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Southwest Airlines Community

Employee Stories: Paying It Forward


Paying it forward occurs when the beneficiary of a good deed repays the kindness to others instead of the original samaritan. The theory holds that the consequent rippling effect will change the world for the better. Southwest Airlines Employees are keenly aware that in addition to our very livelihood, everything we love about our work is made possible by our Southwest Customers. In fact, “Deposits Made Possible By Your Southwest Customers,” is written in bold on every single paycheck. Without a doubt, we have much to be thankful for, and in addition to providing Legendary Customer Service, we strive to express our gratitude by paying it forward every chance we get. No stranger to spreading goodwill is Southwest Customer Ron Tyson of Tampa, Florida. Ron was visiting his grandmother in her nursing home one day and took notice that she proudly displayed several greeting cards in her room from loved ones sending warm thoughts her way. Ron conversely observed that some residents neither received cards, mail, nor visits from loved ones.  Distraught, he called upon his Facebook friends to make cards for these folks, and from this endeavor “Bring Smiles to Forgotten Seniors” was born. Onboard his Southwest flight last week, Ron asked his Crew if he could pass out cards for other Customers to fill out during the flight. What happened next was a true instance of the rippling effect of paying it forward.  The Flight Attendants agreed and collaborated enthusiastically in their usual spirits. In an act of sharing the love for our Crew, Ron tweeted out kudos to them, and the Social Care Team at Headquarters received the tweet. They followed the link from his profile and rapidly learned about his program. Next thing we knew, we were crafting greeting cards for seniors we’d never even met and having a blast in the undertaking. What will you do in observance of Pay it Forward Day—buy coffee for someone else, pay a stranger’s toll, or donate to a worthy cause?  If bringing a smile to a forgotten senior with a thoughtful greeting card is your cause, we know a kindhearted gentleman in Tampa who would love to deliver the envelope. Ron works with civic organizations and schools to have the cards filled out and delivered to Tampa Bay Area nursing homes. He aims to expand into hospice and Meals on Wheels. For more information on his growth and fundraising efforts, or if you’re interested in sending a card, visit