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The beauty from a stranger: Just when you think there's little hope

A lovely crowded airport.
A lovely crowded airport.
Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

This week’s article is going to focus on another form of beauty – inner beauty, and the actions someone can take to make the world a little brighter. What would you do if your dying mother needed to see you – before her last 36 hours are up, and you were an $1800 plane ticket away?

Abby Courtney, of Michigan, is someone who was lucky enough to encounter such a stranger, and through Brenda Reece, a Hearing Consevation Specialist for US Airways, was able to get Lipe home to comfort his mother until she died. It started with Courtney missing her early morning flight at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport, and subsequently meeting Reece and, Wendy, a wife of a pilot, while waiting standby for a seat to open up. As they were waiting, the women passed the time chatting about their lives and forming an almost instant kinship. Courtney had just finished telling them about the mother of her boyfriend Ryan Lipe’s battle with pancreatic cancer, when her phone rang – the person on the other end bearing the worst news to Courtney. Lipe’s mother was dying, with only a few short days left. Courtney tearfully relayed the story back to her two companions as she struggled to think of a way to be able to ensure Lipe’s costly return home – a trip that would cost roughly half of his monthly salary. Anyone in this situation could easily express condolences and offer emotional support, and, while this may be comforting, it is not all too helpful. Reece was not going to stop at that. As a US Airways employee, Reece is able to purchase a few ‘companion passes’ a year to use so family and friends can travel with her for only $77.50…a price she gladly paid so Lipe, a man she had never met, could afford to fly to his mother’s side. Lipe was able to make it home at 4 in the morning on Sunday, February 2nd, with enough time to say goodbye.

When reaching out to Reece to ask for permission to write an article, she explained that she felt she did not do much. While this may seem true to her, sometimes an act can feel miniscule to one person, but exponentially invaluable to someone else. In this case, Brenda Reece made a huge impact on the entire Lipe family, and her act of kindness will be treasured.