Rid Elias was on Flight 1549, the plane that crash-landed in the Hudson River in January 2009. In this talk, he talks about what went through his mind during those horrifying moments.
“Imagine an explosion as you’re flying through 3000 feet,” Elias starts his talk. “Imagine a plane full of smoke. Scary, right? Then the pilot lines up the plane at the Hudson River. The pilot says, ‘Brace for impact’. I could see the terror in the flight attendant’s eyes. I knew life was over,” Elias says.
He talks about the three things that he learnt about himself that day.
“It all changes in an instant. We have this bucket list, we have these things we want to do in life. I thought about all the people I wanted to reach out to that I didn’t. All the fences I wanted to mend. All the experiences I wanted to have but I never did. I no longer want to postpone anything in life.
“I felt one real regret, I allowed my ego to get in. I regretted the time I wasted on things that did not matter. I’ve decided to eliminate negative energy from my life. I no longer try to be right, I choose to be happy.
“I felt like dying is not scary. It’s almost like we’ve been preparing for it our whole life. I thought: I only wish I could see my kids grow up. I realised the only thing matters in my life was being a great dad.”
“I was given the gift of a miracle, of not dying that day,” he continues.
He asks the audience: “How would you change? What would you get done that you aren’t getting done, because you think you’ll be here forever? What fences would you mend? Are you being the best parent you can be?”