Gateway: Living

Pair of seniors celebrate their 95th and 96th birthdays among the clouds

Gwyneth Nightingale, left, and Ginny Smith buckle up for a birthday helicopter ride at the Tacoma Narrows Airport.
Gwyneth Nightingale, left, and Ginny Smith buckle up for a birthday helicopter ride at the Tacoma Narrows Airport. Courtesy

It was a birthday to remember for two longtime Gig Harbor residents, as they were able to take to the skies thanks to a friendly stranger.

Gwyneth Nightingale, 95, and Ginny Smith, 96, were celebrating their birthdays at the Hub at the Tacoma Narrows Airport as part of a Bon Appetit club through the American Association of University Women, an organization of which they are both members.

As the group sang Happy Birthday to them, someone in the restaurant took notice. A helicopter pilot who had just landed inquired about the birthday women and offered them a present: A quick ride around the bridge and the harbor.

“It was really a treat,” said Smith’s daughter, Judy, who got to go along for the ride a few weeks ago.

The two women have always been adventurous, Judy said, traveling often when they were young. So when the opportunity to take to the skies on a whim came up, the two women were up for the opportunity.

“At 95 and 96, they were up for an adventure,” Judy said.

Both women are former teachers, and in a small-world-type of connection, Nightingale was Judy’s French teacher at Wilson High School in Tacoma.

The flight was quick and included a trip around the Tacoma Narrows Bridge before landing back at the Hub at Gig Harbor.

Although the pair only got the pilot’s first name, Grant, the women were able to share a special afternoon with him.

Karen Miller: 253-358-4155

karen.miller@gateline.com

@gateway_karen

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