Airline rewards 10-year-old who went the extra mile to comfort 6-year-old flying alone

Tuesday, March 14, 2017 12:01PM
(Philippe Morgese | Babble)
This story originally appeared on Babble and is reprinted with permission.

In addition to helping her now-famous dad Philippe Morgese with Daddy Daughter Hair Factory, an organization that helps fathers bond with their daughters through hairstyling classes, 10-year-old Emma Morgese is one busy young lady.

Emma spends most her time going to school, playing Minecraft, reading, and taking part in epic costume competitions where she makes a mean Princess Leia. But when she's not spending quality time with her dad or wielding a light saber, Emma is extending the same kindness her father has shown to dads across the country.

On their way home to Daytona Beach, Florida, from a weekend away in Denver, Colorado, Emma and her dad met a young girl about to board a flight alone for the first time.

Image source: Philippe Morgese

Elli, 6, and her mother, Cora Flowers, who live in Denver, had settled next to Emma and her dad in the waiting area when Morgese commented on how well-behaved Elli was being for an early morning flight. The two single parents got to chatting, and Morgese soon learned that Elli was flying alone to visit her grandmother in Orlando while she was on a break from school. Morgese quickly offered to let the young girl sit next to Emma, much to the mother's relief, and the two parents exchanged numbers so Morgese could keep Cora updated on how her daughter was doing.

If you're not familiar with the rules, unaccompanied minors can fly solo as young as 5 years old and the airline generally boards them first so they can help to get them settled. That day, Elli boarded on her own, while her mother looked anxiously on, and Emma and her dad soon followed behind.

Although it might sound risky to send a 6-year-old on a flight alone, Morgese notes that for single parents, sometimes you simply have no choice. "I know sometimes situations occur where sending your child alone makes sense," he explains. "I knew this mother worked hard to make things work out because she was doing it by herself, as a single parent. I totally get it. Good parenting is not always in line with popular opinion."

Soon after boarding, Emma went to check on Elli, who was sitting in the back of the plane. By then, Cora was already texting Morgese to check on her daughter, concerned, as any parent would be sending a kindergartener off alone on a cross-country flight.

Image source: Philippe Morgese

With the help of the flight attendants and a few kind-hearted passengers, Morgese and Emma were able to arrange their seats so Elli could sit by them. Before long, it became apparent that Cora had nothing to worry about, because Elli? Well, she was having the time of her life playing cards, eating snacks, and even getting a hair-braiding tutorial from Emma, who apparently has picked up a thing or two from her talented dad.

Image source: Philippe Morgese

Elli soon grew excited about the prospect of landing and seeing her family, and the flight quickly flew by (no pun intended). Emma took Elli under her wing for the flight, as proud dad Morgese looked on. "I always try to teach kindness to Emma, but it's up to her to embrace it," he says.

By the end of the flight, Morgese had updated Cora that Elli and Emma had become fast friends, smiling and laughing the entire time. Morgese later thanked Frontier Airlines and the flight attendants who had helped Emma and Elli sit together and for making Elli's first time flying "much smoother with a friend."

And in response, Emma was to learn that while kindness is always its own reward, sometimes it also comes up with an extra surprise...

Image source: Philippe Morgese

Frontier Airlines contacted Emma through her dad and let them know that they appreciated her kindness and help on the flight, and in return, would like to offer Emma a free flight for her next trip!

So where will their adventures take them to next? Well, according to Morgese, Emma is talking about getting her passport.

The sky is the limit, Emma, and we'll all be cheering you on.

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