For four months the Drake family watched their mother and loving wife Dolores slip away. On January 24th, her family knew she only had about 24 hours left, and they began to prepare their goodbyes.
"It got critical those last months, and finally she just couldn't fight it anymore," her tearful husband Jimmy said.
But as they surrounded her Lubbock hospital bed, someone was missing. More than a thousand miles away in San Francisco, Dolores' son Kerry was frantically trying to find his way to her.
"I called my brother on the 24th and told him that mom was in bad shape and she probably wouldn't make it much longer," Kerry's brother Marty said.
By some miracle, he found a United Airlines flight to Houston and a connecting flight to Lubbock. Little did he know, the miracles were just beginning.
"The flight from San Francisco was delayed by 30 minutes and he only had a 40 minute layover. He was pretty sure he would miss it and that was the last flight to Lubbock that night," Marty said.
Devastated, Kerry began to think he would not be there in his mother's final moments. That's when the flight attendants started to talk, and word got around to the captain.
Arriving late to Houston, Kerry ran as fast as he could but in the back of his mind he knew he had missed the flight. Then he heard a voice from up above. "Mr. Drake, we've been expecting you," the gate agent called out.
The captain of his first flight had radioed to Houston telling them Kerry's story. The Lubbock crew waited held open their door until he made into his seat. "I could not believe the airline waited for him," Marty said."If he would have missed it, he wouldn't have been there by the time my mother passed away."
Landing in Lubbock around 8:30 p.m., Kerry rushed to the hospital where he met his family around Dolores' bed.
"It means a lot because at a time like that you want everyone around and it almost didn't happen," Jimmy said with tears in his eyes.
It's a moment that could never be replaced; a son saying his last goodbyes to his loving mother all made possible from a flight crew that took kindness to a new height.
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