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A Missed Flight That Changed a Life

On May 25, 1979, Denis Waitley was desperately trying to catch a flight from Chicago to Los Angeles. When he arrived at his gate, they had just closed the jetway. Denis begged them to let him on that airplane. No luck! Out of breath and out of patience, he made his way to the ticket counter to register a complaint and rebook his travel. While he was waiting in line, an announcement came over the airport intercom. AA Flight 191 to Los Angeles had crashed upon takeoff.

The engine on the left wing of that DC-10 sepa­rated from the airplane right after takeoff. The unbalanced aerodynam­ics caused the plane to roll, a roll from which it could not recover. All 271 people on board died in the crash. It was the deadliest aviation accident in United States history.

That near-death experience had a life-altering impact on Denis Waitley. Had he been on time, it would have been the last day of his life. Needless to say, he never registered his complaint. In fact, he never re­turned his ticket for Flight 191. He took his paper ticket and put it in a visible place in his office. On difficult days, the days when he felt like throwing in the towel, all it took was one glance at that ticket to regain perspective. That ticket was a constant reminder that every day is a gift.

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