Estelle and I met on a flight from Chicago to Charleston, SC. We had both gotten upgraded to first class, so we were both feeling like bosses before we even took off. I cracked a joke to the flight attendant and Estelle cracked a smile so I thought I would say, hello. She did not seem too engrossed in her Glamour magazine so we started chatting.
Estelle was on her way to Charleston for a bachelorette party. I was disappointed that they did not all buy big hats and plan on talking in delightful southern accents the whole weekend. She too was disappointed at her oversight and she jokingly chastised me for not helping her out sooner. She said she was going to Philadelphia for another bachelorette party and asked me what should their theme be? I replied “big hats and southern accents.” Throughout our conversation we laughed a lot which made the flight “fly” by…sorry.
Estelle was born by Normandy in France but her parents moved her and her 2 siblings to St. Louis when she was younger. After her parents moved back to France her family went in every direction. She attended Georgetown. Her sister when to school in England, met a boy, and then moved to South Africa and her brother is still trying to figure life out. Fortunately he is doing it by living and skiing everyday in Switzerland…not a bad way to “find” yourself. This past Christmas was the first time they were all together in 2 years. They went to stay with her sister, her husband, and the child they are excitedly expecting down in South Africa. As a surprise, their parents packed an entire suitcase filled with French cheeses, wines, and bread. Estelle rolled her eyes when she said that and laughed.
We then got to talking about work. She works in the corporate offices of a major fertilizer company – not at all where she thought she would be working. I told her about my speaking career and coaching business and finished by saying, “there is something special about doing what you love.” Estelle thought about this for a minute and then responded with, “I guess I am not doing what I love, but I love what I do.” BOOM – MIC DROP! I love what she said and I am going to tell you all about why in an upcoming “Robo Thought.” Sign-up at the top of this page if you haven’t already!
Estelle and I then got to talking about her new role as a supervisor. She oversees a small but feisty staff of 4; a couple of which applied for the position she got and are significantly older than her. She said she was still trying to figure out how to best approach it and is still learning her supervision style though she is not afraid to put the hammer down if they get out of line. I asked her, “how do you work on building rapport with them?” She thought about it and did not really have an answer so we processed that in a conversation that’s not worth documenting now.
After work talk we bonded when Estelle told me her boyfriend was about to move to Chicago to put an end to their long distance relationship. My wife, Jacqueline, and I did long distance for 5 years. She chuckled because she frequently indulges in “retail therapy” so there is no space for her boyfriend’s clothes as of yet in her apartment!
Estelle also offered up an observation about what she has noticed about people in the US. She said we are all always busy and in constant need of entertainment. When her boyfriend went to Paris to meet her parents for the first time she was nervous because all they do is sit around, drink wine, and talk. Turns out he handled it like a champ. I was also fine with just sitting and talking, and that’s how Estelle and I became airplane friends.
If you liked this story, and want to read more like it, feel free to check out the rest of my Airplane Friends posts. Click on this link and scroll down!