United Airlines pilot achieves long-term goal by flying his mom on his first flight home since his dad’s death

Dollita Okine May 21, 2024
The 34-year-old began flying lessons at the age of 17 and is now a skilled pilot for United Airlines. Photo Credit: Jerome Lawrence, GMA

Finally, Jerome Lawrence was able to fulfill a long-standing promise he made to his parents by surprising his mother on a trip. The 34-year-old began flying lessons at the age of 17 and is now a skilled pilot for United Airlines. He largely attributes his accomplishments to his parents, the late John Lawrence and his mother Gwendoline Lawrence.

Thus, when the opportunity arose, he didn’t want to wait any longer “for the perfect moment” to fly his mother, now 62, given that his father died on Christmas Day just four months ago, and he hadn’t been able to fly him during his lifetime.

He told Good Morning America “I always wanted to fly my mom and dad as an airline pilot because they saw the dream. They saw me through it all so it was always a goal of mine to do that.”

By calling his father a “gentle giant,” the Denver-based pilot emphasized the importance of this man in his life. Jerome Lawrence remarked, “Without his support, I probably wouldn’t be here today. And that was why me flying him was always such an important thing, because I wanted him to see, hey, this is what you invested in all these years, come and see what it is … but he was loving, caring, very supportive.”

“He provided for us in an immense capacity that I’m hoping one day, when I do have my own family, I’m able to replicate that in some capacity.”

On April 30, Jerome Lawrence obtained the assistance of his fellow United Airlines employees to carry out the surprise by making sure she didn’t notice him before they boarded the plane.

Jerome Lawrence used the public address system to make a special announcement once he was on board United Flight 2353, from Houston to Port of Spain in Trinidad, saying “It’s a special moment for me I’d like to share with you guys. There’s a lady in here — she’s in first class — is my mom,” before adding that it was his first time flying his mom and also his first time returning to the Caribbean islands in 17 years.

He continued, “I can’t even begin to express how important it is to share this moment with you. It’s been a long road for us. My dad should have been here on this flight. But he decided to fly higher than all of us. He’s up there with the other angels watching over us, and so, again, thank you for flying United. Thank you for being here with us.”

“Keep encouraging your children to be great and do whatever it is that they want to, because, without the support of my mother and my father, I wouldn’t be here flying you down to Port of Spain.”

He captured the moment on camera and shared it on Instagram; the video went viral shortly after and was eventually reposted by the airline. United Airlines acknowledged their delight to have been a part of the surprise.

Meanwhile, his mother, Gwendoline Lawrence, told the outlet that she had “no idea at all” that her son had prepared such a massive surprise, which nearly overwhelmed her.

Gwendoline recalled, “I was so emotional leaving my niece at the airport that morning because I told her it will be the first time I’m traveling out and going home to no one. My husband would come to the airport and meet me, and so this was the first time in all my years of traveling, so I was very emotional.”

The proud mother encouraged other parents to “Get a feel of what your child or children would like to achieve. … You have to listen to them, talk with them, communicate with them and try to support them as best as you can.”

Jerome Lawrence added, “Whatever the dream is, it is possible because I’m a living testament that it is possible.”

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: May 21, 2024


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