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Plane Passenger Befriends Autistic Boy Flying Alone For First Time

Man Helps Autistic Boy During First Flight Alone Landon, a 7-year-old Las Vegas boy with autism, flew solo to see his dad last week in Portland, Oregon. His mom,...

(Photo Credit: Ben Pedraza)

Man Helps Autistic Boy During First Flight Alone

Landon, a 7-year-old Las Vegas boy with autism, flew solo to see his dad last week in Portland, Oregon. His mom, Alexa Bjornson, was worried about how Landon’s seatmate on the plane would react–so she wrote a letter explaining Landon’s condition and attached a ten dollar bill for snacks.

“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 like, I can help this kiddo get through the day,” Bjornson told reporters.

But Landon’s seatmate on the flight, Ben Pedraza, saw the boy as anything but a burden–in fact, he befriended the little boy and kept him company on the direct Southwest Airlines flight. After the trip, Pedraza wrote a letter to Landon’s mother that went viral because of his heartwarming compassion and understanding.

“My name is Ben. I was Landon’s seat neighbor for his flight to Portland,” the note said. “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.”

Pedraza also donated the ten dollars from Landon’s mom to a nonprofit that benefits autistic children. The story has since been shared thousands of times on social media, with grateful moms everywhere thanking Pedraza for his above-and-beyond kindness.

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