Please note: I was not there during the time of the incident, so these are simply my distant reactions. With Love, Kara

My mind starts a sprint; ferociously running through anyone I know who could have been at Ft Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport on Friday morning. The time and Terminal 2 decreases the possibility that my friends from Longhaul and Allegiant were caught in the midst of tragedy, but we know too many to in some way not be affected. And although I find myself many miles away, this feels too close. That terminal was where I would always stop to get a coffee after commuting from LAX to FLL on the red eye. Every single time. I would walk through that section of the building by baggage claim before every single trip that I worked for The Airline. I think of Meghan, Esmy, Cika and CJ; hoping a praying that they were not flying or near this incident. I know too many crew and flyers who frequent airports and that one in particular. My mom was supposed to fly to FLL and land on Friday morning. My dad had been thinking of going with her. I had contemplated going.

It’s too close. It’s just too close.

I don’t know what to say when your world is shaken by incomprehensible violence, and yet time moves on so that we continue to do what we were doing and go where we were going. It’s like something happened, but nothing really happened. We think about it, but we feel a bit powerless to stop the deluge of disasters brought along by individuals and groups. Trucks running into crowds. Trains running off of tracks. Shooters in airports. We feel a bit overwhelmed by what is happening on this Earth. We think, “That could have been me. That could have been us. That could have been…”

But for me— my mom, dad, and hopefully my friends and colleagues— it wasn’t. This time.

The air-conditioning in Greta— the old Volvo that I owned which was filled to the brim with endless personality and unending problems— worked only 40 percent of the time. It was on one of those hellishly hot Florida summer nights that I would plead with her air conditioning to “please just work.” I learned quickly to give up begging and simply put my uniform on in the employee parking lot bathroom. And, it was one of those 80 degree nights, that I found myself pausing my walk between employee parking and Terminal 3; taking a minute to catch some cool air, a cold brew, and soak up the sweat from my hot pink skin. Instead of a minute of quiet like I wanted, Terminal 2 Baggage Claim included two uber-rambunctious children who immediately showered me with energy and a barrage of questions related to my silly hat and now sweat-drenched uniform. I couldn’t help, but smile at them; while consoling their mother over her day of delayed flights and the fact that her ride was late.

Why do people need to be so violent I wonder? What does murder prove?

On Friday, Terminal 2 Baggage claim was full of people getting ready to board cruises. Families coming home after winter holiday. Couples beginning their honeymoon. The thing is, so often we go about our days and our lives like we have all the time in the world, and the truth is, we don’t really know how much time we do have. I am just so saddened by these events. It’s just too close.

Don’t let hate and hurting people make you fear travel or living your life. But please, please please, take every ounce of beauty you find and make that beauty grow. Tell the people you love that you love them. Every day. Be grateful for this breath that you have. And, I want you to know, that if you have lost someone close to you, there are no words for this. There is nothing that can bring your beloved back. I won’t tell you that this happened for a reason, because I can see no good in hate and hurt of this magnitude. All I know is that you are feeling irreplaceable loss. I’m so sorry.
To my flight crew friends— Please be safe. Please stay hopeful. Please go with your gut feeling. Love people because people are hurting. I love you all. Just please, please, please— stay safe.

Ft Lauderdale Hollywood Airport

About the Author

Hello, I’m K. J. Watts, but my friends call me Kara. I fell into the sky and have worked as International cabin crew, on private jets as a corporate flight attendant, and earned an FAA Private Pilot Certificate. Over a decade ago, I started this blog, which developed into a love for writing and a debut memoir based on Flight Attendant Life. A California native, I now live in Sydney, Australia, where I enjoy spending time with my husband, writing, and surfing.

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