The Pilot was Stunned! #164

Ken Bonn was a Deerfoot camper dad and Delta Airline pilot when we first met. Two successive falls he gave a week to help build the Lane cabin, and he has used and taught his excellent log building skills on 50+ work weekends.

Delta pilots are given a number of buddy passes to enable family and friends to fly at reduced rates on stand-by.  Through watching available seating on line, it is possible to find flights that are not full, go to the gate, wait until every regular ticket holder is seated, and then, in a priority order, be assigned a remaining seat.  The Priority order: Pilots, then their immediate family and then everyone else on a first come, first served basis.

Sally Jo and I were in Portland, Oregon with our buddy pass stand-by tickets, provided by Ken.  When we checked in with the gate ticket agent, we were told the plane looked to be fully booked, and should there be available standby seating, a pilot and his family had the priority.  Even though it was very unlikely we would get a seat, we waited.

We were standing near the counter when the agent announced that the plane was full and there was no stand-by seating.  As we turned to leave, the Delta pilot said to the ticket agent behind the counter that he knew he could find three seats on the plane for himself and his family.

The agent calmly responded that yes, there was a seat on the plane he could legally use, but there were no legal seats for his wife and daughter.

The pilot responded that he knew the seats were there – and they needed to get on this plane to Newark.  They had reservations on a flight to Paris, where they were going to vacation.  The agent responded in the same, quiet way.

The pilot was big, the agent was little.  He leaned over the counter and looked down at the agent.  He was nasty angry!!  She kept her cool, but I could see the tears in her eyes.

Seeing the plane being pulled back from the gate did not stop the pilot.  His intensity increased to the desperation level. The ticket agent’s tears were running down her cheeks.

Finally I could stand it no longer and walked up to this very large, very angry man and said “Sir, the plane has left the gate.  What would satisfy you now?”

He looked at me and inexplicably asked:  “What are you, a Presbyterian Minister?”  I responded with “Yes I am.”  He responded with “I am a Presbyterian too, and very active in my church!!!!!”

He stood in stunned silence for a couple moments, then turned and walked away.  As I turned to walk away, I realized I was emotionally and physically trembling.  As I regrouped, the agent from the next counter thanked me for what I had done.

When we walk In Partnership With God, we are responsible to defend the weak.  Sometimes this is a fear inducing responsibility, but it does not remove the responsibility.  What a privilege we have, being God’s representatives. We know God will not leave us or forsake us.  This does not mean that we cannot be harmed.

“The LORD has already told you what is good, and this is what He requires: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”   Micah 6:8

Big Pastry Sign…Small Miracle Needed #163

The baker assured me that his friend Joe, who mounted the first sign on the building, would replace it with the new one.

Between Tuesday afternoon and Friday morning GNH Lumber gave the wood and paint, Devon Balta designed the sign, I cut the wood to shape, primed and painted it, the baker approved the 4′ X14′ sign design, Devon painted sign and it was delivered in two parts.  I was assured the sign would be mounted quickly.

On Monday the sign was not up, nor on Tuesday, or Wednesday, or Thursday.  On Friday morning I asked if there was a problem.  The baker told me Joe did not answer his telephone messages. I asked if I should get the sign mounted.   “That would be good.”  Obviously the baker was embarrassed.

John Benson was the only man in town that I knew would do it right. John owns and operates Greenville Saw, the equipment dealer in town that sells and repairs everything from battery powered weed whackers to commercial mowers, chain saws, generators and large tractors.  It is a busy place.  On one side of the large show room, which is totally filled with power equipment, is the service counter with four or five people ready to help.  Attached is a large service garage with many mechanics that are in and out for parts.  John is most often behind the counter as he seems to know every part of every machine, what it does, and where the replacement part is located in the $750,000 parts inventory.  He is incredible!!  I have known for John well for 30 years – since he began selling chain saws out of his garage.

I called…John was out checking on the installation of a large self-start generator.  A few minutes later the shop called. John was back.   As I drove the three miles to the shop I realized that I should to talk with John without others listening.  I asked the Lord to provide the few minutes alone with John.   Whereas I thought John would say yes, I did not want to put him on the spot.

When I arrived there was only one car in the large parking area. Inside was one man, buying parts from John.  No one else was in the room – not even behind the counter.  When the man left I explained to John what needed to be done and why.  Just then his son walked in:  “A.J, you are about to become a sign hanger!   He went on to tell A.J. to take the tilt bed truck, for it would give him a good surface to work from 4’ above ground level.  He was also to take a good man, two ladders and some tools…

On Saturday, Greenville Saw closed at 3:00 PM and by 3:15 A.J. was there.  The bottom of the sign was about 8′ above   the truck platform and the two men, working on ladders, were having a hard time getting the existing ¾ plywood sign loose from the front of the building. (I was the ladder holder!)  Joe, who had mounted the first sign, drove up and it quickly became obvious he had no interest in helping.  He did explain the two different fasteners he had used to mount the first sign – before he went inside to get a pastry.  Joe came back and sat down to watch.

It took 2 ½ hours to change signs and caulk the top of the sign so water could not get behind it.  When I thought the work was done, A.J. asked for a bucket of soapy water so he could wash off the fingerprints!  Truly a professional job!   The baker gave the men all the pastries they wanted!!!

Hopefully there will continue to be times when I know what needs to happen, but do not have the resources to do it.  At such times I must not “chicken out” – for it is at such times that I experience God’s provision, and I am reminded that I am In Partnership with God.

When you believe you know what God would have you do, be it big or small, “Be strong and courageous, Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.  Joshua 1:9

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