The next morning the switchboard in the Goodyear district office in Boston lit up. In no time at all the district manager, Rex Van Akin, was on the phone to Tom Allison, the Goodyear public-relations man who heads up the blimp operation in Akron. "Van Akin kept saying, 'Help, help, Tom. Do something,' " Allison remembers. Without waiting for the first irate letter to arrive, Goodyear went into action. By 9 a.m. the blimp was back in the air. By 9:30 it was over the band shell on the banks of the Charles, circling tight and circling wide, fixing the position with relation to other landmarks so that on future flights the pilots would be sure to give the band shell a wide berth. But, alas and alack, down below in the band shell, while the blimp circled above to pinpoint the scene of the previous night's crime, there was a morning concert for children going on. By noon the switchboard in the Goodyear district office was glowing again, and the next day the letters poured in.
Goodyear answered every letter, as is the company's custom. "The sole objective of our airship program for the past 45 years," a typical letter of, apology said, "has been to make friends for Goodyear. We want you to know that we appreciate your calling this unfortunate incident to our attention, and how sorry we are. We never go near a performance like that if we know it is going on. In Miami, for example, we always skirt the Parrot Jungle by a good distance for fear of scaring the birds."
Remembering all the right and wrong turns in the road that the blimps have made, all the detours required because of weather or freakish mischances, considering the many friends the blimps have made as planned and all those made here and there by accident, the man in charge of both joy and grief at Akron headquarters concludes that there is only one real problem involved in blimping around the country: for all their seeming zeal, the gasbags cannot make it to half the places that want them. "People see us on television so often," Allison said recently, "that they do not understand that we cannot go from where we are 1,000 miles to someplace else in an afternoon. The hardest job that I and the blimps' crews in Miami and Los Angeles have is refusing invitations and hoping the people we turn down still like us." Then, teetering on the brink of utter treason, Allison added, "Week in and week out I have to say 'No' to so many nice people that sometimes I almost wish the blimps belonged to Firestone."