It was a simple observation.
But when Randy Pausch took note of the many languages used on Disney World's It's a Small World After All ride, it seemed to augur his future.
"There are a lot of ways to say good-bye," Pausch told his children.
The Carnegie Mellon professor and virtual reality pioneer said his final good-bye Friday morning after a battle with cancer.
Pausch was not famous because he had cancer. He was famous for how he lived despite cancer.
He inspired millions with his "Last Lecture." Taking part in a lecture series at Carnegie Mellon, Pausch spoke on truly achieving your childhood dreams.
His insights were deep but simple.
Cancer may have upped the ante, but Pausch was already in the game.
"Anytime I had a chance to do something cool I went for it," Pausch said. "Brick walls are there for a reason: They show us how badly we want things. they let us show our dedication."
In August 2007, doctors told him he had 3-6 months of good health left. From August through mid-June, Pausch lived his life to the fullest.
He gave his "last lecture," met William Shatner, met the rock band The Police, traveled with his family, swam with dolphins, went scuba diving, testified before Congress, played catch with the Pittsburgh Steelers, wrote a book based on his "last lecture," and gave the charge to graduates at Carnegie Mellon - sharing the stage with Al Gore, who gave the commencement address. He did all of this while undergoing wave after wave of chemotherapy.
Many congratulated Pausch on his life extended beyond the 3-6 months forecast by doctors.
"You don't beat the grim reaper by living longer," he said. "You beat the reaper by living well and living fully."
Pausch lived his life in line with the cliché, "It is not the things we do in life that we regret. It's the things we do not do."
His demeanor considering the unwanted news that was thrust upon him shocked many.
But Pausch credited his demeanor to a conscious choice.
"I don't know how to not have fun. I am dying and I'm still having fun," he said. "You have to decide whether you are a Tigger or an Eeyore."
Pausch never felt like it was unfair that he became a victim of cancer. He never allowed himself to get angry or depressed.
"I have never found anger to make a situation better," Pausch said.
And so he fought on and continued to live his life to the fullest. Those who followed his progress via his web site last heard from Pausch on June 26 when he reported the final chemotherapy had been very hard on him physically. The next entry on his blog came July 24 when a friend reported that PET scans had shown negative results and Pausch's health was failing.
He died the next day.
As Pausch said in the last lecture, "We can not change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand."
Pausch played his hand well and left an inspiring legacy.
He left his wife and children far too soon. But he did all a man can to ensure that everyone will remember him well.
Make the most of every day. Live your life to the fullest.
Follow Pausch's example and advice and you'll be prepared for any circumstance life brings your way.