Shanell Mouland: Mother thanks stranger on plane for being kind to her autistic daughter
Catherine Harrop, CBC
5:42 AM, Jan 21, 2014
2:13 PM, Jan 21, 2014
A mother in Canada left a heartfelt online thank you letter to a stranger she met on an airplane, and it has gained worldwide attention.
She says the note was prompted by a kind man who entertained her autistic daughter on a flight.
Shanell Mouland says her 3-year-old daughter, Kate, has rarely had such a good flying experience.
The Moulands were on their way home from a trip to Disney World and had taken a connecting flight from Philadelphia.
That's when a businessman sat beside the family.
At one point, Kate reached over and called the man "daddy".
"He said, 'don't worry about it.' Her communication skills aren't strong. She can't really answer questions, or have a back and forth, it didn't matter to him," said Mouland.
He was treating Kate ordinary, and that was extraordinary to the child's mother.
"I was emotional because it was so sweet, and it's not what we usually experience on flights," said Mouland.
At the end of the flight, Kate started screaming, so they never got the man's name.
Mouland wrote in the family's blog about the experience with the passenger in seat 16c. Her posting went viral and almost a million people have checked it out so far. Calls starting coming in from around the world.
Internet fame is fleeting, but the Moulands just hope their small story about a moment's kindness will last.
"If we reach a couple of people who will now treat a child, or even an adolescent, or an adult, with a little extra compassion, a little extra patience, I think the experience is absolutely positive," said Kate's father Alex Mouland.
The Moulands have been able to learn the name of the nice man. He's Eric Kunkel of Philadelphia, and they say they had a good laugh over the attention their story has received.