So I met a guy on a plane

One of the most interesting people I have ever met was a guy I really didn’t want to sit next to on an American Airlines flight to London, England.  No, it wasn’t because Harvinder Singh was wearing a turban or because he had a thick Indian accent.  It wasn’t because he was a mean looking man who made me uncomfortable.  It was because … he had a kid with him.

See, I was all by myself on the back row of the center of the plan, and I thought I had it made.  Then comes Harvinder and his family.  Lovely … I thought … a two year old. I think that most of us are really afraid of kids on planes. Typically, I LOVE children, and this one was as cute as she could be.  She had the sweetest smile, and she thought I was super funny. Yet, she made me more nervous than anyone else on the flight.

What I didn’t know then was that I was about to get some of the best advice I had ever heard.  Harvinder and I started chatting, and of course, we started talking about our jobs. All the while, his cute little girl sat touching my freckles and trying to figure me out.  Good luck with that!

I told him I was a professor, and he told me he worked in technology.

“Nice,” I told him. “I’m actually trying to develop an iPad application right now so I can grade student essay without having all the papers everywhere.”

I had been working on Grade and Go for months, and basically, I had made it snow on the screen.  Anyone who has purchased “iPad Applications for Dummies” knows what a proud hour it is when that happens — and then, disappointment follows when the realization comes that Objective-C is part of God’s wrath against those of us who are not computer science majors.

When I told Harvinder that I was just starting to break into Objective-C and that I felt like it was an uphill battle, he said something powerful to me.  “Why don’t you do what you do best and let me do what I do best?”

So I did.  Harvinder used his staffing business in San Antonio to find someone to build my app, and it now exists.  I am grading papers on that thing like you wouldn’t believe.  I love it.

Had I not met Harvinder on that plane, I may not be doing what I do best.  I teach. I also build Websites, work with small businesses and develop applications for those small businesses.

His daughter was awesome on the flight, by the way.  She slept for much of the trip, and like I said, she thought I was funny.  My teenage kids think I’m lame, so this was a confidence boost.

Harvinder owns a user experience staffing company, Bestica, based in San Antonio. He’s a very successful man.  I’m sure glad I didn’t run away from him and his family on that plane, not just because of his business know-how, but also because he has become my friend.  I have since visited him in San Antonio to discuss our iPad application and the future of my own business.  He’s one of the most respected mentors I have, and he pointed me in the direction of someone I never thought could give me advice on my own small business — my dad.

My dad?  He owns a transmission shop in Amite, Louisiana.  He fixes cars, and he would never find the power button on my Mac if I gave him and hour and a magnifying glass. Hates computers! Doesn’t know how to text! Guess what he knows how to do though.  He knows how to make a successful, trusted business. He knows how to make something from nothing, and now he’s teaching me how.

I am so glad I’m my father’s daughter, and I’m so glad Harvinder decided to take the empty seats next to me on the plane.  I’m lucky in birth and in the company I keep.  My advice — sit next to kids on planes.

The World is your Wide Web.