Be nice on the way up, you might meet them again on the way back down.
I had a feature piece recently printed in 'Aerostat', the glossy magazine that's published bi-monthly by the British Balloon and Airship Club. The article was called 'Disowning Disability', about not accepting NO as an answer and ploughing on to achieve what you want and when you want it. I was writing about my flight training versus my sight in one eye, but that's not my point here, but I ended the piece with the following last words:
"When the lift drops you off at your floor, send it back down for the next person"
Let me now pull you back in time, lets go back over 30 years. I was a teenager (yes, it's making me feel very old thank you). Dad was hunting with the Ward Union Stag Hounds, and I was out following the hunt with my late mother Ann Murphy. After the hunt, as is customary, most of the hunting field would retire to a local hostelry and enjoy a hot toddy after their afternoons jumping over the expansive Meath ditches. That's when 'Mick' (real name) who was out hunting this infamous afternoon recanted what happened earlier to him on the way to the hunt.
Mick, owner of a large Irish/U.K. Development company would have his horse brought to the hunt every week from its livery stables. Mick himself would arrive in his top of the range Rolls Royce Silver Spirit. But this day on his way to the hunt he passed by 2 school kids on their way home from school. The kids cheekily stuck out their thumbs to the Rolls Royce gesturing thumbing a lift. What did Mick do? Granted this would be persona non grata these days, puts on the indicator, pulls in, jumps out and opens the back door of the Rolls. The giddy pair of school children jump in and Mick asks "Where to gentlemen?"
The Rolls Royce Silver Spirit.
That fateful day (before the hunt) these two kids were dropped home by Rolls Royce. Mick telling us of the whispering chatter and giggles between the two school kids in the back of the Silver Spirit.
"Teacher will never believe us tomorrow".
"Wait till Mammy and Daddy see us".
They were dropped off at their front door, Mick jumping out and handling the pairs exit from the vehicle like a professional chauffeur would their boss.
Growing up, that story stayed with me. I would often think about it and Oh the excitement this would have caused for those involved. The kids story to their parents when they got home, to their class buddies and teacher the next day. The delight I could spot in Mick's mud splashed eyes as he recanted it over his hot whiskey in the pub after his days hunting. How simple it was for Mick to do what was done. But also how significant this was for the kids getting chauffeur driven after thumbing down his Rolls Royce Silver Spirit.
2009: On final approach to my friends front garden.
The kids are ready to go flying.
Let me pull you forward now to 2009. The Celtic Tiger was in full roar. I had recently just qualifed as a helicopter pilot. I wanted to 'do a Mick on it' if you will. So with the help and planning of Andrew who taught me to fly rotary, we flew a Bell 206 turbine helicopter into my friends front garden.
Treat my friends kids to a spin in it over North East Meath.
A quick advance phone call to the Daddy, Game On !!
Big Result (surprise), they had a ball.
I took plenty of photos of the fun and made sure they each had a laminated shot going into school the next day.
It gets better though, as the eldest fella promised his buddies the helicopter could land in their back garden too if they did his homework for him that night. It was brilliant, you couldn't make this stuff up.
Now comes the twist, come forward again to the last few weeks. The kids we flew, it's their Mother that's the senior oncologist nurse that gives me my chemotherapy in the Bons Secour. It's this Mammy who has been and still is an absolute saviour to me since this nightmare began.
The care, the advise, the hugs. I'm blessed !!!
So, remember, send the lift back down.
Won't you ?