CALL FROM AN OLD FRIEND
An old aviation friend called me not too long ago. He is retired now but 35 years ago was the Director of Aviation for a major oil-related company. When I was at Associated Air Center this man was the definition of “aviation cool” and reeked of professionalism. He flew corporate jets of all sizes, including airline-sized VIP aircraft operated by his company. He was always polite and kind to me, the rookie in the industry. After I left Associated, the very first day I was going out to make cold calls to find some sorely needed income for KING AEROSPACE and to feed my young family, I decided to have an early breakfast at the “Original Pancake House” near Love Field before I made my first sales call. There he was, finishing his breakfast. I told him that it was fate that I would run into him on the very first day I began a new chapter in my life. He assured me that I would do fine and told me that he believed in me, or words to that affect. I remember like it was yesterday that his words put tears in my eyes to think that someone so successful and well respected in the aviation industry would say such kind things. The rest is history. I was blessed to have gotten KING AEROSPACE “off the ground” and have been able to avoid any “hard landings”, all by the grace of God.
My friend left the major corporation and flew Gulfstream Business Jets for various individuals and companies and would periodically contact me. I always felt so very honored that we stayed in contact. Over a year ago he called me to tell me that he was showing early signs of Alzheimer’s disease and could not do some of the things that he had been able to enjoy and easily do well for his entire life. I sent him one of my books, “The Plasticity of the Brain”, to possibly share some positive information. In some ways, I thought his phone call was to softly tell me goodbye. But the good news is that he called me again several months later. I was so very glad to hear his voice! He wanted to tell me how glad he was to learn from our company newsletter that my son, Jarid, was the new President of the KA companies. He then went on to tell me that he recently lost his sight after having been given a shot in his eye. He explained that after several months after the shot, he did get his sight back in one eye but has to use some sort of prism to see. He said that he really cannot read but is thankful and for his limited sight. He told me that within a short period of time, he lost six buddies who were all younger than him. I shared with my dear friend and mentor how much I had appreciated him over the years and what a blessing he had been to me. At the end of the call I told him to “keep in touch” and know that I loved him and his wife. My friend snapped back, “Love you too, Jerry.” Thinking about this man and his kindness over the past 35 years once again brought tears to my eyes. But there is more to this story.
Often I asked myself, “When do I stop writing the newsletter or my blogs?” I often wonder if anyone cares whether I write these crazy things. After all, I am not the smartest or best role model. Then my friend called me again, several months after our last conversation. He told me that he loved reading my newsletter. He told me, “It took me three hours to just read your column (In My Opinion).” He went on to explain that due to his loss of vision he can only read three words and then he has to look away, refocus, read three more words and then repeat the process all over again. Words cannot fully explain how humble and blessed I am that this man would put so much effort to read something that an aviation dummy like me wrote. I guess as long as my friends keep reading, I will keep writing. Hopefully the good Lord will guide my fingers to say the right things. I pray that I don’t screw things up!
May we all find others and let them know that we believe in them and they too will do fine!
Written by KING AEROSPACE Founder, Jerry Allan King-Echevarria.