This storied aviator, who started flying for Northwest Airways as a steward when he was 17, learned to fly when he was 18 and became a co-pilot when he was 19. He retired 40 years ago at age 60, only because government regulations required it. Currently it is 65.
When he was a steward, he invented the burp bag. It seems he got tired of cleaning up the old airplanes and passengers. One day, unwrapping his lunch, he looked at his paper lunch bag in a different way. He bought some extras and took them along on his next flight. When passengers felt the urge, he offered them a lunch bag.He disposed of them out the window. Joyce Rudquist Norvold relates a story she heard. "It seems a passenger who had availed himself of Joe Kimm's burp bag later grabbed Joe's arm and asked for his teeth back. Sadly, it was too late."
Along the way, he gave Amelia Earhart a ride from MSP to Spokane on Northwest's first flight to the Pacific Northwest and appeared on the Arthur Godfrey show with Deke DeLong when they commemorated the 30th anniversary of the airline by flying a Ford TriMotor from Coast to Coast with Coral Yahr as stewardess and Walt Kollath, mechanic.
This year Bob Reardon will have completed 60 years of flying, beginning October 1, 1951, with Northwest Orient Airlines.
Now 87, Bob continues working for Delta, who acquired Northwest in 2008. Although we were in touch as I was writing the book, FujiyamaTrays & Oshibori Towels, we hadn't seen each other since 1960 until this past June 11, when we met again at the NWA History Centre.
This morning as I perused the Sunday edition of the Minneapolis Star and Tribune, I see Bob Reardon pictured in c.j.'s column, where she is promoting an event to honor Bob this fall.
Richard Moody, another purser and Twin Cities event planner, is planning the event at the Officer's Club at Fort Snelling and inviting anyone who has ever flown with Bob, either employees or customers. There will be a 3-D cake, music, singing and a video. "It's going to be all about him," Moody says.
Bob Reardon says, "He's going over the top, I'm afraid. . .When he goes over the top, he goes over the top."
I left a message on Moody's web page asking for details and letting him know that I will be happy to help with the event any way I can.
Soooo, what are y'all doing around the first of October? Joining me to wish Bob well, I hope.
Couldn't Resist Passing On Dale Watson's song, "Tiger Airways"
When Dale Watson was charged $500 in excess baggage fees by Tiger Airways for a box of music CD's he was taking to an appearance in Australia, he thought it was high, but paid the airline. When he got to his destination the box of CD's had gone missing. After four months of trying to get the situation resolved, Dale told a Tiger Airways representative that he was going to write a song. The guy said, "Go right ahead."
He did write the song and put it on YouTube. It went viral. Not only did Dale get his $500 back from Tiger Airways, he also got around $2,000 Euros from them for the box of CD's the airline lost.
Just goes to show what singing a song can do for a person!
Plus, it is good for business. Dale Watson has a much bigger fan base than he used to.