Due to the abrupt nature of his leave, he found himself stranded at a Dallas airport. He tried his best to find a flight that would allow him to fly standby, discovering that each available plane was fully booked.
The hours quickly turned into days, and before he knew it, he was about to spend his third day in the airport. But unknown to him, he was on the radar of someone who’d change his life.
When 19-year-old Jimmie Gable decided to join the army as a vehicle mechanic, he only wanted to make his late dad proud while fusing the two most important things in his life: the US Army and his love for vehicles.
He enlisted as soon as he cleared high school, showing dedication to this path that his family had never seen before. But it wouldn’t be long before he found himself stranded at an airport when all he wanted was to be with his loved ones.
Jimmie had always been a hard-working kid. Before joining the army, he’d excelled in his studies and in being a grease monkey next to his dad before he passed away.
Jimmie’s dad, who’d been an army vet, always regaled him with stories about his tours as they worked on his vintage Camaro. Even at a tender age, Jimmie knew what he wanted to be when he grew up.
A few years later, Jimmie filled out papers to allow him to join the army. The process was quick; before he knew it, he was training as an army vehicle mechanic.
Given his years of working under the hood next to his late dad, Jimmie showed an affinity to the profession his trainers commended him for. He was more than glad when he graduated as a fully-fledged army mechanic. He had no clue what hardships loomed on the horizon.
Army life was everything Jimmie had imagined it to be. Every day was a fusion of selflessness, duty, and passion, and each of these days made him glad he’d chosen this path.
But although serving was everything Jimmie thought of, he couldn’t deny that he missed his family dearly. He’d been on two tours and hoped to get a few days off to visit home. But even he knew that was a pipe dream.
Given his dedication to his post, Jimmie had been on a tour, which lasted more than six months. He’d applied for leave before the deployment and, after finishing the tour, hoped he’d get some time off.
But when he went to check the status of his application, he discovered that his superiors were slotting him for another tour. He was distraught.
Jimmie loved everything that came with being in the army. He was not only serving his country but living his best life while also making his late dad proud.
But he’d never been as homesick as he was while on duty and knew he needed to see his family, even if it was for a day. He was a day away from his second deployment when he received a letter that would change everything.
Jimmie was still at Ft. Hood when he got the letter clearing him for leave over Memorial Day weekend. He hadn’t seen his family since the previous Halloween and was missing them terribly.
Without wasting time, he packed his belongings for the journey home and quickly took his leave. He didn’t know how harrowing the experience would be.
Due to the abrupt nature of his leave, Jimmie found himself stranded at a Dallas airport. He tried his best to find a flight that would allow him to fly standby, discovering that each available plane was fully booked.
The hours quickly turned into days, and before Jimmie knew it, he was about to spend his third night in the airport reception area. But unknown to him, he was on the radar of someone who’d soon change his life.
Every second Jimmie spent at the airport was a second spent away from his family. He was supposed to be back in Ft. Hood by Wednesday of the next week, and with how everything was going, he suspected it would be a while until he saw his family again.
But as Jimmie sat, still trying to figure out how he would make it home before Memorial Day weekend was over, a well-dressed middle-aged man approached him with a smile on his face.
The man asked Jimmie why he was sitting against the wall with his head in his palms. Jimmie explained everything, telling him each flight he’d tried to get on was booked.
The man could see how distraught Jimmie was. After learning that the teen soldier was supposed to be back in Ft. Hood a few days after Memorial Day weekend, he decided to step in.
The man helped Jimmie to his feet, slinging the soldier’s bag across his impeccable suit. With Jimmie in tow, he walked to his flight, asking the desk if Jimmie could take his seat instead of him.
But of course, the attendants refused the request, stating it was against company policy. The man thanked the attendants and backed away, smiling as he asked Jimmie not to lose hope. “Let me call someone,” he said.
The man walked away for a few minutes to talk over the phone. Jimmie could see him tense as he explained himself. But then his body became less rigid, and his warm smile took his face again.
He walked back to Jimmie while pocketing his phone. “The wife says hi,” he grinned. “I explained our little situation. I want to buy you a seat, but I had to talk to her first.” His smile never wavered as he continued talking. What he said to Jimmie would leave both men in tears.
“My dad was an army veteran,” the man said with a wistful look. He told Jimmie how his father died in action while saving his regiment from an ambush.
Jimmie also opened up about his dad, explaining how everything he was doing now was in his memory. The men shed tears as they exchanged their dads’ legendary stories. But although they enjoyed each other’s company, they’d have to say goodbye.
The man said farewell and boarded his flight. Jimmie would soon follow on a different plane. He’d see his family over the weekend as planned and return to base as instructed by his leave letter. As he sat with his family, telling them about his adventures on the field and at Ft. Hood, he could only thank the good Samaritan who’d gone out of his way to get him home.
Disclaimer: To protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events, places, or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.