When 75-year-old Harvey Brown boarded his first Southwest Airlines flight on June 30, he had no idea that his lifelong dream of becoming a flight attendant was about to come true.

Harvey went viral on TikTok after expressing his desire to become a flight attendant during a trip from Portland, Oregon, to Austin. Surprisingly, Southwest Airlines noticed and decided to send him to actual flight attendant training earlier this month.

A day at Southwest’s headquarters

In a heartwarming video, Southwest Airlines shared the surprises they had in store for Harvey during his training. Harvey and his daughter, Audra Beaudoin, went to the airline’s Dallas headquarters on October 1. They wore homemade T-shirts with their version of the Southwest Airlines heart logo.

Harvey’s day at training included various activities, from welcoming new hires and experiencing a simulation ride to a uniform fitting. However, his favourite part was talking to the new hires about their exciting new careers.

“Now you have the opportunity. It’s not just snacks and beverages,” Harvey told the new hires. “You can talk to these people. You can encourage these people. You can make their day better, you can make them smile.”

From X-Ray technician to flight attendant aspirations

Harvey retired as an X-ray technician in 2010 after 38 years on the job. Before choosing his career, he had considered becoming a flight attendant or a mortician. All three options involved caring for people in different ways, but he ultimately pursued a career in the medical field.

Southwest’s flight attendant training typically lasts five weeks, covering crash simulations and CPR training. Harvey’s one-day crash course was intense, involving firefighting, rafting, and sliding down an evacuation slide.

From tiktok to celebrity

Since his first TikTok video on July 21, Harvey has become a bit of a celebrity, with people recognising him in public. He even joked about receiving free drinks and warm meals on his first flight after flight attendants playfully crowned him an honorary flight attendant.

A surprise gift for passengers

After completing his training, Harvey worked on a second flight to Denver, where he greeted passengers and distributed snacks. To everyone’s surprise, he announced that the entire plane would be receiving a free Southwest Airlines flight to any destination the airline serves.

“To be able to give one person a free flight someplace, that’s one thing. But an entire plane? They went berserk!” Harvey said. “You never saw happier people.”