My Drone, A Story of Life and Death

March 6th – I sit now beneath the balcony where my Yuneec Breeze lies after an unfortunate crash that most likely ended it’s all too brief life. Roughly 48 hours ago I planned one last flying mission for my drone here in Sevilla before departing to Cordoba, where I wanted to capture some great aerial shots of the famous Mezquita and Cathedral there. The missions we accomplished the night before the crash of the Catedral de Sevilla (uploaded later that night at the hostel) and earlier on Saturday were fantastic. From my viewing screen I had captured excellent footage of Plaza de Espana as the clouds had just broken and the sun was shining brightly onto its impressive tiles and towers. Our second mission of the day, well, it did not go, at all, as planned.

Here is how it unfolded. Upon take off, as the pilot, I had no control. Luckily, the Breeze did rise to its liftoff height of roughly 7′ and that is when all went to hell. The Breeze banked to the right for a split second and then immediately banked to the left at what seemed like Mach 1 (my preset speed was no more than 12 feet per second). It did a semi-circle and approximately 50 meters later it met its demise, slamming into an apartment building wall. Ridding itself of one of its folding legs, it’s undercarriage and the GPS protective cover, it fell violently to a canopy protecting patrons sipping their lattes and eating pastries. As for what remains on the balcony, I wait for the landlord to arrive so I may pick up its remains and properly grant it a worthy burial (in the trivial sense).

My Breeze treated me well, mostly. Only crashing in Ireland (but that may have had more to do with the pints I consumed leading up to that accident) before the horrible mishap on Saturday that in all likelihood has led to its demise.

Update

March 29th – My Drone is now en route to Atlanta where it will find its final resting place when I return to the states in the coming months.

Purposefully, I never completed and posted my March 6th post (above) for I needed time to properly communicate this story of both a material and human life, as well as human death. So now back to the day the drone would once again be in my possession.

As I sat outside the cafe on March 6th and a mere twenty feet beneath the resting place of my drone, the lady who owned the apartment showed up with her daughter (the one I began having most communications with as she spoke much better English) to let me in. Her daughter was in her early 30’s I imagine and the mother in her late 60’s perhaps. They were quick to apologize to me for their lack of responsiveness and for any inconvenience to me for my having to come back to Seville from Cordoba. I immediately stopped her and said, “Please. You shouldn’t apologize. I was the one that flew my drone into your building and crashed it onto your apartment balcony. Trust me, I am extremely appreciative you are able to come by and help me. Muchas gracias!”

The mother, who I had originally communicated with, offered me an empty smile weighed down by sadness in her eyes. I could read in her body language that she was going through something hard at the moment but obviously unsure of what it was that was depressing her. Quickly discussing something in Spanish, the daughter mentioned that they were in a hurry, as was I. My bus to Malaga was departing at 15:00 (and it was now 14:20) and I still had to make a 20 minute walk AND purchase my ticket. Looking up at the balcony, they wanted to make sure it was their apartment unit where my drone had landed. There unit comprises three huge balcony doors and my drone was on the far left (far right facing the exterior) balcony. As we proceeded to the front door of the building I did not expect to hear the news that was about to be revealed to me. She began telling me that the reason they had been unresponsive was due to the fact that her father (Reyes’ husband) had passed away 10 days ago. Making our way up the stairs to the unit she also disclosed that neither her nor her mother had visited the apartment since his passing. I was so shaken by this sad news that any frustration I had felt, from having to return to Sevilla or to their unresponsiveness to my texts and calls, melted away at that very moment inside the stairway corridor. For these two sweet women to even correspond with me during such a difficult time was extremely gracious of them.

Adding a bit of humor to the otherwise melancholy situation, the daughter asked with a smile, “I hope you are not afraid of animals.” My initial thought was, “Please don’t tell me that her father had a dog, cat or some other pet inside that hadn’t been attended to in 10+ days.” I began thinking, “Should I hold my nose and pull an Elaine Benes (‘the fleas/fumigation Seinfeld episode – “The Doodle”) and have to run in, open the balcony door, gather my drone along with any broken pieces and exit before being hit with the stench of a dead animal?” But, my response to her was, “no, not at all.” Her beautiful smile gave way to her saying, “Good, because my father was an avid hunter and there are trophy animals all over the apartment.” That was an understatement. She wasn’t teasing. Good Lord! It was an impressive collection. For all the animal activists that might read this I will not offer insight into what animals there were that adorned the interior walls, but there were some I don’t think I had seen on anyone’s walls previously. With this information now hanging out there, she told me that the apartment wasn’t lived in but rather it was her father’s office. This was one incredibly nice apartment. To also serve as her father’s office overlooking the beautiful Metropol Parasol, had to make for a pleasurable working day.

As the balcony door opened, I felt a kind, gentle and loving spirit ride the waves of sunlight that beamed into the apartment for the first time in the 10 days that it sat undisturbed. In my opinion, the unit was wanting to relieve itself of the stale energy of the past that rested inside and needed to find its way to the heavens. These loving rays kissing her face, let her know that everything was as it should be in the spirit world with her father. I think it was good for her to enter the apartment that day and be the first one her father’s spirit met.

“Take your time,” she said. I responded, “I have burdened you enough so I will be quick.” I gathered the mostly still intact body, placed it into its carry case and thanked her for allowing me inside to retrieve it. We exited the apartment and out to the plaza where her mom was waiting for us. I thanked them in both English and Spanish. Thankful that even through the troubles of the world and the sadness in each of our lives that occurs, there are still amazingly great people who display a warm and gracious heart, willing to help others.

Now, what I haven’t yet told you is the good, no, best news of this entire story. There is a happy ending which its genesis lies in a new beginning for her family to share joy in together. Upon initially arriving to meet me, she was pushing a stroller and told me that the reason they had not called or texted me earlier in the day was because they had been at the hospital for her newborn baby daughter’s check up. As fate would have it, just days prior to her father’s passing away from cancer (of which she told me he met the illness bravely & courageously), he was granted a final gift. To witness his granddaughter enter the world in the same hospital where he happened to be spending his last days on earth. As her family was about to lose a life so valuable and precious to them, the circle of life would also grant them the greatest gift it provides. Life!

Her daughter, his granddaughter, was a beautiful little girl. Smiling at me as I peered at her resting softly in her stroller, I said to the new mother and to the widow who just lost her husband, “As sad and difficult as it must be to lose a father and a husband, as one life ends another beautiful life is born and it is embodied in your precious new daughter and lives on with your family!” They each smiled, which I know was very hard for them both, especially the widow.  “Very true. Thank you so much. I hope you can retrieve the pictures from your drone and let me know if you are able to” she said with a smile. The widow simply smiled at me, her eyes filled with understood sadness.

We said goodbye and I hurried to the bus station. But I had forgotten something! I had to memorialize this moment. So I ran about 100 meters to catch them and I asked, “I forgot to get a selfie with you. Do you mind?” They had no problem posing for a picture.

Below is the correspondence that occurred over the next couple of days between us. As you can see, she thanks me for being considerate. But it is I, who am extremely grateful to her and her mother for their consideration to extend help to me. The world is still full of love and this is just one simple demonstration of that.

(March 8, 2017) Me: Hola! Muchas gracias for meeting me on Monday to get my drone. I’m so sorry for your loss but very happy for the beautiful baby girl you welcomed into the world.

I was able to salvage the video and pics from the drone! Thank God! I now am going to try to get it fixed in order to fly again. Again thank you so much! You were very gracious and considerate! God bless you!

(March 11, 2017) Reply to me: Hola! Thank you so so much for texting and being that considerate! It’s amazing (and weird these days) to find people such grateful. It’s a relief to hear that you got the videos and pics from the drone! Thank you for letting us know because we are very glad about that!!Again, we are sorry for not having made it easier to contact us and get your drone back sooner! My dad loss has been the worst experience in my life, but there is room in this world for beautiful things like saving the drone of somebody you don’t know and receiving a blessing back from his polite owner! So thank you for that and God bless you too!
(March 12, 2017) Me: De nada! Thank you for your kind words. You and your mom were the blessing for sure. I’m sorry you are grieving, I can only imagine how hard it must be to lose your father. Mine had a heart transplant 12 years ago and God afforded my family a new lease on his life. I’m eternally grateful for that blessing. We never know what each day holds so i cherish every moment that he is here.
Have a great Sunday and again Muchas gracias por ser tan amable y generoso! Dios te bendiga!

 The Sevilla drone pictures salvaged from the wreckage, thankfully.

5 thoughts on “My Drone, A Story of Life and Death

    • Thank you Sue! I try my best to write naturally, letting my heart type the words and my mind create the humor. People all come into our lives for a reason. And there are, to me, no coincidences. I have no idea why my life was meant for theirs as my drone crashed and landed on their balcony. But for me it was to add to the teachings that material things, while we may enjoy them and spent money or time investing in them, are fleeting and don’t add eternal value. What does add eternal value is how or what you learn/take away from an event/experience and the person/people you meet that impacts you and them.

      As much hate and intolerance as their seems to be in our world today, simple gestures like what happened in this story tells me that there is still so much good left in the world. And that in the end love will conquer all.

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  • Hi Derek,
    Oh my goodness! I only very recently stumbled across your blog and this post has me weeping on the Metro in Barcelona! What a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing it
    Stephanie
    Instagram: cypruspear86

    Like

    • Stephanie, thank you so much for your comment. That is very sweet. Was that you crying on the metro? Hahaha…I was just in Barcelona Wednesday to Friday and was on the Metro often. Wish I could have stayed longer but I was able to visit for a week in late March before traveling to Morocco.

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  • Ha! :0) No, that wasn’t me. Barcelona was the final stop on my visit to Spain. The very same day you arrived in town, I left to return to the US. Barcelona is an phenomenal city, as I imagine you’re well aware. I didn’t want to leave. Look forward to returning and seeing even more of Catalunya. Godspeed YOUR continuing travels! I’m blessed to be able to travel internationally a couple of times a year, but you’re doing something I’ve only dreamed of so far.

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