NJ Man Touches The Heart Of Family Raising Autistic Daughter - KMSP-TV

NJ Man Touches The Heart Of Family Raising Autistic Daughter

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PHILADELPHIA -

A mother's moving tribute to a complete stranger is getting thousands of views online.

Three-year-old Kate has autism. Kate's mom Shanell has a blog, "Go Team Kate", where she writes about her experience raising a child with autism. This mom and her three-year-old daughter were flying from Florida to Canada. There was a connection here in Philly.

She posted what happened next in an open letter on her blog called "Daddy In Seat 16c."

On the flight, the seat next to her daughter was open, and she was nervous about who would sit down. However, a really patient guy from our area got on board. The businessman who ended up next to them made it Kate's most successful plane ride yet!

She addressed the letter to "'Daddy'" and wrote, in part:

I don't know your name but Kate called you ‘daddy' for the entire flight last week and you kindly never corrected her.

She continued:

You could have shifted uncomfortably in your seat. You could have ignored her. You could have given me that 'smile' that I despise because it means; 'manage your child please.' You did none of that. You engaged Kate in conversation and you asked her questions about her turtles.

She added in her concluding paragraph:

Thank you for not making me repeat those awful apologetic sentences that I so often say in public

More than 50,000 people have viewed the blog since the letter was posted earlier this week.

It turns out that the business man is from New Jersey. Kate's seat mate was Eric Kunkel, a businessman and married father of one from Villas, NJ.

His relatives forwarded him the post and he and his wife are now good friends with Kate and her family!

The readers have been very touched by the letter and the kind man.

Ready Kelly Smith wrote, "This is such a great story, it brought tears to my eyes."

Stephen O'Brien also wrote, "Easily the most heartwarming story I've heard since you've started the blog."

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