My mother lived alone in a downtown building which was zoned as a commercial and residential edifice. Across the street from her building was the fire station. On a regular basis she would drop off treats for the firemen and stay and chat for awhile.
Over time, they became very friendly and the firemen devised a plan to keep an eye on her. “Mrs. Woods, would it be all right if one of us would call just to make sure you are fine and don’t need anything? We’d only do this, if we hadn’t seen you for a few days.”
“How very kind of you, but you are so busy and that would not be fair to you. How about a flashlight which I could use to shine on the dispatchers window? The firemen talked among themselves and agreed this should work.
As soon as my mother told me about her plan, I immediately went out and bought a very powerful flashlight. This flashlight would light up the whole wall of the dispatcher’s area. From time to time, my mother would see a few of them sitting outside for a break and shine the light and wave okay.
One evening my mother flashed the light towards the sky in a cycle of 5 seconds on-off and waved it across the window ledge. Some firefighters had taken their coffee outside to enjoy the summer weather and noticed this. They requested the dispatcher call my mother as this may be a distress signal. My mothers reply was “I was signaling to an aircraft above the area."
He said “Mrs. Woods, that’s okay but remember to get us the flashlight must shine onto our windows.”
The following day my mother told me what happened. I asked “Mom, did you tell them that I was the one piloting the plane? You remember that I was allowed by the controllers to fly low over the city and angle down towards your apartment and flash the landing light. “No, sorry I didn’t think of it at the time.”
The next time I visited my mother, we went over to the fire station and I told them why she was flashing the flashlight upwards as I piloted a sightseeing tour over this area and said I would activate the landing light on and off to let her know it was my flight. They acknowledged the scenario had a better explanation now and one firefighter called me quietly to the side.
“Mr. Woods, we really enjoy your Mom’s visits to our station and think she is a real darling.” I mentioned how my mother is a social butterfly always thinking of others before herself and the staff from this station gave her an incentive to go out and buy some goodies for their efforts in keeping our city safe.
My mother motioned to me that she was starving for a coffee and off we went.