KCPD Family Blessed by Southwest Airlines Employees
KCPD Family Blessed by Southwest Airlines Employees
On Thanksgiving morning 2016, while visiting my family in St. Louis, I was awoken at 6:45 a.m. by a phone call stating that my husband had been critically injured at work in Kansas City, Missouri. Being the wife of a Kansas City Police Officer, you never want to get a phone call like this.
I had arrived in St. Louis the day before with our youngest son so that we could spend extra time with family and my husband was set to drive in after his Thanksgiving night shift. The police Sergeant on the other end of the phone said that he was sending an officer over to my house to pick me up. When I told him that I was already in St. Louis for Thanksgiving, we agreed we needed a new plan.
I immediately started to panic as I did not have much information other than there had been a car accident and my husband was being transported to a local trauma center and I needed to get home as fast as I could. My first instinct was to pack up everything and drive my mom's car home to Kansas City. While on the phone with another police wife, she said, "No, let's get you a plane ticket. Get your things together and go to the airport, I will call the airlines and get things started."
Our phone call to Southwest was the beginning of exceptional kindness, patience, and empathy from everyone I came in contact with or talked with. The Representative who answered the phone for Southwest was very helpful and patient with setting up my reservation. She said she would wait on hold as long as we needed so that the officer's wife could get all of my information and relay it back to her. She didn't want us to hang up and call back … she said she would just wait. She was able to get me on the next flight back to Kansas City. She said she couldn't get me through TSA any faster, but offered to let others know of my story in hoped that they would be understanding of my situation. She stated that I should check in with the Gate Agent once I arrived. At the end of the conversation the phone Representative told the other police wife that she would be praying for our family and that she felt so bad that she was about to cry.
On the way to the airport I received a call to update me on my husband's status and I found out that he hadn’t been in a car accident; He had been struck by a car during a foot chase with robbery suspects. I was told he would need immediate surgery and that he was getting the best care possible.
After hanging up with the police department spokesperson, I realized that my phone was about to die. I was a nervous, crying wreck as we approached the airport. I made it through TSA check rather quickly and headed to my gate. Once at the gate, the Agent I checked in with said that they would allow me to preboard so that I could get a seat towards the front of the aircraft in order to make a swift exit in Kansas City.
Once I boarded the plane, the Flight Crew was extremely sensitive to my needs as I was still visibly shaken. They offered me a soda, brought me tissues, asked if I needed anything else. The Pilot came out and introduced himself as Bill. He said he was sorry to hear about what had happened and asked if he could do anything to help me. Of course, my first reply was, “Yes, let's get this plane in the air and get going.”
I could tell that he understood how anxious I was to get home. Bill squatted down to my eye level to talk to me and handed me tissues as I cried. I told him, my phone had not charged the night before, and I really needed it to keep in touch with the hospital and the officer who was picking me up in Kansas City. He immediately offered to try and charge my phone and said he would get us going as soon as he could get everyone loaded. At this point, Bill went from being the Pilot to being someone who genuinely cared about me and my husband.
As the last Passengers boarded the plane, the Gate Agent came onto the plane to check on me. He was very comforting as he told me he had already said a prayer for my husband and that he knew everything would work out okay. He hugged me before deplaning.
During the flight I was worried about so many things: my husband's injuries, my mom and sister traveling with our son by car to Kansas City, and what were the next few days, weeks, months going to look like? While the Flight Attendants were very attentive, the normally short flight seemed to last hours. Once we landed in Kansas City, Bill came out of the cockpit to say good-bye and handed me my fully-charged phone. He hugged me as I cried. He and the Flight Attendants offered words of encouragement as I ran up the jet bridge.
The Long Road Ahead
The KCMO police officer who picked me up said he had never seen a plane get to the gate and someone get off the plane as fast as I did. When I sat down in the police car I was told that my husband was already in surgery, and I wouldn't get to see him until he was out. The next few days were a blur and it seemed like a bad dream. Within our first few days in the hospital I received a message saying that the Southwest Crew wanted to know how my husband was doing. At that moment, I realized that these Southwest Employees genuinely cared about my husband and my family and we weren't just another Customer.
Unfortunately, in today's society we don't hear about the good things that happen in the community or the excellent Customer Service people receive. We only hear about the negative. No one was making the Southwest Employees do or say these nice things, no one was taping them or prompting them. They were just genuine people who truly cared and who touched my life. My husband and I have done nothing but praise the airline and the Crew for their exceptional deeds that day. My husband is on a long road to recovery and I would love for him to meet all of the great people from that day! They were truly a blessing in a time of need.
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