Following the mass shooting in Orlando, there’s been a great deal of soul-searching and questions, but a recent account from a JetBlue flight attendant is reminder that compassion may just prevail after all.
JetBlue flight attendant Kelly Davis Karas uploaded a photo of 20-year-old shooting victim Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, saying she and her coworkers had the “sad privilege” of attending to his grandmother on a short flight to Orlando to be close to her family.
“Knowing she was making this hard journey alone, JetBlue employees made sure to be at her side every step of the way,” Karas wrote on Facebook. They provided a box of tissues to her, brought her a pillow and blanket, and tried to help her as she was grieving.
“She was understandably distraught, but met us with kindness and gentleness. And gratitude,” she wrote.
As a way to show support, Karas said she concocted an idea to pass around a piece of paper for everyone to sign for the grandmother.
Karas said her single piece of paper turned into several, filling up quickly with “paragraphs” of condolences, Karas said. “We had page after page after page after page of long messages offering condolences, peace, love and support,” she said.
Flight attendants also offered a moment of silence to Ocasio-Capo’s memory. She said every single person stopped to offer her their condolences. “Some just said they were sorry, some touched her hand, some hugged her, some cried with her. But every single person stopped to speak to her, and not a single person was impatient at the slower deplaning process,” Karas wrote.
The take-home message, she added, is that people “do care,” and people “are kind.”
In all, 49 people were killed in the mass shooting, described as the worst in modern U.S. history. Fifty-three people were injured.
“Omar was only 20 years old,” said Jose Angel Rodriguez of his friend, Ocasio-Capo, in a Facebook video.
“He had an entire life ahead of him. He was a happy soul. All he liked to do was just dance, all he liked to do was listen to music,” he said.
Claudia Mason, 70, said she had worked with Ocasio-Capo, who was a barista, at a Starbucks, according to The Associated Press. “Omar got along with everyone,” she said.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, Orange County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Joshua Stephany said the body of shooter Omar Mateen, 29, has been kept apart from the victims. “This is not a law or requirement, but was rather done out of respect for the victims and their families so that the shooter may never be near the 49 beautiful souls again,” he said in a statement.