A Toronto-area man is hoping to reunite a decades-old photo with the family of a mystery flight attendant pictured in her Trans-Canada airline uniform, one of the country’s first national airlines.
Lorne Jordan, an aviation enthusiast, said he stumbled upon her photo in an old album that another collector had found on the internet. The sharp quality and size of the image struck him and so he kept it, he said.
“I know the power of photographs … It’s a moment in time that they will never forget. They would have it there to look at forever,” Jordan told CTV News Toronto.
“I would love to find out who she is. I have tried … but I can’t find her. I’m hoping a family member or someone will see her photo and reach out.”
The black-and-white photo shot some time between 1947 and 1952 shows the flight attendant smiling in her uniform beside a young pilot who is also smiling at the photographer.
Miraculously, Jordan said he has already identified the pilot in the photo thanks to a chance encounter.
A retired Air Canada, formerly Trans-Canada, captain spotted the photo in Jordan’s home just over a month ago during a visit. Former captain Brian Jones said he flew beside the man in the photo when he first started in 1972.
Jones identified the pilot as Don McLean and said he could connect Jordan with McLean’s son, Laurence, who also became an Air Canada captain.
Jordan said he sent the photo to Laurence and, for the first time in his life, the now-retired captain gazed upon the photo of his dad.
Laurence told him that he had never seen photos of his dad from that era before and that he had not even been born at the time the photo was taken. He said his dad passed away in 1996 due to leukemia.
“I was thunderstruck. I just couldn't even react,” Jordan said. “[It was great] to just to talk to [Laurence] on the phone and hear the emotion in his voice and how happy he was.”
“It really is an iconic shot. I told him, ‘my God, your dad was an awfully handsome fella. The first time I saw the photograph I thought he looked like a movie star.’”
Jordan said he is hoping to bring the same joy and happiness to the family of the flight attendant in the photo.
“It’s just a very joyful kind of thing to be able to give somebody an image like that,” Jordan said. “I didn’t take that picture but just to be able to be in the right place in the right time and kind of rescue it from oblivion and reconnect it to somebody it means the world to – that’s a nice thing.“
“It would be wonderful if I could just figure out who she was.”