Woman about to see a dying mother who is the only passenger to receive VIP treatment from the American Airlines crew
A woman who traveled to her elderly mother one last time before her death received first-class treatment as the only passenger on her return flight from American Airlines.
Sheryl Pardo, 59, did not know she would be the only passenger on her flight from Washington, DC to Boston until she boarded the plane on March 27 in the morning.
The flight attendants, Jessica and Dion, made the flight especially for Pardo by pushing her into the first class and treating her to a personal welcome message through the speaker.
Sheryl Pardo (in red), 59, is pictured here with the flight attendants of American Airlines Jessica (left) and Dion (right). She was the only passenger on the flight from Washington, DC to Boston
Flight attendant Jessica can be seen here giving Pardo a personal welcome on board the intercom before the flight took off
From her new first-class seat in the front of the plane, Pardo recorded the moment when Jessica read the traditional scripted welcome message – then recorded a section.
After introducing herself and her fellow flight attendant Dion, Jessica said, “And today we have Sheryl as our passenger who lives up to it in the first class, Mommy.”
As Pardo cheered, Jessica said, “Yes, everyone calls to Sheryl, the only passenger on the plane. Thank you for joining us today. ‘
“The flight attendants were so great … and it was quite fun,” said Pardo CNN. “I was clearly scared to see my mom for the last time, so it was great just to laugh.”
Pardo said that once the flight was on the way, she and the flight attendants were chatting – all with the right social distance – which led her to tell them about her mom, Sandra Wilkins, 83.
Pardo booked the flight because she had to travel to see her mother, Sandra Wilkins (photo with Pardo) one last time before dying in a hospice
Pardo (left, with brothers and mother Sandra, center) said she was concerned about the flight and her possible exposure to the coronavirus, but her fears were mitigated by how empty the flight was
Wilkins had worked as a school nurse before working with refugee families in America and even traveling to Haiti to volunteer after the 2010 earthquake.
Pardo said that Wilkins – who died on the morning of March 28 – suffered from dementia and was treated in a hospice. Like many other facilities, the Wilkins Rehabilitation Center was closed to visitors due to the coronavirus pandemic, which meant that Pardo and her brother were not allowed to visit the older woman recently.
Pardo said that Wilkins’ “death” is not a tragic situation because my mother was demented and really deteriorating, “adding that Wilkins” was living in a phase of life that she wouldn’t have wanted for a long time. ‘
Still, she said she was touched by the breezy atmosphere of the flight, with the captain also giving her a personal altitude update.
“I think at such times, the pain of losing your mother worsens by being in this frightening time,” Pardo said. “The kindness of others is what will bring us through this.”
She said she bonded with Jessica during the flight after the flight attendant told her her “whole life story.” They apparently had similar personalities and optimistic beliefs.
Pardo called Jessica “the perfect antidote,” because she managed to ask about Pardo’s mother without making the situation sad.
“I want them to know how much it meant to me,” Pardo told CNN. “It was super positive, which I didn’t expect from that trip.”
Pardo said she was afraid to take the trip from Washington, DC to Boston to see her mother, and decided to make it a one-day trip to minimize her exposure to coronavirus and the chance of getting sick.
She said that when she arrived at the airport for her flight, her anxiety increased, thinking about her possible exposure to the virus.
But her anxiety was alleviated when she saw how empty the airport was.
“I realized that the airport was safer than the supermarket,” Pardo said, noting that most of the airport was closed and that there were only a few people in the departure hall at six that morning.
“I think we all have this attitude from planes, it’s really dangerous and there would be exposure, but there was no one,” she said.
It was the same story on her 22:30 return flight the next day from Boston.
Pardo noted the “very creepy experience” that he was the only person who dropped off a car at the rental office and then got on the connecting bus to the airport.
“The TSA people were excited to see me,” she said, adding that she was again the only passenger on the flight, where she was treated to another VIP experience.
“It was nice to have people care about this story and elevate the flight attendants who are really having a hard time and I’m definitely afraid to go to work now,” said Pardo.
Pardo said her family plans to hold a memorial service for Wilkins in Ithica, New York, where the family was raised in the summer, if that’s safe.
The planes Pardo flew on have a capacity of 100 people.
Amid fears of the spread of the coronavirus, U.S. air traffic fell 55 percent in the last week of March from 2019, when Pardo flew, according to ABC St. Louis.