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Monday, August 30, 2010

Amazing times when you have a weekend full of 70percenters - Eli's Birthday Trip

So Eli, my son, turned 8 this past week, so I decided to take him to Dallas so he could have his first passenger jet rides.  He has been wanting to fly for a long time, and I had been looking for a place where we could have fun (Ranger's game and Six Flags water park) and do the hotel and rental car thing.

Well if you have been reading this blog long, you know that I have made a commitment to speak to everyone I can, in search of those 70percenters who respond positively, and who are looking for or are willing to have a pleasant conversation.  In most cases, this is not a deep friendship possibility, more likely as passing of ships where each persons life is a little better from the interchange.

So we get up Saturday morning to fly to Dallas.  We get to the airport and head up to security.  The TSA agents were in a real good mood, and they were very nice to Eli - good start!  We went up stairs and bought a drink - nice guy behind the counter.  I'm feeling good about the morning.

We fly to Atlanta, with Eli just ooohing and aahhhing at the flight.  We get there and I take him to get a Pepperoni pizza for breakfast.  Don't get to that every day.  We then go to Delta's sky club.  We get some coffee and hot chocolate.  People are very courteous and Eli is good at responding to people which helps.  We get on the tram to ride to another concourse and there are several soldiers on there heading home.  Eli had several of them speak to him and wish him a great birthday.  Soldiers can be some of the most positive 70 percenters, as talking to us can make it feel like home for them if we are kind and ask good questions.  Elie did and he was rewarded with some cool conversations.

As we are walking down the jetway to the plane to Dallas, I notice the pilot just ahead of us.  I tell Eli, "there's the pilot".  Eli says, I want to be a pilot when I grow up.  At this, the pilot turns around and says so you want to be a pilot.  Eli says yes.  I tell the pilot this is his first plane trip and his birthday.  He asks if Eli can come with him.  He takes him to the cockpit where he lets him sit in the pilot seat and work the controls.  Such a cool 10 minutes.  He didn't have to do that but he was an obvious 70 percenter who responded to our friendly conversation.  The flight attendants did, too, giving Eli a whole can of Coke - "this is what I was wishing for"  He said.

We arrive in Dallas, and ride to the rental car site.  My name is not on the board so I have to go inside.  I joke, "my name is not on the board because you wanted to know Eli's favorite car was a mustang.  She laughed, and said, well you have a Camry.  I say, that is a nice car too, and is fine.  She says, so you don't want the Mustang?  She gave us the car without an upgrade fee.  I thought he was going to bust out when we arrived at the parking space and there was a brand new silver Mustang.  He could not believe it.  We get inside and it has SAT radio, so he gets 2 days of Radio Disney.  (whoopee!  Not)

We get to the hotel and the desk clerk is a young guy, who hears it is Eli's birthday trip and really makes a big deal out of it.  He helps us with directions to the Baseball game, checks us in early, and allows us to go to the pool before hours on Sunday.  Just a fund guy who likes to talk about the Rangers.

The game was awesome - real nice people around us who laughed as Eli cheered.  The room was awesome - king size bed where we could practice football moves!  He can fall down now -a trick I am an expert at.

We get up at 5 am.  Yuck.  Breakfast lady is still putting stuff out at 6:30, but stops to make Eli a waffle.  Then we head to the water park, where the crowd is slim - the lifeguards are in good moods, and joke with me and Eli about the difficulty of the rides.  Wow, he got such good attention. One lifeguard even rode a ride with us that needed three people.  Another time, a father and daughter asked to ride with us so a four person ride would be more fun.

Most of the time, I initiated the conversations.  In all cases, I was looking for chat, not a privilege.  However, the sincerity that is at the base of the 70% solution paid off for Eli.

The day ended so cool.  We got to the Dallas airport and the sky club personnel bragged about his cowboy hat so much, while moving us to an earlier flight.  On the plane, we sat next to a father of three girls.  He was in radio, and was a good Christian man who appreciates children.  This meant we had lots of cool stuff to talk about.  He was very patient with Eli, even when small bladder syndrome set in.  At the end of the flight, he pulled out a new CD and gave it to Eli for his birthday.  This man did not have to do any of this - he had his movie to watch.  But he would take off the headphones and chat up Eli frequently enough for Eli to really get into it.

We arrived home at 11:15 - exhausted and full of stories.  Eli couldn't wait to tell them and to show his mom the CD -even before he showed her his Ranger's hat.

Thanks, 70 percenters for a great weekend.


  1. Hey, Chris! I need traveling with you on my next birthday! I'm kidding.
    It's indeed amazing.
    Wow! I can imagine the boy's eyes when he was sitted in that cockpit. The grandma of a friend mine, call that moments of "God Winks".
    This experience sound for me as a perfect reference of the transformer power of the 70%.

    It was really a special day. Very nice locations, nice programs, but the most important - several very nice people in you way. Yeah! It's a blessing to take the "route 70".

    I wish for all a happy "Eli's day"!

    Ailton Tertuliano - Brazil

  2. Your an amazing guy on an amazing journey and Eli, as well as your wife and kids are truly blessed to be part of the trip(s). Thanks for sharing your weekend with us and the world you passed by during those 2 days. We are all better off for it!!!! Love ya bro