Last week I boarded a flight from Dallas, and a guy sat down next to me. He had a Taco Bell wrapper in his hand and looked pretty stressed and annoyed. I, on the other hand, was in a great mood. I was just getting back from some fantastic meetings with customers. “Man, this is going to be a tough 2 ½ hour flight,” was my thought. I decided to spread my cheer and kill him with kindness.
I looked at him and he looked back at me. I said something and he kind of nodded his head. Little by little, we just started talking. He told me that he has a 12-year-old daughter. I have a daughter a few years older. We began trading stories, going back and forth… and he starts loosening up. He says, “I want to show you something,” and he reaches down in his backpack and pulls out this little leather bound book. He opens the book, and says, “I want you to read this.”
I was kind of freaked out; I had no idea what he was going to do or what this book was about. I started looking through it, and it was full of these little sayings and other things. He tells me the story about when his wife was pregnant; he wanted to make sure he would connect with his child when he was away from home traveling. He’s a Sales Exec Director at Pepsi Foods and has been there a long time. He wanted to do something special because he knew he was going to miss a lot of days with her.
When he first started the book, he would do two things wherever he went. He would write a note to his daughter, no matter where he was, and he would clip the boarding pass to the page so she knew where he was, even when she was a baby. The guy had been doing this for 12 years and had 12 books of trips with messages and boarding passes. Things like, “Hey – you did great today in math,” or whatever came to his mind on the page. He had notes from some famous people and also just regular folks. He looked at me at the end of the flight and says, “I want you to write something in the book.”
I was really overwhelmed that he wanted me to do it. I thought it was such a neat thing that he wanted to share his life with his daughter when they couldn’t be together.
I promised him that I was going to tell every single person I know about his books. I was determined to blog about it… I want the world to know what a great dad he is by trying to share his life with his daughter even when she isn’t there. I promised him at the end of the flight that one day, he is going to be sitting on a plane, and the guy next to him is going to whip out his book and show it to him – and he is going to know that crazy guy Tony told someone who told someone who told someone.
So here I am, sharing it.