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Employee Stories: A Flight to Remember

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I can’t quit thinking about my flight from this past weekend. It all started with a reroute out of Spokane, WA (where I had a reservation to rent a car to go hiking with my flight crew in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.) Well, that didn’t happen! I know, I know ... they always say, “if you plan something, you will get rerouted.” But, I will keep planning, because I have to and because my heart was born for adventure. “Two more flights,” the Scheduling Department said….”to Boise and to Denver.” And, oh by the way….”These customers have been waiting for 4 and a half hours to go to Boise because of a broken plane.” We were a bit disappointed but my flight crew and I pressed forward. As I was getting drink orders on my very quick 43 minute flight, I noticed three ladies dressed in really pretty dresses. I immediately asked if they were going somewhere special and the one on the aisle blurted out, “We just missed my son’s wedding!”Oh. My. Goodness. My heart just about dropped and she instantly burst into tears. While holding her close and letting her cry on my shoulder, I told her she could come back to the galley at any moment for another hug. Moments later, amidst sloshing drinks and throwing peanuts, I had a plan in mind. I wanted to help turn her rough day into a positive one. wingSo, moments later, after finding out her name and her son and daughter-in-laws names, I preceded to the front of the aircraft. “Ladies and Gentleman, we have a very special lady on the plane today. Barbara missed her son’s wedding today. Being that we are the “LUV Airline” here at Southwest, we want to get each of you to share a little LOVE with her and her family. If you could write down some marriage advice for the newly married couple, Justin and Candice we would so appreciate it! We will be by shortly to pass out pens and napkins for you all to write on.” The smiles from the rows and rows of people before me just about melted my heart. They were so excited to help out and make a difference in a strangers life. I should have known, as we at Southwest Airlines have the best customers in the industry, in my own opinion, of course! My customers wrote the most encouraging and kind things for the newlyweds: “Never go to bed angry”flight attendant “Learn to compromise” “Keep God as the center of your relationship” ~Robin, married 36 years “Dance in the kitchen” “Go on lots of dates and watch lots of movies” ~Jaren, Age 8 “Make each other laugh” “Marriage is like a Southwest Flight. Sometimes turbulent and sometimes smooth. But all in all we have great landings.” ~Susan, married 42 years We then presented these words of love to Barbara to give to her son at the reception that she was trying to make! I’ll never forget this day on the plane. It was a short flight, but it was a memorable one. This story has reminded me to stop and notice people more ... to be present in the moment. So all in all, did I miss hiking in the panhandle of Idaho? Nah, not at all. Seeing Barbara and her family smile made all the difference!