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Every Seat Has a Story: Leo's Story

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I love to fly Southwest.  The atmosphere and the people who work for Southwest are always friendly.  My son, Leo, has an overwhelming love for airplanes. So anytime we fly, he loves the experience. Leo was diagnosed as Deaf at nine months old and has been learning American Sign Language (ASL) ever since.  He has bilateral cochlear implants that he received when he was a year old. When we fly, he wears his cochlear implants until the plane takes off.  The pressure and sounds in the plane hurt his ears. To anyone who sees him, he looks like an average hearing child.  I have had a lot of experience with adults who stop talking to Leo as soon as they find out he is deaf.  My most recent flight with my son was very special to me. Mark was one of the flight attendants on our flight from Seattle to Phoenix. I was standing in the front of the plane waiting with my son to use the restroom. Mark saw us waiting and started to talk to my son. Mark was very friendly, and usually I don't say anything and just let them talk to Leo. Since Leo is two years old, most adults understand that they don't typically respond anyway.  owever, I decided to tell Mark that Leo was deaf. Mark then started to talk to my son using sign language. Leo loves to communicate with anyone who will use ASL.  eo lit up and flashed a big smile at Mark. This little act of kindness towards my son made my flight experience very different.  Mark did something that my family and I don't experience everyday.  He made the experience for my son a truly wonderful one.  Usually my son only communicates with my husband or myself.  That day Mark was another person that Leo was able to connect with.  It was a moment I will never forget.  It is also one more reason why I will choose to fly Southwest every time.  
1 Comment
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What a lovely story! I have always wanted to learn ASL and one of my dear friends specializes in teaching it to children. On a sie note- I have been on that Seattle to Pheonix flight and it's always a joy!