You don’t always have to play by the rules

My father often used boldness (be confident), candor (you’ll be surprised what people will agree to when you ask plainly), and creativity to find ways to get some amazing deals and create fun adventures for my sister and me.

He would go into car dealerships who were offering something like a free picnic set if you would test drive a car, and explain “Look, I’m not going to buy this car.  We can go on a test drive if you’d like, but it’s only going to prevent you from selling to someone else who comes here.”

Long before the tragedy of 9/11, when I was probably 8 or 9 years old, my father took me to the small, local airport in Manassas because I was a big fan of airplanes.  Normal fathers would have hung out, watching the planes take off and land with their child, and have a great afternoon.  Not my dad — he walked right up to the air traffic control tower with me, knocked on the door, and asked if we could come up and watch the planes and the controllers while they directed traffic.  The man who answered the door was surprised (I’m guessing normal people didn’t randomly knock on the door and ask), but he welcomed us up — it was an awesome experience as a child.  My father later brought me back to the airport and persuaded a local pilot to let me sit in his plane while he gave me a tour of every control and dial.

These were powerful experiences as a child, realizing that there’s a whole world of adventures that are available to you if you ask.  Adventures that aren’t listed on the official brochure.

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