When Eric Gaffney was born thirty-four years ago, a nurse convinced his parents that nothing would stand in the way of his success in life anyway. The newborn was almost missing an entire limb and her parents wanted to take her words seriously, but they were full of doubts themselves. “It encouraged them and convinced them that regardless of my health, I would find a way to prove something,” Eric Gaffney says at the beginning in an interview with The Epoch Times.
He invented himself
The nurse was right, and she gradually started talking about it convinced everyone in the neighborhood. Eric has been very resourceful since childhood. When he realized he was the only one in school who couldn’t tie his own shoelaces, he started working on it. “My mom sent me to school with my shoelaces tied. I untied them during recess and tried to put them back on until I figured it out,” describes.
He then used this method all his life – which at first seemed impossible or at least difficult, he was looking for a way to achieve it in his own way. Eric’s parents certainly did not spare him either. He felt maximum support from them, but received no concessions. “My parents didn’t treat me any differently than other kids. My dad played baseball with me, my parents taught me to adapt and go beyond my limits.” he says.
You didn’t dare to be a pilot
Eric’s father was an aeronautical engineer, so the disabled man was always attracted to the environment of airplanes. The idea that one day he could be in the cockpit and pilot planes but it seemed impossible. That is why he chose medicine when choosing a university of applied sciences.
However, a few months after starting his studies, he understood that it was a mistake. He contacted a flight instructor and he told him: he completely changed his view of the world. “He put me on the plane and showed me around. He told me that it will not be easy for me to become a pilot, but it is possible,” says Eric.
And as in many cases before, he decided to find a way to pass the pilot tests and convince everyone that nothing was stopping him from driving the big machine. Today Eric is the first pilot in the cockpit of a Boeing 737.
Everyone is different from others
When the covid epidemic curtailed the airline industry, he used his spare time to write a book. In the text for children, he shared the essential message of how important it is to be empathetic, confident and more understanding towards other children. Especially for those who they are not like the others.
The main character of the book is a pilot who is missing an arm. “I tell the kids all the time that even in a classroom full of two-handed kids, we all have something that sets us apart from the rest. We are all different and it’s the differences that make us unique. With hard work and determination, we can we everything”, adds the father of two children today.
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