Stranger Drives Soldier 8 Hours to See Birth of Son

Seth Craven
Seth Craven

A National Guard sergeant wants to thank a stranger who drove him eight hours to his son’s birth. He thought all hope was lost after his flight from Philadelphia to West Virginia was canceled due to bad weather.

Sgt. Seth Craven, 26, had flown to Philadelphia after serving in Afghanistan on August 5. He was going on leave in preparation for his wife Julie’s scheduled cesarean section on August 9 in Charleston, West Virginia, Craven said during an interview with INSIDER.

Seth’s August 7th was flight was cancelled. He scheduled a second flight the next day and that was cancelled too.

Craven said even the car rental places were out of options. He was stranded.

The whole situation looked hopeless. Then, a stranger approached Seth. Her name was Charlene Vickers. Charlene is a programs director for AmeriHealth Caritas Partnership. She was at the airport and offered to help according to WV Metro News. Vickers and a group of colleagues were headed to Charleston for an event on Friday. Fortunately for Craven, the crew had an extra seat in their car.

“I’m getting to West Virginia tonight, come hell or high water. So are you willing to join this crazy party of ours?” she recalled telling Craven, according to WV Metro News.

The two were complete strangers.

The drive to Charleston

Vickers, who’s from Philadelphia, had her car parked in an airport lot. Craven took her up on the offer so quickly he didn’t even take his checked bag. He also helped navigate the car all eight hours to Charleston.

“I was glad to have somebody who knew the roads,” Vickers told WV Metro News. “There’s a lot of areas where you do not have cell phone service. I have lost my GPS signal many times in West Virginia.”

Craven told INSIDER that the long, crowded trip was actually quite enjoyable.

“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,” he said. “We even called her dad who is veteran and spoke with him.”

The car pulled into Charleston just past midnight on Friday. Craven and wife Julie needed to be at the hospital by 5:30 a.m.

Craven’s baby boy was born later Friday morning. He and Julie named the 9-pound, 8-ounce baby boy Cooper.

“Luckily we had a healthy little boy, and mom’s healthy. If it wasn’t for Charlene I never would have made it,” Craven told WV Metro News. “All she wanted in return was pictures of the baby.”

Craven said Vickers also sent his family a small gift to celebrate Cooper’s arrival.

“We are doing great now,” he told INSIDER. “Cooper is chunky and healthy and mama is sore but she’s recovering, and we’re taking advantage of all the time we can together before I leave to go back to Afghanistan.”

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