More than 40 years ago, a young lawyer named Herb Kelleher sat at the bar of the St. Anthony’s hotel in San Antonio and took on the crazy idea of creating an airline. San Antonio is the birthplace of Southwest Airlines, both in concept and as one of the original cities in our Texas Triangle—it's clear that our roots are deep in the heart of this Texas Town.
Then, in 1981, more than ten years after the birth of Southwest, Southwest opened our second Reservations call center to provide even more Positively Outrageous Customer Service to the thousands of Customers who wanted to fly our airline.
Now fast forward to the year 2012. I'm excited to share with you today that those deep roots have generated new growth here in San Antonio, and our local CS&S Employees have moved into our new San Antonio Center (SC). While we know it can be hard to leave a home after more than 30 years, the new SC is a bright, updated facility with 60,000 square feet of open space for more than 800 Employees.
To celebrate this new Center, Gary and I visited the location, spent time with our Employees and city officials, and participated in a press conference and a traditional ribbon-cutting a la Southwest. We even recreated a special moment from the dedication of the original Center—take a look at the then and now photos to see if you can identify anyone ...
April 14, 1981: SRC Reservations Agent Lisa King, Original SRC Center Leader Carl Warrell, San Antonio Mayor Lila Cockrel, Herbie, Judge Albert Bustamante, Southwest President Howard Putnam, Southwest Vice President Bill Franklin.
June 11, 2012: SC Facilitator Rosemary Kitten, SC Center Leader Christal Campbell, San Antonio City Manager Sheryl Sculley, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, Gary, Judge Nelson Wolff, Senior Vice President Customer Services Teresa Laraba, and Director Culture Activities Cheryl Hughey.
As you can see from the "then and now," there are many things that have changed in the 30 years since we opened the San Antonio Reservations Center. But Southwest Airlines’ commitment to the City of San Antonio has not changed, and grows stronger every day. With more service, more jobs, and more LUV, it's exciting to see the bright future for our CS&S Employees in San Antonio! Welcome to your new home!
From Dawn: I have been working around the San Antonio Customer Support and Service Center for weeks and stressing over details with many others on my Team. We want to make sure we all know what we need to do in order to have everything ready for our big move to our new center.
I woke up this morning and looked at bruises on my legs from packing, listened to bones pop back in place and began to get dressed for yet another day of packing and looking through each nock and cranny making sure we didn't miss anything, and finding little treasures of our SC history along the way. Memorial plaques, mannequin head (no center should be without one), old photos and so much more ...
After coming back to the Old Center and everyone began going home I found myself alone for the first time today and all was quiet. As I sat in a very sparse office, It finally hit me, this is really happening. More than 23 years of driving the same route was soon coming to an end. I remember the first day I walked through the doors for my interview with Carolyn Bates. Judy England was the Center Admin and at the end of my interview told me I now needed to take a typing test to be considered for the job. I said, "No problem, please give me just a moment to prepare." I began tearing off my Lee Press on Nails! Yep, I knew I couldn't type fast in them and I wanted to work for Southwest, so I ripped them off! I'm really not sure if I passed the typing test or not that day, and have since depended totally on acrylic nails! Carolyn told Judy, "she’s hired!"
I can honestly say I have never regretted one day since I walked through those beautiful copper doors to my Southwest Family. My family has been there through Marriage, Baby Girl, divorce, illness, you name it they have been there, I truly am blessed ... so here I set reminiscing and realizing that I actually feel a tear running down my cheek as faces of those that have passed, retired, promoted to another city, etc flood my memory. Leaving this building is sad because our structure is unique, however, change is good and I am looking forward to making new memories with my family in our new home. So I raise my glass to you my friends and say, "God bless you for we have only just begun."