It’s a bird…It’s a plane…It’s a Jet Blue Crew

Seat assignments weren’t indicated on our boarding passes.  As I showed the ticket agent, he too was miffed.  He shuffled through a stack of papers recently handed to him and said, Ah, here we go.  That’s why they gave this to me.”

I was handed new boarding passes, and as I turned to walk away, the ticket agent called out one last question, “How old is Charlee?”

(This tends to become an interesting topic.  Charlee looks far beyond her years…) 

“Thirteen? Thirteen?!  One? Three?”  Every time I nodded my head, he rephrased or re-emphasized his question. (I had to laugh…) 

“She can’t sit at the emergency exit if she’s thirteen.” 

As luck would have it, our seats were moved to the front of the plane.  (Works for me…  We were the first on, and the first off.  Nice way to start our vacation.) (It also provided a front row view of the male flight attendant donning a young girls Minnie Mouse ears – with sparkly bow and all – for the amusement of fellow passengers. Yup – this is how he demonstrated the pre-flight emergency information. 🙂  It set the stage for a pleasant flight.)

Charlee and I were happily settled in our seats, while the rest of the passengers continued to pile in.  A rarity for us.  The plane took off on time – it was great to be on schedule.  Another rarity…  (Jet Blue is looking pretty good.)  

Well underway, beverage and snack cart’s were being set up.  

Meanwhile a woman that had previously caught my eye, seemed to be making her way to the rest room.  Sharply dressed in a vibrant fuchsia pink suit, she was hard to miss.  Her style was bold and smart, and included a big rimmed statement of a hat.  (Though she wasn’t wearing the hat at the moment.)  Everything about her was a statement.  

Standing in the galley, the Lady in Pink was speaking to a flight attendant. (The lavatory was presently occupied.)  She was facing the back of the aircraft, and given she was taller than the attendant, I could see her face.  Although she was trying to communicate, something about her expressions seemed off.

The attendant had items in his hands, as he was in the process of transferring supplies.  (He must use his hands when he speaks, even though full, he instinctively waved them around as he spoke.) 

As the Lady in Pink’s face went increasingly vacant, the flight attendant grew concerned and began to lean her against the galley wall. Her head and eyes began to roll.  As she precariously swooned, the attendant managed to support his body against her – momentarily trying to decide what to do with his full hands, then tossing everything.  He urgently pressed his body weight against her, holding her collapsing body upright. (It all happened so fast!)

I can’t imagine the galley wall – with all those handles and uneven surfaces – was anything near ‘comfortable.’  Though I daresay, this woman was not feeling anything at the moment – and there was NO other option. 

Her legs gave out, as she lost consciousness. Within the confines of that tiny galley, struggling against space and gravity, that lone flight attendant braced and impeded her fall – doing everything in his power to save her from harm. She would have surely been injured left to her own – non-existent – devices.  She hit the floor as gentle as he could muster… and yes, he even went somewhat down with her, as he held on with his entire being.  (I cannot imagine how!)

Now everything was happening in slow motion.

{I remember trying to move my sleeping child from one room to another. That was a feat, and THAT was a child!  What this attendant did was nothing short of amazing!!}

The Lady in Pink stayed on the floor for some time, as other attendants rushed to help. (A woman, who I think was also a crew member, tried to assist while The Lady in Pink was falling, but there was just no room to maneuver.)

It took about 20 minutes, as well as several of bags of ice – on her head, on her chest, etc. – before she was moved. Crew members surrounded her as best they could, helping where ever they could.

A passenger sitting in the first row not only gave up his seat, he helped lift her from the ground. He was very tall – as was The Lady in Pink. (The attendant – although mighty – did not have the same height and, no doubt, welcomed the added leverage.) 

I was so glad to see her upright and without added visible injuries, though she was clearly still not herself. 

Along with the male attendant, there was a doting woman.  She continued with the makeshift ice packs and cold compresses – constantly wiping The Lady in Pink’s forehead with a towel.  However, my focus was on the initial male attendant – who never left her side.  (Not to discredit anyone… because every single crew member was GREAT!  He just  caught my eye from the beginning and seemed to be one step ahead – the entire time.)

When The Lady in Pink began to get sick, he was ready with giant bags, holding them just right, so she would not ruin her suit – and, I suppose, the rest of the cabin.  (Prompting my own personal note of thanks.  I get she was not capable, but to me this was huge.  Again – dealing with my sick child can turn my stomach. I must have inherited that from my mother, who would throw up right besides my sisters and I, should we fall ill.  {I suppose she was making sure we didn’t feel ‘alone’ – lol.}  But that’s a parent/child relationship… To help a stranger as attentively – as DIGNIFIED – as caring and concerned – as he did – THAT was impressive!)

Not one facial expression of disgust or annoyance. He was engaged and present. Gentle, tender, compassionate all rings true. She was not a number.  Yes it may be his ‘job’ – but that sells it short. He did above and beyond.  On so many levels he did humanity proud.  

As we got closer to our destination, a frenzy of phone calls ensued.  Passenger seating was rearranged.  Bag locations were rearranged. Everything was being prepped for her emergency departure.  It was orderly and precise – and stayed considerate.  (The entire crew was involved and outstanding!  What a team!!)

I feel (oddly) blessed to have witnessed this event.

It helps to think that The Lady in Pink will be okay. After exiting the plane, I asked the tall gentleman for more information. His reply, “She wasn’t feeling well. The altitude and having recently eaten, did not mix well. It seemed to escalate into heart issues. Maybe a heart attack…”

I thought to myself – Thank God she was not able to get into the rest room!  That could have been beyond horrible.  The next day I told Frank about what happened.  He aptly pointed out, “It must have felt good to be able to use what you’ve been trained for.”  Damn straight!  I agree!!  To know – to be successful helping – what an honorable moment of accomplishment.  And what a tale to tell…  one that should, given the altitude, include superhero capes

I’d like to add the following:  Not one person moved from their seats when the plane landed. Though an announcement was made regarding, it was not needed. The EMS crew entered a quiet, un-chaotic cabin. Burly men in uniforms took the necessary time to speak with The Lady in Pink, then lifted her into a wheelchair and escorted her from the plane.

Even after she was off the plane, people did not move.  Not until a flight attendant got on the loud speaker, complementing everyone for their consideration and respect. It helped enable focus and allowed everyone to do their ‘job’ – he thanked us all profusely.  You can tell when it’s real.

This entire crew was outstanding!!  (I know I am repeating… can’t help it!)  I am just so thrilled this turned out so well!  It could have been disaster after disaster. *

But rather, human beings shined brightly in the skies. I dare say, in those moments we truly were closer to heaven. 🙂

{ * Side Note: Our family has had its fair share of stress.  This was our first getaway since Frank broke his neck.  Work requirements forced him to join us a few days later.  I am grateful that I had such a positive tale to tell.}

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