Attention parents of tiny tots: If you're worried about the flight you're about to board with your charming but lung-tastic baby, take cues from the parents of Madeline and consider launching a preemptive charm offense with a goodie bag and an advance apology.
You could call it a tactic of high diplomacy. To pacify nearby seatmates, one-year-old Madeline helped her parents hand out plastic bags filled with Junior Mints, Rolos, a letter of apology and, perhaps most thoughtfully, a set of earplugs.
"Hi Stranger!" starts the chirpy note.
"I'll try to be on my best behavior, but I'd like to apologize in advance if I lost my cool, get scared or my ears hurt."
The strategy did more than mollify Reddit user Ninjashares, who posted a photo of the bag on the online forum: "A baby just handed me this on my flight. I ain't mad."
The thread went viral and has generated more than 3,750 comments in two weeks.
Though the story has gone viral around the world, baby Madeline didn't actually set the precedent.
Back in 2012, parents of newborn twins handed out goodie bags with an apologetic note and assorted confectionery for fellow flyers.
Meanwhile, the stunt fails to impress Today.com's Parents editor Rebecca Dube, who described the strategy as misguided and plain old "wrong."
"Babies are babies, and sometimes they cry. Everyone needs to just accept that reality and get over it."
New parents need to accept the fact that they will be wrestling with smelly, loud and wiggly kids throughout their lives, writes Dube.
And as for childless flyers, she has this to say: "I fully understand that not everyone finds my little rugrats as delightful as I do. You don't have to love us. But you do have to tolerate us and treat us with basic human respect, even if I don't give you candy."