A dad and a baby alone on a commercial flight could be a long, uncomfortable trip for everyone on board.
But Evan Hughes of Fort Worth received help from a stranger to comfort his 8-month-old son, Ki, on a Dec. 11 flight, and the picture he took went viral.
"The fact that she was willing to offer a hand, not just listen to her music and ignore me, she was very engaged and active in the process, and I'm forever thankful for it," Hughes said.
Winter weather caused Hughes and his wife's flight back from Chicago to be canceled. They were rebooked on separate flights, and different airlines, with Hughes flying back to North Texas alone with the boy.
India Massinburg was in a window seat.
"I had my earplugs in already because I was getting ready for takeoff, and I said, 'Oh man, it's a man with a baby. I hope he's not sitting by me,'" Massinburg recalled.
That dad and his baby were booked in the middle seat right beside her.
"For me, it was going to be my first time flying alone with him, his second time flying ever," said Hughes. "When we sat down, he was just antsy and fidgety, wanted to get to the window."
Luckily, Massinburg is an experienced daycare worker at Kosmic Kids Learning Center in DeSoto.
"Working with kids is just a passion of mine," she said.
She came to the rescue for the dad and his restless son.
"She offered a couple of times. I didn't want to impose, but eventually I said 'OK,' just handed him over, and she held him for a minute," Hughes said.
The boy was soon asleep in the stranger's lap, and his father took a picture.
"The rest is history," Hughes said.
The photo spread around the world on social media and news reports. It was posted on a parenting website, and Thursday, back in North Texas, it aired on NBC 5.
The adults said the photo, and attention it's drawn, are holiday blessings in more ways than one.
"Some people say whites and blacks don't get along, whatever it may be. But to know that it was comforting to somebody else, that they were able to just talk about it without being ridiculed in any kind of way, that was amazing to me," Massinburg said.
"I'm sure everyone around us was thankful for it, too," said Hughes about their trip on the plane.
His father is saving the photo of Ki to show his son in the future that he was an 8-month-old celebrity passenger.
And the adults are talking about another visit over the holidays after meeting on that plane.
"They always say it takes a village to raise a kid, and that was more true than ever with this experience," Hughes said.