Aron Gibbons was one of the stand-out stars of the annual TV extravaganza that marks the start of the festive season for many families in Ireland.
Ryan introduced Aron as, “our captain, from Westport, Co. Mayo, six-year-old Aron Gibbons” before he burst onto the set to massive rounds of applause as he declared “welcome back Ryan!”
Dressed as a pilot in full uniform and pulling a wheelie case behind him, Aron certainly looked the part and knew all the terminology.
Asked why he loved planes, Aron said it was because they were very interesting and of course they fly, “which is very cool”.
Aron also showed off his toy plane collection before Ryan invited Aron onto the Toy Show airplane as they both donned caps and aviator shades.
The lads then dashed though “security” before Ryan set off the alarm, as he had liquids in his case.
“No liquids,” Aron declared.
As they climbed on board, Ryan asked Aron, “are you the pilot?” to which Aron replied, “it’s called the captain,” to gales of laughter from the audience.
Aron announced they were flying from London Gatwick to Emirates before announcing to his “passengers”, “if you want some food, you have to pay for it.”
After managing some “turbulence” and landing safely Ryan revealed to Aron that he was going to be given a special access behind-the-scenes tour of Dublin Airport which included Aron being made an honorary airline pilot for the day.
Yesterday, Aron’s mum Sanita, who was backstage at the time, said she was as surprised as Aron by the offer.
“We didn’t know about that, but it’s brilliant,” she said. She also admitted that she was more nervous than her son was.
“He took it all in his stride,” Sanita said. “He was as excited to meet the ‘real’ Ryan as he was about appearing on the show.
“He’s a big fan and after watching the show last year he immediately turned around and said, ‘mum, I want to go on the Toy Show’.”
Sanita said that as Aron’s uncle is a pilot, Aron was inspired to follow in his footsteps.
“He’s obsessed with airplanes,” Sanita added. “He watches all the videos about them.
“He also loves geography and he’s interested in all the different countries and their flags.
“But he’s only managed one plane journey, from Dublin to Riga and back, and that was before the pandemic.”
Sanita said the uniform Aron wore for the show, was a new one as a similar one that was bought for his sixth birthday in July was worn out.
“He loves dressing up as a pilot with the badge and everything,” she added.
Proud mum Sanita added that Aron was taking his new-found stardom in his stride.
Before he even appeared on the show, Aron was already a star at his school in Westport where the teachers and other kids made a big deal of him.
“It’s a small school but they gave him such a great send-off. They made a big banner for him, wishing him good luck and everyone was so excited for him and came out to wish him well.
“He’s very proud to have been on the show,” Sanita added. “He’s watching the reaction with me on Twitter and he’s overwhelmed.”
The Late Late Toy Show raised just under €3.5 million for its annual charity appeal just after lunchtime yesterday.
This year, viewers in Ireland and around the world followed the fun down the yellow brick road as Ryan Tubridy and the young stars of the show put an ‘Ozsome’ spin on “the most magical night of the year”.