ST. LOUIS - Keaton Tilson, a U.S. Army mechanic, was able to visit his family this weekend after a stranger bought him a plane ticket.
After he was given leave to travel home to Granite City, Illinois, Tilson was at a Dallas airport for two days trying to fly standby.
Josh Rainey was also at the airport, and after noticing Tilson’s struggle, he offered to give him his own ticket so he could see his family for Memorial Day.
After a ticket agent told Rainey that he was not allowed to give his ticket to someone else, the kind stranger decided to buy Tilson a ticket of his own.
“He walked away and came back and asked if he could hug me, and I think we both had to fight back the tears after that,” said Rainey.
“I know I’m in uniform but at the same time I am a person just like he is and for him to do that not even knowing who I am was just ... it makes me so appreciative,” said Tilson.
But Rainey, whose father served as both an armed services member and a police officer, was more than happy to give back.
“I’m keeping the receipt from the airline,” he said. “It’s on the fridge right now and I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it but it’s going to be with me always just so I can remind myself of what’s really important in life and that’s family and serving others.”