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Dear daddy in 16c: Businessman forms bond with autistic child on plane

"Dear daddy in seat 16C" is the title of a letter that has been a viral hit on the Internet since the Huffington Post posted it online Monday. Today Moms reported Jan. 14 that the mother of a young autistic girl was so appreciative of the attention a businessman gave her daughter on a flight, that she wrote him a heartfelt thank you letter and posted it on her blog, Go Team Kate.

Shanell Mouland, 36, wrote a beautiful letter to a man she did not know the name of, but who enjoyed entertaining her daughter, Kate, while flying on a plane. She described how Kate needed to sit in the middle seat on the plane so that she would not slide open and shut the window shade repeatedly. She knew that meant someone would sit next to Kate on the other side of her, but she was on pins and needles wondering what kind of neighbor she would get. Some passengers dread sitting by a child on a plane, but when an autistic child is involved, it is even more of a production for a parent!

Dear daddy in 16c was inspired by Shannel after a businessman ended up sitting next to Kate. Throughout their flight he interacted with her and she affectionately referred to him as "daddy" because she felt comfortable with him. Shanell took in the joy a mother feels when she sees her special needs child engage with someone. Inclusion is something important to special needs children of all feel a sense of acceptance by those around them.

By the end of the flight, Kate was feeling over-stimulated by the flight and wanted off the plane. The man who sat near her was accommodating and understood the situation. Shanell expressed her genuine gratitude for the passenger who treated her daughter so well.

The "dear daddy in seat 16c" has been read by tens of thousands of people and it has made their day a brighter one after reading it.

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