Mom Sent Son With Autism on a Solo Flight with a Note, His Seatmate Became His Travel Buddy
Alexa Bjornson sent her son Landon on a flight with a note explaining he has autism, and his fellow passenger wrote a note back calling him a “great travel buddy.”
When mom Alexa Bjornson prepped her 7-year-old son Landon for a solo flight to visit his dad, she sent him with a note to his seatmate. And she was absolutely blown away by the response.
“I sent Landon with a letter to give to whoever sat next to me saying he has high functioning autism so he might be nervous and ask you "are we there yet" a lot, and please just make him feel safe and comfortable,” Alexa wrote on Facebook. Landon’s fellow passenger came through. Not only did he hang out with Landon on the plane, but he sent a note back to Alexa after the flight, along with a cute selfie of the two on the plane.
“My name is Ben. I was Landon’s seat neighbor for his flight to Portland. He did ask if we were there yet several times but he was a great travel buddy,” the note read. “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.”
Alexa shared his note on Facebook along with a post saying “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 as well."
The post garnered 12,000 likes, 1,300 comments, and 14,000 shares on Facebook, but also circulated on Twitter and Instagram. AKA, Landon’s story touched a lot of hearts.
“What a terrific person Ben is,” Judy Clingman Dewitt wrote on Facebook. “He, too, undoubtedly has a great mother to have raised him with compassion.”
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“This brought tears to my eyes. My son is autistic and I totally relate to this post,” parent Ollie Tranter commented on Facebook. “Ben demonstrated human kindness to Landon and total respect to Alexa who for whatever reason could not be with him on that flight. Brilliant experience for us all to have experienced. Thank you for sharing.”
Like a lot of kids whose parents don’t live in the same location, Landon flew as an unaccompanied minor, meaning he was supervised by flight attendants from door to door. Some mom-shamers tried to pull some fairly judgmental nonsense in the comments, but other Facebook parents had Alexa’s back.
“Just because he has autism doesn’t mean he can’t do things. My high functioning son even went to college. My other son is not as high functioning and even he does things alone,” mom Jenn Crissman-Dixon wrote. “My boys have flown and you have to pay the last unaccompanied minor fee and so I am sure the mom was just being prepared. Keep your judgments to yourself.”
“I love this! My son is 13 and on the spectrum. We are moving to NY and he will be flying a couple of times a year to visit his father in Florida. He’s excited about it (until the time comes to do it, then the anxiety and meltdowns will amp up a little),” mom Holly Davey wrote in the comments on Facebook. “We have found that making him go outside of his comfort zone is difficult but once he does it, he normally has a good experience and no issue with whatever it is he is doing in the future once he’s tackled it. People with ASD are still people and can do most of what people without ASD can. Just as every other human, everyone is different.”
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Landon clearly found a place in Ben’s heart, because he not only made the young boy feel comfortable in a strange environment (even adults get nervous flying!) but he also made one last gesture even after saying goodbye once the plane landed. Alexa had included $10 in her note as a thank you for being a pal through the plane journey, but Ben didn’t take the money.
“I appreciate the $10 but it wasn’t necessary,” he wrote to the mom. “I donated it to Autism-Society.org in honor of Landon.”