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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Our Pilot EARNED his Wings!

In October our family had a trip planned for a family member's wedding.  We would be flying from Utah to Florida and staying for six days.  We had planned for it to be Curtis, six of our ten kids and myself.  Curtis' new company ended up being ready to do it's first launch while we would be gone so he made the decision to stay behind.  I would be traveling with six kids alone, two kids having special needs, a two year old, and three good helpers.  I am used to traveling alone with the kids so I knew we would have some challenges, but with a lot of planning, organizing, and patience we would have a great time.  

The kids did great.  The first of the trip went better than expected.  By the middle of the trip the kids were having typical issues but still overall they were doing really well.  We had Cam wearing his sensory headphones so that he could enjoy the theme parks without all the extra noise.  I have learned little tricks that help Jordy as well to make it through a day without having a meltdown or major behavior issues.  I was very grateful that we had saved our "Autism is my Superpower" and "I am 22q" shirts for the boys to wear on the last 2 days.  Both Cam and Jordy look like "typical" kids, so if I know we may have problems I will have them wear those shirts.  They both love their shirts and are always excited when I let them wear them.  They help bring awareness to Autism and 22q, and they help people be a little more patient with us.

On our flight home we had a layover.  The first flight was long, and we were all tired and a little stressed.  I was ready to be home.  

Jordy has been obsessed with airplanes since he was very little. We talk often about what job he could have when he is older at the airport. When we were boarding our last flight of the trip I was trying to collapse the strollers and organize the little kids and car seats. Jordy walked ahead of the rest of us and boarded the plane (wearing his Autism is my superpower shirt). As I shuffled the other kids behind him onto the plane he was talking to the pilot. He is a question master and asks everyone he comes in contact a million questions...he had done it to all the flight crews. Well, this crew was different than the other crews. The pilot asked me what row we were sitting in and then asked me if he could keep Jordy while everyone boarded the plane. He told me he would make sure he got Jordy back to me before we took off.  I agreed...I admit I was a little confused and then amazed when the pilot took Jordy into the cockpit. We were among the first to board the plane so it took quite sometime for everyone to board. During the boarding process we heard a voice come over the intercom, "Hello everyone, we would like to welcome you on the plane today."   It was Jordy

Just before we were about to take off Jordy was returned to our seats with the biggest smile he has ever had! "They showed me how to work the controllers and fly the plane and where the seat belt on and off switch was and where they land and where they talk to all the people and I didn't think I would want to be a flyer of the planes, but now I know that I want to be a flyer because now I know how." Jordy said proudly.  He said it was probably better than Disney World. It was the best flight of Jordy's life!

After the flight I asked the pilot if I could get his picture with Jordy and he said, "If we are going to do a picture, then let's do it right!" He took us into the cockpit again and gave Jordy his hat, sat him in the pilot's seat and he sat and talked with us for another 5 mins.  He told Jordy that he could do anything he wanted to do in life. I was overcome by this simple kind act and had to try and hold back my emotions.

A lot of the time people have a hard time being around Autistic kids. Sometimes they are very helpful and try to accommodate however they can. And then, there are the very few who get it...and just by being kind, and going a little out of their way, they make a little boys dream come true.  Our Frontier Airlines pilot, earned his wings that day.  It was the best finish to a vacation we have ever had, and the best flight I have ever had with my kids!

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1 comment:

  1. I had a similar experience with a Southwest Airlines pilot and my son, who also has autism. Anyone who works with something technical is like a rock star to my little guy and it's really something to see these rock stars take the time to share what they do. Awesome human beings!