Kind-Hearted Stranger Buys Air Ticket for 73-Year-Old To Get to Surgery Appointment


When you don’t drive, getting to the places you want to get to is extra complicated.

Those of us who have cars often take them for granted. A 20-minute drive might be impossible for someone on foot, and only possible by bike if the weather is good.

That leaves a lot of people with a short tether, limiting the services they can access and the businesses they can get to.

For one woman in Watson Lake, Yukon, Canada, that became an especially pressing issue when she had a medical appointment she needed to make, but no way to get there.

Isabel Welsh needed to have cataract surgery, but the location that provided that treatment was over 400 miles away.

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The problem was complicated by the fact that the bus lines to the city had been stopped. With few options left, she tried to get assistance through the government’s medical travel department, but they, too, were unable to help.

Out of ideas, she said “I could get a big sign saying: ‘going to Whitehorse,’ go sit on the side of the highway, and hitchhike.”

Her only real options would be to find someone to drive her or find some way to pay for the $340 plane ticket — but being retired herself, the ticket was too steep to swing for.

She took to the airwaves, and on Friday morning made her situation known on CBC Radio.

And the people responded. Some offered to donate to her cause and tried to see how they could help, but then an anonymous listener bought the ticket for her.

“It looks like I’m going to be on the plane on Monday and get the surgery done, yes — for which I’m truly grateful,” the happy Welsh said.

“I’m very grateful for people who wanted to reach out and help. I may not know who they are, but I certainly thank them for their generosity.”

But it didn’t stop there. If Welsh was facing this problem, others would, too. Fortunately, the government stepped in and ended up paying for her ticket after all.

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“I’m not sure whether it’s solely the responsibility of Health,” Pat Living, spokesperson for Insured Health Services, said. “We’re talking about medical travel, yes, but travel between communities is not the responsibility of Health and Social Services.”

The department has agreed to pay for transportation for its residents when transportation is available and patients have medical needs.

Thanks to Welsh for speaking up — and for the willingness of anonymous donors, she not only helped solve her own problem, but others’ as well.

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