Almost 20 years ago, Chuck Noland was a promising FedEx systems analyst when he was asked to conduct an emergency business trip to Malaysia. While traveling on a FedEx mail transport flight Noland’s plane entered a violent storm and crashed into the Pacific Ocean. All lives were thought to be lost at the time, but as we know now Noland survived and was cast away on a desert island.
Noland spent several years on this island, foraging for food and attempting to maintain his sanity. At times he often struggled to find a reason to keep going, pondering whether or not he should end his suffering. Through his struggle Noland gained resolve and committed himself to getting off the island.
“I needed purpose” Noland said. “I started collecting a lot of the packages that washed ashore from the wreckage, trying to find anything I could use. I mostly found useless junk like toys and CD-Roms. I found a volleyball that I turned into my friend.”
It is clear that Noland went through a traumatizing experience, trying to cope with the reality of his existence. “I opened up just about every package except one. It had some fancy markings on it so I promised myself I wouldn’t open it, I would one day deliver that box” he said, with a look of regret on his face. “I should have opened that damn box.”
Noland eventually was rescued after several years and fulfilled his promise to deliver the unopened package. News crews from around the country followed him as he travelled to the MidWest to a local farm where he was to deliver the box.
Unbeknownst to Noland, the farm belong to Jenny Sanders, a survival enthusiast.
“I heard about the man” she said. “I heard he was traveling across the country to deliver me that box. I knew exactly what was in it and it was going to be very awkard for me.”
Noland finally met with Sanders and in front of hundreds of onlookers he presented her the box. She thanked him for delivering her package and awkwardly opened it infront of him. As she pulled out each of the contents, Noland seemed to slip into a state of disbelief.
“The first item was water desalination kit. Are you kidding me? “ recounted Noland. “I did weird things to keep hydrated, like drinking my own pee. It took me months until I was able to fashion a water collection system. I had to drink hundreds of coconuts, don’t let me tell you what that does to your bowels, you won’t like it.”
“The next item was a medical kit, along with pain killers. If I had a nickel for every time I needed one of those, I’d have about 85 cents! I had to use a damn rock to knock out one of my teeth once. You have any idea how much that hurts? A damn rock!”
“The last item, of all things, was a Satellite Telephone, with pre-programmed numbers to international rescue agencies. Don’t let me get started on that. I just… I can’t. You know how much I suffered on that damn island when all I had to do was open that box? I hate myself.”
It is fair to say that many have sympathy for Noland, considering he suffered so much just to uphold an ideal. Regardless however his woes did not stop there. Shortly after delivering the package Noland was officially charged with “tampering with official mail” and is currently serving time in a federal penitentiary.