Ok...admit it...if you currently watch - or have ever watched - ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, you have cried (or sobbed...loudly) when the deserving family returns home from vacation and screams "MOVE THAT BUS" only to discover the home of their dreams. It's okay...we all do it...even my husband (sorry, Honey). But that's the beauty of the show. It's an emotional rollercoaster that illustrates the hardships of an extraordinary family living in dismal conditions and the dedication of hundreds of individuals who pull together and work tirelessly to build a dream house for the family in only seven days.
The show is especially close to my heart because I had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work with the show on several episodes over the past two years. Southwest is the official airline of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" and, as a result, we get the opportunity to be a part of the show by providing what ever they need to pull off the nearly impossible task of demolishing, rebuilding, and decorating a house in one week.
Think it's all a trick of fancy television editing? Well, I can tell you first hand that it really does happen in seven days and that it is the most amazing display of teamwork and human kindness I have ever witnessed.
Southwest's first experience with the show was building an airplane room with designer Paul DiMeo for a young boy. Southwest supplied the plane parts and Paul - assisted by nearly 20 Mechanics from our Oakland airport - supplied the design expertise. I'll admit that I questioned some of Paul's ideas (curtains made from peanut packets and wallpaper made up of hundreds of colorful shipping stickers), but it all turned out amazing thanks to our Mechanics and a handful of Flight Attendants and Pilots who also stopped by to lend a helping hand. It was the most exhausting and exhilarating week of my life.
Since that time, Southwest has been on site for several more shows - including using our Ramp Agents (and a belt loader) to assist with a move-in on Long Island, taking a hundred sick kids on a surprise trip to Disney World, and rebuilding a church in New Orleans following the aftermath of Katrina.
The show is unique in that it is the only reality show of its kind that pulls together an entire community to help a deserving family get back on their feet. Everyone from the designers, to the producers, to the film crew members are amazing individuals with big hearts and unstoppable resolve to work through whatever comes at them to get the job done. Reminds me a lot of my family here at Southwest.
We are so proud to be a part of this show and look forward to the new episodes ahead.