Mom Let 7-Year-Old Son Board a Plane on His Own, Then She Was Shocked by What Stranger Did

 

Mom Let 7-Year-Old Son Board a Plane on His Own, Then She Was Shocked by What Stranger Did

It’s hard for any parent to send their child on a plane by themselves. But when the kid is a child with special needs, the situation might be a little bit more nerve-wracking, especially the first time they fly alone. This is exactly how Alexa Bjornson felt when she sent her 7-year-old son, Landon, from Las Vegas to visit his father all the way in Portland.

Flying Solo

Landon has high functioning autism and was flying alone for the first time. Alexa was worried but had no other choice but sending her son alone on the plane. She had no idea how Landon would behave throughout the flight but hoped that he would mostly be okay.

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Flying Solo

In order to make things a little bit better and easier for whoever was about to sit next to him on the flight, she decided to prepare something small.

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IA Hopeful Incentive

She gave Landon a $10 note and a letter explaining Landon’s situation to the stranger. She hoped that with these two incentives, the stranger would be kind to her son, and not too bothered in case he had a hard time during the flight.

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She knew that Landon was a social boy, and loved talking to people he didn’t know. He had various subjects that really interested him, so he could talk about them for hours. In the note, she included that besides being a social butterfly, Landon would probably ask “Are we there yet” a couple of times, which could be a little bit annoying for some people.

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A Necessary Journey

Alexa and Landon’s father lived 1,000 miles away from each other. Landon lived with his mother, but his parents constantly made an effort for him to have a strong relationship with his father as well.

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Even though they lived far away from each other, the journey was merely a 2-hour flight and could technically be done easily. So in June 2019, Alexa bought her son a plane ticket but wasn’t able to join him. She wondered if the decision she had made was a terrible idea and whether it was better to wait for a time when she could make it too. But this time, they decided to move forward.

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Brushing Away Bad Thoughts

For days, Alexa felt really anxious. It’s simply not easy for a parent to send their young kid alone on the plane. There are many circumstances that can be fairly hard even for an adult, which made her wonder if Landon would be able to deal with smoothly. Of course, she knew that he wouldn’t actually be alone, he would have someone accompanying him at the airport, but the thought was still heartbreaking.

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She thought, what would he do if the flight was delayed or canceled, for example? So in order to stay sane, she kept brushing bad thoughts away so she could stay strong for her young boy, who was feeling pretty nervous himself.

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Getting Prepared

Alexa spoke to a number of airport personnel a couple of days before, so she could make sure that someone would always have an eye on Landon. She knew that the flight attendants would be notified that the flight had an unaccompanied minor, and would, therefore, be extra careful with whatever he needed.

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Landon admitted to feeling nervous before he started his journey but tried his best to keep himself calm. He was a responsible young boy after all, and Alexa knew that. So, mother and son went through every step of the trip before they went to the airport. Alexa wanted to make sure that Landon understood every step of the trip beforehand.

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A Huge Responsibility

Alexa also went through every situation that could possibly go wrong, so that Landon would know how to deal with it if it happened. He had a huge responsibility ahead of him, and he was ready to do his best.

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What she hoped for the most would be for Landon to get through the flight without freaking out. And even though she thought that most people would be kind, she also knew that airplanes and flights could sometimes bring out the absolute worst in people.

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A Tough Time

Alexa wasn’t just worried because Landon was a child flying alone, for his mother, the fact that he had autism was one of the hardest parts. About 1 in 60 children have autism in the United States, meaning that a lot of children fall into a broad spectrum of varied disorders.

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Being on the spectrum means different things for different people, but often include having difficulty during social interactions, communicating, and reading direct or indirect social cues.

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Giving A Heads Up

For that reason, Alexa was worried that Landon would be easily misunderstood by the people around him. Although he was pretty social and loved interacting with some people, she knew that in certain situations, people might have a hard time understanding him if they’re unaware of his condition.

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So, giving his sit buddy a heads up was the best way she found to make things better hopefully. Eventually, Alexa knew it was time and escorted her son to the airport.

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Finally Saying Goodbye

And off he went. After going through all necessary procedures, Alexa had finally said goodbye to her little one, hoping with all of her heart that Landon would be lucky with the people he’d sit next to.

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She saw a woman escorting her son to the plane and kept waving goodbye and blowing kisses as long as he could see her. He then stepped into the plane, and she waited until it departed to go back home finally.

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A Lucky Coincidence

In the end, Alexa was lucky, after all. It turns out that Landon sat next to a man called Ben Pedraza, who constantly flew between Texas and Oregon because of his business. It almost seemed like fate, for Landon to sit next to someone who would be the perfect flight companion for him.

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Pedraza was heading to Portland that day and had no idea that his life was about to change forever, by the little boy who would sit next to him.

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A Hopeful Text Message

During the whole plane ride, Alexa couldn’t think about anything else. She couldn’t wait for the moment the plane would land so she would have news from her son. That’s when she received a text message from an unknown number.

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A stranger had sent her a short text with a selfie of him next to Landon. She then read one of the sweetest messages anyone had ever sent her, especially from a complete stranger. She felt relieved.

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An Unusual Connection

What was written in the text message didn’t only confirm that the flight had gone smoothly and that Landon was completely safe, but he had also developed a friendship with the man who sat next to him?

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Alexa was completely surprised. Of course, she knew that Landon was an amazing boy and wouldn’t cause any trouble, but she never thought that he would connect so strongly to the strange man sitting next to him on the plane.

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An Incredibly Positive Experience

Nothing she had feared ended up happening. Landon didn’t bother anyone on the flight and didn’t drive any of the flight attendants crazy like she had feared. Landon actually had one of the most positive experiences he had ever gotten, and couldn’t wait to tell his mom and dad the full story.

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It turns out that when Landon arrived on the plane and was allocated to his seat, he gave the letter and the $10 note to the stranger sitting next to him.

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Reading It All

Ben wondered what the letter said since the boy didn’t give him any explanation before handing it to him. As he read it, he was touched. The letter explained to him that Landon had ‘high functioning autism.’

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Alexa also explained that what that meant was that Landon was a very sweet and smart young boy who easily gets emotional in situations that scared him or made him uncomfortable. So she asked that whoever read the note was understanding and helped him get comfortable throughout the plane ride.

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He Knew What To Do

What Alexa wasn’t expecting when she wrote the letter was that Ben would actually know exactly what to do, which made him the absolute perfect sitting buddy. Just as the plane had taken off, Landon and his new friend were laughing together.

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Ben started telling Landon his best jokes, and after a while, Landon joked that it was time he stopped making terrible dad jokes. With the dad jokes out of the picture, Ben still had a range of creative ways to keep Landon entertained.

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Snapping A Selfie

Throughout the whole flight, Ben and Landon played games and spoke about topics that Landon was passionate about. When the story went viral a couple of days after, Ben shared with local news that Landon eventually did ask him several times if ‘they were there yet,’ but didn’t make him any less of an awesome travel buddy.

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So when they arrived at Portland, Ben snapped a selfie with Landon so he could reassure his mother that the trip had gone perfectly well and also for him to remember the eventful journey.

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A Lucky Mom

He wrote to Alexa that Landon was a great kid and that she was a very lucky mom. She remembers her heart dropping of relief and warmth when she read the text message out loud and stared at the picture Ben had sent her.

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The story had warmed her heart so much that she decided to take it to social media to share what had just happened. She shared how grateful she was to the individual she didn’t know and celebrated the fact that there are still kind people in the world.

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Going Viral

She shared every detail of what that random stranger had done to make her son happy and comfortable throughout the 2-hour flight. Of course, in a matter of days, the story had gone completely viral.

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In a world that is continuously attacked by rage and terrible things, a beautiful act of kindness such as this one warmed any heart. Her friends and family shared the story in their own social media pages until it reached local news.

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Another Act Of Kindness

Alexa had also learned about another beautiful gesture done by Ben. When Landon gave him the $10 note, Landon decided to take it and to donate it to the Autism Society, all in honor of little Landon.

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The nonprofit organization has been raising awareness on Autism and what it means to be on the spectrum for years, shedding very important light on the day-to-day struggles that Autistic children and adults face. When Alexa shared this last detail with her followers, everyone had become Ben’s fan!

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But Was He Single?

But there was something else everyone wanted to know when they saw the selfie and heard about the beautiful story. Many people asked: ‘was he single?’ People were not only impressed with his incredible character, but also with the perfect looks.

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Many women commented jokingly, asking if Ben was somehow looking for a partner. The curiosity was so intense, that when Ben gave an interview to a local media source, they asked him right then and there if he was single.

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Off The Market

Ben was flattered by the question and chuckled a little bit before answering that he was indeed ‘off the market.’ Unfortunately for the ladies, Ben was not single. He then changed the subject to Landon right away, as he wanted the whole focus to be on the special young boy, instead of his personal life.

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Off The Market

As flattering as it was to have so many women interested in him, he highlighted once again the integrity of his character by not dwelling too much on the subject.

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Spreading Awareness

The interview then went back to discussing Landon’s experience and the different struggles that autistic children face throughout their lives. Both Alexa and Ben were utterly stunned with the attention that their story received.

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She had never thought that sharing that experience on her social media page would result in thousands of people sharing it all over, including local media channels. She then realized that the same way Ben’s actions had moved her, the whole world had too.

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For The Greater Good

Media channels from all over the country started covering the story and reporting the incident in the news. They were suddenly known to people from all over the world, making huge contributions towards awareness of autism.

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Ben used his sudden fame to advocate for children with special needs, by challenging readers and viewers to donate to autism organizations like he had done, or to bullying-awareness nonprofits. In the end, only good things came from this beautiful encounter, with Ben and Landon remaining friends until today.

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