Tragedy can bring out compassion in people -- and companies, too.
As evidence, note that Southwest Airlines held a plane for the grandfather of two-year-old Caden Rodgers, allegedly killed by Theodore Madrid last week.
The story comes to us courtesy of consumer advocate Christopher Elliott, whose website, Elliott.org, focuses on travel issues. In a post yesterday, he shared the story of a reader he identified as Nancy, who wrote:
Last night, my husband and I got the tragic news that our grandson in Denver had been murdered by our daughter's live-in boyfriend.
He is being taken off life support tonight at 9 o'clock and his parents have opted for organ donation, which will take place immediately. Over 25 people will receive his gift tonight and many lives will be saved.
Problem was, Nancy's husband had been in Los Angeles on business. While arranging the flight for him, she told ticketing agent about the reason for the change -- and according to her, the agent was holding back tears throughout the call.
Nancy's husband arrived at LAX two hours early, but ticketing and security lines were so long that he arrived at the gate late. However, the plane was still there, for reasons she explains in the following passage:
When he got there, the pilot of his plane and the ticketing agent both said, "Are you Mark? We held the plane for you and we're so sorry about the loss of your grandson."
The pilot held the plane that was supposed to take off at 11:50 until 12:02 when my husband got there.
As my husband walked down the Jetway with the pilot, he said, "I can't thank you enough for this."
The pilot responded with, "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."
As Elliott points out, holding a plane for twelve minutes is an extraordinary act in this day and age. "Good work, Southwest!" he declares, and most of the over fifty commenters to his post echo this view.
In an Elliott.org update published earlier today, Nancy encourages readers to make a donation to Aurora's Ronald McDonald House in Caden's name. Elliott concludes, "I'm grateful to the readers of this site for their compassionate response to this case, and to Southwest Airlines and its principled pilot for holding the plane."
Below, find our original coverage of the Madrid case:
"Theodore Madrid to face more serious charge now that 2-year-old Caden Rodgers has died"
Earlier this week, Theodore Madrid, thirty, was booked on suspicion of felony child abuse after a toddler in his care was found in critical condition. Last night, the child, Caden Rodgers, died -- and the Aurora district attorney's office is already working on updating the charges against Madrid. Below, find the details courtesy of the Aurora Police Department, as well as a larger look at the suspect.
Aurora Police Department release, January 6:
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Crimes Against Children Unit Investigates Boyfriend for Child Abuse
Aurora, Colo. -- Crimes Against Children detectives took Theodore I. Madrid, 30, of Aurora into custody early Wednesday morning after a young child in his care was found with life-threatening injuries.
During the early morning hours of January 5, 2011, shortly after 12:30 a.m. patrol officers responded to a 911 call at an apartment in the 100 block of Dayton Street. Officers arrived and found Theodore Madrid, his girlfriend, and a toddler inside the apartment. The child, who was injured, was in critical condition and was transported to a local hospital by fire/rescue personnel.
During the course of investigation, officers developed probable cause to arrest Theodore Madrid for investigation of felony child abuse. Madrid was arrested and transported to the Aurora Detention Center. Crimes Against Children (CAC) detectives responded to the scene to take charge of the investigation.
Madrid is currently in the Arapahoe County Jail. His bond has been set at $500,000.
The CAC Unit has released Madrid's arrest photo, which has been sent with this news release.
Police are not releasing the name of the child.
This investigation remains active and on-going.
Aurora Police Department release, January 7:
Update -- Crimes Against Children Unit Investigates Boyfriend for Child Abuse
Aurora, Colo. -- The toddler that was taken to the hospital early Wednesday morning succumbed to his injuries last night. Two year old, Caden Rodgers, was pronounced dead at approximately 9:20 p.m.
Theodore I. Madrid is still being held in Arapahoe County jail. Detectives are working with the District Attorney's Office to update the charges and the bond.
If you have any further questions please contact Sergeant Cassidee Carlson 303-739-6616.