A few weeks before Christmas, a stranger’s act of kindness for a mother and baby on a Philly-bound flight is inspiring people across the country.
Kelsey Zwick and her 11-month-old daughter Lucy were on board American Airlines Flight 588 from Orlando to Philadelphia Thursday.
“I was pushing a stroller, had a diaper bag on my arm and also lugging an oxygen machine for my daughter,” Zwick said.
Zwick was taking her daughter to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for treatment for chronic lung disease.
“Honestly, I was already so grateful to be on that plane,” Zwick told NBC News. “Not everybody gets the opportunity to get the best care for your children. I was just grateful to be on that flight.”
As Zwick sat with Lucy, a flight attendant approached her and told her that someone in First Class wanted to switch seats with her. Zwick didn’t know how to react initially.
“At first, I didn’t really understand what she was saying,” Zwick said. “When I realized that it was someone showing kindness to us, I just started crying. Not so much it being a seat in first class. It wasn’t really about that. It’s just, that somebody saw us and wanted to do an act of kindness. So it just touched my heart.”
Zwick waited at the gate when the flight landed to thank the Good Samaritan personally but was unable to find him. So she went on social media and shared her story on her Facebook page.
“My posts are never public, usually,” Zwick said. “And I thought, ‘Hey, maybe American Airlines will see this and will connect us so that he knows how much it meant to us.' So I went to bed and when I woke up, I went, 'Oh my goodness.' It was everywhere."
The post went viral and has been shared more than 435,000 times.
The road hasn’t been easy for Zwick, Lucy and Lucy’s twin sister Eva. Zwick found out 17 weeks into her pregnancy that she had twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, a disease of the placenta that affects identical twin pregnancies. The morning Zwick and her husband found out, they flew to Houston to have fetal surgery and she delivered her twin daughters at 29 weeks.
"You never expect this to happen. But I think for us, it’s really a story of faith. It stretched our faith. It gave us hope every day that God brought these children into the world, so he has big plans for them,” Zwick said.
For Zwick, the obstacles her family has faced made the stranger’s act of kindness all the more powerful.
“When he gave up that seat, I was so emotional because we had such a year,” she said. “And someone seeing me and saying they wanted to do something kind, it touched my heart.”
As Zwick continues to search for the stranger to thank him, she hopes her story will inspire others.
"What I really hope from all of this is that it made someone’s day and inspired them to pay it forward,” Zwick said. “But I hope it goes beyond the holidays, beyond December."