Traveling can be a fun, rewarding experience—or it can be a total nightmare. A smooth trip relies on so many different factors that if one thing goes wrong everything can turn into a disaster.
That was the case for one traveler who unexpectedly found herself stranded in a foreign country with no one to turn to—until things miraculously turned around.
The story was shared two years ago by a Reddit user named dekanerab, on the “Random Acts of Kindness” subreddit.
Dekanerab’s story starts with something we’ve all been through: a delayed flight.
“My flight from Houston to San Francisco was delayed 1 hour and 15 minutes due to a shortage of bagging staff in Houston,” she explained.
This was especially inconvenient, since dekanerab was just stopping at San Francisco to catch a connecting flight home. She was in danger of missing that flight, and even worse, she was warned that, due to the circumstances, the airline might not be able to find her a place to stay.
When the plane finally got underway and she arrived in San Francisco, she darted to the gate to catch her next flight—but her worst fears became a reality.
“When I arrived in SF I ran for the gate and my heart dropped,” she recalled. “All my hopes dashed.”
“I had missed my flight.”
The next flight wouldn’t be until 8 a.m. the following morning, leaving her stranded overnight. She was dismayed that the airline couldn’t help her at all:
“[Customer service] informed me they would not be helping me with a hotel or food because it was not United’s fault,” dekanerab recalled.
Making the situation even worse was that she wasn’t a U.S. citizen—she was only stopping over in the country. This meant she not only had no one to contact, she had no money to use on food or a hotel.
Dismayed, she broke down in the terminal—and that’s when two strangers approached her.
A couple, apparently also affected by a delayed flight, went up to the defeated woman and said hello. They asked about her situation—if she needed a place to stay, if she’d be able to get back to the airport in the morning.
Then these two complete strangers did something unexpected—and incredible:
They handed her money for a hotel.
Dekanerab was stunned. At first, she turned down the money—but the kind strangers insisted she take it, claiming they had just hit it big in Las Vegas (which the narrator has some doubts about—it was more likely a ruse to get her to just take the cash).
Eventually, she agreed to take the money.
“Don’t worry it will be OK sweetie,” they told her. She thanked the couple.
It isn’t stated how much they gave her, but it was enough for the woman to get a room for the night and breakfast the following morning.
She had $80 left over from the couple’s gift—money with which she plans to “pay it forward” with a donation.
Dekanerab regretted not being able to fully thank the couple for what they did or even know who they were, but she shared her story on Reddit as a tribute to them, the kind strangers who stepped up when no one else would.
“When a company who recorded a profit of $1.97 billion in 2014 is not willing to do anything, but a couple I have never met went out of their way to help a stranger—that’s amazing, and that’s what I want to focus on.”