Most full-time working Americans spend about a third of their lifetime sleeping and another third working, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The last 33 percent is spent on education, leisure and family.
This blog series is dedicated to our employees who’ve learned to game the system, and combined their time toiling away at work with their time spent with loved ones. How is that, you might ask? Simply finding the bond of love through the familiarity of the workplace.
Meet Envoy Captain Paul Cabelus and American Airlines Flight Attendant Michelle Hardman, who, if it weren’t for the rigmarole of working for an airline, may have never kindled their relationship. Now, two years after their serendipitous meeting in a Des Moines hotel lobby, Paul and Michelle are engaged to be married.
Love at first flight
How did the two of you meet?
Paul: We met on a flight from ORD to DFW. I was commuting home after a trip and she was working the flight. We had a friendly chat on the flight, but no phone numbers were exchanged.
So, looking back at having our schedules line up to run into each other again a week and a half later in Des Moines, it had to be more of a sign that fate was showing its face.
Michelle: As I was working the main cabin, I had noticed a lot of crew members traveling on this flight. When we had about an hour and a half left, Paul got up and made his way towards the back of the cabin. When I saw him, quite honestly, I was smitten.
The very next week, I was on a four-day trip that fell apart on day two. I was reassigned out of DFW a number of times, but my crew and I were headed to Des Moines.
We arrived at the hotel at 10:37pm that evening, and imagine my surprise when I saw Paul at the check in area with his crew! I mentioned to Paul that this doesn’t happen twice, and I wrote my phone number on a first-class baggage tag and gave it to him.
As I guess you could say, the rest is history? To me, it was love at first sight!
Michelle, were you surprised by the proposal? Paul, were you nervous?
Paul: I wasn’t too nervous. We had talked about the idea of marriage. It’s always easier when you know the answer before you ask the question!
I was only hoping the ring would be the right one. She had already made it clear it had to be something slightly classier than the secret decoder ring from the Cracker Jack box.
Michelle: I wanted so much to be with Paul and to be his wife, it was truly a dream that he would propose to me in my favorite city, on New Year’s Eve, at the Eiffel Tower at midnight! I still pinch myself thinking about it.
Did I know he was going to propose? Yes, but where and when, I never knew. It was such a perfect moment!
How are you going to top your Paris engagement for your honeymoon?
Paul: The honeymoon is being kept a secret from her. Hopefully she doesn’t find out until we’re at the gate ready to board the flight. All she knows is that the Air Transit World award passes are being used, and a swimsuit is required!
As far as topping the engagement? Living a happy life together easily tops the engagement. The engagement was just one joyous moment in our lives. We have the rest of our lives to be happy and create so many more moments.
You all are based in different, far-away cities, how often do you get to see each other?
Paul: I work in Pilot Recruitment now at headquarters in Irving, Texas. I’m home most nights, so when she does come home from being on reserve, I’m here.
We only see each other maybe 2 or 3 days a week, but we talk daily. It’s tough sometimes, but we both know how the industry works. We make the best of the time we get together.
Michelle: Being in different cities can be a challenge, but absence makes the heart grow fonder, right?. I’ll hopefully get my base transfer to DFW for June, and everything hopefully will fall into place.
Paul, how close are you to flowing to American? Do you all look forward to possibly working together in the future?
Paul: Currently, I’m slated to flow sometime between November 2020 and February 2021. We are definitely looking forward to getting some nice Caribbean overnights together!
Michelle: Flying trips together, of course, is the dream goal. However, we try to enjoy layovers together if the schedule permits us to do so. When we were first dating, Paul was able to join me for layovers in Hartford and San Antonio!
What do you look forward to about being an aviation family?
Paul: We will always have stories to share about the places we go. As I said before, we both know the industry and the types of schedules it comes with.
I look forward to both of us having jumpseat privileges just in case all the seats are taken. Most importantly, I just look forward to just being a family!
Michelle: Being an aviation family is truly a blessing, as we have such unique and rewarding careers. It is awesome to have someone who truly gets your career, and so amazing to share stories together at the end of the day.
My daughters both enjoy traveling, and my youngest is completely infatuated with planes and our careers. At the end of the day, Paul and I have found each other in such a perfect way – so appropriate for our lifestyle. We look forward to our future, and the sky is truly the limit!