Spring flying on this bird was alway a bit of a challenge for a Stewardess! I remember vividly the bumping, swaying, crazy flights to places like Lansing, Kalamazoo, and Grand Rapids! Our flights were 18- 25 minutes in duration, never long enough to get above the strong Spring winds!
On one particular flight, I was trying my best to serve morning coffee and juice while the aircraft bumped and swayed, bumped and swayed again! (Unless the Captain said otherwise, we served every segment of the flight- in high heels! I learned early to never lock the knees, but to keep them slightly bent- so to "ride" with the aircraft as much as possible!)
So- I'm in the middle of the isle, serving coffee and juice- and picking up "sick bags" along the way! All the while, feeling like I'm standing on a roller coaster. I'm doing my best to keep my own stomach down! All at once a woman stands up and screams "Get ME Off This Thing- NOW!!" At that, she rushed toward the front door leading to the passageway and boarding door!
My mind went into overtime! "Do I tackle her? Punch her? Will she get the boarding door open? Will I go flying out of the aircraft along with her?!" All this happened in a moment. I know this, because I had handed my serving tray to a passenger and beat the woman to the door. Her eyes were wild! She was in a total panic!
All I could think to do is to grab her and hug her! Here we were, bouncing and swaying, bumping back and forth against the door that lead to the boarding area and stair door. All the while I have her in a death hug. I was bound and determined NOT to let go of her until she calmed down!
And then it happened! She threw up! On Me! On my uniform! Even on my hat! It simply went everywhere! (Some glamorous job, eh!?) I heard a loud combination of exclamation remarks from her fellow passengers! There were a few that crossed my mind, but I tried to remain calm. I have to say, it took all my will power to not baptize her in like kind. The smell alone was enough to make a saint regurgitate!!
And then she collapsed- just simply crumpled. As best I could I helped her back to her seat, buckled her in, and went into the bathroom to "clean up". I was, as you can imagine- a mess! I looked in the mirror- and started to cry! This was just the beginning of my one day flight! I had many hours yet to go! My uniform was beyond a mess, I had "throw up" in my hair, on my face- just everywhere!
Sobbing, I called the cockpit. I let them know what had just happened. I'm surprised they even understood me, because I was really blubbering! I cleaned myself up the best I could, even reapplying a bit of makeup- and made our landing announcement for Grand Rapids. I got my emotions under control as best I could. Stewardesses were suppose to be able to handle anything. I reassured myself that I would be fine, even with this little lapse of self control!
We landed. I opened the door. The passengers murmured condolences as they deplaned, a few holding their noses as they past me by. The hysterical woman who threw up on me deplaned quickly, not even looking at me. Needless to say, I stood at the top of those stairs one miserable mess!
The ground agent came aboard. Evidently the pilots had called ahead with news of my disaster! He assured me that help was on the way. This was confusing, for I couldn't imagine what would possibly help the situation! He got a call on the his radio, ran off the aircraft- and came back with clothing! He had called his wife, who was about my size, and had her bring a black skirt and white blouse- even nylons out to the airport!! Oh my! I think I cried again!
The kindness and camaraderie of those days still are the best of my memories. This era was when small companies- and their employees looked after each other- helped each other!!
I put on that wonderful, clean, beautiful outfit, thanked him profusely, and continued on my trip. My uniform went to the cleaners! And when I returned the outfit, I had a bouquet of flowers as a "Thank You" to his wife!
Even in the midst of a disaster, one act of kindness can turn a situation into a memory of gratitude!
Even now, so many years later- when the Spring winds blow, I can't help but remember that awful flight, and the kindness of one station agent and his wife!
One act of kindness- sometimes that's all it takes!
Life is surely an adventure, even when it's a bumpy ride!