updated 1/14/2011 2:25:43 PM ET 2011-01-14T19:25:43

A Southwest Airlines pilot held a plane so that a passenger could get to Denver to see his dying grandson one last time, ABC News reported.

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Mark Dickinson was visiting Los Angeles when he received word that his 2-year-old grandson, Caden Rodgers, was going to be taken off life support.

The boy was rushed to the hospital on Jan. 5 with severe brain injuries and placed on life support after his mother's boyfriend allegedly threw him across the room. The boyfriend, 30-year-old Theodore Madrid, was arrested.

Dickinson, of Arizona, arrived at Los Angeles International Airport the next day two hours before his flight, but he was delayed by a long line at security. He told ABC News that Transportation Security Administration agents were not sympathetic to his situation.

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

"I was really panicking because I really didn't think I would make the flight."

Dickinson's wife called the airline and asked them to hold the plane.

After he passed through security, Dickinson grabbed his shoes and ran through the terminal in his socks.

The pilot, who refused to take off until Dickinson boarded, greeted Dickinson at the jetway after holding the plane an extra 12 minutes.

"I told him, 'Thank you so much. I can't tell you how much I appreciate that.' And he said, 'No problem. They can't leave without me anyway,'" Dickinson recalled.

Dickinson arrived in Denver in time to say goodbye to his grandson, who died later that evening.

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