After losing a friend in a tragic plane crash, a young woman found herself paralysed with fright on a flight from Sydney to Wagga.
Ellyse Matterson, 24, has always been a confident flyer and was making the trip to support her friend in The Land Showgirl zone seven finals.
Only a few days earlier, Ellyse discovered her American friend Marina Villavicencio had died in a plane crash in California.
"We meet on a Contiki tour in 2015," she said.
"She was amazing. She was an attorney and she mainly did criminal law and she was really heavily involved in her community. She made the most of every 24 hours."
Ellyse had never flown on a plane smaller than Boeing and when it came time for takeoff she started to get nervous and upset.
"It became too much and I started crying," she said.
"A flight attendant, Casey, and a woman, Cathy, in 10B both reached out to comfort me," she said.
"Cathy reassured me and was rubbing my shoulder so I calmed down.
"When it was descending, I started to freak out and I tried breathing exercises but it backfired and I started hyperventilating."
Ellyse passed out and when she came to, Cathy had sat next to her and was offering words of support.
"She told me I was such a brave girl and that I was doing so well," she said.
"I was in this woman's arms and she was so lovely and it cheered me up.
"I know logically I was safe, but the fear gripped me and logic does not work when your brain is hijacked by fear."
Karyn Matterson, Ellyse's mother said she was so grateful for the stranger that reached out to her daughter and penned a heartfelt message of thanks from "a mum to a mum".
"Ellyse told me about how lovely you were offering reassurance during the flight and when she eventually passed out with fright and grief, how you moved from your seat to make sure she was OK," she wrote.
"She came to with you kindly holding her and telling her it was alright. As a Mum, I cannot thank you enough for your generosity of spirit and care.
"I am grateful for you being there. Thank you. Thank you for showing my daughter love in those moments."
Ellyse said she will be eternally grateful for the kindness showed by Cathy in 10B.
"I couldn't thank her enough," she said.
"She is a guardian angel that someone put on this flight.
"She was such a blessing that day for me."
Ellyse said it had been hard dealing with the loss of her friend, but the kindness showed by Cathy gave her faith in the world.
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