On Jan. 5, a grieving grandfather was rushing from Los Angeles to Denver so he could see the dying grandson he had never met. A Southwest Airlines pilot held the airplane 12 minutes so the grandfather could make the flight.

That simple act of kindness, first reported by travel writer Christopher Elliott on his blog, has generated enormous publicity for Southwest and the pilot, as the story has gone across the country and around the world.

“Pilot delays jet for man mourning murdered grandson,” said the Mirror in London.

“Pilot stops plane for grieving man,” said the Australian in Sydney.

“‘They can’t go anywhere without me and I wasn’t going anywhere without you’: Pilot delays plane so passenger can say farewell to his murdered grandson,” says the Daily Mail in London.

And consider these headlines from two Dutch newspapers: “Piloot houdt toestel aan grond voor opa stervend kind” and “Piloot houdt vliegtuig aan de grond zodat man afscheid kan nemen van stervend kleinkind.” Kind of says it all.

That doesn’t count all the stories that have run in the United States, including a number of blogs.

The death itself was very sad. Police allege the two-year-old was fatally injured when his mother’s boyfriend threw him across the room. The grandfather was able to arrive before the boy’s life support was turned off on the evening of Jan. 5.

Stories have noted that Southwest has identified the pilot who held the flight, but that he has asked that his name not be made public.

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