I have an interesting tale to narrate to you. I walked along a deserted taxi way one fall afternoon at a local airport in western Canada. I saw a man tie up his plane and walk away to the gate of the perimeter fence, which he exited, and then climbed aboard his pickup truck, started it, and waited as he sat in the truck. I continued to walk at my leisurely pace, when I heard him turn off the truck engine, climb out of his pickup and re-enter the GA compound. And then, he called out to me. I turned and looked in the direction of the gate, and saw him walk across the open grassy transient airplane parking field toward me. I stopped, and turned and began walking toward the stranger as he approached me. As we got close enough to be heard, I said "hello."
"Can I help you?" asked the man. "No" I replied, and I asked "Can I help you?"
"You don't look like you belong here" said the man.
It wasn't a question, but I responded, "I don't" I think I very much belong here. I have a hangar over there, I pointed, where I keep my plane.
He paused for a moment, and then we made some small talk. I asked for his name, and I introduced myself. He offered me a ride in his plane, and I thanked him for the offer, and said I'd love the opportunity to fly in his plane one day.
He bemoaned the lack of a hangar for his plane, and asked me if I had any room for his plane in my hangar, and I said I didn't. He offered that he was a regularly read columnist for easily the most widely read monthly Canadian aviation publication. The proverbial foot however hadn't as yet dislodged itself from his proverbial mouth, as I mistakenly suspected, when he made an effort at a "damage control" joke by promptly assuming that I was of a certain popular ethnic minority, and explained the similarity of his European heritage in name to what he suspected was my south Asian heritage. I wanted to walk away. I looked at him for a moment, and didn't have the heart to leave the hapless gent in his predicament.
I patiently explained that I was neither European nor of the country he assumed I was from. And as he began to guess my heritage by jumping from South Asia to the South Pacific, I offered up my real ethnic heritage. He offered again to fly me in his plane. I thanked him and said I might take him up on it. We shook hands, and I left.
While I commend the gent for his vigilance in being pro-active for the safety of the general aviation community, let's also remember that the general aviation community comes in all sizes, shapes, colours and creeds. There is no one "look" that any one of us is beholden to maintain for the sake of satisfying some archaic stereo typical GA image. I revel in and enjoy the brotherhood of pleasure flying that I am blessed enough to be besotted with in my adoptive land of citizenry.