In almost 6 years of my flying career, there were people who touched my heart profoundly, who made me understand that we all suffer the same sadness in life, who taught me to be grateful for basic, simple things, and who made me cry in the bathroom even.
Here are some of the moments that remained forever engraved in my mind, from the most beautiful ones, to the most hilarious ones, all the way to those where you suffocate the tears in your eyes so no one sees them…
1. A group of elderly travelers from Indonesia.
They were coming back from Hajj, a religious trip for which they save up their whole life, and they are lucky if they manage to do it once in their lifetime.They were so grateful for every little thing they got from me, that when they started disembarking one of them kissed my hand, other hugged me like her own daughter, and another just poured a bunch of caramels into my hands. I had to turn away from other passengers and wipe my tears.
These are the people with eyes that illuminate you, and smiles that warm up your soul. They are happy with so little, and they made me learn a valuable lesson, then and there, after a 9 hour flight.
2. A barbie-looking middle-aged superwoman working as a security guard to celebrities.
This is a woman you don’t meet everyday. She was there with her full make-up, fake lashes, but yet so bad-ass. A movie-like story.
3. An angel-like soul from Florida.
What an amazing, out-of-this world character. The first thing I noticed about him was his very eccentric dressing style. His personality was awesome, so positive and vibrant. His eyes were fluorescent light blue and so illuminated, full of emotion. Some people just seem like angels on Earth.
He was travelling to Greek islands, which is one of the very few passions in life I have as well, and he had an adorable white-ginger, Jack-Russel terrier puppy that he loves to death and that he proudly presented to all of us.
4. A 50ish-something year old woman from Manchester wearing a turkey like-hat and being the life of the party in the lounge in Business class.
It was Christmas time. Her face was in place of turkey’s stomach, with all 4 legs around it, and she was just a blast. But despite that, she was drinking her 5th champagne with elegance and gracefulness. I love British people.
5. A naked German guy.
Again, business class. It was a night flight. All the lights were off in the cabin but that one empty seat, where I left the light on. Everyone was sleeping. As I pass by, suddenly I see a guy sitting there, as if he was just brought to this planet by his mother. Starring in front of himself, with his friend all out there. His pants were all the way down, and he absolutely did not even blink when I started talking to him.
Those few vodkas have definitely done their part.
6. A young Russian fashion designer who drank a bit too much and slept like a princess on a cloud of vomit.
She was coming back from Bangkok, and she spent the flight in the lounge, drinking. She was a successful fashion designer, all cute and posh. As I was securing the cabin later on, for landing, I felt a terrible smell of vomit coming from somewhere. Then I turned to her seat.
She was still sleeping like a princess, with a trail of vomit (some half meter long) next to her, on her mattress.As there was little time left until landing, I brought her some wet towels to freshen up.
I woke her up, and advised her I have brought them, when she responded ‘Oh no need, thank you :)’. And she continued to sleep all covered in vomit. The look on my face was hard to explain.
7. A family of 4, taking their terminally ill father/husband to the place he dreamed about his whole life.
As I lost my father from the same illness, I couldn’t keep the tears in my eyes. I wept in that bathroom like a child.
8. A badly injured 23 year old guy coming back from Bali.
He had a motor-bike accident there (which Bali is famous for, and I saw many similar looking guys in the same situation). His head was covered in huge cuts and one big surgery-like scar, and he was not able to communicate or coordinate his movements. He suffered a heavy brain damage. Very, very heartbreaking sight to see.
9. A 19 year old boy fighting for his life.
This was just a heavy experience. Not many of us come in contact with people on the verge of going to that another world. He had an underlying medical issue, and during the flight it became so bad that he collapsed, barely having any vital signs.
A flight diverted to Vienna, and the medical services took him over. I will never forget the look in the eyes of his mother, asking for any consolation from us, and the sound of her crying.
There is not a dull day in this job. It makes you grow so much as a person, and teaches you to deal with all kinds of possible situations. And once all these people disembark, they are not a part of your life anymore, nor are you of theirs.
But memories do stay.