American Airlines Recruits First Special Needs Flight Attendant and Throws Her a Birthday Party

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American Airlines made a young girl’s “dream come true” for her birthday on Saturday by granting her a job position with the company.

17-year-old Shantell ‘Princess’ Pooser of South Carolina arrived for her birthday party and first day of work at the Columbia Metropolitan Airport on Oct. 13 donned in an American Airlines uniform. The teen has down syndrome and suffers from airway defects laryngomalacia, tracheomalacia and tracheobronchial malacia. However, Pooser’s terminal condition doesn’t stop her light from shining bright as she becomes the first flight stewardess with special needs to be inducted into the airline.

Shantell Pooser
(photo credit: wistv screenshot)

The teen’s mother Deanna Miller Berry told WIS10 that her daughter is “beyond what someone would call a bubbly person.”

“Her smile, her vibrant personality, the way she shimmies” is what makes Princess unique and people drawn to her said Berry.

Berry added she and Princess began flying frequently to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital after her condition worsened a few years ago.

“So far, we’ve been on over 57. That’s including the connecting flights, as well, too,” she added.

In the midst of their frequent traveling, the 17-year-old grew a passion for flying and told her mother she wanted to be a flight attendant. Nevertheless, an American Airlines pilot discovered Pooser’s wish and helped turn it into reality.

The teen was surrounded by several family and friends for her first day of work. Even Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin joined in on Princess’ celebration.

Berry said her daughter’s illness has blocked more than 87% of her airways. However, the teen continues to beat the odds and has outlived numerous doctor’s expectations.

“After the newest, recent scans, they were so scary to the point now where the doctors in Cincinnati say there’s nothing more that they can do for her,” said Berry. “So, you just figure what can you do to make a difference.”

This is a dream come true! Somebody pinch me. I'm so nervous and excited for her

Posted by Deanna Miller Berry on Saturday, October 13, 2018

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