Every now and then we hear stories that restore our faith in humanity, just like this one.
A seven-year-old boy with autism was travelling on his first ever solo flight from Las Vegas to Oregon on Thursday, when he handed a note from his mum to his seatmate.
Alexa Bjorson was worried about her son, Landon, travelling on his own to visit his dad, so she decided to write a note to whoever was sat next to him.
The message explained that Landon has high-functioning autism, so he might ask a lot of questions like ‘are we there yet?’ She also included a $10 note and asked them to answer the questions in a bid to help him feel safe and comfortable.
Alexa told CNN:
I thought, how do I make it so whoever’s sitting next to him won’t look at him as a burden but more of like, I can help this kiddo get through the day.
It was Ben Pedraza who ended up sitting next to Landon on the flight, but although he appreciated the note, he needed no incentive to have fun with Landon on the flight, as the pair ended up becoming best mates.
Ben told CNN:
We were cracking jokes, and after a while, he asked me to quit making dad jokes.
At the end of the flight, Ben took a selfie with Landon and sent it to Alexa with a kind message, which has since been shared more than 15,000 times.
Alexa. My name is Ben. I was Landon’s seat neighbour for his flight to Portland. He did ask if we were there yet several times but he was a great travel buddy.
We had a good time and played a few rounds of rock-paper-scissors. He’s a great kid and you’re a lucky mom.
I appreciate the $10 but it wasn’t necessary. I donated it to autism-society.org in honour of Landon. Have a great day!
Sharing the heartfelt message on Facebook, Alexa said:
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.
If only there were more people like Alexa and Ben in the world.
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Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist who started her career by producing The Royal Rosemurgey newspaper in 2004, which kept her family up to date with the goings on of her sleepy north east village. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining Tyla (formerly Pretty 52) in 2017, and progressing onto UNILAD in 2019.