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Meet Our Inclusion Council: Megan Smerk

January 10, 2023

Meet Our Inclusion Council: Megan Smerk

Back in August of 2016, my husband and I took an all-inclusive trip down to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. We were out in the ocean floating enjoying ourselves and I kept noticing a little girl that would look my way and just watch me. Her mother kept saying, “it is not kind to stare”, then turned to me and said, “I am sorry she continues to stare, she is drawn to white women and your blue eyes are also a characteristic she loves. You should have seen her with the Flight Attendant on our way down here.” I said to her, “she is fine, she is adorable and clearly has a love for people”. From that moment, we got to talking and sharing about where each of us was from and if we had ever been to the DR before and other miscellaneous topics. By that time, I was holding their little girl and just floating with her in the waves, which she loved.

Once dinner time was approaching she invited us to join her and her family for dinner at the resort. She mentioned to us that her husband was from the DR, and she met him through visiting the DR regularly for vacation. Once married, he moved out to California, and they reside there today. He still has family in the DR, so they make a point to vacation there at least once a year. She had asked us about a few different food items and if we had ever experienced the authentic local cuisine. We hadn’t, so we gladly accept the invitation. They knew the chief at the resort and they had him prepare an assortment of delicious local cuisine. We shared stories and bonded over dinner. Delicious dinner, I might add.

For the rest of the trip we would keep in touch and chat anytime we were crossing paths. When it was time to leave we exchanged information and promised to find each other on social media and keep in touch. And that we did. Which brings me to 2019.

While working for PSA, I got to go experience my first Women in Aviation Conference, March of 2019. The conference happened to be located in Long Beach, California. I immediately got in touch with my friend that I had kept in touch with and said I would love to meet up for dinner one evening when I was free. She agreed, and the family drove out to meet me. I got to catch up with them, talk about life, and meet their son, who was the newest addition to their family.

I share this story to help reflect on International Friendship Day. In 2011, the United Nations helped designate and promote global kindness and togetherness every July, which stemmed from the World Friendship Day that was prosed in 1958 by the World Friendship Crusade. The day is meant to help foster peaceful culture through friendship. It helps connect people globally and spread harmony. The day can be acknowledgeable by sampling sending a kind message to a friend, hang out, or communicate and determine commonalities among one another. (History source:

I have shared my personal story to acknowledge International Day of Friendship and the bonds that can be created by being kin, understanding, and willing to find common ground among one another. I am thankful for getting to meet an amazing family and stay connected with them still to this day. May you be inspired to reach out and extend a simple gesture to a friend. Set aside opinions, appearance, and things that tend to separate people and just focus on respecting and loving one another.

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