There are so many stories on the news about people being cruel to one another or claiming that young people don’t care. On top of that, people can sometimes act differently when they are in stressful or uncontrollable situations. For example, there are several stories about unruly passengers on airplanes that make the flight experience a pretty negative one.
But on an Alaska Airlines flight in 2018, Lynette Scribner witnessed just the opposite. One of the other passengers on the flight was a man named Tim Cook, who was both deaf and blind, and the staff and the man’s seatmate were working hard to try to accommodate him.
Cook was frightened by the sudden turbulence on the flight to Portland, Oregon, from Boston, Massachusetts. That’s when the flight staff got the idea to ask over the intercom whether anyone on the plane knew sign language. A then 15-year-old girl named Clara Daly offered to help. She had learned sign language because her dyslexia meant she struggled with other foreign languages, as CBS reported.
The young woman introduced herself to the man, communicating by signing into his palm so that he could “read” what she was saying despite being unable to see it. She stayed with Cook for the entire flight, chatting, laughing, and warming the hearts of the passengers around them. The man asked her many questions, and she patiently answered them all.
It was a heartwarming moment that other passengers took notice of, and they also took pictures and videos of the touching scene. Clara’s beautiful act soon went viral, spreading more kindness to the world.
According to PEOPLE, Clara and her mother, Jane, were traveling on an Alaska Airlines flight to help move Jane into her new home in Los Angeles. The flight was over five hours long. During this time, Cook, who is from Portland, needed water but didn’t know how to communicate with the flight attendants.
Fortunately, Clara stepped in. “I wanted to help because that’s what people are supposed to do,” she explained. The pair bonded as Clara “spoke” with Cook by signing in his palm. She said:
“He told me how he became blind — that it was a gradual thing that happened over time. He said that he’d once worked as a traveling salesman. We both have family in Boston, so we also talked about that, and he asked me what I wanted to do in my life.”
Clara added, “He just needed somebody to talk to.”
Scribner, one of the other passengers on the plane, took a photo of Clara’s encounter with Cook and shared it online. In a matter of days, the story was shared over 600,000 times, as CBS reported. Still, Clara remained very humble:
“I got so much attention for doing something that was natural to me,” she told the Calabasas Courier. “I just wanted to help.”
And Clara is not done with doing good in this world. As a sophomore, she was involved in multiple political movements; for example, she is standing up for women’s rights. “My goal is to make a difference and to see a change in this world,” Clara stated. “No difference is going to be made if you don’t start somewhere, and even the smallest things count.”
Can you think of a time when you witnessed an astonishing act of compassion from one human being to another? Let us know, and be sure to pass this incredible story along to others!