Philippine Airlines flight attendant Patrisha Organo went above and beyond the call of duty on Tuesday when she breastfed a wailing infant on a domestic flight after the baby’s mother had run out of formula.
Organo described the incident to Yahoo Lifestyle in a phone call from Manila. It took place during a “check flight,” which would qualify her as a cabin crew evaluator, one of the duties required of an assistant line administrator. Organo had recently been promoted to this role. “I thought that this flight’s gonna be so special as this is a big step on my flying career,” she wrote on Facebook.
Little did she know just how special it would be. In the early morning hours, Organo heard a sound coming from the cabin — it was the cry of a baby in distress. “You know the difference between a cry of hunger, a cry of sleepiness, or a cry of something else,” Organo, who has a 9-month-old daughter, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. So she walked down the aisle to approach the mom and asked if she needed to feed the infant. That’s when the woman revealed, through tears, that she had run out of formula.
Organo, who has been a flight attendant for the airline for four years, said she felt like she had to do something. “Passengers started looking and staring at the tiny, fragile crying infant,” Organo recalls of the scene in her Facebook post. “There’s no formula milk onboard. I thought to myself, there’s only one thing I could offer and that’s my own milk.” She informed Sheryl Villaflor, the flight’s line administrator, of her plan — then she approached the mother again. “She said, ‘Yes yes!’ but in her language,” Organo says.
The line administrator then led the baby’s mother to a private area where Organo could feed the infant. “The other passengers had no idea what was going on,” she recalls. “The baby was so hungry, the way she latched on.”
Organo remembers recognizing the look of relief in the mother’s eyes as the baby was finally able to eat. As a mother herself, she could relate. That empathy, she told Yahoo Lifestyle, comes from her own personal journey with breastfeeding, which was not always an easy one.
“In my early days of breastfeeding, I would really like to give up, but because I have the strong support of my husband, I kept going,” she says. “He kept encouraging me. It was a storm of emotion and without my husband’s support, I could never do it.” Organo said that despite struggling with breastfeeding at first, she has a strong supply of milk — clearly strong enough for two.
The mother was sincerely grateful for the generous gesture, Organo remembers, but she wasn’t the only one piling on the accolades. The photo of the uniformed flight attendant serenely feeding the baby has gone viral, and Facebook users are now hailing Organo’s efforts. The post has been shared more than 21,000 times and has amassed nearly 120,000 reactions — some of love, and some of shock. One commenter mentioned that this incident should prompt airlines to carry formula as a precautionary measure.
Organo doesn’t consider what she did extraordinary, though — she sees herself as a fellow mom and a breastfeeding advocate. “When I posted that on Facebook, it was to inspire other people and to normalize breastfeeding,” she told Yahoo Lifestyle. It was only after she took a nap and woke up to check her Facebook that she realized the post had gone viral. “I am so overwhelmed with the positive comments!” she says.
In case you’re wondering, Organo did get qualified as an evaluator that day — making it her second grand accomplishment on what was undoubtedly a day to remember. “Thank you, Lord for the gift of mother’s milk,” she wrote in her Facebook post, signing off as “Patrisha Organo, Flight Attendant/Breastfeeding Advocate.”
Photo Credit: Fox News