Mar 06 2007
I love flying in small jets.
I really feel like I’m in a plane when I’m on one of those: the buzzing sound of the engines, the steep, sharp climb into the sky, and the cockpit within view.
The teenage pilots.
Okay. The pilots aren’t in their teens but they sure seem close.
I was flying out of Salt Lake City on a Canadair Regional Jet 200. I’m in the aisle seat and my row mate is busy getting himself organized, unclipping his various electronic accessories (Blackberry and cell phone) and clipping them onto the seat pocket in front of him.
He’s a big guy a little older than I am and dressed for business. He has a warm, open face that looks like it’s used to smiling. I make some comment about all his electronic stuff and he laughs and says that he has to stay connected.
I always wonder about people who have to stay connected so I ask him if he likes his job.
He looks at me and replies, “Yes, I love my job.”
Wow. Someone who loves his job! Ms. Q is interested.
“So what do you do?” I ask.
“I work for Wendy’s. I’ve worked for them for 20 years.”
I learn that Mr. Aitch travels around checking in on the franchises. I ask him if he ever met Dave Thomas, the founder of Wendy’s who passed away in 2002. I wondered if he was a nice a man as the commercials depicted. Mr. Aitch said that he had met Dave and that well, Dave was a businessman.
I understood what Mr. Aitch meant: in order to be successful, you have to make difficult decisions and some of them aren’t always considered nice.
I asked again, “You like your job. That says a lot. That indicates that Wendy’s must be a good company to work for. I’ve heard good things about Dave Thomas and his commercials seem very sincere. Would you say that outside of the business, that Dave was a nice man, a good man?”
Mr. Aitch replied that yes, Dave was a good man. I liked hearing that. We didn’t speak that much about Wendy’s although Mr. Aitch did ask me if I ate at there. I had to say that I didn’t and generally avoided fast food. Mr. Aitch leaned forward and his eyes lit up. “You really should try the grilled chicken – it’s good.”
He then patted his comfortable belly and said that he ate Wendy’s all the time but he liked the spicy chicken sandwich. I like spicy foods so I asked if that was grilled as well. He laughed, patted his belly again and replied, “No, it’s deep fried.”
We ended up chatting the entire flight and time passed very quickly. He surprised me when he asked me what I did. There are not that many people who will ask you about yourself if you are busy asking about them.
Mr. Aitch would look at me and listen. He was very thoughtful. He told me how his daughter was going to be married in a few months and how her fiance asked him for her hand. I could see all the emotions trace across his face as he recalled that moment.
When I ask him about his wife, his eyes lit up again. I find out that she’s his second wife.
Mr. Aitch explains further, “I was married to my first wife for 13 years. I am married to my second wife 14-years-forever. I say 14-years-forever because I’ll be with her forever.”
Mr. Aitch looked like a happy man.
I told Mr. Aitch that I wrote a blog and he said that he had had Google set up for anything that mentions Wendy’s.
Mr. Aitch: if you manage to find this post, I hope you write that book you’ve been thinking of.