Man's act of kindness on plane goes viral - My9 New Jersey

Man's act of kindness on plane goes viral

Posted: Updated:

Villas, NJ -We've all been there before. you get on a bus, train or plane, looking for some peace and quiet, and you find you're seated next to a small child who wants to play! It happened to a South Jersey businessman last week.

IT Consultant Eric Kunkel had just found seat 16-C on the US-Airways flight from Orlando to Philadelphia, when he noticed the 3-year-old girl in 16-B.

"It was just a seat mate, sitting next to me- a little girl that had toys and wanted to play," Kunkel said.

"After we sat down, I just looked over and said, 'Did you go to Disney and how was it?' And that was how the conversation started."

Her name was Kate Mouland and her mother Shanell, politely interrupted the conversation.

"Kate's mom said she has Autism, and I really didn't know what to make of it, but, okay...and we just kind of went on our way from there." Kunkel said.

Kunkel showed the little girl pictures of his prized beagles Peaches and Bailey.

They talked about Winnie the Pooh and Ninja Turtles and on it went, for more than two hours. The book Eric had planned to read, went mostly untouched.

Erik says it was a good time and he didn't think anything special about it.

Shanell Mouland disagreed. She spoke to me from her home in New Brunswick, Canada via Facetime.

"He immediately engaged Kate and that was what did it for me, that he would engage Kate. He cared about her and what kind of little person she was and he wanted, just, to play with her,"Shanell said.

When the plane landed, everyone went their separate ways, but Shanell went to her website: GoTeamKate.com, and wrote a heartfelt open letter to the stranger her daughter referred to as "Daddy."

"You could have ignored her," she wrote. "You could have given me that smile that I despise, because it means, 'manage your child, please.' You did none of that. Thank you."

Erik says when he found out about the story, the first thing he did was cry.

"Which, was not hard to do The story was very heartfelt," Kunkel said.

It's now gone viral. Shanell hopes the attention will teach us that children with autism may not be able to communicate, but they still want to be heard.

"They want to be a part of our world. They don't want to be shut out," Shanell said.

For Eric, that chance encounter with a little girl on a plane, has taught him a valuable lesson.

"A little act of kindness can go a long way," he said.

  • New Jersey NewsNew Jersey NewsMore>>

  • Princeton University giving town $24M

    Princeton University giving town $24M

    Thursday, April 24 2014 5:33 PM EDT2014-04-24 21:33:55 GMT
    Princeton University has agreed to contribute more than $24 million over the next seven years to the town of Princeton. The deal was announced Thursday and is set for consideration by the town government's approval on Monday. The university and town officials frame it was as a way to resolve an age-old issue in college towns where much of the land is university-owned and thus tax-exempt.
    Princeton University has agreed to contribute more than $24 million over the next seven years to the town of Princeton. The deal was announced Thursday and is set for consideration by the town government's approval on Monday. The university and town officials frame it was as a way to resolve an age-old issue in college towns where much of the land is university-owned and thus tax-exempt.
  • NJ brush fire forces evacuations

    NJ brush fire forces evacuations

    Thursday, April 24 2014 4:16 PM EDT2014-04-24 20:16:10 GMT
    A New Jersey school and several homes were evacuated Thursday afternoon because of a large brush fire that was being fanned by winds.Beachwood Intermediate South School was closed just after 12:30 p.m. Parents were told not to report to the school. The Ocean County Sheriff's Dept. said that all children were going to be safely evacuated to another location.
    A New Jersey school and several homes were evacuated Thursday afternoon because of a large brush fire that was being fanned by winds.Beachwood Intermediate South School was closed just after 12:30 p.m. Parents were told not to report to the school. The Ocean County Sheriff's Dept. said that all children were going to be safely evacuated to another location.
  • Large brush fire raging in Berkeley; homes evacuated

    Large brush fire raging in Berkeley; homes evacuated

    Thursday, April 24 2014 1:05 PM EDT2014-04-24 17:05:30 GMT
    A massive brush fire is burning acres of land between Grand Central and Northern Boulevards in Berkeley. Homes are being evacuated in the area. Police are in the area, including helicopters. We'll have more on this story as it becomes available.
    A massive brush fire is burning acres of land between Grand Central and Northern Boulevards in Berkeley. Homes are being evacuated in the area. Police are in the area, including helicopters. We'll have more on this story as it becomes available.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices