I was born in Fullerton, California, 48 years ago. As a child, I had many fond memories on flying from John Wayne Airport in the early 1970s. At that time my neighborhood and the surrounding areas were filled with orange groves and strawberry fields.
In the mid-seventies, my family moved to Oregon. For me, moving meant leaving all my friends behind and having to start again at a new school ... quite a daunting thought for an elementary school kid. My memories of past California friends faded as I started my new school in Oregon. I never thought I would ever see anyone ever again from my past elementary school. Forty-one years later, I'd be proven wrong.
I was the lead Flight Attendant on Flight #6002 on July 30 from Orange County to Sacramento. I enjoyed how the Passengers were very friendly and relaxed on this flight, as many were returning from Disneyland or going to visit relatives in Northern California. I decided to mention to everyone during my welcome announcements that I was born in Orange County at St. Jude's hospital in Fullerton and my parents were teachers in neighboring cities. I received many nods and warm smiles. One particular Passenger exclaimed that she was also born at St. Jude's as well. We exchanged smiles and I continued preparing for departure. During this time I could sense her watching me intently as we prepared for take off, it was a very unusual feeling.
While taking drink orders, she looked at me and said, "I know you! We went to elementary school together, I'm Lauren." I told her that this was impossible as it would have been 40 years ago, and how could she possibly remember me.
Well, as the story unfolds, she had just recently returned from our elementary school reunion, and had our first grade class picture on her laptop. She briefly came to the galley and showed me the photo from our first grade class. My jaw dropped about ten feet as I saw myself at age seven! Lauren made mention of a few of the names of friends I may have known from school and the memories started flooding into my mind. She still keeps in touch with a few of our mutual first grade classmates today. We eagerly exchanged contact information and she promised to add me to her social media reunion page.
I was in shock about how random this chance meeting was, but as the events unfolded it made my day. The Passengers and other Flight Attendants were curious as to why Lauren had come to the front galley to show me a photo on her laptop. I made an announcement that this was my first grade class mate and that we had not seen each other in 41 years. All of the Passengers were happily shocked and happy for both of us.
I am overwhelmed at the odds of Lauren and I meeting again after so many years. Even as a seven year old, I had (and continue to have) a deep love of aviation. I never would have guessed my childhood dream of flying would come full circle on this particular flight, and reunite me with my childhood. There on the computer screen a picture of me, in my Planet of the Apes shirt. I still chuckle over my chance meeting with Lauren.