A 19-year-old soldier thought that he wouldn’t be able to make it home to see his family for Memorial Day. But lo and behold, a stranger intervened to make his dream come true.
Keaton Tilson enlisted into the U.S. Army eight months ago and is stationed in Fort Hood, Texas. But when he learned that he would be able to take four days off for Memorial Day, he wasted no time to try and return home for the weekend.
However, Tilson would be in for a rude awakening, when he was forced to wait at the airport for two days. For a while, he didn’t think he’d be able to make it home and see his family in Granite City, Illinois.
The soldier had gone to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and waited overnight to board the 5am flight. But sadly for Tilson, his flight never arrived.
“It looked good at first,” Tilson’s mother said. “There were open seats. Then something happened, and he kept missing flights and missing flights.” Tilson had alerted his mom about the extreme delay.
And mother Jennifer had to be quiet about the situation, because she wanted Tilson’s weekend stay to be a surprise for his siblings.
Tilson was on the verge of giving up, feeling completely hopeless. But then a stranger saw the soldier’s distress, and asked if he could give his ticket to Tilson, which was going to the same destination and boarding shortly.
The kind man, who was later identified as Josh Rainey, insisted that he was able to catch a later flight. And although he was informed that he wasn’t allowed to switch tickets, Rainey was determined to help out Tilson. He wanted to make sure that the soldier made it home to see his family and offered to pay for a $375 ticket.
Tilson was shocked at this incredible gesture of lovingkindness and shook Rainey’s hand in sheer elation. The overjoyed soldier called his mom to tell the fantastic news.
Before Tilson took off, he went back to Rainey and gave him a huge hug. They later found out that they actually live close to one another, and Tilson’s mom was desperate to thank Rainey properly for helping out her son.
But ultimately, Rainey recalled how Tilson’s hug was the greatest token of gratitude he could have received. “That was worth every penny,” Rainey said.