Friday, April 5, 2013

A Friend in Need...

Several weeks ago, a colleague from my Houston domicile (base) fell vicitim to a tragic illness while on a layover in Frankfurt, Germany.  For reasons still unknown, Randy* lost consciousness while inside the layover hotel elevator and fell, striking his head and causing himself a grievous injury.  When he was discovered, he was still unconscious and rushed to a nearby hospital for care where he remains in a critical care unit.

I'm sure it was a most difficult trip home for the remainder of his crew, concerned for his welfare, still unsure of the severity of his injury and with no real assurance that he would survive the calamity.  But airline crew don't really have a choice in such circumstances, the trip assignment must be completed.  Thankfully, the pervasive nature of social media alerted the remainder of our domicile as to his circumstances and the next Frankfurt layover crew picked up where our friend's crew was compelled to leave off.  Visits, cookies, cards, good wishes:  if these have healing power, our colleague should be healthy by now!  But he isn't.

Our airline employer arranged to have Randy's family members transported to Frankfurt to see to his care and to provide family support for his convalescence.  Thousands of miles from home and without warning, Randy's family is now struggling to cope with these incomprehensible circumstances and the seemingly insurmountable obstacles that they present.  As if to add insult to injury, my domicile flew it's last Frankfurt layover on March 31st.  The Frankfurt domicile of our recently merged company began flying the Houston-Frankfurt trip in the OPPOSITE direction (with a Houston layover) on April 1st extenuating our ability to provide direct support and comfort to our friend!  What a great time for the "cavalry" to crest the hill with support and supplies, no?  And exactly who would the cavalry be in this situation?

I'm heartened to say that our NEW friends and colleagues from the "other side" of this merger have stepped up to fill the gap.  A combination of Frankfurt domicile management staff, company & union EAP (Employee Assistance) staff and concerned Frankfurt-based flight attendants (one of whom co-Admins a Facebook group with me) are involved in supporting Randy and his family.  What a comfort to ALL of us to know that we can depend on each other in time of crisis!

A certain amount of fear, rancor, speculation arises from the merger of two gigantic companies (maybe small ones too, but the big ones are my current area of expertise.)  The relief provided by friends yet unmet, faces yet unseen, voices unheard, goes a long way to alleviate the anxiety of such undertakings.

I understand that Randy is making steady improvement:  he has regained consciousness, has begun to speak and has been moved to a lower level of care area of the hospital.  Now the seemingly endless slog of convalescence and recovery begins in earnest!  Hours upon days upon weeks in a hospital bed in a foreign country surrounded by medical professionals whose first language is NOT English, family coming and going as their own lives warrant.  (As I type, I am helping coordinate an effort to get Randy some "time passing" material for the remainder of his hospital stay with my Frankfurt-based co-Admin who has Houston layovers this month!)

I've always assumed the adage was, "A friend in need is a friend indeed."

Now, I'm quite sure that it's acutally, "A friend in need is a friend in deed."

Randy is a very fortunate man!  We are all so fortunate to have our new airline FAMILY.

(*for privacy reasons, I have substituted the name "Randy" in my recounting of events.)

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