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Woman Leaves Newborn on Business Class Plane Seat, Decides to Find Him 13 Years Later — Story of the Day

Sonali Bharadwaj
Feb 01, 2022
11:40 A.M.
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A woman abandons her newborn baby on a business plane seat because she fears she won't be able to care for him, but when things improve for her several years later, she decides to find him and take him in. 

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"PREGNANT?! You must be out of your mind, Rhonda!" her father, David Harris, yelled at her when he found out she was pregnant with her boyfriend Peter's child.

Rhonda, unlike Peter, came from a wealthy family, and her father owned a large textile company. Unfortunately, her mother died when she was just two, so her father had raised her alone.

Mr. Harris provided the best of everything for his daughter – clothes, food, and education – but he was also a very controlling man who didn't want his daughter to ever go against his wishes.

Rhonda left her baby in the airplane | Photo: Shutterstock

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When Rhonda found out she was pregnant, she tried to hide it from her father by wearing oversized clothes, but as the baby bump became more visible, she couldn't hide it anymore. She decided to tell Mr. Harris about her pregnancy, but he was anything but impressed by it. "You're going to get rid of that child, Rhonda. Do you get it?"

"No, dad," 16-year-old Rhonda declared adamantly. "I will not terminate the pregnancy. It's too late now, and I can't abort the baby."

"Then you'll have to figure out how you're going to raise that child yourself," Mr. Harris warned her. "No one in our family has ever dared to marry someone from a lower class. So if you want to raise that man's blood, get the hell out of my house!"

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"Fine, dad," Rhonda said after a brief pause, her eyes welling up with tears. "Maybe if mom was still alive, she would have supported me. But that's fine. I'll raise the child alone and prove you wrong."

Rhonda packed her belongings and left that evening, cutting all ties with her father. Mr. Harris didn't budge at all and slammed the door behind her, ordering her to return only after she had aborted the child or placed it in an orphanage.

Mr. Harris was against Rhonda's pregnancy | Photo: Pexels

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Rhonda didn't utter a word and booked an Uber to Peter's house. When she arrived, she explained that she'd left her father's house because he refused to accept their child and that she wanted to start a new life with him. But to her shock, Peter refused to take responsibility for the child.

"Look, babe," he said. "I am not ready to become a father. And why did you leave your father's house? He could have helped us financially when we marry and decide to start a new life. Get rid of that child or forget about me, Rhonda."

A shock ran through Rhonda as she heard that. "But Peter, this is our baby. How can you…."

"Look, Rhonda, that baby and you are causing me nothing but trouble right now. You know what, just forget about us! It's over!."

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"Peter!" Rhonda cried. "You were so happy when you found out about the pregnancy! What happened?"

"Because you're nobody right now, babe. Your dad kicked you out, and I can't raise that kid, so goodbye," he said and slammed the door in her face.

Rhonda was devastated when Peter broke up with her | Photo: Pexels

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Rhonda's life was turned upside down in one night! She couldn't believe she was heavily pregnant and neither her father nor her boyfriend was concerned about her! She left Peter's house that evening, crying inconsolably, and wandered the streets, unsure of where life would take her.

Suddenly, she felt a sharp pain in her abdomen and went into labor. The pain was excruciating, and she kept pleading with passersby to help her. Fortunately, one woman noticed her and with the help of her driver, assisted Rhonda to her car and rushed her to the hospital.

Rhonda gave birth to a baby boy that night, and when she awoke, the woman who'd assisted her, Angela Bamford, was sitting by her bedside.

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"Thank -Thank you for helping me," Rhonda told her in a low voice. "My child… .he's safe, right?"

"He's perfectly fine," Mrs. Bamford assured her. "Are you new in town? I noticed you were carrying your luggage."

Rhonda couldn't hold back her tears. She burst out crying and told Mrs. Bamford the story of how she ended up there. "I don't want to live here any longer," Rhonda sobbed. "I just want to get out of Texas. But I'm not sure I can provide a good life for my child."

Rhonda gave birth to a baby boy | Photo: Pexels

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Mrs. Bamford felt terrible for Rhonda, not only because she was a homeless mother deciding whether or not to raise her child, but also because she reminded her of her own daughter.

"Don't say that, dear," Mrs. Bamford consoled her. "I used to have a daughter your age. When we found out she was pregnant, we were furious and kicked her out of the house. 

"My husband owns Sunrise Airlines, and we were wealthy enough to support our daughter. But we were opposed to such a young pregnancy. I wish I could have helped her. She took her own life because she couldn't bear all of it. I don't want someone else to go through that! It's a terrible place to be in."

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"I'm sorry to hear that," Rhonda said, wiping away her tears.

"I, too, feel sorry for her," Mrs. Bamford added. "However, it's too late now. Don't worry, I'll help you. I can book the ticket for you. Make sure your child lives a good life in a new place."

"Oh no," Rhonda exclaimed. "You've already done a lot for me. I'm afraid I won't be able to return this favor."

"Please," Mrs. Bamford requested. "If I help you, it'd be like I helped my daughter. And it will help me get over my guilt."

Mrs. Bamford booked a business class ticket for Rhonda | Photo: Pexels

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Rhonda couldn't say no to Mrs. Bamford at that point. She accepted the ticket and a few days later, she was flying business class from AUS to JFK, ready to start her life all over again.

However, as she sat settled in the plane with her baby in her arms, she was constantly concerned about her ability to provide a good life for him.

"What if I am unable to care for my child? What if he ends up living with me on the streets?" These thoughts had taken over Rhonda's mind to the point where she didn't notice the flight was over, and the pilot announced their arrival at JFK.

Rhonda was terrified as she realized she would be alone in a strange city with a newborn and no means to provide for him. Her mind started to spin, her heart pounded, anxious over the thought of what lay ahead for her and her son. 

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It was at that point that she made a painful decision. She decided she would leave her baby on the plane, hoping someone would take him and give him a good life. 

She waited for the people in the seats next to her to leave, and when she saw no one was looking, she left her son on the seat, along with a note she had scribbled earlier, and exited the plane quickly. It took all her strength not to look back and snatch her baby back, but she decided it was for the best. 

When one of the stewardesses, Lincy, approached the seat after the passengers had left, she was taken aback to discover the baby. She couldn't help but feel bad for the child as she read the note Rhonda had left with him.

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Rhonda left a note with her baby | Photo: Pexels

I'm a poor mother who couldn't care for her child. Don't waste your time looking for me if you find this note. I would never have been able to provide a good life for him. I hope you accept and cherish him as your own. I'd be delighted if you named him Matthew. Matthew Harris. That was the name I had chosen for him.

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13 years later…

After struggling for almost a decade, Rhonda finally found a stable job and was doing well financially. However, there wasn't a single day when she didn't regret leaving her son on the flight.

She had struggled as a homeless person for nearly 7 years after moving to NYC, and the remaining seven years had been spent trying to earn a stable income and renting a house. Things had eventually worked out for her, and she thought she'd be able to provide her son with everything he'd want.

She was, of course, ashamed of what she'd done in the past, and she feared her son would never accept her. But she decided to take a chance and meet her boy for the first, and possibly, final time. Unfortunately, she was correct in the sense that things would go wrong.

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"My mom? You must be kidding me!" Matthew lashed out at her when she met him. "Where have you been all these years? I don't need you! I am happy with my adoptive parents."

Matthew lashed out at Rhonda | Photo: Pexels

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Rhonda's eyes welled up when Matthew said that. She had approached the local police for assistance, telling them her entire story, and luckily, one of the helpful officers had assisted her in locating her son.

Initially, she had feared that she would never find Matthew because he could have been adopted by anyone in the world and given a different name. She was lucky enough to begin her search in New York and find him there by the name she had given him.

She contacted Matthew's adoptive mother, explaining why she had abandoned him and chosen the name Matthew Harris for him. It turned out the boy was adopted by Lincy, the flight attendant, and her husband. She was hesitant to introduce Rhonda to Matthew after how she'd left him, but she eventually agreed to give her a chance to explain herself upon learning her story.

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"I'm sorry, Matthew," Rhonda said. "I know you're upset, and you don't want to accept me, but can't you give me one chance?"

"No way!" the boy yelled. "You are a mean woman who left me all alone. If my parents didn't adopt me, I'd be in an orphanage today!"

"But Matthew," Rhonda said. "I didn't want to do that. Will you not let me explain why I left you?"

Rhonda requested Matthew to forgive her | Photo: Pexels

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Matthew was reluctant to do so, but he agreed after his parents persuaded him. Rhonda didn't tell him about the early pregnancy or how she was kicked out because he was only 13.  But she told him she was poor and that his father had left her.

Lincy went on to explain that it was difficult for Rhonda to provide a good life for him, so she gave him up. However, Matthew still didn't want to accept her as his mother. "I can forgive you, maybe," he said. "But I can't call you mom. I have only one mother."

"It's all right, Matthew," Rhonda said. "Can I come to see you at least on weekends?"

"Ok, I don't mind that," the boy said. 

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It's been ten years since that fateful day. Matthew is now 23 years old and works as a data scientist in New York City. With time, he forgave Rhonda for what she had done and accepted her as his mother, realizing that whatever she had done was a compulsion.

Rhonda recently met a man named Andrew at work, and the two have been dating for a month. Rhonda wants to marry him, but first, she intends to talk to Matthew about it. She also met Mrs. Bamford when she went to Texas two years ago, and the older woman was glad that things worked out for her. 

What can we learn from this story?

  • Time heals everything. Matthew realized over time that Rhonda wasn't entirely to blame for what happened that fateful day she left him.
  • There's no point in dwelling on the past. Matthew understood it and forgave Rhonda.
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If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a rich man who adopted 5 kids in one day.

This account is inspired by our reader's story and written by a professional writer. Any resemblance to actual names or locations is purely coincidental. All images are for illustration purposes only. Share your story with us; maybe it will change someone's life. If you would like to share your story, please send it to info@amomama.com.

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