It was Jessica Rudeen’s first time flying with a toddler and baby in tow – and if it had not been for a compassionate stranger seated next to her, it may have been a complete disaster.
Due to “unforeseen circumstances”, Rudeen was unable to breastfeed her 4-month-old son before boarding the plane. As the hungry infant started to scream in distress, the mother’s 3-year-old daughter named Caroline started to kick and cry about how she wanted to get off the plane.
“I honestly thought we’d get kicked off the plane,” Rudeen wrote on Facebook. “So with two kids losing their minds, I was desperately trying to calm the situation.”
Thankfully, Rudeen was fortunate enough to be seated next to a man named Todd.
“(Todd) reached for the baby and held him while I forced a seatbelt on Caroline, got her tablet and started her movie. Once she was settled and relatively calmed, he distracted her so that I could feed Alexander,” says Rudeen. “Finally, while we were taxiing, the back of the plane no longer had screams.
“During the flight, he colored and watched a movie with Caroline, he engaged in conversation and showed her all the things outside. By the end of the flight, he was Caroline’s best friend. I’m not sure if he caught the kiss she landed on his shoulder while they were looking out the window.”
Not only that, but Todd was serendipitously booked for the same connecting flight from Charlotte, North Carolina to Wilmington – a flight that he “navigates frequently for work”.
With his new toddler friend in hand, Todd guided the family through the airport to the right gate.
“If that wasn’t enough, he changed his seat on the next flight to sit in our row to help us,” says Rudeen.
She later posted photos of Todd and Caroline to Facebook so she could praise him for his extraordinary generosity.
“This guy, Todd, showed me kindness and compassion that I’ve never known from another person. His wife, he said, had a similar experience when their two boys were young and a stranger showed her the same kindness.
“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.”
The post, which was shared over 4,500 times, connected Rudeen to Todd’s wife – and the two families are planning on “getting together soon” so they can pursue their blossoming friendship.