When a guest who is blind and deaf traveled on an Alaska Airlines flight alone this week, a number of other guests, the flight crew and a very special 15-year-old girl worked together to make him feel comfortable and less alone. The result was a viral post on Facebook that had many people commenting that it was the feel-good story they needed to hear.
The girl, 15-year-old Clara Daly and her mom, Jane, were traveling home from Boston to Los Angeles. When their original flight was canceled, they were rebooked on Alaska’s flight to Portland and then onto Los Angeles.
Alaska Guest Lynette Scribner was traveling on the same flight as the Dalys. While in the boarding area, Scribner noticed another guest.
“I observed a woman [Clara Daly] signing into a man’s hand, so he could feel her words,” said Scribner. “After watching them for a few minutes, I realized the man was both deaf and blind.”
At various points during the conversation “they were both laughing,” she said on Sunday. “His frustration was greatly reduced. You could just see him lighten up.”
A friend asked her to make the post public so it could be shared, and shared it was. As of Sunday afternoon, Ms. Scribner’s post had been liked more than 1 million times and shared nearly 600,000 times.
“I was just so struck by the kindness of Clara,” Ms. Scribner said. “I think people were starving for something beautiful.”
“I sat with Tim a few times on the flight and toward the end for about 30 minutes,” Clara Daly said. “He just wanted to talk.”
Cook asked her lots of questions, and she sign-spelled the answers into his hand.
“Clara was amazing,” an Alaska flight attendant said. “You could tell Tim was very excited to have someone he could speak to and she was such an angel.”
Everyone sitting near Cook, including Scribner, appeared to be very taken by Clara.
Scribner posted the story on Facebook. So far, her post has received more than 110,000 likes, 40,000 shares and hundreds of comments praising both Clara’s actions and Alaska Airlines.
“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,” Jane Daly said.
As for Cook, a service provider from Brookdale Senior Living met him at the gate after the flight arrived in Portland. Heather Hunter, the spokeswoman for Brookdale Senior Living, said, “He’s just completely shocked that so many people were so interested in the story.”
Mr. Cook said that he was “very moved” that Clara had taken the time to come speak with him. “Maybe it was meant to be, who knows?” he said. He says the flight was the best trip he’s ever taken.
— Alaska Airlines (@AlaskaAir) June 22, 2018