This is David. He works for American Airlines. I will never forget this man for as long as I live.”
Russell Lehman, an author and speaker, posted an emotional confession online and people were touched.
It had been a troubling two days – he’d missed a connecting flight due to another delayed flight, and it was getting to him. He found a quiet corner behind an empty ticket counter and ended up having a meltdown due to the stress.
I was crying my eyes out, rocking back and forth as my muscles convulsed at a rapid pace. Sweating profusely, I was hyperventilating while my body shook in terror.
[An American Airlines employee] calmly approached me, and with the utmost compassion, he asked me what was wrong. I was barely able to get any words out. I believe I mumbled the words ‘I don’t know. I can’t think, I have autism.’ “
The man’s name was David, and when he saw Russell on the ground, he didn’t panic. Instead, he did his best to help. He calmly explained that there was a plane that would take Russell to his destination in time to give his speech and patiently waited for Russell to process the information.
Russell needed a minute. He wasn’t sure that he could handle being in an enclosed space after his meltdown, and that’s when David stunned him.
After about 10 minutes, David approached me again, this time accompanied by the pilot of the plane I had the choice of boarding. David had notified the pilot, along with the entire crew, of my situation, and he took it upon himself to clear out a whole row of seats so that I would be able to have space to myself during the flight. The pilot was also incredibly kind, reminding me that what I was experiencing only added validity to the message I spread. To the lives I touch.”
Russell shared his story, not because of his autism, but because a group of strangers came together and did the right thing out of kindness. It inspired more people to have compassion – especially during stressful situations.
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