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Don't Knock a Green Cake 'til You've Had One.

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I'd say it crept up on me, but I'd be fibbing. I've been looking forward to this for a while, and I'm using it as an excuse to make my Grandma Betty's Chocolate-Pistachio bundt cake. On an upcoming day in September, I'll mark my 15th anniversary with Southwest Airlines, nearly all of it in my current position as an "Ops" Agent. People who work in Operations generally are internal transfers--that is to say, not too many people hire directly into the job. Having talked to many people over the years who have considered working in our area, the two things most new folks are a little intimidated by are "the math" and "making announcements." I'll tell you this--I've met very few people in my life who are completely unable to speak out loud. Everyone does it every day. But there's something about putting a microphone in someone's hand and asking them to talk that can really freeze people up. My advice--just relax, take a breath, talk in a normal voice (please--no screaming--the volume is the microphone's job), and remember that you've been talking since you were one or two, which is way longer than you've been doing math. The "math" part involves the preflight and final computations of the weight and balance of the aircraft. When I started, it was all done by hand on a worksheet that we used carbon paper with--the original went to the Pilot, and one copy went in our  station's files. Even doing the simplest calculations while someone is watching you and you're pushing time constraints to ensure an ontime departure can be stressful. Now, we use computers to complete our paperwork, so the "math" end of things has changed quite a bit. But thinking about math makes me think about numbers, and I have friends who will tell you I'm a little weird about that. So I thought I'd throw a few "numbers" out there--based on my "average" work week. In 15 years in Ops, I figure I've... ...worked nearly 19,000 flights. That's 19,000 times that I've picked up that microphone and talked about open seating, preboarding, and carryons. To those of you who listened, thank you. To the guy in the front of the "A" boarding group who never pays attention and tries to talk louder than me--really--the speech doesn't take that long, and not everyone has heard it. To those who have heard me sing my announcements--remember, this is my day job. ...greeted, said goodbye to, or thanked almost 4 million Customers (inbound and outbound). To those who speak back - THANK YOU! You really make my day! ...handled about 9,000 baby items--strollers, carseats, and baby carriers. As I get older, strollers get bigger--what's up with that? (I'll be so happy when Jeep makes an umbrella stroller.) To my fellow agents in MCO and TPA--I know you'd easily be tripling that number. ...given out around 7 dozen bottles of champagne to Customers celebrating marriages and other occasions. Given out much less advice. I've also broken my ankle in two places, had to take eight stitches in my right hand and two in my left, participated in seven serious medical incidents, and been spit up on three times. What I can't put a number to, though, is how many times my Coworkers and Customers have made me smile, or laugh, or turned a bad day into a good one. That's how five years easily became ten, and ten quickly became 15. For that, more than anything, I'm grateful. Well, that and Grandma Betty's cake.
11 Comments
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Congrats to your 15 years. As a frequent Southwest flyer out of MCO, I have seen a lot of abuse to the ops agent by "pre-boarders" and late arrivals. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you and all other Ops Agents for your patience and preserverence and maintaining that Southwest friendly attitude. I'm one of those who likes to be in the front of the "A" line. Hey, I like the exit row seats. I always say thank you to the agent and let them know that they are appreciated. All of you Ops Agents should get together and write a very interesting book about your experiences. But, I'm sure some of your experiences can't be put in print.
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Congratulations, Mary! *Has a party, throws confetti, & passes out drinks, candy corn, Just Plane Crackers, & peanuts.* How many boarding passes have you collected/scanned? How many steps have you walked? 🙂 Have you ever used the quadratic formula? Ha, ha! 🙂 x=negative b + or - the square root of b squared - 2ac over 2a. I can't type it out on the computer how it actually looks. The formula isn't as hard as it sounds. No, Math was not my major (or minor) in college, but I can't remember half of what I learned in College Algebra because I don't use it! Thanks for another great post! SWA LUV to all, & to all a good flight!
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Recipe? Thanks!
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Congrats on your service. I've had the opportunity to have a green cake and it is wonderful! Had a young man live with me for the summer, he was from West Texas and requested a pistachio bundt cake for his birthday. He wrote home and asked his mom for the recipe - I looked at the ingredients and said to myself "there is no way my kids are gonna eat this." It is perhaps the best cake I've ever tasted...and now that you've brought it up....I think I'll have to make it. His has cinnamon swirled through it...I'd love to try it with chocolate! Enjoy making the cake - enjoy eating it and congrats. Jenny Frasco
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Oh, I forgot the cake! *Passes out cake.* I'm curious as to what made you decide to become an Ops Agent. I certainly appreciate your hard LUVing work! :) P.S. I've had stitches, too, & used crutches.
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Mary - another great blog posting. Congrats on your 15 years and heres to at least 15 more!! Cheers! James MDW FA
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Email the recipe please! It sounds delicious. The production of this cd was made possible from donations from viewers like you. Ding! boy Joe
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So do we get to see a picture of this cake?
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Mary, What a great blog post! Knowing you and your infectious brand of humor and good-natured positive attitude, it is very evident that you have greatly increased the enjoyment level for passengers traveling through STL. I wish I had known you back when I was traveling that direction, although I'm sure that I've heard your announcements before we'd met. I have my own fond memories of Lambert -- the views out the window of the Southwest terminal are great for us plane watchers, and one of the absolute best shoe shine places I've ever found in the country is the stand just to the right of security across from the shop that sells golf apparel. Hopefully, the three times you were the recipient of an oral discharge, the source was from a baby, as that is a bit easier to forgive... Keep up the outstanding work up there, congratulations on 15 years and best wishes for many more! Kim External Blog Boy P. S. Back in college, our dorm cafeteria served Green Cake. And Green Meat. And Green Bread. And a number of other dishes in a variety of shades of Green. We never requested the recipes. When faced with those selections, ignorance was the preferred path. 🙂
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To my "Baby" Sister: It's difficult to tell you how incredibly proud I am of you! 15 years at anything is amazing! I have very fond memories of a child that had an attention span of about 3 minutes and it was on to the next adventure. Your adventures at Southwest have brought hours of hilarious stories every time you manage to bring them home! Just want to use this to tell you that we all love you and miss you! Keep up the terrific job that you do! Love ya and talk to ya soon!! Your "Biggest" Sister P.S. - I had NO idea you still have Grandma's recipe!-Come on - share the love!
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I also hit 15 in September. CONGRATS!!! I even forgot my anniversary until my Sup called in me to give me my pin and watch. WOW! Time flies when you are having fun. When we got hired you were either a late 19 or a very early 20 and now they are in the mid 85. It has been a great ride so far and I look forward to another 15!