A Florida mom and her 11-month-old daughter were headed from Orlando to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania when the kindness of a stranger changed their day.
Kelsey Zwick and her daughter Lucy, who suffers from chronic lung disease, were traveling Thursday to CHOP for the 11-month-old's medical treatment, Yahoo News reported. They boarded American Airlines Flight 588 flight where they settled into their seat at the back of the plane.
But a passenger had noticed the woman was traveling with an oxygen machine for her baby and asked the flight attendant if he could give his first-class seat to the woman and her baby.
"I walked up and asked the flight attendant if she thought that she would be more comfortable sitting up in my seat and I would take the one in the back," the passenger identified as Jason Kunselman of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, told Us Magazine. "Next thing you know, she came walking up crying and said 'thank you' and I said 'you're welcome' and headed back toward the back of the plane."
The flight attendant approached Zwick and asked her if she would like to swap seats with the good Samaritan.
"At first, it just kind of took a second because I was like, why do I need to switch seats? Then I realized what was happening, and I was so overwhelmed. It wasn't just the seat; it was the culmination of everything we've been through the past two years," Zwick told NBC News.
After the flight, Zwick wanted to properly thank Kunselman but was unable to locate him. So she took to social media in hopes that she might find him.
"To the man in 2D. Today you were traveling from Orlando to Philly. I don't know you, but I imagine you saw us somewhere," Zwick wrote in a post on Facebook. "I was pushing a stroller, had a diaper bag on my arm and also lugging an oxygen machine for my daughter. We had smiles on our faces as we were headed to see her 'friends' at CHOP (Children's Hospital of Philadelphia). We pre- boarded the plane, got cozy in our window seat and made jokes to those around us about having to sit by my yelling-but-happy baby. The flight attendant came over and told me you were waiting to switch seats. You were giving up your comfortable, first class seat to us."
"Not able to hold back tears, I cried my way up the aisle while my daughter Lucy laughed!" she continued. "She felt it in her bones too ... real, pure, goodness. I smiled and thanked you as we switched but didn't get to thank you properly."
"Sooo... thank you. Not just for the seat itself but for noticing. For seeing us and realizing that maybe things are not always easy. For deciding you wanted to show a random act of kindness to US," the mother added. "It reminded me how much good there is in this world. I can't wait to tell Lucy someday. In the meantime ... we will pay it forward. AA 588 passenger in seat 2D, we truly feel inspired by your generosity."
Someone saw the post which has been shared more than 461,000 times and connected Zwick with Kunselman, according to the Daily Mail.
"It was so touching seeing the little girl with her oxygen. I was tearing up as I saw her," Kunselman told the Mail.
As it turned out, it was Kunselman's 41st birthday that day.
"I guess it was his birthday, and he did reach out to us," Zwick told Yahoo News. "He was thanking me for a birthday to remember. It was the best day. He said it made him and his wife cry, and he said, 'I am so glad we were on the same flight.'"
Lucy and her twin sister were born prematurely at 29 weeks and both girls have chronic lung disease.
"When Lucy came out, she was blue and she wasn't breathing," Zwick told Yahoo. "We almost lost her on the second day. We never knew if I'd get to take her home."
The first-class seat allowed extra room for Zwick and Lucy and the large oxygen machine.
"We did have extra room. Lucy enjoyed the cheese plate and the little luxuries," Zwick said. "Flying first class before her first birthday!"
But Zwick said she learned something more important that day.
"There's always good people in the world, and that's why I felt compelled to share," Zwick told Yahoo.