DANVILLE, Ill. (WCIA) — This is a heartwarming story about a boy with special needs and the day his dream came true. Aidan Chrisman has always wanted to ride in a plane. Recently, he got the chance to do more than that in Vermilion County. He actually got to try his hand at the wheel.
Today, we re-created what that looked like.
It doesn’t take long after meeting Aidan Chrisman to realize he’s got an affinity for planes.
“Every day, Aidan is flying toy airplanes around in the house. His bedroom is full of toy airplanes,” said his mom Amy Chrisman. Aidan has autism, but he doesn’t let it effect his passion.
“Aidan asks for airplane rides every day. He is nonverbal, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a few words he can use, and every day he says ‘Airplane ride,'” explained Amy. She decided she’d figure out a way to make that happen. “I called the airport and asked them if there would be anyone willing to take up Aidan,” she said.
“I got a phone call saying, ‘Hey, would you be interested in taking someone that wants to go flying?’” said pilot Chris Doxtator.
Without hesitation, Doxtator agreed. What made the flight even better, was the connection he and Aidan shared.
“My brother had cerebral palsy, and I never got to fly with him. Amy and I talked about it, how kids with special needs don’t get the same opportunities,” said Doxtator.
“Even though Aidan doesn’t talk, Chris understood Aidan on a level, just deeper than the spoken language, and it went really really well,” said Amy.
Although the ride is over, this may just be the start of a life-long friendship.
“It just meant the world to me for Aidan and I to be able to go flying and to see him flying the airplane like he was,” said Amy.
“It’s an honor for me to have a co-captain like Aidan is flying that airplane with me. Very special,” said Doxtator.
Amy writes about Aidan’s adventures. She calls them Reflections on Aidan Lake. Lake is his middle name. She says it’s her way of speaking for him, since he can’t speak for himself.