A Long Island mother's note praising a flight attendant for the extraordinary care of her toddler son during one of his first plane trips is resonating online with thousands of grateful parents who have received similar attention when flying with their small children, a normally stressful experience by any measure.
Heather Gooch posted a message to Southwest Airlines' Facebook page Tuesday hoping to locate the woman who "made my trip a little brighter" on the family's flight back from Florida.
"Dear Southwest, I'm hoping you can share this post so that I can be sure that it finds its way to a very special Southwest flight attendant," the post reads. "All I know about her is that her name is Anisse... Anisse went above and beyond to make sure that the trip went as smoothly as possible. I have NEVER had a flight attendant as kind and as helpful as she was.
"My son adored her and kept looking for her as she passed by," Gooch wrote. "At one point, she saw that he was looking for her and getting antsy so she came and picked him up and walked up and down the aisle with him while my husband and I ate our lunch."
Gooch said the story may not be remarkable, but she wanted to thank Anisse and "let her know how appreciated she is."
"We so often hear about the negative things going on so I wanted to share this story of a someone who made my trip a little brighter. Please help this get to her!" she wrote.
More than 310,000 people "liked" the post, which had been shared nearly 40,000 times by Wednesday evening.
Gooch, a publishing project manager who works in Manhattan and lives in Levittown, told NBC 4 New York that she, her husband and their 9-month-old son Aiden had flown to Florida for their Christmas family vacation last week. Aiden slept on the flight over, but "on the way home, that was a different story."
After she shared her experience on Facebook, Gooch said she was "overwhelmed by the responses and all of the help I received so that I could find this wonderful woman."
The woman turned out to be Anissa Charles, located through emails and Facebook tagging from co-workers and friends and family.
And Charles, once found, jumped into the rolling thread of praise and positivity.
"Y'all are going to make me cry!!!" she wrote. "It was truly my pleasure and he made MY day!! I needed him more than he wanted me to hang out."
She added another comment: "I tell adults all the time on my flights, children are doing exactly what they are supposed to do....make noise! 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! They have soooooo much to talk about and mom and dad deserve a break!"
Other fliers jumped in to share their own encounters with flight attendants who went above and beyond. One woman even commented to share her own experience with Charles, describing her as the "nicest flight attendant I have ever encountered... We had our 14-month-old son who was flying for the first time and 7-year-old daughter with us. You could have just sat in your seat and kept to yourself but instead oodled over our son and made it the best flight!"
Gooch told NBC 4, "I'm so happy that so many people were able to share their wonderful stories and recognize how amazing Anissa is. Good things are definitely coming her way! I sure hope Southwest does something special for her... the small things in life mean the most."