A Delta Airlines pilot is getting a lot of praise for turning his plane around to pick up a family, so that they wouldn’t miss attending their father’s funeral.
The family was headed to the funeral of Jay W. Short, a 56- year- old father and husband who lost his battle to lung cancer on Dec 16. The deceased wished to be buried with his family in Tennessee-. His body had already been put on the plane a day earlier and his family was scheduled to fly home from Phoenix, Arizona to Memphis later that day.
However, a 90-minute delay on the first leg of the flight left them with only 7 minutes to board the plane to Memphis, the last plane of the day. By the time, the harried family made their way to the gate, the plane was already headed towards the runway and the airport was telling them that they were too late to make the flight.
"My son and I are waving our arms at the pilots and the ground crews as my two daughters are crying their eyes out. We are pleading for them to not take off," Marcia Short, Jay’s wife said. "If we did not get on that flight we would miss the funeral. We had to get to Memphis."
The pilot, Capt. Adam Cohen, saw the desperate family waving through the airport windows rang the gate and turned his plane back around to pick up the family. The realization that the family would miss the funeral as the plane was the last flight of the day, prompted him to make the decision to go back.
Many people have praised the Delta Airlines pilot for listening to his heart and he has earned a storm of compliments for Twitter users.
Kudos to the #deltaairlines pilot that turned the plane around so a family could make their father's funeral.??— Tanji Patton (@TanjiPatton) December 31, 2015
Cohen’s act of humanity and the resulting attention has not gone unnoticed by his employers.
"This Endeavor Air pilot’s decision to return to the gate in this special circumstance is a great reflection of the human touch we want all Delta customers to experience when flying with us," a Delta spokesperson said in a statement.
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The Short family has been deeply touched by the pilot’s act of humanity, and is unable to thank him enough.
“This Pilot deserves more praise than my family can give him,” Nicole Short, the daughter of the deceased stated. “[I] hope others reading this will think twice and spread more kindness around.”