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Former Flight Attendant Responds To People Who Say Babies Shouldn't Be Allowed On Planes — 'Judge Less, Empathize More'

Photo: sharon.a.life / TikTok
TikToker sharing her story about a crying child on a plane

We've all been there — the long, arduous slog of an airplane flight with an irate, screaming baby onboard. There's perhaps nothing more exasperating when you're already crammed into a tin can for hours on end. 

But amid all that nightmarish frustration, it can be easy to forget that as bad as it is for us bystanders, it can be even worse for the baby's parents — who in addition to contending with their squawling baby are often also panicking about disturbing other passengers.

A former flight attendant recently took to TikTok to address her experiences, and to offer some advice to air travelers for their next trip.

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The former flight attendant called out judgmental airline passengers on TikTok who hate crying kids on planes.

She had some pointed words of advice — less judgment, more empathy. The former flight attendant's call-out was inspired by a viral TikTok in which a woman said babies should not be allowed on planes.

That TikTok, as you might gather, caused no shortage of controversy when it went viral in January.



In it, an exasperated family looks at the camera as a baby shrieks non-stop in the background. In the onscreen text, the woman who posted it wrote, "babies do not belong on flights. 3 hours screaming non stop."

There's no doubt that having to endure a screaming infant for hours is annoying, but people with babies have to travel too, sometimes — for family events, for funerals, for medical treatments, for all the reasons the rest of us do. 

For a TikToker and mom to six kids named Sharon, however, known as @sharon.a.life on the app, the video reminded her of her days as a flight attendant, and the far better response to a crying baby on a plane that she witnessed.   

RELATED: Flight Attendant Responds To Video Of Passenger Shushing A Crying Baby On A Plane

The former flight attendant recounted an act of kindness toward the mother of a screaming child on a plane. 

In her video, she said that she always worked on small planes that held only 50 to 150 people — an even worse setting for a crying kid.

Sharon recounted how at one point during the flight, "this child starts screaming and crying bloody murder — like, the entire plane can hear. There's no escaping it, even with headphones."



She noticed that the mother of the child was getting "more and more distraught" and that it was obvious her worry was far more focused on her fellow passengers than her kid. "She keeps apologizing profusely to the people in front of her, behind her, she's, like, trying to cover her child's mouth," Sharon said.

Sharon too was growing stressed, waiting for a passenger to complain. When one flagged her down as she was going down the aisle, she thought "great, here it comes. She's going to b--ch about this, and there's nothing really I can do about it."

But to her surprise, it was the opposite.

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The passengers on the plane tried to help the mom instead of complaining and getting angry.

"I have some gum right here," the passenger said to Sharon. "I wonder if that child's ears hurt. Can you please give this to this mother?" Sharon continued down the aisle and another passenger stopped her, and she again braced for complaints and was again surprised.

The passenger told Sharon she could see that the baby's mom was crying, she was so upset about her screaming child. The passenger said, "can you please tell that mom that it's okay? She can stop stressing over what everybody is thinking and just take care of her child... Tell her to take some deep breaths and it's going to be okay."

Sharon said another passenger then came and sat beside the mom to comfort her, telling her, "I've been a mom too, you're doing great."

And when Sharon continued on and gave the gum to the child's mom, it worked like a charm. "I think that's what was bothering her was, the ears," Sharon said in reference to the painful impact a pressurized plane can have on small children's ears.

As shown in the video below, there are many other reasons a child or baby may cry on a plane, and several ways to help comfort and quiet them down while flying.

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The former flight attendant advised people to try to be more empathetic to parents of crying kids on planes and to 'judge less, empathize more.'

Obviously, the situation Sharon described wouldn't have helped quiet the screaming baby on the other TikToker's flight — babies can't chew gum after all.

But it's impossible to ignore the point of Sharon's story — choosing to try to help the situation instead of making it worse with complaints can not only go a long way but might even alleviate the problem if we're willing to be patient enough to try. 

Sharon ended her video with a message for parents everywhere. "Just remember," she said, "for every mean judgy, person out there... there are at least three other people out there that are like, hey, you're doing a great job. You're going to get through this."

And for the rest of us sitting by quietly seething through our flight, she had a word of advice — "let's sympathize more and judge less." Never a bad idea.

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.