Alaska Airlines flight attendant Amber May has had some unusual requests in her 10 years of flying, but being asked to help save some flamingo eggs just about topped them all.
“A passenger rang the call button and asked if I would help keep some eggs warm,” May said in a release from the company.
The passenger as it turned out was a senior zookeeper from Woodland Park Zoo, in Seattle. She was transporting 6 precious flamingo eggs in an incubator which she received from the Atlanta Zoo.
Woodland Park’s stand of flamingos are all past breeding age, so they couldn’t set their own birds up to breed and had to rely on younger ones elsewhere, but the incubator had stopped working, with several hours still to go in the flight.
Responding to the zookeeper’s plea for help, May promptly filled rubber gloves with warm water which the keeper used as a makeshift nest to keep the eggs warm; May continued to supply water-filled gloves as needed throughout the entire flight as the water inside became tepid.
To provide extra insulation for the eggs, passengers seated nearby gave up their coats and scarves.
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“The flamingo eggs would not have survived in a non-functioning portable incubator for five hours,” Joanna Klass, a Woodland Park Zoo animal care manager, said in a news release. “We’re so grateful for the creative thinking that led to the safe transport of our precious eggs.”
Then, months later, May received a call from the zoo with the invitation to name one of the flamingos. The delighted stewardess chose Sunny, which was the name of her granddaughter newly born.
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Then, May and granddaughter Sunny were invited to come visit the animals, and baby Sunny got to meet her namesake up close.
“Having baby Sunny meet flamingo Sunny was just wonderful,” Amber said. “I am excited to see them both grow up. I was honored and so happy that the chicks had hatched—all six of them!”
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