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A Southwest Airways flight attendant centered in Las Vegas died Tuesday from COVID-19, in accordance to his family and co-staff.

Maurice “Reggie” Shepperson, a native New Yorker whose brightly colored pants earned him the nickname Skittles through instruction in 2014, examined favourable for COVID in early July and experienced been preventing the virus in the clinic for a thirty day period, in accordance to Marcia Hildreth, a Southwest flight attendant who called him her best buddy.

He was on a ventilator and died early Tuesday, his mom, Dawn Shepperson, advised United states These days.  A nurse informed her it was from COVID.

Shepperson, 36, was entirely vaccinated, his mom and Hildreth reported. He beloved to fly and took each precaution, wearing a mask, constantly washing his arms, sanitizing surfaces and wiping everything down in lodge rooms, Hildreth mentioned.

“It damage me so lousy since it was just so quick,” Dawn Shepperson reported. “I didn’t have time to actually even admit what is going on. This is intellect-blowing. It is really not true. It is not serious. It can be not true.”

Hildreth claimed she’s in disbelief, far too.

 “I’m likely to overlook my good friend,” she said.

Southwest spokesman Brandy King verified a Las Vegas-primarily based employee died Tuesday but declined to provide details. Shepperson’s mother mentioned the airline has reached out to her and Hildreth claimed Southwest contacted her after Shepperson’s death and pulled her from a perform trip so she could fly property to Las Vegas Wednesday.

“We are heartbroken more than the loss of our Southwest employee,” King explained in a assertion. “Out of respect for the household, we do not have additional information to share.”

Southwest and other airlines have not introduced stats on the variety of COVID cases and deaths among flight crews. The Affiliation of Flight Attendants-CWA, which represents flight attendants at United, Frontier, Spirit and Hawaiian airways, amid other people, has estimated that 4,000 flight attendants across all airlines in the United States have contracted the virus and 20 have died.

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Shepperson worked all over the pandemic and was pulled from perform various times because of to COVID-19 exposure, Hildreth said. But he never ever tested optimistic right up until July, she reported.

Shepperson was what coworkers contact a significant flyer: He picked up additional get the job done outings than most. Partly to make revenue, partly to vacation anywhere he could.

Kiki Lee was in Shepperson’s flight attendant schooling class in 2014 in Dallas, where by Southwest is dependent.

Right after 5 weeks of schooling, she and other freshly minted flight attendants just required to go house. Shepperson began working with his worker flight perks. One of the initially journeys, Lee remembers, was to China.

“He was hitting the skies ideal way, using his added benefits,” Lee mentioned. “He loved performing and he cherished the perks.”

Shepperson’s Facebook web site displays his travel adventures, which includes quite a few do the job visits to Hawaii. In June, he took his mom along for the trip. His mother claimed that was a person of his final get the job done visits for Southwest ahead of he examined good.

“He loved journey and anybody who knew him understood he loved his mother,” Lee stated.

Travis Pittman, one more Las Vegas-primarily based flight attendant for Southwest, met Shepperson when he relocated to Nevada from Tampa in 2016.

“That New York exterior can appear off tricky and all that,” he mentioned. “But he was just like a teddy bear, so sweet on the inside of and really, really loving. Just pretty exciting to be about.”

Dawn Shepperson explained Reggie, whom she elevated on her personal immediately after his father died when he was 14 months previous,  made her proud just about every time she walked by means of a Southwest terminal at an airport.

“People today that I you should not even know, after they discover out I’m Reggie’s mother claimed, “Maam, you did a wonderful task. This is a good younger man,” she mentioned. “As a mother, I really feel so blessed and proud for the reason that which is all I needed in lifestyle was to raise my son appropriate.”

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