A girl walks into a bar….

You know the rest of the story right.

My version is a little different with an unbelievable twist. Even I am pinching myself

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Backstory: In 2015 out of 22,000 applicants, I was one of the 2,000 selected to attend the FAA Air Traffic Controller Academy in Oklahoma for that particular bid. I did the job with all my heart and left everything on the playing field the day of evals. I made a safety call diverting an aircraft back to an airport due to an emergency and those points were my demise on the eval. I left heartbroken and lost at the fact my dream job had just gone down the tubes because of nerves and a damn point out.

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My class out in Oklahoma. These people were my “fam” out in the middle of no where.

Lets move to July 2016. I was offered a similar job to an Air Traffic Controller with Lockheed Martin at their Ashburn, Virginia station working the Automated Flight Service Station (AFSS). Although not giving directions and clearances, it was another key part for pilots to get information on flights, weather, briefings, etc. I could not take it because I was pregnant with Ryan and we would have had to move to D.C. in the midst of all the chaos.

I had to turn it down.

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My sister from another mister while out in OKC. This girl was my sanity and luckily she made it to Miami Center. (along with some other friends)

Fast forward 4 months to November when I applied for the bid AGAIN to go back to OKC and got through AGAIN but this time I was eight months pregnant with my daughter on the way. All I had to do was go back to Oklahoma City one more time to prove I could do it, but I had to test before Dec 31. Funny thing Ryan was due Dec 12. Once again I was disappointed and sad.

SO here we are, a girl walks into a bar….and her name is Melissa. She is petite, kept to herself and her bar stance said, “don’t talk to me” but my head said “you know this chick”.  I studied her posture for a minute only to keep it moving and sit down right beside her at the 8 person bar in the fine establishment of Bella Monica. My friend Keri and I were having a mommy wine night out and were minding our own business when I could not get out of my head where I knew this girl from.

I looked at her and right away I said “Melissa” she obviously responded, “Ashley?”

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You need to understand that Melissa is from New Jersey, was a class behind me at Oklahoma City and when I left that place…I left. Got in the car, drove as fast as I could to NC and did not look back because I was devastated. SO we did not keep in contact or talk about what we might be doing after the fact. Sad thing is she was also washed out by the Academy and landed herself here in Raleigh after some other duty stations after OKC.

What I CAN say with confidence and enthusiasm NOW is everything happens for a reason.

She was sitting in Bella Monica for a reason.

We chatted for a bit and left exchanging numbers and life stories of where we were now. She was here. In Raleigh. Working with Airplanes. In a tower. I wanted in. And so here I am….

That is right. This blog is informing and exclaiming my newly accepted offer with a contract company, doing what I thought I never could again…controlling aircraft, in Raleigh-not moving my family and in a tower watching those planes come and go.

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Who would have known that Melissa (featured front and center with the skull shirt and glasses) and I would end up working together somewhere other than Oklahoma City.


I am also excited to be working closely with the people and tower that started it all in Raleigh Durham when I was an intern in 2012-13. I get the aircraft safely to them and they safely take them off. Patience really is a virtue. And believing in yourself without a doubt is another.

In my interview I was asked what the hardest challenge I had ever faced was. Clearly it was Oklahoma but now I think I would have to say almost giving up on myself. It has been a roller coaster of emotions these past two weeks. The day I wrote my last blog about being lost I became found by my new company when they issued me the offer letter later that day.

I accept the new challenge full steam and with much excitement. Now if anyone knows affordable daycare that won’t cause me to work nights at the Men’s Club I will take a lead any time.

Thank you to my friends and family that never stopped believing I would get back up after falling so hard. And to this little nugget that is letting me go back to work and push some tin.

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