A passenger on an American Airlines flight from Kansas City to Wilmington, N.C. is being credited with helping defuse a tense situation on the tarmac before the plane took off. Jessica Rudeen was flying with her four-month-old son and three-year-old daughter when the newborn started crying uncontrollably. His tantrum upset his sister, who started screaming and kicking her seat.
Rudeen said she was concerned that the commotion from her children would get them kicked off the flight.
“I want to get off the plane! I don’t want to go!” yelled Caroline, according to one of Rudeen's Facebook posts. “I honestly thought we’d get kicked off the plane," added the mom. "So with two kids losing their minds, I was desperately trying to calm the situation.”
Luckily for Rudeen and her kids, the passenger sitting next to them completely understood the plight of the mother as she tried to calm her young children while getting them ready for take-off. Instead of complaining or demanding a new seat, Todd Walker befriended the young girl and helped soothe her anxiety. The two watched a movie together, and once the flight was in the air showed her all the sights outside the window of the plane. The young girl even shared her markers with him and the two colored together.
Walker spoke with parenting blog Motherly and reminisced about his time as a parent and trying to fly with young children.
"Flying is stressful," Walker tells Motherly. "I had little kids once. I think most people on that plane have had little kids themselves, and we have all had that fear of our kids not doing well on the flight. So I just wanted her [Jessica] to know that hey, it's okay, we're gonna do this together and be fine."
After the flight, Todd and Jessica realized that they were also flying together on a connecting flight from Charlotte to Wilmington. Walker helped the family deplane and was able to switch seats to sit next to them on the connecting flight.
"I wasn't expecting him to hang around after the first flight, but helped us off the plane, he helped us open up the stroller, get the car seat in the stroller, and then he kinda just took the lead, and led us to the next gate," Rudeen said.
The two families said they plan to meet up again and are trying to get together in May. Rudeen thanked God for being "seated next to one of the nicest men I have ever met."
“I am blown away by God’s hand in this because we could have been placed next to anyone, but we were seated next to one of the nicest men I have ever met in my life,” Rudeen said of Walker’s generosity.