BOISE -- Christmas is still more than a week away, but an ordinary Friday night turned into a winter wonderland for some special kids in Boise. Counselors at 15 Boise elementary schools helped select 80 under-privileged kids to have Christmas wishes granted.
"What we've done is we've asked them to write a letter to Santa with their wishes," said Teresa Slagel, who organized the event. Slagel said 13 United Airlines locations do the event, and of the 13, Boise is the smallest.
For the Fantasy Flight, they take the kids on a flight around Boise, let them meet Santa, and open presents. Slagel said the United Airlines employees love doing this every year, almost as much as the kids and parents who are participating.
"I just had a parent hug me and just tell me thank you," Slagel said. "They're so appreciative. They don't know what they're going to do for their kids, so we can help them do that, it's our privilege."
The event was the first time on an airplane for Rosa Rodriguez and her four kids.
"It means a lot, they've been excited since November," said Rodriguez, "and they were nervous at first, but to them it's like a once in a lifetime thing, so it's exciting."
Katelyn Neville came with her parents and sister.
"I think for anyone who's doing it, for anyone, exciting because it's just awesome," Katelyn Neville said.
For Thomas Petty and his 7-year-old son, Kaleb, Christmas is about spending time with family. The father and son were glad to have this opportunity, and to do it together.
"It's a really beautiful thing," said Petty. "I feel really fortunate for him to be here, so I feel just lucky, honestly."
Petty said this will probably be his son's best Christmas yet, in part because of this event.
"I get to see Santa and I probably will get to see his elves and Rudolph," said Kaleb Petty.
If you would like to get involved in this event in the future, call United Airlines or click here.
The event is sponsored by United Airlines and its employees at the Boise Airport sponsor the yearly event.