A National Guard sergeant almost missed the birth of his son, but he made it just in time, thanks to a lift from a stranger.

Sgt. Seth Craven flew all the way from Afghanistan to Philadelphia on Monday morning. His wife was due to have a C-section on Friday in Charleston, West Virginia, and Seth planned to catch a connecting flight to meet her down there beforehand. But he ran into a problem.

Due to a storm, all of the connecting flights to West Virginia were canceled for two days in a row. No car rentals were available, either.

Seth was stranded eight hours away from his wife.


That’s when a woman named Charlene Vickers approached Seth. Though they were complete strangers, she offered to give him a ride down to Charleston. She and some colleagues were headed to the city for an event and they had an extra seat in the car.

Seth gratefully accepted; he didn’t even stop to get his suitcase from baggage claim before rushing to the car with Charlene and the other passengers.

“Along the way, we got to know each other pretty well, talked about my time in Afghanistan, and her family, and my soon-to-be family,” Seth told Business Insider. “We even called her dad who is a veteran and spoke with him.”

Seth arrived in Charleston just past midnight. By 5:30 a.m. that morning, he and his wife Julie were at the hospital. She gave birth to a healthy baby boy, Cooper, later that morning.

“If it wasn’t for Charlene I never would have made it,” Seth said.

Seth is now on emergency leave from the National Guard to spend some quality time with the new baby.