As the mother of a Make-A-Wish child, my biggest hope was that my son, Pierson’s dream trip to go to the Monster Jam World Finals in Las Vegas to meet his favorite drivers would be a memorable one. When I received a call from a Southwest Employee assuring me that we would have a special experience starting at the airport, I knew that my wish of an impactful trip would come true.
We eagerly awaited our meeting with the Southwest Airlines “welcoming committee” at the airport—Wish Kids are a big deal for Southwest. That description understated what we were about to experience. We arrived at the Southwest ticket counter to check our luggage and spied a Make-A-Wish banner along with a smiling Southwest Employee who greeted Pierson by name and gave him a toy truck! Three more smiling faces wearing Southwest tutus greeted us and treated us to lunch as we shared Pierson’s story.
At the gate, we met our Pilots, Mark and Travis, who answered questions, had Pierson and his Flat Stanley photographed in the cockpit, and even invited Pierson and his dad to help with the pre-flight inspection. I watched out the window as Pierson got up-close and personal with our plane. It’s a special experience for anyone, but as I watched our tiny boy out there with these incredible Pilots next to the giant plane, I couldn’t help but think how this was a once-in-a-lifetime moment. With Pierson’s heart issues, becoming a commercial airline pilot is out of the equation as a career option, but on that day he had the opportunity to do exactly what these Pilots get to do every day. He was one of them for a moment and he will forever remember that experience which took a very special day and elevated it even more.
It could have been just a plane ride to Las Vegas for his Wish, a few unremarkable hours of our day, but it wasn’t. We were recipients of extraordinary kindness and care. We got to see the Heart of Southwest displayed by its Employees. It only takes a little extra kindness to truly make a world of difference for someone and they displayed this. He’s a little boy who has fought big battles and overcome big things, and they honored him. We will never forget Southwest’s kindness and the hearts of their Employees. We will be Southwest Customers for life!