Nashville newlyweds in their 80s receive first COVID-19 vaccine dose

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Toddler stranded in India amid coronavirus helped home by Queensland newlyweds

Transporting a toddler by plane might be difficult at the best of times — but a newly married couple recently came to the rescue of a three-year-old they had never met to bring her home to Australia.

South Australian woman Greeshma Patel and her daughter, Prisha, were separated for nearly a year while the toddler was with her grandparents in India — a separation prolonged by the coronavirus pandemic.

The three-year-old’s parents were in Port Lincoln, on SA’s Eyre Peninsula, with their newborn baby when the pandemic began, and were unable to secure visas for Prisha’s grandparents to get her back to Australia.

Ms Patel ended up turning to a group of Australian expats who were coming home, to see if any of them could bring her daughter with them.

Newlywed Queensland couple Neha Soni and Shailesh Thorat — who Ms Patel had never met — put up their hands to help.

Queenslanders Neha Soni and Shailesh Thorat volunteered to help.(Supplied: Neha Soni)

“I just thought ‘be the mother’, and my husband also supported me, and we decided to go for this and take the responsibility.

“We were a bit nervous because we don’t have experience with kids but … we thought, ‘OK let’s go for it, and try our best to take her home safely’.”

Toddler ‘a wonderful, understanding kid’

Ms Soni said Prisha was uncomfortable on the first flight, which was on a small plane that did not have working air conditioning, but was relaxed on the second flight and enjoyed watching cartoons on her tablet.

Shailesh Thorat, Neha Soni and Prisha in an airport with masks on
Neha Soni and Shailesh Thorat with three-year-old Prisha.(Supplied: Greeshma Patel)

Ms Soni and her husband spoke a different language to Prisha, but said that despite the communication barrier, the toddler was well-behaved.

“She is such a beautiful kid, she was understanding all the things, and she was not a spoiled kid not listening,” Ms Soni said.

“You know, with your kids, you can scold and say, ‘sit properly, don’t make a mess’, but to others’ kids you have to be very polite.

“But she was such a wonderful kid and she was listening to us properly, and treating us nicely.”

Greeshma Patel smiles at the camera while holding her daughter, Prisha
Ms Patel said she was happy to have her daughter back in Australia with her.(Supplied: Greeshma Patel)

Ms Patel said she was relieved that Prisha “didn’t give any trouble” to the couple, and was immensely grateful to them both for helping her reunite with her daughter.

“It’s really good for me to see her after 10 months.”

Ms Patel is quarantining with Prisha in the Pullman Hotel in Adelaide, before the pair return to their home and family in Port Lincoln next weekend.

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