The pilots and crew were securing the craft, and other folks had pulled in out of curiosity! A lady pulled up next to us and asked if we knew what was going on... we didn't! I saw a man going up to the helicopters, and then there were two folks standing in the parking lot and they were waved over. I took that as a sign that they were welcoming visitors and hopped out with the children, mom following behind trying to delete pics from her memory card in a hurry! (She had filled it up at the aquarium!
I walked right up and said hello and asked what was happening. Apparently, the Army has a division of helicopter pilots called the "Gladiators" and that is the name of the Gwinnett County minor league hockey team! So they are partnering together! These folks were the absolute nicest folks! The female pilot asked if we'd like to get a picture of the kids with the helicopter:
Then the kids looked inside. I had just said "Don't touch, just look" when another of the crew said, "Climb on up kids!" They were so excited:
The next thing I know, the crew is clearing stuff out of the front seat and asking if we would like to get a picture of the children in the cockpit of the helicopter! It was a dream come true for the kids. I told Reece, "Don't touch anything!" and another of the crew members said, "It's OK, she can't hurt anything. As long as she doesn't touch the yellow lever!" "Shhh!" I said. ;)
They had to get going, so we thanked them all profusely and headed back to the car! Folks were waiting for us to explain what was going on, and as I turned to explain, I noticed that the other two folks that had been in the parking lot (the ones who were waved over and I assumed that meant the public was welcome) were helping bring things into the Civic Center. These were not bystanders... they were working for the Gladiators team!
OH MY GOSH! We weren't supposed to go up to the helicopters!!!! I am truly so embarrassed! What must those folks have been thinking as the kids and I were approaching? "Who is this nutty lady and her kids, and who's the camera lady?!?!" Oh well, nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?? :)
The kids won't soon forget this!