An American Airlines pilot, retiring after 35 years on the job, decided to give his wings to a Central Florida boy with Down syndrome.
Capt. Joe Weis gave the special gift to 2-year-old Ki Klitenick, of Ocala, on the tarmac at the Miami International Airport following a flight on Oct. 2.
Weis said his wife Wendy was sitting in a row with Ki, who has Down syndrome, and his mom, Sarah Tamar Klitenick, as they returned back from Spain.
Wendy found out it was the child’s first flight, which was also Joe’s last before retirement. After Wendy told him, he came up with a simple, yet meaningful surprise for Ki.
Joe pinned the wings on the boy’s shirt in the cockpit after the flight from Madrid landed.
“Since it was my last and his first we decided to make it special. So I pinned my AA Captain wings on him after we landed in Miami. I will remember this always,” he said.
The boy’s mother said he’s been talking nonstop about his gift and his new friend, Capt. Joe since they’ve been back home, according to the Orlando Sentinel.