Armless Pilot Jessica Cox Meets Toddler Born Without Arms
It’s not every day you get to hug your hero, let alone bond over something that makes you both so unique.
So for Ruth Evelyn “RE” Pranke, a three-year-old born without arms, the opportunity to meet armless pilot Jessica Cox was a memorable one—and it was a meeting her mom Karlyn wished for before RE was even born.
When Pranke found out at her mid-pregnancy ultrasound that her baby had a rare birth defect and would be born without arms, she went home and started researching what it would mean for her daughter’s future. She came across Cox, 32, a woman born with the same defect who has piled up some pretty remarkable accomplishments: Cox became the first armless person in aviation history to earn a pilot’s license and also holds a Taekwondo black belt, drives a car with her feet, types with her toes and enjoys scuba diving and surfing.
Pranke reached out to Cox on Facebook in hopes of connecting the motivational speaker with her toddler. “I wanted her to see she doesn’t have to have arms,” Pranke said in an interview with ABC News. “I wanted her to see all the things Jessica can do.”
Cox invited RE and her family to the film premiere of Right Footed, a documentary that followed Cox for two years to spotlight her work as a motivational speaker and disability rights advocate.
“When I meet a child without arms, it feels like I’m giving back,” Cox said. “It’s that feeling of ‘Oh, I’m going to be okay. I’m going to be able do everything this woman did,’ is what I’m giving back to RE and other children. It’s saying ‘I’m going to be just fine.’”
Grab a tissue and watch the heartwarming meet-and-greet below.