A boy with autism named Braysen usually loved to fly. But on his family’s recent trip from San Diego to their home in Houston, the airplane ride became too much for the 4-year-old boy.
Braysen had a meltdown on a United Airlines flight but luckily, the crew and passengers came together to help the stressed little boy.
Lori Gabriel, Braysen’s mother, said that her son removed his seat belt just before the airplane took off, saying that he wanted to sit on the floor.
“It was impossible to restrain him. He was fighting both me and his father. It took the both of us to try to get him back to his chair and get his seat belt back on. He started kicking, screaming and hitting,” Lori said. “That’s when a flight attendant came over and told us the flight couldn’t take off until he’s seated.”
“I told her the boy has autism, we’re trying, give us a minute.”
The flight attendant left them while Lori was trying to get Braysen to stay on his seat. When she came back, she had two other flight attendants with her who asked how they could be of help.
“Then they sprang into action,” Lori added.
They let the boy sit on Lori’s lap for takeoff while his father was holding him. After the seat belt light was turned off, Lori let Braysen down because he was screaming and fighting her. Again, the airplane crew came in to help. They let Braysen sit on the floor next to them.
“When he’s overstimulated, the vibration makes him feel better,” Lori said.
At one point during his breakdown, Braysen kicked a passenger sitting across from them, who is an off-duty United Airlines’ flight attendant.
“She was just being nice and said it was OK if he kicks her feet,” Lori recalled.
Then, Braysen went to the first-class cabin and began kicking a man’s seat.
“Braysen seemed happy there, so we didn’t want to move him,” Lori said. “So I told the man ‘I’m sorry,’ but he said he didn’t mind, he introduced himself to Braysen and gave him high fives. He said, ‘He can kick my chair, I don’t care.'”
“Everybody in first class was kind to him, asking his name, showing him pictures on their phones, letting him sit whenever he wanted,” she added. “The flight attendants kept asking if we needed anything, making sure everybody was taken care of.”
Just before they left the airplane, the flight attendant sitting across them gave Lori a hug and a handwritten note praising her for her strength.
“Do not ever let anyone make you feel as though you are an inconvenience or a burden. He is a blessing,” the note read. “God bless your patience, your love, your support and your strength. Continue to be a super woman.”
Lori was so touched by the treatment they received from the airplane crew and passengers of the United Airlines flight, so she posted a picture of the note on Facebook along with photos of Braysen while on the flight.
United Airlines responded to the post with a tweet:
Lori said her son usually loved to fly, but this particular flight was his first long flight.
“I’m just overwhelmed from all this kindness, it makes me want to cry,” she said. “For the first time, people have been very understanding and helpful about Braysen’s autism. It’s very promising, we don’t have to care about what other people think because there are people who are caring, who understand. It gives me a lot of hope for the future.”
It’s heartwarming to know that a group of strangers came together to make Braysen’s flight experience more enjoyable. Watch the video below. This is an incredible story that is truly worth sharing!