An interaction with an American Airlines pilot is going viral on TikTok for all the right reasons. TikTok user @smithknation took to the platform to share a heartwarming interaction between her 2-year old son and an American pilot.
The 2-year old, who she explains is obsessed with airplanes, visited the cockpit. The pilot helps him onto the first officer’s seat, lets him grab the yoke, and even gives him his hat for a photo. The mother posted the video adding captions including “representation matters” and “thank you American Airlines.” Take a look:
With race in the news again, this video and comments it’s getting once again show how representation matters to children. American Airlines was the first airline to hire a black pilot all the way back in 1964. That story is now the subject of a book by a Pulitzer Prize-winning author. But despite all the time that’s passed, pilot ranks have been slow to diversify.
In a follow-up comment on her video, the mother notes that in all her flying, she’s “never even seen a black pilot in person. 🥺 I’ll never forget this.” That’s not a surprise. As of 2019, less than 3% of pilots in the U.S. were black.
As a commenter on TikTok notes, “Love this. Representation does matter. Looking at a future pilot in the works!” Hopefully, the pilot is able to see this video so he can see what his gesture of kindness meant for the family and the response he’s getting from viewers. As another commenter writes, “He’s going to for ever remember this day!! Also I’m not crying looking at your beautiful video🥲🥲🥲”
A black American Airlines pilot is going viral on TikTok for giving a young black boy a cockpit tour he won’t forget. And while race and diversity is in the news again, this heartwarming moment shows how representation and simple acts of kindness can make a big impact.
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