A man attempting to travel across the world for the birth of his son would never have made it if it weren’t for a stranger’s “big heart”.
National Guard sergeant Seth Craven began his journey home from Afghanistan on August 5, before flying out of Kuwait and finally landing in Philadelphia, in the US state of Pennsylvania, about 4.30pm (local time) on August 7.
His wife, Julie, was scheduled for a Caesarean delivery early on August 9 in Charleston, West Virginia.
While Sgt Craven had intended to reach home on the night of August 7, things took a turn for the worst and his plane was grounded due to a storm.
The soon-to-be dad then was booked on the first flight out the next morning – but that didn’t work out either.
“We were on the runway and they pulled the plane back due to a maintenance issue. It was delayed an hour, then an hour-and-a-half and then at 4.30pm they finally cancelled the flight,” Sgt Craven told Yahoo Lifestyle.
“Because of the storm, all the car rental places were sold out, so there was no other transport.”
His heavily pregnant wife even made futile attempts to call other car rental places, but ran out of options.
“She wasn’t very calm about it,” Sgt Craven said.
However, his luck took a turn after a kind stranger on the plane, named Charlene, heard his story and wanted to help.
“Charlene said, ‘I have to be in West Virginia anyway, no matter the weather’, and offered to drive me in her car,” he said.
Sgt Craven, Charlene and two of Charlene’s colleagues from the same flight set off for the eight-hour drive home.
According to the new father, they had lots of time to talk about their work and families.
“Her dad is a veteran and we got to talk to him on the phone, which was pretty cool,” he said of his time with Charlene.
“We talked about her kids and husband and I heard about the work she does with health and clinics in areas that need it.”
Sgt Craven added the only payment Charlene wanted for her good deed was photos of the baby once he got back.
“Most of the news is so negative, I think this is a reminder that there are still nice people out there. She has such a big heart. Most people wouldn’t do that,” he said.
“They’d talk to you, but they wouldn’t put a stranger in their vehicle and drive with them. I couldn’t thank her enough.”
Sgt Craven and Charlene have been in touch since. He said she sent the couple a “huge basket” full of candy and gifts to celebrate their new baby.
Charlene did not immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment.
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