Mom of 6-year-old Boy With Autism Shares Sweet Note She Received From a Fellow Passenger on Her United Flight
"It shows me that there are still good people in the world. It shows me that me and my family can go on vacations, we can go where all other families go."
A little kindness and understanding can go a long way, especially while traveling.
According to Fox News, Lori Gabriel was on a United flight from San Diego to Houston with her six-year-old son, Braysen, when he was having trouble staying calm and sitting in his seat before takeoff. Gabriel’s son has autism, and though he loves to fly, according to Fox News, this particular trip was proving difficult for him.
Gabriel told Fox News that Braysen refused to sit in his seat with his seatbelt on because he wanted to sit on the floor. When she tried to get him to sit properly, she added, he “had a meltdown,” and started to scream, kick, and hit.
At this point, a flight attendant tried to tell Gabriel that he had to sit in his chair. When Gabriel explained, the flight attendant allowed her to hold Braysen in her lap for takeoff instead.
Luckily, Gabriel did not get kicked off the flight, though she said she would have understood if the crew had to remove them. It’s standard procedure to remove passengers who do not comply with flight attendants' orders or seem unruly — but in Braysen’s case, they were happy to make an exception.
Gabriel was pleasantly surprised to see that not only were flight attendants wonderfully accommodating towards her son, but fellow passengers were, too. She wrote about her experience on Facebook, saying, “Huge thank you to United airlines they accommodated his needs, made sure we were all ok, worked around where he [chose] to sit.”
In her post, Gabriel detailed how her son was “messing” with another passenger’s seat, which could have turned into an unpleasant experience. But, the passenger told the worried mom he didn’t mind and even gave the boy a high-five. She also got a sweet note from another passenger that reminded her that she was “loved and supported.”
Gabriel shared the handwritten note, plus photos of Braysen sitting on the plane floor in her post.
“I just never had so many strangers be so kind,” she told Fox News. "It shows me that there are still good people in the world. It shows me that me and my family can go on vacations, we can go where all other families go."
United responded to Gabriel’s social media post, writing, “We are happy that our crew was able to make it an enjoyable experience. We are overjoyed to see that we have such loving and supportive passengers on board as well!”
Parents who travel with a child with autism have a unique set of concerns when they’re on the road, so it’s always good to see people be understanding and helpful when they need it the most.