ORLANDO, Fla. (WJRT) - A simple act of kindness made an unforgettable flight for a Mid-Michigan native and her sick baby when a complete stranger gave up his first class seat.
Thursday was Kelsey Zwick's second time traveling from Orlando, Florida, to the Children's Hospital in Philadelphia -- her first without her husband.
Zwick, who grew up in Goodrich, has twin daughters, Lucy and Eva, who were born premature and both have chronic lung disease. Lucy's is more severe, forcing her to travel with an oxygen tank.
With a heavy haul Dec. 6 of Lucy, a stroller, diaper bag and the oxygen tank connected to her 11-month-old girl, Zwick had her hands full.
She said they were all smiles and happy to be boarding the plane, and began joking with those sitting around this may be a tough ride with Lucy.
But shortly after taking her seat, the flight attendant came over with a startling message.
"She said that the man in 2D wanted to switch seats with me and at first I really didn't understand why I had to switch seats,” Zwick said over the phone. “You know, it just took me a minute to understand and then I realized someone wants to give up their first-class seat so that we could have that."
The graduate of Goodrich High School couldn’t believe what she heard and was overcome with emotions.
"I just started crying, and I'm not normally one to cry in public like that, but I just couldn't help it,” said Zwick. “I was walking up the aisle and there's just tears streaming down my face."
She only briefly saw the kind stranger, said thank you and the plane departed.
She later took to Facebook to tell her story. Not long after, the post went viral with more than 700,000 likes and nearly half a million shares.
From the power of social media, American Airlines was able to connect her with Jason Kunselman, the stranger who had given up his seat.
"It just so happened to be his birthday that day the post went viral and he said, my wife and I saw your post, we were crying, thank you so much,” said Zwick. “This has been a birthday to remember."
The kind gesture leaves Zwick with a story to tell her daughters later in their life. She said she'll use it as a lesson that teaches them the power of kindness.