Heather Gooch, of Levittown, N.Y., says she was flying on a Southwest Airlines flight from Florida to New York with her 9-month-old son, Aiden, on Dec. 28, when a flight attendant took Aiden under her wing.
The flight was only the second plane Aiden had ever been one. It was the first time he was awake during a flight, too.
“I was so nervous,” Gooch told ABC News. “This flight attendant was so helpful, she carried our bags for us and brought us to a seat where she knew there would be an empty seat next to it.”
“After we took off he started getting fussy and people were looking at us and I thought, ‘Oh great,’” Gooch recalled. “She caught my eye and she said, ‘Do you mind?,’ and picked him up and walked with him up and down the aisle.”
“He was waving to everyone,” Gooch said of her son.
Gooch says she called Southwest after the flight to make sure the flight attendant, who she knew only as Anisse, was recognized for her thoughtful deeds. She gave up when she got a busy signal.
Instead, Gooch turned to Facebook. On Wednesday, she posted a description of the incident and a photo of the flight attendant holding her son in the aisle.
The post has since been liked more than 220,000 times and shared more than 25,000 times, including by Southwest Airlines.
The post also found its way to the flight attendant, later identified as Anissa Charles, who Gooch says received emails from friends and family who saw the post and tagged Charles in the comments.
“Y’all are going to make me cry!!! Lol it was Truly my pleasure and he made MY day!! I needed him more than he wanted me to hang out with,” Charles wrote in her own comment on Gooch’s post. “I tell adults all the time on my flights, children are doing exactly what they are supposed to do….make noise! Lol Think about it, the aircraft is completely boring to them(after takeoff) and there’s nowhere to run! I would honestly rather hear them make noise and even cry than to hear an adult whine! Lolol They have soooooo much to talk about and mom and dad deserve a break!”
Gooch says she and Charles are now in touch via email.
“She was so overwhelmed and emotional and excited,” Gooch said of Charles. “She didn’t know what to do and that everyone was emailing her and saying that she’s famous.”
Southwest Airlines called Charles “extraordinary” in a statement.
“What Anissa did happens at Southwest every day because our people make it a point to be extraordinary. Anissa is extraordinary,” the statement read. “What we love about a story like this is that Anissa was able to see and hear from people on Facebook who were affected by her actions. What a wonderful gift for the holidays for Anissa and Heather to share with thousands of others the joy of such a simple, loving act.”