The Revolution: Mercedes Visits Plane Crash Memorial & Me List


Mercedes Johnson Motivational Speaker

To face her past, plane crash survivor Mercedes Johnson traveled with Dr. Tiffanie Davis Henry to face the mountain where that plane crashed and changed her life forever. They visited Colombia, where 160 people died, including both of her parents.

First, they met the doctor who saved Mercedes’s life, Dr. Quintero. “Seeing him again, it was like seeing a family member all over again,” she said. There were smiles all around, and her doctor called her survival a miracle that gives him hope.


The Revolution: Mercedes Plane Crash Site

Mercedes Johnson returned to the mountain in Colombia where a plane crash killed both her parents.

Mercedes: Plane Crash Memorial

Dr. Tiffanie and Mercedes visited a memorial for the victims who didn’t survive the crash. Mercedes said seeing the clouds and mountainous terrain brought back the intense memories of her harrowing tragedy.

“When you look at the land, …it’s beautiful, and it’s almost impossible to think that something so tragic could’ve happened here,” Dr. Tiffanie said.


Mercedes said despite the chaos and death around her, she couldn’t help but notice the postcard beauty of the Colombian landscape while she waited to be rescued.

Mercedes Johnson: Lost Parents in Plane Crash

In a clearing, a cross had been erected as a memorial to the victims. Mercedes planted a tree to symbolize new life and serve as a living memorial.

To remember her parents’ spirit, Dr. Tiffanie gave Mercedes a plaque featuring a photograph of her parents. “It’s been my mission in life to live big, to live good, and to live with love, because I know that’s how they would’ve wanted to live,” Mercedes said.

Mercedes was very emotional about returning to the spot that forever changed her story. She said she felt a load was taken off her shoulders and she considers herself a fighter and a survivor.

The Revolution Me List: Mercedes

Back in the studio, Dr. Tiffanie said Mercedes was relieved to face the crash site. Dr. Tiffanie said it was an emotional journey for everyone involved.

Though Mercedes returned to Colombia several times over the years, this was the first time she went back to the site of the crash. Now Mercedes can check this momentous goal off her Me List.

The Revolution: Survivor Mercedes Returns To Plane Crash Site

Mercedes and Dr. Tiffanie Davis Henry went to her parents’ graves to let go of the guilt and responsibility she has been carrying around since the 1995 accident.

Mercedes touched her parents’ gravestones to tangibly symbolize that Mercedes can live her own life and let them have their own legacies back.

Harley Pasternak said his family has a custom when someone dies. It’s sad, but they limit their mourning to just a week. “After that, we celebrate their life,” he said. He said he always smiles and thinks of good memories when he visits his relatives’ graves.

How To Find Your Purpose

Mercedes told Dr. Tiffanie that “making peace with the past was the first step to finding her life’s purpose.” Dr. Tiffanie shared a few thoughts to consider when you are trying to find your own purpose.

Purpose Is Not Obvious

Dr. Tiffanie said finding your life’s purpose isn’t an easy process. You may have to search and struggle to figure it out, and take an honest look at ourselves.

Work With What You Have

Dr. Tiffanie said Mercedes was dealt a challenging deck of cards, but said that “your purpose is found in how you play them.”

Help Others

Your purpose might be to help and inspire others, as Mercedes has done.


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