Coasting through the bright blue, cloud-filled sky as you direct the air conditioning vent towards your face, and gently tuck the airline blanket around your neck to catch a little shut-eye – ahhh, there’s nothing quite like flying, right?
Well, for a parent traveling with a young child, the day may perhaps look a little different…
Over-flowing activity and snack bags, clogged ears, countless potty trips, inconsolable tears, and irritated onlookers – ugh, “Are we there yet?”
Traveling can be stressful, especially when kids are involved. One worried mom recently made a lengthy trip via the skies with her toddler. And, as luck would have it, she had a flying experience which she will certainly never forget.
As this “Anxious Mother” (as she refers to herself in her Facebook post) boarded the flight from Fort Lauderdale to Canada with her young child and her child’s grandfather, she had misgivings. The extent of her son’s flying experience was one other trip on an airplane, just one short week before.
Although this little boy was typically “well-behaved and quiet” – as parents, we know that all “normal” child behavior can often go out the airplane window when traveling 40,000 feet in the air.
When this mother noticed the “big, macho looking guy in probably his late twenties” who would be sharing the seat just beside her toddler, her already heightened level of anxiety rose even more.
However, and as this nervous mom learned on that fateful day, you should never judge a book by its cover – or a person by his or her appearance…
She explained in her “Love What Matters” letter to this complete stranger,
“The moment I saw you (a big, macho looking guy in probably your late twenties), I was worried that you wouldn’t take kindly to and would be offput by sitting beside a small child.”
She then went on to share,
“The seatbelt sign remained on for quite a good portion of our flight for turbulence, which meant instead of sitting and being comforted on mine or grandpa’s lap, he had to be belted in beside you instead.”
And as it turns out, the family’s flying experience did not go as this “Anxious Mother” thought it would – by any stretch of the imagination.
She wrote in her letter to the stranger seated next to her son,
“I didn’t get your name, but thank you so much for grabbing his blanket the numerous times he dropped it, half asleep. Thank you for making sure to point your cabin light away from him when he finally did fall asleep. Thank you for being kind and engaging him even though you weren’t obligated to do so. Thank you for offering him (and us) candy and gum for his ears.”
Then, after listing more kind actions of this “macho guy” – the grateful mom’s heartfelt conclusion said,
“Thank you for making our flight experience a lesson in compassion and empathy for others. That little boy will grow into a man one day (hopefully like you) and he will get a lot more out of your simple actions than you realize. You will make a wonderful father some day if you so choose.”
And, as fate would have it, the letter reached the “mystery man” from the Canada-bound flight – and he responded to the mom’s complimentary words:
“A friend of mine recognized me in this post and I was both humbled and touched by the kind words of the woman who wrote it. I just want to say, that it was a such pleasure to meet such a loving family. Although he doesn’t show in this picture, the young boy’s grandfather should be the one receiving all this recognition. His patience and kindness toward his grandson was heartwarming.”
And the stranger, Ali Hyseni, finished his reply with a little advice for all of us,
“Actions like this are inspiring and we should all strive to be like this man.”
Let this touching story of love, from stranger to stranger, be an important reminder to us all. Share this unexpected flight experience with your friends and family, and encourage others to always choose love.