35 Years After Being Hired by Southwest This 56-year-old Decided It Was Time to Fly

Shari Rood may be the best Southwest flight attendant applicant in history. Not only does she know all the rules of flying, but she also has plenty of experience with customer service, too. That’s because she also happens to have more than three decades of previous experience with the airline as a ticket agent.

According to Rood, who recently shared her story with the Dallas News, she always dreamed of being a flight attendant. However, she became a mother to three beautiful girls and decided to focus on staying close to home instead. Now, with her children grown, the 56-year-old decided it was time to get her wings and fly. Literally.

But, when Rood submitted her application to join the next flight attendant class the airline thought it was a mistake. That’s because Rood is employee number 5956. The number, the Dallas News explained, didn’t make sense compared with the company’s new hires who number are somewhere in the 138,000s.

“She said, ‘Really?’” Rood told the Dallas News about the woman who processed her paperwork. “And I said, ‘Yeah. You’re wondering if I’m crazy, right?’”

Crazy or not she went for it. And on Feb. 1, she got her official wings alongside her 45 other classmates.

There to help celebrate the major milestone was Linda Clark, a high school friend and fellow flight attendant with Southwest, along with her three daughters.

“She’s been talking about this for as long as I can remember,” her 25-year-old daughter Kenna Sperco said. “We could not be more excited for her.”

If you think Rood’s accomplishment in becoming a flight attendant with Southwest is easy, you’d better think again. As Dallas News explained, in 2018, there were 28,518 applicants for flight attendant positions with the airline for just 1,207 positions. That’s marks a 4 percent acceptance rate, which is smaller than most Ivy League schools.

“It’s just a really fun story that she has chosen to take that journey as a flight attendant and love on our customers even more,” Julie Weber, Southwest’s chief people officer, told the Dallas News as to why hiring Rood as part of that four percent was a no-brainer. “We’ll take that contribution as long as we can.”

So, next time you hop on a Southwest flight look for Rood. And make sure to give her a high-five for both her commitment and accomplishments in the friendly skies. If you want to become a flight attendant like Rood too here is the first step you need to take to making your dream a reality.

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