A mother-of-four and entrepeneur from Melbourne is being praised as an 'angel' and a 'lifesaver' for successfully calming two screaming toddlers on a flight.
Veronica Sherman may be helping to fight poverty and make a difference to the lives of marginalised mothers in Cambodia through her incredible social enterprise - but it's her recent actions on a plane that are also bringing her widespread attention and a new legion of fans.
Sitting a couple of rows back from a young family with twins, the founder of 'Happily Made' watched on as the couple faced every parent's worst nightmare and were struggling to cope.
"So..picture this," she wrote on her Facebook page.
"Four hours into a 7 hour flight. The lights are off. All passengers are meant to be resting or sleeping.
Except there are two toddlers who have been screaming for over an hour.
Not just screaming. But shrieking. It doesn't stop. It's almost as if they are inspired by each other. Non stop screaming.."
As a mum of four, the Melbourne-based entrepeneur immediately launched into the action with the help of her 'Magical Magnetic Monkeys' - Sherman's social enterprise teaches Cambodian mums how to knit the adorable monkeys (and other products) so they have a job, a source of income and can send their children to school.
Sherman continues: "After watching the dad trying to distract toddler #1 with some scrunched up paper and mum trying to soothe toddler #2 with an empty can of Coke, I walk over to the young family and make eye contact with the dad. I tried to convey in my eyes "been here myself" and not "what did I do to deserve being on this flight with you?" It seemed to work since he smiled back.
"I poke one of my monkeys out from behind the seat. Toddler #1 is instantly intrigued. His twin sister is still screaming but quickly realises the silence from the other side of the aisle. She reaches for the monkey so I pull out the second one. A bizarre silence takes place. Almost unnerving.
I spend about 3 seconds showing how the magnetic hands can attach the monkeys to the seat rest cover to make him hang. And that the monkeys can attach to each other. Clearly I'm no longer needed. The twins are now busily playing with their new friends. The mum leans over to look at me. I smile and whisper that travelling with kids is hard."
Mission accomplished, Sherman returned to her seat, where she could hear "the occasional giggle".
"I'm reminded once again that at the right time and in the right place, these monkeys really are magic," she said.
Many people were touched by Sherman's actions and labelled her a 'hero' for saving the flight.
"This is a toddler parent's worst nightmare. You are a godsend," said one commenter.
Another wrote: "Beautiful story. Those parents will remember your kindness and the monkey miracle forever."
"An angel in the sky descends from the parting clouds. Nice work you (and the monkeys)."
"You are a lifesaver!"
Sherman said she is "totally surprised" by the response to her Facebook post.
"Obviously it struck a chord with so many parents who have been in similar situations or dreaded to be 'that' parent on a plane," she tells Essential Baby.
"If I was ever going to be given hero status I definitely thought it might be for something slightly more important!"
Sherman established 'Happily Made' nine years ago after "feeling completely overwhelmed" by the poverty she saw all around her after moving to Cambodia with her young family.
"I had seen poverty before, but never as a mother and it was impossible to just be a bystander," she tells Essential Baby, "Creating jobs for mothers was definitely the most effective help I could offer as a western woman with like-minded friends back home."
According to Sherman, every little purchase really does make a difference.
"Being back here and seeing the improvements in the families of the women who make our products is so heartwarming and makes all the hard work feel worth it."