August 12, 2015
At KING AEROSPACE, taking care of the customer goes beyond just making sure we are fulfilling their project-related requests. I like to check in and see what else I can do to take care of them, even if it’s personal in nature—whether it’s hosting a picnic or sponsoring little-league or flying in needed supplies to a deployment site. This past week I had one of the most unique requests that I can ever recall, and one I’ll never forget.
I was meeting one of our managers who oversees our military aviation support special missions and asked him, as I always do, routine questions about the people on deployment. Are they getting along okay? How are the facilities? How hard is it to get parts and supplies to them? Are they safe? These questions are especially important when there is a new deployment site. After receiving favorable responses, I noticed a smirk on the manager’s face and I made him tell me what he was obviously not volunteering to tell me.
Sheepishly, he confessed that what we really needed to provide to the people on deployment in Africa were some golf balls! I couldn’t believe that of all the things our people might need, golf balls were at the top of the list. Apparently, he explained, when the people on deployment get some much-needed time off, they head to a nearby course to play golf. The problem is that “the monkeys jump onto the course and run off with their balls.” I got a good chuckle out of that and told him to “send them some golf balls.”
This reminded me of a story of my own. Many years ago, I was in an African country waiting to meet with the President about the interior refurbishment of a Boeing. Back then, I used to play tennis so I decided to break out my racket and tennis balls to kill some time while I waited for this important meeting. I was astonished to discover that my serve went from mediocre to supersonic! I thought that I must have had a major breakthrough in my game, only to learn that my Dallas, Texas tennis balls took on a new attitude at the African altitude. It wasn’t me or my stunning athleticism after all. I recall asking one of the locals on the tennis court if they would lend me some balls.
Regardless of what our people need, we already try to do whatever it takes to demonstrate our commitment to them. We appreciate their dedication at home and abroad, pray for their safety, and appreciate their service regardless of if they wear our uniform, a military uniform, or even another defense contractor’s uniform. We truly care about all of them and are more than happy to do whatever we can to make their lives a little easier—even if that means sending golf balls to Africa.
Written by KING AEROSPACE Founder, Jerry Allan King-Echevarria.