‘The Five People You Meet In the Heaven’ is a story about the life and afterlife of Eddie. He is a
manger at Ruby Pier amusement park and is 83 years old. His father also did the same job even
though he detested it. He suffers from a knee injury sustained in WWII. But more painful for him
the people he has lost through his life. But he is adored by his co-workers and the children can
that come to the park.
The final day
Eddie is careful about the safety of children on the rides at the park but one day something
unexpected happens. A ride called “Freddy's Free Fall.” is left dangling in mid air as there is a
mechanical fault. The cart attached to the ride is about to fall off. Moving in to save a young girl
from the impact of the falling cart, Eddie comes under it. His He life comes to its painful end.
An escape to paradise
Suddenly, Eddie finds himself in Heaven. He is at Ruby Pier; he is 8 years old and pain free. He
meets the Blue Man, who used to perform at the pier during his childhood. The Blue man
accuses Eddie of his death. The Blue Man's car ram into an accident trying to evade the
onrushing 8 year old Eddie. Eddie wants to know if the little girl he tried to save lived or not but
he gets no response. The Blue Man tells Eddie that has to meet four more people before he can
linger into afterlife.
The war and the captain
Now, Eddie is himself at the scene of WWII and meets the commanding officer of his World
platoon. Captain, as Eddie calls him is a captive of the enemy soldiers with four others people.
Eddie is able to plan the Americans' escape.
The Captain commands Eddie to burn what is left of the empty village, their place of
imprisonment. In the middle of the fire, Eddie rushes into a burning tent as he fears a child might
be trapped inside. But he is hit by a bullet in his knee. It is the captain who is responsible for the
shot at Eddie as sacrifice to save his own life. The Captain later dies by a landmine explosion
while taking Eddie to safety. The Captain sacrifices his own life in return for Eddie’s sacrifice
and is at peace with it. He pleads Eddie to let go of his anger.
The stranger and the father
Now, Eddie sees his father. He is outside of a diner full of people from spheres of life. Eddie's
father cannot hear his son as he is inside the diner. Eddie remembers the abuse he suffered
father's hands who was an alcoholic.
The third person Eddie meets is Ruby – wife of Emile, the founder of Ruby Pier and the
inspiration behind the name. Ruby talks about the circumstances surrounding the death of
Eddie’s father. Eddie always thought it was pneumonia after he jumped into the freezing ocean.
However, Eddie's father was trying to save his friend, Mickey Shea. Mickey made a suicidal dive
into the ocean to end his life. Eddie's father had seen him assaulting Eddie's mother. Eddie's
father, in spite of all his flaws, was a loyal friend. Ruby was with Emile in the same hospital
room Eddie’s father died.
After his death, Eddie and wife, Marguerite, stayed with Eddie's mother to take care of her.
Eddie was given his father's job at Ruby Pier. Eddie always resented his father because it led to
him working at Ruby Pier from which he could not escape. Eddie’s anger brought him more
agony than his father's abuse. Ruby counsels him to let go of his anger and forgive the person he
had hated for most of his life.
The love of his life
Next, Eddie goes through multiple wedding receptions from various diverse cultures. Finally, he
stops at a familiar one. Eddie sees his wife Marguerite, the beautiful bridesmaid. They had met
each other in their teens on Ruby Pier
After Eddie returned from the war they went through some tough trials. First they had to move in
with Eddie’s mother after the death of his father. Then found out that they could not bear
children. They decided to adopt, but Eddie gambled away the money that they had saved for the
adoption on his 39th birthday. They had a fight over it. His wife drove to the racetrack where
Eddie used to gamble but met with a terrible car accident. Marguerite did recover but her
medical bills consumed all their savings.
They eventually were able to mend the difference but Marguerite died when she was 56 due to a
brain tumor. Marguerite was the fourth person Eddie met. She taught him about true love that
was alive even after she died.
The child who saves Eddie
The fifth and final person was a young girl named Tala . She was the girl that Eddie saved from
fire in the Philippines (WWII). Unfortunately, she died that day. Eddie devastated to know about
the young girl's death, but Tala console him.
She asks Eddie a favor, to wash her back with a smooth stone. Her mother used to do it and
Eddie obliges. She is like the child he always wanted with Marguerite.
Tala asks Eddie about the reasons behind sadness in his life.
Eddie replies that he never found true meaning in his life. Tala tells him that Eddie’s purpose in
life was to keep all the children safe on the rides at Ruby Pier. That was his redemption.
She goes to reveal that Eddie was able to save the little girl from the falling ride. The hands he
felt while doing so were Tala's. She was the one who brought him to Heaven. Tala's burnt scars
disappear as Eddie washes her back with the smooth stone.
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At last, Eddie is able to let go of all his regrets. These regrets have been the cause for his
sorrowful and plaintive existence in the World. He is finally rejoins his beloved Marguerite on a
Ferris wheel in the sky, to spend an eternal life in Heaven.
The theme of the story is that the simple, unspectacular things make all the difference I our and
other people’s lives. It highlights how each person affects the other in this World replete with
amazing stories. All the stories are connected even though we all have our own stories to write.
So it is important to rise above hate for self and others and confront our fears and regrets with
forgiveness and spirit of betterment.
It is simple but profoundly engaging in its ability to showcase how regrets can hold back a
person’s true happiness.