I was 25 or 26 years old before I got to sit in the left seat of a jet and start the engines. Elias is half that age and twice as excited. He came to work with me one day and, as luck would have it, I needed to run the engines on a Cessna Citation XLS+ after I changed oil and fuel filters on them.
I asked my pal Gary if he would mind guiding Elias through the engine run process and he enthusiastically said that he’d be happy to help out. Elias really likes Gary, and I think it’s good for him to spend time doing things like this with other people who will positively influence him.
Elias pushed all the buttons, flipped all the switches, and advanced the throttle levers under Gary’s watchful eye. The impact on him was immense and meaningful. He actually accomplished something that day. I told him that there probably wasn’t another 13-year old in the country that got to run jet engines that day, and he did a great job at it. He beamed and I could see the pride in his eyes.
Once I checked the oil and fuel filter housings for leaks and determined that they were all dry, I gave Gary and Elias the “Check is good, kill the engines” sign. Once the engines were down, I jumped up to the cockpit and asked Elias, “So, how was it?” He turned and said, “It was fuh-reeking amazing.” That’s exactly what I was hoping to hear.
This is how I want to spend my time. This is what makes me happy. @MikeRowe is on to something with his @mikeroweworks Foundation. Elias certainly has the option to go to college, but he doesn’t HAVE to. I didn’t go to college after I graduated high school, and it would have been a COLOSSAL waste of time if I had. I wasn’t built for college and my suspicion is that he won’t be, either…which is okay. It’s great for some people, but it isn’t for everyone.
I’m proud of the callouses on my hands and the life I’ve made for my family. My greatest source of pride is that my kids have the option to do either.
Originally posted on my Instagram feed on November 16, 2021.