A 19-year-old U.S. soldier was able to come home for the first time since Christmas when a total stranger bought him a plane ticket for Memorial Day weekend.

Keaton Tilson, a U.S. Army mechanic stationed in Fort Hood, Texas, waited in the Dallas airport for two days, hoping to fly on standby after getting last-minute leave to come home.

Time wasted away and Tilson's chances at seeing his loved ones in the St. Louis area got slimmer. Then Josh Rainey from St. Louis County intervened.

Rainey offered his ticket to Tilson, but the airline refused to let him transfer it. He started to walk away, but then turned around and bought the soldier his own ticket.

"Got discouraged. Apologized. He thanked me. I walked away, and I called my wife, which I would do in a situation like that to kind of ask for her advice, and we agreed both that it was the right thing to do to go back and buy the ticket,” Rainey said.

The young soldier asked his benefactor if he could hug him afterwards. Both men fought back tears, Rainey said.

"I know I'm in uniform, but at the same time, I'm a person just like he is, and for him to do that not even knowing who I am was just ... it makes me so appreciative," Tilson said.

"It was pennies. It was pennies on the dollar compared to what I got back after he gave me that hug ... It was really amazing,” Rainey remembered.

The kind and patriotic deed coincides with Memorial Day, when America calls to mind the fallen warriors who have preserved the freedoms we enjoy in our country.

The Good Samaritan said he will keep the receipt of the ticket to remind himself what is really important in life: family and serving others.

Watch the reactions of both men above.


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