As many of you know, Pride is a favorite subject of mine, and one on which I’ve been posting kind of a lot lately. I’m proud to be gay, proud to be a drag queen’s husband, proud to hate broccoli — throw me a character trait or a physical feature and I can crank out 1,500 words on why it’s awesome before Pandora even asks me if I’m still listening. While my pride in the flying career to which I’ve been called is related, in some ways, to Gay Pride (a link that we can explore in depth in its very own post), it’s a Pride that I don’t spend a lot of my free time or blog space quacking about. They’ve written whole books (surely) on how gross broccoli is, but how rhapsodic are you really gonna wax about your Coke-handing-out skills, legendary though they may be?
Then on Saturday, an Asiana Airlines 777 crashed — rather spectacularly — on landing in San Francisco. They lost a tail, they lost a wing, and they lost two teenaged passengers before the smoldering wreck skidded to a stop in a ditch between runways. Two flight attendants were injured when slide-rafts inflated in the cabin, pinning them to their jumpseats; their co-workers, at the end of an eleven-hour flight, wearing high heels, opened the usable exits and executed what appears to have been a “textbook” evacuation of an airplane that threatened to burst into flames at any moment. According to an article on the Wall Street Journal’s website, a passenger “saw a diminutive flight attendant, Jiyeon Kim, who was carrying injured passengers down the aisle, to get them off the plane. ‘She was a hero,’ he said. ‘This tiny, little girl was carrying people piggyback, running everywhere, with tears running down her face. She was crying, but she was still so calm and helping people. I took a photo of her.’ He said the flight attendants got everyone off the plane as the smoke billowed inside.” As they are trained, and must come to work prepared, to do, a crew of exhausted flight attendants with — I promise you — nothing but their downtown San Francisco layover on their minds leapt to their feet with their hearts in their throats and saved nearly three hundred lives.