There she is.
Look past the glamorous Asiana crew strolling through SFO, past the striking jetBlue pilots with their shiny smiles and stripes, beyond the high heels and wings, the rollaboards, the lipstick, the jet set life.
There she is. In the corner.
Her uniform, upon closer inspection, is a tad wrinkled, her lipstick worn off and her head in her hands. She’s trying to not be seen, which is hard when you’re in uniform.
She bows her head in a moment of resolve and comes up again, her smile returned to her face and only a hint of pain in her eyes. She stands up, smooths the uniform and joins her glamorous crew; laughing, joking, strolling through the airport.
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“I bet you are having the time of your life,” an older couple beams at the flight attendant as he graciously offers champagne before take-off.
“You pilots must have a hell of a good time on your layovers,” a young tech guy winks at the First Officer and she laughs.
“What a job … you travel for free and you layover in all these amazing places!” a mother of three wonders as the purser helps her with bags.
It does sure seem glamorous, doesn’t it?
Let me tell you a secret.
We. hide. everything.
And we’re pretty damn good at it.
You don’t pay to hear our problems. You aren’t supposed to know about the break-ups, the family emergencies, the tragedies, the stress and fatigue we experience. When you board your flight, you’re hoping to get a little cup of juice or soda, maybe some pretzels and a nap.
Oh, and I’m sure you would like to get from Point A to B safely and comfortably as well.
So we supply you with the basics. Sometimes, we are out of your favorite soda, or our airline charges for pretzels. You get mad, we try our best to smile and make it right. Maybe the flight is delayed or your upgrade didn’t go through. You yell, you lecture. We apologize profusely and keep smiling and keep doing our job. We try to not lose our cool. We try to smooth everything over.
We try to give you the illusion of serenity and calm, even though beneath the surface, who knows what our day has been like.
“Be kind; everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” -Rev. John Watson
There she is again. She just had a tearful conversation on the phone, hiding in an airport bathroom stall. She washes her face in the sink and reapplies make-up. With every layer her sadness is covered up, and soon all you see are the signature red lips and the bright eyes.
Boarding the plane, she directs people to their seats. The complaints ensue.
“I wasn’t told that my seat wouldn’t recline.”
“There aren’t any video screens on this plane?!”
“Am I going to make my connection?”
There she is. She’s your flight attendant.
And little do you know, but she’s overwhelmed, overworked and feeling a bit defeated right now.
So, be kind to your flight attendant.
That kindness will find it’s way back to you, I promise.