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Another Piece of Southwest Airlines LUV Mail

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As a Correspondent on the Outreach Team in Culture Services here at Southwest Airlines, my primary responsibility is to read and respond to all the compliments (fondly referred to as “LUV Mail”) that we receive.  I never tire of reading these stories and ensuring sure that proper acknowledgement is given to the Employee(s) being commended.

Written directly to Gary Kelly, the following e-mail is from Doug Ulman, CEO and President of the Lance Armstrong Foundation (best known by their rally cry “LIVESTRONG”).  But when you read Doug’s touching story and learn about his experiences with Southwest Airlines, I think you’ll find that his words of gratitude and admiration are not for Gary alone, but for every Southwest Warrior.  You see, by simply “taking care of business” and practicing what we call “Living the Southwest Way,” we have become widely recognized as a Company that delivers Positively Outrageous Service—and an example for countless other organizations and businesses.   We couldn’t be prouder of our Employees who use that influence for good!

All in all, while the following tribute is well-deserved by the hardworking People of Southwest, it is also an uplifting story that anyone can benefit from reading.  We’re so glad that Doug shared it with us so that we, in turn, can share it with you.  Enjoy and don’t forget to share your own story with us by submitting a compliment via (simply click “Contact Us” and then “E-mail Us”).  I look forward to reading your LUV Mail soon!

Dear Gary,

I wanted to send you a personal note and let you know how much of an impact SWA has had on my life. Ever since the time of my first cancer diagnosis more than 13 years ago SWA has been a key partner in my life. At that time I was able to fly back and forth between my hometown of Baltimore and Providence where I was in school at Brown University. SWA allowed me the freedom to fly and the ability to see my doctors at Johns Hopkins regularly without missing many classes.

SWA has also allowed me to conquer my massive fear of flying. Ever since an emergency landing on another carrier when I was 12 years old I have feared flight. And yet, I typically fly several times each week thanks to the friendly, compassionate and passionate staff at SWA. I have developed great friendships with many SWA team members including flight attendants who have told me their own cancer story, pilots who have shared their love of fitness and cycling, and many others who have just provided such incredible customer service.

The culture you have built is phenomenal and my colleagues and I are enormous fans of your company. Everyone at LIVESTRONG believes in the value of creating a culture of service and we admire greatly all that you, Herb, Colleen and the tens of thousands of SWA team members have done over the years for so many others. We follow in your footsteps each and every day in order to create one of the best places to work.

I want to thank you for allowing me to have the best job in the world and making my quality of life much better even though I am still a very nervous flyer.

We are changing the way the world fights cancer and Southwest Airlines is helping us accomplish our goals.

Thank you and I hope you like the short video that we created for you on a recent SWA flight.

Please share it with the pilots, crew, flight attendants, gate agents, maintenance team, and the entire Southwest family so that they will know how much we appreciate them.

Simply put - LIVESTRONG LUVs Southwest.


Doug Ulman
President / CEO
Lance Armstrong Foundation