Editors Note: Usually you hear an announcement asking if there is a doctor on board, but this story is a little different with the airline requiring a different form of assistance.


A special needs teacher who came to the rescue of a distressed boy with Down syndrome on a Melbourne-bound flight says her actions are a lesson that teaching is “far more than sums and sentences”.

Sophie Murphy was travelling on the Jetstar flight from Sydney three weeks ago when she noticed the 14-year-old boy, named Shamran, standing out among several drunken and rowdy passengers.

However, when it came time for the plane to land, Shamran was feeling sick and refused to sit down.

The teenage boy lay on the floor and would not get up, even with his parents and family trying to help him.

The plane’s cabin manager, John Chesson, then desperately asked over the PA if a special needs teacher was on board.

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“I got down on the floor in the aisle with Shamran. If he was going to move, I needed to introduce myself, find out his name, connect, let him speak, listen to him, see what the problem was, and not panic him,” she writes in The Age.

Unable to begin its descent until all passengers were seated, the plane continued to circle above Tullamarine Airport, low on fuel.

“I learnt his favourite books, not as an ice breaker or an introduction, but to construct a real relationship, however brief,” she said.

The plane was then able to land without further delay.

“I am told the story has been shared 25,000 times on Facebook and I have received messages of tearful happiness from all over the…

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