Friday, May 26, 2006

Someday your Prince really will come: Will you be ready? (Part 1)

In 1992, I was working public relations for the International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford England when a Jordanian Prince came into my life. Royalty from all over the world attended the air show. I volunteered to drive a bus around the airfield picking up pilots and aircrew and driving them back and forth across the airfield to eat at the aircrew dining facility. One of His Majesty King Hussein of Jordan’s sons, Prince Hussein, stopped me to ask where his flight crew could get some food. The Prince required his aircrew to return within 45 minutes. With an air show taking place, timing is essential.

Crossing an active runway during an air show isn’t the easiest task to complete. After a long journey across the active runway and many planes taking off and landing, I finally got the aircrew to the dining facility so they could eat. They departed the bus. Thinking nothing of it, I was thanked by the Jordanian crew and I drove away to my next adventure.

Later that day, I see a distraught Jordanian pilot running toward my bus waving his hands and yelling for me to stop. I immediately noticed the pilot had a torn flight suit with no patches. As I slowed the bus, the Jordanian slapped both hands up on the front of my bus in an effort to ensure I stopped, as if that would stop a bus. When I opened the doors I heard an Arabic accent requesting I speak with the Prince. “Please tell the Prince the story, please tell him what happened,” the pilot exclaimed. Peering down at his flight suit I could only imagine the pain this man and the other individuals must be experiencing, so I agreed. I knew how long it took to get across the air field and could only imagine how late they must have been.

(To be continued in part 2)

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