Cape May Man Is Subject of Viral Letter [VIDEO]
One never knows until it’s too late who your seatmate will be on a plane until you actually get to sit down.
In some cases it could turn out to be a horror show – but not for this one mother with an autistic 3 year old daughter who was fortunate enough to be seated next to a kind gentleman from Cape May only too happy to entertain her daughter.
The anonymous man who inspired a mother of a 3-year-old girl with autism to write about him in an open letter that went viral is from New Jersey.
Shanell Mouland posted the letter on her website, "Go Team Kate," after traveling with her family from Orlando, Fla., to their home in New Brunswick, Canada, through a connecting flight in Philadelphia.
Mouland's daughter, Kate, has been diagnosed with autism and Mouland said she eyed passengers nervously as they approached the empty seat next to her daughter, wary of who would sit down.
Mouland wrote in her letter — titled "Dear 'Daddy' in Seat 16C Flight 1850 From Philly" — that the man who did sit down "engaged Kate in conversation" and "asked her questions about her turtles."
"I don't know your name but Kate called you 'daddy' for the entire flight last week and you kindly never corrected her," she wrote.
That man was Eric Kunkel, according to Yahoo Shine.
Kunkel, a Cape May County resident and father of one, told Yahoo that he travels a lot for work and that Kate was "by far, the most well-behaved kid I've sat next to."
In her letter, Mouland thanked Kunkel for "not making me repeat those awful apologetic sentences that I so often say in public. Thank you for entertaining Kate so much that she had her most successful plane ride, yet. And, thank you for putting your papers away and playing turtles with our girl."
Kunkel's family saw Mouland's letter and forwarded it to him and Kunkel then reached out to Mouland on Facebook, according to Yahoo.
How often do people not even acknowledge their seatmates? And when they do, many times it’s with a grunt or some other sign of dissatisfaction – especially if they’re sitting next to a child they feel is unruly.
But not Eric Kunkel – the man little Kate Mouland called the “Daddy in seat 16c.
Our Ray’s Ray of Hope for tonight.
(Props to my daughter, Elena Lanza, for pointing this story out to me!)