American Airlines’ CEO attends wedding of Southwest flight attendant after viral meeting

Jun 10, 2021

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Love is in the air in this latest heartwarming story.

Over Memorial Day Weekend, JacqueRae Hill — a flight attendant for Southwest Airlines — and Rashard Sullivan got married in Dallas, and there was a very special guest in attendance at the wedding: American Airlines CEO Doug Parker.

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Parker shared in the festivities, posting a congratulatory message to the newlyweds on his official Instagram account.

So, what’s the CEO of American doing at the wedding of a Southwest flight attendant, one might wonder?

Turns out, JacqueRae Sullivan, nee Hill, and Parker met roughly one year ago during the height of the pandemic aboard a Southwest flight from Dallas to Panama City, Florida. (AA’s flights between the two cities were sold out on that fateful day.)

The two started talking after Sullivan saw Parker carrying the book “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism,” by Robin DiAngelo. At the time, Sullivan was feeling overwhelmed by the events that were unfolding after the death of George Floyd.

 

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A post shared by Doug Parker (@doug_parker)

“It’s so difficult with everything going on … You want to be informed, you want to know. But then at the same time, my job as a service person is to provide somebody with happiness,” Sullivan said at the time in an interview with CNN.

When Sullivan saw Parker reading the book during the flight, she sat down next to him and asked him about it. They continued talking about the book for ten minutes before she started crying. “I know he didn’t know what to do. I know I startled him. I was embarrassed,” she told CNN.

Until then, Sullivan had no idea she was sitting next to one of the country’s top aviation executives. They only introduced themselves after the conversation, and Parker left Sullivan with a handwritten note thanking Sullivan for chatting with him and asking her to follow up if she’d like.

At the time, the story went viral. “Southwest flight attendant meets American CEO during flight” read national headlines. In the year that’s since passed, the two have continued to stay in touch, culminating in Sullivan invited Parker to her wedding.

Roughly one year after that fateful day, Parker wrote “thank you for the example and inspiration you provide to me and so many others every day. I wish you and Rashard all the best!”

Featured photo by JT Genter/The Points Guy

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