Travel Tips & News

American Airlines inducts 1st flight attendant with special needs & terminal illness

The powerful, must-read story of a young woman with a dream has warmed our hearts.

Seventeen-year-old Shantell “Princess” Pooser has spent a lot of time on airplanes. While many of us travel to live life to the fullest, Princess is travelling simply to stay alive.

The Columbia, South Carolina teenager suffers from a series of defects called laryngomalacia, tracheomalacia, and tracheobronchial malacia that are blocking 87% of her airways.

The terminal illness requires many flights to the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital for treatment. Her mothers, Deanna Miller Berry, says, “So far, we’ve been on over 57. That’s including the connecting flights, as well.”

While the trips often mean medical scans and more bad news, the flights themselves became a newfound joy for the vibrant, happy Princess, particularly seeing the flight attendants at work.

Berry explains, “She saw the flight attendant and she was like, ‘Mommy, I want to be a flight attendant.’”

With a little help and a lot of support, her dream came true. A pilot from American Airlines heard about Princess and her wish to be part of the crew. So, for her 17th birthday party, she was outfitted with her own custom uniform and served her first flight filled with her friends and family. Even the mayor of Columbia, Steve Benjamin, came on board. It was a birthday unlike any other for a teenager who has outlived her prognosis.

At Bold, we believe there is nothing bolder than doing what you love! You can watch more about the inspiring Princess here:

Video by Emily Scarlett