They weren’t supposed to be on the same flight.
15 year old Clara Daly was with her family, who were returning to their Calabasas, Ca home from Boston, when their nonstop flight was canceled.
And they were placed on a flight with a stop-over in Portland.
Tim Cook has lived at Brookdale Senior Living Center in Gresham, Oregon since, as an adult, a degenerative disease took both his sight and his hearing.
He was visiting his sister in Boston.
“Helen Keller said deaf and blind people are the loneliest people in the world,” Tim relayed. “When I heard that I started crying.”
“I’m isolated so much.”
Many other travellers went up to Tim to see if they could assist or comfort him.
His seatmate traded seats so he could sit near the aisle.
Which became necessary with all the brothers and sisters who wanted to help.
Three people came over to hold hands. One had flowers, which she gave him.
And made him laugh and smile
Another did his best to assist with the trivialities of a flight, like asking for and opening coffee creamer and stir it in his coffee.
Alaska Airlines flight attendants doted on the man. One kneeled in the aisle over and over to hold his hand.
But they needed to know if there was anything he needed or wanted.
So the pilot made an announcement.
Can anyone speak sign language, to help communicate with a fellow passenger?
Clara Daly pressed the call button.
She started learning sign a year before, to help her with her dyslexia.
She came up to Tim, put her hands in his, and introduced herself.
She sat with him three times, the last time for an hour.
“I finger-spelled, ‘How are you? Are you OK? Do you need anything? He, like, didn’t need anything. He was lonely and wanted to talk.
We talked about our family in Massachusetts and he asked me about my plans for my future.”
Lynette Scribner was across the aisle.
“It was fascinating to watch as she signed one letter at a time into his hand,” Scribner wrote. “He was able to ‘read’ her signing and they carried on an animated conversation. When he asked her if she was pretty, she blushed and laughed as (the seatmate), who had learned a few signs, communicated an enthusiastic yes to Tim.”
“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.
There are still good, good people who are willing to look out for each other.”
Says Clara,”I hope this helps other people realize that in the world we are living in, it is everyone’s duty to help each other out, no matter what.”
“They call you extraordinary but it’s just something that you do. He took such joy in a conversation that we take for granted. “
“Clara was amazing,” said Alaska Airlines in a post about the story. “You could tell Tim was very excited to have someone he could speak to and she was such an angel.”
Another passenger, Bobby Solomon, had this to say…..
“And she is why tomorrow will be better than last week: our kids and grandkids will shine were we have not. They have seen what we often did or tolerated from others.
Media now shows them the problems to ponder….and the answers kids like Clara have.
I feel overjoyed that Clara exists.”
Said Jane, Clara’s mom, “After the flight, Clara told me she thought it was meant to be that our original flight was canceled and we were placed on this flight, so she could be there to help Tim.”
Said Tim, “Maybe it was meant to be, who knows?”
Said Clara, “Everyone’s all bummed out by what’s happening in our society. School shootings, migrant families separated at the border, global warming. It’s just bad thing after bad thing.
But, there are also moments that happen everyday that bring joy.”
An interview with Tim…
Compassion is good.”
Youtube has many instructional videos available on learning American Sign Language.
Today, i learned ‘brother’, ‘sister’, ‘can i be of assistance’….and ‘i love you’.