The Kindness Of Strangers

Flying with the girls this time round was a much easier experience than it has been in the past. The first reason being their age, with the eldest being nearly 7 and the youngest being nearly 5. The other was the kindness of strangers.

Growing Up

As I have said before, I have flown many times with the girls. Most of that has been done on my own, solo parenting.

This can be a very daunting responsibility for a parent, especially if the children out number the solo parent!

This time around I can honestly say it was easier. Not perfect, but definitely easier. Here’s why:

  • They listened when I explained that they needed to stay right next to me at all times!
  • No rush. We gave ourselves plenty of time to go through check-in, Immigration and boarding so there was no need to rush and cause anxiety from unnecessary stress.
  • They carried their own little backpack so that meant I didn’t have hand luggage to haul around in addition to my handbag and laptop bag!
  • No push-chair, buggy or stroller!!! None! It was awesome!
  • They understood and cooperated when I said “Please go to the loo now because we can’t go later”. They also understood with regards to the limit on the liquid intake, to avoid having to go to the loo every 5 minutes.
  • I was patient.
  • They are used to the process now and respect the seat-belt rules when in-flight.

The Kindness Of Strangers

Another very good thing this time round was the genuine kindness of strangers. I was helped by strangers on a number of occasions. From picking up things the kids drop on the floor to swapping seats on the plane.

The Perception

People who travel with kids are often made to feel like a scourge on society. Like we planned to have our kids kick the back of your seat the whole flight. I assure you, we did not.

We also did everything we could to ensure there were no tantrums, but kids are not robots! Let’s be honest, if they were robots we’d leave them at home to clean the house whilst we go off on holiday and enjoy ourselves.

And let me assure you, no one is more uncomfortable, aware of their children’s behaviour, or sorry, than the parents of those kids!

This perception by traveling parents has led to us, the parents of kids when families travel, to having an increased level of anxiety. We are more aware than ever that our kids might be annoying you. This awareness, and increased anxiety makes the whole experience incredibly painful, and difficult.

The Reality

Fortunately, what I want parents to know from my experience,  is that Yes, there are a few people who have no empathy. People who lack the ability to consider other people’s situations in life. Selfish people.

But, the majority of adults who travel actually are parents themselves, or grandparents or at least remember that the whole world doesn’t revolve around them! The majority of adults in the world are empathetic and kind people.

Thank You!

The kindness of strangers on this particular trip has somewhat renewed my faith in the world and the human race. So I just want to say, Thank You, to the following people. People who showed us a moment o kindness, just because:

  • The lady with the dog who let my girls pet him, they loved him!
  • The guys who wrapped our suitcases for joking that they were going to wrap the girls up.
  • The guy who checked us in at the check-in desk, for taking a moment to ask them where they were going, and the other meaningless chit-chat whilst he processed our paperwork.
  • The Home Affairs guy who understood that mistakes happen and believed me enough to go the extra mile to trace my Permanent Residence Permit instead of just being mean, nasty and threatening (like the woman who originally checked my documents).
  • The woman who welcomed us to her ‘office’ – the toilet attendant! The girls thought this was the most impressive office they’d ever seen! lol
  • The man who gave up his seat to squash himself into an uncomfortable position for two hours so I could sit next to my girls on the flight. He really put himself out! He kindly offered to swap with me, and after I declined his kind offer, he then insisted on giving up his window seat so I could sit in the same row next to the girls. This was especially kind as this meant he had to squash himself in next to a very large lady. The kindness of these two people blew me away! Such a small thing meant so much to me and unbeknown to them, my girls.
  • And finally to the lady who was kind and welcoming at the Immigration desk on arrival at Harare International Airport. Again, she took the time to talk me through the process and chat to the girls therefore making them feel special and important too.

Peace of Mind

I think that the most important thing I learnt in all this is that the ‘stigma’ faced by parents travelling with kids, about how the rest of the world of travellers actually hate us, it not true. Our children are as entitled to be on that plane, that train, or that path as the adult next to them. And we as adults need to teach our children to always be kind, because that one moment of kindness that we show someone takes so little from us, but can mean the whole world to that person.

One moment of kindness creates a permanent impression.



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  1. Glad you had a good trip. I remember whenever I went to the state clinic I got help from fellow moms; who’d pick up my bag while I tried to handle my baby.

  2. Thanks for sharing – I must say I generally feel quite sorry for single parents travelling with one or more kids. Besides the stress of watching their every move and making sure they aren’t annoying too many people, it must be exhausting carrying all their bags and prams and what not. Kids are part of life and people must get over themselves… lol

  3. That’s awesome Carly! So glad it went well.

    I recall going to Mugg and Bean once with my 2 (at the time). My son is the perfect child. Not rowdy or boisterous as boys are generally seen (like my youngest Adam). So M&B was quite empty, we were out of town on holiday….and my 2 decided to chase each other. No screaming or throwing things. Shoot…the couple lose to us, elderly couple, were so disgusted and complaining. I asked for our bill and left. I said I could understand if they were rowdy (and even if they were…kids)….. some people are just so mean spirited. It’s been about 4yrs and I still remember being so upset at the incident. People can be very intolerant when it comes to kids.

    Glad you had such a great experience with travelling!

    Here out of my own as a reader, but also realising this is a #LekkerLinky….so….??? lol.

  4. I remember having our first flight with our girls in 2012 when visiting family in Australia. I was so nervous as my eldest was 6 but my youngest was only turning 3 that December. Excellent service were received from the flight attendants and the girls were kept busy with arts and crafts, movies and their Leapster games. The 12 hour flight from OR Tambo to Sydney was a breeze but the flight from Sydney to Brisbane was a nightmare. We hit a storm and thank goodness the girls were sleeping as they would’ve panicked. We were in a queue to land at they developed ear ache – which was terrible. Flying back home to South Africa was all good and they were once again well behaved and kept busy#Lekkerlinky

  5. This is so true, strangers can really make or break your day especially when alone with kids. So glad you had a pleasant experience! xx #lekkerlinky

  6. This gives me hope for our travels next week. Like I always say, treat others the way you want to be treated. You must have been a very kind lady over the past couple of weeks. Enjoy your holiday x #LekkerLinky

  7. When I read this over the weekend, I was touched. I remember when I go out, there are always people around: smiling, wanting to help me, picking up things that fall. Even giving them sweets (not toooo excited about this one). When the kids act out, I am always stressing. But I think MOST people get it, MOST people get it that kids do act out sometimes. And yes you are right the kids have a right to be on that plane! Teach them kindness, a positive message #lekkerlinky

  8. The kindness of strangers on planes have always been amazing. I traveled with M to India alone when she was 10 months old and the route was filled with kind strangers. A people who offered to hold M (on the plane) for me so that I can go to the (tiny cramped airplane) bathroom. To name but a few. Travel sometimes brings out the best in people. #lekkerlinky

  9. Ah this is so lovely to hear! We have never been on a plane with our girls but the thought of it fills me with dread. It’s so nice to hear that this wasn’t your experience and what a lovely man to give up his seat for you! People can be so lovely!

    And congratulations because someone loved this post so much, they added it to the BlogCrush linky! Feel free to collect your “I’ve been featured” blog badge 🙂 #blogcrush

  10. It is so nice when you can tell people are being nice when you’re travelling with kids. We are yet to fly with Ben but we’ve done a few long car journeys where we’ve stopped off at the services with meltdowns or just Ben being overtired.
    It makes you feel stronger to tackle the few judgey people when you get some supportive smiles or people taking an interest in keeping them amused!
    Thank you for sharing this with us at #TriumphantTales. I hope to see you back next week!

  11. I’m glad it was a positive experience. I used to judge parents for having disgruntled (tantrum!) children but now I am a parent I realise that children have their own thoughts and opinions! #triumphanttales

  12. Ah this is lovely! Kindness is such an important thing and it makes people so happy. We fly soon and it is the first time with our children and the flight is what is making me feel nervous, because lets face it, what 18 month old is going to sit still for 4 hours??? #TriumphantTales

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