Itís Glass Guy to the Rescue for Alaskan Otter
October 29, 2010

Although West Coast customers of Walker Glass and Central Glass may consider themselves lucky that Newport, Ore.-based sales rep Steve Schuster is able to easily jet down to a meeting, courtesy of his private plane, Schuster carried much more unusual cargo than a few glass samples on a flight on October 21.

“I got a call from the [Oregon Coast] Aquarium, and they wanted to know if I would be available to pick up a sea otter, a baby that had apparently been in a boat accident in Alaska,” Schuster explained. “They had rehabilitated it.”

FedEx was flying the injured otter from Anchorage to Oakland, Calif., and the aquarium was looking for a pilot with whom the marine mammal could hitch a ride to Newport.

“I’ve got customers down in Oakland so I said I could go down for the day,” Schuster said.

With his co-pilot and a marine biologist in tow, Schuster set out for his atypical sales call. After visiting with fabricators in the Oakland area, Schuster settled in at the airport at 5:30 p.m. to await the otter’s arrival.

“Everything was fine until … some pilot came in and said, ‘Listen, everything’s closed here until 10:15 tomorrow morning.’”
The rescue mission hit its snag when the Secret Service stopped area air traffic due to a visit from President Obama.

“So I called the tower and explained what was going on and they said, ‘Hey, you’re going to have to call the Secret Service,’” Schuster recalled.
After alerting the aquarium about the delay, the glass salesman waited.

The aquarium contact called “about an hour later and said ‘Wow, I had to fax all kinds of stuff, I had to go through the Department of Interior, but, bottom line, you’re the only one leaving out of here, at about 11 o’clock tonight. You’ll hear from the Secret Service.”

Sure enough, a Secret Service Agent called shortly to confirm final details for take-off. By midnight, Schuster and crew were underway, taking the otter to its new home.

Once healed, the 5-month old otter, MoJoe, will be on view at the aquarium.

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