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Life Takes On New Meaning In The Cockpit!

“Who’d you fly with today?”

I’m tired. After getting up at 3:30am, I hustled to my commuter flight from PHX to LAX. Navigating through the TSA lines always irritates me. Long lines at Starbucks meant I’d have to “settle” for airplane coffee on my 11 hour trip to Tokyo. Life ain’t fair and can be a grind, right? …

God throws perspective our way on occasion. Today, I’d flew with “that quiet California surfer dude”, Victor… Still remembering the days many irritants, I struck up a conversation as we “hit cruise”. Coasting out over the Pacific, he joked about how he still surfs “one legged”… Wait.. what? Seeing I looked confused, he tapped on his left leg. Clearly, his leg didn’t “fill the pant”. Shocked, I asked, do you wear a prosthetic? “3 years now”, he said. Pulling up his pant leg, he revealed his titanium leg. A motorcycle accident crushed his helmet, broke his nose, shattered his kneecap and pelvis, and shredded his leg. As he laid there on the highway pavement, he judged, from all the blood and incredible pain, his time was short… Had a paramedic not arrived with a tourniquet in 5 minutes (not 6) he would have “bled out” there on the road. He thought through how he’d leave his wife financially. Would she be ok? He had planned well.

His life insurance was in place. He reluctantly was ready to accept his fate. I’ve had a good life. This man was a world class surfer, competitive swimmer, avid endurance hiker, and is an airline captain. He beat remarkable odds by a thread! He’s undergone multiple surgeries…. has been featured in several national articles on courage and determination… and still hits the gym 5 days a week. Victor’s story is utterly inspiring! What an honor to have flown with one tough character today! So let me ask you…

Victor was prepared. Are you?

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