Heathrow Airport Goes to Awesome, Amazing Lengths for Autistic Man

For the past five years, London's Heathrow airport has recreated the same exact departure experience, Groundhog Day-style, for a 21-year-old autistic man who gets too stressed and confused to fly if his conditions change.

Aaran Stewart has severe autism and OCD, but has to navigate Heathrow airport, one of the most overwhelming airports int he world, to fly back and forth from Boston Higashi High School in the US. To make things easier, Heathrow's staff replicate the same conditions for him — from check in to pre-flight shopping to take off — every time he flies. From the BBC:

Four times a year for five years, Aaran has met the same airport staff, at the same check-in desk, visiting the same shops, leaving from the same gate on to a plane on which the same seats are reserved.

Speaking to Radio 4's You & Yours at the airport, his mother Amanda said Aaran would not be able to fly if any of the details were different.

She said: "Without the procedure we wouldn't be getting on the plane. It has to be carried out absolutely pristinely otherwise we'll end up with a problem."

Is there a Nobel Prize for customer service?

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[BBC]

Image via AP.