LOWELL -- News of the death of longtime Arizona U.S. Senator John McCain brought back a personal memory for Tyngsboro resident James Burns.
In April 2013, his daughter Paula Burns Arbeene traveled to Massachusetts from her home in Riverview, Fla., to visit her ailing mother.
Arbeene, who has been physically handicapped from birth, fell from her electric scooter at Logan Airport, Burns recalled.
A stranger from the crowd helped her up.
“She didn’t know who helped her so when she looks up ‘Oh, oh. It’s John McCain,’” he said.
When she fell, Arbeene, a Lexington-native, said her daughter Julianna was unable to help her back onto her scooter. They struggled without any assistance from the crowd until McCain, who was waiting for a flight nearby, helped her up.
“It just kind of blew me away that someone like that was the only one in the airport to offer help,” Arbeene said.
Excited and shocked, Arbeene, asked McCain to take a photo with her and Julianna.
While not interested in politics, Arbeene said the moment was a hopeful reminder. Throughout her life, Arbeene said she has experienced discrimination for her physical disability.
“It kind of restores your faith in humanity that there are good people out there,” she said.
When McCain died on Saturday, Burns remembered this moment of kindness and sent the story to family members.
“I happen to be a Democrat, but I happen to know he was worthy of praise most of the time,” Burns said.
“He was a respectable man.”
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