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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Machu Picchu Reopened To Tourists With This Massive Performance But It Doesn’t Mean You Can Visit Just Yet

Culture

Machu Picchu Reopened To Tourists With This Massive Performance But It Doesn’t Mean You Can Visit Just Yet

Ernesto Benavides / Getty Images

All around the world some of the most popular attractions have been shuttered for months because of the Coronavirus pandemic. With planes grounded and borders closed, few of us have been able to make those once in a lifetime trips.

With the fall in travel, entire communities are suffering as tourist dollars dry up and industries succumb to the economic effects of the pandemic. In Peru, a country heavily reliant on tourism, things are finally starting to improve as it appears the country has started to see a decrease in Covid-19 cases.

As the country reopened to international travel last month, it’s now reopening one of its most popular tourist attractions – Machu Picchu.

Peru’s famous Machu Picchu has reopened and is welcoming travelers for the first time tin eight months.

The Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, the crown jewel of Peru’s tourist sites, reopened Sunday with an ancient ritual after a nearly eight-month lockdown due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“Today, Machu Picchu opens. It opens with (health and safety) protocols, it opens to say that we are reactivating ourselves but with responsibility and great prudence, because we see everything happening in the world” with the pandemic, Foreign Trade and Tourism Minister Rocio Barrios said in a speech.

For safety reasons, however, only 675 tourists will be able to access the site per day, just 30 percent of the number of visitors pre-pandemic. The number of Coronavirus cases has been steadily decreasing in Peru, and tourists will be expected to maintain social distancing.

The first train of tourists arrived Sunday morning at Machu Picchu Pueblo, the village closest to the citadel, after a 90-minute journey along the Urubamba River from the ancient Inca village of Ollantaytambo.

Opening Machu Picchu to the world shows “that we Peruvians are resilient,” Barrios told the AFP.

To celebrate the reopening, officials hosted a massive celebration with traditional roots.

Peruvian authorities organized an Incan ritual to thank the gods on Sunday as the major tourist attraction once again welcomed visitors. The massive celebration was meant as an act of gratitude to Incan gods for welcoming the reopening.

Dozens of Indigenous performers and dancers welcomed a cadre of travelers with music and dance and officials orchestrated an incredible light show.

The pandemic has had a devastating effect on Peruvians – especially those dependent on tourism.

Ernesto Benavides / Getty Images

Tens of thousands of people in the mountainous Cusco region rely on visitors for their livelihoods and have suffered due to the Coronavirus lockdown closure this year.

Dozens of hotels, restaurants and tourism-related businesses throughout the region went bankrupt by the time a strict mandatory virus lockdown that lasted more than 100 days was lifted in July. Before the pandemic there were 80 hotels of various types in Ollantaytambo, a town with an imposing Inca stone fortress located at the end of the road from Cusco to Machu Picchu.

Taxi driver Eberth Hancco, who works at the airport of the city of Cusco, the former capital of the Inca empire, was among those affected.

“The situation has been very bad, because Cusco depends on tourism,” he told the BBC.

Just a few weeks ago, the park had welcomed one lucky traveler who had the ruins all to himself.

A Japanese tourist who made it to Peru just before the pandemic hit became the first person to have exclusive access to the park. Jesse Takayama had been stuck in Peru for seven months since the country had closed its borders.

In a video first reported by The Guardian, Jesse Takayama shared his immense gratitude for being allowed to visit the ancient Incan city – which had long been one of his dreams.

Peru’s Minister of Culture, Alejandro Neyra, said at a press conference that “He [Takayama] had come to Peru with the dream of being able to enter. The Japanese citizen has entered together with our head of the park so that he can do this before returning to his country.” Talk about a once in a lifetime experience. 

Neyra went on to add that this really was a rare moment and that Takayama only received access after submitting a special request to the local tourism authority. 

In an Instagram post about his special access, Takayama said that “Machu Picchu is so incredible! I thought I couldn’t go but many people asked the government. I’m the first one to visit Machu Picchu after lockdown!”

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

Things That Matter

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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