Summerside resident Cheryl Jean Maclin is a Canadian who lived and worked in the US for much of her adult life. She is not a fan of the 45th president of the United States, but for a brief period she worked for Donald Trump as a flight attendant on the so-called ‘Trump Shuttle’
That was in the late 80s and early 90s, but her memories remain vivid of those exciting times.
Trump had just taken over the bankrupt Eastern Shuttle that she worked at, which flew passengers to New York, Boston and Washington. She had been laid off for three months before she resumed her job under a different and more flamboyant boss.
“We wanted to do the shuttle, which I enjoyed doing because of my kids. I had regular hours on the shuttle,” said Cheryl.
She worked the New York and Washington run and recalls several of the regular passengers were “powerful people”, including Jacqueline Kennedy and Robert Kennedy and the Kennedy children.
“I was pretty impressed with what he did to the aircraft after he took (Eastern Shuttle) over. He tore them all up inside and put all new leather seats and carpeting and gold sinks in the bathroom, you know the ‘Trump-style,'” said Cheryl of the fleet of 140-seat 727s he acquired.
Cheryl said Trump did a nice thing for the newly acquired flight attendants – allowing them to keep their seniority.
“He also gave all his flight attendants a pearl necklace,” she said, with a laugh.
“Back then he wasn’t the person he is today, that’s for sure.”
Eventually Trump Shuttle and its fleet of 21 Boeing 727s would be grounded when the company went bankrupt and was swallowed up by US Air. Meanwhile Cheryl continued on with her flight attendant job. Her career would end with 35-plus years of service in the airline industry and the seniority she was allowed to carry through from her Trump Shuttle days would boost her pension payout.
With Trump’s election in 2016 the US entered a dark chapter in its history. Things became much worse when the Trump administration badly bungled its response to the coronavirus pandemic, leaving 148,000 Americans dead and millions infected by late July.
“It’s really bad. I have family living there. I have two sons, four grandchildren and two daughter-in-laws. One daughter-in-law last night wrote to me and said she’s just losing all hope (because of the virus)…People are losing hope it’s ever going to be okay,” she said.
“Everything he has tried to do has failed.”
Even when Trump’s purchase of the shuttle service helped save a thousand jobs decades ago, including Cheryl’s, she says had she been an American and able to vote in 2016, Trump would not have received her support.
“Because of the bankruptcy and already knowing bits and pieces what he was like as a person, no, I would never have voted for him.”
Trump Air would lose more than $125 million in just 18 months, before going bankrupt.
Cheryl was born in Sydney, Nova Scotia before moving to the States when her dad, Islander George Stavert, accepted a job as an airplane mechanic for Rolls Royce. She would eventually return to her Maritime roots after giving her green card more than three decades of use.
She and her husband Austin Maclin, a Vietnam war veteran who trained military dogs, left America in 2003 to settle in Darnley, where the couple lived until their recent move to Summerside.
Austin, a permanent resident of Canada, uses his German shepherd Myah to help treat veterans on PEI who have PTSD.
He will be able to vote in the Nov 3 election and, unfortunately for Trump, Biden is his choice.