“None of you can ever be proud enough of being the child of such a Father who has not his equal in this world – so great, so good, so faultless.” There has been a moment in each of your lives when you have stopped to wonder the matchless importance of you dad in your lives. Their influence infinite, their presence inimitable! They have been a pillar of strength for you and their unconditional love has never demanded anything from you other than your love and respect. Celebrate the spirit of Father’s Day with this adorable story and cherish the presence of your father in your life.
Two years before Castro took over Cuba, Faustino was twelve and returning on a flight to Havana from Miami where his dad took him on a shopping trip. Over the straights of Florida one of the airliner’s four engines caught fire. After efforts to extinguish the flames remotely failed a steward announced the pilot decided to ditch the plane.
Recently Faustino told me, “I’ll never forget the panic in his face. Some passengers began to scream as he told us to buckle our seatbelts, put on life vests, remove our shoes, and brace for the impact.”
Despite the steward’s attempt to stop him Faustino’s dad disobeyed. He unbuckled his seatbelt and knelt in front of the boy where his body could act as a modern-day airbag. He told the child, “Once the plane stops, get out. Don’t wait for me.”
Fortunately when the airplane nearly reached sea level the flames went out. The plane was diverted to a Cuban military airbase instead of Havana’s municipal airport. But at least the touchdown was with wheels on dry land.
The scariest episode of Faustino’s life taught him that he was his dad’s number one priority. Consequently, the boy resolved that he would never intentionally do anything to disgrace the family name. Thereafter Faustino took all of his dad’s advice seriously because he knew – beyond a shadow of doubt – that his father always had Faustino’s best interests at heart.
The boy’s family escaped Castro’s Cuba for Florida in the early 1960s. Like most refugees they had no money. Within weeks of arriving Faustino’s dad held down three jobs. But nothing ranked higher in the dad’s priority than the boy’s education.
Earlier this year Faustino told me, “Even though I was only sixteen dad announced that I was to start electrical engineering college courses. I never questioned the decision. When I brought the University of Florida diploma home after four years, dad hung it on the wall of his home office where it remained until he died 35 years later.”
As an adult Faustino left Florida and became prosperous in Silicon Valley where he worked with some of the era’s legendary figures. Recently I asked how he could be comfortable taking risk on volatile start-up businesses.
Faustino said, “Although dad never explicitly told me that I could recover from failures, I felt instinctively that I could because of his example. Upon arriving in Florida dad possessed almost nothing, yet he made a good life for our family. Additionally, the unconditional family love left me feeling that even if I did fail, there was a parachute.”
During most of his career Faustino lived 3,000 miles distant from his dad. Nonetheless, they talked on the phone almost every day. Typically his dad asked, “Are you okay? Do you need any money?”