By: Mond Ortiz
She was proof that once a flight attendant, is forever a flight attendant. She basically showed us how every flight attendant believe that they are forever one. Eljei Sales, until the end, proudly wore her wings, and her uniform, as she flew higher to the arms of our loving God. Now, heaven has gained another flight attendant, ready to serve our Lord as a VVIP passenger.
Eljei was more than just a flight attendant, she was also known as the "fight attendant", who battled a rare adrenal cancer for many years. Despite her battle, she remained optimistic and excited that she would soon be flying again.
For that short amount of time I got to know Eljei, I saw every flight attendant through her eyes, someone who simply and undeniably loved her flying career. There were times I would visit Eljei in the hospital and while going through chemo, she would always share how she wanted to go back to flying. She always said "Miss ko na lumipad" and she didn't see her anywhere but in that career of being cabin crew of Cebu Pacific.
Despite her being gifted with a beautiful singing voice enough to go along with the pros, she preferred to fly. Singing was simply her passion and hobby, but flying became more than a passion, but her life.
Eljei would even share to me some flying stories, things that happen in the aircraft, her experiences with some passengers (especially those who ask her to life their bags), her layovers, and favorite destinations like Sydney, Australia. She would again go back to missing flying like recurrent, the commands, EP drills, and more.
She also loved Cebu Pacific until the very end. Eljei was very proud to wear the uniform. She loved the people around her and they loved her too. Some of her fly mates loved making fun of her but she didn't mind as she also had ways of getting back on them. "Masayahing tao si Eljei", according to her best friend Meg Reynon.
Eljei loved singing too. According to her trainer in Cebu Pacific Lynne Angeles, she would always ask Eljei to render to a song number during her initial class. Well, Eljei did not hesitate to belt out a few lines from some ballads. In fact, Eljei would join singing contests like "I Can See Your Voice" in ABS-CBN with hopes of also raising more awareness and funds to support her cancer treatment. During her stint at "I Can See Your Voice", she sang a song by Jolina Magdangal in which she quickly impressed the crowd!
After that time Eljei was diagnosed with adrenal cancer in which she had to stop flying, Cebu Pacific did not let go of her. Despite being on sick leave, she would visit the office and visit people as a way to uplift her fighting spirit. Eljei loved Cebu Pacific to bits and the airline reciprocated this to her. The cabin crew and everyone would really organize fund raising events and activities to help Eljei. The airline gave their support for her. They were excited to see her get well and fly again. In fact, Eljei was ready to restart as an initial class cabin crew trainee as airline rules state that someone has to go through initial training once again if he or she has not flown for more than a year.
Eljei was such a fighter. She did all to get well because she wanted to take care of her mother Cristy and she wanted to fly again. She even had her own organic make-up business called "Love by Eljei" where she would sell these to her friends particularly to people from Cebu Pacific. She did not give-up, until it was God himself who handed her wings to heaven.
She may have lost the battle against adrenal cancer but she gained a lot more. She gained a lot of love, she gained her wings to heaven, and she became an inspiration to many flight attendants.
As they say, success is not measured by your career position or your bank account, but by how many lives you've touched. Eljei may be gone in person, but she is very much alive in every flight attendant you see out there. Her spirit lives in the hearts of every cabin crew, especially those from Cebu Pacific.
Fly higher to the heavens above Eljei! You've now regained your wings at the airline that flies higher and farther than anyone can imagine, with God as your new captain. Watch over your fellow flight attendants and please continue to pray for their safety and success!