Posted by: Brian Andrew Davis | January 1, 2012

Meeting the Author, On a Plane, Twice! (or How I Revisited My Priorities)

For Christmas, I received a $25 gift card from Amazon from Bethany’s grandma. Wanting to get the most bang for my buck, I ordered some slightly used books. Here are the books I ordered:

I ordered these books on Christmas Day and had not yet received them when we left to visit my family in Atlanta on Dec 27. Due to some crazy wind, there were all sorts of delays and ground stops going on in the aviation world. For a while it looked like we weren’t going to be able to fly out that evening at all, but thankfully things changed and we boarded a very small and only half full plane.

We were sitting very close to the front of the plane, and I happened to overhear the three passengers (one man in his thirties and a couple in their sixties) talking. The younger man was talking about how he had spent some time with Dr. Henry Cloud (author of Boundaries and Integrity). For some reason, that’s what made things connect in my mind and I realized that this may in fact be Jeremie Kubicek. Jeremie is the CEO and founder of an organization called GiANT Impact which works in leadership development  and culture change. I first learned about Jeremie and GiANT working with IMPACT 360 when the students went to take a tour of their headquarters and hear Jeremie speak about leadership. It happened to be my day off, so I didn’t go, but Bethany did. GiANT also is the lead organization in helping Chick-fil-A plan and execute their Leadercast Event. Jeremie also happens to be very close friends with my small group leader in Marietta, Brandon Hutchins. While I had never met Jeremie, I feel like I should have. The funny thing is, I had ordered his book only two days before and it was coming in the mail!

I was nervous to introduce myself, so once the plane landed I double-checked his twitter status (I was already following him):

There was no question after that. Once the seatbelt light went off, I rushed up and introduced myself. I didn’t want to bother him too badly since he had been having a pretty wretched day, but I had to shake his hand. He was kind and had actually been talking to Brandon in the airport.

So that was pretty crazy by itself…but wait, there’s more!

I went to visit my friend Phil the day our flight went back to Atlanta. Phil and I have both read the Ender’s Game series by Orson Scott Card. Phil actually gave me the last book in the series (Children on the Mind) as a gift for my birthday last year and I finally finished reading it this past month. After finishing the book, I read his comments at the end and he mentions being at a used book store in Greensboro, NC. I then remembered that, yes, he is actually from Greensboro and still lives here. In fact, I discovered he has a small publishing company only five minutes from our apartment. I was joking with Phil that maybe I would get a chance to meet Orson at some point.

We were loading up on the plane ride home and I saw a man walk by and I just knew–it was him. But no, what were the chances in that and how could it be true? The more I looked I became convinced that it was him. He was sitting behind us on the plane, so after exiting I waited for him. I kept waiting, thinking I must have missed him…he wasn’t that far behind us on the plane after all. Finally, three people exited the plane at the very end. Then I said to Bethany, “No, I don’t think it’s him.” After all, he was wearing sneakers and listening to headphones.

Bethany took Vera into the restroom to change her, and the man’s daughter and wife stepped into the restroom as well. The man sat on a bench to wait, still listening to his headphones. I sat down on a bench across the way, observing slightly. Just wondering. Would I be missing my chance to meet him if it really was him? What could it hurt to ask? But no, there’s no way it’s actually him. I mean, come on. What are the chances?

Over the intercom: “Card, party of three, please come by the baggage services desk. Card, party of three.”

I guess that’s my cue.

His wife Christine and his daughter Zina came back from the restroom and talked to him for a moment. They were starting to get up to leave, and I finally walked up and asked,

“Hi. Are you Orson?”

“Yes?”

I shook his hand. “Hi, I’m Brian Davis. I’m a really big fan of yours.”

He smiled. His wife looked very lovingly at him.

“I saw you on the plane, and I thought could that be Orson?

“I guess I look tired enough to be a writer,” he said with a laugh.

“I just finished reading Children of the Mind this month, actually,” I said.

“You’re the seventh person to ever finish reading that book,” he said, only a slight laugh this time.

“Well, I enjoyed it,” I said. “Thank you for all you do.”

“Do you live in Greensboro?” he asked me.

“I don’t. I’m here on part time business with Chick-fil-A. They move me around on temporary assignments with different stores.”

“That’s fantastic. It’s nice you get to live here for a little while,” he said.

They’re walking away at this point.

“Take care,” he says.

Bethany finally comes out of the restroom. I tell her about the conversation and we are following them as we head to the baggage claim. They are waiting at the desk and we are waiting for our bags. Eventually they move to leave, but Bethany stops him and insists that we get a picture together.

My mind is reeling from all this. What are chances that I would order these books and meet the authors on the planes? What is happening here? Is this entirely coincidental or is it providential?

For those of you who may not know, one of my side hobbies is fiction writing. I have written two novels and I have two more that I am working on just getting started. I know this for certain–I am going to keep writing in 2012. I may never become and Orson Scott Card or a Jeremie Kubicek, but I am Brian Andrew Davis and that’s all I have to be. As Bethany and I reflected on it, we realized that at the end of the day there is no cookie-cutter way to become an author or to be published. There’s also no promise of fame or grandeur. The only reason to write is because you can’t not write.

As Tim Elmore said recently in a blog post, I must do a better job this year of scheduling my priorities rather than prioritizing my schedule. Here’s to a 2012 full of:

  1. Jesus
  2. Bethany
  3. Vera
  4. Chick-fil-A
  5. Writing
  6. Staying Healthy
  7. The Outdoors
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