Inflight Crewmember, Popcorn Redmon, based out of Orlando, in her own words:
I was working as the F1 on a flight from JFK to SDQ. Boarding was challenging with the numerous carry-ons that more often than not weigh more than the customers carrying them on. There were twelve wheelchair customers, one of whom could not operate independently (but was alone nonetheless). The first wheelchair customer to board was sitting in 1C and she was as cute as they come.
I could tell from the ‘get go’ that she would be special and indeed she was! The service seemed to take longer than usual as a result of the numerous requests for a little sample of everything. We had ample time, however, so it was easy to provide for the wants and needs of every customer on board, or so I thought…
As we were picking up service items, the customer sitting in 2C (who could not speak) pulled on me and although she couldn’t actually tell me what she needed in the traditional sense, I was able to perceive that she needed to use the restroom. I indicated that I understood and I began to provide as much support as I could to help her transition from a sitting position to a standing one.
Although I was trying to support her using my body as a slant board so she would have something solid to lean on as she attempted to stand, it was apparent she was struggling. An unrelated elderly wheelchair customer sitting in 2D saw the situation and offered to assist. Together, we were able to help transfer the customer in 2C to the front lav. Realizing that the customer in 2C had basically no use of her body limbs, the unrelated customer assisted in making it possible for the woman to use the restroom with dignity. The wheelchair customer who was sitting in 1C offered to keep watch to stop any customer who might unknowingly approach the front lav. After the woman finished, we reversed our body support system to help her back into her seat.
When I started to retell the story to my two male colleagues, tears began to stream down my face. I was surprised at the intensity of my own emotions as well as the irony of it all. Here I am from an entirely different background and culture with limited ability to understand and converse in Spanish and here is this unique JFK-SDQ flight filled with caring, Spanish speaking customers who, unbeknownst to them, unknowingly impacted my own JetBlue life in a way that will be forever etched in my heart. As an aside, the first officer on the flight spoke fluent Spanish and joined the F2 and me at the front door to say good-bye to everyone as they deplaned. After everyone left, he commented that he had never, ever seen nor heard such an effusive, positive customer reaction in his flying history.
We all laughed thinking how long the deplaning process took as almost every customer stopped to hug the crew on his/her way out. In summary, this JFK-SDQ flight reinforced my feeling that BlueHeartstrings go way beyond a particular commonality of culture or language…