CHICAGO — A flight attendant on an Alaska Airlines trip to Portland last week asked an urgent question: Did anyone on board know sign language?
That’s when 15-year-old Clara Daly answered the call for help.
"I pressed the call button and then she came and she was like, ‘So we have a passenger on the plane who’s blind and deaf, so do you know how to finger spell?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, I totally know how to finger spell.’"
Daly came to take up a position next to 64-year-old Tim Cook — and began a conversation.
"They felt like he might need something and they weren’t sure how to communicate," she said.
Clara, who began to learn signing only about a year ago, took Cook’s hand and — letter by letter — unlocked his wishes: for water, arrival time information and much more.
"He, like, didn’t need anything. He was lonely and wanted to talk," Daly said. Which is what the two did for an hour or more.
Daly was bound for California with her mother. But because their original flight to Los Angeles was canceled, they were re-routed through Portland — and as fate would have it, that was Cook’s destination.
"I was kind of like, ‘Wow, this is really cool,’" Daly said. "I hope I don’t spell anything wrong."
Passenger Lynette Scribner seated nearby thought it was cool too.
She took a photo and wrote an account of Clara’s act of kindness on Facebook, calling it a "beautiful reminder in this time of too much awfulness … that there are still good, good people who are willing to look out for each other."
That post has been shared nearly 700,000 times as of Monday night.
"Doing something like that is what anyone would have done," Daly said. "I think it’s weird that it’s getting so much attention."