How a United Airlines crew handled an autistic 4-yr-old's meltdown is pure human excellence

This is how it should be.

When Lori Gabriel boarded a United Airlines flight from San Diego to Houston with her partner and his 4-year-old son, Braysen, she didn't expect the scene that was about to unfold.

Braysen, who is autistic, usually loves to fly. But shortly before takeoff, he wanted to take off his seatbelt and sit on the floor.

"It was impossible to restrain him," Gabriel told CNN. "He was fighting both me and his father. It took the both of us to try to get him back to his chair and get his seat belt back on. He started kicking, screaming and hitting."

"That's when a flight attendant came over and told us the flight couldn't take off until he's seated," she said. "I told her the boy has autism, we're trying, give us a minute."


The flight attendant walked away as the couple continued to try to get Braysen calmed down and buckled. When the flight attendant returned with two other crew members, they asked how they could help the family. "Then they sprang into action," Gabriel said.

RELATED: This mom's viral story of strangers' kindness illustrates how it truly 'takes a village.'

They allowed Braysen to sit on Gabriel's lap with his father holding onto him. And once the seatbelt sign was turned off, they let Braysen lie on the floor in the aisle.

"When he's overstimulated, the vibration makes him feel better," Gabriel said.

Braysen moved around the cabin, visiting people in first class for a while. "Braysen seemed happy there, so we didn't want to move him," Gabriel told CNN. The boy started kicking a man's seat, and Gabriel apologized. "I told the man 'I'm sorry,' but he said he didn't mind, he introduced himself to Braysen and gave him high fives. He said, 'He can kick my chair, I don't care.'"

"Everybody in first class was kind to him, asking his name, showing him pictures on their phones, letting him sit whenever he wanted," Gabriel continued. "The flight attendants kept asking if we needed anything, making sure everybody was taken care of."

Gabriel shared photos from the flight on Facebook:

One of the photos shows a note written on a torn out magazine page, which an off-duty flight attendant handed to Gabriel at the end of the flight. It reads:

"I commend you for your strength. 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 support, your love, and your strength. Continue to be superwoman. And know you and your family are loved & supported. - United Family"

RELATED: A 4th-grader explains to class what having autism is like. The teacher was stunned by their reaction.

After Gabriel tweeted the story with a shout out to United, the airlines tweeted back:

Gabriel was brought to tears by the overwhelming kindness of the crew and passengers on the flight.

"For the first time, people have been very understanding and helpful about Braysen's autism," she said. "It's very promising, we don't have to care about what other people think because there are people who are caring, who understand. It gives me a lot of hope for the future."

With so many stories of people complaining about babies or children on flights, how heartwarming is it to see a story of a whole flight being kind and flexible with a small child with special needs?

Way to go, United Flight 2210. Thank you for showing us what inclusivity, kindness, and compassion look like in action.

Heroes

On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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via Cadbury

Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

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Culture