A blue taxi light souvenir turned into a complete mystery. When I was a teenager in 1972 I was eighteen years old and living in Texas. I had just finished flight school and got my private pilot’s license. I was dating a girl who was a couple of years younger than me. She was still in high school
Her father transferred to Denver Colorado during the summer. My girlfriend had to move. I drove up to visit her a couple of months later. While visiting I made the decision to move to Denver.
I started looking for a job. Since I was already a pilot, I went to Stapleton International Airport and got a job refueling small corporate jets at a fixed base operation, known as an FBO.
Being eighteen I was ready to move out on my own and start a new life. In Texas, I rented a trailer, packed all my stuff, and moved. I got a small one-bedroom apartment in Denver
Moving out on my own
I started a new life with all of the benefits and consequences of making your own decisions. For the first time in my life, I had an electric bill, a phone bill.
I had to buy my own groceries, and keep the car running. Just like any other adult, I quickly learned that when you made a mistake, you pay the price. If you decide to stay up partying all night, and you have to go to work the next morning, you paid the price.
I realized now, looking back, that the best way to become an adult is to just jump in and make mistakes. You will quickly learn. In terms of maturity, I probably aged ten years in only two months.
I started working at the airport and had a regular schedule Monday thru Friday with the weekends off. One of my work chores was to keep the fuel truck filled up, so I had to drive a ten thousand gallon truck, called a KW-Dart. The truck was a very big and low to the ground truck, designed to be able to fit under the winds of airliners.
A few weeks later I quit seeing my girlfriend. We didn’t have a fight or anything, but our lives were completely different. I considered myself an adult, and she was still a teenager. We just lost touch.
How I got my blue taxi light.
One week it rained very hard in Denver and when I went to work, many parts of Stapleton Airport were under a few inches of water. Many of the taxiways were underwater.
My workday started at the fuel farm, a place away from all airplanes where you refuel the trucks. I had just loaded ten thousand galloons in the truck and started to drive back to the main section of the airport.
I accidentally slid off the road, which was underwater, and hit one of the blue taxi lights
. A blue taxi light marks the paths for airplanes to go from the gates to the runways.
While getting out of the truck and I could see the blue taxi light was still working even though I just drove over it with more than one hundred thousand pounds or fuel and truck. My truck pushed the blue taxi light down about a foot in the mud and the muck, but it was still on. Amazingly the light didn’t break.
I tried to pull the blue taxi light back up to the surface of the road, and when I did that, the blue glass cover came off in my hands. The light was a deep cobalt blue color, and it was very thick. I decided to keep it as a souvenir.
After a few months later I moved back to Texas, and of course, took my taxi light with me. Since it seemed indestructible, I didn’t bother wrapping it up for protection, I just threw in a box with some other stuff.
Five year later, still have the blue taxi light
I had moved several times. Each time I moved I would take my blue taxi light with me. I usually just put it up on a shelf and friends would come over and ask me about it, and I would tell them the story about running over the light.
When I turned twenty-three I opened a karate studio. I was always interested in martial arts and worked to achieve a blackbelt. My martial arts school was located in Bedford Texas.
How I lost my blue taxi light
I placed my blue taxi light on a bookshelf that was against the wall in my office. One day while working at the studio, I stepped out of my office for a just few minutes when I heard a shot.
Someone was shooting at me. I hit the floor and stayed down for a few minutes. Why someone would want to kill me? I didn’t have any enemies that I could think of.
Maybe it was just a stray bullet, maybe someone was shooting from the road because of a road rage incident. Whatever the reason was, I stayed down until I thought it was safe to stand up again.
My studio had very large windows that were about eight feet tall. I started looking at all the windows to figure out which way the bullet came in. I was surprised to find that there were no windows broken.
Maybe it was my office window. I went back to my office and looked, but the window wasn’t broken. This is very odd, because I know I heard glass breaking.
Then I noticed my blue taxi light was gone.
For absolutely no reason at all, my blue taxi light just exploded. Shards of blue glass everywhere, on the floor, embedded into the bookcase and even some stuck to the ceiling. My blue taxi had just exploded.
This is the same light that didn’t break when I drove over it with a fuel truck, the same light that survived moving four or five times during the past five years. I made a mental note of the day and time that this happened. It was Saturday, December 11, 1976, about 10:30 in the morning.
Thirty years later I still remembered the blue taxi light and the unsolved mystery. I started thinking about all the people I knew while growing up. I started looking them up on the internet just to make a connection, and see how their life ended up.
My girlfriend in Denver came to mind and tried to look her up online. I found her, now married with three kids and living in Billings Montana.
“How did you end up living in Montana”, I asked. She said she fell in love with a physical therapist who was helping her recover after the accident. “What accident?”
She said “I had a terrible auto accident while going to work, and actually died during surgery, but they were able to bring me back. I met my husband while recovering from the accident. He was tansferred to Billings Montana.
“When did this happen,” I asked: “Saturday morning, December 11, 1976.”
I never told her about the blue taxi light.