The untimely death of a 25 year old young man has been especially difficult for me to process. Here's why....
After Jim Crockett Promotions bought out Bill Watts' UWF, I began doing a great deal of work in the Carolinas while commuting from my home, at that time, in Dallas, Texas.
Everyone knows that the Carolinas, especially Charlotte, is, was and always will be 'Flair Country.' Ric and I got to know each other when he would be booked in Watts' territory back in the day and I, usually, would be assigned by the Big Cowboy to be Ric's side kick while he was with us.
So, when I started staying in Charlotte a few days a month, Ric and I spent a great deal of time together. I was in "his town" and I became a quasi member of the Flair family. That meant that I got to know all the Flair kids including Reid who was just starting to walk.
Ric and I have a special relationship. Ric was with me when I met the most important person in my life, my wife Jan, who was a USAirways flight attendant when Naitch and I were sitting side by side in first class on a flight. He's the first one to point out that I was smitten....and he was right. Jan and I have been together ever since.
So, Reid's sudden passing hit me like an 18 wheeler because it literally felt that I had lost a member of my own family. In a way, I did.
I was around Reid to see him grow up to a normal kid, with a very famous father, who had big, athletic dreams at a young age especially in amateur wrestling at which he excelled. Ric spared no expense in providing Reid with every opportunity to improve through expert coaching and training. Ric was as committed to making Reid's dreams come true as Reid was. They were on this particular journey together. Father and son.
A few years ago Reid began having some personal issues that have been documented elsewhere. No family is immune to the temptations of life that exist today and that are challenges that face every family in some way. Either with their own child, a friend of a child, a friend's or relative's child, etc. None of us are immune to the 'demons' that like to prey upon those that let their guard down if even for only a moment because a moment, at times, is all it takes.
Over the past few years while some of those issues were on going I was, at the bequest of Naitch, engaging Reid in a series of telephone calls to discuss his situation, where he had been and where he wanted to go. At times, these conversations lasted for hours. They were candid, honest and, at times, they seemed to help me address these matters perhaps more than they helped Reid. I loved taking to him and will cherish the opportunities that we had to converse over the years.
During every conversation, I found Reid to never be defiant, to always be polite and above all else to be respectful. That was because of how he was raised... by two, loving parents.
Reid Flair was a lovable, good hearted kid. He, like all of us, had his blemishes but he was a sweetheart of a young man. Why God picked this particular time to take Reid, we will never know but it is my belief on this Easter Sunday, the first Easter Sunday that Reid Flair has spent with God,that is the greatest day young Reid could have ever imagined.
Finally, I cannot tell you how many times I carried Ric's famous Rolex watch along with Ric's wallet in my pocket while Naitch was wrestling. He trusted me with his belongings for safe keeping rather than leave them in a locker room. I also cannot tell you how many times that Ric took the photos of his children out of his wallet and kissed each and everyone of them before handing them off . This was a pre match ritual that Ric Flair had before every match....kissing the photos of his children that he carried with him at all times. I don't recall at any time that Ric didn't have a funny or poignant story about one of his kids and young Reid was always included. He was the apple of his Dad's eye.
Ric's love for his children, even in the most hectic, trying days of his professional career, impressed me more regarding the legendary Ric Flair than any 5 star match that I have seen him perform....and there have been plenty of those. I love Ric Flair and will be there for him at any time of the night or day. As my wife, who's so much smarter than am I, pointed out to me a few hours ago, in such a timely fashion, that we have a wonderful life but none of our tomorrows are guaranteed.
Rest in peace Reid. You were so loved by all of us, especially your Dad, and will be missed by all that knew you.