Each summer 15-year-old Clara Daly visits her grandmother. She gets on a plane and travels many hours to get to Marshfield, MA where her grandmother lives.
But she’s never used her sign language skills on her trip before.
Until this year. The 15-year-old has “always been fascinated by sign language” but never thought she’d be asked to use them. Especially, not by the flight staff.
“About 30 minutes into the flight the speaker-com goes off and they ask if anyone knows sign language,” Daly, of Calabasas, California, told the Boston Herald. “I took a year of sign language, so I look at my mom before I press the button for a flight attendant.”
The flight’s staff asked Daly to sign letters into the hands of passenger Tim Cook, a blind and deaf man.
She learned that Cook was heading to Boston to visit his sister. Daly helped the man communicate with the plane’s staff.
But she also offered some companionship for the man during his flight.
“I asked if he needed anything and he told me a water, and then they said he was asking for me again,” Daly said. “The flight attendant then said, ‘He’s been asking for you. I think he just wants someone to talk to,’ so we talked for the remaining hour. … He told me when he was growing up he became hard of hearing and as he got older he got worse and his vision narrowed until he couldn’t see anymore.”
Daly also learned that Cook worked as a salesman. She shared her dreams about becoming a politician.
The two of them became friends.
Daly says she wants to become a politician so that she can help people, including those living with disabilities. Cook told her that she’s already got his vote.
“When we landed I signed him bye and he asked if he could give me a hug bye, so we hugged and then we parted ways,” Daly said. “I hope to be able to build off this (experience) and help people more. … I could tell he was very touched by someone being able to communicate with him.”
Daly had no idea that anyone was recording her interactions with Cook. However, fellow passenger Lynette Scribner snapped a few photos of their interaction after she was taken aback by Daly’s kindness.
She posted them on social media where they were shared more than 684,000 times.
“There are still good, good people who are willing to look out for each other,” Scribner wrote in her Facebook post which ended up going viral.
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Daly believes her encounter with Cook was meant to be.
“After the flight, Clara told me she thought it was meant to be that our original flight was canceled and we were placed on this flight, so she could be there to help Tim,” Daly’s mother, Jane Daly, told AlaskaAir.
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