Businessman inspires mother of autistic child on flight - WKRN News 2

Businessman inspires mother of autistic child on flight

Posted: Updated: Jan 16, 2014 05:00 PM

A blogger and mother of an autistic toddler was pleasantly surprised on a recent flight when her three-year-old daughter made friends with a businessman sitting next to her.

Shanell Mouland said she had been bracing herself for the worst as other passengers boarded the plane on January 5.  She and her family were returning home after a trip to Disney World.

"We knew that flights were difficult for her," Mouland told ABC News. "And we knew this was going to be a tough one."

As soon as Eric Kunkel sat down in his seat, her daughter Kate was captivated by the stranger who she called "Daddy."

On the two-and-a-half hour flight, Kunkel played games and helped calm Kate instead of ignoring her.

Inspired by Kunkel's random act of kindness, Mouland took to her blog on January 9 to write "Dear ‘Daddy' in Seat 16C Flight 1850 From Philly."

The blog post has since become a global sensation, getting more than 70,000 likes on Facebook.

It took only a day for the post reach Kunkel, who felt both overwhelmed and humbled.

"Sometimes the simplest things are such a big deal," Mouland told ABC News. "But it's a big deal for him to treat her like a little person."

*ABC News contributed to this report.

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