The flight attendant in first class looked at my nearly finished gin and tonic and asked if I would like another. She said “don’t worry this is not my first rodeo. I know the best sip is in the bottom of the glass.” I commented that she was well experienced in the finer points of her job. Having a nice route like Tokyo was a good thing. Then she asked me to guess how many years of seniority she had that allowed her to win a bid for the Tokyo route. I guessed 41 years trying to be polite. She definitely had a few air miles on her. “Five she exclaimed.” Only five years? How did you get this route? “No, forty-five years. This job has changed so much. It used to be glamorous and fun.” I asked why she didn’t retire. She mentioned loyalty to the airline kept her working even though things had gone downhill since the merger with Continental. I told her my plan was to retire and do the Great Loop. I just happened to be reading a loop book at that time. I said retire while you have your health and enjoy your grandchildren. A simple and obvious comment but it seemed to hit home. I mentioned I knew an American Airlines flight attendant named Kathy that retired with more than 40 years. Kathy was enjoying retirement and never looked back. She dropped to her knees and said the Lord works in mysterious ways to bring you to me today. It is truly divine intervention. I am going to retire. I said good for you. Don’t worry United will keep flying.
I tried to avoid talking to her for the remainder of the flight.