Traveling with young kids can be extremely stressful. There is no telling which direction the mood of a toddler will swing and they can go from being excited to fly on an airplane to absolutely miserable in a matter of seconds. If a child starts acting up on an airplane, it’s hard enough for the parents, but all the other passengers have to be on the receiving end of the tantrum and crying as well.
Mother of two, Jessica Rudeen was faced with quite a challenge when she had to fly alone with her three-year-old and four-month-old. At first, her three-year-old daughter, Caroline was excited to fly, but, as luck would have it, her mood took a turn for the worse when it was time to board the plane. She was kicking and screaming to be let off the plane. Not to mention, Jessica wasn’t able to nurse her four-month-old before they got on the plane, so he was hungry and fussy.
While attempting to sooth the baby, Jessica coraled Caroline to their assigned seats. Along the way, she received many dirty looks and she apologized profusely, but she pushed ahead and managed to get Caroline strapped into her seat. As soon as she saw the older man who would be sitting next to them, she felt bad for him, knowing he hadn’t signed up to sit next to two screaming kids. And then things instantly got better.
The passenger who was seated next to them jumped into action and in a grandfatherly way, he calmed the kids down. While Todd Walker could’ve easily put headphones in and zoned out, he decided to lend a helping hand and assist Jessica. He befriended little Caroline, coloring with her and keeping up a conversation about all the neat things that they were seeing outside the plane. It was as if Todd was a trained and experienced grandfather.
Caroline and Todd became instant best friends and Caroline’s fear of flying disappeared because she was so immersed in conversation with the kind man. But it got even better. When the plane landed, Caroline learned that Todd would be on the same connecting flight and their conversations could continue. He even changed his seat on the next plane so he could be in the same row as them and walked hand in hand with Caroline to the next gate.
This was the perfect example of divine intervention. Jessica feels blessed to have crossed paths with Todd and she shared her story on Facebook, hoping that other people pay it forward and lend a helping hand to strangers when needed. She shared the following story…
“So with two kids losing their minds, I was desperately trying to calm the situation. This man reached for the baby and held him while I forced a seatbelt on Caroline, got her tablet and started her movie. Once she was settled and relatively calmed, he distracted her so that I could feed Alexander. This guy, Todd, showed me kindness and compassion that I’ve never known from another person. His wife, he said, had a similar experience when their two boys were young and a stranger showed her the same kindness. By the end of the flight, he was Caroline’s best friend. I’m not sure if he caught the kiss she landed on his shoulder while they were looking out the window. Amazingly, we had the same connection in Charlotte to Wilmington, a connection he navigates frequently for work. He helped us get off the plane and led us to the next gate with Caroline in hand. If that wasn’t enough, he changed his seat on the next flight to sit in our row to help us. I am blown away by God’s hand in this because we could have been placed next to anyone, but we were seated next to one of the nicest men I have ever met in my life.”