Twenty years ago — a generation ago — hijacked jets were used as weapons against us, taking down the World Trade Center, horrifically ending thousands of lives, and forever changing countless others. When U.S. airspace was closed to avert further attacks, 38 transatlantic flights were diverted to the small Canadian island of Newfoundland. Delta Flight 15 was among them.
What happened then belied the horror that had been wrought on U.S. soil. The people of Newfoundland opened their homes and hearts to those plane-loads of travelers stuck there with just the clothes on their backs. Buses took passengers to homes, schools, and churches outfitted with bedding, linens, toiletries, and personal items from townspeople’s homes, to wait out the embargo. Prescriptions and medical services were offered to whomever needed them.
The Newfoundlanders refused to take payment for all the accommodations, meals, and services they provided to the hundreds stranded there for six days, twenty years ago.
Finally on their way home, the passengers of Flight 15 banded together to say thanks, and formed a scholarship fund before their plane even touched down. They awarded 14 scholarships that first year — 341 since 2002. Recipients are high school seniors who weren’t yet born when 9/11 happened. But they are learning an important life lesson from their elders, though (in addition to their college studies) — that kindness in the face of adversity is a true virtue, and will never be forgotten.
Sometimes, random acts of kindness are rewarded.
Share this Post