Hold Your Head High: Following his dream gave Shaun the confidence to be his true self
As part of the #beYourself campaign we hope to highlight the importance of being yourself and expressing who you are. It’s important to step up on the stage and be visible, follow your dreams and be the person you want to be. Shaun shares his story and shows the importance of perseverance and dedication when following your dream and being yourself .
My name is Shaun Moore O’Kelly and I am 29 years old as I write this. When I was 12, I took a flight on my first family holiday to Palma, Majorca. I had never been on an airplane, and I always thought that Cabin Crew as they are called now were all female and called Stewardesses. BUT this one Man was part of the Cabin Crew flight and he was a cut above and moved about the Cabin with such Grace and Presence and the Passengers lapped up his infectious good humor.
I myself took on a part time job which result in a full time job between the ages of 15 and 18 and at 19 I became a Customer Service Manager BUT I never forgot that man on my flight. At 21 I applied to an airline for a position as Cabin Crew but I was unsuccessful so I tried again when I was 23 and again when I was 24.
My efforts were in vain and as new generations beyond me came into themselves I still heard the odd comment or had the odd comment about how being a “Trolley Dolley” wasn’t a “real job” (I came out in 2001 and this was in 2014). So I figured I have nothing to lose.
Just before my 27th Birthday I got a call to say I had been accepted to join the airline I wanted. I was a very hard choice to make. I wanted nothing more than to be a Cabin Crew Member for this airline, but I had already established myself as a very influential Manager with the staff and customers in my role in working with the Public.
I left it all behind to join an airline and be the most junior person on the team and from day one I have never looked back.
Now I deal with up to 600 people a day on commuter flights to the UK, 212 people on a flight to Sunny Spain or 317 people on a Transatlantic flights to the USA and Canada. I started out by being the only “gay” in Blanchardstown, or so I felt, and I am now a Flight Attendant for a 4-star airline, and when I walk down the street, I hold my head high instead of just being “The gay fella from the other road.”
My Mum helped me write this because she is my number 1 fan and sure you always need to look after the “Mammy”.
“No matter how my day starts out and no matter what faces me, I board my aircraft and I am in control. It is my job, my life and my passion”