Traveling over the holidays can be both expensive and nerve-racking, as well as notoriously busy. The queues are long, no matter if you try to check-in your bags, get through the security, or buy something at the stores. Plus, if there is a flight delay, staying at the airport can be boring and tiring. In order to avoid these issues, it might be wise to take a flight a day or two prior to the holiday and avoid all the crowd.

Unfortunately, that’s not always possible, especially if you are serving in the military and you get an approval to fly home at the very last minute. Keaton Tilson is a young soldier who’s been part of the military for eight months now. That means it’s been that long since he hasn’t seen his family, and now when he was about to travel home for the Memorial Day weekend, things didn’t turn as he expected. He spent some time at the airport, and it seemed he wasn’t about to be taking off soon. But then, a stranger approached and brought a glimmer of hope.

Keaton was stationed at Ford Hood in Texas, and got a green light to head to St. Luis for a 4-day weekend on the Thursday evening before Memorial Day.

He spent the night at the Dallas-Forth International Airport with a standby ticket in his hands, hoping to catch the 5 am flight. As he looked at the empty plane he felt happy to be heading home, but people started taking the empty seats, and sadly, none was earmarked with his name.

Two days and lots of standby flights later, this Army mechanic found himself no closer to getting home. And as he was trying to come up with a solution, a man named Josh Rainey, who happened to overhear Keaton’s conversation with the gate agent, offered his ticket for the flight leaving in 10 minutes time. But since departure time was close, the agent told them the transfer of tickets wasn’t an option.

Keaton said thank you and walked away, but Josh knew there has to be something he could do for the soldier. And that’s when he decide to purchase Keaton a $341 ticket. That was the most amazing thing anyone has ever done for Keaton, who couldn’t hide his happiness to be going home to see his family. As for Josh, he believes that’s money well spent.

Josh told Fox 2 News:

“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. It was pennies, pennies on the dollar compared to what I got back from that hug.”

Keaton and Josh discovered they had a mutual friend after the quick chat they had, and that’s how Keaton’s mother tracked Josh down once her son came home and shared the story with her and other family members. The mother felt it was an amazing act of kindness and she had to share it with the world.

Keaton was glad to learn that people still have deep respect for those serving the country.

“I’m very appreciative because if it wasn’t for him, I probably wouldn’t be here right now. Honestly I feel like I would still be at the airport because it’s Memorial Day weekend.”

Josh, on the other hand, was more than happy to assist someone in need. He is a very special man with a kind heart who is always there to provide a helping hand. But helping a soldier was special, because his father served in the armed forces for 30 years.

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