In 2014, a Canadian mom named Shanell boarded a plane from Florida to Philadelphia. She dreaded the next two-and-a-half hours; her three-year-old daughter, Kate, has autism. Plane rides can be traumatic and anxiety-filled.
Shanell hoped for a kind and patient person to sit next to them, as she watched with bated breath while passengers boarded. That’s when a businessman named Eric walked up the aisle and stopped at their row. Shanell never expected what came next.
Kate began referring to Eric, a man whom she’d never met, as “Daddy.” She was fascinated with him, and kept reaching for him. But instead of smiling politely and ignoring the little girl, Eric put away his paperwork and talked to and entertained her for the entire flight.
In a heartfelt post on her blog Go Team Kate, entitled 'Dear Daddy in Seat 16C', Ms Mouland, 36, thanked the mystery passenger who was sat next to Kate for the duration of the flight.
In the post, Ms Mouland writes: "I don't know your name, but Kate called you "daddy" for the entire flight last week and you kindly never corrected her.
"In fact, you didn't even flinch as you could probably tell that she was not confusing you with her own 'daddy,' but instead making a judgment regarding your level of 'safety' for her. If she calls you 'daddy' then you better believe she thinks you are alright."
The 'Daddy' Ms Mouland addressed the letter has since been identified as Eric Kunkel, a married father from New Jersey. After being alerted to the post by his relatives, he said: "I travel a lot for work, and Kate was, by far, the most well-behaved kid I've sat next to. Shanell is also an incredible parent — she didn't apologize for Kate and she shouldn't have — but she was very attentive to her."
The letter continued: "I watched the entire Temple basketball team board the plane, and wondered if one of these giants might sit by Kate. They all moved toward the back.
"She would have liked that, she would have made some observations that I would have had to deal with, but she would have liked those players. I watched many Grandmotherly women board and hoped for one to take the seat but they walked on by.
"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.”
Thankfully there are still people out there who don't just look their own business and have a big and strong heart! Those magic hours for that 3 year old girl worth much more for that man than having done some paper work during the flight! God bless them both!
Credits: The Daily Wire
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