Teen uses sign language to help blind, deaf man on plane

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(WFLA/CNN) – A teenage girl is being praised by hundreds of thousands of people after her act of kindness on a cross-country flight was caught on camera and shared online.

During an Alaska Airlines flight from Massachusetts to California last week, a flight attendant made an announcement asking if anyone knew American Sign Language.

Fifteen-year-old Clara Daly, who studies sign language communication techniques, pressed the call button. The flight attendant told her there was a passenger on the plane who was blind and deaf, and they were looking for someone who could communicate with him.

“They thought that he might need something and they weren’t sure how to communicate,” Daly said.

She went over and signed letters to form words so the man, named Tim, could feel her hands and “read” what she was saying.

Tim told her he would like some water and asked how much time was left in the flight. Later, he asked for the teenager again.

“He didn’t need anything, he was just lonely and wanted to talk,” Daly said.

So she sat and used fingerspelling to communicate with Tim for the last hour of their flight.

Daly says she’s dyslexic and only started learning sign language about a year ago.

“I saw sign language as a way to communicate without having to read and write,” she said.

The teenager’s mom was so proud she decided to post about the flight on Facebook – and she wasn’t the only one. Another passenger on the flight, Lynette Scribner, posted a picture on her Facebook page that has more than a million likes and has been shared nearly 600,000 times.

The airline also took notice of the story and published a blog post about it on their website, saying that Tim said the flight was the best trip he’s ever taken.

“I think it’s weird that it’s getting so much attention,” Daly admitted. “Doing something like that is just like what anyone else would have done.”

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