Toddler Born Without Arms Hugs First-Ever Armless Pilot In Viral - News9.com - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |

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Toddler Born Without Arms Hugs First-Ever Armless Pilot In Viral Photo

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Jessica Cox hugs Ruth Evelyn Pranke in a viral photo. Jessica Cox hugs Ruth Evelyn Pranke in a viral photo.
In between screenings of "Right Footed," Jessica Cox shows RE Pranke her airplane In between screenings of "Right Footed," Jessica Cox shows RE Pranke her airplane

The number one thing people think you miss out on if you don't have arms is a hug.

At least, that's what Jessica Cox says.

The world's first armless pilot gets the same question over and over again from strangers: "How do you hug?"

Last week, a 3-year-old girl named Ruth Evelyn (RE) Pranke answered that question for her. The toddler, who was also born without arms, embraced the 32-year-old in a way not many have seen before.

The emotional hug, shared by thousands, "redefines the definition of hope," Cox told CBS News.

"You can give someone a hug without arms -- two people without arms can give a hug," the motivational speaker said. "It inspires people that anything is possible."

RE's mother, Karlyn Pranke, hoped her daughter would also be inspired.

When Pranke was 20 weeks pregnant, she found out RE would be born without arms.

"I started googling 'without limbs,'" Pranke explained. "That's when Jessica's name popped up. I wanted one day to be able to meet her."

She wanted her little girl to meet her, too.

Two months ago, when RE made a heart-wrenching request, Pranke decided it was finally time.

"She just said, 'I want arms,'"Pranke said. "She's never really said it before."

So, the Saint Paul, Minnesota, mom and RE drove six hours to AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, to meet Cox at the premiere of “Right Footed” a documentary based on Cox's life.

Within minutes of meeting each other, RE asked if she could see the airplane Cox flies with her feet. With a big grin, Cox led the way.

"I wanted to show her there's someone else who doesn't have arms who is happy," Cox said, explaining how she copes without arms. "You don't need arms to be happy."

If there's one thing RE focuses on, Pranke hopes it's her "ability," not her "disability."

She thinks her daughter is now beginning to realize that she can do things like everyone else -- it just might be different.

Like Cox, RE is going to continue doing the things she loves, like riding horses and taking clogging classes.

"She's only 3-years-old, so looking out to the future is not something in her thinking -- she's living in the moment," Cox said. "But I want her to know she [can] do anything."

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