01/02/2016 05:03 EST | Updated 01/02/2016 07:59 EST

Delta Airlines Pilot Turns Plane Around So Family Won't Miss Dad's Funeral

It was Ray Short's last wish to be buried in his hometown, and his family almost missed it.

A Delta airlines pilot is being hailed for his decision to pull a last-minute U-turn for a family desperate to make their father's funeral.

Marcia Short and her three children were travelling from Phoenix to Memphis, Tenn., on Dec. 19 to bury her husband in his hometown. Ray Short, 56, had died of cancer a few days earlier.

However, the family's initial flight out of Phoenix was delayed by an hour and a half, and they missed their connection from the airport in Minneapolis as a result, Marcia wrote on her daughter's Facebook page.

"My sisters and mom... they're sitting there in tears and I'm screaming through the glass."

They arrived at the gate to see their plane — the last of the day — heading for the runway without them. Ray's funeral was the following morning.

"The [Delta Airlines employee] got on the phone and said there was nothing they could do, that the tower wasn't going to let them pull back in. My sisters and mom... they're sitting there in tears and I'm screaming through the glass," son Rick Short told FOX 10 News in Phoenix on Friday.

"[But] all of a sudden, another phone call."

Somehow, pilot Adam Cohen had seen the commotion at the gate and made the decision to turn the packed plane around so the family could board.

The family made it to Memphis to fulfill Ray's last wish, and Marcia said that was "a gift" no one else could give.

"Thank you from the bottom of our hearts, and may you be blessed ten-fold," she wrote online.

The pilot, who flies with Delta's Endeavor Air, made the bold decision entirely on his own, according to ABC News.

"This is something we’ll take with us, knowing we made a difference," Cohen told the outlet. "Little moments like this to us are big to these customers — but at the end of the day, it also keeps us going."

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