Five year-old Andrew dresses up as a pilot to fly

Today’s guest post comes from Jo, in Sidney, BC.

I was traveling from Victoria to Kelowna with my five year-old grandson, Andrew. It was his first flight, and so it goes without saying that he was excited about it. I should mention that Andrew has a rather funny habit; he likes to dress in whatever work clothes go with any given activity.

In other words, when he goes to Thrifty Foods grocery store with his mother, he wears a Thrifty Foods apron, ‘Thrifty Foods training’ badge, and Thrifty Foods tie. When he visits Vancouver Island Helicopters he wears coveralls with a VIH badge, and a VIH hat. When he goes on the BC Ferries, he wears a BC Ferries hat and appropriate work gear. Well, you get the idea.

Andrew dressed as pilotSo for his first flight he insisted on wearing his black pants, white dress shirt, a tie a captain’s hat (it’s a boat captain’s hat, but close enough) and a ‘wings’ badge that his mother had received as a little girl during HER first flight. He tends to be very serious when he wears such things, and this was no exception. He behaved with great dignity, as befitting a pilot. He definitely caught the attention of the WestJet staff.

Everybody was incredibly warm and friendly, and very helpful. First up, before the actual flight day, the telephone booking agent was lovely, for as soon as she found out that it was Andrew’s first flight, she made sure he had a window seat. Then at the airport, the agents there told us to be sure and ask for pre-boarding after we passed through security so that Andrew could see the cockpit, and so we did. The captain was wonderful; he and Andrew sat in the cockpit for a good 1/2 hour or so, discussing airplane business. I went off and found my seat, and let them enjoy themselves. And then, after everybody had boarded, the captain introduced Andrew to the passengers and let him make an announcement on the P.A. system. You can imagine how thrilling that would be to a kid.

The flight attendants were all great as well. One gave him some headphones, another gave him a pen, and another gave him an ‘autographed’ colouring page. When the one flight attendant (male) noticed that Andrew wasn’t using the headphones, he sat down and worked with them to get them fitting properly. Everybody treated him with respect, rather than talking down to him. The kindness and genuine friendliness of all WestJet staff we met that day was extraordinary. They have given a small boy not only a very special first flight but a memory that will last a lifetime. I am truly grateful for it.

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