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

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.

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Heather Cox Richardson didn't set out to build a fan base when she started her daily "Letters from an American." The Harvard-educated political historian and Boston College professor had actually just been stung by a yellow-jacket as she was leaving on a trip from her home in Maine to teach in Boston last fall when she wrote her first post.

Since she's allergic to bees, she decided to stay put and see how badly her body would react. With some extra time on her hands, she decided to write something on her long-neglected Facebook page. It was September of 2019, and Representative Adam Schiff had just sent a letter to the Director of National Intelligence stating that the House knew there was a whistleblower complaint, the DNI wasn't handing it over, and that wasn't legal.

"I recognized, because I'm a political historian, that this was the first time that a member of Congress had found a specific law that they were accusing a specific member of the executive branch of violating," Richardson told Bill Moyers in an interview in July. "So I thought, you know, I oughta put that down, 'cause this is a really important moment. If you knew what you were looking for, it was a big moment. So I wrote it down..."

By the time she got to Boston she has a deluge of questions from people about what she'd written.

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When I opened Twitter Saturday morning, I saw "Chris Evans" and "Captain America" trending. Evans is my favorite of the Marvel Chrises, so naturally I clicked to see what was happening with him—then quickly became confused. I saw people talking about "nude leaks," some remarks about (ahem) "size," and something about how he'd accidentally leaked naked photos of himself. But as I scrolled through the feed (not looking for the pics, just trying to figure out what happened) the only photos I saw were of him and his dog, occasionally sprinkled with handsome photos of him fully clothed.

Here's what had happened. Evans apparently had shared a video in his Instagram stories that somehow ended with an image of his camera roll. Among the tiled photos was a picture of a penis. No idea if it was his and really don't care. Clearly, it wasn't intentional and it appears the IG story was quickly taken down.

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Photo by Charl Folscher on Unsplash

Harvard historian Donald Yacovone didn't set out to write the book he's writing. His plan was to write about the legacy of the antislavery movement and the rise of the Civil Rights era, but as he delved into his research, he ran into something that changed the focus of his book completely: Old school history textbooks.

Now the working title of his book is: "Teaching White Supremacy: The Textbook Battle Over Race in American History."

The first book that caught his attention was an 1832 textbook written Noah Webster—as in Merriam-Webster's Dictionary—called "History of the United States." Yacovone, a 2013 recipient of Harvard's W.E.B. Du Bois medal—the university's highest award for African American studies—told the Harvard Gazette about his discovery:

"In Webster's book there was next to nothing about the institution of slavery, despite the fact that it was a central American institution. There were no African Americans ever mentioned. When Webster wrote about Africans, it was extremely derogatory, which was shocking because those comments were in a textbook. What I realized from his book, and from the subsequent ones, was how they defined 'American' as white and only as white. Anything that was less than an Anglo Saxon was not a true American. The further along I got in this process, the more intensely this sentiment came out. I realized that I was looking at, there's no other word for it, white supremacy. I came across one textbook that declared on its first page, 'This is the White Man's History.' At that point, you had to be a dunce not to see what these books were teaching."

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