My daughter has a brave heart
By Soo Yong Kim
It is said, “Thanks to bureaucratic official, I blow a bugle,” according to the proverb. Thanks to my daughter, I blew the bugle. I took many flights free of charge. One day, I took a flight bound for Korea with excitement visiting my homeland. Any passenger of free flight usually is assigned to economy class seat. However, I was blessed because a flight attendant guided me to a vacant seat of first class. I was very pleased to take a first class seat. At first, I was uncomfortable to take first class seat. After a while, I was obliged to take even free economy class seat. Notwithstanding, I felt snug and cozy in spacious seat. Savory food was delicious and tasted so good in flavor. I was in highest spirits thanks to my daughter. Common people can’t afford to buy first class ticket. Being proud of a first class passenger, I was very happy. I fell sound asleep while reading a book.
All of a sudden, I was awakened by shaking of the airplane and it drove me to fear that I ever experienced for the first time in my life. I screamed, “Oh my God, please save my life and all passengers’. I sent ‘SOS’ signal to God through my prayer. All passengers were stricken with fear and speechless. They got stressed and nervous.
An announcement from a flight attendant was on the air. She said, “The turbulence came from unusual air current and It would be subsided.” However, I kept praying to God for safety. Even though there was a few minutes’ turmoil, I felt at the end of the day. This turbulence reminded me of my daughter’s safety and I was worried about her. I said to myself, “What is she doing right now?” and “Is she on board?” I thought to myself, “Is she day off today? I wondered why she didn’t answer me, when I made many calls to her. “What is happening to her now?” My fear reached the highest level of phobia.
My daughter was a flight attendant of Northwest Airlines. She was so romantic that she could burn her passion and dream of her life to fly in the sky as if the eagle soars on wings high above. She enjoyed her flights around the world as a flight attendant. She has always courage to challenge anything to accomplish on mind without hesitation. She was a charming and aggressive young cutie.
All offspring are dear and precious to their parents. However, my daughter was like an apple of my eyes. I was not at ease thinking of her safety because she flies all over the world. My heart sank when I heard news about the airplane crash somewhere. I was all the time attentive to weather forecast. When there was a storm or typhoon, I was worried about her flight. Moreover, when she flew abroad, an anxiety occupied my mind. I kept praying to God for her safety all the time. God gives me peace and comfort when I trust in Him.
My daughter majored in Computer Science in university. She used to work as an accountant at hospital in San Diego. She was bored to death at same routine work day in and day out. She quitted her job and applied for a flight attendant. She became a flight attendant of Northwest Airlines. She flied home and abroad freely.
She attended classes for flight attendant at Base Camp in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Four months later, she finished all classes for training and passed all written examinations and graduated from the training school. She was very excited to become a flight attendant that she dreamt of. Her face shone bright with happiness. She sent me a photograph of graduation with her crew members. I congratulated her on graduation and I was very happy with her.
On September 11, 2001, I saw twin towers of the World Trade Center be attacked and collapsed by Islamic terrorists on the TV news. I was frightened to see awful and horrific scenes of unprecedented attacks by terrorists. This impact engraved on my mind with fear. I worried about my daughter’s safety thinking that my daughter might have been on board in that airplane. I was embarrassed and impatient about her safety.
On September 11, 2001, 19 militants associated with the Islamic extremist group al Qaeda hijacked four airplanes and carried out suicide attacks against targets in the United States. Two of the planes were flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, a third plane hit the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C., and the fourth plane crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Almost 3,000 people were killed during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which triggered major U.S. initiatives to combat terrorism and defined the presidency of George W. Bush.
I listened to every news to find out which airlines the crashed airplanes belonged to. I was almost dead not knowing whereabouts of my daughter. I thought that her life was at stake. I kept praying to God for her safety. I recalled my painful past of early life of my immigration in America. I and my husband couldn’t support her very well as parents. I was full of regrets and heartbroken.
At that time, I was out of employment due to car collision accident. My back was injured and I had been bedridden for almost one year. My daughter was attending high school and she was a senior high. Her classmates studied very hard to enter the university. Notwithstanding, she wanted to have a part-time job to help her family financially. She got a job at flower shop in Newport Beach. After school, she delivered a lot of bunches of flowers to the clients in Newport Beach.
I wanted to visit that flower shop to say hello to the owner and express my thanks to the owner. When I met the owner, she spoke highly of my daughter and praised my daughter for her job. She told me that my daughter was her clients’ favorite deliverer. They looked for my daughter all the time.
When she came back to flower shop after finishing delivery, I saw her driving a big cargo van. I was surprised to see a big van. I hugged and comforted her saying to stop delivering. I told her to forgive me to let you do such a toiled and hard job. I said to her, “I can resume my work to make money and you study hard to enter the university. No more part-time job for you.” On my way home, I couldn’t help but keep sobbing.
She insisted to continue her job, but I asked her to stop it. She listened to me faithfully. During her schooling at the university, she received scholarships and she gave me some of it. She was very loyal and trustworthy. How wonderful she was to her family! I missed her a lot. I exclaimed, “Where on earth is she at the moment?”
At last, I was excited and pleased to find out that my daughter was dead safe. The odds are in my daughter’s favor. I gave thanks to God for her safety. I had begged her to quit her job since this horrified attacks by terrorists took place in America. She made a big decision to quit her life-time job that she enjoyed herself very much. Ever after, I could sleep at ease and in peace. My daughter got married soon and she lives happily with her family in Sacramento, Northern California.
More than a decade ago, I was frightened again when I heard the news that Pilot Sully Sullenberger performed “Miracle on the Hudson River.”
About a minute after taking off from New York’s La Guardia Airport on January 15, 2009, US Airways Flight 1549 collided with one of the aviation industry’s most threatening foes: a flock of geese. Crippled by the bird strike, both engines lost power and went quiet, forcing Captain Pilot Sully Sullenberger to make an emergency landing.
Captain Sully with his crew members together saved all passengers safely.
I thought that if my daughter had been on board in that airplane, she must have helped all passengers keep safe with all crew members. I know her courage and composure.
When she was a senior high in high school, she had driven a big cargo van to deliver flowers to clients in Newport Beach. I have never driven a cargo van, because van is too big for me and I am afraid of driving such a big van. To the contrary, she was bold. I wondered how she could drive a big van with her small and slim body. God gave her courage already in her early teen-age. That’s the reason she could fly around the world with the same courage as a teen-ager.
She didn’t take after me. I was a yellow belly when I was young, but not now, because I believe in God.
The eagle became a hen and she embraces her chicks under her wings. This is a beautiful picture to me. I am happy to see them be happy.
I give thanks to God for everything and in everything!
*This essay was awarded in Kyunghee Overseas Literature competition.
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