Albert Wheeler, a World War II veteran, was telling war stories Friday in the cockpit of a B-29 Superfortress at Wiley Post Airport in Bethany, Okla., when a 27-year-old Drew Walker decided to do something nice for the man, The Oklahoman reported.
"Al was up in the cockpit and I heard him mention he had equipment like that in the plane he flew, and it kind of sparked my interest," Walker said. "It just seemed like the right thing to do. Just hearing him talk, I think you would understand."
Walker pulled Wheeler's daughter, Susie Eubanks, to the side and told her he was going to buy the veteran a $595 ticket for a ride in a restored version of the bomber plane.
The rides were offered at the Oklahoma City airport by the Commemorative Air Force, a non-profit Texas group that preserves and flies historic aircraft across the country. The group raises money to restore its aircraft by charging people for short flights.
"Dad practically started crying when we told him," Eubanks said. "He said, 'I've dreamed about someday flying in that plane and I never thought I would.' It meant a lot for him to feel that way, and it meant a lot to me, too."
On Saturday, Wheeler showed up at the airport up for his ride with his wife of 48 years, Mercedes.
"I was just so overcome; I really hesitated about accepting it," Wheeler said. "Finally my greed overcame my other emotions and I accepted."
"He has a lovely wife, and deservedly so because he seems to be a really nice kid," Wheeler said of Walker. "I'm just amazed there are people running around like that with empathy for us old ducks."
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UPI Almanac for Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014