When Shari Peterson was bumped from her assigned airline seat to seat 13F, she couldn’t know that this seat change, plus the unusual circumstances surrounding it, just saved her life.

On February 24, 1989, Shari Peterson was a passenger on the ill-fated United Flight 811 from Honolulu to Auckland.

Traveling four miles above the Pacific Ocean, the jumbo jet’s cargo door was ripped from its hinges, creating an enormous breach in the right side of the aircraft. Facing certain death, terrified passengers and crew were now at the mercy of the deadly incoming hurricane-force wind, ear shattering noise, and bitterly cold night air.


About the author

Shari Peterson was raised in the small rural Iowa farm community of fewer than 400 residents. While Shari and her two younger sisters were growing up within a farm community’s humble lifestyle, they witnessed their parents demonstrate that “small town, helping others” philosophy. Their family found ways to donate and contribute to their school, church and community.

Following the life altering event of United 811 in February 1989, Shari began her quest for understanding her own life. She began traveling extensively sharing her experiences and teaching personal development. One of her discoveries was her ability to effectively communicate and counsel people, empowering them to greater personal growth.

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Just finished it – wow, it was amazing. You did a fantastic job. You really opened up and revealed yourself and your process. I loved hearing about how you grew up (which was totally not normal but was amazing.)  I am very glad to have known M-Vic.

I have a feeling that by publishing your story, any blocks or demons have now been fully overcome.  It truly is masterfully told and kept my total interest even though I was aware of parts of it. I wish you EVERY success.  Is there a sequel?

Janelle S

“I’ve finished your book and I am so very impressed. It so clearly lays out what we hope can happen with the aftermath of trauma: get your bearings, be open about what you need, get your friends and family around you, always try to keep going, look inward even when it’s hard, use the experience to assess what needs to change in your life (Mark – gawdalmighty! How awful for you!), do what we call “meaning-making,” and address the experience in terms of your spirituality. 

You have created a beautiful, vulnerable, helpful roadmap and I will be enthusiastically telling folks about your book. 

Sincere congratulations, my dear. What an accomplishment!

Cyndy W / PTSD Counselor