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October 21, 2021

7-Year-Old Autistic Boy on First Solo Flight Gives Passenger Next to Him a Note from His Mom

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A mother was terrified when she sent her young autistic boy on a flight all by himself. She gave him a note to give to a passenger next to him, but what happened next was shocking. 

In 2019, a high-functioning autistic boy named Landon, who was 7 years old, took a solo airplane trip for the first time. The young boy's mother, 28-year-old Alexa Bjornson, was worried about how the individual sitting next to him in the plane would react. The mom stated

"I thought how do I make it so whoever's sitting next to him won't look at him as a burden."

A letter from Ben Pedraza along with a photo of him and Landon [left]; Landon’s mother Alexa Bjornson [right]. | Source: facebook.com/alexa.bjornson

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Bjornson ultimately came up with a genius idea. She decided to give her son a letter to pass on to his flight neighbor, explaining the situation. In the note, she introduced her 7-year-old, revealing that this was his first flight alone. The 28-year-old stated that he has high-functioning autism, partially penning

"He is very smart and loving but tends to get emotional when he is scared...He might ask 'Are were there yet?' a few times."

The mother continued to explain, asking the stranger if they would please treat Landon with kindness and help him feel safe. Bjornson included a $10.00 bill and a letter to thank the person who would sit next to her son.

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Landon smiling. | Source: youtube.com/CBS Sacramento

Fortunately for both Landon and his mom, the young boy sat next to Ben Pedraza, who went out of his way to make the autistic child feel comfortable. Taking to Facebook, Bjornson shared a letter from the stranger on the plane which partially read

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"We had a good time and played a few rounds of rock-paper-scissors. He's a great kid and you're a lucky mom."

He then revealed he didn't keep the money for himself but instead donated it to an organization dedicated to autism. The Facebook post went viral, accumulating 427,000 likes and 18,000 comments. Many remarks focused on what a beautiful gesture it was on the part of Pedraza. 

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Responding to the wide popularity of this post, Landon's mother made a follow-up one, thanking everyone for the tremendous response and kind words. Bjornson wrote

"Thank you everyone, whoever has reached out, shared, commented, ...your heart is showing for sure."

The mom also expressed that she hopes the attention on this story could encourage more passengers on flights to accommodate and assist autistic individuals.

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Humanity continues to surprise us when another autistic boy was lifted and held in a safe space not only by one man but a whole community. Teenager Daniel Harrison, who had no friends, received 55,000 messages on his birthday.

This occurred after his father, Kevin Harrison, from Nottingham, England, shared the predicament on Twitter. Wishes and kind words came pouring out from all over the internet, spilling out over 55,000 messages.

Many were from celebrities such as Kurt Bradley, Russell Crowe, and professional football player Dominique Wilkins. It turns out that when someone truly needs some assistance, most individuals are willing to lend a helping hand. 

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