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A starry-eyed kid, a man of legend and the chance encounter that inspired a career.

First Officer Thomas W. was onboard a flight when he noticed its captain, Cal Flanigan, who broke barriers as a black pilot in 1976 and made Delta history for being the longest-serving pilot at the time of his retirement in 2013.

Thomas, looking for the next step in his aviation career, approached Cal for advice on becoming a Delta pilot.

"Don't give up, continue to work hard — I want to see you here at Delta," Cal told Thomas.

With tenacity and determination, Thomas would later be presented with an offer for his dream job, by none other than the man who encouraged his spirit.

Watch the story, and Cal and Thomas's recent reunion, unfold.

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