Marty Cobb, from Dallas, Texas, has been working as a flight attendant for a decade. Over the years, she’s started to do a unique version of the in-flight safety demonstration. And within days of her rendition being posted online, her life changed forever.
As passengers on a plane bound for Salt Lake City, Utah, listened to Cobb’s instructions while preparing for takeoff, they couldn’t believe their ears. The mom-of-three has since appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and even competed on The Amazing Race. And it was all because of her unusual speeches.
Every flight commences with a safety message. This is when air stewards tell passengers how to use the seatbelts and what to do in case of an emergency. Regular travelers have grown accustomed to receiving the same information each time that they’re on a plane and sometimes pay little attention as a result.
But some airlines have found a way to make things more interesting – and entertaining. Many journeys now feature safety videos, some of which even feature appearances from celebrities. Meanwhile, other crew members take matters into their own hands.
There have even been YouTube videos of flight attendants singing the safety information. And one U.S. steward gives instructions while impersonating Elvis. But none of them can quite match up to Cobb. Nonetheless, the Southwest employee never could have predicted that one of her speeches was about to go viral.
In April 2014 Cobb had already been working as a flight attendant for seven-and-a-half years. Cobb was trained to do a standard safety briefing but eventually realized that she received a better response when she injected some personality into it. Then, during one of her flights, her speech was taped.
The clip starts off with Cobb asking if she “can pretend to have” the attention of the passengers. She then informs them that her ex-husband, new boyfriend and divorce attorney will be giving the demonstration. Within moments, the people on the plane begin to laugh.
For the next few minutes, she doesn’t stop cracking jokes. “Position your seatbelt tight and low across your hips like my grandmother wears her support bra,” she says at the beginning of the video. Cobb goes on to describe a life jacket as a “teeny weeny yellow Southwest bikini.”
The stewardess’ words clearly put her passengers in a jolly mood, and they are shown giggling and cheering. “Flight attendants are coming by hoping that you’ll tell them how good looking they are,” she jokes. Cobb also tells the crowd that it’s a “no smoking, no whining, no complaining flight.”
She still gives out information about the plane’s safety features but adds humorous comments throughout. For instance, Cobb tells passengers that masks will be providing them with “lots and lots of gin,” before adding, “Oxygen, that is.” The people on the plane are also seen roaring with laughter when she apologizes to those traveling with small children.
“Seriously, if there is anything we can do to make your flight more enjoyable please tell us – just as soon as we land in Salt Lake City,” Cobb jokes as she wraps up her speech. “That’s what we call very cheap entertainment. Nobody had to pay extra, but you certainly don’t get a refund.”
The passengers then whoop and clap at the end of the briefing. And on April 12, 2014, a video of the speech was uploaded to YouTube. Within nine days, it had been viewed over 10 million times, and it now has more than 24 million hits.
Ten days after the video was posted, Cobb appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, where she revealed why she started adding jokes to the typical safety routine. “It’s just so much more fun to make people laugh and let them relax. You know how stressful flying can be,” she said. “In my little tube in the sky, I can make a difference in some people’s lives.”
Cobb grew emotional as Ellen told her how much she appreciated the flight attendant for her small but meaningful gesture to brighten passengers’ days. “I admire what you do and the fact that you care about making people happy,” she added. “You’re an amazing woman.”
Cobb is a single mother and had her two daughters in the audience, although her son couldn’t be there because he was taking an important exam. Ellen pointed out how hard it is to raise three kids alone and wanted to reward the hardworking mom. So she gave Cobb an incredible surprise.
At first, Ellen presented Cobb with a suitcase full of show merchandise, as well as thousands of dollars in gift cards for Visa, Target, JCPenney and RadioShack. Then, she awarded her a $10,000 check to help with her children’s education. “The littlest bit that you can do to add joy into other people’s lives, it makes a difference,” Ellen explained.
Cobb and her daughters were evidently overwhelmed by Ellen’s generosity. The girls admitted that their mom is “so positive and so deserving” of all the support that she’d received. But the Southwest employee’s brush with stardom didn’t end there.
In February 2016 Cobb and her youngest daughter Hagan competed on The Amazing Race. They took part in a special season that saw social media celebrities battling for the $1 million prize. Cobb and Hagan were the first pair to be eliminated, but they still had a fantastic time. “We were out WAY too soon but we loved every moment!” Cobb wrote on Facebook.
In the years since the video was posted to YouTube, the flight attendant has received continued support online. And Cobb still does her comedic safety speeches. “She was on my flight yesterday on my way home from Florida!” Kristin Gunn wrote on YouTube in 2017. “She was amazing, definitely makes nervous fliers like me feel more comfortable!”
Others pointed out that while passengers often don’t pay much notice to the briefing, by making it amusing Cobb ensures that more people really do listen. “I think that’s the most attention during a safety demonstration I’ve ever seen,” Sam Muirhead commented. And Scott Mutley added, “She did her job, she did it in a funny way and if worst comes to worst, they are gonna remember what to do because they listened to the whole thing because they were interested in what she had to say.”