Cross-country flights can be crowded and uncomfortable, leaving most passengers wishing they had the ability to simply teleport to their final destination. But can you imagine what it must be like for someone who is both blind and deaf?
During an Alaskan Airlines flight from Boston to Portland, Oregon, flight attendants who were desperate to communicate with one passenger asked if anyone on board knew American Sign Language. This is where Clara Daly of Calabasas, California, stepped into the picture and became a hero.
According to Scribner’s Facebook post, the 15-year-old Daly had learned sign language because she was dyslexic, and it was the easiest language for her to learn. Despite having only spent a year learning ASL, however, Daly was quick to volunteer to help 64-year-old Tim Cook, a blind and deaf passenger who was struggling to communicate with the airline crew. From the moment Daly and Cook were introduced, the young girl selflessly tended to his needs, and communicated by signing in to his hand, one letter at a time.
“It was fascinating to watch as she signed one letter at a time into his hand,” writes Facebook user Lynette Scribner. “He was able to ‘read’ her signing and they carried on an animated conversation.”
At first, Cook just asked Daly for some water. Then he asked her how much time was left in their flight. Finally, he asked for her one more time, but this time he didn’t need anything. It turned out he just wanted some company. “[W]ow this is really cool… I just hope I don’t spell anything wrong,” was Daly’s reaction, which she later shared in a CBSLA News video posted by Little Things.
This selfless encounter has since gone viral, with Scribner’s Facebook post amassing over 1.3 million likes. Daly is nonplussed by the reactions. “I think it’s weird that it’s getting so much attention,” says Daly. “Doing something like that is just something anyone would have done.”