator
  • Identify ones strengths and areas of concern for improvement
  • Be a good participant and contributor in group discussions and group activities
  • Be an effective presenter and communicator
  • Reflect, introspect and realize areas for action, from ones participation in the program
  • set an agenda and action plan for personal growth
  • Commitment to one’s own development and also development of the entire group

The program schedule, session plan and process were as per the agreed frame work. We adhered to the schedule given, to a great extent. The session plan for GD / Communication underwent a little change due to change in the number of participants.

My reflections at the end of the programme –

  1. “Awakening”: Managed to infuse energy and purposefulness among the participants
  2. Every participant has been shaken, active ones have woken up to his or her potential and the possibilities; they are charged to push themselves to give their best
  3. Many have started working on their “Statement of Purpose”; the dialogue is on regularly in the whatsapp groups
  4. The barriers between the departments have been broken; For the first time they got to know about the students from other departments as they worked in cross-functional teams in various sessions. By the end of the programme they gelled as if they all are one.
  5. The realization among the students that the campus has enough resources within to create productive interactions and activities to sharpen their skills; They have promised to engage themselves at least once a month
  6. The participants realized how they can effectively use the social media platforms to further their career goals; They shared about these as the sessions progressed

At the end of this program, and with my experience at IWSB and other universities, I am convinced that –

  1. “Empowerment to Excellence” programme should be preceded by an outbound program, where the participants have to challenge themselves in many situations, mostly physical or strategic in nature; that helps every student push boundaries and realize his or her immense capabilities.
  2. “Empowerment to Excellence” should be integral to every university programme, especially every university that we are facilitating. All our other programmes will be immensely effective if we take student through this programme.
  3. This program should be in the second year of the four-year undergraduate program (like BE/BTech) and in the first year of Post-grad programme; We should have this before the academic year commences. And must be a compulsory programme, as it is beyond imagination of any student, how it can really impact.

With such a series of initiatives, students will become very purposeful and it will become integral to every students thoughts and actions. This could make a huge difference to their journey in the university, with student working towards his/her goal, empowering oneself with all that he or she needs to excel in career and life.

Student’s Presentations, Reflections and Feedback

A. Kindly watch the videos of a few presentations and reflections of the participants at the end of the programme, uploaded on the youtube channel of CL Educate, under

Dibrugarh University : Empowerment to Excellence playlist –

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLYIF2mj1kyOCmToc2rx3pJsgw3qMI-3dx

Presentation sample – Most of them were presenting for the first time ever in front of a couple of hundred audience from across the departments of the University

Reflection of learning – Sample –

These set of videos also showcase the effectiveness and impact of the programme through

– The reflections of shifts made by the participants and

– Commitment of participants for their own future and that of the group


Delighted to see the feedback of students on SURVEYMONKEYt –

– Over 80% of the students have rated the conceptual sessions ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Very good’

– Over 70% have rated the Drills / Group Activities / Presentations sessions ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Very good’. We made sure that every one got a couple of drills, still that is not enough. More and more practice needed here. Unfortunately we had time constraint. I have asked the students to do their own drills. Shall continue to push them through Whatsapp.

– Over 90% have rated the facilitators ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Very good’

Of course we can always be better than what we are. Hope we will continue on that path.

In another post, I shall share part of the PDF with detailed feedback that a few students shared. Their delight in their personal growth through the four days comes through these sharing.

Education, a space to create lasting impact for generations

Going by the consumer behavioural studies, researchers in marketing have documented that, every DELIGHTED customer shares with at least 6 of his friends / families about his great experience with a brand. He becomes a brand ambassador to endorse your brand among his friends and acquaintances. It has been estimated that in the era of social media, this effect multiplies to about 60 folds (spreads across the country and the world).

On the contrary, a DEJECTED and DISAPPOINTED customer, shares with no less than 20 of his friends/acquaintances/strangers about the abysmal service rendered, and this spreads anywhere between 80-100 folds! People take pleasure in sharing ‘Khundak’ wali stories….

Now look at the impact every DELIGHTED customer is going to cause and every DISAPPOINTED one is going to cause……… More and MORE Delighted students and families we make, we not only get their heart-felt blessings, but they also drive more walk-ins who need no convincing…They come to pay and join.

Especially, in the space of Education, the impact is unimaginable. Every family will bless for generations to come.

DSC_0096 web1
Here is a small episode that happened yesterday…

I finished my class at CP and came out. It was evening, about 5:30pm. I was strolling in CP and clicking a few interesting pictures (you can check on twitter @sreenindia) on the occasion of Independence day. Suddenly three youngsters came to me and asked me whether I will give them a short interview on five questions based on the relevance of INDEPENDENCE DAY! They run a channel on YOUTUBE… I interacted and responded to their questions.. When they got to know that I am part of CL, all the three youngsters who were till then a little haughty, melted like anything. Two of them told how CL has impacted their families, by helping their brothers/sisters realize their dreams… They profusely apologized. They stayed for a while to ask advise for their journey of life, business, channel etc.

Another episode happened, on the last Saturday. I was waiting outside Manav Rachna university for a pick up, looking into my mobile and responding on whatsapp. Suddenly I had a tap on my shoulder. When I turned around, I found a family, husband-wife with a kid in arms smiling at me. The couple were students of IWSB in 2008-2010. I just hugged them. They noticed me standing by the road, as they drove and took a turn to come and stop, to ask if I need any help, to be dropped….

I can keep narrating many stories…I am sure each one of you is creating such an impact that is far reaching…which you will narrate your lifetime.

Let us be the catalysts for transformation of the families that we touch. Let us make it happen.

9/11 Gander Story : Welcoming with open arms…gratitude !

This inspiring story that came my way on WhatsApp touched me immensely. I did some research before blogging for eternity, by borrowing relevant photographs from the web. The copyright holders kindly pardon me.

————————–

Here is an amazing story from a flight attendant on *Delta Flight 15*, written following *9/11*. [This operation is called YELLOW RIBBON by GANDER people. A video story, very moving, at the end of the post here]

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, New Foundland.

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.

150910154647_gander_canada_hospitalidad_624x351_gandertownhall_nocredit

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 , New Foundland, 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 aircrafts. 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.

9-11-moved-them-most-01

Kent Kobersteen, former Director of Photography of National Geographic
“The pictures are by Robert Clark, and were shot from the window of his studio in Brooklyn. Others shot the second plane hitting the tower, but I think there are elements in Clark’s photographs that make them special. To me the wider shots not only give context to the tragedy, but also portray the normalcy of the day in every respect except at the Towers. I generally prefer tighter shots, but in this case I think the overall context of Manhattan makes a stronger image. And, the fact that Clark shot the pictures from his studio indicates how the events of 9/11 literally hit home. I find these images very compellingÑin fact, whenever I see them they force me to study them in great detail.”

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…..

  1. 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.
  2. Some had cots set up, some had mats with sleeping bags and pillows set up
  3. ALL the high school students were required to volunteer theirtime to take care of the “guests.”
  4. 150910153746_gander_canada_hospitalidad_624x351_gandertownhall_nocredit
  5. 150910154013_gander_canada_hospitalidad_624x351_gandertownhall_nocredit
  6. 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.
  7. Families were kept together. All the elderly passengers were taken to private homes.
  8. 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.
  9. communicating from School computer centre
  10. 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.
  11. Some people went on boat cruises of the lakes and harbors. Some went for hikes in the local forests.
  12. Local bakeries stayed open to make fresh bread for the guests.
  13. homecooked food
  14. 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.

*This is one of those stories that need to be shared. Please do so…*

Here is the in depth story by NBC on the enormity of challenges that Gander took upon itself. This video appeared a good decade later. It is a moving and overwhelming story. I was in tears, watching.


A very inspiring narration of what every human being and community can really do, if only we wish to. Why wait for an adversity, can we do a small way every day!

%d bloggers like this: