Flying the not-so-friendly skies with baby can be harrowing for parents—unless you're sitting next to someone like Nyfesha Miller.
Woe is the mama who flies with her baby for the first time. If juggling all the gear (and the child) through security and down the jetbridge doesn't break her, then the rows of stink eyes and eye rolls certainly will. And heaven help her if her pint-sized passenger starts crying. When she's not trying to muffle high-pitched sobs, she's listening to exasperated sighs and stage whispers wondering why she can't get that baby quiet. And if she's really unlucky, someone might even try to fight her.
Is it any wonder so many new parents freak out before flying the not-always-friendly skies?
Unless, of course, you're sitting next to Nyfesha Miller. The seasoned traveler was settling in for a nap on a flight from Chicago to Atlanta last Thursday when Rebekka Garvison and her crying 4-month-old daughter Rylee plopped down in the seats beside her. Garvison was frazzled: She tried unsuccessfully to soothe the baby for several minutes in their original seats a few rows back. But when the sobbing persisted—and her seatmate seemed less than enthusiastic—the new mom figured a change of scenery would help.
It didn't at first, so Miller extended an olive branch: Could she try to comfort baby Rylee? No word on how quickly Garvison handed over her kiddo, but my guess is it didn't take too long. The World's Best Passenger cuddled with the baby near the window, and within minutes the child was sleeping. She stayed asleep on the woman's lap the entire flight as Miller and Garvison chatted. When the plane touched down in Atlanta, Miller even helped Garvison with her gear before the two parted ways—Miller to Florida, Garvison to Alabama to see her husband, who was on active duty.
That would have been the end of the story, except the grateful mom wrote about her experience on Facebook. In addition to describing what happened on the plane, Garvison also expressed her most sincere gratitude. "Today, I was reminded that there truly are absolutely AMAZING individuals in this world even if they are complete strangers to you," she wrote.
"Nyfesha Miller, you will never understand how happy this act of kindness has made my family," she continued. "You could've just rolled your eyes and been irritated like everyone else, but you took her and held her the entire flight and let me get some rest and peace of mind. It brought tears to my eyes while I sat there and watched you and Rylee sleeping next to me. I just couldn't believe how that ended up working out and how caring you were to us. Thank you SO much!! God bless you!!"
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The heartwarming post has since gone viral—it's been shared more than 95,000 times as of this writing. Fittingly, the comments section reads like a Nyfesha Miller lovefest. (Based on the ones I read, she sounds like a superhero!) Miller seems humbled by all the attention. In one of her comments to Garvison's post, she wrote, "I'm absolutely blown away by the amazing response this has received. Just comes to show you how little acts of kindness really do go a long way. I'm grateful and appreciative of your kind words and shares. May God keep us all encouraged to be better people every day!"
Bonnie Gibbs Vengrow is a New York City-based writer and editor who traded in her Blackberry and Metro card for playdates and PB&J sandwiches—and the once-in-a-lifetime chance to watch her feisty, funny son grow up. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.