I remember my start with Southwest vividly. I was hired in July of 2001 as a Customer Service Agent in Oakland, California. We were celebrating our 30th anniversary, and every day seemed to bring a new treat. Who knew that going to work could be so much FUN?
It was pure excitement learning the ins and outs of Customer Service—Southwest Style. I spent several weeks training at my station, and then two weeks at HDQ fine-tuning my skills and being captivated by the Southwest Culture. I returned energized and ready to put everything I’d learned into practice. I just knew I could check in 137 people all by myself—ah those plastic boarding passes. The only thing left to complete? Baggage Service Training, scheduled for 9/11/2001.
It would be impossible to represent 2001 without mentioning 9/11. In a few catastrophic moments, airline travel in the United States was forever altered. Almost immediately, all of the policies and procedures I had spent six weeks learning began to change. I quickly realized my New Hire training days were over, no Baggage Service Training for me. I recall coming into work in the days following 9/11, and everyone being immersed in training for the new security procedures. We all had to pull together to keep Southwest flying.
In the months after 9/11, I truly began to appreciate the gift I had been given when I was hired at Southwest. I realized I had gained a new Family. We worked together, we played together, and we shared a common goal. It was our mission to continue to give America “the Freedom to Fly”, with each of us striving to make that happen daily. I was inspired to do more, to be more, to give more of myself to my new Family, and so with just seven months under my belt, I promoted to Customer Service Supervisor (CSS). I spent five rewarding years as a CSS (even a year as a Baggage Service Supervisor) before utilizing my Freedom to move about the Company and promoting into my current role as an Inflight Supervisor.
That's me with my son at my Inflight graduation.
I am proud to say that becoming a Leader at Southwest is the best decision I’ve ever made. As Leaders, we are encouraged to do the right thing, to follow The Golden Rule, to lead by example, to be innovative, to embrace change, and continue to grow. Such simple concepts, but they truly work. I am empowered to make difficult decisions, and have the Freedom to do the right thing to assist our Customers and our Employees. I have been lucky to serve both our External and our Internal Customers in my nine years as a Leader, and I’d like to believe that I’ve made a difference in many lives. I know that each and every person I’ve had the pleasure to work with or assist has touched mine.
Our OAK Inflight Base Team
I look forward to continuing my fantastic ten-year ride, and to celebrating 40 amazing years of Southwest.