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

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