My husband and I took our son Christopher on a flight from Seattle to Los Angeles. My step-son Christopher had Duchene’s Muscular Dystrophy. When we boarded the plane in Seattle, a very nice pilot by the name of Gary, asked us if we wanted to show Christopher the cockpit. My husband carried him in for a look around. Chris was fifteen years old at the time. His face just lit up, and he told us that when he became well he wanted to become a pilot. It made me cry.
The flight was wonderful and the entire crew was just great to Chris. When we landed, Gary asked us if he could have our address so he could send Chris a card. Chris was so excited that this kind man wanted to write to him. Several weeks later Chris received a card in the mail. It was from Gary, inside was a beautiful card and attached to it was a pair of wings. He told Chris that he had earned them while he was in the service and wanted Chris to have them. We put the wings on Chris and he just did not want to take them off. After that all he did was talk about the pilot that sent him a pair if wings, he even took them to school to show his friends.
About three months later Chris had his sixteenth birthday. That Saturday there came knock on the door. It was the pilot that sent him the wings. He wanted to see how Chris was doing. He had a surprise for Chris; he brought him one of his old pilot jackets that he also wore in the service. Chris was just beside himself and of course I cried. We immediately put the wings on the jacket and took some pictures of Chris wearing his new flight jacket. I have never seen him so excited. Gary told us that he lived in Fontana and was on his way to LA for a flight and wanted to see Chris.
Six months later, on August 10, 2002 Chris passed away. We sent Gary an e-mail about Chris’s death, but it was returned to us. It was unfortunate that we were not able to reach this gentleman that has shown such kindness and compassion to our son, but he has made an impact upon our family. My older son Jeff is now flying and teaching out of Cable Air. It seems that my son is living Chris’s dream, all because of the incredible kindness of one person. We still have the jacket and the card that Gary and sent to Christopher. The jacket was his prize possession
Four and a half years later, I was looking on line for airline prices. I came across a website looking for stories about wonderful customer service experiences while traveling on Alaska Airlines. I wrote a letter to them explaining about the wonderful deed that Gary had done for Christopher hoping that he would be rewarded. A few days later Gary called Floyd telling him that Alaska Airline wanted to speak to me. I immediately e-mailed Alaska Air and it seems that they were trying to get my permission to publish my letter in there in-flight magazine that would be published in January 2007. I was so excited, and oh so very honored. Two months later Gary called and said he had something to bring me. He arrived that afternoon carrying a big white box, inside was a model Alaska Airline Airplane and a wooden pedestal to put it on. The CEO of Alaska Air sent me the airplane with a personal note thanking me for writing to them about Gary. I was touched by the airlines thoughtfulness.