Travel can be tough surrounding holidays. Airports and highways are always jam-packed, and everyone seems a little more on edge than usual.
In the midst of it all, there are kind strangers waiting to help those who need it. A couple recently made one man’s day when they generously offered a helping hand in his time of need.
Keaton Tilson is a mechanic in the Army and currently stationed in Fort Hood, Texas. After being given a last minute leave, Tilson rushed to the airport to catch a flight home to Illinois for Memorial Day weekend.
He was waiting with a standby ticket but was continuously disappointed when all the seats were full. Tilson had been waiting in the airport for two days when everything changed.
Josh Rainey, a kind stranger, heard what was going on. He immediately stepped in to see what he could do.
Rainey offered up his seat on the flight, deciding that he could wait for a later flight. The gate attendant told Rainey and Tilson that they were not allowed to transfer tickets, and all hope seemed lost.
Rainey could not get the situation off of his mind, though. He called his wife and after talking it through, the couple decided that they would purchase Tilson a ticket home.
It was an emotional moment when Rainey told Tilson what was happening. “We shook hands at first and then he walked away, and then he came back and asked if he could hug me, and I think we both had to fight back the tears after that,” said Rainey.
The ticket cost around $350, but it was well worth it to get a soldier home to his family. Rainey and his wife both agreed that it was the right thing to do.
“It was pennies, pennies on the dollar compared to what I got back from that hug,” said Rainey. The generous gift was Rainey’s way of showing appreciation for the sacrifices that Tilson makes to defend our country.
Tilson could not believe that a stranger had bought him an expensive plane ticket. “I’m very appreciative because if it wasn’t for him, I probably wouldn’t be here right now,” he said from the comfort of his home.