‘Jack Unstoppable’ Shares His Appreciation for RDU

Airport invites local student for private tour after receiving his encouraging note

Team RDU was touched to receive customer feedback from a young aviation enthusiast during the early stages of the global health pandemic, when passenger traffic reached record lows and the airport community faced uncertainty about what the future would hold.

10-year-old Jack wrote RDU in May to express his appreciation for airport workers and their commitment to keeping guests safe and the airport open during the pandemic.

“Thank you for looking out for the airport so that it can be a safe and healthy place to be when people have to travel,” Jack wrote. “It’s nice of you to help keep the airport running even though you could get sick. You guys are very brave.”

Jack and his family are big fans of RDU. They share many special memories of trips over the years through the airport.

Jack, also known to his family and friends as “Jack Unstoppable,” was born with a heart defect. He didn’t walk until he was two, was fed through a tube until he was three and had three open heart surgeries before he turned four.

His family has traveled across the country and around the world from RDU for Jack’s surgeries. Jack fills with excitement when he talks about air travel. He loves to share stories of his experiences on planes and in airports when traveling for medical procedures.

As a thank you for his kind note and encouraging words, Team RDU invited Jack for a special behind-the-scenes tour of the airport. Airport staff escorted Jack and his dad through the terminals and up to the ramp tower, where he watched airport workers coordinate how to get planes from the gate to the runway. 

Jack was most interested in RDU’s baggage handling system. We were happy to give him an “insider” view of how luggage travels from check-in to being loaded onto the aircraft.

Jack brought a list of questions to ask airport staff throughout the tour, from the oddest things found during baggage handling to the different roles and responsibilities of airport employees. He was surprised to learn about the things people accidentally leave behind, including wads of cash!

This was Jack’s first visit to the airport since COVID-19 reached the state. “I love the airport, planes, and traveling,” Jack wrote to RDU. “Even though I can’t travel by air now, I’m really thankful that you’re keeping the airport safe so that we can all travel again when this is all over.”

It was a privilege to meet Jack and hear firsthand how the airport has played such a prominent role in his life. We at RDU share Jack’s love for the aviation industry and are so glad he contacted us. We look forward to welcoming Jack and his family back to the airport when they are ready to travel again.