Flight Attendant Does Something Awesome for a Little Girl
Lifestyle| | By Lauren Boudreau
For many people, flying is a harrowing, fear-inducing experience. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that 6.9 percent of Americans (20 million people) suffer from plane-induced anxiety, and 9-year-old Gabby Swart is one of them.
On a Southwest Airlines flight from Orlando to Newark, Swart, her mother Erika, and two younger siblings experienced turbulence that put Swart over her threshold. However, a valiant flight attendant came to her aid.
Erika Swart detailed the experience in her Facebook post that has since gone viral.
From takeoff, Swart was struggling with her anxiety and throughout the flight an attendant by the name of Garrick attempted to distract her by making her laugh and bringing her special beverages.
She seemed to be managing well until the turbulence hit and proceeded to have a full-on panic attack. That’s when Garrick asked if he could sit next to the girl in the empty seat as her mother could not leave her two younger siblings.
“He suggested they talk to distract her from thinking about the landing so they talked for around 30 minutes about everything from his daughter (sic) who is the same age to her pets to what grade she is going into,” Erika Swart writes.
But it wasn’t just the anxiety that was dangerous. Swart also has Type 1 diabetes.
“During extremely rough turbulence she began crying and grabbed his arm, he gently told her she could hang on as long as she needed to. Just after this (sic) 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,” she continued.
According to her mother, the whole plane clapped when Garrick announced over the loud speaker that she had overcome her fear of flying.
Hopefully Swart will feel more at home on future flights!