Delta pilot makes unprecedented decision, turns plane around for family in need
Marcia Short and her children were devastated. They'd just been informed by airport workers that they wouldn't be able to board their flight — the gate had closed. Reality set in for the family; in missing their flight to Tennessee, they would also be missing the funeral of Jay Short, Marcia's husband.
Jay Short passed away in December 2015 after a battle with lung cancer, ABC News reports. His wife and children would travel from Arizona to attend his funeral in Memphis, Tenn., but a flight delay severely complicated their plans. They arrived at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport with mere minutes to make their connecting flight to Memphis, but when they arrived at the gate it was too late.
Nicole Short-Wibel and her sister burst into tears. Marcia and her son waved their arms in hopes of attracting the pilot's attention. "My son and I are waving our arms at the pilots and the ground crew as my two daughters are crying their eyes out. We are pleading for them to not take off," she told ABC News.
Then, like a scene out of a movie, the plane began to turn around. Capt. Adam Cohen spotted the distraught family from a distance and with one glance he knew they were going through something. He made the unprecedented decision to turn the plane around, effectively ignoring the scheduled takeoff time.
Cohen was not reprimanded for his actions, nor did Delta question his decision. A spokesperson for the company told ABC News: "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."
"This is something we’ll take with us, knowing we made a difference," Cohen remarked after the fact.
Marcia and her children boarded the plane and made Jay's funeral in time. Cohen's gesture is likely one that the family will never forget.