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Man's Kindness Toward Scared Young Seatmate Goes Viral

Ben Pedraza made sure 7-year-old autistic boy had fun and felt safe during his flight
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 1, 2019 9:06 AM CDT
Updated Jul 6, 2019 7:00 AM CDT
In this Feb. 10, 2017, file photo, a Southwest Airlines plane takes off from Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach, Fla.   (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)

(Newser) – Alexa Bjornson was anxious about sending her 7-year-old son, Landon, on a plane by himself to see his dad in Oregon—not just because of Landon's age, but because he has high-functioning autism and was nervous about flying alone, per KATU. And so Bjornson penned a note to whoever ended up sitting next to Landon, along with $10, explaining that her son might ask, "Are we there yet?" more than once, and imploring the person to try to be patient with her son and help him feel safe. Bjornson now says both she and Landon lucked out, because Ben Pedraza was the man who ended up next to Landon on the flight from Las Vegas to Portland on Thursday.

Bjornson shared on Facebook a message she received from Pedraza, showing him and Landon smiling in their seats. "He did ask if we were there yet several times but he was a great travel buddy," Pedraza wrote. "He's a great kid and you're a lucky mom." Pedraza also added that he and Landon played rock-paper-scissors to pass the time. As for the $10, he told Bjornson he was donating it to the Autism Society. "I am so grateful to this individual, and that there are still kind people in the world who make a difference," Bjornson wrote in her Facebook post, which has gone viral with 14,000 shares and 34,000 likes as of Monday morning. As for any ladies touched by Pedraza's kindness and now inquiring about the Jon Hamm look-alike's relationship status? "I'm off the market for sure, definitely, but I'm flattered," he says, per KATU. (Read more uplifting news stories.)

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