The Man Who Thanked the Sea Gulls-Eddie Rickenbacker-Truth! But Inaccurate Details!

The Man Who Thanked the Sea Gulls-Eddie Rickenbacker-Truth! But Inaccurate Details!

Summary of eRumor:

The story of a man who would routinely take a bucket of shrimp to the end of a pier and fed them to sea gulls.  He would say “thank you” to them as he did.  It turned out to be World War I military hero Eddie Rickenbacker who regarded a sea gull as the beginning of a series of events that saved his life while drifting for 24 days in a raft after a plane crash into the Pacific.

The Truth:

The story about the plane crash and the seagull landing on the head of Eddie Rickebacker is true, according to the autobiography of Eddie Rickenbacker.  

The story of the man feeding the seagulls in the eRumor came from excerpt from a book by popular minister and inspirational author Max Lucado.  The version circulating on the Internet contains details that did not appear in Lucado’s book titled “In the Eye of the Storm.”

Rickenbacker was a pilot and a hero during WW I who became an ace and was presented with The Medal of Honor.   The crash at sea took place in 1942 when he was sent by the U.S. government on a tour of the Pacific theater.  The four-engine B-17 bomber on which he was a passenger went off course and ran out of fuel at sea. 

He went on to be a race car driver, an aviation consultant, and airline executive.   Rickenbacker was not the founder of Eastern Airlines but was very influential in the General Motors acquisition of Eastern Air Transport, a compilation of North American Aviation and Pitcairn Aviation Company that was owned by Clement Keys.   When General Motors acquired the company from Keys they renamed it to Eastern Air Lines.  In January of 1934 Rickenbacker began his term  general manager for Eastern Air Lines and later served also as the company’s president. 

Updated 8/29/12