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Dad leaves his children on a plane hoping a complete stranger would look after them, sparking debate

A Reddit user shared how a dad she did't know expected her to care for his kids on a plane journey.

Dad leaves his children on a plane hoping a complete stranger would look after them, sparking debate
Representative Cover Image Source: Suhyeon Choi / Unsplash

Editor's note: This article was originally published on March 18, 2022. It has since been updated.

In a post on the Reddit forum Entitled Parents, a woman recounted an alarming experience at JFK Airport in New York City, which she described as "one of the worst airports in the United States." During the flight, a father unexpectedly left his children with her, assuming she would babysit them. Despite her frustration, the Reddit user ensured the children's safety throughout the journey. Fortunately, the man's wife, who had been asleep due to anti-anxiety medication, later reprimanded her husband for his actions.

The incident began while she was in line for the security check, right next to the family. She writes, "When I was in the TSA line, I was surrounded by two families: A mom and her son behind me and two parents with two boys in front of me. The mom in front of me was TIRED. Like she was sitting on a big carry-on bag while her husband wheeled her about tired. Dad was so focused on mom not falling off the suitcase that the boys were just darting about and trying to play with the boy behind me as well." The Reddit user was tired too; it was 6:30 am and she was running on approximately two hours of sleep. Nonetheless, as someone who worked at a special needs preschool for two years prior to becoming a therapist, she went into crowd control mode.

"[I asked] the boys about their interests but reminded them we have to be quiet to talk about them," she explains. "I found out the brothers are Eric (9) and Daniel (6) and they were really excited about going on a plane. The boys started having a quiet conversation about Minecraft. The mom behind me thanked me and we actually had a nice chat about me previously working in the special needs school and how fun it was." An hour and a half later, she was boarding her plane when she spotted the tired mother five rows back from where she was seated. She was in a window seat and already fast asleep. About five minutes later, she saw the dad and their two sons board the plane. That is when the entitled father hatched his genius plan.

She shares, "The first kid Daniel sat down next to me, and dad paused for a moment just staring at me. This man proceeded to take the boarding pass out of his second son's hand, swap it with his, and tell his son to sit in the aisle seat. He then bolted to the row his wife was in. Once the disbelief wore off, the boys started asking me questions about the plane and snacks and the TV mounted in front of them. I (...) was exhausted, I didn't even fight it. I showed the older one how to turn on the TV screen on the seat in front of him and told them, 'Miss Mindful is really sleepy, like your mom, so I am going to take a nap.' Both of them told me to have a nice nap and I passed out." The children were incredibly thoughtful nonetheless. They had left out a mini water bottle and a bag of cookies on the Reddit user's tray, predicting that she would need a snack when she woke up.

Then, 30 minutes before the flight was to land, there was some commotion behind the children and their newly-found babysitter. "All of a sudden, formerly asleep mom was very much awake and looking over both kids to make sure they were alright," she states. "Both of them mentioned how they have been watching 'Moana' so they were perfectly fine. Mom then shot her husband the 'Neutral Face of Displeasure.' When we get off the plane, mom followed me to the bathroom to apologize... She took some medication to help ease her anxiety about flying but just knocked her out. Her husband was supposed to sit with the younger boy, while the older one sat with her. She freaked out when she woke up and saw her husband and in her drowsy state, she thought her husband forgot the children back at JFK hence her panic. Apparently, her husband thought it was a good idea to leave them with me because he heard me talking about working at a school and figured they would be fine with me."

The Reddit user concludes, "She apologized, and when we got out of the bathroom, she made her husband apologize for 'abandoning our children with a stranger.' The whole walk out to the pickup area, she was reminding her children about stranger danger and how they need to be careful in big places like this. Daniel gave me a paper heart he folded out of a New York City brochure so I have a new best friend now."

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