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    An airline pilot flying over the southeastern U.S. called the local tower and said, "We are passing over at 35,000--give us a time check." The tower said, "What airline are you?" "What difference does it make? I just want the time." replied the pilot. The tower responded, "Oh, it makes a lot of difference. If you are TransWorld Airline or Pan Am, it is 1600. If you are United or Delta, it is 4 o'clock. If you are Southern Airways, the little hand is on the 4 and the big hand is on the 12. If you are Skyway Airlines--it's Thursday." 

    Peter Dieson, The Priority of Knowing God, p.91.

    Better three hours too soon than one minute late. 

    William Shakespeare.

    In his youth, Andrew Carnegie, the famous steelmaker, worked for Thomas A. Scott, the local superintendent of the Pennsylvania Railroad. Carnegie was employed as a telegrapher, secretary, and general factotum at $35 a month.

    One morning a serious railroad accident delayed the passenger trains and shunted freight trains onto the sidings, unable to move in either direction.

    Scott could not be located, so Carnegie plunged into the breach -- knowing what had to be done, but also aware that an error could cost him his job and perhaps criminal prosecution. He signed Scott's name to the orders and got the trains moving with no mishaps. When Scott arrived at the office, Carnegie told him what had happened. Scott carefully looked over everything that the boy had done, and said nothing. "But I noticed," Carnegie said, "that he came in very regularly and in good time for some mornings after that." 

    Bits & Pieces, April 30, 1992.