Culture & Entertainment

Dear 'Daddy' in Seat 16C. A heartwarming story about a girl and her seatmate.

By: Teresa Sousa
Canadian Living
Culture & Entertainment

Dear 'Daddy' in Seat 16C. A heartwarming story about a girl and her seatmate.

By: Teresa Sousa
By now, you probably know I can't get enough of feel-good stories. I love hearing about how a simple act of kindness can make a world of difference in someone's life. Quite simply, it's humanity at it's finest. This little story is no exception.

Travelling back from Disney World with her family, Shanelle Mouland was nervous about the empty seat next to her autistic 3 year old daughter, Kate. Depending on Kate's mood, her behaviour can range from affectionate to hysterical. An understanding seatmate would be crucial. Shanelle posted an open letter on her blog "Go Team Kate" titled " Dear Daddy in Seat 16C" directed at Kate's seatmate. In it, she writes " For a fleeting moment, I thought we might have a free seat beside us, and then you walked up with your briefcase and your important documents and I had a vision of Kate pouring her water all over your multi-million-dollar contracts, or house deeds or whatever it was you held. The moment you sat down, Kate started to rub your arm. Your jacket was soft and she liked the feel of it. You smiled at her and she said 'Hi Daddy, that's my mom.' Then she had you." Kate's seatmate was Eric Kunkel - a business man and married father of one. Throughout the flight, he entertained Kate by allowing her to play with his iPad and playing a video game with her. They talked about dogs and Kate told him about meeting the Disney princesses at the theme park. He even tried to distract her with toys when, at the end of the flight, she began screaming to remove her seatbelt. Shanelle goes on to say " You could have shifted uncomfortably in your seat. You could have ignored her. You could have given me that 'smile' that I despise because it means; 'manage your child please.' You did none of that. You engaged Kate in conversation and you asked her questions about her turtles." She ends her letter by thanking him "Thank you for not making me repeat those awful apologetic sentences that I so often say in public. Thank you for entertaining Kate so much that she had her most successful plane ride, yet. And thank you for putting your papers away and playing turtles with our girl." Sometimes, all it takes is a little understanding and patience to make a world of difference in the life of a sweet little girl and her mamma. Wonderfully heartwarming!
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Dear 'Daddy' in Seat 16C. A heartwarming story about a girl and her seatmate.

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