Culture

Autistic 7-Year-Old Hops On Solo Flight With $10 And A Note, What Happened Next Melted Some People

If there’s one thing the world needs more of, it’s unexpected friendships. 

In a now-viral Facebook post, a mother has shared a heartwarming text from a stranger who befriended her autistic son at a time he most needed a buddy. 

Little Landon, 7, was set to fly from Las Vegas to Oregon last Thursday to visit his dad. 

Credit: @RecruitShare / Twitter

It would also be his first-ever plane ride by himself. His mother, Alexa Bjornson, was anxious he might have a tough time coping and worried he might be a bother to his seatmates. 

Landon has high-functioning autism, a condition that has been likened to Asperger’s Syndrome and is characterized by potential emotional sensitivity, obsessively repetitive behavior, and social difficulties.

Hoping to do the right thing, his mother decided to pack him a note that he could present to the passenger sitting beside him on the Southwest Airlines flight. 

The handwritten note described her son’s condition and explained that he might get nervous during the flight. She warned that Landon may repeatedly ask questions, namely, “Are we there yet?”

Most of all, she hoped her words might beseech a kindly soul to keep an eye out for him, and help Landon feel safe and comfortable. 

Bjandon hoped she might inspire a stranger into seeing the ‘challenge’ as a do-good opportunity.

Credit: Ben Pedraza / Facebook

She also tucked a $10 bill into the note as a gesture of thanks and to compensate any bother. 

Turns out, she had nothing to worry about! 

With a stroke of luck, the stranger that Landon wound up sitting next to was none other than a man called Ben Pedraza.

After the plane landed, Bjornson said she was surprised by an unexpected text message.

“Alexa, my name is Ben,”  it started. It turned out that Ben didn’t need the $10, because he and Landon had gotten on like a house on fire!

Ben announced that the youngster had been “a great travel buddy”. The pair of new friends had played games and swapped jokes during the journey. 

“We had a good time and played a few rounds of rock-paper-scissors. He’s a great kid and you’re a lucky mom.”

Bjornson even received a cheery selfie of the two new pals.

Credit: Alexa Bjornson / Facebook

Ben said that, while he doesn’t always talk at length to the people he sits next to, it was easy to chat to Landon.

They even bonded over some heart-to-heart, more serious topics. 

“One thing Landon shared that resonated with me is that he’s sometimes bullied”, said Ben. “I think more needs to be discussed and done to thwart this behavior by other children and adults.”

Bjornson was deeply touched by the stranger’s sincerity in looking out for her hijo when she couldn’t be there. 

“I am so grateful to this individual, and that there are still kind people in the world who make a difference like I try myself to do”, she wrote in her initial Facebook post. 

Naturally, the internet exploded with gooey joy.

The initial Facebook post that Bjornson shared has racked up 319,000 likes and 15,000 comments, and has been shared 142,000 shares times.

News of the unexpected friendship has continued to inspire social media users from around the world.

Credit: Alexa Bjornson / Facebook

People are freaking out over this seemingly small deed. Shows you how much peole are craving some good news!

Most have applauded Ben’s kindness! 

Credit: Alexa Bjornson / Facebook

While a couple of comments have questioned Bjornson’s decision to put her son on the plane by himself, others have rushed to her defense and argued that flight attendants are made aware of any children traveling solo. 

Many users have called the story out for what it is – a total tear-jerker.

Credit: Alexa Bjornson / Facebook

Ok, yea, I’m definitely crying.

Overall, the resounding sentiment is: 

Credit: Alexa Bjornson / Facebook

YAS, Wendy. 

Traveling with autism isn’t always easy.

Many people these days take their wanderlust fancies for granted. However, for individuals and families affected by autism, traveling can pose a scary challenge. 

Something as seemingly simple as taking a plane to another city can represent a series of intimidating experiences, unfamiliar noises, and disrupted routines. 

There have even been a couple of alarming incidents where airlines have been markedly unsympathetic to the cause. 

In 2015, a family was kicked off a United Airlines flight because of their 15-year-old autistic daughter. A more recent case last year saw an autistic teen being forcibly removed from an Emirates flight to Australia, despite the family warning the airline in advance.  

There’s clearly a long way to go before travel is fully inclusive, however, some have argued the world is slowly changing to better accommodate special needs in this field. 

At the end of the day, all of us can certainly all take a leaf out of Ben’s book in looking out for each other, whatever they may be going through.

After all, there’s not always an explanation note. 

In Bjornson’s words, “it is a very humbling experience and I just hope that it raises awareness that if you see children having a hard time — or not — that just a kind gesture can change the outlook in their lives.”

Now – who said the Internet’s all doom-and-gloom? Faith in humanity restored (for now). 

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A Hairstylist Defended Her Latina Assistant From An Angry Customer And The Video Has Gone Viral

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A Hairstylist Defended Her Latina Assistant From An Angry Customer And The Video Has Gone Viral

SHARON / YouTube

A Los Angeles hairstylist named Sharon is getting a lot of love for how she handled an upset client. According to Sharon’s account, the client was being racist and she was not going to let the woman get away with it. Here is what we know so far.

A TikTok video is going viral showing a hairstylist reprimanding an upset client.

@sharon.simplyinsane

Y’all ROBIN IS THE NEW KAREN!!! This literally had me shaking!!!! Beware of this behavior people!!! #fyp #xyzbca #karen

♬ original sound – SHARON👑

The brief video shows the client, Robin, telling Sharon that she didn’t want the assistant working on her hair. The video is brief and shows the interaction after Robin is already in the chair and having her hair done. However, Sharon claims that Robin has been racist in the past and that the actions on this day just further exacerbated that sentiment.

Sharon has been working on Robin’s hair for about two years and she feels she understands her.

In an Instagram Live video, Sharon talks about how she has experienced Robin’s racism growing throughout the years of working together.

“She’s always coming into the salon and was really proud of doing derogatory things. That’s why I say I connected the dots like 30 minutes after everything happened cause I started to think about the way she spoke in every appointment and she was always very derogatory towards Mexicans. She’d be like, ‘Oh yeah, and guess what. They were Mexican,’” Sharon says in the IG Live. “So, I’m like thinking, I’m putting the pieces together. I look at Alex and I go, ‘Alex, you let me know what feeling. Is it just me or did you feel from the jump that there was some racism off the f***ing bat?’ She’s like, ‘Oh my god! I’m so happy you said that because I didn’t want to say anything but I 1000 percent felt that way.”

Sharon claims to have the beginning of the experience on camera and has promised to share it.

During her IG Live, Sharon says that Robin entered and immediately started treating her assistant, Alex, with disrespect. According to Sharon, Robin didn’t address Alex directly and checked her out with an up and down glance.

“For all of you people saying your own opinions saying like, ‘There was no racism,’” Sharon tells the IG Live audience. “First of all, you only got a three-minute and 15-second post so let’s relax. Second of all, Alex and I were the only ones in the room and if we felt like there was racism happening then there was racism happening. Point blank. Period.”

Some people are celebrating Sharon and her handling of Robin in the video.

“Mind you, you guys, her own granddaughter reached out to me,” Sharon says in the video. “Her own granddaughter reaches out to me and she basically said we don’t condone Robin’s behavior, we don’t have a relationship with her, we are so sorry this happened. We want to pay you. I was like, ‘No. Honestly, you coming to me and having the energy and the balls basically to come to me and say, ‘Hey. I’m her granddaughter and I’m so sorry.’ I was like, ‘You win. Hands down to you.’”

Here’s a longer version of the interaction that Sharon posted to YouTube.

READ: Cardi B And Sister Sued Over Video Claiming To Show ‘Racist MAGA Supporters’

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Gay Men Took Over #ProudBoys On Twitter And The Results Are Exactly What We Needed Right Now

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Gay Men Took Over #ProudBoys On Twitter And The Results Are Exactly What We Needed Right Now

@CarlosGSmith / Twitter

Although social media is so often ridiculed for being filled with self-obsessed, attention-seeking content, for the past few days its been filled with messages of love and compassion.

Over the weekend, the words Proud Boys took on a whole new meaning as gay men flooded Twitter with messages of love and acceptance using the hashtag #ProudBoys.

This has caused two very different groups of men to face off on the same hashtag: the far-right cadre known as the Proud Boys—and the thousands of gay Twitter users who flooded that platform with pro-LGBT images, marking those posts with #proudboys. 

Tens of thousands of gay men have taken over the #ProudBoys on Twitter and the actual Proud Boys are pissed.

#ProudBoys, which members of the hateful, far-right group have been using, was trending over the weekend after tens of thousands of gay men on Twitter hijacked it and flooded the feed with photos of their loved ones and families and with memes.

The celebration of LGBTQ pride was a clear attempt to drown out voices of the far-right group with the same name, which made headlines after getting mentioned by President Trump during last week’s first presidential debate.  

“Let’s replace the hashtag with images of love, positivity and true PRIDE,” tweeted Carlos G. Smith, an openly gay member of Florida’s House of Representatives. 

Many tweets attached to the trending hashtag showed photos of couples who had been together years or decades — at their weddings, posing with their children, marching in pride parades or just looking happily in love.

At least one of the many tweets from gay men using the #ProudBoys hashtag referenced Trump’s debate words. “We will never stand back and stand by! Together for 25 years with two amazing children,” Dan Ort-Patrick wrote

It seems that we can thank actor George Takei for the brilliant takeover idea!

The hashtag takeover appears to have originated with Star Trek star George Takei, who wondered aloud Thursday what would happen if gay men tagged themselves as #ProudBoys on social media. 

“What if gay guys took pictures of themselves making out with each other or doing very gay things, then tagged themselves with #ProudBoys? I bet it would mess them up real bad,” Takei tweeted.

The Proud Boys – a racist, hate group – began trending last week after Trump refused to denounce their actions and beliefs.

The Proud Boys group entered the mainstream conversation last week after Donald Trump seemed to call them to action at the first presidential debate. During an exchange between Trump and moderator Chris Wallace about white supremacists, Trump told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by.”

Following the debate, members of the group celebrated Trump’s reaction, using “stand back” and “stand by” in their logo and posting videos from the debate with the caption “God. Family. Brotherhood.”

The Proud Boys referenced in the debate are “self-described ‘western chauvinists’ who adamantly deny any connection to the racist ‘alt-right,’ insisting they are simply a fraternal group spreading an ‘anti-political correctness’ and ‘anti-white guilt’ agenda,” according to civil rights organization Southern Poverty Law Center. The SLPC maintains, however, that the group, founded in 2016, affiliates with extremists and is known for anti-Muslim and misogynistic rhetoric.  

All sorts of people showed their support – even the Canadian Armed Forces.

The official Twitter account of the Canadian Armed Forces in the United States took part, too, tweeting a picture of two men kissing—one a corporal named Brent Kenny—with #proudboys.

“Love is love,” the group wrote in a reply tweet. (It was perhaps not a surprising piece of activism from an institution that describes itself in its Twitter bio as: “Nice people. Maple syrup.”)

The Canadian Navy’s Twitter account later retweeted the image, as did the account for the ship that Kenny sailed on, the Winnipeg.

Couples from around the world got in on the viral hashtag to help spread love, not hate.

So many couples shared their wedding photos, images of their families, pictures from their first date, and so much more – to help deliver a takeover of a hashtag so often used to spread hate.

Gay men shared their pride in themselves, their community, and in their love.

But back on Twitter, it was all love and rainbows, with Takei expressing gratitude for the enthusiastic response to his idea.  

“Brad and I are #ProudBoys, legally married for 12 years now,” he tweeted Sunday along with a photo of him and his partner. “And we’re proud of all of the gay folks who have stepped up to reclaim our pride in this campaign. Our community and allies answered hate with love, and what could be better than that.”

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