Sonja Redding, a mom from Nebraska, was on a flight home from a medical appointment with both of her children who have a rare genetic disease called methylmalonic acidemia (MMA) when her 5-year-old son Xayvior Johnson began to meltdown. Due to her son's special needs and recent autism diagnosis, Sonja quickly became overwhelmed when she couldn't find a way to calm him. In a Facebook post, she explained how a kind flight attendant stepped in help at exactly the right time.
"My son Xayvior has a lot of anxieties and due to his special needs and recently diagnosed autism he responds suddenly with change," Sonja wrote. "On the flight, he had a sudden meltdown and we couldn't keep him calm no matter what we tried. This was unexpected since the previous flights he got through fine. It felt like everyone on the entire plane was looking at us and annoyed by my son's outburst."
"She didn't stare or judge, she just showed love and empathy without hesitation."
For Sonja, dealing with her kids' meltdowns can be extremely stressful. But right before the mom reached her breaking point, a friendly flight attendant stepped in to help.
"It can feel very frustrating and isolating when others just don't understand that he is not just a kid with no discipline, but rather a child with special needs who doesn't know how to control his responses to things," she explained. "Anyhow, this flight attendant came up and asked if she could hold him and take him for a walk. I warned her that he might get aggressive with her and try to gouge her eyes (he does this often and it is a sensory processing issue) . . . she quickly responded that she did not mind and swooped him up, taking him on a tour of the plane."
Despite Sonja's initial concerns, Xayvior returned to his mom with a smile on his face. "This hero gave us a bit of sanity back in a chaotic moment," she Sonja. "When they came back, Xayvior was much more calm and he just loved on his new friend so happily! I want to thank this Delta employee and let Delta know what a wonderful woman they have employed. She didn't stare or judge, she just showed love and empathy without hesitation. We need more people like this in the world."
Scroll through to get a look at this tender moment.