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). 

You’ll Want To Stay At Home After Finding Out What It’s Really Like To Fly During A Pandemic

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You’ll Want To Stay At Home After Finding Out What It’s Really Like To Fly During A Pandemic

Jeffrey Groeneweg / Getty Images

There’s no denying that being locked up in our homes – sometimes with extended family – with little to do has many of us itching for a vacation from all of this madness. It seems like everyday we’re hit with another dose of bad news or some other worrying detail about the 2020 election, Coronavirus, police brutality – of course we want to get away.

But right now is not the time to be heading to the airport for that flight to some distant (or even not so distant) destination.

Experts agree that flying and spending time in airports is one of the riskiest things you can do during the Coronavirus pandemic. Sure, many airlines and airports say they’re taking extraordinary measures to protect travelers but several news reports and viral videos have shown that isn’t always true.

Air travel is considered a high-risk activity when it comes to the Coronavirus pandemic – and here’s why.

Air travel means spending time in security lines and airport terminals, which puts you into close contact with other people. As travel slowly recovers, planes are becoming more crowded, which means you will likely sit close to other people, often for hours, which raises your risk.

But if you can’t wait until a vaccine arrives to travel by air, you should understand the risks and know that there are measures you can take to stay safe. Flying is risky for several reasons, but the main concern is being in close proximity to other people from all over the country or the world. 

One of the best ways to protect yourself (besides wearing a mask) is social distancing. And when it comes to flying, the reality is that it’s almost impossible to truly socially distance on a plane. Even if the flight you are on is not completely booked, the chances that you will encounter someone — either a fellow passenger or flight attendants — within six feet of you is very high. You will likely also encounter people within six feet while getting through airport security and boarding a plane.

Once on a plane, most viruses and other germs don’t spread easily because of the way air circulates, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Airlines also say they are focusing on sanitizing the hard surfaces that passengers commonly touch.

Airlines say they’re adjusting their policies to accommodate social distancing but that isn’t always the case.

Several major U.S airlines (including Alaska, Delta, and JetBlue) have said that they’re blocking middle seats or limiting capacity. Other airlines (such as American) were doing that but have since started booking flights to capacity to make up losses revenues. But even if every middle seat is empty you will likely be closer than the recommended distance of 6 feet to another passenger now that planes are getting fuller.

Once you’re onboard, many airlines have completely eliminated food and beverage service, since it can be a vector for spreading the virus.

And although all U.S. airlines now officially require ‘appropriate face coverings’ while onboard, not all are enforcing this rule equally. And what’s to keep an anti-masker from taking off their mask mid-flight? Is an airline really going to reroute an entire aircraft wit hundreds of passengers for an emergency landing to kick off a passenger who refuses to use a mask?

Enforcement on airlines is much different than their official policies.

Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Recent travel stories and viral videos have shown the stark difference between official airlines policies and actual flying conditions. For example, travelers have reported that flights on United are suppose to notify travelers if the flight will be full but they show up to the airport only to then discover that they’ll be elbow to elbow with fellow travelers. That’s not good to say the least.

Airlines have increased sanitation and cleaning protocols with deeper and more frequent cleanings. Major airlines affiliated with Airlines for America saidthey are meeting or exceeding CDC guidelines for cleaning and sanitation. Many planes are utilizing High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters to ensure the air flow is filtered and circulated as much as possible. Still, you should remain vigilant about hand hygiene on board, and bring your own disinfectant wipes so you can wipe down your seat and tray when you board. 

Most experts agree that plane travel – unless absolutely necessary – is a big no no right now.

Credit: Jeffrey Groeneweg / Getty Images

In an interview with Buzzfeed News, Gerardo Chowell, an epidemiologist, said “No vacation this year at all. There’s no point, and being an expert and trying to advise the public, we are not taking any vacation. It’s a very simple summer for us this year. We’re grateful we have some green areas around our house here in Decatur, Georgia, and we go out for walks almost every day. But that’s it. We’re not going anywhere because the risk is very real, now more than ever.

Meanwhile, Susan Kline, a professor of medicine, told Buzzfeed News that she is “not very comfortable getting on a plane still. My biggest concern is once you’re on a plane with a large number people, usually it’s in tight quarters and you’re all sharing the air, so I do think that’s the highest-risk situation: indoor spaces with a relatively large number of people in a relatively small space, plus add in you’re often sitting very close to people and you can’t control who you sit next to and you have no idea if they have any symptoms.

This Laundry Detergent Cap Hack Will Blow Your Mind

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This Laundry Detergent Cap Hack Will Blow Your Mind

Joe Raedle / Getty

Moms have blessed us with an amazing laundry fact that has apparently been around forever. Turns out that plastic lid cup that comes with your washing detergent is so much than for measuring liquid.

A little known fact was shared in the private Facebook group Mums Who Clean and the tip-off has reeled in millions of comments and views.

While all of us probably use the lids of our detergent bottles for measuring out the soup it turns out you’re meant to put the plastic lid or cup into the wash with your load. That way all of the detergent soap can be rinsed from it. This means that not only do your clothes get the exact amount of detergent it needs but it also means that this method will keep you from getting that messy soap up in your cup.

When the load is finished you scoop out the squeaky clean cup and use it for next time!

Don’t forget to be careful!

This hack doesn’t apply to all caps. Some brands will specify that the cup can’t be added i to your wash. According to news.com.au “There could be a risk of damaging parts and components, within the bowl itself, in relation to the agitator…It could get caught or trapped under the agitator or damage the fins of the agitator. Also it could damage the plastic cup you put in, resulting in bits of plastic going through your clothes.”