Retirement is the end of another chapter in life and this pilot’s final flight took off on an emotional note.
Every career reaches a point where you retire from it professionally. You might still be able to continue it in another recreational form, but almost all professional jobs have a retirement age, which seems like the end of an era. It’s that age and time in one’s life when you are thanked for your services and are expected to take a back seat and relax. In a heartwarming video captured by American Airlines’ cabin crew member Justin Harrison–who goes by @realjharrison on TikTok–a pilot can be seen giving his retirement speech and touching the hearts of all the passengers. The pilot flying the aircraft to Chicago got out of his cockpit and said his final words as a goodbye to his career.
The video begins with a grey-haired man, sharply dressed in his pilot uniform and speaking into the public announcement system. He starts by greeting everyone and ensuring that he is audible to each passenger “all the way in the back.” He welcomes everyone onboard flight 2561 and introduces himself as Jeff Fell, the captain of the flight and gives further details about the flight time, duration and the weather.
He then proceeds to get to the purpose of his speaking that day and says, “I normally don’t stand up in front of everybody like this. I usually just stay in the cockpit and talk on the PA. If I get a little emotional, please forgive me for that.” It’s clearly evident from the video that Fell’s throat choked up while saying this and he quickly went back to reading from his paper in hand.
He continues, “First of all, I’d like to take a few moments of your time before we take off to Chicago tonight. I’d like to acknowledge a group of very important people like me that are on the plane. Most of them are in the back of the airplane, and they’re the majority of my family, who have come along with me on my retirement flight. They’re on board with me for my retirement flight after 32 years with American.” Fell breaks down for just a fraction of a second before erupting into a big smile as all the passengers join in and applaud him.
Holding back his tears, he further goes on to “thank everyone” for “coming along” with him that night and “celebrating this very memorable time” in his life. He added, “I love all of you.” It moves the audience once again and they begin applauding him loudly. Also, he adds, “I didn’t want to get emotional, but goodness gracious. Finally, for my wonderful wife, Julie, who has been at my side for the majority of my 32 years at American. She has been the solid rock and the foundation in our lives and our marriage. Her faith in the Lord, wisdom, strength and love has guided our marriage and family throughout these years. I love you and look forward to the next chapter in our lives.” He gets emotional, breaks down a little bit and quickly concludes by saying, “Welcome aboard everybody.”
Harrison’s heartwarming video went viral, gaining nearly 6M views and 753K likes. The comment section was flooded with nothing but respect and adoration for the pilot. User @sara.harrison7 said, “How awesome! I hope he got the cannon salute!” Another user, @.supersaman, said, “His little script. Just imagine him sitting there and typing it up the night before.”
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