Have you ever thought to yourself after experiencing something unexpected in life that you should write a book? I have caught myself saying that a lot. Others have said it to me as well. Instead of writing a book filled with my adventures, mishaps and hysterical moments, I prefer to share my stories one at a time on Center Stage Magazine.
Many who know me know that I hate to fly. Flying is something that I have done frequently for work, visiting loved ones and even following a Bon Jovi tour. Though I fly often, my heart races each time I walk through the jetway and take that step onto the plane. I panic and immediately begin to pray for not only myself but everyone on board. On this particular early July flight on Southwest on a nonstop flight from Nashville to LAX, I had no idea what I was about to encounter.
As I made my way towards the plane from the jetway, something seemed off. As soon as I approached the door of the plane and began to take the dreaded first step inside, Lightning cracked so viciously I screamed. Feeling overwhelmed with fear, I took the first seat that was open. As the lightning continued to strike around the plane, I cried and let out fearful cries to GOD to make it stop.
As scared as I was, the passenger who had the misfortune of having to sit next to me had it worse. I cannot imagine what was going through her head as I look back on this terrifying moment. What I do know is that she felt the need to get me calmed down or moved to another location so she could relax. Before I knew it, the woman sitting next to me had already taken it upon herself to get me help.
As I looked up in between the bolts of lightning with a tear soaked face and red, puffy eyes, I saw a flight attendant standing over me. She spoke softly asking me if I was ok. Just as I was about to answer her, another ferocious bolt of lightning struck and I let out another scream and continued to wail. She offered me her hand and said: “Would you like to come speak with the Captain?” Embarrassed and scared I was reluctant to accept her invitation though she was not taking no for an answer. The woman sitting next to me was also not taking “NO” for an answer.
After being told that it was necessary for me to speak with the Captain I quickly realized that this was also in an effort to keep the rest of the passengers calm. There I sat on the jumpseat inside the cockpit of the plane. As I listened to both the Captain and Co-Captain, I realized that there were worse places I could be during a storm. While I was still scared and did not enjoy the thought of our plane getting struck by lightning, they both assured me that we were safe. After making sure I was calm, the flight attendant escorted me back to my seat. She did snap a few pictures for me to document this rather scary and humiliating experience, however.
From that moment on, I was looked after by the attendant, Captain and the kind passenger next to me. About halfway through our flight, the Captain called the cabin to ask if I was ok. This is not something that I expected, nor is it something he had to do. This man had a heart and genuinely cared. The entire crew cared. As we neared the end of our uneventful flight, both the woman next to me and myself were presented with nice luggage tags as a “Thank You” gift. I was then presented with “Wings” for being a good and brave passenger. Yes, this 25 years and holding passenger received her bravery wings.
Thank you Southwest airlines for being the only airline I choose to fly. ~Missy