A National Guard sergeant traveled across the world for the birth of his son, but if it weren’t for a stranger’s “big heart,” he wouldn’t have made it after local flights were canceled because of bad weather.
Sgt. Seth Craven’s journey began Monday morning in Afghanistan, then flying out to Kuwait and finally landing in Philadelphia at around 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday. His wife, Julie, was scheduled for a Caesarian delivery early Friday morning, back home in Charleston, W.Va. While Seth had intended to reach home on Wednesday night, his plane was grounded because of a storm.
The harsh weather didn’t stop there. The new dad was booked to take the first flight out Thursday 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 4:30 p.m., they finally canceled the flight,” Craven tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “Because of the storm, all the car rental places were sold out, so there was no other transport.”
His wife wasn’t happy with the situation either, and Craven says she tried to call some of the car rental places to confirm that there were no options. “She wasn’t very calm about it,” he says.
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 recounts.
Craven, Charlene and two of Charlene’s colleagues from the same flight set off for the 8-hour drive home. According to the sergeant, 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 says 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.”
He adds that the only payment Charlene wanted for her good deed was pictures 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 tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “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.”
Craven and Charlene have been in touch since. He says 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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