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Ethiopian Airlines makes Cancer Victim an Honorary Flight Attendant!

The touching story of Yayou Woldeyes

Ethiopian Airlines has surprised cancer-stricken Yayou Woldeyes, an Addis Ababa-born woman, by fulfilling her lifelong dream: Woldeyes became an Ethiopian Airlines honorary flight attendant!

(Story submitted by one of Captain Jetson’s Staff-members).

Ethiopian Airlines Cloud Nine Business Class

The airline offers clients a choice between Economy seating and its Cloud Nine Business Class.

This act of kindness was nothing short of Ethiopian’s great Cloud Nine service that the airline is so famous for. The beautiful gesture towards Woldeyes has touched the hearts of many.

Yayou Woldeyes, the Ethiopian honorary flight attendant

The Ethiopian Airlines honor took place at the airline’s Toronto, Canada office. The event fulfilled Woldeyes’ childhood dream of being an airline employee.

Woldeyes grew up wanting to be a flight attendant, applying for one of the positions in the late 1970s, and dismissing a childhood friend’s suggestion that she become a nurse.

The 53-year-old Woldeyes – who relocated to Toronto in the 1980s – has pancreatic cancer and is in palliative care.

Realization of a lifelong dream

That prompted her son Ermias to contact Ethiopian Airlines and ask if it would allow her to don a flight attendant’s uniform.

Ethiopian A350-900XWB Cloud Nine Business Class Review. YouTube/SamChui

Ermias said,

“Growing up, my Mom has always told me the story of how she admired Ethiopian Airlines staff and always dreamed of being a member of its cabin crew. She would talk about how much she loved the uniform that flight attendants wore.”

The carrier’s Canadian manager Samson Arega okayed Ermia’s request. Ermias brought his unsuspecting mother to the airline’s Toronto office on Dec. 19, telling her she needed to sign documentation in preparation for a visit by her brother in Sweden.

Woldeyes becomes a flight attendant

Yayou Woldeyes, honorary flight attendant Ethiopian Airlines
Yayou Woldeyes, Honorary Flight Attendant, Ethiopian Airlines. Photo: Ethiopian Airlines

Woldeyes arrived at a surprise gathering. There she was presented with a flight attendant’s uniform and name tag, a plaque recognizing her as an honorary staffer and a bouquet.

“Now you’re a part of the team,”

Arega told Woldeyes, who acknowledged her surprise but declared herself “very, very happy” and proceeded to hug all Ethiopian Airlines employees and others looking on. Arega said his employer has a strong sense of social responsibility, prompting it to agree to Ermias’ request.

“We wanted to fulfill her dreams.”

Woldeyes also received a model of an Ethiopian Airlines plane.

Surprise poinsettias

During the ceremony, a member of the building’s staff arrived unexpectedly to give poinsettias to the office tenants. The building’s staff member then returned minutes later with another set of poinsettias, at this time for Woldeyes after seeing Ethiopian Airlines reaching out to her.

That led Ed Radonic of Radonic Rodgers Strategy, which works with Ethiopian Airlines, to note Woldeyes was quickly becoming laden with gifts.

“Any more gifts and you’ll need two Ubers to get home,”

Radonic joked.

Ethiopian Airlines flight attendants
Ethiopian flight attendants are known for providing great service. Photo: Ethiopian Airlines.

Ethiopian Airlines fulfilling a dream

Ermias says his mother returned home overjoyed. He concluded by saying,

“She can’t stop talking about it on phone with family now – that this is the best Christmas surprise gift she’s ever had. She was in shock at the Ethiopian Airlines office and thought she was dreaming after putting on the official uniform.

As her cancer is not curable, she is in palliative care with hopes to enjoy her remaining time as much as possible with family and friends, but she struggles at times to maintain her optimism.

Today, Ethiopian Airlines granted her dreams, and celebrated it with her too. She not only feels a greater sense of community now but also has a fresh outlook towards a new year full of joy and possibilities.”

Featured Image: Ethiopian Airlines.

What did you think of this touching story about Ethiopian honorary flight attendant Yayou Woldeyes? Have you flown with Ethiopian Airlines? You can send your comments and questions to the journalist or to Captain Jetson Airline & Travel News here.

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What is Ethiopian Airlines?

Ethiopian Airlines is the flag carrier of Ethiopia. The airline was founded in 1945 as Ethiopian Air Lines. The airline was renamed to Ethiopian Airlines on August 20th, 1965. Ethiopian Airlines is headquartered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

What is Ethiopian Airlines Cloud Nine?

Cloud Nine (or CloudNine, or Cloud 9) is the name for Ethiopian Business Class. Ethiopian Airline’s Cloud Nine commitment is for the passenger to “always feel special”, as described on Ethiopian’s website.

Does Ethiopian Airlines serve alcohol?

Yes, Ethiopian Airlines serve alcohol, which is complimentary along with all meals and drinks onboard the airline.

Is Ethiopian Airlines safe to fly?

The Aviation Safety Network Database shows Ethiopian Airlines (formerly Ethiopian Air Lines before August 1965) with a record 72 accidents/incidents since the start of the airline. 25 of these accidents/incidents resulted in fatalities, for a total of 494 deaths on Ethiopian Airlines flights. The airline’s last two accidents involved the tragic 737 Max accident in 2018. Then, Ethiopian experienced a runway excursion of its Dash 8 aircraft on December 10, 2019, with no injuries to people. The aircraft sustained damage.

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