Sending your child off on an airplane flight by themselves is a nerve-wracking experience for any parent, one that mom Alexa Bjornson knows about all too well. The mom recently put her 7-year-old son on a flight from Las Vegas to Oregon so he could visit his dad and sent him along with a note and a $10 bill in hopes that whoever sat beside her inquisitive son who would be patient and kind.
Bjornson explained to KATU that her 7-year-old son Landon has high functioning Autism and that he was a bit scared about his first flight alone. Bjornson, however, was more worried about who Landon would be seated beside, and whether or not they would be tolerant of her son. "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," she said.
She decided to write a small note to whoever was Landon's seatmate and included a $10 bill as a thank you for them being patient with her son, thinking he may ask the dreaded 'are we there yet?' question often. Thankfully Landon ended up sitting beside Ben Pedraza who not only was incredibly patient with Landon, but took the time to put the young man at ease during the flight. He also snapped a picture of the two together to send to Bjornson along with a sweet note introducing himself.
"He did ask if we were there yet several times but he was a great travel buddy," Pedraza wrote. "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." Pedraza also wrote that he took the $10 that Bjornson sent along and donated it in Landon's name to Autism-Society.org.
Bjornson shared the picture and story on Facebook where it quickly went viral. She told KATU when she received the note and picture, "my heart just dropped."
Her post has earned over 14 thousand likes and 15 thousand shares with over a thousand comments from people who wrote how amazing it is to read a story like this. "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," wrote Bjornson.
As for Pedraza, he says he is flattered by the attention but hopes that more people will focus on Autism awareness.