It’s not often that you hear about a plane making a U-turn. It’s even more rare that the plane does so to pick up passengers who arrived at the gate too late to make it onto their flight. However, the Short family is extremely thankful to be one of these rare cases.

According to Independent, the family was on their way to their father’s funeral in his hometown in Tennessee. 56-year-old Jay Short passed away due to lung cancer in December, and the family was traveling from Phoenix with a connection in Minneapolis.

The Short family departed their city of origin after a 90-minute delay, though, so their connection in became tight — too tight, in fact, to make their second flight before the gate closed. The family finally arrived only to have airport staff tell them that it was too late, and that the control tower wouldn’t let the plane turn around.

The Delta Air Lines plane was the last traveling to Tennessee that day; the heartbroken family was in tears, thinking they would miss the funeral. As Rick Short told Fox 10: “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, and my sisters and mom [were] sitting there in tears and I’m screaming through the glass.”

Luckily, the pilot was able to see the family; he realized that they probably wouldn’t make it to Tennessee on time for the funeral, and decided to head back to the gate. Says Nicole Wibel, “we are very, very thankful to those pilots.”

According to the Daily Mail, the family committed the pilot’s badge identification numbers to memory: “Pilots Adams and Anderson of flight DL 3955 on December 19, 2015 from MPLS-St Paul to Memphis on Delta Airlines have blessed my family and gave us a gift that no one else could,” said Marcia Short. For the rest of us, this heart-warming story gave a big bump to our “faith in humanity” meters.

(Image via Shutterstock.)