A benevolent stranger made sure that a U.S. serviceman was able to travel home to embrace his family over the Memorial Day Weekend.
Army soldier Keaton Tilson, 19, returned home to Granite City, Illinois, for the first time since Christmas after St. Louis resident Josh Rainey paid $350 for his plane ticket. Tilson had never met Rainey before, but his family will never forget his kind act of generosity.
Tilson’s mother, Jennifer Tilson, told ABC News that she wanted to “personally and publicly thank” Rainey, adding that she was “super appreciative.”
“You don’t hear of that all the time of a complete stranger willing to spend all that money,” she said. “We needed to find out who he was.”
Tilson didn’t receive approval to go home for Memorial Day Weekend until Thursday, May 25. By that time, flights were full.
The soldier was able to spare just the weekend to go home and see family, and as the time drew near, it was looking less and less likely that this would happen. When Rainey, who was at the airport with Tilson, noticed that the young man was not getting much luck with his standby status, he offered to buy him a one-way ticket so he could make the most of the weekend.
“I know it was short, but it was better than nothing,” Tilson’s mother said.
Rainey told ABC that when he saw Tilson in the airport, it looked like he was there for a “reason.”
“He shook my hand and walked away and then came back and asked if he could give me a hug,” Rainey said. “Getting a hug from him was the most payment I could’ve gotten.”
The Good Samaritan said his deed was all about Tilson and the service he has dedicated to his country.
“He has chosen to give up at least the next four years of his life,” Rainey said. “He got the week off. Instead of choosing to travel or see another country, he had to get home to his family.”
(H/T: ABC News)
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