It’s been a real dark couple of weeks, so here’s a dose of light. A 15-year-old girl onboard an Alaska Airlines flight to Oregon last week helped a blind and deaf man communicate with flight attendants, after they asked passengers if anyone knew American Sign Language. It is a very nice story.
On Sunday, the New York Times stumbled upon a Facebook post by one Lynette Scribner, a passenger onboard the aforementioned flight from Boston to Oregon. According to Scribner’s, flight attendants had been trying to speak to a deaf and blind man named Tim, who was traveling by himself, but were unable 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,” Scribner wrote.
The flight attendants then decided to page the passengers to see if someone could assist them in speaking to Tim. “That’s when this lovely young woman came into the picture,” Scribner wrote. “15 years old, she learned ASL because she had dyslexia and it was the easiest foreign language for her to learn. For the rest of the flight she attended to Tim and made sure his needs were met.”
The 15-year-old in question was Clara Daly, per the Times, and she and her mother were traveling to Calabasas, California with a layover in Oregon. Clara attended to Tim (last name Cook, age 64), signing “How are you?” and “Are you OK?” into his hand. “He was able to ‘read’ her signing and they carried on an animated conversation,” Scribner said. “All of us in the immediate rows were laughing and smiling and enjoying his obvious delight in having someone to talk to.”
Clara and Cook signed with each other for about 30 minutes, with Cook reportedly sharing stories with her about his childhood and his family in Boston. Other passengers, including Cook’s seatmate, also tried to help him open containers and find his way to the restroom. “I don’t know when I’ve ever seen so many people rally to take care of another human being,” Scribner wrote.
Scribner posted the Facebook note, along with a photo of Clara and Cook, as part of an effort of hers to share one good thing to social media per day. “I was just so struck by the kindness of Clara,” she told the Times. “I think people were starving for something beautiful.”
That’s for damn sure. Now, here are some pandas playing on a slide.