American Airlines Meets Terminally Ill Teen, Names Her The First Special Needs Flight Attendant

by Amy Paige
Amy is the Director of Trending Content at LittleThings. After graduating from Florida State University with a creative writing degree, she moved straight to New York City to pursue a career in the arts. She loves discovering and sharing viral videos, watching movies with her Muppet-like poodle mix named Cali, and doing the robot whenever possible.

Shantell “Princess” Pooser, 17, is not letting terminal illness define her.

The 17-year-old, who also has Down syndrome, developed a series of dangerous growths that block 87% of her airways.

She and her mother, Deanna, were regularly making the 16-hour round-trip drive from their home in South Carolina to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital so Princess could undergo medical treatment.

But after some time, Deanna could no longer afford the costly car rentals and gas money, so she decided they’d have to start traveling to and from the hospital by air.

The mother-daughter duo has so far taken 57 flights — and Princess has since discovered her passion for flying and travel.

It was during one of their flights to the hospital that Princess turned to Deanna and said, “Mommy, I want to be a flight attendant.”

Though her condition is terminal, Princess has exceeded all of her doctors’ expectations and hasn’t lost her bubbly personality, kind heart, and positive outlook.

Just the characteristics that make a great flight attendant.

And so Deanna contacted American Airlines, hoping the company would be willing to do something special for Princess’ birthday.

The company went above and beyond Princess’ wildest dreams.

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