I am going to make an extraordinary request...
In fact, I am BEGGING (and I rarely, if ever, beg for ANYTHING).
Please please PLEASE do not turn this thread into a "kids should not be on planes thread" - that's not what this is about. It is about how unhelpful the flight attendants were on the flight. Ths thread would be just as valid if the sick person were an adult traveling companion (seen it happen - but the FA's were very helpful).
I agree with the many different sides of this discussion:
1. Yes, the mother should have been better prepared
2. (And this is mine) She could have arrived at the airport earlier (if she could - I do know people who rush to the airport late with their children so they can cut into security lines, saying "But we have to make it for the CHILLLLLLDRUUUN!" - maybe not the case here, who knows - we do know she was late and lucky to be admitted onto the flight at all. Most flights close the door 10 minutes before takeoff to finalize the headcount and finish the safety check).
3. If she knew she was going to have her hands full with the kid, she should have checked her luggage. A pain, I know - but sometimes being a parent is a pain.
4. The FAs had every right to do their jobs and make sure that the passengers were seated and ready for takeoff.
5. Once the flight was in the air, though, the FAs could have been more helpful. Don't know how helpful that could have been past water and paper towels, but something...
6. I agree that helping her was the right thing to do. Edited to clarify: The help was great, but should have come once the plane was in the air. When told to be seated for takeoff, folks need to be seated for takeoff.
Sometimes the stars just align and your day just $ucks. Sometimes, we could all be better prepared.
As for the argument for not being able to depend on the kindness of strangers, I disagree. I count on the kindness of strangers when needed and/or in an emergency - I do not DEPEND on it. I try to be prepared and hope that my fellow humans can lend a hand if I really need it. But to expect everyone around you to compensate for everything you may need - not reasonable. A subtle difference I know, but a difference all the same. If the mother (or anyone) overburdens herself to the point that she cannot function getting on and off a plane with a child with the thought the rest of the world will jump in, that's awfully presumptuous and a little entitled. That includes adults without kids, not just folks with children.
And that's from someone who is usually "the kindness of strangers" when she sees a need or is asked for help.
And, as a complete aside, I was on a Southwest flight from Cleveland. During takeoff, the flight attendant stated that because the flight was so short (about 1 hour), they would start snack and beverage service during takeoff. We were asked to lean into the aisle and put our hands down. I heard "Heeeeeeere they come!!"
And saw bags of peanuts rolling down the aisle as the plane tipped up to take off.
One of the best flights ever. It just got sillier from there.