Saturday, November 05, 2011

Jaeger Mah wraps up his 80 days at Vancouver International Airport

Photo by Sue Frause
I was able to meet up with Jaeger Mah, the 29-year-old Vancouver resident who lived at Vancouver International Airport for 80 days. It was Jaeger's final week as an airport dweller, and The Port Alberni native invited me for a coffee last Sunday during my three-hour layover from Seattle to Winnipeg. Jaeger was selected from a field of 96 competitors to be a special correspondent at YVR for 80 days and 80 nights. It was all to celebrate the 80th anniversary of YVR, Canada's second largest airport, located on Sea Island in Richmond. In addition to being the airport's storyteller through his videos and blogs posted at www.liveatyvr.ca, he received $15,000 for his unique airport gig.

When I arrived at YVR from Seattle on the morning of Oct. 30, I tweeted Jaeger, who tweeted me back that he was editing videos in his suite at The Fairmont Vancouver Airport (not a bad place to hang your hat for 80 days). He suggested we meet at Air Canada's Maple Leaf Lounge, close to my gate in YVR's Domestic Terminal. What a fun and friendly guy! Dressed casually, including flip-flops but minus his trademark Hawaiian shirt, he offered to make me a Mochachino -- a special coffee with Baileys Irish Cream.

Jaeger (which is German, Mah is Chinese) said he's long had a craving for adventure. The nine-year Vancouver resident, who runs a video production company out of his home, said the biggest surprise about his time at YVR was the love from his fans. Oh sure, he missed home cooking and having friends over, but how can you complain about arriving at a new job in a London Air Lear jet?

Plus, he made all those new friends (YVR has 23,600 employees) while sharing his stories with the world. Jaeger got caught up in the energy of the airport ("it consumes you") and is impressed with YVR's commitment to technology and the environment. Some of his highlights included meeting with pilots, assisting in a runway safety check, finding Sea Island's Queen Bee and conquering the control tower.

On Nov. 4, YVR held a farewell ceremony for Jaeger prior to his departure from the airport at 11 AM. He was made an honorary Green Coat, plus YVR produced a  special farewell video for Jaeger. Bon Voyage, Airport Man!