Pilot Delays Takeoff so that Man Can Say Goodbye to Dying Grandson

Journalist Christopher Elliott shared an email from one of his regular readers. It tells a tale that is both sad and heartwarming. A 3-year old boy was murdered by the boyfriend of his mother. The family decided to take him off life support, so the grandfather flew in to say goodbye to him. To make sure that he got there in time, one Southwest Airlines pilot delayed takeoff:

According to him, everyone he talked to couldn’t have cared less. When he was done with security, he grabbed his computer bag, shoes and belt and ran to his terminal in his stocking feet.

When he got there, the pilot of his plane and the ticketing agent both said, “Are you Mark? We held the plane for you and we’re so sorry about the loss of your grandson.”

The pilot held the plane that was supposed to take off at 11:50 until 12:02 when my husband got there.

As my husband walked down the Jetway with the pilot, he said, “I can’t thank you enough for this.”

The pilot responded with, “They can’t go anywhere without me and I wasn’t going anywhere without you. Now relax. We’ll get you there. And again, I’m so sorry.”

Link via Gizmodo | Photo by Flickr user Pylon757 used under Creative Commons license

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Sounds like a PR story instead of real life.

First - how did the pilot hear about it? They don't just call the cockpit and say "Hey Joe, listen to this sob story...".

Second - what's the super critical rush? Pulling the plug (i.e. ending life support) is a completely arbitrary time. If grandpa wasn't there on time, they would just delay the procedure.

The whole thing smacks of some Airline trying to make hay in a time when Airlines the world over are despised for their money grubbing tactics.
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