Captain’s Log: A Moment to Celebrate

A “Symphony of Your Life” blog with Mark Hardcastle

Captain’s Log: February 11, 2022. UA 1119, Denver to Cancun, a very good load. And I got to observe, and participate in, a moment to celebrate after The Age of Covid. Here’s what happened.

With passengers in their seats, almost ready to close the door, I picked up the Purser’s handset in the forward galley, asked my flight attendant Joyce (waving in the picture) to join me at the front of the cabin, and made this announcement.

“Folks, I’d like to take a moment before we get underway to tell you a story. This time last year we didn’t have very many customers. That meant we couldn’t make payroll, and a large cohort of our flight attendants lost their jobs to furlough.

“Thank goodness, the story continues. Later in the year, you all started coming back to the friendly skies. And because you started coming back, we were able to start bringing our flight attendants back to their rightful places in our cabins. And it gives me great pleasure to let you know that all of our flight attendants are now back to work, and I am incredibly grateful to you for making that possible.

“And it gets even better. Not only are all of our flight attendants back, but we’ve started hiring more! And this is where I get to introduce you to Joyce. I want to let you know that our flight to Cancun is Joyce’s very first flight as a fully qualified United Airlines flight attendant. (I turned to Joyce and continued.)

“Joyce, welcome to United Airlines! I’m honored to be your Captain for your very first flight, and I’m grateful to have you on my crew. (Back to the passengers.)

“Folks let’s welcome Joyce to our flight and her new career! *Applause*

“Thank you all for honoring her that way! We’ll be underway shortly!”

With that, Joyce went back to closing the bins; I stowed the handset, returned to the cockpit, called for the “Before Pushback Checklist,” and we, that is, all of us, especially Joyce, were on our way.

Here’s the funny thing. I can think of at least two previous occasions when I commanded a first flight for a flight attendant. Neither time did it occur to me to make a big deal out of it. I should have. Why didn’t I?

I can speculate, but it really doesn’t matter. We all show up as best we can on any given day. On those other days I wasn’t ready to show up the way I did for Joyce. I’ve grown as a Captain since those days to the point that my best was better on the current occasion.

And here’s my promise and a challenge. I will continue to grow and learn and do my best to be better. Will you?

But then again, was that the real lesson in this experience? Maybe not…

Maybe the best reminder was that the Wheel of Fortune turns. Sometimes we’re at the top, like when all those furloughed flight attendants were initially hired. That was a moment to celebrate.

Then the Wheel turned, and we all found ourselves at the bottom. And we all had the option to jump off the Wheel and call it a day.

But the Wheel turned again. And all of those who stayed in the process are now back at the top. And isn’t that the real message from Joyce, and all the other flight attendants who have come back to work?

I hope as you ultimately find yourself at the bottom of the Wheel again one of these days, you’ll remember Joyce. And the many flight attendants who stayed with it during The Age of Covid. And you’ll stay in the process, too, until you find yourself reigning again at the top of the Wheel.

Thanks for reading!

Captain Mark

L-R: Ronna, The Captain, Larry, Debonney, Joyce, and Kelly.

#WeAreUnited #BeingUnited #UnitedTogether #UnitedAirlines

Link to Mark’s book, The Symphony of Your Life

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Mark graduated from the USAF Academy in 1982. After nine years as a pilot on active duty, he left the military to join a commercial airline. In addition to flying B-737s around the country, Hardcastle spends time in the Rocky Mountains and serves on the artistic staff of the Colorado Children’s Chorale. He lives in Centennial, Colorado, with his wife and four children. Need some help figuring out why you’re on this planet? Want to talk about discovering your mission and purpose? Contact Mark today at 720.840.8361 to schedule a free personal consultation. He can also deliver an inspirational keynote or workshop for your organization! email: for information.

Posted in Inspiration, Motivation, UncategorizedTagged BeingUnited, CaptainsLog, determination, how, inspiration, NewWorld, perseverance, PostCovid, purpose, StayInTheProcess, StepOverTheBar, symphonyofyourlife, TheSymphonyofYourLife, United, WeAreUnited