BENTONVILLE, Arkansas - A friendly stranger came to the rescue of a mom who was traveling alone with her two kids.
Jessica Rudeen of Bentonville, Arkansas was traveling from Kansas City to Wilmington with a layover in Charlotte.
She had a rough start to her journey as she boarded her flight with her baby in meltdown mode.
"My 4 month old was screaming his head off because, due to a series of unexpected events, I was unable to nurse him before boarding the plane. My 3 year old, who was excited before boarding the plane, lost her nerve and began screaming and kicking 'I want to get off the plane! I don’t want to go!' I honestly thought we’d get kicked off the plane. So with two kids losing their minds, I was desperately trying to calm the situation."
That's when a man offered to hold her baby boy Alexander, while she got her 3-year-old daughter Caroline into her seat with a seatbelt. Once Caroline had calmed down, the man distracted Caroline so Rudeen could feed Alexander.
Throughout the flight Todd engaged Caroline in conversation and coloring. "By the end of the flight, he was Caroline’s best friend. I’m not sure if he caught the kiss she landed on his shoulder while they were looking out the window," said Rudeen.
The new friends had the same connection in Charlotte to Wilmington. The man, who travels the route often for work, got off the plane with the family and led them to the gate.
Once they all boarded the plane, he changed his seat so he could sit by Caroline to help on the second leg of the journey.
"Todd, showed me kindness and compassion that I’ve never known from another person. His wife, he said, had a similar experience when their two boys were young and a stranger showed her the same kindness. I am blown away by God’s hand in this because we could have been placed next to anyone, but we were seated next to one of the nicest men I have ever met in my life," said Rudeen.
Rudeen wanted to find the man to thank him - so she took her request to social media. The post went viral and they have since re-connected.
Rudeen's family has plans to meet up with their new friend Todd and his wife in May.