Air Travel Brings Out the Worst in Us — But This Woman Will Inspire You

Planes are packed full of people, some of whom are downright awful. Planes get delayed and our plans are ruined. Airline employees may want to help but they’re frustrated too — by all of the people giving them grief when they didn’t cause anyone’s problems to begin with.

And yet sometimes a little bit of humanity pokes through and when it does it’s almost.. magic. Like the Delta Connection pilot who went back to the gate so a family could make it to a funeral. Or the incredible story of a passenger who agreed to hold another woman’s lap infant after she boarded not realizing she couldn’t bring two babies along with her without any extra seats.

I just had to share Brooke Narajo‘s story, which she offered on Quora in response to a question about what to do if a kid kicks the back of your airplane seat. Read it all the way through, the ending made me cry.

I was on a long distance flight by myself. There was a family of five, mom and kids aged 10โ€“2. Mom was clearly overwhelmed and actually had tears in her eyes. There was a man sitting in front of the youngest and the child was constantly kicking his chair. He was horrible and abusive to the lady so I offered to switch seats with him.

The little boy was still kicking, not hard and not being naughty, he was just over tired and couldn’t calm himself down. So I put marker faces on my fingers and started putting my finger through the seats and he saw this and started giggling.

A few mins later he was standing up and holding onto back of my seat. I asked him would you like to come here and he said yes, I looked at his mom and she nodded. So I took him and played with him and saw he was getting sleepy so I just held him and started telling him a story and he was asleep with in 10 minutes.

Flight attendants were asking did anyone want anything to drink and I heard the lady say I’d love a drink but have to stay awake. I said your son is sleeping you have that drink and I will watch him while you do. Well she had her drink and she fell asleep.

I kept her son with me and I fell asleep too. We woke up when plane was going to land and she was so apologetic. And I was like pfft please. I’m happy to help and glad you got some sleep. I helped her off the plane and went with her to help with her stroller and baggage etc. I walked her outside where her husband was waiting for them and she hugged and thanked me again.

I’d been in her shoes 20 years ago and had no help on a a very long flight. So when I saw this I knew I had to help. And it did help. It helped mom and all the other passengers. And it helped me to hold him in my arms and remember when my son was so young, before he passed away.

Brooke nailed this one. Thank you. Hopefully your story will inspire other passengers over the holidays to take a moment, during the very stressful ‘happiest time of the year’, to take a breath and help each other out. Because air travel during the holidays can be hard, and we’re all in this together.

(HT: Jonathan W.)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary ยป

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  1. Wow Gary – Thanks for a great post. It’s so much more refreshing than the stories of penises in the sky, bodily fluids in airport soap dispensers, and sex on airplanes that you’ve been writing about lately. Thank you for sharing this at Thanksgiving.

  2. Lovely story. I only traveled by air once when my daughter was a baby, but she was in the four-month-old charming baby phase so it wasn’t a problem.

    I’ll never forget a 12 hour flight back from Australia to the states. A baby nearby cried for 6 solid hours. While I was annoyed, I felt very sorry for the kid’s parent(s). But…then the kid stopped and was quiet the whole rest of the way….until descent.

  3. We need more of this….. not just now but ALL THE TIME ๐Ÿ˜‰

    BTW – my favorite post of yours!

  4. Wow, a very touching story. Good/noble deeds involve sacrifice/effort to do and are harder to find, while base/crude/rude actions by people are a dime a dozen. As @Tim suggests above, more stories like these (and less sex/semen/slimeballs/sluts in the sky stories), please.

  5. We need more people like this woman and less people like the man sitting near her. This is not only a lovely, moving story, but also a shining example for all of us how to be better passengers and better people. If we all learn from this woman the world will be a much better place.
    More of inspiring stories like this, please.

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