Southwest Holds Plane For Grandfather Of Slain Boy

Mark Dickinson Was Flying From LA To Denver

A grandfather is thanking Southwest Airlines after they held a plane so he could try to see his 2-year-old grandson before the boy died.

Caden Rogers was rushed to the hospital at 12:30 a.m. last Wednesday, Jan. 5, and put on life support. According to an arrest affidavit, his mother's boyfriend threw him across the room and his head was slammed against a bed.

His grandfather, Mark Dickinson, was on a business trip in California when he learned the news about his grandson. He rushed to Los Angeles International Airport and arrived two hours early for his Southwest Airlines flight to Denver.

However, the security lines were so long Dickinson was late for his flight.

"I was panicking because I was running late and I didn't think I was going to make the flight," said Dickinson. "That's all I was thinking about, 'I'm going to miss the flight.' It was sad and I felt anxious because I didn’t know what would happen if I missed the flight."

Dickinson said airport employees would not let him cut into the security line.

"They were of the opinion that it didn't matter what my situation was, I needed to go like everybody else," said Dickinson.

Dickinson said after he got through security, he was so rushed, he grabbed his shoes and ran through the terminal in his socks.

When Dickinson arrived at his gate, he asked if the plane had left.

"They said, 'Are you Mark Dickinson?' And I said, 'Yeah,'" Dickinson explained. "And they said, 'Well, we’re holding the plane for you.'"

Dickinson said the pilot was standing by the jetway waiting for him, saying he was sorry for the loss of Dickinson's grandson.

He said the pilot told him, "They can't go anywhere without me and I wasn’t going anywhere without you. Now relax. We’ll get you there. And again, I’m so sorry.”

Dickinson's wife, Nancy, had called the airline asking them to hold the plane.

Travel/airline blogger Christopher Elliott, who originally posted the story, said the plane was held for 12 minutes.

"Southwest can turn an entire plane around in about 20 minutes, so 12 minutes is half an eternity," explained Elliott.

Dickinson said he wanted to thank the pilot after the flight, but he was already gone.

"I would just tell him that I can’t tell him how grateful I am that he did that for me," Dickinson said.

Caden was surrounded by his grandfather, his mother, and other family members when his life support was pulled. He was pronounced dead at 9:20 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 6. His family told 7NEWS that Caden's parents chose to donate his organs, helping more than 25 people.

Theodore Madrid, the boyfriend of Caden's mother, has been arrested in the case.