"It's very rare...someone stops and does something so kind," said Rick Short

By Tara Fowler
Updated January 02, 2016 03:20 PM
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Credit: MyNews4

A Delta Air Lines pilot is being praised for turning a plane back towards the gate to pick up a family who had missed their flight.

The Short family was on their way to Memphis, Tennessee, on Dec. 19 to bury their father, who died last month after a battle with cancer. But due to bad weather, their flight out of Phoenix, Arizona, was delayed, causing them to miss their connection in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

“I was just crying. I couldn’t believe we were going to miss that flight,” Short’s daughter, Nicole Webel, told Fox 10 Phoenix.

The plane was pulling away from the gate just as the family arrived. They begged the gate attendant to help them, but she said nothing could be done.

“The lady got on the phone and said there was nothing they could do, that the tower wasn’t going to let them pull back in,” said Rick Short. “My sisters and mom…[were] sitting there in tears and I’m screaming through the glass all of a sudden, another phone call.”

Rick Short had caught the attention of the pilot, who made a split-second decision: He turned the plane around and came back to the gate.

“It’s very rare…someone stops and does something so kind and we need more people like that in the world,” said Rick Short.

With the pilot’s help, the family made it to Memphis in time to lay their father to rest.

“We were very, very, very thankful for those pilots,” said Webel.