Sometimes, the wrong word causes embarrassment. But on another occasion, it almost caused a calamity.

At Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport, a flight controller assigned an EasyJet flight headed to Spain to prepare for takeoff on runway 09r. The parallel runway, 09L was clear for the landing a United Airlines jet coming from New York.

As the United plan approached, the radio crackled with instructions. But the controller said the wrong thing. He told the pilot to land on 09R, on a head-on collision with the other jet. The EasyJet pilot asked the obvious question, “why?”

It was then, that the controller caught his mistake and waved off the incoming plane. The two airliners were just 300 feet from disaster.

Words can either connect people or destroy connections, depending on their use or abuse. The wise man counseled,

“Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.” (Proverbs 29:20)

To speak without sifting your language is courting disaster. Stop and ask, “do I need to say that?” Then, your well-formed word will say what you intend to say.

-Robert G. Taylor-