By Jean Boonstra
Can heroes have bad days? Aliyah’s hero isn’t having a good day, but perhaps she can change that.
“Papa!” Shelby pointed to a big poster with her grandfather’s picture on it. “It says, ‘Meet Astronaut Glenn McAuliffe for a free book signing!’”
Shelby’s grandfather frowned. “I can’t read that,” he grumbled. “The words are too small.”
“Now, Papa,” Shelby said gently. “Sit down here at the table the bookstore owner set up for you.”
“Fine,” he muttered, sitting at the wooden table.
“Now,” Shelby said, “people are coming to meet a famous astronaut today. Not this cranky person you’re being.” She straightened her grandfather’s bowtie. “Please try and smile,” she added.
“Who wants to hear an old man talk,” her grandfather said, but his cough interrupted him mid-sentence.
Shelby reached for a bottle of water and patted him on the back.
“I can’t believe it!!” Aliyah shouted running up to the table. “Astronaut Glenn McAuliffe! It’s really you!”
“In person,” he answered, unmoved by Aliyah’s excitement.
Aliyah set a well-read book on the table. “Will you sign my copy of your book?” she asked.
“Who’s book is this?” McAuliffe asked grumpily.
“Mine,” Aliyah explained. “My name is spelled A.L.I…”
“You didn’t read this book,” he interrupted matter-of-factly.
“I did,” Aliyah insisted. “I read it three times.”
“Prove it,” Shelby’s grandfather said in the crankiest voice she’d ever heard!
Aliyah’s eyes opened wide. She didn’t know how to answer.
“It’s alright,” Shelby whispered in her ear. “Leave your book with me and I’ll try and get him to sign it.”
Aliyah started to hand the book to Shelby, then changed her mind. “Plan for success!” she said triumphantly. It was her favorite chapter.
“You could’ve learned that anywhere,” McAuliffe argued.
“Chapter Six is all about planning for success. Your story of studying hard to be a pilot and a scientist, well,” Aliyah hesitated, her cheeks flushing with embarrassment. “You inspired me!”
“How did you plan for success?” McAuliffe asked quizzically.
“I studied hard for my biology test last term. I got a 99%.” Aliyah’s cheeks flushed again, but this time with pride in all her hard work.
“I see, I…Cough. Cough.
Shelby patted her grandfather’s back as he coughed.
“Come on, Papa,” she said, taking his arm. “Let’s get some fresh air.”
“Is he alright?” Aliyah asked.
“I’m sorry,” Shelby whispered. “I have to take my grandfather home.”
Aliyah watched them walk outside. Disappointed, she wandered to the back of the bookstore. She’d been looking forward to meeting her hero all week, and it didn’t go as she’d imagined.
“Aliyah?” she heard a voice say.
“Mr. McAuliffe!” she said surprised to see him standing next to her. “Are you alright?” she asked, concerned.
“Oh, I’ll survive,” he answered with a tired wave of his hand. “Hand me your book.”
Aliyah handed her book to her hero.
“A. L. I. Y. A. H,” she said spelling her name for him.
“I believe that you read it,” McAuliffe said handing it back. “Keep planning for success and next time you can get 100% on your test.”
“Come on, Papa,” Shelby said spotting her grandfather. “We’d better get you home.”
“Thank you for coming out today,” McAuliffe whispered. Taking Shelby’s arm he gave Aliyah a big, heartfelt smile. His bad day disappeared.
Bad days happen to all of us, but God often sends just the right people to encourage us! Listen to this story called, ‘The Astronaut’ in the 2020 Mini Adventures.