Autistic Child Has Outburst. Flight Attendant Swoops In. It’s Wonderful.

by Chris Dong

Subscribe to Point Me Awake, a morning jolt of the top stories in travel every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday — straight to your inbox. Our curated list also includes deals, reviews, and the best ways to use points and miles.

With most airlines packing in passengers like sardines, the inflight experience can often be dictated not by the onboard product, but by the service. For Sonja Redding and her two young children, it was the empathy and humanity of one Delta flight attendant that made all the difference during a recent flight.

Sonja’s two kids were on a flight with mom from Washington D.C. to Atlanta. Both children suffer from a rare genetic disease called Methylmalonic Acidemia (MMA). The genetic disease currently has no cure, and the family was visiting D.C. as part of a medical research trip. Additionally, Sonja’s youngest Xayvior, who is 5-years-old, was diagnosed with autism while there.

During the flight, Xayvior began acting up, which quickly led to him screaming and hitting his mother in an outburst.

Delta Flight Attendant Jumps In 

Flight attendant Amanda Amburgy’s jumpseat was only several rows away, and noticed Xayvior’s behavior. Amanda, who had volunteered with Special Olympics in high school, offered to bring Xayvior to the galley and offered him a set of wings.

He was fine during boarding, but as soon as we took off his mood completely changed. I noticed he may have some trouble communicating his feelings. Traveling can be hard even without kids and I know moments like this can be even really stressful for parents. I offered to take him up to the galley for a set of wings, which is my usual introduction when trying to calm down our younger passengers.”

Other passengers took notice of Amanda’s empathy and humanity. A fellow passenger rang their seat call button to tell her that his 7-year-old son also suffers from autism and had never seen a flight attendant do what she did.

Amanda And Xayvior Go Viral 

Amanda also walked around the cabin with Xayvior and pointed out the blue lighting that illuminated the aircraft. He eventually calmed down and became fast friends with the superwoman of a flight attendant. A few candid photos were taken of Amanda and Xayvior, which Sonja ended up posting to Facebook. It has subsequently gone viral with hundreds of shares.

The Upshot

Include this one in the category of “things that make us smile and shed a tear for $500, Alex.” Empathy and kindness are sometimes missing in a world full of fast-paced air travel.

“People don’t always understand that their normal isn’t everyone else’s normal. This is this family’s normal.” It is flight attendants like Amanda who bring out the best in all of us, even when trapped in a metal tube at 35,000 feet.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

1 comment

Related Articles

1 comment

Karma April 14, 2019 - 2:14 pm

Beautiful story! Autism is hard for families and it is one of the disability that others don’t realize it is ! Only support , compassion and love can cure autism nothing else! I just wish there are more of these stories!


Leave a Comment