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When we began spreading the news of our trip and our new ambiguous job as writers and film makers, people weren’t exactly thrilled. In fact, we received three very distinct reactions:
20-somethings and younger: “That sounds awesome! I want to go.”
Middle-aged/parents: “How?! How much will this cost? How will you travel? How will you…?”
Retirees: “Oh, that is so good for you two to have adventures while you’re young, before you have a family. Let me give you ______ advice about RVs…”
With such mixed reactions, I didn’t know how to feel. I was excited, terrified, and had no idea what would happen next.
Most days, I still feel a mixture of excited, terrified, and have no idea what will happen next.
When you work on a project as abstract as ours, you find yourself wondering:
Is what I’m doing meaningful? Does it even matter?
With every word I write, these questions ring in the back of my head.
And the answer is yes. I don’t always believe it, but I know the answer is yes.
Yes, because of Carlos.
I met Carlos back in Prescott Valley, Arizona at Buffalo Wild Wings. At the ripe age of 18, he’s a high school grad currently in pilot school. Like me, he wants to travel and see the world.
As a part of his schooling, Carlos must have certain number of hours of “flight time,” time where he pilots the plane. The sessions aren’t inexpensive. Carlos estimated on average at least $300 an hour for every hour in the air. This includes use of a plane, gas, and the private instructor to accompany you.
At BWW, Carlos makes $10.00 an hour. That’s nearly three dollars above minimum wage, but needless to say, like most college kids, he’s accruing some debt.
From one day with him, I instantly liked Carlos. Sometimes when you meet someone, you just know that they’re one of the good ones.
So that’s what we told our sponsor company, Snagajob.
I don’t really have a relationship with Snagajob, other than typing out texts and emails as dictated by Heath while he drives, so I can’t take any credit for what they did next.
Last week, a few of the guys from Snagajob flew from Virginia all the way to Arizona to meet Carlos. They walked into the weekly staff meeting at BWW and pulled him aside. They handed him a backpack and walked him outside. A pilot stood in the parking lot, holding up a pilots jacket for Carlos, with an invitation to take to the skies.
Carlos and the team flew above the Grand Canyon and around mountains that day, which I imagine is one of the most breathtaking sights in the world. To conclude their surprise visit, Snagajob gave Carlos a scholarship to contribute to his schooling.
That’s an amazing story.
It blows my mind that a company, let alone a person, would do something so heartfelt for another person. In that day, they validated the dreams of an average guy and helped him take one step closer.
I played a microscopic role in life changing story. If I had listened to critics or let fear overwhelm me, I wouldn’t know Carlos. Maybe no one would know Carlos’ story.
But now you know Carlos’ story and you get to taste a little bit of what I do on this fun, irrational, expensive adventure. I get to meet average people who dream big dreams. And in some tiny, flattering way, I get to change lives.