Recently, I received an offer I couldn’t refuse. Lori Skinner, responsible for maintaining Southwest’s relationship with the Ronald McDonald House, invited me and Fellow Intern Elly Jurgensen to accompany her to the Houston House to serve dinners to the families who stay there. I immediately accepted, and that day, I learned the true meaning of a Servant’s Heart.
You see, what happens at the Ronald McDonald House in Houston is not just special—it is utterly extraordinary. On the second Tuesday of every (and I do mean “every!”) month, HOU Employees from all departments join together to not only cook meals for the families lodged within the Ronald McDonald House, but they also deliver to satellite Houses at Memorial Hermann and Texas Children’s Hospital.
The HOU Dinner Team genuinely embodies the word “Team.” From Hector, a 28-year Southwest Provisioning Agent to Ramp Agent Vashon Smith—whose dance moves rival Michael Jackson’s—each volunteer strives to bring a smile to each and every face they see within the House. They know that after a long day at the hospital with their children, a home-cooked meal truly serves as comfort food for Ronald McDonald House families.
No one understands this notion quite like PHX Ops Agent Byron. Having lived in the Houston Ronald McDonald House throughout his daughter’s cancer treatment, Byron now uses his vacation time to volunteer at not only his own Ronald McDonald House in Phoenix, but the Houston House that provided him so much support. But Byron does not stop there—he also volunteers at other Houses across the country using his vacation days. Referring to the day his beautiful daughter passed as The Dark Day, Byron works to help prevent other parents through the ultimate darkness.
Although I am sure the HOU Team would never accept it, each member deserves limitless recognition for all they do. With each hand I shook and hug I received, I felt exactly what other Employees had described—I felt loved. These Employees are changing lives just by being themselves, and it is truly commendable. I know hundreds of Southwest Employees across the nation are making the same lasting impression with their local Houses. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to schedule a date with your local House for the upcoming systemwide dinners on June 11 and November 12 so we can continue spreading the LUV.
I’ll never forget this experience, and it will certainly be a memory I will always have from my Southwest internship. So thank you, to the Employees I met for showing me what living the Southwest Way is all about.