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Charlie's Wish

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I have worked for Southwest Airlines for about five and a half years and this was one of the best days of my career. When I was asked to help participate in a special project with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, I was thrilled.  As the weeks neared for their visit, we received information about our guest.

Charlie was from the San Francisco area and loved anything to do with transportation. He was going to spend the day touring Midway Airport after spending several days in the Chicago area touring other modes of transportation.  My task was to give Charlie a ride in one of our “push-backs” which is the tractor that pushes out our planes (seen below).


Prior to this, Charlie was given a tour of our operations room and the terminals. He had the chance to talk with the incoming pilots as they were called in for their gate assignments.  Knowing that Charlie would be coming out on the ramp area and would need a safety vest, I enlisted the help of fellow Ramp Agent, John Hansen, who designs logos on our safety vests. John drew some of Charlie’s favorite team logos and wrote Charlie’s name on the vest.  Charlie was thrilled.

Charlie Setup

Next it was time for Charlie to assist me in pushing out the plane. We set up our headset communications so Charlie would be able to talk with the pilot as we pushed out the plane. He seemed to enjoy it very much as he never stopped talking to the pilot. After the push, as we were backing up to park, all of our Customers on the plane waved out the window to Charlie to say goodbye.  Watching the joy on Charlie’s face as we pushed out the plane was one of the many highlights of my day.


Charlie also went into to the cockpit of a plane with a pilot and enjoyed a hands-on tour.  Later that day we visited the Air Traffic Control Tower and had lunch at the Chicago Fire Department.  Charlie’s day was capped off with a special ride in one of the Chicago Police Department’s helicopters.

Being a part of Charlie’s day at Midway will always be a great memory. Knowing that I was able to be part of giving joy and happiness to a great kid like Charlie is an awesome feeling and made for one of my best days working for Southwest Airlines.  Charlie’s dream had come true, and what 12-year-old could possibly say they got to push back a Boeing 737-700?

Engine Well

New Arrival
AWESOME job with the story Pete! Glad to see everything come to fruition! This was an awesome story!!!
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Thank you, Pete. A nice story about a special boy. An example of the LUV philosophy at work.
Active Member
Another reason for me to LUV if I needed any more ;-) Paul In CRP
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Just another reason I am so PROUD to work for Southwest Airlines!!!!!
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That's why I LUV this company!
New Arrival
Great job and congrats to everyone involved in Charlie's special day. Pay it forward.
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Great job Pete.....I hope to have this opportunity one day on the ramp.
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Great story. I LUV SWA.
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That's why I fly southwest!!! they people r great...
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Southwest is the BEST!
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You are all Charlie's Angels.
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What a truly wonderful story. Southwest is our fave airline and we wouldn't fly anything else (well, unless they didn't fly there). Great going Pete - you certainly helped make his wish come true.
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That is the sweetest thing.... What a great story!!
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Amazing day for everyone involved, it makes me LOVE Southwest even more.
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Thank you so much for sharing this story. I am Vice President of Medi-Mex, Inc., an organization that builds houses, performs community outreach and helps provide medical equipment and other items to a clinic in Mexico. Over the past 22 years Southwest's Luv program has helped us bring children to Chicago for medical treatment. The employees and management of Southwest are to be congratulated for their generosity and dedication to those in need. God bless all of you!
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Its very difficult to fulfill any ones wish if any one can do it its god but swa has shown if there is will there is way,only air line to treat guests with true meaning as god.salute.
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This is why I fly Southwest! 🙂 Great job!
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Now with such a busy schedule a little boy's dream came true. May God Bless everyone involved and may your dreams come true as this young child's did. This is why I love my job at SWA and would never want any other type of work if doesn't pertain to SWA--Love You all.
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Awesome! when you give, you always get so much more back!
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I love SWA! You folks give back so much! You really have made a difference in this little guys life! You made a very special difference in mine too! 🙂
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Thanks Southwest for making Charlie's Make-A-Wish, it was a touching story to read. Our daughter will be getting a wish next year after her cancer treatments so we follow these wonderful stories and support those that support Make-A-Wish.
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This is the kind of story that we love to hear about here on facebook..God will Bless each of you for making this young boys dream come true..God Bless you and yours..cousin pAT
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LUV SWA!! I can only imagine how big that little boy's smiles are inside his heart!!! Not only did this child have his wish come true...he blessed many others!! We LUV SWA because of their "personal" attention.....and we also LUV them because they made our child's Christmas a couple of years ago by having SANTA send him a box full of SWA goodies and a personalized letter from Santa's helper!!! Our child is diagnosed with Autism....and has the "best Christmas ever" when he opened that box from SWA!!! Our family will be forever grateful!!! Yay for this family!!!!
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What a great story by this dedicated SW employee.
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Southwest employees are awesome! I would love to be one!
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I was lucky enough to be a passenger on that plane and have a chance to wave out the window to Charlie. What a cute kid. He was beaming! Thanks, Southwest.
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That is a great story. Its so awesome that you can do these things for kids who would never have a chance to see how the field works.
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I have the pleasure of working my full time job with the volunteer who worked with Charlie's family, Southwest, Amtrak, Midway Airport and the CFD to set up Charlies Great Travel Adventure. The Make-A-Wish volunteers work their butts off to grant the wishes, on their own time. Great Job, Donna!
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This is why I fly Southwest before any other airline. It's a company with a heart. Love this.
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So, so cool....Thanks, SWA!
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It so nice to hear good stories about people who care and in this case it was all of SW... Your are all great.
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Thank you God that I work for such a great company! The people in this company are so big hearted . There are many stories like this thru out the company...Thank you for sharing Charlie's story...Katie
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I remember working with John on the ramp. Awesome guy!
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So this was an awesome story, it made me cry. I am very happy that there are people out there that enjoy helping others, and even though I didn't get an opportunity to meet Charlie, I am very happy you made his day. Thank you to everyone who helps these children have a good time, even if it is just for a day!
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Beautiful story Pete! Thanks for sharing!
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- Even if there is someone who never hear, read or have been told about LUV - reading just this one single story will give them full understanding about spirit, value and beautiful hearts of everyone from SW big family. Thank you all!
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Charlie is my cousin! He is a great kid and I am sure he had a day he will never forget! Thanks Southwest for making it so obviously special for him. Great to see him and Uncle Joe in that last pic!
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Thanks for being a great person and a great company. Charlie is my cousin and I'm sure you made great memories for him and his family.