Keaton Tilson is a 19-year-old U.S. Army mechanic from Granite City, Illinois. He’s currently stationed at Ft. Hood in Texas and received last minute leave to go home. Keaton hadn’t been home since Christmas.
Since his leave was on such short notice, he got stuck at a Dallas airport for two days straight. Each time he’d attempt to fly standby, he was disappointed when all of the seats were full. As the days passed, Keaton knew his chances of getting home to see his loved ones were slim-to-none; he only had a couple days left to see them over Memorial Day weekend.
Keaton never expected what a complete stranger did next. As it turned out, a Missouri man named Josh Rainey had been watching Keaton desperately trying to get onto a flight.
Josh’s father was a former police officer and armed services member, so he instantly felt for the anguished young man.
Josh selflessly offered to give up his own plane ticket, but the agent said that was against the rules. Josh was frustrated he couldn’t help, so he called his wife for advice.
Minutes later, Josh approached Keaton once again with an incredible offer.
“We agreed both that it was the right thing to do to go back and buy the ticket,” said Josh Rainey.
“I’m very appreciative because if it wasn’t for him, I probably wouldn’t be here right now,” said Tilson, from a family lake house in Illinois. “Honestly I feel like I would still be at the airport because it’s Memorial Day weekend.”
Rainey said the decision to buy that ticket has given him a reward worth more than the $341 he spent.
“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. “It was pennies, pennies on the dollar compared to what I got back from that hug.”
Watch the video below: