Before I had kids of my own, I would dread being on a flight next to a family. Kids are loud. Babies cry. All I wanted to do was put an eye mask on, fall asleep, and wake up at my destination. When a flight has families, especially those with young children and babies, it can be hard to have a peaceful flight.
But now that I have kids of my own, I have no doubt that every single parent trying to manage an inconsolable child on a plane is having a way worse experience than a child-free passenger.
After several videos went viral in which young people dream of a world with baby-free flights, a former flight attendant named Sharon — aka @sharon.a.life — weighed in on the discussion.
The mother of three stitched a video to her TikTok account where a family sitting on a plane look at the camera as a baby shrieks nonstop in the background. The onscreen text reads: “babies do not belong on flights. 3 hours screaming non stop.”
The video reminded Sharon of her time as a flight attendant, asking people to be a little more understanding rather than running to their phones to publicly shame parents.
She explained that she was typically working on smaller plans with around 50 to 150 people, an even worse setting to be in with a crying kid.
Sharon recalled a time when a child was “screaming and crying bloody murder — like, the entire plane can hear,” and unsurprisingly, the mother was getting more and more distraught.
“She keeps apologizing profusely to the people in front of her, behind her, she’s, like, trying to cover her child’s mouth,” Sharon said.
Sharon admitted that she, too, was becoming anxious about the situation, especially when she noticed another passenger get up and start walking toward her. She assumed that the passenger was about to launch into a tirade about the crying child.
However, the former flight attendant was pleasantly surprised.
“I have some gum right here,” the passenger said to Sharon. “I wonder if that child’s ears hurt. Can you please give this to this mother?”
Another passenger stopped Sharon and wanted her to please tell the stressed mom that they weren’t bothered by the noise.
The passenger said, “can you please tell that mom that it’s OK? She can stop stressing over what everybody is thinking and just take care of her child... Tell her to take some deep breaths and it’s going to be OK.”
Turns out, the baby’s ears did hurt (from air pressure changes) and the gum worked like a charm.
Sharon concluded her story with a message for parents who may worry that their kids are some sort of nuisance to the rest of the world.
“Just remember,” she said, “for every mean judgey, person out there... there are at least three other people out there that are like, ‘Hey, you’re doing a great job. You’re going to get through this.’”
After the video went viral — receiving over 5.4 million views and 790 likes — thousands of TikTok users commented on Sharon’s story.
Several users noted that this story restored their faith in humanity, but also backs up the idea that it truly does take a village to raise a child. “Amen. this is the village. We’ve got each other’s backs - or we should,” one user wrote.
Another recalled, “I had a mom offer to hold my infant son on the plane so I could eat and use the bathroom. People can be so kind.”
For others who maybe don’t want to jump in to help a mom necessarily, Sharon offered had a word of advice — “let’s sympathize more and judge less.”