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Canadian air traffic controllers brought pizza and wings to their Buffalo counterparts

Posted at 6:10 PM, Jan 16, 2019

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Buffalo air traffic controllers had a special lunch of wings from Wing Up! from across the border and Picasso's Pizza on Transit Road in Willamsville Wednesday.

"'Wouldn't it be funny to bring wings to Buffalo?' And we said 'yes, that would work really well,'" Scott Sheppard, air traffic controller for Toronto Pearson Tower said.

Showing support for their American counterparts during the government shutdown-- Toronto Pearson Tower workers flew 30 lbs of wings and Hamilton Tower workers drove an hour and a half to donate the food in person.

"To treat our American counterparts with the government shutdown, we wanted to show the solidarity and give them a little token of our respect," Ken Burley, a Hamilton air traffic controller said. "We are all doing the same job of keeping the North American skies safe."

Buffalo air traffic controllers have not received a paycheck since December 23rd, 2018. They work every day-- 24/7-- to make sure the airplanes come and go safely.

Ryan Dojka, a Buffalo air traffic controller and Union representative said the government told the workers they will get paid back for the time they worked, but it is still putting a stress on many families.

Dojka says having this act of kindness from the neighbors to the north has helped boost moral in the work room.

"I get to see how much they cared about us," Dojka added. "It's something you can't describe. I hope to reciprocate one day."

Dojka says many workers are very thankful for the generosity.

"We are really appreciative," Lonnie Adamczyk, Buffalo air traffic controller said. "It shows solidarity with our Canadian friends and cousins. We really appreciate it."

"It's nice to know that there are people out there looking our for us and probably understand what we are going through," John Sardina, Buffalo air traffic controller said.

Sardina has been in the business for 11 years and says he never thought this would happen. He says he is stressed from not knowing when his next paycheck will be but says he does his job with pride and to keep travelers safe.

"If this goes on for a long time, it goes on for a long time... I'm not going to quit that's for sure," Sardina said. "I will show up everyday and do my job."