On September 11, 2001, Steve Scheibner was supposed to be piloting American Airlines Flight 11. A last minute scheduling change had him replaced with Senior Pilot Tom McGuinness. Flight 11 was hijacked by 5 terrorists and crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.
"I am living on borrowed time," Scheibner told Glenn on Thursday's Glenn Beck Program. "I can look at my calendar. 13 years ago today I should shave been one of the first victims of 9/11."
Glenn, who was unfamiliar with Scheibner's story until recently, asked him to describe the series of events that led up to him not getting on the plane that day.
“On September 10… it just so happened I was the only guy on reserve - on call - to fill in for another pilot,” he said. “In that instance, the computer will automatically assign your name to the trip. So at three o’clock in the afternoon, I went to the computer and… when I brought up the page, there was my name already assigned to the trip. Typically, within two or three minutes, they’ll call you and confirm the assignment. Once that phone call gets made, it’s a done deal.”
But Scheibner's phone never rang.
“What ended up happening was another fellow, a pilot by the name of Tom McGuinness, he was celebrating his 42nd birthday on September 10 with his wife and his children,” he explained. “Tom did what I did at about the exact same time. About three o’clock in the afternoon, he logged in to see if there was any unassigned flying. Because he was senior to me, he could bump me… and so just that quickly, they erased that name from the trip and they put Tom’s on it. And now, as we know, the rest is history.”
Scheibner, who is also a U.S. Navy pilot, ended up going to work on a local base on September 11. He was on the base when he learned of the attacks. At the time, however, he was unaware the hijacked plan was the one he was scheduled to be on.
"It didn’t really click with me that that was the flight that I was supposed to be on," he said. "Later that night, when I finally made it home… we had a little impromptu prayer meeting at our house… I snuck away afterwards to see if I could find the names of the crew that had been on that flight."
"When I brought the screen up in front of me, it looked exactly like it did the day before, where it had my name on it," he continued. "But now there were no names on it, and all it said was ‘sequence failed continuity.’ And what that means is, the flight never made it to its destination. And what an understatement."
Scheibner said the news hit him "like a ton of bricks."
"I can't be happy. I can't be sad," Scheibner said. "I still have an empty feeling after all these years."
That series of events led to a sobering change of perspective for Schneiber. As a father of eight, local pastor, pilot, and serviceman, Scheibner was a very busy man. As he explained, however, in the aftermath of September 11, he realized he needed to discover why his life was saved.
Schneiber has since discovered a calling to change the American culture one family at a time.
“On 9/11, we were passionate about our family. [With] eight kids, you have to be,” he said. “Now we’re passionate about the American family… We really feel like the American family is in crisis, so we started a nonprofit called CharacterHealth.com.”
Along with his wife, Megan, Scheibner created a course for parents called “The Nine Practices of a Proactive Parent,” which he based of a course he designed and implemented for the Navy a number of years ago.
“Our aim is to transform the American culture by equipping parents to train a new generation of courageous, Christ-like, what we call ‘character healthy’ leaders. And by that I mean problem solvers,” Schneiber said. “It’s transforming the culture one family at a time. Forget about the mainstream media. Forget about going toe to toe with liberals and their agenda. Go straight to people.”
Ultimately, Scheibner believes his life was spared that day so he could work to "change the American culture for the cause of Christ."
Learn more about CharacterHealth.com HERE.