You know that joke where three people walk into a bar? Well, this is kind of like that except its an airplane. And one of them forgot the other two at the airport terminal. Oh, and one just happened to be her child! Whoops!
In March 2019, a video was uploaded to YouTube of the audio exchange between the pilot of Saudia Airlines Flight SV832 and air traffic control at King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Saudi Arabia. The plane destined for Kuala Lumpur had already left the gate when the pilot was notified by a panicked woman that they needed to turn around immediately.
From the English portions of the video, we learn that “a passenger forgot her baby in the waiting area.”
Upon being asked for clarification, the pilot replies, “We told you, a passenger left her baby in the terminal and refuses to continue the flight.”
Air traffic control ultimately gave the plane permission to return, stating, “OK, head back to the gate. This is a totally new one for us.”
While the original video quickly made rounds on the Internet, hitting over two million views, many responded with praise of the pilot’s decision to return for the child because not doing so and continuing the eight-hour flight was totally an option.
We get that traveling with kids is no joke. With juggling luggage, diaper bags, and security checks, it’s easy to forget something and hope you can get by without or replace it once at your destination. Unfortunately, your youngest traveling companions are a bit irreplaceable. But if Kevin McCallister could handle three days alone with burglars actively out to get him, how bad can a few hours in an airport be?
More To The Story
While the exact circumstances of the situation remain unclear, Fahad M. AlBarrak, who originally posted the audio recording, quickly came to the mother’s defense on Twitter to explain: “Just to clarify and not to blame the mom unitarily, the baby was with her sister and they were in two different buses, her sister and the baby went by mistake to Jakarta flight and then she returned to the terminal.”
Although the circumstances are unclear, it makes more sense how a mixup like this could occur when more than one responsible party is caring for a child. A similar thing happened in October 2018 when a German family returned from vacation and drove separate cars home. Each parent thought the other had their daughter and did not realize she had been left at the airport until they arrived home. Fortunately, the mother learned the five-year-old was safe in police custody when she called to report the situation.
Happy Reunions & Timely Reminders
Everyone is so thankful this story had a happy outcome, and it highlights the fact that parents and care providers are not perfect and need grace, understanding, and reminders from time to time to help stay on top of everything. As Joan R. (@granny1999) tweeted, “Tragically, babies and dogs have been left in cars, forgotten. Now a mom on a plane flight realized she forgot to bring her baby from the terminal. Caretakers can be sleep-deprived, exhausted, preoccupied, overwhelmed, stressed-out and in a hurry. Stop. Think. Be in the moment.”
Plus the return to the airport gave the other passengers an opportunity to snag a few Cinnabons to hold them through the extended travel time. So at least there’s that, right?
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