Father's Day was this weekend, and my son and I made a surprise trip (for 26 hours) to spend it with my Dad in Seattle.  On the trip back, my son was given an amazing gift too.

My kiddo is a bit obsessed with planes.  We have model planes, Lego planes, toy planes, he watches planes, he's even interested in emergency landings and disasters.

He's eight, so there's not a firm commitment and much could change, but at this time he's thinking he wants to be a pilot when he grows up.

On our way over to Seattle Saturday, he was excited that we got to fly on and Alaska 737.  He knew that was a plane type he hadn't flown yet, so it was another to cross off the list.  He was most excited that we would be returning on Delta Connection (flown by SkyWest) yesterday though, since it would be the first E175 jet he's flown on.

See what I mean?  He's all over it.

Our flight was great, the SkyWest flight crew was really kind, we landed 30 minutes ahead of schedule, but the biggest moment when we got up front to leave the plane.  I've learned that schedules are so tight and crews are so busy that the old idea of touring the cockpit just doesn't happen the way it used to.

Connell - Cockpit 2

We've learned you might as well ask if he can take a peek at the cockpit, and thanks to Captain RJ from SkyWest, we hit the jackpot.

He let my kiddo jump into the First Officer's seat, explained the flight controls and the features of the E175, and even walked through some of his own history.  He made my son feel so special and as we walked through the terminal, my kiddo told me "I'm like a pilot now."

Captain RJ taking the time to invest a few extra minutes of his time that day made an amazing mark for my son.  For any of us with kids in our life, if someone treats them well, it's an incredibly powerful thing.  I'm grateful for him taking the time.

As the flight crew passed us, Captain RJ said "You know he can get his pilot's license before his driver's license.  He's got the bug."  He may well be right.

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