The story of her helping a man on a flight went viral. She hopes it inspires others.

It was by total coincidence that Clara Daly and Tim Cook ended up on the same flight.

Tim Cook is blind and deaf. After visiting his sister in Boston, he was returning home alone to Portland. Clara Daly and her mom were on the same flight after their original trip back to Los Angeles had been canceled.

While the airline staff reportedly did their best, they were unable to communicate with Cook, and they reached out to other passengers for help, asking if anyone onboard knew American Sign Language (ASL). Daly had recently been studying ASL, and she gladly stepped in.


Image courtesy Clara Daly.

It was unclear whether Cook had made accessibility requests with the airline or not, but regardless, flying while disabled presents a number of challenges — and the burden is often left on the person with the disability. The Air Carrier Access Act of 1986 attempted to address many accessibility issues, but there continue to be stories where airlines fail in their duty.

Daly, however, immediately put her ASL skills to work communicating with Cook about his needs on the flight.

Pressing her hand against Cook's, she was able to sign out words one letter at a time. Their communication began with him simply asking for a glass of water. But she returned several times throughout the flight and spent the last 30 minutes keeping him company before they landed. In a follow-up with Cook, the airline said he made it safely back home after meeting a service provider in Portland.

And in a video posted by Portland's KGW8, Cook said of his experience with Daly, "I was very moved and happy for you to come talk with me. ... Talking with you was the best part of my trip."

"I think ASL is a beautiful language that is not only for deaf people but is a language everyone should get to know," Daly says. "We are all part of the same world and it is our duty to make it a place we all want to live in."

Her act of kindness went viral and she's using it as a teaching moment.

A fellow passenger on their flight took a picture of Daly signing to Cook and posted it to her Facebook page. It went viral, with more than 1 million people reacting and more than 650,000 people sharing the story.

I saw this gentleman, Tim, in Boston's Logan airport with the sister he'd been visiting. It appeared he was both deaf...

Posted by Lynette Scribner on Tuesday, June 19, 2018

About the viral nature of her story, Daly says, "All I can hope people can get from this is an inspiration do some good themselves."

These small acts of kindness can have a profound impact — we all need to remember that.

There are things each of us can do every day to help others, whether it's offering a service or supporting your favorite disability advocacy group — particularly when gaps in accessibility persist. A seemingly small act might be a great and welcome relief to someone else. That's something people forget too often.

"I think people need to help people as much as we can," Daly said.

Daly may be just 15, but hers is the kind of wisdom the world needs right now. And if the response to her act is any indication, it's one people are really grateful to see.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less

Simon & Garfunkel's song "Bridge Over Troubled Water" has been covered by more than 50 different musical artists, from Aretha Franklin to Elvis Presley to Willie Nelson. It's a timeless classic that taps into the universal struggle of feeling down and the comfort of having someone to lift us up. It's beloved for its soothing melody and cathartic lyrics, and after a year of pandemic challenges, it's perhaps more poignant now than ever.

A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

But British singer Jacob Collier recently added his own layered harmony tracks to it, taking the performance to a whole other level.

Keep Reading Show less
Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less