Stewardess Hears Crying from Lavatory, Finds Kid Who Wasn’t on Passenger List — Story of the Day

A strange sound from the bathroom on a cross-country flight gives flight attendant Leslie a terrible fright. Little does she realize that the kid inside will forever change her life.

Leslie rubbed her temple with one hand as she headed to her plane. She had a throbbing headache to remind her of the night she had spent partying at one of the hottest clubs in Atlanta.

“Amy!” Leslie called when she saw her fellow flight attendant. “Please tell me you have some headache pills?”

Amy looked at Leslie and rolled her eyes. “Of course I do, but you should know better than to party the night before a cross-country flight.”

“What else am I supposed to do, visit museums?” Leslie sighed. “At least partying keeps me distracted.”

Amy gave Leslie a friendly nudge, and the women boarded the plane together.

“One day, everything will work out for you, Leslie,” Amy said. “Just have faith.”

Leslie and Amy immediately got to work preparing for the passengers to board, then doing the safety demonstration and ensuring all the passengers settled in. Finally, Leslie crept to the galley and drank her headache pills.

“I wonder if Amy will mind if I lie down in the rest quarters for a bit,” Leslie said. She was heading off to speak to her colleague when an odd sound stopped her in her tracks.

Leslie paused, listening hard. A moment later, she decided she must’ve imagined it. Maybe Amy was right about her partying too much. She’d already planned to hit several clubs when they touched down in L. A, but perhaps she’d take it easy and skip a few of them.

When Leslie passed the bathroom door, she heard a high-pitched mewling sound again. There was no way there was a cat on the plane, so it had to be a child crying.

Amy knocked on the bathroom door. When nobody replied, she opened the door and peeped inside. A second later, she screamed.

A moment later, Leslie realized the shuddering bundle that frightened her was a young boy. He’d been crying and looked up at her with tearful eyes.

“Don’t do that!” Leslie said to the young boy who’d surprised her.

“What are you doing in here?”

The boy hugged his knees and started crying again. Now that she was over her shock, Leslie felt sorry for the boy. She crouched down in front of him.

“I’m sorry I shouted,” Leslie said. “You gave me a fright. I’m Leslie, what’s your name?”

The boy sniffed. “My name’s Ben.”

Leslie helped the boy up. She let him sit in one of the crew jump seats while she searched the passenger list for his name. It was probably the boy’s first time on a plane, and he didn’t seem to enjoy it.

Leslie frowned. She checked the passenger list again but still didn’t find the boy’s name!

It had been far too long since Leslie last had to comfort a child. The thought filled her with longing for her home, but now was not the time to think of that. She sat beside Ben and put her hand on his arm.

“Ben, sweetie, are you lost? I can help you if you tell me where to find your family.”

Ben let out a sob. He was hugging a paper bag to his chest, Leslie noticed. It set her nerves on edge because of all the horror stories she’d heard about substances brought onto flights.

“What’s in the bag, Ben?” Leslie asked.

“It’s Granny’s medicine,” the boy replied. “She’s going to die without this medicine, and it will be all my fault!”

Over the next few hours, Leslie managed to coax the whole story out of Ben. He was the youngest boy in a large family. While his older brothers spent most of their time playing sports and getting into scrapes, Ben dreamed of becoming a scientist.

His mom hadn’t appreciated the explosive side effects of Ben’s quest to discover a cure for all diseases. He’d dearly hoped to make his mother proud and earn a hug from her, but instead, she’d made him sit in the corner.

“I just want her to look at me with the same love and pride she gives my older brothers when they do well.”

Ben sobbed. “That’s why I stole the bag of Granny’s medicine.”

When Ben’s grandmother fell ill, the family decided to visit her in Seattle and bring her medicine. Ben had gotten separated from his family at the airport. He’d eventually spotted his mother again and followed her onto the plane.

“But she wasn’t my mom,” Ben wailed. “And now I’m on the wrong plane. I wanted to be the hero who gave Granny her medicine, but now I’m the baddie. She’s going to die because of me.”

Leslie had alerted all the relevant authorities when the plane touched down in Los Angeles. She felt terrible for Ben but was ready to put the whole situation behind her. So, when she found out about the arrangements the airline made for Ben, Leslie was shocked.

She stared at the boy she was now forced to look after and share her hotel room with. This wasn’t fair. She’d made a list of clubs to check out in L. A, but now she had to babysit instead.

“This is the greatest gift I’ve ever received. I only hope it’s enough.”
Several times, she’d texted Amy and her other colleague, Brandon, but neither of them was willing to mind Ben for her. She’d even considered searching for a local babysitter but realized she couldn’t afford it. She had to save as much as possible to send home.

The pair were silently eating a pizza Leslie ordered for dinner when her phone rang. She answered it, and her stomach dropped when she heard what the caller said.

“My baby is sick?” Leslie asked. “What happened, mom? Joe was doing well the last time we spoke. Have you taken him to a doctor?”

“Yes,” Leslie’s mom replied.

“And she referred us to a specialist. We have an appointment for later this week. They mentioned a genetic disease and they might need you to come in for tests too since you’re his mom.”

“Whatever it takes, so long as my Joe gets better,” Leslie replied.

When she ended the call, Leslie curled into a ball and wept. She wished with all her heart she could wrap her son in her arms, smell his soft, curly hair, and tell him everything would be okay.

Unfortunately, Joe was far beyond her reach. Her flight schedule hadn’t taken her home in over a month. As much as she tried to forget her longing for her son by partying and getting wasted, nothing could stop her heart from aching.

“Miss Leslie?” Ben approached and put his hand on her arm. “I think you should have these for your Joe.”

Leslie felt another wave of tears coming on as she looked at the bag of medicine Ben offered to her.

“If I can’t save my granny, at least I can help you,” Ben said. “Take them for Joe so he can be healthy again.”

“I have a better idea.” Leslie started typing on her phone. “I’m going to get you to your granny in Seattle, Ben. Afterward, I’m going home to Missoula to see my son.”

Leslie booked a plane ticket for Ben at her own expense. She then organized leave and arranged to accompany Ben on his flight while on her way home.

“I’m scared,” Ben said as he and Leslie boarded their flight. “What if Granny is already dead because of my mistake? Mom will never love me then.”

Leslie ruffled the boy’s hair.

“Your mom has always loved you, Ben, and she always will. That’s what parents do. I’m sure she’s been very worried and will be happy to see you safe.”

Ben didn’t seem to believe Leslie, even when his entire family rushed forward to hug him when they arrived in Seattle. Leslie looked on as Ben’s mom smothered him with kisses and swore never to ignore him again.

Unfortunately, Leslie’s reunion with her family was less cheerful. She was shocked to see how pale and thin Joe had become since she last saw him. He felt so fragile in her arms.

Leslie stayed up late that night talking to her mom and going over the various tests the doctors had run on Joe. She felt overwhelmed, helpless, and incredibly guilty.

When she finally retired for the evening, Leslie crept into Joe’s room and curled up next to him. She buried her face in his soft, coconut-scented hair and promised him, herself, and God to do whatever it took to see her son healthy and happy again.

As the days drew on, Joe’s condition didn’t improve. The specialist couldn’t figure out what was wrong with the boy. In the meanwhile, he seemed to grow weaker every day.

Leslie put in for extra days on her leave, but the airline wasn’t very understanding. They refused to pay her for the time off, even though Joe was sick.

After another week of caring for Joe and paying for doctor’s visits, money was getting tight. Leslie’s mom was on a pension and had always relied on Leslie to pay for Joe’s needs while she cared for the child. Now, the women needed to figure out how to proceed.

“Maybe I can get a job here,” Leslie said. “Maybe something that pays better.”

“It’s worth looking at any rate,” Leslie’s mom shrugged. “If it comes to it, I can sell the house.”

Just then, there was a knock at the door that changed everything.

Leslie opened the door and found a familiar face staring up at her.

“Ben?” She noted then that the family she recognized from the airport was with him. “What’s going on?”

“I have something for you and Joe.” Ben presented Leslie with an envelope.

Leslie opened the envelope. Inside was a check. When Leslie saw the amount on it, her jaw dropped.

“What is this? I can’t accept it,” she stammered.

“It’s over a hundred thousand dollars!”

“We want you to have it.” Ben’s mother stepped forward. “We started a crowdfunding campaign for my mother’s treatment, but she…” the woman put a hand to her mouth. “She passed away a few days ago.”

Ben’s father stepped forward and embraced his wife as she burst into tears.

“We decided together that we should give you the money, for Joe,” Ben continued.

“We announced what we planned to do on the crowdfunding campaign too,” Ben’s dad added, “so everything is above board.”

Leslie pressed the check to her chest as tears welled up in her eyes. “Thank you all so much,” she sobbed. “This is the greatest gift I’ve ever received. I only hope it’s enough.”

Ben lunged forward and hugged Leslie’s legs. “It will be enough, I’m sure of it! And when Joe is better one day, I’m going to come back here to play with him.”

Leslie smiled and ruffled the boy’s hair. “You’ll always be welcome to visit here, Ben.”

The check was almost the exact amount Leslie needed. After countless doctors and treatments, Joe returned to his old self a month later.

As Leslie watched him playing with the neighbor’s dog on the front lawn, it was hard to imagine a time when he hadn’t been strong and full of laughter.

“And it’s all thanks to Ben,” she muttered.

The familiar sound of a plane soaring overhead drew Leslie’s eyes skywards. She would soon return to work. She’d also just thought of the perfect way to repay Ben’s family for their generosity.

She pulled out her phone and started making calls. The next day, she called Ben’s mom to tell her that the airline offered her family a generous discount on all flights for the rest of their lives.

What can we learn from this story?

All children need attention. Ben was desperate to earn his mother’s affection, so he acted foolishly. If she’d realized her son felt neglected, she could’ve acted sooner to ensure he always felt loved.
You can only avoid emotional pain for so long. Instead of distracting herself from the pain of missing her family with partying and destructive habits, Leslie could’ve found a healthier coping mechanism.
Share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *