For any parent, worrying about your kids on long trips is only natural. No one likes to be cooped up for hours on end whether traveling by plane, train or automobile.
Parents of children with disabilities have all the more to consider when it comes to preparing for long-distance journeys.
Alexa Bjornson, whose son Landon has high-functioning autism, knew she wanted to go above and beyond for whoever ended up next to her son on a plane to Portland.
“Today my son took his first flight to Oregon to see his dad,” Bjornson, who lives in Nevada, wrote on Facebook.
“I sent Landon with a letter to give to whoever sat next to [him] saying he has high functioning autism so he might be nervous and ask you ‘are we there yet’ a lot, and please just make him feel safe and comfortable, with 10 dollars in the note,” she continued.
She shared a screenshot of an email she received from Landon’s travel buddy.
What the kind man had to say will warm your heart.
“Alexa,” the email said. “My name is Ben. I was Landon’s seat neighbor for his flight to Portland. He did ask if we were there yet several times but he was a great travel buddy.”
Ben not only played rock-paper-scissors with Landon and called him a “great kid,” he also told Bjornson she was a “lucky mom.”
He added that he was grateful for the $10 gesture but that it wasn’t needed.
He donated the gift to Autism-Society.org “in honor of Landon,” he wrote.
As you can imagine, Bjornson was touched by Ben’s kind message and the photo he sent of himself with Landon by his side.
“I am so grateful to this individual, and that there are still kind people in the world who make a difference like I try myself to do as well,” she shared. “Thank you so much Ben!!!!”
Bjornson has received quite the response since posting the story online. It’s gone viral with over 8,000 shares on Facebook.
“I am beyond emotional about the [effect] our post has already made…” the mom shared in a separate post. “I would love to get this out there so in the future maybe passengers will start keeping an eye out for these children to help them on their flights and to show them compassion and and a helping hand…”
It’s important to show compassion in any situation, even if you don’t understand why an individual may be acting differently from how you’d expect.
Thankfully, there are resources out there to help families who have children with special needs have safe and fun travel experiences.
Visit AutismSpeaks.org to learn more about tips and advice for traveling with individuals who have autism.
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