Taking care of other people’s kids in flight

photo credit: Heather Poole
photo credit: Heather Poole

Long ago I was on a flight from Chicago to Boston via New York when a weary woman with an active baby sat next to me. Having much experience babysitting, I was used to babies and thought I might be called upon to smile, wave and cheer up a crying baby, but never did I think that the mother would abdicate her responsibilities to me, a complete stranger. The mom began to feel airsick(or so she said) and told me she was unable to change her baby’s diaper because she was about to throw up and asked me to do it for her. Guess what? I did it. I just felt so badly for the woman and the baby having to sit in the mess and yes, especially for myself because I could not stand the fumes either. After the dirty job was done, she thanked me profusely and then said she was exhausted and asked me to hold her baby while she grabbed a few winks. She woke up when the wheels touched the ground to find her baby finally fast asleep on my shoulder. I prayed that they were not on my connecting flight. Am I crazy or just a Good Samaritan? Cheers, Priscilla 

I’m going with Good Samaritan. I’m also going to say Thank God for passengers like you. While I can’t say that sort of thing happens often, it does happen, and not everyone is as nice about it as you were. Your act of kindness proves you’re a compassionate human being.

That said I came a cross a child acting out in her seat while we were doing the beverage service not too long ago. I couldn’t help but wonder why the mother wasn’t doing anything to keep her child entertained during the flight. Instead the mother kept her eyes closed and ignored the child. Later on in flight the child came to the back of the airplane and asked for a soda, I went over to the mother to see if it was okay. The woman shrugged. Not the response I expected. That’s when I asked a strange question: ​”It this your child?” The woman sighed and said no.




  1. None of this is surprising … I think we all have stories like this. At first blush, they’re outrageous … upon reflection, the psychology seems to go like this: Just like calories for a Sunday ice cream cone don’t count, abdication of parenting responsibilities on airplanes don’t count either.

    … Until they do.

    What’s up with this??

  2. I bought your book yesterday and finished it within 24 hours!! Being a potential flight attendant, I found it very insightful. Thank you Heather! I can’t wait for your next book.

  3. In the 80’s, I worked for Continental and was connecting in Salt Lake City with a 1 1/2 hour layover.. I was in street clothes and a woman came up and said, “I need to go to the bathroom, can you watch my children?” (not child) An adorable 7 month old in a car seat and a 3 year old. I entertained them to the best of my ability. Did I mention, I didn’t have children, nor like them. Well, the mother never came back. After final boarding call, I finally gave the children to the gate agent. Bet she loved that.

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