back to top

A Mom Wrote An Amazing Letter To The Man Who Sat With Her 3-Year-Old Autistic Daughter On An Airplane

Shanell Mouland wasn't expecting much when an older businessman sat next to her daughter on a flight back from Disney, but it turns out he knew just what to do.

Posted on

The Moulands had just wrapped up a family vacation to Disney World, a place Shanell described as overwhelming for anyone, but especially so for a child with autism. On the flight back, there was an open seat next to Kate.

The moment you sat down, Kate started to rub your arm. Your jacket was soft and she liked the feel of it. You smiled at her and she said: "Hi, Daddy, that's my mom." Then she had you.You could have shifted uncomfortably in your seat. You could have ignored her. You could have given me that 'smile' that I despise because it means; 'manage your child please.' You did none of that. You engaged Kate in conversation and you asked her questions about her turtles. She could never really answer your questions but she was so enamored by you that she keep eye contact and joint attention on the items you were asking her about. I watched and smiled. I made a few polite offers to distract her, but you would have none of it. Kate: (Upon noticing you had an IPad) Is dis Daddy's puduter? You%3��

"I write about a lot of experiences we have with the public and how people react to Kate," Shanell said about her. "But I really just wanted to thank him in depth so I wrote it out never thinking he'd see it."

If you engage us, just like you would any other parent. If Kate's talking to you because she thinks you're cool or she likes your sneakers, she touches them, she likes them, thinks they're cool. I mean, she's a funny nice kid. She'll give you a hug and just say 'Hey, how you doing Kate?' She doesn't really know what you're saying, she'll get confused and maybe talk about Ninja Turtles because that's her thing, but just go with it. I wish people would just be more free with it.