Metro-East News

Kind stranger helps Granite City soldier come home for Memorial Day


A Granite City soldier will now be able to come home to see his family for Memorial Day, thanks to a kind stranger.

Keaton Tilson, a U.S. Army mechanic, is stationed in Ft. Hood in Texas, according to Fox 2 News. He received last minute leave to come home, and was stuck at the Dallas airport for two days, trying to get on a standby flight.

That’s when Josh Rainey stepped in. The Glendale, Missouri resident offered to give up his ticket. When he discovered that wasn’t allowed, Rainey and his wife decided to buy Tilson a ticket to St. Louis so he could get home.

“We agreed both that it was the right thing to do to go back and buy the ticket,” Rainey told Fox 2 News. “He walked away and came back and asked if he could hug me, and I think we both had to fight back the tears after that. It was pennies, pennies on the dollar compared to what I got back from that hug.”

Tilson told Fox 2 News that the experience gave him the sense that military service is still appreciated.

“If it wasn’t for him, I probably wouldn’t be here right now,” Tilson said. “Honestly, I feel like I would still be at the airport because it’s Memorial Day weekend.”