The story of a 15-year-old girl who showed compassion and maturity beyond her years in helping a disabled stranger on a plane flight has gone viral, after a fellow passenger took to Facebook to share it.
Lynette Scribner, who had been seated near the pair during the six-hour Alaska Airlines flight from Boston to Los Angeles via Portland, was moved by what she saw and wrote the following:
"I saw this gentleman, Tim, in Boston's Logan airport with the sister he'd been visiting. It appeared he was both deaf and blind, as I observed her signing into his hand for him to feel her words. When he came aboard the plane he had been assigned the middle seat of my row. The kind gentleman named Eric, who had the aisle seat, graciously gave it up for him. At this point Tim was traveling alone.
"The flight attendants sincerely wanted to assist him, but had no way to communicate... 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. Eric did his best to assist him with things like opening coffee creamer and putting it in his coffee. When Tim made the attempt to stand up and feel his way to the restroom, Eric immediately got up to help him.
"The flight attendants were talking among themselves and someone suggested paging to see if anyone on board knew sign language.
"That's when this lovely young woman came into the picture. 15 years old, she learned ASL because she had dyslexia and it was the easiest foreign language for her to learn."
The lovely young woman Lynette refers to is 15-year-old Clara Daly from California, who was travelling with her mother Jane.
Lynette explained, "For the rest of the flight she attended to Tim and made sure his needs were met. It was fascinating to watch as she signed one letter at a time into his hand. He was able to 'read' her signing and they carried on an animated conversation...
"I don't know when I've ever seen so many people rally to take care of another human being. All of us in the immediate rows were laughing and smiling and enjoying his obvious delight in having someone to talk to."
Lynette continued, "Huge kudos to the flight attendants of Alaska Airlines who went above and beyond to meet Tim's needs. I can't say enough about this beautiful young woman named Clara who didn't think twice about helping her fellow passenger, and Eric's instant willingness to assist as well.
"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. #alaskaairlines"
In an Alaska Airlines blog post, Clara was quoted as saying, "I sat with Tim a few times on the flight and toward the end for about 30 minutes. He just wanted to talk."
She said Cook asked her lots of questions and she sign-spelled the answers into his hand.
An Alaska flight attendant said, "Clara was amazing. You could tell Tim was very excited to have someone he could speak to and she was such an angel."
Cook is a resident of a senior living community and he was met at the airport in Portland by a service provider for the facility.
Clara told CNN the reaction on social media has been "overwhelmingly lovely".
"I hope this helps other people realise that in the world we are living in, it is everyone's duty to help each other out, no matter what," she said.
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