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Thomas soars to new heights at Heathrow Airport!

Thomas soars to new heights at Heathrow Airport!

Posted Tue 4th Jul 2023 at 10:00
by Thomas Shaw


Hey, everyone! I want to share an amazing experience I had at Heathrow Airport, thanks to a special invitation from Tourettes Action in conjunction with Heathrow airport.

As a 14-year-old with Tourette’s, this trip meant a lot to me. It gave me the chance to explore an exciting world and raise awareness about my condition. Come along as I tell you about the incredible things I saw and learned during my time at Heathrow Airport.

On arriving at Heathrow, we were met by Russell and Andy, (two engineers from Heathrow) who kitted us out in our Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) ready for the tour, they were two of the most caring and funniest tour guides I have ever met, they showed a genuine interest in Tourette’s and made the day very enjoyable.

Exploring the Airport Magic: Baggage Handling and More

When I stepped into Heathrow, I was blown away by all the fascinating things happening behind the scenes. I got to see how they take care of our luggage, making sure it reaches the right planes. The airport staff were really patient and friendly, and they taught me so much. It made me realize that everyone's journey matters, including mine as a young person with Tourette’s.

A Tower of Adventure: Looking Out from the ATC Tower

One of the coolest parts of my trip was going up to the Air Traffic Control (ATC) tower. The view from up there was incredible! I saw planes taking off, landing, and taxiing on the runways. It was like a well-orchestrated dance in the sky. I thought about how important communication and teamwork are, not just for the people at the airport, but also for us young ones with Tourette’s who rely on support and understanding from others. It was said that the person scheduling the planes was like a Zen master at candy Cush but with aeroplanes. I later had the opportunity to be in a car driving along the runway behind a plane.

Thrills and Learning: Exploring the Airport Fire Department

Okay, so I didn't actually get behind the wheel of a fire truck, but I did get to visit the airport fire department! I met some really friendly firefighters who took us for a ride in their impressive fire trucks and let us fire water from their hoses. They explained how they help keep everyone safe and put out fires. Even though I couldn't drive the truck myself, they let me see how it all works. It made me realize that even if we face challenges, we can still find joy and learn new things.

Connecting with Amazing People: Making Friends at the Airport

At the end of the day, we went back to Compass House (which is like the brain and heart of Heathrow) where we met all the important people that make the magic happen.

We met the manager of Heathrow, the Met Office Heathrow forecast, The 999 Controllers, we also met people with neurodiverse conditions who work there which made me happy to see that they are willing to make it possible for those like me with special needs to have a job there. They were patient with me and explained their jobs in a way that I could understand. It showed me that people with Tourette’s, like me, can have big dreams and make meaningful connections with others.

We were also provided with a lovely lunch and souvenirs of our day.


My journey through the wonders of Heathrow Airport, graciously arranged by Tourettes Action in conjunction with Heathrow, became an unforgettable Tourette's experience. The sights, sounds, and interactions I encountered during this visit symbolized the strength, resilience, and contributions of individuals with Tourette syndrome. Heathrow Airport became a powerful platform for raising awareness, fostering understanding, and breaking down barriers.

As I carry these memories within me, I am inspired to continue advocating for inclusivity and embracing the possibilities that lie ahead. Together, let us create a world where everyone, regardless of their condition, can soar to new heights.

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