While some people can be pretty anxious about their first solo airplane flight, 16-year-old Ashley was particularly nervous.
Since the teen was born deaf, she was worried that her lack of hearing would prevent her from receiving any details about her recent flight from Baltimore, Maryland to Rochester, New York.
To make matters worse, she had a connecting flight from JFK International Airport, which can be an overwhelmingly busy airport for even the most experienced fliers.
“I [felt] nervous because … what if I miss my flight or I don’t know where to go if I transfer,” Ashley told WJLA through an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter. “I mean JFK is such a big airport, so I didn’t know where to go.”
Thankfully, Ashley had a safe and successful flight—and thanks to a compassionate flight attendant, it was also a particularly memorable one.
Shortly after Ashley’s plane took off from Baltimore, her Delta airline flight attendant handed her a handwritten note which explained everything about the flight and safety information.
Ashley told reporters that she had never experienced such kindness before, and the note—which she now plans on keeping—meant the world to her.
Delta later responded to the story by praising their flight attendant for her communication and announcing their intentions to make airline travel for inclusive for deaf passengers.
Over the course of the next few months, airline staffers who can speak sign language will be encouraged to wear a badge that will identify them to other passengers.
“With this improvement, customers and qualified employees will immediately be able to visually recognize when they hold sign language as a common connection,” a Delta spokesperson told WJLA.
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