Photo of Southwest employee comforting young flier goes viral

A Southwest flight attendant is being commended for comforting a young passenger with a serious flying phobia.

On Saturday, Erika Stewart posted a picture to Southwest’s public Facebook page where she introduced the world to Garrick, a flight attendant serving her flight from Orlando to Newark.

In the photo, Stewart explains that Garrick is holding the arm of her 9-year-old daughter Gabby, “a type 1 diabetic with severe flying anxiety.”

“Upon take off he noticed she was struggling. Throughout the flight he tried making her laugh and bringing her special drinks,” Stewart explains, detailing how the kindly flight attendant helped make the journey easier. “As we were getting closer weather was rough and there was a bit of turbulence. Gabby began having a complete panic attack on descent. He came up to the front and asked if she would like for him to sit next to her in the empty seat.”

The mother explained that she was traveling without her husband but had two other children in tow so Garrick’s help was greatly appreciated throughout the flight.

After some rough turbulence, Gabby started crying and held the flight attendant’s arm harder, her mom said. Garrick reportedly told the young traveler that she could "hang on as long as she needed."

“Just after this due to the extreme stress she was under her blood sugars began dangerously crashing,” she wrote. “He got up from his seat to get her an orange juice and came right back to sit with her. She asked again if she could continue to hold his arm while the plane was landing. He of course agreed.”

Upon arrival, Garrick announced on the PA system that his new friend Gabby had overcome her fear of flying.

“The whole plane clapped for her,” Stewart told the airline. “It was a wonderful experience on Southwest. We are forever grateful to have met such a beautiful, selfless soul.”

The post has been liked over 35,000 times and generated hundreds of comments commending the flight attendant’s above-and-beyond actions.

Southwest responded to the post on Facebook, thanking Stewart for sharing and adding that Garrick’s good deed won’t go unnoticed.

“Flight travel can be a scary thing for many, but our Crews really care about everyone’s experience. It warms our Heart to see such kindness and carrying from one of our amazing Flight Attendants, and we can’t even tell you how proud we are of your daughter for getting through the flight,” the airline wrote. “She is a brave girl and it was a pleasure having you and her both onboard with us. Rest assured, we will make sure that Garrick gets recognition he deserves for his kindness.”