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American Airlines CEO attends wedding of Southwest flight attendant: "A light that guides me."

Remember the Black Southwest Airlines flight attendant who struck up an emotional conversation about race with American Airlines CEO Doug Parker a year ago after noticing a book on white privilege in his seatback pocket?

She got married in Dallas over Memorial Day weekend and Parker was among the guests.

Parker and JacqueRae Hill, now Sullivan, have stayed in touch since the viral meeting, which came against the backdrop of the protests over the killing of George Floyd by a white police officer. Sullivan's mother works for American Airlines at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia.

Parker posted a photo taken with the bride and her mother, Patti Anderson, on his Instagram page, and Sullivan posted some wedding photos featuring Parker in a Facebook post on Monday under the headline "How it Started vs. How it's Going.'

"I want to highlight a family that have now become special friends of my family. The Parkers!' Sullivan said in the post.

The 39-year-old flight attendant, who has worked for Southwest for 15 years, called their meeting a year ago "divinely ordered' and thanked Parker for staying in touch.

"Thank you and your family for showing up for so many people but also making the time to show up for ME on my special day,' Sullivan said in the Facebook post. "You have no idea how much it means to me to know someone that really walks out all of he talk out. Ya'll Doug Parker is the real DEAL.'

In his Instagram post, Parker thanked Sullivan for the invite and their yearlong friendship.

"She started a courageous conversation with me about race in America and it's one I'll never forget,' Parker said. "She continues to be a light that guides me as we work to tear down barriers that create systemic racism.'

Parker and Sullivan met on a Southwest Airlines flight to Panama City, Florida, last May. Parker was on the flight because his airline's flights were sold out.

She was distressed about the racial unrest gripping the country after Floyd's murder and saw Parker board with the popular book, "White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism' by Robin DiAngelo.

She did not recognize him, only that he was "somebody that doesn't look like me reading a book about how to have a conversation on race.'

About 30 minutes before landing, Hill plopped down in the empty aisle seat in Parker's row to ask him about the book.

"My ego again assumes she has recognized me, mask and all, and wants to know why I’m flying Southwest,' Parker said in a letter to fellow American executives after the flight but before the meeting went viral a year ago.

"But, no, she has no idea who I am. She is a young, black woman and she points at the book lodged in my seat pocket and asks, 'How do you like that book?' I say it’s fantastic and defensively show her how I’m a bit past midway. She says, 'It’s on my list to read and I saw you bring it onboard and I just wanted to talk to you. …' And then she started to cry.'

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by Anonymousreply 14Last Thursday at 3:36 PM

That's some mean drag, baby!

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by Anonymousreply 1Last Thursday at 2:08 PM

Is that her mother on the left? Or is that her wife?

I'm sorry I couldn't tell.

by Anonymousreply 2Last Thursday at 2:11 PM

Did he give her a huge raise after the race talk.

by Anonymousreply 3Last Thursday at 2:11 PM

fuck it could be his wife for all I know

by Anonymousreply 4Last Thursday at 2:12 PM

I still don't understand why an American Airlines CEO would ever have to fly on Southwest.

Even if American was "sold out."

by Anonymousreply 5Last Thursday at 2:12 PM

R2 probably mom. Black women aren't lesbians like that on a whole.

by Anonymousreply 6Last Thursday at 2:13 PM

[quote] Did he give her a huge raise after the race talk.

He works for American.

She works for Southwest.

He was flying on her airline because his was sold out.

So no, race baiter R3, he didn't "give her a raise."

by Anonymousreply 7Last Thursday at 2:13 PM

Here's the original story:

When a Black flight attendant came over to chat with a white passenger about a book he was reading on the flight she was working on Friday, she had no idea how much their discussion would impact both of them. She also had no idea that that passenger was American Airlines CEO Doug Parker.

In a post to Facebook on Saturday, Southwest Airlines flight attendant JacqueRae Hill shared that she had gone to work with a heavy heart, devastated by the state of the country following the death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers on May 25.

“As I was driving to work I had to really go to God with my thoughts because it would make it hard to smile with everything going on,” wrote the flight attendant of 14 years. “As we are boarding my first flight of the day I smile and I greet people when they come on and a man was holding a book that has been on my to-read list. The book is entitled White Fragility [by Robin DiAngelo].”

Hill continued, explaining that she made a mental note to ask him about it when she was finished with her duties. About an hour into the flight she did just that — sitting down near him in his empty row.

The man told her that he was only about halfway through the book, but that it was great so far because “it really points out how important these conversations on race are.” Their chat was an emotional one, which Hill says moved her to tears. “I have been so sad every day and I just want to understand and be understood so we can begin to fix it,” she explains.

The pair continued to have talk about racism in America for the next 10 minutes, with the man apologizing to her for the shortcomings of his own race and the ways he felt the nation has failed in response to systemic oppression.

“It was everything I needed,” Hill says, going on to say that she told the man about her talk with God on her drive to work, and that this conversation was God’s answer to her prayer. It was then that the man asked her name, and told her that his: Doug Parker, the CEO of American Airlines.

“I told him my mother works for him in D.C. and then I reached over and gave him a BIG HUG! I HAD TO!! (yes we were both masked),” writes Hill, whose mother is a customer service manager at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Washington, D.C.

“I thanked him for being open and allowing this conversation to happen because I just needed to hear it and I walked off," Hill continued. "On his way off the plane he hands me a handwritten note and I thank him again and ask for [a picture].”

In a message sent to American Airlines employees on Sunday, Parker explained the situation from his own perspective — explaining that he was flying Southwest because seats on his American Airlines flight were sold out.

“I felt wholly inadequate but I knew it was a special moment,” Parker wrote. “The best I could do was tell her that the book talks about how white people are horrible at talking about racism, and that what we need are real conversations. She agreed. I told her I was trying to learn and through tears and a mask, she said, ‘So am I.’”

Parker says that their chat was “an absolute gift” to him, and that before they had even deplaned he found that Hill’s mother had sent him an email thanking him for comforting her daughter. “I had done nothing, of course,” he writes. “JacqueRae was the brave one. I was sitting comfortably in the back sending you guys emails without thinking twice about what this young woman — and others like her — were going through.”

“These are trying times,” he continued. “Our people are hurting. I’m not certain what all of the answers are, but I know it involves talking to each other. And listening. And it takes courage and leadership to start the conversation and to stand up for what is right. JacqueRae taught me all that.”

Hill echoed his sentiments in the conclusion of her Facebook post: “There are so many different ways to effect change in the world. I stand with anyone who wants to make a difference no matter if it is how I would do it or not.”

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by Anonymousreply 8Last Thursday at 2:17 PM

Well that's a nice story.

I'm not cunting, it is.

by Anonymousreply 9Last Thursday at 2:22 PM

Because R5, the CEO of American, to his credit, won’t bump a passenger (and I wonder if that would technically be legal to do so), even for a CEO.

He isn’t a FA or pilot so it would be inappropriate (at best) to use the jump seat, especially if there are others (flight crew) waiting for it.

It isn’t a huge/magnanimous deal. Not like he paid for the ticket, but still. He could have pulled the “do you know who I am” and had a passenger bumped but did not.

by Anonymousreply 10Last Thursday at 2:47 PM

He gave her AAdvantage miles as a gift.

by Anonymousreply 11Last Thursday at 3:05 PM

Coooooooooooo........

l.

by Anonymousreply 12Last Thursday at 3:05 PM

That's actually pretty touching and I'm a pissy dickhead

by Anonymousreply 13Last Thursday at 3:16 PM

As soon as she started demonstrating how the flotation device works, I had to loosen my seatbelt.

by Anonymousreply 14Last Thursday at 3:36 PM
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