The reason I work for Southwest Airlines may not seem conventional, but it's because of my Mom. My cousin worked for Southwest and his Mom flew free, and my Mom wanted to fly free, too. She brought me the application to fill out; I did so, then awaited an interview with San Antonio Reservations.
I was close to being a 1984 hire; I even got the official offer in December of that year. But, I didn't start work until January. I was among the first Reservations Agents to be hired in a long time. Training in January is no fun, especially after a bad snow storm (especially rare for San Antonio). I fought my way to work at 4 a.m. in treacherous conditions. In those days, Reservations was part of Ground Ops, and not a separate department. 1985 was the first year Reservations went to its current (and soon-to-be revamped) SAAS program. It was a big step for our operations.
My first standby trip was to Chicago right after we had opened service there. I went to an Italian Fest at Navy Pier. Getting a chance to look at the operation we had taken over that year was really wild. We’ve come a long way!
My finest Southwest memory came Christmas Eve in 1988. I was a CSA in Corpus Christi and staged a marriage proposal to my girlfriend, and fellow CSA, Becki Rich. In the cockpit of one of our overnight aircraft, we agreed to become another Southwest Family.
Southwest is everything that I have, and everything I am. Everything I've been able to provide to my family I owe to Southwest. Every time I talk about 40 years of LUV, I tend to get choked up. I was privileged, in 2010, to be honored with the Founder's Award, the Company's highest. Herb presented it to me for receiving more than 500 external commendations, and as he said, "Not counting the letters from my Mom and Dad."
My Mom was able to fly free, and thanks to her, I have had the Freedom to work with the best people in the business.