One yr in the past, Southwest Airways flight attendant JacqueRae Sullivan was feeling overwhelmed by occasions in the USA following the loss of life of George Floyd.
The protests in her house metropolis of Dallas, Texas, turned violent on the evening of Might 29 and when she went on social media the following morning, “that didn’t assist the scenario,” Hill stated in an interview with CNN on the time.
She drove to Dallas Love Subject for a flight to Panama Metropolis on Friday, praying for some ray of hope or understanding. “It is so troublesome with every little thing occurring … You wish to learn, you wish to know. However then on the identical time, my job as a service individual is to supply anyone with happiness.”
She stated she prayed on her approach in, “God, please assist me get to work at this time.”
JacqueRae Hill — as she was identified earlier than her marriage to Rashard Sullivan this Memorial Day weekend — had a life-changing encounter with passenger Doug Parker on that day’s flight, and their story went viral.
One yr later, her new buddy — the CEO of American Airways — attended her wedding ceremony, and met with Sullivan and Sullivan’s mom Patti Anderson, an American Airways attendant.
Books are magic
Sullivan advised CNN final yr that when the flight began boarding, she carried out her normal security checks, greeting passengers with a howdy and a smile that her eyes needed to ship, as a result of she was sporting a masks.
“I knew the e-book for some time. Michael Eric Dyson wrote the foreword. It has been on my record, however I simply have not gotten it but,” Sullivan stated.
After she completed service, she moved towards the again of the airplane, the place the person who was studying the e-book was seated, alone, subsequent to a window, typing on his cellphone.
“I plopped down and stated, ‘Hey, how are you? In order that e-book, how is it?'”
The 2 began conversing concerning the e-book. Sullivan recollects the person, who was White, saying, “It is our fault. We have now to begin these conversations.”
As the person spoke these phrases, Sullivan grew to become overwhelmed with emotion and commenced crying. “I do know he did not know what to do. I do know I startled him. I used to be embarrassed. I did not count on that. It was only a real second for me, and we talked for 10 minutes.”
The large reveal
She thanked the person profusely for the unbelievable dialog, for his curiosity and for caring, weighed hugging him (she did). He requested her identify, and he or she launched herself. Then the person advised her his identify. “I am Doug Parker, the CEO of American.”
Parker scribbled a notice to Sullivan earlier than deplaning, expressing his gratitude and pleasure at having met and spoken together with her.
“I used to be grateful if he was a random individual that had no affect. However due to his place in life, the truth that he is studying that e-book. He doesn’t have to coach himself. And the truth that he’s, I simply assume that speaks volumes as to the work all of us should do in making an attempt to deliver ourselves collectively.”
Sullivan waited a day earlier than posting about her expertise on Fb. “With all these feelings, I needed to course of it absolutely. I needed to verify how I wrote it was precisely how I used to be feeling.”
Because the constructive responses got here flooding in, she realized that she had touched a nerve. “I did not know it will be this large. The response has been overwhelming. I’ve cried every single day. Blissful tears.”
Sullivan’s mom Patti, as an American Airways worker, Anderson contacted Doug Parker to specific her gratitude for the second he shared together with her daughter on the flight — and for the hug.
Parker replied to Patti Anderson, “[JacqueRae] actually left an impression on me. Studying a e-book is one factor — spending time with a sort, sturdy, younger Black girl who’s hurting and making an attempt to be taught from others is one other factor altogether.”
Parker completed his reply by thanking Anderson for thanking him, “I used to be the one who was blessed by that dialog.”
Courtesy JacqueRae S.Hill
A permanent friendship
On Instagram this week, Parker thanked the Sullivans for together with him and his household of their special occasion and mirrored on their year-long friendship. “She began a brave dialog with me about race in America and it is one I am going to always remember,” he wrote.
Mentioned Sullivan within the submit, “I wish to spotlight a household which have now turn into particular associates of my household. The Parkers!”
CNN’s Brekke Fletcher contributed to this story.