When 19-year-old Keaton Tilson found out he had four days off from the Army over the Memorial Day weekend, he was excited to get to go back home to Granite City, Illinois for the first time since Christmas. But he didn’t find out until Thursday night that he had permission to go, so he left Fort Hood, Texas and spent the night at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport, hoping to get on a 5 a.m. flight with a standby ticket.
But that flight and several other options didn’t work out and it wasn’t looking like the teen would make it home. Then, a stranger asked the ticket agent if he could give the young soldier his ticket for a flight boarding in 10 minutes. That didn’t work either, but the generous man bought Tilson his own $375 ticket and he got on the plane.
Once on the flight, Tilson went back and hugged the man, later identified as Josh Rainey, and thanked him for the ticket. Rainey says that hug was all the thanks he needed, adding, “That was worth every penny.”