Shelley P. seated in her wheelchair in front of a stream near a forest.Shelley

Permanent Grounding for Former Flight Attendant

In the 1970’s, I was fortunate enough to represent Pan American Airways as an international flight attendant. I left that position in 1978 to begin my career as a classroom teacher. In 1981, after the birth of our daughter, I was diagnosed with MS. Within three years of that diagnosis, I was unable to ambulate and began my dependence on a three wheeled scooter. Over the next 15 years, my husband and I would take an annual trip to Hawaii and visit other destinations on the US mainland. I can distinctly remember, on several occasions, being inconvenienced by damage to my scooter . In addition, the memories of being delivered to my airplane seat via “aisle chair” and all the bumps, bruises, and indignity included in the process are still fresh in my mind, even after all of these years. Because the MS symptoms have progressed to the point where I am now dependent upon a very high tech and specialized wheelchair, my husband and I avoid air travel: any damage to my current ‘chair would result in my TOTAL inability to navigate any part of my world.

Mrs. Shelley P., OR