British Airways has stepped in to give a brave girl who has been treated for cancer the chance to fulfil her lifelong dream of becoming cabin crew. Thirteen-year-old Majorie Nakmulli-Mukiibi from East Ham in London has recently finished a gruelling course of chemotherapy for Hodgkin lymphoma, and while in hospital told her mother about her wish to experience life working at 30,000 feet.
British Airways was contacted by the charity Rays of Sunshine, which grants wishes for seriously ill children, about Majorie. British Airways colleagues were so touched by her story that they decided to give her a very special experience as part of the airline’s BA Magic campaign.
Majorie’s dream came true when she was treated to what she believed to be a day out at KidZania London in Westfield London, Shepherd’s Bush, a children’s education and entertainment attraction that encourages children to experience different careers. Majorie was with her brothers and sisters, learning about what it takes to be a pilot or member of cabin crew, when Christabel Bigwood, a real-life member of British Airways cabin crew, walked in.
Christabel revealed to a shocked Majorie that she would be helping her and the cabin crew team on a real passenger flight to Glasgow later that day.
Before she knew it, Majorie was being taught the safety demonstration by Christabel, before being whisked off to Heathrow. At the airport, Majorie was presented with her own cabin crew name badge and joined her colleagues for the day to be briefed for the flight.
After boarding the plane with Christabel, Majorie stood in front of 160 customers to help demonstrate the lifejacket, oxygen mask, seat belt and safety routines. She then helped the crew serve Club Europe meals and took one end of the drinks trolley, grinning from ear to ear.
Majorie says her heart was beating fast as she overcame her nerves to read out an announcement introducing herself over the aircraft tannoy, to cheers from customers on board.
However, even when she had joined the crew to say goodbye to customers at the aircraft door, the day’s surprises were not over. Majorie was met by British Airways’ chief executive Alex Cruz, who presented her with her ‘wings’ – a badge worn by cabin crew when they graduate from their training.
Majorie said: “I’ve always wanted to be British Airways cabin crew, and today my dream came true! From the moment I found out what was really going on, I couldn’t stop smiling, I was so excited. One of my favorite parts was serving food and drink to the customers. I’m really proud of all that I achieved.”
Cabin crew member Christabel Bigwood, who mentored Majorie throughout the day, said: “I was honoured to play the part of Fairy Godmother for Majorie. When you think of what she’s been through with the cancer, it really touched me to see her willpower What a remarkable little girl.
“I couldn’t be more proud of her and the way she conducted herself throughout the day.”
Alex Cruz, chief executive of British Airways, said: “I heard about the great service that Majorie gave our customers, and I believe she thoroughly deserved her wings. When she’s a bit older, and has considered what she’d like to do in life, we’d love to receive her application to be a fully-fledged member of British Airways cabin crew”
Majorie’s mum, Juliet Nsonyiwa, said: “She was really, really excited. She said ‘Mummy, it is true that I’m going to be an air hostess for a day?’ I said ‘Yes, you will’. Of all the pain I used to see her going through, to see her with that smile feels really good. Thank you so much, British Airways.”
Eddie Kemsley, CEO KidZania London said: “We are so pleased we were able to help surprise Majorie and get her a step closer to her dream coming true. Majorie’s training at our BA Aviation Academy was made extra special when she was surprised by real life cabin crew member Christabel. The BA Magic campaign is a heart-warming campaign and KidZania are extremely happy to have teamed up with British Airways to support this.”
Customers can visit the BA Magic page (www.britishairways.com/en-gb/destinations/where-in-the-world/bamagic) to watch Majorie’s video and share their own story.