My Flight Attendant Story …. A two-part story with two different perspectives: Part 1

I used to fly to Oakland every month for a job I loved. 

It was about 7:30 p.m. on a Friday, people were tired. When I fly, I always use the pre-boarding for people with disabilities (remember I have mild CP and am HOH), even though I am completely mobile — wouldn’t you? LOL! The flight attendant welcomed me as I walked on to the plane (remember this flight attendant – she’ll come up again).

Behind me, there were three well-dressed businessmen having a good time and really enjoying their drinks. Earlier, I saw a few of them at the bar waiting for our flight…so they were having a really good time. It was late, I was heading home, so I was also drinking some. At some point mid-air, the same flight attendant that greeted me, saw me get up out of my seat and use the bathroom independently, return to my seat, and buckle-up. 

After the plane landed

Everyone was grabbing their bags and I was about the 6th person in line to deplane. Three steps before I hit the gangway, out of nowhere, this same flight attendant asked me if I needed a wheelchair. I was instantly shocked and wondered why the *&^% is she asking me this now because she saw me walking.

I stopped in my tracks instantly, with a line behind me, and looked over my right shoulder and saw the guys behind me with a confused look on their faces. “Unbelievable!” popped into my head not knowing what I was going to say. I burst out, “IT’S A MIRACLE, I CAN WALK!” while dancing and throwing up my hands to the thunderous laughter of the tipsy businessmen behind me. The flight attendant next to her was holding her breath trying not to bust out laughing too. The offending attendant was shocked and speechless. As I continued up the gangway, I looked at her again and said, “What were you thinkiiinnnnngggg?” imitating Jerry Seinfeld. I looked at her for a couple more seconds as people were waiting to get off the plane.

As we continued up the bridge, I was shaking my head, what made her think I couldn’t walk? I would understand if someone could not get out of their seat, but at the doorway? Remember, she greeted me when I walked on the plane and acknowledged me as I walked to the bathroom while she was making coffee.

One of the three gentlemen behind me said, “Dude that was the funniest thing I ever heard!” He said he was cracking up, and that I made his weekend. He said he was going to tell his wife, his friends, etc. He said I was going to say something to her when she asked you that silly question, but you came out of nowhere with the funniest comment! I kept on walking and told all my friends about It, too.

My Thoughts

The doctors told my mom and grandparents that I would never walk. I worked so hard to get where I am today. I started walking when I was around 5 and to this day, I still walk with a little gimp on one side. When the flight attendant offered me the wheelchair after seeing me walk several times, it caught me off guard and seemed like a senseless question.

Because of this I feel that light attendants need more training. I can understand if someone couldn’t get out of the seat or could not walk at all. Wheelchair offerings happen frequently to deaf people. One of my deaf friends was asked by an airline employee if she needed a wheelchair and they put a wheelchair in front of her. She thought it was ridiculous, so she literally took out her hearing aid and put it on the wheelchair seat which they wheeled up the gangway in front of her as she walked behind. True story! Picture that!

Was the man who said he was going to say something to the attendant in my story sensitive because he had someone in his family who is disabled, or was he just being kind? 

Should she have been more aware of my needs? Did I offend her by making light of her mistake? What do you think?

Stay tuned for part 2. When Kristin and I were discussing this story, she had a similar story but with a different perspective.

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