Scholarship Winners
Scholarship Winner
Mar 27, 2019
Rachel Toves - Honorable Mention, Spring 2019 Non-Rev Spirit Award

Flying to Help

My mother described my dad coming home from work very late, smelling like jet fuel and having black grease all over his uniform. But one day he didn’t come home from work smelling like fuel, instead he was fired from his job from the effects of 9/11. People didn’t want to fly anymore my mom described the destruction of this horrible event to me, it brought ruination and terror to so many people's lives, even this family of three living more than 4,000 miles away. With me in preschool my parents struggled living off of tips finally having some money so my dad could go back to school. Graduating earning a degree, and getting a job from Hawaiian Airlines was a blessing in itself, but he had to work on a different island. Thankfully by flying non-rev my mother and I was able to see my dad, likewise he was able to fly back to see us. Fast-forwarding to today we are thankful for the airline company and it is by the grace of flying non-rev we are able to visit family and help them in times of need.

On one occasion when I was ten my mother told me that we were flying to Kona to see my grandma, so I packed my essentials; three barbie dolls and a princess comb in my care bear suitcase. Undoubtedly my favorite memory of flying is always getting free juice after takeoff and racing my mom to drink the entire thing. She would always let me win, and whenever we landed, she trained me to always listen to the baggage claim number. After leaving the terminal my main objective was always to pick up my pink-care bear suitcase at C3 or B2 baggage claim. Because of non-rev my mother could see her mom, my grandma in the care home almost every weekend.

During one trip I sat next to a man loading his suitcase onto the overhead compartment, wearing a peculiar shirt with animated cats on it. I smiled and halfway through the flight that man was snoring. I still awoke him and asked if he wanted the free juice, he kindly accepted it from the flight attendant and fell back to sleep. After grabbing the suitcases we went to the hospital, and grandma was now in the intensive care unit. My mother was scared and paced around the room waiting for a doctor to show up. The nurses finally entered the room and introduced Dr. Fitz, the only doctor in the hospital at the time. To our surprise he was the man wearing the animated cat shirt. He explained that he works at a hospital at home, but travels inter island on the weekends to help with the doctor shortage on various islands. After the surgery on my grandma we thanked him tremendously. My family made the most out of our non-rev trips to see her, and on various occasions we would see Dr. Fitz. It is because of him that we were able to see my grandma for a few weeks before her passing.

We are forever grateful for the ability to be non-rev, my parents and I know the struggle for other families to see relatives and be there in times of need. From the trips we take to visit family whether it be in the care home or hospital, it inspired me to one day to become a doctor, by being non-rev it will allow me to travel anywhere and help those in need just like Dr. Fitz. In Hawaii and many other places around the globe there is a growing shortage of doctors, my life goal is to graduate and help out communities in need. Whether that be flying to a neighborhood island or anywhere in the world there is someone that needs help and if I can fly there I want to help them.

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