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Similarities in police vaccine exemption requests raises questions

 May 9, 2022 at 3:18 PM PDT

S1: Similarities abound and police vaccine exemption requests.
S2: If they were taking one of my classes , they would all be , you know , fail the class for plagiarism.
S1: I'm Maureen CAVANAUGH with Jade Heinemann. This is KPBS Midday Edition. Unspecified allegations of assault prompt the San Diego Democratic chair to step aside.
S3: That might be easier to start with what we do not know about these allegations.
S1: The age range is expanded for San Diego's transitional kindergarten. And we'll hear an excerpt from the KPBS Parker Edison podcast. That's ahead on Midday Edition. Most San Diego police officers who requested COVID vaccine exemptions due to their religious beliefs gave heartfelt reasons for their requests. But were they genuine ? KPBS investigative reporter Clare TRAGESER reviewed police responses and found many of them were identical to each other and appeared to be copied and pasted from the Internet.
S4: The impassioned plea came from a San Diego police officer. He was seeking a religious exemption from taking a COVID vaccine and wrote down his deeply held beliefs. It is my belief that God knew what he was doing and the body needs no fixing by mankind , he wrote , spelling it Mankind with a D. A few sentences later , he also spelled the word hate with a T-H. Oddly enough , another San Diego police officer apparently had the exact same religious conviction. The second officer's exemption application included identical wording , complete with the same spelling errors. That's just one example of uncanny similarities found by a KPBS review of 105 religious exemption forms that San Diego Police Department personnel filed with the city. In fact , more often than not , the passages appeared to be copied directly from sample religious exemption requests found on the Internet. Despite this , city officials have approved almost all 1000 vaccine exemptions and only denied 16. Most responses stated that the COVID vaccine is in direct conflict with the Bible and referenced biblical passages.
S5: The boundaries of what's a possible. Application.
S2: Application.
S4: Caroline's Purdue is a New Testament professor at Point Loma Nazarene University. She says searching for specific passages in the Bible to support an argument leads to misinterpretation. Like in the case of one Corinthians , the apostle Paul is speaking to a group.
S2: Arguing against some pretty gratuitous sexual immorality going on in the community. It's not even food or or something that you would consume or a medicine that's in reference. This is talking about sexual immorality.
S4: More than 75% of respondents said their religion did allow them to receive other vaccines , like tetanus shots , flu shots and childhood vaccinations. Just not COVID vaccines. When asked why more than a dozen left , the question blank and 20 said they didn't know. Many others made the argument that only COVID vaccines are derived from fetal cells , which equated to abortion and murder , they said. But the vaccines themselves do not contain fetal tissue , and the Catholic Church supports the vaccines.
S2: If they were taking one of my classes , they would all be , you know , fail the class for plagiarism.
S4: Khalid Alexander is an English professor at San Diego City College and criminal justice reform advocate.
S2: It's just it's blatant and in-your-face.
S4: The fact that police officers would copy answers from the Internet to a question that asked about deeply held personal religious beliefs was disheartening to Alexander. He says it indicates that the police department plays by its own rules.
S2: The lack of consequences for them clearly. You know. Copy pasting and. And you know. Finding whatever loopholes they can not to follow.
S4: The city did.
S1: Not question the validity or.
S4: Sincerity of employee stated religious beliefs. Julie Perez Rasco is the director of the city's Human Resources Department.
S1: Employees Personal , social or political philosophies are those who reference personal preferences , beliefs or fears of a secular nature were determined to not qualify as protected religious beliefs.
S4: Staff say it's not the city's role to judge where the wording came from.
S1: Joining me is KPBS investigative reporter Claire TRAGESER. Claire , welcome.
S4: Thank you.
S4: There there were many. It was pretty striking. If you if you look down the list to just see the same phrases repeated over and over. Another one that I saw quite frequently that came from a letter on the Internet was , As a Christian , I have a deeply held religious belief and believed the Bible to be the Word of God. The Bible is foundational to my faith , and I try to live my life accordingly. My faith has taught me that God creates life , and such life is sacred. And God knew me before I was conceived. So that's not a Bible passage , but just kind of a an argument and overall argument for a religious exemption. And then there were a lot of other common Bible passages , including from Jeremiah , Exodus and Daniel. And many made arguments that the vaccines equated to abortion , which equated to murder. Though , as I discussed in the story , fetal cells were not actually used in the vaccines. There were some fetal cells from elective abortions that were done in the seventies and eighties that were used in producing the JNJ vaccine. But the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are manufactured without any such cells.
S1: Tell us more about the sample religious exemption requests that you found on the Internet. Do these sites advise people to use certain phrases or language ? Yes.
S4: So their sites , including the Liberty Council and Founding Freedoms Law Center and these organizations have a lot of advice. Some have videos on how to get exemption requests or offer free legal advice , and then they provide these sample letters. And the letters , actually , some of them say specifically , do not copy these letters word for word. But of course , the the city employees who who used them didn't always follow that advice. And , you know , I'm not sure exactly how police staff found them. I found them by Googling. I know also churches have offered advice and it could be that that people were kind of sharing advice between employees and saying , you know , visit this site and and that can help you with a with an exemption request.
S1: You report that many of the exemption requests referenced first Corinthians the your body is a temple quote where most of the religious exemptions based though on the New Testament.
S4: There. Of the 105 that I viewed almost I think 101 were from people who stated their religion as Christian or Catholic. Two said they just had their own kind of personal belief system that prevented them from taking the vaccine. And two said that they were Muslim and objected to the vaccines because they use pork products. But there were a lot of other exemption arguments that used the Old Testament firm from the Christians and Catholics , including Jeremiah and Exodus , which were both used to argue about abortion , and then passages from Daniel about not submitting to the rule of government and instead following religious convictions instead.
S1: It must be difficult to explain why other vaccinations are okay , but the COVID vaccine isn't. And many of these exemption requests just didn't try to explain that.
S4: So as I said in the story , the first employees stated , you know , what their religious beliefs were that prevented them from getting the COVID vaccine. And then they were asked , have you received other vaccines ? To which they would answer yes or no ? And then they said , If you did receive other vaccines but don't want the COVID vaccine , you know , why is your religion okay with other vaccines and not the COVID vaccine ? And a lot of people left that question a blank or they just wrote , I don't know. Another thing that people said is , well , I got other vaccines when I was a kid. And , you know , maybe that's before I became religious or I didn't have control , things like that.
S4: But I think that , you know , it's we know that the vaccines have become very political. So some people are against them for political reasons. They just don't like being told what to do. They don't like their employer to require anything of them. And then , you know , there's a lot of people who are just concerned because the vaccines , they say , are are new and untested. You know , that's that's not really true. But people are just concerned about taking something and putting something in their body that they say , you know , hasn't hasn't been tested , even though clearly the vaccines went through a rigorous testing process.
S4: And , you know , I wanted to talk to the mayor about why these vaccine exemptions were approved. But through a spokeswoman , she said , you know , that he wasn't involved in the intricacies of reviewing each vaccine exemption request. So. So he wasn't going to comment.
S1: All right , then. I've been speaking with KPBS investigative reporter Claire TRAGESER. Claire , thank you very much.
S4: Thank you.
S5: The chair of the San Diego Democratic Party is on a leave of absence while assault allegations against him are investigated. There are few details available about the nature of the allegations against party chair Will Rodriguez Kennedy. KPBS metro reporter Andrew Bowen joins me now with details. Andrew , thanks for joining us.
S3: Hi , Jade. Thank you.
S3: It might be easier to start with. What we do not know about these allegations. We don't know exactly what type of actions or behavior. Rodriguez Kennedy is accused of. We don't know when this allegedly took place and we don't know who the accuser is. But we do know from a Facebook post that he wrote last week that the accusations came from a person with whom he was in a committed relationship. And the allegations appear to have come to light after Tasha Williamson , who's a local activist and a former mayoral candidate , posted to her Facebook last Wednesday that Rodriguez Kennedy should tell the party about the accusations against him. So that sort of started this process and , you know , by which the allegations were made public. And the Democratic Party Ethics Committee says it's now going to start an investigation into him.
S5: The San Diego Union-Tribune is reporting that a police report was filed and the district attorney's office is also investigating these allegations.
S3: That's the only statement that they provided. So we don't know what police agency did an investigation , you know , how it was referred or when that was done. But we do know that the district attorney's office is reviewing these allegations or some type of criminal investigation into the chair.
S5: Mm hmm.
S3: And I can quote from his Facebook post. He says , I can evidence that fact and I will work vigorously to clear up this accusation and my name. He says he hopes people will not rush to judgment and wait for this process to play out and that he's devastated by this turn of events and quote , the reality that I may not be able to achieve the dreams that I had because of this. I've heard from folks that that here , you know , at some point planned on running for elected office , which is certainly in line with , you know , I think his larger ambitions and who he is. He said that the party stands with sexual assault survivors and with the principle that someone is innocent until proven guilty. He also in his Facebook post identifies himself as a survivor of sexual harassment and assault. And a couple of years ago , he was one of three people who had filed lawsuits against the former chair of the California Democratic Party , Eric Bauman. And that lawsuit was settled and it was reported that he received a settlement of $150,000.
S3: He was re-elected in 2021. He is the youngest chair of the county Democratic Party ever. He's openly gay. He's a veteran who was discharged under Don't Ask , Don't Tell. He's spoken about that experience quite extensively. And as far as the direction of the party itself , he one of the things he tried to do was focus more attention and spending on city council and mayoral races in the suburbs. Historically , I think it's generally agreed upon that the county Democratic Party spent a lot of money on the city of San Diego , and he was interested in broadening that outreach and scope to include more , you know , recruiting Democrats and endorsing Democrats in the suburbs. He talked about his SANDAG strategy. So this regional government agency with representatives from every city and in in San Diego County , it has a big influence on transportation policy. And he wanted to get more Democrats elected to the sub in the suburbs to exert more influence over that body. And he was largely successful with that under you know , while he was chair , the Democrats took the majority on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. He also oversaw the city council of the City of San Diego get an eight one Democratic majority. Quite a turn of events from just a couple of years ago. I think it's part of a general broader trend of the blue wing of San Diego County. But he certainly played a role in that.
S5: Who's leading the local Democratic Party while Rodriguez Kennedy is taking a leave of absence.
S3: So there is a the party has an executive director , a paid staffer , Ryan Hurd , who is still in that position. And , you know , all of their paid staffers , you know , nothing has changed there as far as we know with the central committee and the folks who were actually elected and , you know , kind of direct more of the policy. We're told that Rebecca Taylor , who is the chair pro-tem of the party , is going to be stepping in and casting tiebreaking votes , which is what the chair does. If there's a tie in terms of , say , an endorsement or some type of other action that the party is taking.
S5: I've been speaking with KPBS metro reporter Andrew Bowen. Andrew , thank you very much for joining us.
S3: Happy to join.
S1: This is KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Maureen CAVANAUGH with Jade Heineman. The first ever outdoor water restrictions have recently been announced for sections of Los Angeles and other Southern California counties due to an increasingly severe drought that's drastically reduced the Sierra snowpack. Watering will be cut back to one day a week in those areas , but not in San Diego. In fact , our county's success in diversifying water supply is being looked at as a model for other areas of the state. The question is , can San Diego's innovations work elsewhere and can San Diegans afford an increasingly expensive water bill ? Joining me is San Diego Union-Tribune columnist Michael Smolens. Michael , welcome back.
S2: Thanks for having me on.
S1: Maureen , your article outlines the tight water supply that other areas of Southern California are facing.
S2: They're going to require outdoor watering , as you mentioned , to cut back to one day a week , I think , starting June one. That will be a big change for a lot of people. But it is only with certain districts that really rely on the state water project , as it turns out , because of things you mentioned the diversification of San Diego , we really don't get any water from the state water project , which has cut its flows down to like 5% to these districts. So we're not going to be affected by what Metropolitan does. Now , the state may have different ideas in the coming weeks.
S1: So I know that San Diego used to get almost all of its water allocations from the Metropolitan Water District.
S2: So we get that that overage via contract. Now , it's not water rights , but they have very strong water rights. That's that's the big thing. Of course , as we know , we have the desalination plant up in Carlsbad , which contributes a lot to the water supply. And then there are various recycling projects that are pretty close to coming online. The best known one , perhaps , is a pure water project for the city of San Diego , but there is one in Oceanside and a similar one in East County that will be coming online soon.
S1: So we went from most of our water from Metropolitan Water District to a really small percentage of it. Why did San Diego make that decision ? I think it was about 30 years ago not to be at the end of the Metropolitan Water District pipeline.
S2: We still are part of metropolitan and we deal with metropolitan because they convey a lot of the water which we're using. I think it was 91 , another big drought and net cut off San Diego , reduce its supplies by 30 odd percent , 31% , I think. And that was a huge blow to the region , businesses , residents and so forth. And I think that's when the San Diego County Water Authority and other officials realized we need to become independent a met and get our own different water supplies.
S1: So with the Imperial Valley Water Deal , the desalination plant and the recycling , that's going to come on board really soon. Some people say we may have too much water.
S2: It's an unusual dilemma to have when everybody's crying poverty in terms of water supply. But as you mentioned , it's very expensive. The projections are that it's going to go up and , you know , the different kinds of water or different expenses. For instance , an acre foot from the desalination plant costs about 20 $700 for regular surface water. It's around 1500 dollars. And then the the pure water and the other recycling program is somewhere in between.
S2: It didn't quite include , you know , the costs that we're facing , but is encouraging other areas. And I think that that there's been some examples throughout the state and in Colorado of really going to find these different areas to basically wring more water out of the system. And a lot is happening through recycling. I mean , it wasn't that long ago. I mean , you and I were here when they first broached recycling wastewater. It was called infamously toilet to tap , and it just was not popular. That was a bad term for it. People have accepted it. It's happening all over. And frankly , I think a lot of people thinking we should be heading more in that direction than the desalination , which will be , you know , it's kind of a watershed moment there.
S2: All economic and social reasons. There's a decision coming up later this week at the commission itself. Governor Newsom is a big advocate of desalination. He thinks that we need every tool in the toolkit and they shouldn't be rejecting that. So he's urging approval of that. Coastal Commission staff has been overruled before by the commission. So we'll see how that works out. But in the grand scheme of things , if for some reason that plant doesn't happen , whether it's the Coastal Commission or somehow tripped up , that may spell the end of desalination in California.
S2: The local managers and to an extent the state managers have given San Diego credit not just for diversifying the water sources , but also for conserving and certainly the recycling efforts. You know , it seems odd to have such a water cushion during a big drought while we're not affected by what Metropolitan is doing. The state is going to be considering some serious cutbacks and restrictions. How much San Diego will be affected ? We don't know. Back in 2015 , the local officials were very upset with Governor Jerry Brown because he put sort of a blanket reduction for the entire state. You had a little flexibility , but not much because they said , hey , we spent all this money and this time an effort to secure water supplies and we're being punished while others did not do this. And we shouldn't face their fate. They actually did adjust that down the line. The San Diego officials feel pretty comfortable that the state understands that position. Like I said , you know , some state officials have been very laudatory. So it would be a surprise if we faced the cuts that other areas do. But you don't know. I mean , at some point , does it become sort of a symbolic thing that people would be looking at San Diego saying , well , they're water hogs down there , they're not reducing. But the dynamics and the you know , what has happened here is different than most other places.
S1: I've been speaking with San Diego Union-Tribune columnist Michael Smolens. Michael , thank you.
S2: Thank you. Maureen , good talking to you again.
S5: Later this week , Governor Newsom will issue what's called a may revise , updating the governor's budget proposal for the coming fiscal year. Financial justice activist in the state hope. Part of that proposal will include the elimination of court fees known as civil assessments. These are penalties that courts impose when traffic tickets and other citations aren't paid on time. And like other government mandated late fees and penalties , they often hit low income black and Latino Californians the hardest. The California Report's Mary Franklin Harvin has the story.
S4: Lorena Vias is a single mother of four who lives in the Silicon Valley town of East Palo Alto. Last year , she got a ticket for driving with an expired vehicle registration. That's what the state calls a fix it ticket. If you take care of the problem you've been cited for right away and had the police or the DMV or a court clerk sign off , that ticket will cost you $25. But that's not what happened in this case. She paid to register her car , but didn't finish the sign off process. Not long after she got pulled over again for the same issue.
S2: I told the couple , I'm like , Look , I hate it. I just haven't lifted the suspension on the vehicle because I don't have time right now.
S4: Vargas says it can be really hard to keep up with these follow up measures when you are balancing family and work obligations , especially as a single mom. For example , she says she didn't get to court to show proof she'd corrected the registration issue because the hearings were set for weekday mornings.
S2: 830 in the morning. At that time , I have to drop off one of my my kids at one school and drop off another one of my kids at a different school. And then I come to work.
S4: On top of the logistical challenges , she's also living paycheck to paycheck , she says.
S2: You know , I'm sorry , but it's either pay my bills or pay registration , pay babysitter , or I mean , pay the registration.
S4: Brandon Green directs the Racial and Economic Justice Program at the ACLU of Northern California.
S2: If someone is to get one of those violations and they fail to pay , then that individual can also have a penalty levied on top of that. That penalty is called a civil assessment. Under the law , a civil assessment can be levied between zero and $300 per incident.
S4: Via she says she's currently got around $1,000 worth of civil assessment related debt. And it's worth noting that unlike funding from a lot of other traffic penalties , a chunk of civil assessment collections go straight back to funding the county courts.
S2: So there's a financial interest in issuing a $300 every single time.
S4: Green and other advocates are pushing for the abolition of the civil assessment for a number of reasons. Racial equity is one.
S2: Almost everybody is breaking some sort of traffic laws when they get behind the wheel. But because police have the discretion of who to pull over , it generally results in black and brown people being pulled over more and being having more traffic tickets , which then result in more risk of the debt accompanying the traffic ticket.
S4: And advocates say these debts are exacerbated by racial wealth gaps and that civil assessments are just plain ineffective at getting people to pay. Governor Newsom's current budget proposal would cut the maximum civil assessment from $300 to $150. But advocates hope the upcoming may revise will go much further. And Brandon Green says he's optimistic because of what seems like a growing awareness around equity gaps happening statewide.
S2: The reparations task force names like the Racial Justice Act , all of these things that sort of centralize the racial justice discussion and the overpolicing and targeting , discussing and getting rid of these fines if these are things that are in line with that.
S4: The Judicial Council of California sets policy for the state's courts. It said in a recent letter to advocates that it recognizes civil assessments have a disparate impact on low income residents and that it's committed to working with the governor and legislature to move away from assessments as a funding source.
S5: That was Mary Franklin Harvin reporting for the California Report. Schools across San Diego County will open their doors to more preschool students this fall , though transitional kindergarten has already been available for some kids born between September and December. The new rules expand the age range to include more four and five year old children. Here to tell us more about the changes and what parents need to know is KPBS education reporter M.G. Perez. M.G. , welcome back to Midday Edition.
S6: Good to be here. Okay.
S5: Okay.
S6: And by the way , both T.K. and kindergarten are entirely optional. Children in the state of California only required to attend school in California once they turn six. Until that age , it's basically up to the parents. But there's a huge benefit , of course , to students. It is expanding in order to offer more young children the opportunity to prepare themselves for entering a formal class.
S5: And we know there are a lot of benefits to having a child in transitional kindergarten.
S6: Of course , academics are important , but at that early age , just connecting with other children is the biggest benefit. And that's why , even though it's optional , a lot of parents want to get their kids in some kind of preschool program.
S6: And so they are kind of leading the way , and they are planning for at least 300 to join in the next year to the program. And it will expand from there every school year.
S5: And as you know , more than anyone , there are some 40 different school districts in San Diego County which school districts in San Diego County are offering expanded T.K. this fall.
S6: So I want to reiterate that it is optional. The state is making money available to provide these classes. But in San Diego County , of course , the largest school district , San Diego Unified , they started online registration last week. And then we've already talked about Chula Vista Elementary and then also Oceanside Unified and then Coronado. Now Oceanside is taking online registration right now. Coronado is still in the process of trying to figure it out and plan to get more input from parents before they actually start registration. Hmm.
S5: Hmm. Yeah. Some of these school districts have different approaches to implementing Universal T.K.. Isn't that.
S6: Right ? It is. And let me explain the universal part. T.K. is transitional kindergarten , which has been around for a few years. The reason it's called Universal is that the hope is that by the school year , 2025 , 26 , every four year old in the state of California will be able to register in a u , t k program and thus the word universal , which means every child could have the benefit.
S5: And as you mentioned , you largely focused your reporting on the Chula Vista Elementary School District.
S6: And they have started online registration so that parents who are interested in having their children enrolled can go to their website and get them registered. The next question might be , well , is there a waiting list ? There is not currently.
S5: And you also touched on this.
S6: It is not a state law , so it's totally optional. But there is $2.7 billion that the state has allocated for school districts to provide this UTSA programming. And so the districts in San Diego County that I mentioned are the ones who are already in process. Again , it's optional. You don't have to have your kid in school until the age of six. Anything before that is optional. So we'll see where it goes from here.
S6: And as I said , the real benefit to this is the social emotional benefit. So parents are very excited to get their kids registered. And because it's free , it is considered part of the K through 12 California public school system. And this is going to help low income parents and it's going to help marginalized communities for children to get the education they deserve.
S5: So what are some of the. Biggest challenges of expanding these classes.
S6: But the good news is some of the money that has been allocated for these programs is to try to attract more teachers who would be interested in working with this population. There are credentialing requirements and experience requirements. But hopefully the money will go a long way towards helping that problem.
S5: I've been speaking with KPBS education reporter M.G. Perez. M.G. , thank you very much.
S6: Thank you.
S1: This is KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Maureen CAVANAUGH with Jade Hyneman. In a recent episode of the Parker Edison Project , host Parker Edison dives into the world of work slang and how different occupations utilize and develop their own lingo. Through a conversation with a black female pilot , he uncovers the language that pilots use across the world and also explores the push for more diversity within the field of aviation. Here's an excerpt from that episode.
S2: Works links created with the goal of increased precision and efficiency. It fills in the gaps and saves us time by conveying big ideas made purely by necessity. It can only exist if it's truly useful. Some professions have so much lingo. It has its own name like legalese , the language lawyers use in this context. Familiarity with the certain job vernacular speaks to a worker's experience in that field. Few fields exemplified this as thoroughly as one that defies gravity. My next guest is proving the sky's not the limit. She's a fly girl in the most literal sense. Let me introduce you to Anne Marie Berry. I'm speaking with Emory Berry. How are you doing this morning ? I am fantastic. Thank you so much for having me. We're very lucky. The whole episode is about languages. Before I get into that. What I want to know. Often people name their goals is is it traditional to name planes ? That's a great question. But actually , my second favorite thing is outside of airplanes. Funny enough , I would love to own a boat one day in addition to an airplane , so I already have a name picked up on my board. Besides that , no. People do not traditionally name their airplanes. No , not that I'm aware of. Okay. Okay. And I got to ask , where are you from ? I am originally from Guinea , West Africa. So both of my parents are Guinean. I was raised in France and now I live here in Atlanta in the United States. What's what's your favorite dish in Atlanta ? I have to say , it's probably collard greens. Yes. Yes. And I also love to cook. I shot outside of aviation , so I picked up a few Southern dishes that I really do enjoy making. Yes. So collard greens would be my favorite and I've learned to make it quite , quite , quite well. Okay. Now , I'm not mad at that. In fact , I'm jealous. I'm jealous. Low key. Yeah. Yeah , right. Tell me , who who are the Sisters of the Skies ? It is an organization of black women pilots. We want to focus on bring in the number of black women pilots specifically. It's not that many of us. And we just have this movement going on where we want to see more of us , you know , flying with us. Not that you should have the exact numbers , but round about what percent of American pilots are women of color. So the percentage itself is less than 1%. What does that mean ? To put it into perspective , out of 660 , about 2000 660,000 pilots in the U.S. actively flying. They are 140,000 are considered commercial pilots , meaning that they have earned a commercial pilot license , which I one of those hundred and 4000. And out of those 140,000 , there are less than 200 black women pilots. Wow. So I'm sitting in a rare space getting to speak with you today. Yes , indeed. You are , indeed. Yes. So less than 200 black woman pilots in the U.S.. I had no idea that. I'm floored. Right. Well , think about it this way , Parker. You fly right. You get places. How many times have you come across a black pilot ? All the time that you've been at the airport events , you know , on the airplane. How many times you can even think of one way ? No , I really can't. Right. Even for myself as a black woman , it took me until I met this guy to ever see a black woman pilot. Right. And this was in 2018. I had just started training as a pilot , and I spent my childhood traveling with my family all over. What sparked your personal interest in flight ? I was 11 years old , actually , still living in Guinea. My parents sent me and my brother on a trip to Dakar , Senegal. And on that particular flight , it was the first time that I actually took a step back because we actually boarded on the tarmac. So I got to see walk up to the airplane , walk up the stairs and actually see the airplane. It was a Boeing 737. Oh , I didn't know that Ben has a 11 year old , but I just remember just being just all about how big this thing was. Of course , my mind started going , How are we up here flying ? And the whole flight , I was just thinking and thinking. And of course , just like any childhood dream , it kind of. Good bit. Until I moved to the U.S. in 2009 and I revised my dreams and I joined became a flight attendant working in immigration. And I told myself , well , let's see. I want to travel. I've been wanting to travel since I was 11. Let's see where this goes. And the first few trips that you do , there are training trips , right ? So you go with more senior platinum to kind of show you around. So I remember waking up inside the airplane and think about when you walk in , most people go right and you go to the back and you sit right , which is where the flat end is and all the passengers go. For me , I actually walked in and I just instinctively just made that left turn. Has to go inside the flight deck. Do pilots have their own language ? Yes , we actually do. The reason why is because it actually keeps us all on the same page. So if I'm talking to one of the pilots and I'm speaking our language , we understand each other and we know exactly what is happening in that moment. Is it international or is it different ? Well , here's the thing. The universal language for aviation is English. Okay. Okay. So all the pilots everywhere in the world , they all have to speak English. Air traffic control from India to Conakry , Guinea to Johannesburg to Australia to France. They all have to speak the same one language , which is English. In addition to that , there's also lingo within the language. So one of the big things in aviation is we put a lot of emphasis on safety when we speak , and we have to be able to be on the same page because it keeps that safe. Flight has been added , so there is no confusion. So let's say I am flying and I am coming into the airport and I want to land. There are other people that are also flying alongside in the vicinity of the airport. So I need to let them know , Hey , this is where I am. This is temporary that I'm flying and I'm coming in and this is how I'm going to enter the airport environment to then land. So it will go something like this. Hampton Airports , November 1 to 3. Aloha. Bravo. Five miles to the southwest , maneuvering front of 45 , left downwind , four on we two for Emory. We call that a flex. That's that's a big flex right there for that big flex. Yes. Yes. I guarantee you that any pilot anywhere in the world just understand that right away. We. And it keeps us consistent and it keeps us safe. There's no guessing. Right. So there is a document , a book that we actually go by , and it's called The Aeronautical Information Manual. It's a literally a manual that has a guide on how to properly communicate , especially with someone like me who has an accent. There's no confusion.

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