Employees are the Heart of our business at Southwest. They help us connect People to what’s important in their lives through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel. We know from our 2017 fall campaign that behind every seat is a story, but there’s also a story behind every Employee across the system. SMF Ops Agent Jay Thomas and DEN First Officer Mike McGee are no exceptions.
At the age of one, Jay was adopted. He always knew that he had blood relatives somewhere and had a desire to meet them. Jay began his career with Southwest in 1998. Three years ago, he had the opportunity to meet his brother and discovered then that he also had a half-sister whose son flew another airline. Jay’s nephew, DEN First Officer Mike McGee, began his career at Southwest in summer 2017 and their fateful meeting became a reality this past October when Jay heard about his nephew’s new job at the Company.
After Mike completed his Pilot training, a Family Member reminded him that he had a distant uncle that worked for Southwest. OAK Captain Michael Butler was aware of Jay’s story and was flying with Mike one day when he mentioned that he “might be related to someone who works at the SMF Airport.” The next morning when Mike returned to the airport, the SMF Team sprang into action and arranged for another Ops Agent to work Jay’s flight so he could be available to meet Mike. As Mike walked down the jet bridge to get on the plane, he saw someone that looked exactly like one of his other uncles. It was Jay, overwhelmed with emotions, running down the jet bridge to meet his nephew for the first time.
“I got goosebumps. It’s weird because my brother is my only blood relative that I've met so being able to meet my nephew was a special moment. He is funny, nice, and has a good head on his shoulders,” Jay said.
The following trip to Sacramento, Mike had the opportunity to meet Jay’s entire family. “It was an unforgettable experience, and I hope to see a lot more of them in the future,” Mike said. This summer, Jay and his wife are planning to take a trip to Denver to meet more of his extended family. Mike and Jay have also promised to see each other more often.
All of our Employees at Southwest contribute to the Company in a unique way. Our Employees each have their own story—that’s what makes Southwest Airlines such a special place to work.