Dan O’Byrne is a genuine pleasure to be around. We met him at deVille on the rainiest Tuesday afternoon and I was fighting the nastiest cold but his smile, ability to give really good hug and tendency to take the scenic route when telling a story turned our interview into the warmest afternoon hangout.
We met casually, several years ago when I was working the desk at Bodhi Tree Yoga Centre and more recently when I was working the door at the #1 Legion during Sled Island. His power to have you giggling during the shortest of interactions is what leaves a lasting impression.
Dan describes himself as a “male flight attendant” for westjet and says so with a smile. He wholeheartedly loves his job.
More than his love for his job, he loves summer and life and this is clear in the way that he interacts with people. He radiates happiness.
On fathers day he held the phone in his hand about to call his dad and then made the spontaneous decision to fly home to regina for 15 hours to go see his dad in person.
He is a gentleman and told us about a thing he calls “forced chivalry” where he’ll do whatever it takes to open a door for a girl even if it means awkwardly nudging the door with his elbow around her body if she is in front of him. He also reminded us to always tip your stage coach driver at least a shilling.
He passionately described his love of orca whales and showed us all of his facebook profile pictures where he has photoshopped his face in with photos of orcas and typed in mildly hilarious comments.
It also doesn’t hurt that he smells really nice.
Dan O’Byrne is a kind person, an elaborate story teller and the only person I wanted to spend my rainy afternoon with.
What brings you genuine joy?
A sense of accomplishment! Like when I get something done, like a difficult yoga post or I climb to the top of a mountain or lift something heavy or do something nice for someone.
Going fast! I like to go fast.
I like swimming in the ocean!
I like swimming deep under water!
I like surround by people I love at parties and being outdoors!
I like practicing awesome yoga practices!
And really good coffee!
What is your favourite time of day?
Sunset! Always sunset!
Because of the colours and for that fifteen or twenty minutes, with that specific cloud arrangements, that is the only time the sky will ever look like that.
Your favourite hot drink?
Uhhh either clover coffee or espresso or an americano. Drinks that just go “boom!” All of them black, no room for cream!
Where can we find you at 2pm on a Sunday?
Aooohwhh yeah where can you find me? I’m usually in the park reading or drinking coffee in a coffee shop. I usually go to the 4 pm yoga class so I’m doing something to get ready to go to the 4pm yoga class.
Who brings out the best in you?
I’d have to say a lot of my yoga instructors bring out the best of me I can’t say any particular ones…but there are ones like Jeff Mah and Eric Pattison. They say all of these wonderful quotes and those quotes turn into wisdom
Favourite place in Calgary?
The Bodhi Tree. My condo. Mission and Kensington.
Song you know all the words to?
Garry Glitters “Rock n Roll Part 2”. No I’m kidding I’ll think of a better answer…. “July July,” by the Decemberists
Do you prefer Tupac or Biggie?
I’m actually not very familiar with hip hop music.Which one is the good guy?Aren’t these going to make a movie of that to explain it?
you’ve never heard Tupac or Biggie?
Will it help if I rap one song by each of them for you?
this is where I rap juicy and thugz mansion
ok I’ll go with the second one. Tupack right?
I’m not very hip you should see me try to shake hands with my cool friends.
A person you really look up to?
I look up to my dad a lot because he’s way more responsible than I am and he works so much harder than I do. It’s really funny because you spend all this time in your life looking up to him and you remember all the things that he teaches you. He knows why the sky turns grey sometimes and he knows how to fix your bike and how fix your computer and then one day you turn 20 and your parents don’t have the answers anymore.
Eventually he can’t give you any more advice but you’ll still always look up to him for giving you the base.
I love my dad to bits but he can’t give you dating advice. I mean when he dated he would show up to your house with a bushel of carrots that he picked but a fortnight ago and court your daughter.
What did your family always say was the most important thing?
Me being happy or being happy with the job that you do. I am the least financially successful of my whole family but they’re happy because my life is pretty good! I hang out and read in coffee shops a lot. I see the world. You gotta be happy with the job that you do. They were really big on being happy in the profession you’re in. and love and all of that too.
Who is your favourite distant relative?
I have an uncle David who lives in Victoria. He’s father to the hockey player Ryan O’Byrne. That’s not important really. He tells really fantastic stories.
He tells these stories of what it’s like to live in a small town in Saskatchewan in the 70s
I think stories are the best. He takes the scenic route with his stories too.
Do you want kids?
I don’t’ know I’m open to the idea. I havent’ dated a woman I’ve been in love with for a while. I’ve gone on dates and things like that since but if I ever have that again then YES kids. I see a lot of satisfactory marriages and relationships on the road that are like “oh I’m aging and you’re aging too…” and like my life is too good right now to get an adequate marriage and have a kid in an adequate marriage. So you can put me down as a yes but a conditional yes.
Do you have a five year plan?
If things go really well I could by another home and have a winter home and summer home and fly between homes just keeping on having awesome summers doing this. Whatever happens, the future is uncertain.
Where did you think you’d be at this age when you were 18?
Yeah. I never thought I’d be here.
Being interviewed by wlnb?
I don’t know. I thought I was going to have an office job and wear a suit typing on a computer. I thought I’d be on one of these Eau Claire people.
I never thought I’d be a flight attendant.
I only ever started working for westjet because while reading in bed with the girl i was dating back when I moved to Calgary, she said, “you should work for west jet” and I said, “yeah ok.”