For those with a fear of flying, nothing can illicit more anxiety than the thought of climbing into a plane. Even with the odds of something tragic happening being incredibly low, it’s a terror that is easy to understand.
For as common as the fear of traveling in airplanes is for adults, it’s more magnified in young children. For parents, watching their little one go through fits of absolute panic is as heartbreaking as it is stressful.
That’s why one mother who was flying alone with her three children is so thankful for a flight attendant with a heart of gold.
On July 8, 2016, Erika Jeorgean Swart was flying alone with her three kids, one of which is diabetic and has a severe fear of flying.
Shane's Feel Good Story (Mornings at 6:15 on WYN 106.9):A Southwest Airlines flight attendant named Garrick is being…
Swart, who was flying via Southwest Airlines, wrote a lengthy post on the airline’s Facebook page after the flight was over. Customer feedback is more common in instances of something going wrong, but not this time.
She identified the flight attendant by his first name, Garrick, and said he was on her flight from Orlando, Florida to Newark, New Jersey. Without him, she didn’t know how her daughter, Gabby, would have managed the trip.
“Upon take off he noticed she was struggling. Throughout the flight he tried making her laugh and bringing her special drinks,” her post on Facebook said.
“He came up to the front and asked if she would like for him to sit next to her in the empty seat.”
Throughout the flight, Garrick made sure Gabby was comfortable, and when her blood sugar dipped too low, he sprang to action.
The attendant kept Gabby well entertained throughout the flight, helping her relax some of her anxieties. But when the plane hit a patch of turbulence, she began to spiral emotionally.
“During extremely rough turbulence she began crying and grabbed his arm,” the post read. “Just after this due to the extreme stress she was under her blood sugars began dangerously crashing.”
“He got up from his seat to get her an orange juice and came right back to sit with her.”
Garrick kept her distracted with conversation. They talked about Garrick’s daughter, Gabby’s pets, and what grade she would be starting.
When the plane landed and taxied on the tarmac, Garrick made a special announcement over the loudspeaker.
This is Garrick, an employee of yours working flight 1264 flying from Orlando to Newark on Friday, July 8th and holding…
Gabby was distressed for nearly the entire 2-hour flight, but took a decisive step towards conquering her fear, thanks to the kindness of Garrick.
As the plane made its way towards the gate, he got on the loudspeaker to tell the entire cabin how brave she’d been, and asked them to give her a round of applause—they were happy to oblige.
Swart knew traveling alone with three children, Gabby being the oldest, was going to be difficult. Without Garrick, it would have been nearly impossible.