The Incredible Gift of a Flight Delay

“Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely.” Auguste Rodin


Last week my plane to DC was delayed three hours. As I waited for the computer glitch to get fixed, I noticed an elderly man. He stood by himself for two hours, shuffling from one foot to another.  Several times, he politely nodded “no” to offers of a seat.

After an hour, I approached him and struck up a conversation, asking about his blue WW2, B17 cap.

What a story he told me and what lessons I learned. He explained that he is a 95-year old vet who had flown 30 bombing missions over Germany between 1943 -1945.  After surviving the war that killed tens of thousands of his brother-in-arms, he took advantage of the GI Bill to get a Ph.D. in economics and became a professor.

As I asked a few more questions, I learned that wasn’t all. He has already written 18 books, and is currently working on another, his first murder mystery…”with lots of sex”.

“Oh by the way”, he added, “a few years later I was instrumental in the commission that saved Ellis Island.”

Intrigued, I inquired about the secrets of his success.

On long life, he says it’s staying thin. He weighs 150, the same weight he has maintained for 74 years! He weighs himself every day and works out by walking stairs and using a rowing machine daily.

On his 65-year marriage..the secret?  His wife “was always right” (sadly, she died two years ago).

What a treat on Veterans Days to meet Dr. August Bolino.

When we boarded, I introduced him to our Delta Pilot. As we landed, the pilot told the passengers about the distinguished hero on board. The whole plane erupted in applause.

After I had posted a brief version of my experience on Facebook, I learned why he was on the plane. He had been a featured speaker the night before at a special event about veterans at the University of Michigan.


 Rob’s new book, JOURNAL for Self-Aware: A Guide for Success
in Work and Life.  Link here.

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