The Make-A-Wish Foundation certainly knows how to bring their A game when it comes to making children in need happy.
Seven-year-old William Kottos, from Chicago, who has been diagnosed with a congenital heart defect, got his wish granted and was let to become a pilot for three days. The boy got to travel with American Airlines, where he was taught the basic drills of flying and attending the passengers.
Jim Palmersheim, a carrier pilot on the airplane could not withhold his happiness to see the boy smiling and enjoying himself. William’s mother, Kathy, later explained:
‘He’s been through so much and this was the probably the best moment of his life’.
The Kottos family was flown is a Boeing 787 Dreamliner and taken to the American Airlines headquarters in Dallas.
The boy was given an original uniform after which he underwent training alongside all pilots.
He also got to ring the bell to used to greet a new pilot to the company. Afterwards, he was given the title of chief pilot.
On the second day, the boy visited H.R., a ground school, and spent time in the flight simulator, while learning how to act in cases of emergency like putting out a fire.
On the third day, the boy was taken to Air Traffic Control, to the hangar, and he got o witness an inspection of a 787. There, he got the title honorary fire chief and enjoyed a small pizza party. The boy’s only wish was to be a pilot, something he wanted since he was three years old.
‘William had always dreamed of flying an American Airlines plane and when Make-A-Wish heard of his wish to become a pilot the organisation worked quickly to make it happen,’ noted Make-A-Wish on their website.
Captain Palmersheim noted that the three days spent with the little boy were ‘the coolest thing I’ve done in my 26 years at American Airlines.’
‘I think about William every day,’ he says. ‘When you have an opportunity to grant someone’s wish, you end up learning a lot about yourself. That was a great gift that I never expected.’