Mom gets heartwarming e-mail from stranger who sat next to son with autism during flight

Viral News

PORTLAND, Ore. (KATU/CNN) – A social media post about an act of kindness on a flight from Las Vegas to Portland is going viral.

Tens of thousands of people have reacted positively on Facebook to the way a man looked out for a young boy with autism sitting next to him on the plane.

Seven-year-old Landon was pretty scared to take his first solo flight, but his mom, Alexis Bjornson, had a whole different set of worries.

“And I thought, how do I make it so whoever’s sitting next to him won’t look at him as a burden, but more of I can help this kiddo get through the day?” Bjornson said.

Traveling can be a bit turbulent, and she didn’t know how he’d do alone. She wrote a note to his neighbor on the plane hoping they’d help out. She stuffed $10 inside as a thank you.

“We were cracking jokes, and after a while, he asked me to quit making dad jokes,” said Ben Pedraza, who sat next to Landon.

Pedraza said the direct Southwest flight was full of non-stop activity. He captured a photo at the end to assure Bjornson all was well and sent a message to his mother:


My name is Ben. I was Landon’s seat neighbor for his flight to Portland. He did ask if we were there yet several times, but he was a great travel buddy. 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. I appreciate the $10, but it wasn’t necessary. I donated it to Autism in honor of Landon.

Have a great day!

Their story’s since gone viral, his generosity capturing hearts online.

Pedraza, though flattered by the attention, said he hopes the attention stays on autism awareness.

Today my son took his first flight to Oregon to see his dad. I sent Landon with a letter to give to whoever sat next to…

Posted by Alexa Bjornson on Thursday, June 27, 2019

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