We've all heard that it "it takes a village" to raise children, and a heartwarming, viral story out of Los Angeles illustrates just how much truth there is to the expression. A woman named named Beth Bornstein Dunnington took to Facebook on February 2 to share how a group of strangers, all women, banded together to help a pregnant woman traveling alone with her toddler son. And the details of the moment are so heartwarming.
"Something extraordinary at LAX today... (writing this on the plane)," Dunnington noted. "I was at the gate, waiting to get on my plane to Portland. Flights to two different cities were boarding on either side of the Portland fight. A toddler who looked to be eighteen or so months old was having a total meltdown, running between the seats, kicking and screaming, then lying on the ground, refusing to board the plane (which was not going to Portland). His young mom, who was clearly pregnant and traveling alone with her son, became completely overwhelmed... she couldn't pick him up because he was so upset, he kept running away from her, then lying down on the ground, kicking and screaming again. The mother finally sat down on the floor and put her head in her hands, with her kid next to her still having a meltdown, and started crying."
That's when a "gorgeous thing" occurred, Dunnington shares, explaining that she was even crying as she wrote her social media post. "The women in the terminal, there must have been six or seven of us, not women who knew each other, approached and surrounded her and the little boy and we knelt down and formed a circle around them," she wrote. "I sang 'The Itsy Bitsy Spider' to the little boy... one woman had an orange that she peeled, one woman had a little toy in her bag that she let the toddler play with, another woman gave the mom a bottle of water. Someone else helped the mom get the kid's sippy cup out of her bag and give it to him."
This, of course, played out without any premeditation on the women's part. It was 100% organic and "so gorgeous," Dunnington shared. "There was no discussion and no one knew anyone else, but we were able to calm them both down, and she got her child on the plane. Only women approached. After they went through the door we all went back to our separate seats and didn't talk about it... we were strangers, gathering to solve something."
She concluded, "It occurred to me that a circle of women, with a mission, can save the world. I will never forget that moment."
Since being shared earlier this month, the post has been shared more than 17K times and racked up 57K reactions. One commenter shared, "You were there to be there for her and her child. I can just imagine the light and love coming off of all of you in that circle, how beautiful," while another wrote, "That's beautiful, Beth. I've been that mom on the floor, and had people just ignore me, it's such a lonely feeling. I'm so glad you all encircled her and her kid with love."
And in response to the many supportive remarks, Dunnington commented, "My friends... wow.... I am humbled by this beautiful (and surprising) outpouring of words in response to my story of what happened at the LA airport yesterday. It was a collective instinct for us, the women who were witnessing this mother and child's distress, to get up and surround them. Being part of that... and now, reading your comments and seeing how many people shared this... I feel even more empowered by the possibility of women in a circle, doing what we need do. This morning I have a sense of renewed hope, and the circle is bigger. Sending love and deepest gratitude, from Portland."
Dunnington tells Parents.com that she's surprised it went viral. "It was a Facebook status, sharing something I was part of at an airport," she says. "I didn’t even make it public, initially. I think this happened -- and I have been thinking about it -- because we’re so craving kindness right now. It wasn’t a dramatic moment... it was a group of women who got up, in an airport, to help a young mom and her child who clearly needed help. I appreciate that it was shared by so many people."
Ultimately, she hopes that her story inspires others to "continue to practice kindness. I hope that other people, seeing someone in distress, would do the same. What did feel powerful, which may also be part of why this went viral, was that the people who got up -- the women, in that case -- trusted their instincts without discussing it. It made me realize that we’re capable of solving things if we just act, knowing that we’ll know what to do."
Such a beautifully tear-jerking example of women supporting other women and moms supporting moms. So heartening to know that this happened... and what a powerful reminder that the world could use more of exactly this.