Traveling around the holidays can be both costly and stressful, as well as typically crowded. Whether you’re trying to check your luggage, get through security, or buy something in the stores, the lines are long. Plus, if your trip is delayed, lingering at the airport may be tedious and exhausting. To prevent these problems, it could be a good idea to fly a day or two before the vacation to avoid the crowds.
Unfortunately, this isn’t always doable, especially if you’re in the military and your request to travel home is granted at the last minute. Keaton Tilson is a young soldier who has served in the military for the past eight months. That means it’s been that long since he’s seen his family, and things didn’t go as planned as he was set to return home for Memorial Day weekend. He spent some time at the airport, and it didn’t appear like he would be departing anytime soon. But then a stranger came up and offered a ray of hope.
On the Thursday evening before Memorial Day, Keaton, who was stationed at Ford Hood in Texas, was given permission to travel to St. Luis for a four-day weekend.
With a standby ticket in hand, he spent the night at Dallas-Forth International Airport, trying to make the 5 a.m. departure. He was glad to be returning home as he glanced at the empty plane, but people began to fill the empty seats, and unhappily, none of them were inscribed with his name.
After two days and many standby planes, this Army mechanic was still no closer to returning home. And as he was attempting to think of a solution, a man named Josh Rainey overheard Keaton’s interaction with the gate attendant and volunteered his ticket for the aircraft leaving in 10 minutes. However, because the departure time was approaching, the agent informed them that ticket transfers were not a possibility.
Josh realized there had to be something he could do for the soldier after Keaton said thank you and walked away. That’s when he decided to buy a $341 ticket for Keaton. That was the most incredible thing anyone had ever done for Keaton, who couldn’t disguise his joy at the prospect of seeing his family again. Josh, for one, thinks the money was well spent.
According to Josh, who spoke to Fox 2 News,
“After that, I think we both had to fight back tears as he walked away and returned to ask if he may hug me.” It was a drop in the bucket compared to what I got in return from that hug.”
After their little talk, Keaton and Josh found they had a common acquaintance, which is how Keaton’s mother sought Josh down once her son returned home and recounted the tale with her and other family members. The mother thought it was a wonderful gesture of generosity that she wanted to share with the rest of the world.
Keaton was relieved to discover that individuals who serve the country are still held in high regard.
“I’m grateful because I wouldn’t be here right now if it hadn’t been for him.” Because it’s Memorial Day weekend, I’m quite sure I’d still be at the airport.”
Josh, on the other hand, was delighted to help someone who was in need. He is a unique individual with a caring heart who is always willing to provide a helping hand. But assisting a soldier was particularly meaningful to him because his father had spent 30 years in the military.