On Nuts About Southwest we have shared Many stories highlighting the childhood wonder of aviation. This is another that really touched my heart and filled me with pride in our incredible Pilots.
I am a private pilot and chartered a Cessna 182 to fly Bradlee (a special needs child) and his family on a scenic tour of downtown Chicago. As we were flying through MDW's air space, requesting clearance, my only thought by mentioning the special needs trip and "co-pilot" Bradlee, to the tower was in hopes that they would simply acknowledge him by name. What the folks in the tower and the Southwest Pilots did next was incredible for Bradlee and his family.Not only did every Southwest Pilot in the area acknowledge him, but also every step of our touch and go and return landing Bradlee received praises by your Pilots. As an example, on our touch and go, one of yours [Southwest planes] was on the parallel lined up and waiting. As we touched down and lifted back off, the radio call was “Bradlee, that was great take off, you did a great, great job, enjoy the skies." On the return trip as we taxied to the tower and passed another one of your planes they must have made a cabin announcement. Not only was the cockpit on the radio saying, “Welcome to Chicago " and waving—so was everyone on that side of the plane. These are just two examples of the more than 10 radio calls to him.No one can ever fully gauge the impact that your folks have made on this boy, but I can tell you that the parents that struggle everyday with the things that we take for granted will never, never forget and for that one day, they felt on top of the world. Thank you for that Culture.