• Friendship Circle International

The boy was screaming with 7 hours left to fly. Then she held out her hand.

We’re doing a recap of our past decade here at Team Friendship to celebrate our 10th birthday, and today we’re taking it back to 2018. 2018 was the year we launched not one, but two brand new biking events! We launched Bike Jersey Shore after cross-country cyclist David Hedaya inspired a one-day ride to Deal, New Jersey. Years later, it’s one of our most popular annual rides!


Here’s a fun fact from 2018: it still holds the record for the year when Team Friendship events raised more money than ever, with a whopping total of $1,151,851.15 brought in by close to 10,000 donors.


That year, Team Friendship made the news when Friendship Circle Michigan and Zabs Place director Rochel Groner stepped in to help a boy with Autism who was struggling on her flight home.

“I put him in my lap and gave him a firm hug and I just started to rock him,” she says. Soon, “you could feel his muscles start to relax.” The virtually wordless connection – neither spoke the others’ language – offered a lesson in compassion that circulated widely online.


Later that year, Rochel Groner took the stage at Team Friendship Miami to share the story and the impact it had on both herself and those around her...

The boy was screaming with 7 hours left to fly. Then she held out her hand.


By: Bruce Henderson


She’s a shy Jewish woman from Charlotte. He’s a little boy, apparently African and Muslim, who was screaming aboard a transatlantic flight.


Their July 14 encounter between Brussels and New York made the eight-hour flight go easier for their fellow passengers. The virtually wordless connection – neither spoke the others’ language – also offered a lesson in compassion that has circulated widely online.


By her account, Rochel Groner, 33, is among the least likely people to make a public display. “I’m the type of person who would let somebody step on my foot for like a half-hour before I would say something,” she says.


But about an hour into the flight, a return home after Groner and her husband Bentzion chaperoned teens to Israel, Groner heard sounds of distress behind them. Not cries from a baby. Not a bored teen.


“It was just kind of a shrieking without any words,” Groner says. “I recognized it right away as a child with special needs.”...click here to read the full story...





110 views0 comments