The Love A Stranger Gave An Autistic Child During An 8-Hour Flight Shows How Much Kindness Is Left In The World

Photo: Algemeiner
Autistic Boy Comforted By Stranger Transatlantic Flight

Random acts of kindness are what make this world go ‘round, and I  along with everyone else  commend a particularly special transatlantic flight passenger who recently went above and beyond to comfort and care for a young, inconsolable child during an extended flight on July 14, 2017.

Flying in a plane can be brutal on its own — it doesn’t matter if it’s a 3-hour flight or a 12-hour one. Uncomfortable seats, intrusive neighbors, and a small aircraft for a long period of time can cause MAJOR distress to anyone.

This particular flight, scheduled to fly eight hours from Belgium to Newark, New Jersey had already been delayed for three hours, which only made everyone’s comfort and patience wear thin. But about an hour into the flight, many of the other passengers on the plane could hear a young boy begin to get incredibly upset. 

Unfortunately, the boy, who has autism, was unable to calm down  crying and eventually shrieks of frustration could be heard throughout the aircraft.

An eight-hour flight is no joke, and with a delay on top of that, it’s only natural that passengers are going to start getting frustrated and unhappy. Of course, no one on that flight was nearly as unhappy as the child  and all parents know when their child is that upset, especially if that child has autism, it’s almost impossible for them to be consoled.

But someone had to try, and that someone ended up being North Carolina resident, Rochel Groner.


“It was clear to me that just from listening, this was a child who didn’t have a use of vocabulary. He was trying to communicate something,” said Groner in an interview with Inside Edition.

She's had previous experience working with children with special needs at Friendship Circle, an organization that her and her husband, Bentzion Groner, are co-directors for, and ZABS Place, a thrift shop that hires people with special needs.

Groner felt both that she had to at least try to help this young boy and assist his mother, who was probably also at a loss on how to make her son feel better with the added pressure of all eyes on her.

Groner offered her hand, and as the boy took it in his, she picked him up, took him to a quieter area on the plane, put him on her lap and sat with him for hours  drawing together on motion sickness bags, letting him play with her glasses, and giving him hugs.

Thankfully her husband snapped a few pictures of the ordeal and shared her act of kindness and compassion on social media.

The gentle nature and compassion that Rochel Groner showed this boy  a boy she didn’t even know  warmed hearts all over the world. Bentzion Groner's Facebook post has already been shared thousands of times and been featured in numerous news publications.

Seeing an act of pure kindness take an 8-hour flight from distress to ease is something not everyone can do, but it does show that even the smallest things can make a world of difference.

According to Bentzion Groner, "Everyone just wants a hug and to be listened to, if we’re willing to do that.” 

The boy’s mother wasn’t the only one who was grateful during that flight, but more than the comfort of the passengers, Groner was able to bring comfort — and even smiles — to the child. And she showed that children and adults with autism and other special needs deserve the same love, patience and affection as everyone else.