Culture

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

Alexa Bjornson / Facebook

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). 

In A Major Plot Twist It Turns Out That #IceBae Is A Registered Democrat And People Are Confused

Things That Matter

In A Major Plot Twist It Turns Out That #IceBae Is A Registered Democrat And People Are Confused

kiarace24 / Twitter

Turns out that ICE Bae, the viral sensation who works as a Border Patrol guard, is actually a registered Democrat.

The viral Internet sensation known as #IceBae is back in the news.

Kiara Cervantes, 26, identified herself Sunday on Twitter as the Internet sensation who was snapped during Vice President Mike Pence’s recent visit to a border detention center.

She went viral on social media this week for both her beauty and as a Latina working for Border Patrol.

People can’t stop talking about the fact that Cervantes happens to be a Democrat.

Well, it turns out that the Latina Border Patrol guard continues to shock people. According to a report by the New York Post, she’s also a registered democrat.

Though, according to voter registration records she didn’t vote in the 2016 presidential election. She last exercised her right to vote in March 2014.

Regardless of her political views, people from all sides have been coming for #IceBae.

People from both the liberal and conservative side have come for her with hate, support, and, of course, plenty of thirsty comments.

One Twitter user just couldn’t understand how a person that believes in Democratic values could take a job like this.

And she wasn’t alone. Many on Twitter expressed shock that a Democrat, a Latina one no less, would be willing to take a job that involves separating families and locking children in cages.

In fact, she has gotten a lot of hate.

Cervantes fired back Sunday at one social media user who tweeted that her family will disown her and “shame on any Hispanic working for ICE or anything of that nature.”

“I think that’s really rude and naive of you to say,” she tweeted. “You have no idea who my parents are and no idea what goes into my job on a daily basis… before speaking on something you know nothing about…. DONT. Regardless I’m blessed and thankful for the career I have.”

It seems the entire Latina community has cast her out.

Many called were a traitor and said they she has betrayed her own community.

Though some questioned whether it was actually racist to think a Latina should have specific political views.

What do you think?

How do you feel about #IceBae? Do you think she’s just a Latina doing her job? Or are you upset that a woman of color would take a job that involves the widespread abuse of members of our community?

READ: #IceBae Has Blown Up The Internet. Meet The Latina Border Patrol Agent Behind The Viral Hashtag That Has Latino Twitter Freaking Out

Cancun’s Scary Global Warming Problem Could Definitely Be A Lot More Lethal Than ‘GOT’ Villains If We Don’t Combat It Now

Culture

Cancun’s Scary Global Warming Problem Could Definitely Be A Lot More Lethal Than ‘GOT’ Villains If We Don’t Combat It Now

@newsnest00 / Twitter

For the past several years, Cancun has notoriously become one of The Summer Spots. With promises of cheap beer, crystal clear surf and fun hangs, tourists typically flock to the vacation destination for good times in the spring and summer in troves. The location’s sands, beaches, and resorts are typically packed by this time of year, but a nasty visitor is washing up on the shores of these beaches, scaring off the usual summertime travel industry.

For the past several months, an invasion of seaweed-like algae hasn’t been just an eyesore for tourists, it’s also been a nasal deterrent.

Hundreds of pounds of seaweed-like algae is washing up on the shores of Cancun and it’s ruining the city’s tourist season.

Twitter / @tictoc

The past several months, the sunny resort town has been inundated with slimy, brown seaweed-like algae. It’s name is sargassum and it has washed up all along the coast around Cancun; stretching all the way down to Playa del Carmen and even further to Tulum. With the stench of rotten eggs, the algae smells just as gross as it looks and makes for a pretty unappealing soggy mess. It’s definitely not the sort of beach conditions that encourage tourists to visit.

Though Cancun businesses are feeling the effects of this invasion, the president of Mexico isn’t as concerned. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has reportedly called the problem controllable and has only allocated 2.6 Million for the removal of the algae. The removal is a slow process — being shoveled away by city workers — but the lack of resources makes the task even more difficult. Also, the endless onslaught of fresh algae with every tide doesn’t help. Even using front loaders and trucks for the cleanup, the work takes several hours and results in an algae-covered beach only moments later.

Officials aren’t certain what the cause of this algae is but there are clues that point to it being caused by major global issues.

Twitter / @DKaimowitz

Scientists have suggested that the increase in algae is caused by the warming of our Earth because of the global climate change we are currently experiencing. This is the same hypothesis that has been suggested to explain Florida’s Red Tide. Earlier this month, scientists at the University of South Florida used satellite imaging to discover the largest bloom of the algae in the world. It’s being called the Great Atlantic Sargassum Belt and it is impacting beaches along North, Central, and South America.

Others believe that deforestation is to blame for the assault of algae on these beaches. Due to the logging and increased use of herbicide and fertilizers by Brazilian lumber companies in the Amazon forest, dangerous runoff flows into the ocean. The nutrients in these fertilizers encourage the growth of the algae; causing super blooms to occur.

In a release about a study of these super blooms, Dr. Chuanmin Hu of the USF College of Marine Science expressed concern about the state of the Atlantic ocean. He has predicted that:

“The ocean’s chemistry must have changed in order for the blooms to get so out of hand.”

Regardless of what the Mexican president and scientists say, locals who face this problem every day are the ones most impacted by the algae.

Twitter / @newsnest00

Tourism in the community has taken a major hit during a time when Mexico is already heading towards a recession. The first three weeks of June, hotel occupancy in the area dropped by 3.4%. Air travel to the city also saw numbers that aren’t as optimistic as Cancun usually sees during this time of year. It only claimed 1.2%, the smallest amount of growth that the area has seen since 2011.

It isn’t just the international travel industry that loses money to the algae. In a city like Cancun, as much as 40% of jobs are tied to tourism alone. Events like this — that impact the beaches so severely — threaten the livelihood of locals. The Mexican transportation industry, local artisans, restaurants, beach resorts, and sight-seeing locations depend on this busy season to provide the bulk of their yearly income. In order to lure travelers, hotels in the area are even running specials. In many places in Cancun, tourists can get as much as 20% off rooms and free transportation to unaffected beaches.

Cleaning up after this mess will take a lot more than a few hundred shovels.

Twitter / @ElCanaco

Reversing the effects of climate change can not really be accomplished on an individual level. Realistically, a single person does not cause this damage. Instead, it is large conglomerations that hurt our Earth with their anti-environmental policies. Until the governments of the world decide to hold these companies accountable, nothing productive will be done to stop this damage.

Right now, we’re seeing this onslaught of algae but who knows what is in store for our environment if we don’t make major improvements soon. It’s more than just our Cancun vacations that are counting on these changes.

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