When Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos visited the Museum of Flight this weekend to answer questions from students, the kids did not hold back.
“That’s one of the great things about kids,” Bezos said on Saturday. “There are always questions.”
Scores of elementary-school and middle-school students came from the Seattle area as well as from Deer Park, a city just north of Spokane on the other side of the state, to cram into the museum’s “Apollo” exhibit and meet America’s second-richest person (after Bill Gates).
The kids asked about Bezos’ successful expedition to recover sunken rocket engines from the Apollo moon missions, about his Blue Origin space venture, and about his own life story. One questioner picked up on a report that, as a toddler, Bezos dismantled his crib with a screwdriver because he wanted to sleep in a real bed.
“Have you always been that independent?” the boy asked.
“I’ve always been, uh, focused,” Bezos replied.
One of the youngest attendees, 6-year-old Margot Bouchez, got a chance to ask Bezos whether he came across any shipwrecks while looking for the rocket engines at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. Bezos and the others on the expedition team didn’t see any ships, but they did come across some other curiosities.
“He saw a soda can,” Bouchez said with a laugh, recalling Bezos’ story about seeing a Pepsi can on the video that an underwater robot sent up from the ocean floor.
After the event, Bezos sounded as if he had gotten as much out of the encounter as the kids did. “I enjoyed it immensely,” he said. “It was inspiring to me.”
We asked Bouchez and several other kids for their reactions to the Q&A. Check out these highlights, and be sure to watch our video as well.
The most inspiring thing you heard?
Kaitlynn Rogers, eighth-grader from Deer Park Middle School: “I thought it was really inspiring how he talked us through how to get over some things, how to push forward, and that’s how he did it.”
Jahleel Townsend, eighth-grader from Illahee Middle School in Federal Way: “He was talking about how everybody has callings, and other things, but the calling is the most important because it’s what you’re supposed to do. It’s not chosen by you. It’s given to you, and you have to follow it. It can be the most exciting thing of your life.”
Abigail Simonson, eighth-grader from Deer Park Middle School: “He’s super-inspiring to do what you love to do, and follow your dreams.”
Jazzieriah Gregg, seventh-grader from Dimmitt Middle School in Renton, said she was most inspired by Blue Origin’s effort to build a reusable launch system: “They can go to space and bring it back down, and then … put it back up into space. That’s cool, without having to build a whole ‘nother one.”
Do you want to go to space?
Nico Van Hoy, sixth-grader from Louisa Boren STEM K-8 School in Seattle: “Yeah, I think I do. But at the same time, the more you know about it, the more you know the risks and what it would take to do that.”
Jahleel Townsend: “If I did go to space, it would just be for the fun of it. To see how it feels, how much different it would be from being on Earth.”
Who would you send to space?
Margot Bouchez, first-grader, St. Anthony Elementary School in Renton: “My sister, because she’s funny, and she’ll take pictures.”
Nico Van Hoy: “I’d probably send my grandma, because she’d think it was really cool and she’d probably like it the most.”
To hear all the questions from the kids, and all the answers from Bezos, check out the full video of Saturday’s Q&A at the Museum of Flight: