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Call it Fate, call it Divine Guidance (my favorite), call it serendipity, call it Quantum Mechanics...
Yesterday I arrived at Reagan National Airport for an 11 AM flight. I took the Metro, as I prefer to do in D.C. and arrived in time to check in, clear security, and have about 15-20 minutes before boarding. Except I noticed on check-in that my flight was delayed by over an hour - fortunately I had a 2 hr. 15 min layover, so no big deal.
Now, I ordinarily would not have had time to go to the USAir Club in DCA, but clearly there was time, I had *at least* an hour before boarding and wanted some coffe, a comfortable chair, clean restroom, and to not have to stand in line to inquire about schedule changes.
This was the start of three rebookings, diversion through Philly rather than Charlotte, misplaced luggage, and twice as long in planes and airports than it would have taken me to drive...
But this isn't that story.
Upon entering the Club, I noticed an elderly Vet with his guide dog entering just before me. An airline attendant got him checked in, settled in a chair and left. I decided to see if I could be of assistance - get him something to eat or drink, etc. - but in fact, another Club member beat me to it. I said as much to the gentleman, and the three of us sat and talked a bit. The Vet was a retired Navy CPO - 30 years in the Navy and another 20 in civil service. He's the National Secretary of Blinded Veterans Association. We talked at length about guide/service dogs, the public's reaction to same, soldier charity organizations, travel in and out of North Carolina, travel to the U.K and Hawaii, USAir/American Airlines merger, etc.
We discussed his charity, and the fact that he had been briefing CongressCritters that week. I gave him one of the Operation Baen Bulk challenge coins I was carrying and he showed me the coins he carries and gave me his card. I decided right there to push the idea of a Charity Auction or an OBB drive to put Kindle DX readers (i.e. the one sized nicely for LARGE PRINT - and also loaded with some Audible Books) in the hands the BVA for their soldiers. I accompanied him to the gate when it was time for the flight - it turns out we were on the *same* flight - and took him back to the Club when it was announced that our flight had a Major Mechanical problem that would delay it past any chance of making connections.
I addressed him as "Chief" and was thanked in turn.
But believe it or not, this isn't *that* story, either.
During the three-way conversation with the other Good Samaritan in the Club (henceforth referred to as 'GS'), we talked about flights in and out of small airports in N.C. I was going to GSO, the Chief was going to Asheville, and GS was going to Fayetteville. Along with commentary on the frequency and size of flights to and from these airports and speculation on how that would change with the Merger, I happened to mention that my eldest son's opinion of Fayetteville airport when he was at UNC Pembroke happened to match GS's comments.
...and so it happened...
GS questioned when my son was at Pembroke - since GS taught there. I replied that son graduated a year ago. GS asked what major, I replied "Psychology." GS mentions that he saw a lot of Psych students in his classes, he was in Criminal Justice dept. I mentioned my son got a CJ minor, and gave his name.
GS knew my son, had him in a criminology class, and remembered him very well. In fact, one of his good friends also taught in that curriculum and had my son in class and *also* remembered him. It seems my son was always coming up after class and asking questions... *good* questions. The kind that show great thought behind them. It seems he was somewhat memorable. [I later learned that this was the professor for whom my son wrote a term paper that disagreed with almost every premise established in class, but reasoned and researched so well that my son received the highest grade in the class (and made Dean's List that semester).] I was told that both GS and his friend felt that my son had some potential in the CJ field.
My son is at a decision point right now, and grad school is a distinct possibility (one I favor) and this feedback has really tipped the scales in favor of going back to fill in double B.A. with double-major in CJ, use that to get an internship in Law Enforcement, then go for grad school and potentially into FBI or federal LE.
So, for the rest of the day, despite three rebookings, misplaced luggage, and 10 hours transit time, I stayed in good spirits, never complained, took it all in stride. No matter what happened, I was going home, and would get there eventually. Most important, I knew that it wasn't *really* an inconvenience, because it was all made worth it by the *incidental* occurrences of the day.
It might have been fate, by I favor Guidance. I was where I needed to be.
Getting home was purely a matter of time.