#WeAreArity Wednesday: Andre Paradis
Imagine you can instantly learn any language. Which would you choose?
German. My mother is German. As a kid, she attempted to teach me German. She wanted me to be bilingual. But being a kid on summer break, I didn’t want to learn.
However, now as a 37-year-old when I can’t hold a conversation with family and friends in Germany, I regret it. I wish I was fluent in German.
Do you have a lot of family in Germany?
A couple cousins, aunts, and uncles. I don’t get over as often. But as a kid, we would go every other summer. My grandparents would switch off – they would come to the states, and the next summer we’d go there.
Are you planning to visit again any time soon?
Not anytime soon. We have a little one, so we’re going to wait for her to get a little bit older before we adventure on a plane.
What is your most used phone app?
I hate to say it – Facebook. I wish it was something more original or more productive, but Facebook definitely helps with keeping in touch with family around the world.
Do you post a lot?
I do post funny memes when I come across them. Trying to kind of hone in on my dad jokes and anything that I find funny, interesting, or inspirational. I’m kind of across the board. You don’t know what to expect with my posts!
What is something interesting we would not know about you just by looking?
I was born three months premature. My weight was just over one pound – like one pound and six or seven ounces. In 1986, that was a very big deal back then. So, I was on oxygen for the first two years of my life. As the question says, if you were to look at me now, you would never know.
What was the worst job you ever had?
I worked in the appointment center for Cleveland Clinic for a little bit. And when answering the phone, I’d say, “Thank you for calling the appointment center. Can I schedule you an appointment for today?” So, of course, patients would be like, “Yes, I would love an appointment for today. I need an appointment for today.”
Unfortunately, the little asterisk for that is we would pull up the whole Cleveland Clinic system, and I could maybe get them an appointment that day, but it would be 50, 60, or 70 miles away. It might not be with their local doctor.
And a lot times, that wasn’t even the case. When I went to schedule appointments, Doctor Smith or whomever would be scheduling three or four months out. So, it was disappointing to set these expectations with the callers and, in the end, not be able to schedule their appointments.
It was a very busy appointment center. I would take upwards of one hundred calls each day. It was a burnout environment.
The job itself was easy – it was having to deliver the disappointing news to the customers. I never want that.
How long did you work there?
About a year. Then I decided to move to Dallas.
How do you like Dallas?
I like Dallas! I originally grew up in Vermont. It’s very pretty, but I enjoy Dallas – specifically, the variety, the choices, and the options I have. It’s like, “What do you want to eat today? Indian? OK, we have Indian – we have these six or seven choices.”
Growing up in Vermont, dinner was whatever mom and dad cooked for you. And if you didn’t like it, good luck.
I’m still getting used to the traffic, even though I’m going on ten years now – dealing with multiple lanes and things like that.
What did you want to do when you grew up?
I love planes, and I really got into airplanes when I was three or four years old. Flying to Germany really got me into planes. So, growing up I really wanted to be an airline pilot.
In 2007, I decided to test the waters and became a flight attendant for a very small regional airline called CommuteAir. It’s kind of a blessing because I didn’t like the lifestyle – being in and out of hotels, living out of a suitcase. It was exhausting, and you’re away from friends and family.
You’re almost living a double life, living on the road and then coming home and having this family life.
Back then, airline pilots made very little money. I think the first-year pilot or co-pilot for regional is something like $16 – $17,000 a year which is not a lot to live off of. So, I just decided to keep aviation as a hobby.
Beach holiday or ski trip? And to where?
Despite being from Vermont, I’ve only skied a few times and that was fourth of fifth grade. When your friends decide that they don’t want to ski and go on ski trips anymore, you kind of say, “I don’t want to either.” I stopped skiing at that point. And I never picked it up.
So, definitely a beach. And if I were to pick a beach, it would be Saint Martin.
Why would you pick that beach?
That beach has an airport. You can stand on the beach and watch the airplanes take off and land.
If you ever get bored, YouTube “Saint Martin airport,” and you’ll see people standing on the beach watching planes land – and they go very very low.
I’d love to go there. That’s on my bucket list.
What is an easy way to do something nice for somebody?
Hold the door for somebody. Or be there for somebody – be in person. In this day and age, when everyone’s on their phone or social media, just being there in person and doing a small act of kindness can probably make someone’s day. You don’t know what people are going through so just a small gesture might be something that brightens somebody’s day.
What do you do in your free time to help you relax?
Continuing a hobby that I’ve had since I was a kid, and that’s watching planes. So, I go to Founders’ Plaza – a little park by the Dallas/Fort Worth airport where you can watch the planes land. It turns me into an eight-year-old just watching planes.
Have you taken your daughter to Founders’ Plaza yet?
Yes, I’ve taken her. Sometimes we will go Saturdays because she gets up around 5 or 6 a.m. We’ll head out, and I’ll give mom a chance to sleep in. We’ll pack a backpack with snacks, and we’ll sit on the lawn and watch the planes. She’s more interested in the real birds than the planes, but it’s a good way to spend a Saturday morning.