Society

Woman Left Her Seat To Comfort Autistic Child On Flight (Photo)

| by Sarah Zimmerman
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A woman decided to step in and comfort a young boy with autism when he started to have a meltdown on a flight.

Rochel Groner was making her way back to Brussels from Israel with her husband on July 14. Sometime during the first hour of the eight-hour flight, she heard a boy starting to lose control.

She was able to immediately tell that the child was somewhere on the autistic spectrum.

"He was crying and just started to shriek," she told Inside Edition. "It was clear to me that just from listening, this was a child who didn’t have a use of a vocabulary. He was trying to communicate something."

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After a few minutes, it became clear that the boy's crying would not let up any time soon. 

"People are frustrated. People are waking up. It was a day flight, which is always a little harder," she said. "You can see people kind of craning their necks and trying to figure out what’s going on and all I’m thinking about is this poor mom; she’s probably mortified as it is.”

That's when Rochel decided to walk over to the boy to attempt comforting him.

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“Finally, I just got out of my seat," she recounted. "There are tears streaming down his face. He put out his hand. I just put him on my lap and ... gave him a gentle but firm hug and started to rock him and he was quiet."

The two spent the remainder of the flight quietly drawing pictures on motion sickness bags. 

Her husband, Bentzion Groner, walked over to the two and snapped a photo. He later wrote about the incident over Facebook. 

"While most of the passengers watched in awe little did they know that for Rochel this is her life," he wrote, adding that she works with the Friendship Circle -- a Jewish nonprofit organization that provides social and educational activities to children with special needs.

"If we just offer our hand in love and acceptance, miracles will follow."

The post quickly went viral, garnering over 4,700 likes and hundreds of comments in five days.  

Bentzion told Inside Edition that he wanted to share the story to remind people to be kind to those in distress.

"It told me that everybody just wants a hug and to be listened to and if we’re willing to do that, we can literally change lives."

Sources: Inside Edition, Bentzion Groner/Facebook / Photo credit: Jason O'Halloran/FlickrBentzion Groner/Facebook

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