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Me, Peanuts, and Herb

devansjr
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Occasionally, it is necessary for Flight Crews to "deadhead" between Southwest cities.  We fly the aircraft into one location and then move to the back of the plane to ride as a passenger to another city where we once again fly the airplane.  These deadheads are done for a variety of reasons including the need to reposition a Crew Member for a flight sequence or because we are about to exceed a flight time limitation that is set by the Federal Aviation Administration. It is not uncommon for a Southwest Employee riding as a passenger to offer to pass out peanuts or snacks (especially on short flights) to help the Flight Attendants complete their cabin service.  One day, I was deadheading in my uniform between Dallas and San Antonio to continue my flight sequence when I had the opportunity to "do the peanuts."  When I pass out snacks, I like to walk backward, starting at the rear of the aircraft and move forward toward the front of the plane.  By walking backward, I am able to face the Customers and thank them individually for choosing to fly SWA as I offer them a snack.  On this flight, I had moved just a few rows into my service when I heard a male voice behind me telling me to step aside and let a pro show me how to serve peanuts.  Well, the voice belonged to none other than the world's greatest airline Board Chairman, our very own Herb Kelleher!!!  Herb on a Harley.jpgSo now, I am going to be proceeding up the aisle, providing much needed nourishment to our Customers with Herb!  When one serves peanuts with Herb, it is a much slower process than when you do it alone as Herb gets to shake hands with the male Customers and hug and kiss most of the females. (Herb is a lucky guy.) As Herb and I got to about mid-cabin, a lady looked at me and asked if I shouldn't be in the cockpit.  Trying to show my quick wit to the Head Guy at SWA, I told the lady that this was a new cost saving measure Herb was testing where I did the takeoff and landing and let the autopilot fly while I served peanuts. The lady contemplated this for a moment as about a dozen Passengers surrounding us listened to our conversation.  The lady suggested that I hurry along then as she didn't want me to be late for the landing.  I then noticed Herb leaning toward the Customer and saw that he was about to speak.  Sensing that surely Herb was going to utter a compliment or wise word about one of his dedicated and most admiring Pilots, I listened intently.  In a voice loud enough so that everyone around could hear, Herb said "Honey, I've seen David's landings and the plane might just do a better job!!"  A huge burst of laughter ensued...Score one for Herb!!
12 Comments
Reid1
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Great post!
Matt29
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Only Herb... 🙂
carroll4
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If only every Southwest were a little more Herblike. The energy he brings to a room, not to mention the 2nd hand smoke is infectious. Being around him can raise the energy level of any caring employee for days. My favorite Herb story is one I share often, a co-workers mother was being treated at MD Anderson in Houston, Herb there for his own treatment. Upon recongnizing Gracie and her sister Betty both Hou CSAs who were not in uniform he enquired about why they were there and offered to go up and see their mother. He introduced himself as DR Herb Kelleher and went on and on making over her daughters and congratulating her on what a great job she had done raising such wonderful women. Now that is the defining story of a person who really cares about people and their families. Please share your favorite Herb story and spread the LUV.
Robin9
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My favorite Herbie moment. First of all, you really have to understand that Herb is our "Rock Star." No one within the Company can generate the kind of response that he can. He literally get's mobbed when he goes out in "SW public." I had worked for the Company for about 9 years before I even got close enough to him to say hi. I was at HDQ last year for some training and I was walking towards the glass elevator in the Lobby. What do my eyes behold but Herb and Colleen getting on the elevator. My heart skipped about 5 beats and I shouted "Hold Please." Being the gentleman that he his, Herb gratiously held the elevator. I rushed on, said hi, got a biiiiigggg smooch from the great one himself, said hi to Colleen, and jumped off. I will never forget that day. He is still my Idol. Robin Sup/Oklahoma City Reservations Center
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Ding! Time to Visit SouthwestÃ
YourBestWayHome
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DE,Jr. Great Blog! Now here is a question for you. What do a Lakeside Burger, a Bossier City Pizza and dinner at The Carlyle have in common?
Lucy_Balda
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What a great story! So funny that I'm still laughing while writting this note : - D I'll definitely use this story in MBA presentation this Saturday at Phoenix. *I'm writting about SWA. Thank you fo rthe good laugh! Lucy
DC1
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The first time I met Herb was on the elevator after I had been at SWA for just over 4 months. I was so excited. I was trying to think of what to say - and only had one floor - so finally I just stuck out my hand, introduced myself and told him I was a new employee. He thanked me for coming to work for Southwest and gave me a kiss. I'm pretty sure I floated out of the elevator and didn't touch the ground all day. Since then I've found he always has time to say hi and I've gotten a few more kisses since then! My favorite story though is when my husband Larry saw Herb at the grocery store one day. There was a little distance between them and Larry asked him rather loudly "Are you still kissing on my wife?" Several people froze and watched to see what would happen next. Herb just yes, "Why yes I am!". Larry responded "good - she loves that." Robin is right - he's a rock star here and it always makes my day to see him.
Shelley1
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Great post, David!! I never get tired of hearing great Herb stories...he really is a rock star! Plus, he really does walk the walk and talk the talk. Herb for President!! 😃
Sharon_Pope
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I wish Herb had been on my last six flights with Southwest. And every time I get off the plane I chant. "I'll never fly Southwest again, I'll never fly Southwest again!" Your PR is nationwide, its contagious, and the $40 price difference pulls me in each time. But the service is not happening. Let's put copies of these great blogs on the planes for the flight attendants serving Chicago Midway to read. 50% of the time there are smiles. Otherwise, during mini-oreo cookie time there is no eye contact, there are no blankets, the planes are dirty, the ticket agent is indifferent, and the tiny bathrooms, and musicless ride pull your ratings way down low. I'm flying out again next month, and if I can find any other airline within $50 of your prices - I'm not going NUTS again.
Kevin_Kowaleski
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Not sure where this comment should go, as I searched snacks. I am a bit of a fanatic about checking food labels, and while I was recently on a Southwest flight was served a package of some snack that listed among the ingredients "partially hydrogenated vegetable oil". This indicates the presences of trans fat in this product. Being a physician and aware of the health risks of ingesting trans fat, what would you say to replacing this snack with one free of trans fat? Kevin Kowaleski
Craig_Halbach
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Due to the recent concerns of allergic reactions, does Southwest Airlines still serve peanuts on their flights? My in-laws say yes, but I told them that they most likely had another variety of nuts and/or pretzels. Can you confirm? Thanks, Craig