I could see the snow covered cars in the parking lot as my Southwest flight landed in Indianapolis, and knew I would soon be standing in the cold, brushing off a pile of snow from my car in a lightweight hoodie.
I had managed to escape for a week long cruise in the Caribbean during one of the worst weeks this past winter. Every morning I would look up the weather forecast back home and see single digit temperatures and snow expected, and then I would step outside onto a white sandy beach, find my lounge chair, and spend the day relaxing in the sun and reading from the collection of books I brought along with me thanks to my local library.
I was catching up on some old fashioned reading… the kind where you measure your progress by the chapter you are on and not the percent you have completed. The kind of book that doesn’t require batteries but weighs down your backpack. The kind you can forget about as you collect your belongings in the seat-back pocket as you deplane.
It took me a few hours to realize I had left a book on-board, and I knew the aircraft was already gone. There was zero chance that I’d ever see it again. I also knew with Southwest’s open seating, there was no way that they would know the book was mine, and I had a sinking feeling I would be buying the book from the library. Thankfully it wasn’t due for a few week, so I had some time before I had to go to the library and admit that I lost a book.
Then something I never expected happened.
I logged onto my library account and there was a notice about my book... showing it was returned! Someone from Southwest found my book in the seat-back pocket and, seeing it was a library book, sent it back to the library for me. I couldn’t believe someone would have gone the extra mile to return a book that was found on-board instead of just throwing it into a lost and found bin with the hopes someone would call in looking for it. It’s the little things that make Southwest unique, like returning a library book from someone more focused on the snow than remembering to grab his book. Thanks Southwest!