Earlier this month, Beth Bornstein Dunnington was traveling from Los Angeles to Portland, Oregon, when she spotted a toddler having a “total meltdown” at the gate area.
The little boy, who Dunnington judged to be about 18 months old, was “running between the seats, kicking and screaming, then lying on the ground, refusing to board the plane.”
But instead of judgy looks and under-the-breath comments about poorly behaved children, something very different happened, which Dunnington wrote about in a now-viral Facebook post:
“She [the boy’s mother} couldn’t pick him up because he was so upset, he kept running away from her, then lying down on the ground, kicking and screaming again. The mother finally sat down on the floor and put her head in her hands, with her kid next to her still having a meltdown, and started crying. Then, this gorgeous thing (I’m crying just writing this)… the women in the terminal, there must have been six or seven of us, not women who knew each other, approached and surrounded her and the little boy and we knelt down and formed a circle around them. I sang “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” to the little boy… one woman had an orange that she peeled, one woman had a little toy in her bag that she let the toddler play with, another woman gave the mom a bottle of water. Someone else helped the mom get the kid’s sippy cup out of her bag and give it to him. Only women approached.”
Dunnington, a Hawaii-based writer and mom, told “Good Morning America” she thinks the post, shared nearly 20,000 times, has resonated with people because “we seem to be craving simple acts of kindness right now. I also think this resonated because we didn’t turn it into a big thing in the moment… we didn’t take selfies or exchange numbers. We didn’t even get each other’s names, or talk about it afterwards. And, honestly, it felt significant in that it was women who got up to help.”
She wrote in her post, “after they went through the door we all went back to our separate seats and didn’t talk about it… we were strangers, gathering to solve something. It occurred to me that a circle of women, with a mission, can save the world.”
Dunnington told “GMA” she hopes her post encourages anyone who reads it to “act with kindness. To help when someone is struggling, if you can, and to trust your instincts.”