A flight with a young child can be daunting for any parent, so we love nothing more than hearing about random acts of kindness taking place in the friendly skies.
Lori Gabriel and 4-year-old Braysen hopped on a flight from San Diego to Houston, and immediately things got challenging. Braysen, who has been diagnosed with autism, typically enjoys flying, but this trip turned out to be a different story.
“He just wasn’t in a good mood. Right before takeoff, he just slipped out of his seat belt,” Lori shared with People. “We were all trying to get him back in his chair but it was impossible. I’m restraining him with my arms and my legs and he’s just fighting us. I thought we were going to get kicked off of the plane.”
The Texas-based mama was beyond relieved when a group of flight attendants came to her rescue, ready to help. “Laying on the floor of the plane was calming for him. The flight attendants kept asking if they could help us — they were so overwhelmingly nice. I never expected them to work around my son but they said if he’s happy, they’re happy.”
The United Airlines flight crew allowed Braysen to rest in the aisle and visit with other passengers. “He wanted to be with everybody else on the plane. He wanted to go make friends. The whole three and a half hours, he was making his rounds between me and first class. The flight attendants didn’t just take care of us — they took care of everybody on the plane. I’m sure it was challenging for them, but they wanted to work around my son because they wanted to see him happy. It was amazing. I still cry.”
As the flight came to an end, the flight attendants gifted Lori a touching handwritten note that later went viral on Facebook: “I commend you for your strength. Do not ever let anyone make you feel as though you are an inconvenience or a burden. He is a blessing. God bless your patience, your love, your support, and your strength. Continue to be super woman. And know you and your family are loved and supported.”
United Airlines later responded with a lovely follow-up via social media.
Katie Nave Freeman is freelance writer, producer, and mama living in Brooklyn, New York. Driven by her passion for storytelling, she is always seeking opportunities to elevate people who are working to better the world around them.