After a weekend filled with wild weather across the country, and flight delays or cancellations at several key airports, passengers seem to be getting home in time for Christmas. More than 1,200 Christmas Eve travelers flew into Gulfport Biloxi International Airport Monday. And most of them stepped off planes and into the waiting arms of loved ones.
Donna Mulhearn was admittedly antsy about getting to the airport and picking up her son.
"I got a ticket on the way over here," she laughed.
The Picayune woman was like so many anxious parents. They all had cell phones to talk with their loved ones once their planes landed. And they had cameras to capture the moment they reached Gulfport Biloxi International Airport's waiting area.
Mulhearn's reunion with her son was special because, "I haven't seen him in what, four or five years."
The Cox family got the award for most elaborate welcome home celebration. They had balloons and a homemade sign.
"Oh it means everything," Laura Cox said.
The mother of four was must minutes away from seeing her husband.
"This is what we've been waiting for."
Cox and her children hadn't seen Curt Cox in 310 days, since the Marine got sent to Japan. Curtis Cox is the Marine's 11-year-old son.
"We've listened to too many sad songs, and we cried a little bit. But we're happy," he said.
When passengers started to approach the security gate, Donna Mulhearn's face was up against a window.
"That's him. That's him. Here he comes," she shouted.
Finally, the moment came that had cameras flashing, hearts pounding, and tears flowing. Mulhearn hug and kissed her son.
Danny Carr looked at her and said, "It's been a little while."
Mulhearn's Christmas was made. She was with her son again.
A few minutes later, a surprised seven-year-old spotted a sister she hadn't seen in a year. As the two embraced, her dad asked if the younger child liked her present.
"Should we send it back?" Mike Cowdrey wondered.
The girl said, "No" with a big grin on her face. Her older sister loved being a Christmas present.
"It's awesome. It's worth every minute," she said.
As for the Cox family, Curtis Cox saw Dad first.
"Oh my God," he exclaimed.
Little Jadyn then yelled, "Daddy."
And at 11:30, the Cox family's Christmas present arrived. Kaitlyn Cox dashed toward the security door.
"Daddy," she screamed.
The Marine hugged his children. He embraced his wife.
"I wasn't expecting the news crew along with the homecoming. But it's nice. Thank you," he said.
It was Christmas Eve. And the Cox family was all together.
"Let's go home," Mom said.