Acts of Kindness
Strangers surround mom after seeing her overwhelmed by toddler’s meltdown in airport
The travelers didn't know each other. But when they saw what was going on - they quickly formed a circle around the mom and child for the sweetest reason.
Jenny Brown
10.19.21

One thing’s for sure, flying with a toddler or baby isn’t easy. And if you’ve done it yourself – you know it can make for a very long day.

Traveling can be frustrating and tiring for grown-ups, so it’s naturally the same for little ones too! That’s why most parents bring a slew of tricks with them to hopefully keep their child entertained and happy while flying. However, sometimes there’s just no avoiding a meltdown.

Not only is a toddler’s tantrum no fun to handle (especially in public), but it can often lead to judgment from strangers.

Pixabay - Ty Yang
Source:
Pixabay - Ty Yang

Beth Bornstein Dunnington was at the LAX airport waiting to board her flight to Portland. While sitting there, she couldn’t help but notice a toddler who was having a “total meltdown” in the gate area.

Instead of people judging the boy’s mother though, who was young, pregnant, and traveling alone – “something extraordinary” happened…

Unsplash - Igordoon Primus
Source:
Unsplash - Igordoon Primus

After getting onto her flight, Beth decided to share the heartwarming story on Facebook.

Her post begins:

“Something extraordinary at LAX today… (writing this on the plane). I was at the gate, waiting to get on my plane to Portland. Flights to two different cities were boarding on either side of the Portland fight. A toddler who looked to be eighteen or so months old was having a total meltdown, running between the seats, kicking and screaming, then lying on the ground, refusing to board the plane (which was not going to Portland).”

Flickr -Adam Butler
Source:
Flickr -Adam Butler

The toddler’s mom couldn’t get him under control.

At times, kids can be overtired and cranky, which can lead to not the best behavior. If a parent can’t put them down for a much-needed nap, it can be draining, to say the least!

Beth noticed that the little boy’s mom was “completely overwhelmed” by the situation. So much so, it brought her to tears.

“His young mom, who was clearly pregnant and traveling alone with her son, became completely overwhelmed… she couldn’t pick him up because he was so upset, he kept running away from her, then lying down on the ground, kicking and screaming again. The mother finally sat down on the floor and put her head in her hands, with her kid next to her still having a meltdown, and started crying.”

Pixabay/Ulrike Mai
Source:
Pixabay/Ulrike Mai

That’s when strangers decided to step in to help.

In her post, Beth admits that she herself was in tears “just writing” about what happened.

“…the women in the terminal, there must have been six or seven of us, not women who knew each other, approached and surrounded her and the little boy and we knelt down and formed a circle around them.”

Flickr - Kohei Kanno
Source:
Flickr - Kohei Kanno

Each woman acted with empathy and helped in their own way. According to Beth, it was only women who approached.

She explained:

“I sang “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” to the little boy… one woman had an orange that she peeled, one woman had a little toy in her bag that she let the toddler play with, another woman gave the mom a bottle of water. Someone else helped the mom get the kid’s sippy cup out of her bag and give it to him. It was so gorgeous, there was no discussion and no one knew anyone else, but we were able to calm them both down, and she got her child on the plane.”

Flickr - Andrew Seaman
Source:
Flickr - Andrew Seaman

Once the mom and her child boarded their flight, all the compassionate strangers returned to their seats without discussing what took place.

For Beth, it was a moving experience she’ll always remember.

“…we were strangers, gathering to solve something. It occurred to me that a circle of women, with a mission, can save the world. I will never forget that moment.”

Beth’s beautiful post has touched hearts all across Facebook. It’s been shared over 19K times. One person commented:

“This is an inspiration and validation that it takes [a] world to raise healthy loving beings🙏🏽🌺”

Another wrote:

“Wow. This made my day. We’ve all been there in that hour of need….xo”

Unsplash/Lina Trochez
Source:
Unsplash/Lina Trochez

Beth, who’s a mom and writer, spoke with Good Morning America after her post went viral. Her hope is that it inspires others to:

“…act with kindness. To help when someone is struggling, if you can, and to trust your instincts.”

We could all use a little help at times, so it’s important to do the same for others. Lucky for this mom, she had a group of earth angels around her when she truly needed them. Surely she’ll never forget the experience either.

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

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By Jenny Brown
hi@sbly.com
Jenny Brown is a senior writer at Shareably. She is based in San Francisco and can be reached at hi@shareably.net.
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