Twenty three years ago I announced to my friends and family that I wanted to become a Flight Attendant for Southwest Airlines
. This announcement was met with raised eyebrows, as I was considered by some as not being suited for this profession. "Why not?" you say. "You are not going to wear those shorts, are you?" my best friend asked. "What about your degree in speech therapy?" my father questioned. "You are going to abandon me?" my 17-year-old son complained. My only support came from my husband who said, "I always wanted to sleep with a Flight Attendant, but I never thought it would be you!"
For Christmas that year, all the gifts had been opened that were under the tree. Ready to disband, my brother said, "Wait - there's one more gift!" He leaves the room for a minute and comes back with a size 2 Southwest Airlines uniform; a pair of plastic Flight Attendant wings, and a roundtrip ticket to Austin. "Put these on and work a round trip to Austin and back. I bet you change your mind!"
Every night, I lay in bed thinking about interview questions I might be asked and acceptable answers. I had answers to questions I have yet to be asked! I received my letter asking me to come for a Group Interview. Now came the hard part: What am I going to wear? I decided on a red wool suit that was similar to the Flight Attendant uniform at the time. I bought new camel colored pumps (closed toe and heel) and matching purse. Looking the part, I reported to the Headquarters Building in Dallas.
The chairs in the interview room were arranged in a horseshoe shape. I headed for the middle seat. The applicant sitting beside me asked if I would put her keys in my new purse since she didn't bring one. She was to become one of my best friends to this day. We were asked to stand up, spell our names, tell something about ourselves and why we wanted to fly for SWA. When I stood up, I went to the front of the room and just knew I was going to slip and fall on my face. I should have worn those new shoes previously so the soles weren't slick! I told them that, when I reached my midlife crisis, I didn't know whether to go to medical school (the residency for brain surgery was so long) or become a fry cook at Denny's (even though I had lost my taste for that sort of thing). Then I realized I would be a perfect fit for the job of Flight Attendant because I had waited on people hand and foot; I could talk to a wrong number for fifteen minutes; and I had certainly worked for peanuts. I hoped Southwest Airlines would agree!"
Well, they did agree and I've been grateful ever since.