A mum has explained how grateful she was when a man her daughter kept calling “daddy” on a flight took it in his stride and didn’t correct her.
Shanell wrote an open letter to “daddy in seat 16c” thanking him and explaining she called him dad because her daughter Kate, who has autism, felt safe in his company.
When the stranger sat down next to Kate, she immediately said: “Hi daddy, that’s my mum.”
“You didn’t even flinch as you could probably tell that she was not confusing you with her own ‘daddy’ but instead making a judgment regarding your level of ‘safety’ for her,” the mum wrote. “If she calls you ‘daddy’ then you better believe she thinks you are alright.”
Shanell explained that Kate started to rub his arm and talk about the documents he had near his seat. Rather than ignore her, the man engaged in conversation.
“You could have shifted uncomfortably in your seat,” the mum wrote.
“You could have ignored her. You could have given me that ‘smile’ that I despise because it means: ‘Manage your child please.’
“You did none of that. You engaged Kate in conversation and you asked her questions about her turtles. You never once seemed annoyed.”
The mother explained when Kate panicked that the plane door was not locked shut, the stranger tried to redirect her attention to the toys.
“So, thank you,” she wrote.
“Thank you for not making me repeat those awful apologetic sentences that I so often say in public. Thank you for entertaining Kate so much that she had her most successful plane ride, yet.”
The mother shared her story on the Love What Matters Facebook page on Tuesday 25 October 2016.
“Fantastic,” one person wrote on the post. “We need more people like this man in the world.”
Another commented: “I fly with my two three-year-olds alone all the time. The kindness of strangers make those flight easier to handle.”
One person also came forward claiming to have information about the “daddy in seat 16c”: “The man’s name is Eric and the open thank you reached him,” they wrote.
We need more Erics in the world.