How many 4-year-olds do you know who love to fly? Probably not many. But Braysen is definitely one of them. He really loves flying in airplanes with his parents. Only thing is, he’s autistic, and when he gets bothered by something, he doesn’t just get moody… he goes into a heavy-duty meltdown.
One day, during a United Airlines flight from San Diego to Houston, everyone was buckled in and preparing for take-off. But Braysen wanted to play on the floor. Says his mom, Lori: “It was impossible to restrain him. He was fighting both me and his father. It took the both of us to try to get him back to his chair and get his seat belt back on. He started kicking, screaming and hitting. That’s when a flight attendant came over and told us the flight couldn’t take off until he’s seated.” Lori told the flight attendant that her son was autistic and they were doing all in their power to calm him down, and she asked for just another minute or so. As the flight attendant walked away, Lori and her husband were still trying to calm down their son. A minute later, the attendant returned with two more attendants, and they asked the parents how they could be helpful to them. They allowed the young boy to sit on his mother’s lap without being buckled in for take-off, while his father held onto him. Then the attendants told the parents they could put him on the floor and let him play there.
He immediately started kicking the feet of a passenger, who was an off-duty attendant, but she waved off the parents, saying it was fine. Then Braysen made it up to first class and started kicking a man’s seat. Lori told the man she was sorry, but he too waved it off and said her son was fine. Then, the man started talking to Braysen, and gave him some high-fives. Says Lori: “Everybody in first class was kind to him, asking his name, showing him pictures on their phones, letting him sit whenever he wanted. The flight attendants kept asking if we needed anything, making sure everybody was taken care of.” And just before leaving the flight, that off-duty attendant whose feet had been kicked by Braysen, hugged the young boy and handed his mom a note.
It read: “You and your family are loved and supported.” Lori said she was so overwhelmed by all the kindness on that flight, that it made her want to cry. She posted about the flight on Facebook. And United Airlines responded, saying: “It sure sounds like Braysen and your family had a great flight. We are happy that our crew was able to make it an enjoyable experience. We are overjoyed to see that we have such loving and supportive passengers on board as well! We look forward to seeing Braysen again soon!”