DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Sometimes guardian angels appear in the most unlikely of forms.
For John Wayne Chapman II, his was on his flight to fight a war in 1968.
“He met a flight attendant who he ordered a scotch from, and she asked him where he was headed,” says Amy Chapman, Lt. Colonel Chapman’s daughter. “When he shared with her that he was headed to Vietnam, she handed him a bottle of scotch, and she said, ‘This one’s for luck.’ ”
Words Chapman took to heart throughout his time in Vietnam, where the bottle was always close by.
“There was a rocket attack where he was staying,” she says. “When he came up after the attack was over, everything in his hooch had been destroyed, but the bottle of scotch was still sitting, unbroken, on top of his footlocker.”
Amy Chapman remembers the bottle on her father’s dresser throughout her childhood – and the legend that accompanied it.
“He did really believe that that bottle was lucky and was the reason he was still with us.”
So when Lt. Colonel Chapman died last week at the age of 79, his family knew where the bottle should go. He was buried with full military honors – and the scotch in his pocket, still unopened.
“Part of me feels like if he was okay in war, then he’s going to be okay where he’s gone on to, and he knows that we’re okay. ”
Thanks to a bottle of hope, and a spontaneous gift that will last more than a lifetime.
“The smallest act of kindness can not only change the life of one person, but it has impacted my family for our whole lives,” Chapman says,
Lt. Col. Chapman served in the Armed Forces for 42 years, earning a Purple Heart, among other honors. He then spent nearly 30 years in the Civil Service.