When Shanell boarded a plane from Florida to Philadelphia in 2014, she was terrified of the even getting into it. Her three year old daughter Kate has autism and plane rides could be full of anxiety and trauma for both of them. So the two and a half hours seemed like a lifetime.
Shanell hoped with all her heart for a kind and patient person to sit beside them. As she waited holding her breath, a businessman named Eric walked up the aisle and stopped at their row. That’s when Kate began referring to Eric (whom she had never met before) as Daddy. Instead of smiling politely and ignoring the baby, this man put away his paperwork and entertained her for the entire flight.
Shanell went home and wrote a blog post titled “Dear ‘Daddy’ in seat 16C Flight 1850 From Philly.” That post went viral rather quickly. Eric couldn’t understand what his simple act of kindness had done to garner so much attention. He didn’t think it was that big of a deal, but as Shanell said in her post, “Sometimes the simplest things are such a big deal. But it’s a big deal for him to treat her like a little person.”
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