Rachel Groner and her husband were flying back to the United States after chaperoning a trip to Israel recently. The flight was supposed to take eight hours, but there was a three hour delay taking off. After an hour in the sky, most passengers were exhausted. That's when a young boy with autism had a meltdown. "His cries were heard throughout the plane and you could feel the tension among the other passengers," Rachel remembers. She had only one thought. "I gotta help this kid."


She walked up to the boy and offered her hand. When he took it, she led him to the back of the plane; took off his shoes so he'd be more comfortable, and quietly sat and played with him for several hours. The boy's mother barely spoke English, but kept saying, "Thank you, thank you, thank you." Rachel's compassion came naturally. She and her husband work for a Jewish organization in North Carolina for children with disabilities. "While most passengers watched in awe, little did they know that for Rachel this is her life," said her husband. "If we just offer our hand in love and acceptance, miracles will follow."