15 Year Old Dyslexic Girl Comes to the Aid of Distressed Deaf and Blind Passenger

Lynette Scribner witnessed an incredible story unfold on Alaska Airlines.

A man named Tim was flying out of Boston on Alaska Airlines. He was deaf and blind. His sister brought him to the airport and was signing into his hand, and he could feel her words.

He had a middle seat on the aircraft, but when he boarded the man in the aisle happily switched places.

Flight attendants were happy to help him but couldn’t communicate. He touched their faces and their arms. They took his hand. She reports that “[h]e had some verbal ability, but clearly could not understand them.”

His seat opponent who had given up the aisle helped him open coffee creamer and put it in his coffee. And when he tried to get up to go to the lavatory, his seat mate was there to help.

Flight attendants made an announcement asking if anyone knew sign language. A 15 year old girl came forward. Apparently her dyslexia meant it was the easiest foreign language for her to learn.

This girl tended to Tim throughout the flight. She signed “one letter at a time into his hand” and they “carried on an animated conversation.”

When he asked her if she was pretty, she blushed and laughed as the seat mate, who had learned a few signs, communicated an enthusiastic yes to Tim. I don’t know when I’ve ever seen so many people rally to take care of another human being.

All of us in the immediate rows were laughing and smiling and enjoying his obvious delight in having someone to talk to.

Huge kudos to the flight attendants of Alaska Airlines who went above and beyond to meet Tim’s needs. I can’t say enough about this beautiful young woman named Clara who didn’t think twice about helping her fellow passenger.

Sometimes people can be wonderful even in the midst of air travel. And small kindnesses can make all the difference to the people we touch.

(HT: Michelle L.)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. It’s so nice to read a heartwarming story about air travel. The world needs more people like Clara.

  2. What a wonderful and heartwarming story! Thank you Clara and all others on Alaska Airlines who assisted for demonstrating humanity for all to witness.

  3. I’ve been need of a good, happy cry after this crazy week of news. Thanks.
    There ARE still people who care about others.

  4. A good reminder that in my experience 90% of people are good if you give them a chance to be.

  5. Good job Clara and Alaska Airlines. Can you imagine this poor man in an AA or United flight with those dragons ignoring him?

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