Recently, a beautiful story of a teenager's act of kindness went viral. Clara Daly spent much of her Alaska Airlines flight communicating with Tim Cook, a blind and deaf man. Clara said he didn’t need anything. He was lonely and just wanted to talk. Their interaction is documented here: CBS NEWS, Random Act of Kindness.
The story has been shared more than 700,000 times!
I want to say a word of thanks to the flight attendant on the Alaska Airlines flight who made the connection between Clara and Tim. Picture the situation. Here is a busy fight attendant making sure all the passengers are safe and taken care of. There is a gentleman sitting quietly. That would seem to be the flight attendant’s goal and she might not have given him much more attention. But, that wasn’t enough for this attendant. And, when she recognized she didn’t have the skill required to communicate with Tim, she went on the intercom and asked if anyone knew sign language. Clara did and the connection was made.
But, it took the effort and authority of that flight attendant to make the kindness flow. Clara would have never known about Tim’s need without the attendant’s intervention. And, imagine how unlikely it would be for any stranger to walk up to another stranger uninvited and take their hands and start touching. Imagine a teenage girl walking up to a middle age man and doing that. Its just not going to happen.
Many acts of kindness are one way, one person doing something for another. But, to have two people engage in a shared act of kindness, the way Clara and Tim did, that takes more effort. Often, the effort is too much and connections don’t get made. So, thank you to the flight attendant who made the effort, took the time, and made possible this beautiful act. It made a difference in the lives of Clara and Tim and lit a candle of joy for hundreds of thousands of people who read about it and watched the story online.