An Open Letter to the Person Sitting in Front of My Son on the Airplane

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Here’s an open letter worth reading:

Traveling is stressful for anybody, and even more so when little children are thrown in the mix. But does that give anyone a pass to discipline another person’s child?

Writer Jessica Ayers doesn’t think so, especially when it was her own little boy involved.

In her open letter titled A Letter to the Person Sitting In Front of My Son on the Airplane, she recounts an experience they had while flying and how it got a little unpleasant for everyone involved.

The full text reads:

Sir,

I apologize for my son kicking your seat. Traveling can be stressful, and I know that it’s annoying. But with all due respect, would you please sit back down and mind your own business? What gave you the right to discipline my 3-year-old son? I am his mother, and I’m pretty sure that’s my job.

The first mistake you made was calling him “sweetheart.” I get that he has long hair, but he’s not a girl. The second mistake you made was bringing too much attention to the situation. You have poked the bear, and he now thinks it’s funny to kick your seat. The third mistake you made was pissing ME off by addressing him and not me — your only hope. Instead of holding his feet for two hours in an attempt to quell the kicking (like I did on the past 32 flights of his life), I will do nothing. I will order a Bloody Mary and relax.

It’s been a long holiday weekend. Over Thanksgiving, washing the dishes after dinner was my only time to relax. How was your Thanksgiving holiday? Did you even do any dishes? My holiday was spent tending to my child’s needs (and tantrums). I don’t know your story or your past, but let me assume for a second that in your younger years, you flew with a toddler. Can you try to remember how difficult that was?

I’ve spent the past four hours lugging around his 34-pound body and a seven-pound car seat. Not only do I have his stroller to keep up with, but I also have his backpack, his snacks, his pillow, my computer, my purse, his iPad, and our boarding passes. I’ve had to visit the disgusting airport restroom 10 times to ensure he doesn’t wet himself on the plane. I encountered dirty looks and stares while pleading with him to stop screaming “Jingle Bells” at the top of his lungs. My only chance to get him to eat something nutritious today was to bribe him with ice cream.

After boarding the plane with my son, who, by the way, was enjoying a $7 ice cream from the fancy airport shop after the vending machine ate three of my dollars, I hoped and prayed for a tiny break. I even thought that break might come in the form of the person sitting in front of him showing me some compassion in my vulnerable, stressful situation. Instead of that break, however, I got YOU: rude, unsympathetic curmudgeon.

When you first stood up, I was caught off guard. I even took away his iPad in an attempt to discipline him. But after I had a second to think, I was pissed at you and myself. Instead of punishing him, I should have defended him. Had you and your older son not conveniently been bumped up to first class, I would have. I just want to say thank you for adding stress to my already nerve-racking day.

From,

A Protective and Tired Mother

PS — And to the woman who was also sitting in the row in front of my son, thank you for not being like the man above. Your kindness and humanity were a breath of fresh air. My son had kicked your seat multiple times, and yet you smiled. I was worried when you first stood up that, once again, I would be scorned. He has acrobatic feet, a larger-than-life personality, and an ear-piercing roar. I was pleasantly surprised when you wanted to see his “adorable face,” as you so pleasantly put it. The way you delicately tickled his feet made him giggle.

I want you to know that you are my hero. Not only did you take a mountain of stress off my shoulders, but you also renewed my faith in people. Going forward in life, I will think of you often and remember how you treated my son. I’ll remember that for every crotchety, intolerant person who rolls their eyes, there are also people like you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

 

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