HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WJLA/CNN/Gray News) – Born deaf, 16-year-old Ashley Ober was concerned ahead of her recent flight from Baltimore to Rochester, New York – the first time she was traveling by herself.
Complicating matters, she was flying through New York’s busy John F. Kennedy International Airport.
“I feel nervous because … what if I miss my flight or I don’t know where to go if I transfer,” Ashley said through an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter. “I mean JFK is such a big airport, so I didn’t know where to go.”
Her mom, Loretta Ober, wanted to help, but Ashley had other plans.
“I wanted to be independent … I know I can do it on my own,” she said.
At Baltimore/Washington International Airport, mom dropped Ashley off but waited outside.
“I was waiting, watching my phone and I was thinking should I pull off, should I wait? And then the light popped up on my phone,” Ober said.
It was a text from Ashley with a picture of a note written by a flight attendant. Ober later posted it to her Twitter account.
It explained pretty much everything Ashley would need to know ahead of takeoff.
For her, it was more than a note.
“I put it in my bag,” Ashley said. “I still have it. I’m going to cherish that.”
Delta said the airline will take it a step further in the coming months.
Flight attendants and gate agents that can sign will have the option to wear a pin that says they’re fluent in ASL.
Ashley said the note made an impression on her.
“I was just thinking it was so nice,” she said, not only for her but the deaf community.
“It’s important so they can feel involved and not uncomfortable. Everyone should be involved.”