PORTLAND — Not all heroes wear capes. Sometimes, they’re just your average teenager with an extraordinary sense of compassion.
Clara Daly, a 15-year-old girl who recently flew from Boston to Portland on Alaska Airlines, is being called a hero for coming to the aid of 64-year-old Tim Cook, a fellow passenger who is both blind and deaf.
Cook, who resides at Brookdale Chestnut Lane Gresham, a Deaf & Deaf-Blind Senior Living facility in Gresham, OR, was flying on his own and unable to communicate with the flight crew. So a flight attendant put out an open call to passengers for anyone who knew sign language.
That’s when Daly, who’s currently studying sign language, happily volunteered. On her reaction upon hearing the announcement, she told KGW News: “That doesn’t seem too hard, let’s do it!”
She knelt next to Daly and signed in the palm of his hand, asking him basic questions like “How are you? Are you okay? Do you need anything?”
According to CBS News, Cook was able to ask Daly for water and arrival time information, but mostly he just wanted to talk.
“He, like, didn’t need anything. He was lonely and wanted to talk,” Daly said.
So they talked – for over an hour – right up until the flight landed in Portland. When it came time to exit the plane, Daly hugged Cook goodbye.
When asked by KGW News what he thought of Daly’s random act of kindness, Cook said: “I was very moved because you talked to me. Maybe it was meant to be, who knows?”
Another passenger took a photo of the conversation between Daly and Cook and uploaded it to Facebook, where it’s been liked by over 1.3 million people, and shared over 700,000 times.
Daly, who says she’s surprised by all the attention, had these wise-beyond-her-years words to share: “They call you extraordinary but it’s just something that you do. He took such joy in the conversation that we take for granted being able to have.”
As for Cook, he calls Daly an angel for showing him such kindness. “Deaf people thank her because we need help. When people help that can be better, so they’re angels.”