96-Year-Old Woman Afraid To Fly Finds Comfort In Passenger Next To Her

by Christina Marfice
Originally Published: 
Megan Ashley/Facebook

The world just needs more people like this mystery plane passenger

Even for frequent flyers, getting on a plane can be nerve-wracking. It’s even more so for people who don’t fly as often. For a 96-year-old woman named Virginia, getting on a flight was not the most comfortable thing, but luckily, a passenger next to her stepped up to make the whole experience OK.

Megan Schofield, another passenger on the flight, posted a photo and a short story to Facebook explaining what she saw happen on a flight from San Diego to Nashville.

Virginia, who is 96 years old, was with her daughter on a trip to visit their family in Kansas City, Schofield wrote. She wanted to make the trip for her birthday, but it was her first flight in 15 years, so she was understandably pretty nervous. Hey, we get it. Planes are literally just metal tubes soaring through the sky at crazy altitudes. It’s a pretty scary thing, when you really think about it.

But the woman was able to find comfort throughout the flight — from the stranger seated next to her, a man named Ben Miller.

“She asked for this man’s hand during takeoff and then hugged him again when experiencing turbulence,” Schofield wrote. “This gentleman I should say, gladly took her hand, let her hold onto him, calmed her by talking to her and explaining everything that was happening, and simply was that stranger there for her. He knew just what to do the entire flight to help.”

Miller tells Fox 17 that the moment where she admitted she was scared came after a little small talk between them. “And she said, ‘you know, this is the part that I kind of get nervous about, the take offs. The take offs are the hard ones,” he shares.

Schofield added that Miller helped Virginia stand up to get to the bathroom during the flight. And even after spending the entire flight being there for a stranger, he was still willing to help her when they landed in Nashville. As it turns out, he comes by his easy way with folks her age honestly.

“I’m a lawyer with The Higgins Firm here in town and the work that I do is primarily nursing home neglect,” he tells Fox 17.

“This man was her flight angel,” Schofield wrote. “He held her bag, helped her get off the plane and into the wheelchair, and when she got confused wondering where her daughter went (she called her her sister), he stayed with her until she caught up with her daughter who got separated from her.”

Ashley tagged the post with “#southwest,” so it appears they were on a Southwest Airlines flight. Hey, Southwest, any chance of making sure Miller gets some bonus frequent flier miles for his awesome show of kindness?

We all have elderly people in our lives who we love and worry about. Imagining my grandmother nervous on a flight breaks my heart. But I’d feel a little better knowing there are people like Ben Miller in the world, making it a little better for those who need a hand.

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