+
The viral story of a young hijacking heroine from 33 years ago is a must read

Many of us are too young to remember the hijacking of Pan Am Flight 73 of 1986, much less any details about it. But thanks to a viral Facebook post from Misfit History, some attention is being shed on an incredible heroine who saved many American lives in the standoff.

The post reads:


I'd sit down for this one. It's a doozy. Neerja Bhanot was the Senior Flight attendant on the infamous Pan Am Flight 73 of 1986. The plane was scheduled to fly from Mumbai to the United States. Before takeoff four hijackers boarded the plane at Karachi airport in Pakistan and held 380 passengers and 13 crew members hostage at gun point in a 17 hour stand off. When the hijackers demanded the passports of the Americans on board to take those passengers as collateral for a trade, Bhanot hid the passports under seat cushions, flushed them down the toilet and threw them down the trash shoot. Unable to decipher the American passengers from non-American passengers the situation escalated as the hijackers began shooting and detonating explosives. Bhanot deployed the emergency escape doors and began frantically guiding passengers out of the plane. One of the last to remain, a hijacker grabbed her by her ponytail and shot her point blank while she was shielding three American children from gun fire. She died at 22 the day before her birthday. She saved the majority of the passengers and the flight crew.

RELATED: This flight attendant had a gut feeling about human trafficking. So he followed it.

Naturally, we shouldn't assume everything we read in a viral Facebook post to be factual, but it doesn't take much research to find that despite a few minor details (e.g., her title was technically "flight purser," not flight attendant) this story is true. And in fact, there's even more that's not included here.

In 2004, Bhanot was the first woman and youngest person to be given the Ashoka Chakra award, the highest civilian honor in India given for bravery. In 2006 she was posthumously awarded the Special Courage Award by the US Department of Justice, an honor which "recognizes an individual or individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary bravery in the aftermath of a crime or who have performed a courageous act on behalf of a victim or potential victim."

According to at least one source, a 7-year-old child she shielded during the attack grew up to become a pilot himself and credits her with saving his life.

A movie was even made about her life in India in 2016, simply titled "Neerja." You can see the trailer for it here, but fair warning—you may want to grab a tissue first:

Neerjawww.youtube.com

I may be wrong about this, but I don't think many Americans are aware of Ms. Bhanot and her heroism. I'm in my mid-40s, and I don't think I've ever seen this story. She appears to be better known in India, despite the fact that she helped save scores of American lives before she was killed.

It's also worth pointing out that Bhanot wasn't the only hero from that day. Surviving members of the crew shared their memories of the hijacking with BBC in 2016, and so many deserve credit for their life-saving decisions and actions.

RELATED: How a United Airlines crew handled an autistic 4-yr-old's meltdown is pure human excellence

Many unsung heroes' stories never get told or don't receive the recognition they should. Thank you, Misfit History, for sharing Neerja Bhanot's story so more of us get a chance to learn about it.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

popular

Woman left at the altar by her fiance decided to 'turn the day around’ and have a wedding anyway

'I didn’t want to remember the day as complete sadness.'

via Pixabay

The show must go on… and more power to her.

There are few things that feel more awful than being stranded at the altar by your spouse-to-be. That’s why people are cheering on Kayley Stead, 27, from the U.K. for turning a day of extreme disappointment into a party for her friends, family and most importantly, herself.

According to a report in The Metro, on Thursday, September 15, Stead woke up in an Airbnb with her bridemaids, having no idea that her fiance, Kallum Norton, 24, had run off early that morning. The word got to Stead’s bridesmaids at around 7 a.m. the day of the wedding.

“[A groomsman] called one of the maids of honor to explain that the groom had ‘gone.’ We were told he had left the caravan they were staying at in Oxwich Bay (the venue) at 12:30 a.m. to visit his family, who were staying in another caravan nearby and hadn’t returned. When they woke in the morning, he was not there and his car had gone,” Jordie Cullen wrote on a GoFundMe page.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

As people mourn the death of Coolio, a video resurfaced showing just how cool he was

Not many college kids get to say Coolio performed 'Gangsta's Paradise' in their dorm room.

As people mourn the death of Coolio, resurfaced video show how cool he was.

There aren't too many people who haven't heard the song "Gangsta's Paradise" by Coolio. It quickly climbed the charts after it was used in the soundtrack of the movie "Dangerous Minds" and brings nostalgia anytime it comes on the radio. Following Coolio's unexpected death, it's no wonder the song is being played again. But one user had a unique experience with the late rapper, and his 2013 video has resurfaced on YouTube showing Coolio hanging out with the group of England's University of Central Lancashire students in their dorm room.

Keep ReadingShow less
via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


Dr. Daniel Mansfield and his team at the University of New South Wales in Australia have just made an incredible discovery. While studying a 3,700-year-old tablet from the ancient civilization of Babylon, they found evidence that the Babylonians were doing something astounding: trigonometry!

Most historians have credited the Greeks with creating the study of triangles' sides and angles, but this tablet presents indisputable evidence that the Babylonians were using the technique 1,500 years before the Greeks ever were.


Keep ReadingShow less