A flight attendant went the extra mile for a mom traveling with her special needs kids – and the internet piled on the praise
Sonja Redding and her family were on their way home to Omaha, Nebraska, after a weeklong visit to Washington, DC, to find out more about a rare genetic condition that both of her boys have been diagnosed with. One of her sons, 5-year-old Xayvior, also has autism.
Although all of the other flights had gone fine, Xayvior became agitated during one of the legs, and Redding soon felt overwhelmed by her upset boy, and by all the eyes in the cabin turning to her son, who she couldn’t calm.
“It felt like everyone on the entire plane was looking at us and annoyed by my sons outburst,” she wrote in a Facebook post after she got home. “It can feel very frustrating and isolating when others just don’t understand that he is not just a kid with no discipline, but rather a child with special needs who doesn’t know how to control his responses to things.”
The day was saved when Delta flight attendant Amanda Amburgy came to the rescue. She tried to help Xayior watch a movie, but when that failed, she offered to take him on a tour of the airplane. That worked, and soon the child was not only calm, but having a good time.
“When they came back, Xayvior was much more calm and he just loved on his new friend so happily,” wrote Redding on the post, which now has 2,700 likes and over 500 shares. “I want to thank this Delta employee and let Delta know what a wonderful woman they have employed with them. She didn’t stare or judge, she just showed love and empathy without hesitation. We need more people like this in the world.”
The pictures are too adorable.
It wasn’t long before Amburgy was located and told about the post. She told her side of the story.
“We’re there to help, that’s what we want to do,” she told Channel 11 Alive in an interview. “So, we always want to ease any situation and make anything easier for the family as well as other passengers. We always want to keep the mood and the dynamic on the airplane good.”
She also shared what she felt when she read Redding’s story.
“When I read it, it touched my heart. It’s something I would do for anyone on the plane, because that’s what I’m here for. It really made a difference in her life. Ultimately, everyone gets to hear their story, and they don’t have a cure for their disease yet, so maybe by sharing the story all these times, it can land in the right person’s lap.”
The mom and the flight attendant were able to reconnect on Facebook chat. Redding said that she was relieved to have the chance to thank Amburgy personally and share the whole story behind her children and why they were on the flight.
“I was thankful to be able to explain to her why it was so meaningful given my children’s rare disease, and the way people usually respond to my kids,” she told Scary Mommy.
Her kids were recently diagnosed with Methylmalonic Acidemia, or MMA, and were at the National Institute of Health in order to participate in a research study that could lead to a better understanding of the disorder, as well as possible treatments or cures.
This is far from the first time a flight attendant has been a hero to parents everywhere. Just last week, a flight attendant scooped up an upset 19-month old and carried her around until she was calm (and her mom had a break). And last spring, a United flight attendant hand-delivered the lost breast milk of a mom of four, knowing that there was a hungry baby and a stressed mom involved.
Let’s face it: flying with kids sucks, but it’s way more bearable with heroes in the aisles.