Girl, 9, suffers panic attack on flight, then mom sees a man give her a “special drink”


Many people have a common fear of flying and therefore suffer from panic attacks. Often, it’s just harmless nerves, but however, the fear can manifest itself physically.

There are of course some medications you can take if you are an adult, but it’s hard to know what to do if a child experiences a panic attack mid-air.

When Erika Jeorgean Swart flew with her three children, she was totally unprepared for the reaction of her 9-year-old daughter they took off into the air. Gabby became very anxious about the trip from Orlando to Newark, which confused mom. She had flown before as a little girl, so Erika was quite surprised when her daughter suddenly developed a fear of flying!

The worried mother sat with two of her children next to her and her oldest Gabby was sitting across the aisle.

With a lot of turbulence during the flight, Gabby had trouble relaxing and Mom could see the fear and panic in her eyes. Gabby, who is a Type-1 diabetic, was trying her best to remain calm, but it clearly wasn’t working. Unfortunately, her blood sugar started to drop.

Erika’s husband was not with her on this trip and she had her hands full trying to make sure all three of her children behaved themselves. As she held her daughter’s hand across the aisle and felt helpless, but then a flight attendant named Garrett came out of nowhere and handed Gabby a “special drink” to keep her quiet.

However, the outspoken mom was not one for keeping quiet so she wrote a lengthy post on Southwest Airline’s Facebook page to let them know what one of their employees was up to:

“This is Garrick, an employee of yours working flight 1264 flying from Orlando to Newark…”

She also took a pic of the guy, that the big bosses at Southwest could easily identify him. Instead though, rather than firing him for being awful, Erika really praised him for the super sweet things he had done!

“Throughout the flight, he tried making her laugh and (was) bringing her special drinks.”

Erika was so impressed by the Southwest Airlines’ employee by the way he helped calm her daughter down she praised his actions on Facebook.

“He suggested they talk to distract her from thinking about the landing so they talked for around 30 minutes about everything from his daughter who is the same age to her pets to what grade she is going into. During extremely rough turbulence she began crying and grabbed his arm, he gently told her she could hang on as long as she needed to. Just after this due to the extreme stress she was under her blood sugars began dangerously crashing. He got up from his seat to get her an orange juice and came right back to sit with her.”

Erika continues on her Facebook post:

“Once on the ground while taxiing to the gate he came on the intercom and announced that his friend, Gabby, in the front row overcame her fears of flying and asked for a round of applause. The whole plane clapped for her. It was a wonderful experience on Southwest. We are forever grateful to have met such a beautiful, selfless soul.”

William from Southwest said that flights can be really scary for some people and that their flight crew really care about the people that travel with them.

They said:

“It warms our Heart to see such kindness and carrying from one of our amazing Flight Attendants, and we can’t even tell you how proud we are of your daughter for getting through the flight.”

The flight attendant will really get the rewards and recognition he well deserves, how awesome!


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