Amazing stranger helps West Michigan mom, calms crying baby on airplane

Posted at 10:13 AM, Sep 30, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-30 10:23:06-04

Credit: Rebekka Garvison

ATLANTA — Two strangers formed an incredible bond while on a 6 a.m. flight from Chicago to Atlanta.

Rebekka Garvison, a new mother, was on the flight early Thursday morning to visit her husband, an active-duty Army firefighter stationed in Alabama. Also on the flight was the couple’s 4-month-old girl.

Rylee remained “calm” and “delightful” right up until Garvison boarded the plane.

“I was scrambling,” she told MLive.

No one stepped in to help as Garvison boarded the plane with a crying baby while juggling her bags, a stroller and a car seat.

“I could tell as soon as they (passengers) saw me coming their way, they were not thrilled,” Garvison told MLive. “We sat down and she started crying, and I was trying to get her bottle out of the bag.”

Unable to calm the baby while sitting in her original seat, Garvison opted to move to two empty seats a few rows ahead of her. Also sitting on that row was Nyfesha Miller.

Miller, a frequent traveler, was settled into her neck pillow and ready for a nap. However, when Miller heard Rylee’s cries, she offered to help.

“Do you mind if I try?” Miller asked Garvison.

Miller then held Rylee near the window and she quickly relaxed and stopped crying. Minutes later, Rylee was asleep in Miller’s arms.

The two women chatted during the flight and quickly struck a bond. After the plane landed, Miller helped Garvison with Rylee and all the baby gear. The two women then went their separate ways — Miller went to Florida and Garvison headed to Alabama.

On Thursday night, Garvison shared the story on Facebook where it quickly went viral:

“Something amazing happened to me today and I will never be able to express how grateful I am for it. If anyone has ever traveled with an infant you know how stressful it can be. Today, I was reminded that there truly are absolutely AMAZING individuals in this world even if they are complete strangers to you. I have been planning this trip to surprise Nick Garvison for quite some time and have been most stressed about flying alone with Rylee and all of our stuff to lug around with no help. As soon as we got on the plane at 5:30 AM it was very quiet and it was a full flight. I noticed that the 2 seats next to me were taken and this couple looked very annoyed and I could tell by their body language sitting right next to me that they weren’t thrilled about sitting next to Rylee. Of course I’m already stressing and then Rylee started crying when we were just getting ready to taxi. I decided to ask the other flight attendant if I could move up 2 rows where there were 2 empty seats next to each other and I’d have more room to do stuff. She said yes and next thing I know I was sitting next to this amazing woman! I’m not sure if she could tell how stressed and upset I looked or what, but she turned our day completely around. Rylee wouldn’t stop crying no matter what I would try and do….so she had asked if I didn’t mind if she tried and of course I let her. As soon as she had her, Rylee was looking out the window and stopped crying. When we got in the air she fell right asleep and slept in her lap the whole flight until we got to our gate. She kept saying it wasn’t a problem at all and it was actually a comforting feeling for her. She even carried her off the plane and held her so I could get the stroller and carseat put back together so I wasn’t struggling to try and do it all alone.
Nyfesha Miller, you will never understand how happy this act of kindness has made my family. You could’ve just rolled your eyes and been irritated like everyone else, but you took her and held her the entire flight and let me get some rest and peace of mind. It brought tears to my eyes while I sat there and watched you and Rylee sleeping next to me. I just couldn’t believe how that ended up working out and how caring you were to us. Thank you SO much!!
God bless you!!”

According to Garvison’s Facebook page, she’s from Kalamazoo and works at Bronson Hospital.