There are a zillion things about our Culture at Southwest Airlines that never cease to amaze me. Our CEO, Gary, dressed in full drag handing out peanuts on a Halloween flight; Employees are all on a first-name basis with not only our CEO, but our President (Colleen), and our Co-Founder and Chairman (Herb); and the fact that no one at the Company even bats an eye at the fact that my job as Culture Activities Representative is more often referred to systemwide as "Culture Chick."
All of that and the thing that still gets me every time is the paper towel situation in our restrooms here at Headquarters. Now, I have not spent quite enough time in our stations to know if this marvel exists in every Southwest city but hopefully after this blog, it will not only be all over Southwest Airlines, but all over the world!
It started almost four years ago when, as a Temp, I began noticing that every time I washed my hands in the ladies' room, paper towels were magically waiting for me. It was pretty cool that I didn't have to touch the germy lever, and I thought to myself, "that was really nice of someone; I guess I'll roll some out for the next person."
Then it kept happening. I used the restroom on a different floor; there were the towels. Another department; there they were again. I was hired on as a fulltime Employee and worked at the Data Center (in a different building!); the paper towels were rolled out for me like I was some sort of dignitary!
I once pointed this out to someone in the restroom with me at the same time--a longtime Employee who has since retired from the Company--and her response? "That's our Culture for you." That was like music to my ears; it's things like this that you can't explain to people when they ask why we LUV our jobs.
I asked men if it was happening on their side of the restroom world, and yep, you guessed it, of course it is. And just the other day when I mentioned that I wanted to blog about this, I was told that some Interns in the building had recently been curious about this very phenomenon!
Of course there are occasions that I don't find paper towels waiting for me. And to that I say, "WHY, Southwest, why?" In this crazy germ-conscious world that we live in, can't we look out for each other a little bit? If you already have towels in your hand, you have a shield against the germs on that lever, so roll some paper towels out and you might just be responsible for saving someone from their next cold, then maybe they won't take a sick day, then you will be saving the Company money AND keeping our unique Culture alive!
Whoa, I got a little fired up there-- sorry.
Of course this won't work for those stacks of paper towels, those pesky air dryers that never get your hands dry, or those cool motion-detector dispensers, but there are still millions of restrooms that haven't caught up with that technology.
Think of it as our own version of pay it forward-ROLL IT FORWARD, People! Do it at Southwest Headquarters, in airport bathrooms, in your own workplaces, in restaurant bathrooms, in shopping mall bathrooms, in gas station bathrooms, all over the world--think of yourselves like those bathroom attendants at fancy restaurants and clubs that hand you something to dry your hands on, only you won't be expecting a tip from anyone, but you will get the satisfaction of knowing you might make just one person smile!