United Airlines crew, passengers befriend Texas boy with autism who didn't like seat

A Texas mother praised a United Airlines crew and passengers who befriended and accommodated her son, who has autism and did not want to sit still on their flight home.

Lori Gabriel, of Magnolia, Texas, said she and her family were traveling back home after their first family vacation in San Diego. She said her 4-year-old son Braysen “didn’t want to be restricted” that day and it was “impossible” to keep him in his seat.

Gabriel, who shared her story on Facebook, said Braysen wanted to sit on the floor in the aisle and in first class. Instead of handling the situation in a negative manner, the crew chose to accommodate her son’s needs.

She said they made sure her entire family was OK and worked around wherever Braysen chose to sit.

“Shout out to the flight attendants Joseph Nation, Heather Bursid and Rhonda,” Gabriel said. “They couldn’t have done a better job. United really showed up tonight and helped us through this flight.”

Gabriel said the passengers also came through, with one man in first class becoming Braysen’s friend during the flight.

“To the man in first class seat 6C, you rock. Thanks for playing with Braysen and not minding him kicking your seat or messing with you! He loved your high fives!” she said.

At the end of the flight, Gabriel said a woman in seat 7D came up to her with a special note. She learned the woman worked for United Airlines, but was taking a personal flight at the time. Gabriel wasn’t able to get her name.

“To the lady that wrote me this note in seat 7D – thank you. You may not know how much that means to us when we feel defeated,” she said. “Thank you for helping and being kind.”

In the note, the woman commended Gabriel for her strength and said her family is “loved and supported.”

“Do not ever let anyone make you feel as though you are an inconvenience or a burden. He is a blessing. God bless your patience, your love, your support and your strength. Continue to be a super woman,” the note said.

Gabriel said Braysen, who turns 5 in September, has been on three flights to Kentucky before this trip and handled them well. She noted those flights were not as long as the trip back from San Diego.

This story was reported from Los Angeles.