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Pilot Retiring After 35 Years Gives Wings to Down syndrome Boy

Captain Joe Weis

MIAMI (AP) — American Airlines pilot Captain Joe Weis is retiring after 35 years and gave his wings to a Florida toddler with Down syndrome after his final flight.

Sarah and Ki Klitenick had been sitting next to the pilot’s wife on a flight from Madrid to Miami earlier this month. The woman texted her husband in the cockpit, asking Captain Joe Weis to come and meet 2-year-old Ki.

Weiss took the child on a tour of the cockpit and then pinned his wings on Ki’s shirt. The token was not the commemorative ones for kids and were the captain’s personal wings from the airline.

The Orlando Sentinel reported Friday that the delighted toddler clapped and said ‘thank you’ in sign language.

Sarah Klitenick says her son can’t stop talking about his new friend.

“My last flight was very special for many reasons. Wendy was sitting in a row with Ki and his mom back from Madrid. She found out that this was his first flight. 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. Thanks to my first officer Kent Thorpe for filming everything!”

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