She Flies Airplanes

Anyone who knows me well knows that one of my mottos is: ‘If it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing’. I certainly have ended up in more than one12- step group as a result of this gift of character/character defect/ anomaly of DNA. Friday is my drive-for-Lyft day. My son Mateo, describes my approach to Lyft driving as, it’s not unlike a 14-year-old who’s mastered a certain video game. “Yep Dad, you go out, you get points, competition, feedback, sound effects, and a never ending adventure… and unlike video games they pay you to do this”. It is often in that spirit that I head out on a Friday, coffee in hand, Sirius radio playing whatever I want, and wait for my first ride.

My first ride this Friday was to DIA. It must’ve been an omen, because he was a really interesting guy, who fits the demographic of people who used to work in San Francisco, find they can’t afford to live there, and move here, with occasional trips to the bay area. We had an engaging drive out there and about a mile from dropping him off I said “Maybe I will be so fortunate as to get a ride back”. My wish came true. I dropped him off on the east side and the app said I had Rebekah waiting for me at door 606 on the west side. This meant the five minute loop from the east side to the west side. As I pulled up to the curb she waved at me and she was wearing a flight officer’s uniform. We loaded her luggage in the back and she hopped in the car. She was one of those kind of human beings who radiate warmth and energy. I asked, “Are you coming home”? “Yep, I just flew in from Salt Lake.” Her address was just south of my new home in Arvada. We began a delightful conversation about how, in high school, her mom encouraged her to do whatever made her heart soar. “I decided to go to college and study aviation. It was there I met my husband, who became a jet pilot in the military. I set my heart on becoming a pilot for a major airline, and here I am. Sometimes I can’t believe that I get paid to do what I love to do”.

She shared a whole lot about the life of a pilot and answered a lot of questions I always wondered about. Her professional goals are that someday she’ll be able to pilot either a 777 or 787. “The idea of being able to fly one of those beautiful giant planes really excites me”. We had a lot of

fun sharing about how we are both living lives where, what we do is what we love to do.

It wasn’t long until we pulled up to her house on the west side of the metropolitan area. She got out of the car and I asked her what she was going to do for Mother’s Day. “We’re gonna hop on an airplane tomorrow and surprise my mom”. I said, “Tell her your Lyft driver believes you made exactly the right choice”. She gave me a great big smile and laughed and promised me that she would.

I spent the next few minutes thinking about my grandmothers, my mom and my daughters and granddaughters. I think it’s wonderful that we live in a world where a 16-year-old girl believes that she can become an airline pilot and she does. I am reminded again of when my girls were around 13 and 14, my grandmother Opal was talking to them and she looked at them and said, “You girls are getting to live in a world that I only dreamed of. Go in to the world and become whatever you want to be, get your education, and never, ever, ever depend on a man to make you happy”. There is a mother who lives in the south who’s going to get a surprise visit from her jet pilot daughter tomorrow on Mother’s Day.

I had 20 rides this Friday and all day long I thought of the fact that my hope for the future is deeply rooted in my belief that women are going to show us the way.

Onward and Upward, Mark

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