After a long trip, the last thing anyone wants to hear is that their flight has been canceled. But when one mother and daughter made a change of plans, they realized they were destined to be there for a reason.
Jane Daly and her 15-year-old daughter Clara had been in Boston to help Jane’s mother move into her new home. With everything taken care of, the mother and daughter headed to the airport for their return flight.
They expected to get on a direct flight back to L.A.—but things didn’t go according to plan.
“Our original flight from Boston was cancelled (of course!) so [Alaska Airlines] placed us on an earlier flight out,” Jane wrote on Facebook.
“Clara and I made a mad dash to the airport to make the new flight!”
It was the sort of typical travel inconveniences everyone faces at some point—but they were nothing compared to what their fellow passenger, a 64-year-old man named Tim Cook, was going through.
He was deaf and blind, and couldn’t communicate with the flight attendants.
“The flight attendants sincerely wanted to assist him, but had no way to communicate,” said another passenger, Lynette Scribner, in her own Facebook post.
“They took his hand and tried so hard to communicate with him, to no avail. He had some verbal ability, but clearly could not understand them.”
With no way to communicate with the passenger in need, the flight attendants made an announcement, asking if anyone who knew American Sign Language (ASL) could assist them.
Miraculously, there happened to be one person who knew sign language.
Clara knew ASL from school—and volunteered to help out.
According to KGW, Clara had been studying ASL for a year—a language she chose because it was best suited for her dyslexia.
She approached Cook, knowing she was one of the few people he could talk with.
“It seems like such a lonely life to be deaf and blind — to not be able to see and hear,” Clara said, according to the New York Times.
“He just wanted to talk,” she told KGW. “I sat with Tim a few times on the flight and toward the end for about 30 minutes.”
According to her mother, Cook asked for Clara’s assistance throughout the flight. The inspiring sight of the teen helping the man out moved her—and all the passengers on the flight.
“He asked her lots of questions, and she signed-spelled the answers into his hand,” Jane wrote. “The flight attendants and the passengers around him were all taken by Clara.”
“I don’t know when I’ve ever seen so many people rally to take care of another human being,” Scribner wrote. “All of us in the immediate rows were laughing and smiling and enjoying his obvious delight in having someone to talk to.”
After the flight, Cook thanked Clara for making his lonely flight a lot brighter.
“I was very moved and happy for you to come talk to me,” Cook told KGW as a message to Clara. “Maybe it was meant to be. Who knows?”
And Clara agreed—she was meant to be on that flight all along.
“After the flight, Clara told me that she thought it was meant to be that our original flight was cancelled and we were placed on this flight so that she could be there to help this man,” Jane wrote.
It was a moment no one on that flight would ever forget.
“It was a beautiful reminder, in this time of too much awfulness, that there are still good, good people who are willing to look out for each other,” Scribner wrote.