View Full Version : THIS is why I love this job!

01-19-2007, 08:42 PM
I meet a lot of great people at my job, despite the stupid ones. One stuck out yesterday that I just had to post about.

World War 2 veterans are the nicest people you will ever meet. I see about one a month come in with their children, grandchildren, or wife. Elderly veterans just carry themselves differently, you know? Almost with a dignity and class that nobody today can even hope to achieve.

An older gentleman comes in and he's wearing a hawaiian style shirt, with ships' wheels and anchors on it. He's also wearing a USN cap with a ship name and registration number, along with a few pins in it. I love dealing with people like this, and always take time to talk with them. You could tell he served in World War 2.

For those of you that don't have an interest in military history, bear with me. For those that do, you'll appreciate this. The hat designated the USS San Jacinto (CVL-30), an aircraft carrier in WW2. It was commissioned in 1944 and sent immediately into the Philipines to help in the effort against the Japanese. I realized this and got into a friendly banter with him and he seemed amazed and genuinly affectd that someone in his early twenties would know this information.

I asked him how long he served on the ship and he said he was there for a total of eight months. I asked him what his job was, and he said he was a flight mechanic for an air squadron. I asked what squadron, and he said he mantained the Avenger aircraft of VT-51.

My jaw dropped. Here's why. VT-51 was George Bush Sr.'s air squadron in World War 2, and yes, they were based off the San Jacinto. He was shot down with a flight wing during an operation against Chi-Chi Jima (a smaller island in the are of Iwo Jima) and was the only one who was rescued. The details of the rest of the members who were shot down are detailed in the book Flyboys(It's an amazing book about the pilots in that operation, and details alot of other things about the mindset of Americans and Japanese in general during that time.) He saw the suprise in my eye and was smiling back. I asked him if he served with Bush, and he had. The two of them were good friends, as were the other members in the squadron. They were practically family, and the pilots relied on those mechanics to make sure those planes would keep them alive and in perfect condition to get them back home.

I just sold a recliner to George Bush Senior's flight mechanic from over sixty years ago. :eek:

After the sale was done, I shook his hand and thanked him for coming in. I held his hand a bit longer, gave it another squeeze, and looked him right in the eyes and said in the most sincere voice I could "And thank you for everything else, as well."

His face lit up like a toddler on Christmas morning when I said that, and he actually teared up and said "Thank you. You have no idea how much that means to me."

He left then, and I could tell he was just as grateful to meet me as I was to meet him. Not many people my age appreciate what happened so long ago, and so few are left alive to remember.

Interesting side note: There is currently a new San Jacinto in service. It's an AEGIS cruiser, and was commissioned by none other than George Bush Sr. in 1988.

You guys asked me why I stick with this job when I deal with people like Ghetto Superstar? THAT'S the reason. :)

01-22-2007, 02:11 AM
Aww, that was so awesome. I agree about the niceness of WWII veterans. My grandfather is one of them, and he's one of the nicest men I know. It seems like so many people my age these days are so quick to jump on the "government and army is evil" bandwagon, and don't have any respect for these old veterans, like that old man and my grandfather.

I remember when a bunch of WWII veterans came to my high school, each one of them got a standing ovation from the whole school.

Anyway, didn't mean to threadjack there for a minute... that was supremely awesome. :D