“So, Paul. How would you like to join the Southwest Family?” I’ll never forget those words a little more than a year ago when my Recruiter called to offer me the job in the Public Relations Department at Southwest Airlines. One year, many laughs, lots of hard work, and dozens of new friends later, I am proud this week to celebrate my first year here at the LUV Airline. I’ll never forget my first day. I walked into a department meeting where the Team was reviewing the final design concept for the now famous SI One plane wrapped with a temporary decal featuring the cover model from the 2009 Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. Thank you, Bar.
You know you’ve had a good year at your new gig when you struggle to think of your best moment, because there’s so many. My first event was the 30th anniversary of our New Orleans service. For that I donned a disco wig and partied at our gates with our Customers and Employees like it was 1979! Since then, I’ve created an 80s arcade at Indianapolis, grew a beard for more than a month so that I wouldn’t jinx the Boston launch, almost lost our CEO at that same launch, drove the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders around in a golf cart, tailgated with Cheeseheads in Milwaukee, and passed out beach balls and wrapped Christmas presents (well, I actually watched) at our gates at Baltimore/Washington. Have I mentioned I’ve only been here a year?
Along the way I’ve had the pleasure and privilege of meeting many of the dedicated and hardworking men and women that make up the Southwest Family. The work that goes into keeping more than 3,100 flights a day to 68 cities running smoothly is never-ending. Telling their story is part of what my Team does and we take pride in the fact those stories are in rich supply.
Year Two is off to a fast start. Those stories are waiting to be told, and I can’t wait to see what lies ahead. If I could only remember where I left that disco wig.