I had been an International Flight attendant, flying down to Rio, for about seven months and had one month of probation left. The crew members with whom I had become friends had warned me about a guy named Roberto, who flew trips as the number 1 Flight Attendant, which meant that he was in charge of all of the Attendants on his flight. I was told that he had the habit of threatening new female Flight Attendants with reporting them for breaking the rules.
According to my friends, one thing he would accuse them of was “sleeping on the job.” The flights lasted 10 hours, we flew all night, and it was paramount that we not sit down at any time and take a nap. We all knew this rule and would never risk such behavior.
I don’t remember the date, but I arrived at the airport to check in for my flight and the famed Roberto introduced himself and said that he was the No. 1 Flight Attendant on this trip. He seemed vey nice at first. He spoke English with a heavy Spanish accent and was extremely flirty. He put is arm around me and said, “Roberto will take care of you. It’s OK for you to take a nap, and I will cover for you.” I told him that I knew the rules and would definitely not take a nap, even with his permission. I was working first class that night and the Vice-President of the airline was a passenger in my area. There was also a pilot, John P., who was deadheading to Rio, and would be flying the plane back to the U. S.
After the meal service and the movie, and the passengers were sleeping, John and I had several chats. He was studying Portuguese and would ask me questions about pronunciation and the meaning of words. I never sat down, but would stop next to his seat. In the galley, Roberto continued his flirting and had his hands all over me. It was very close quarters but it was clear that he was taking advantage of the situation.
I was relieved when we finally arrived in Rio and I saw Mauro, the TV personality and reporter who I mentioned in Part I, waiting for me. As we were getting off the crew bus, Roberto approached me and said; “Call me later, I need talk to you. You must come to my room.”
Mauro noticed how Roberto was talking to me and asked what it was about. I told him about Roberto’s actions on the trip, and he was very mad. However, we forgot all about the frustrating situation and Mauro and I had a great time during the layover, as we usually did. There was so much to do and see in Rio and it was all so romantic. Everyone knew Mauro and I felt extremely special being at his side.
I avoided Roberto like the plague, and did not call him. Several times he saw Mauro and me together, and also saw him kiss me goodbye before we left on the bus for the airport. When we were on the plane going home, Roberto accosted me in the galley and was screaming, “Yu fuckeen beech, you deedn’t call me, I rreport yu, I see yu sleeep on trrip.” His accent got really bad when he was angry.
I was visibly upset, and told one of the senior flight attendants about the threats and she said not to worry, that Roberto never followed thorough with any of his threats, but that I should report the incident to my supervisor when we arrived in Dallas, which I did. The next day I was called in and fired. That was it, I had taken my last trip. I was incredulous. There was no appeal because I was still on probation.
I called Mauro and told him what had happened, and that I wouldn’t be coming back to Rio. He said that it was all for the best, because now I could come to live in Rio. I said I’d stay in touch by phone until something could be resolved, and that I would think about his suggestion. During every phone conversation he insisted that I come right away and that he loved me.
I made an appointment to talk to the Vice-President of the airline, who had been on board the night of the incident. He had complimented me after the trip on my excellent demeanor, professionalism and service. He had told me how grateful the airline was to have me as an employee, and that he could see promotions in my future.
Our meeting went nowhere. He was friendly, but said his hands were tied. He suggested that I meet with the President of the airline and also contact the pilot who had been on board. I followed his advice and contacted John and he wrote a letter to the President, and copied me, about his conversations with me during the trip and that he could see the seat that Roberto had accused me of sitting in and sleeping, and that at no time did this happen.
The President met with me, and said that he would investigate the matter. Later I received a letter in which he said that they hated to lose me, but that I was still on probation and that I could not be reinstated.
I decided to move to Rio, as Mauro had suggested.
Continued in Part 3: Would the relationship with Mauro last? What would happen to the Dallas-Rio de Janeiro route? A female American celebrity and I would become friends when she came to Rio, a dangerous situation involving drugs (not mine!)…