I was flying home and arrived at the airport a little too early. As it was midday, I went into the airport canteen, which is also open to visitors. I placed my small case by a free table and went to fetch my beloved cucumber salad. When I came back, an old man was seated at my table and wanted to start his lunch.
We greeted each other, wished each other an enjoyable meal and began eating. One word led to another and soon we were deep in an interesting conversation. I asked him, if I were a powerful fairy and he could have a wish, what would be his wish. He didn’t think long about it and said he would like to be 20 again and healthy so that he could experience everything once again. I wanted to know whether he thought he had missed something. He said, no. His life had been simply great. He had had enormous luck to do a job which fascinated him and was completely fulfilling. He hadn’t liked holidays and he had always enjoyed returning to his tower. I became curious and wanted to know what his profession had been. He explained that for more than 30 years, he had controlled the flight movements at the airport. He also told me about cases, where he had been the last person to talk with a pilot, before he had crashed and been killed. There had been two such events in his career and his story telling was as plastic as if it had happened yesterday and not 50 years ago.
I wanted to know how old he was. He was 93 years old and had been retired for 30 years. He could still be found almost every day at the airport.
If happiness in life is the result of a satisfying working life, which I believe, then I wonder more and more whether we will really succeed in giving all those, who will lose their jobs through digitisation, another satisfying job. Perhaps there will be a generation of losers and perhaps we will succeed as humanity in having a good plan for everyone. We shall see.
As I left, he told me that he could be found almost every day about 12.30 here in the canteen. He’ll keep a place for me. I look forward to that.
Image source: Dieter Poschmann / pixelio.de