Soldier who helped girl at airport: ‘Show compassion for others’

WWNY Soldier who helped girl at airport: ‘Show compassion for others’

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - It’s a photo that has been making its rounds on Facebook of a Fort Drum soldier doing a good deed for a young girl. We sat down with the man who saw what happened and captured the moment on his phone.

It started with a photo of a man with a backpack. But there's a lot more to the picture. Greg McLean is the one who shot it.

"It's not gonna be something I ever forget," he said.

McLean was standing in line at Watertown International Airport, waiting to get his bag checked. He says he saw a young girl who was traveling to visit her sick grandfather when she didn't have a credit card to pay for her bag. The man with the backpack decided to help out.

"The soldier steps out of line, he goes up to the counter and says, 'Don't worry about it. I got it.' Not even introducing himself, not even saying any other words. He simply pulled out his bank card and paid for the young girl's bag," said McLean.

That's when McLean took the photo and posted it on Facebook.

"Sharing this story, I never imagined that it would get the publicity it got. I didn't know it was going to get so big, go so far with it," said McLean.

The post has gone viral with almost 2,000 likes, 400 comments and more than 3,000 shares.

"It just shows the power of kindness and then the power of social media, and when you bring the two together, doing a small gesture for someone can make a huge impact and bring joy to a lot of people," said McLean.

Since the post circulated, we found the man with the backpack. Michael Conner is a Fort Drum soldier.

Conner didn't want to go on camera, but sent us this statement: "Hopefully when people see a story like this, it will motivate them to show compassion for others around them. With what's going on in the world now, we need all the love people can show. Hopefully that young girl got to see her grandfather. That's all that mattered to me in the moment."

“Small gestures mean a lot. Even though you might think its a small gesture, it could make a huge impact on somebody else’s life,” said McLean.

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