“Southwest encourages Employees to do the right thing and empowers them to say ‘yes’ when needed.”—Susie Wentworth, Specialist Ops Support
Photo by Justin Clemons
While working in Customer Relations and Flight Operations at Southwest Airlines, Susie Wentworth learned the value of always being kind and the importance of trying to relate to everyone. Seeing Employees treat one another with respect, she says, has influenced her approach to relationship building. Susie shows her Servant’s Heart by working with her church’s tech team, and through Southwest she volunteers with Meals on Wheels, the North Texas Food Bank, and the Salvation Army. Southwest is proud to recognize Susie for embodying the Southwest Spirit and for serving our Customers and her community.
—Emmie McMinn, Communications & Outreach
Dallas Destination “My husband and I frequent On Rotation, a craft brewery and taproom. I think it’s important to find hidden nooks and crannies with character.”
Shake It Up “I do a wide range of things, from hosting events to processing paperwork. There’s so much variety in my everyday tasks, but I love completing them and feeling accomplished.”
Role Models “I love working with really smart People who do their jobs well. I can learn from them so easily.”
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Employees are the Heart of our business at Southwest. They help us connect People to what’s important in their lives through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel. We know from our 2017 fall campaign that behind every seat is a story, but there’s also a story behind every Employee across the system. SMF Ops Agent Jay Thomas and DEN First Officer Mike McGee are no exceptions.
At the age of one, Jay was adopted. He always knew that he had blood relatives somewhere and had a desire to meet them. Jay began his career with Southwest in 1998. Three years ago, he had the opportunity to meet his brother and discovered then that he also had a half-sister whose son flew another airline. Jay’s nephew, DEN First Officer Mike McGee, began his career at Southwest in summer 2017 and their fateful meeting became a reality this past October when Jay heard about his nephew’s new job at the Company.
After Mike completed his Pilot training, a Family Member reminded him that he had a distant uncle that worked for Southwest. OAK Captain Michael Butler was aware of Jay’s story and was flying with Mike one day when he mentioned that he “might be related to someone who works at the SMF Airport.” The next morning when Mike returned to the airport, the SMF Team sprang into action and arranged for another Ops Agent to work Jay’s flight so he could be available to meet Mike. As Mike walked down the jet bridge to get on the plane, he saw someone that looked exactly like one of his other uncles. It was Jay, overwhelmed with emotions, running down the jet bridge to meet his nephew for the first time.
“I got goosebumps. It’s weird because my brother is my only blood relative that I've met so being able to meet my nephew was a special moment. He is funny, nice, and has a good head on his shoulders,” Jay said.
The following trip to Sacramento, Mike had the opportunity to meet Jay’s entire family. “It was an unforgettable experience, and I hope to see a lot more of them in the future,” Mike said. This summer, Jay and his wife are planning to take a trip to Denver to meet more of his extended family. Mike and Jay have also promised to see each other more often.
All of our Employees at Southwest contribute to the Company in a unique way. Our Employees each have their own story—that’s what makes Southwest Airlines such a special place to work.
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The following blog post was co-written by Debbie Wafford and Carolyn McMenemon.
In 2007, Southwest Airlines proudly launched the Medical Transportation Grant Program (MTGP) to help provide nonprofit hospitals and medical organizations across the nation with roundtrip tickets for patients and/or caregivers in need. Travel is often a critical part of getting patients the medical care they need and our goal with this program is to help alleviate travel expenses for those impacted during this stressful time. We are pleased to share the 2018 MTGP recipients includes 79 hospitals across the United States, including 3 hospitals that are brand new to the program this year! By partnering with these hospitals and organizations, MTGP will reach a total of 100 facilities across the United States—spanning 41 different cities in 26 states.
Since MTGP’s inception in 2007, more than 69,000 tickets for roundtrip air travel —valued at more than $27.6 million—have been donated to nonprofit hospitals and medical organizations. Southwest is proud to help provide this necessary transportation and have the opportunity to positively impact patients and caregivers around the country, like Wrenn. As an infant, Wrenn received a double lung transplant and now travels from her home in Orlando to St. Louis Children’s Hospital every six months through the MTGP.
A full list of the participating hospitals and organizations can be found at Southwest.com/medicalgrant . To learn about qualifications for travel assistance through the designated organizations, please directly contact the Social Work, Travel/Concierge Service, or Patient Assistance Departments at the hospitals and medical organizations listed online, as each has unique guidelines for the administration of the tickets.
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Our Vision at Southwest Airlines is to be the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline. We strive to deliver Outstanding Hospitality to our Customers day in and day out as we serve over 100 destinations across the U.S. and 10 additional countries. Our Employees are the Heart of our Company and interact daily with our Customers. Read more to hear some of the recent travel stories that our Customers shared with us!
Thanks to our Southwest Flight Crew, we escaped the ice!
Submitted by klrichardson85
After 2 years of planning a family vacation for 13 of us to travel to Mexico, the day for us to depart finally arrived. There was freezing rain that morning and our flight was delayed leaving Omaha due to de-icing that needed to take place before we could takeoff. Unfortunately, we were not going to make our connecting flight in Houston. We realized we were not the only ones in this situation; many others were not going to make their connections either.
As we waited, the Captain came on the intercom to announce that outgoing connecting flights would all be held! Our plane landed in Houston and we ran from gate 44 to gate 4, with 5 children ages 8 and under and my 82 year-old grandmother. Not an easy task, but we had only one trip and fall (the 5-year-old). We made it to the gate where our new Captain greeted us warmly and let us know they had reserved seats for us together to ensure we could sit with our children. When we boarded, we expected a couple seats here and there but were pleasantly surprised when the Flight Attendants blocked off a back section of the plane so we could all be seated together!
The Hospitality of Southwest and especially the Flight Crew made our trip so memorable! This is just one of the many reasons why I choose to fly Southwest whenever possible. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to Southwest Airlines and the amazing Flight Crew that day! We had a great family vacation and it’s one we will remember for many years to come.
Stellar Service for our Stella
Submitted by CE
We made it home safe and sound from treatment. We cannot say enough about the Southwest staff at the Memphis airport. We have really bonded over the last several months with our multiple back and forth trips from our home to Memphis! Most of the Employees know Stella's name by heart. They welcome us like family every time we are in the airport! I would like to give a huge shout out to John, who works with Southwest to help transport Passengers to their gates. The distance between the security checkpoint and our gate is a pretty good hike. Stella has definitely gotten a lot of her spunk back since her bone marrow biopsy this past April at St. Jude; however, that hike can be too much for her. John always makes sure Stella gets a first class ride when he is working. Recently, he wasn't there when we checked in. I proceeded with the freshly cleaned wheelchair they had waiting for her at security. When John discovered he missed Stella, he tracked us down so he could escort his "princess" to the gate! Thank you making these trips a lot easier for me and our super girl, Stella!
A Labor of Love
Submitted by Demuju
Last month my daughter called me after work and mentioned she had been feeling sick all day. She and her husband were expecting a baby in two weeks so we didn’t think anything of it and just assumed she was getting the flu. A few days later, she called again with the news that she was up all night having erratic contractions. I live in New York and they live in Wisconsin so I knew it would mean last minute air travel which can be extremely expensive, and there is always the challenge of winter weather.
My daughter and son-in-law said not to make the trip assuming it was probably pre-term labor and nothing to worry about. Despite this conversation, as a Grandma I knew this may be the real deal. Having spent the entire day worrying, she called that night to say nothing had changed—I went to bed disappointed. However, at midnight I received a call from my son-in-law saying they were in the birth center! It was definitely an “I told you so” moment. As soon as I received the phone call, I started wondering how I was going to get from New York to Wisconsin for the arrival of my new grandchild.
Luckily, Southwest came to my rescue! I was able to immediately book a flight and rent a car in the wee hours of the morning for same day travel! I was unbelievably excited. I successfully flew from New York to Milwaukee to see my brand new granddaughter and spend time with my family. I plan to give her a pair of Southwest wings early and teach her the love and joy of flying. Thank you, Southwest for making this Grandma’s last minute travel and dreams come true.
Want to share your story? Have you witnessed an over-the-top act of Southwest Airlines Employee kindness? Let us know at Southwest.com/contact-us.
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“You’ll never know the impact you can have on someone’s day if you never try.”
—Chris Smith, Customer Support & Services, Groups and Tech Team Leader Photo by Jessica Attie Before he joined Southwest Airlines in 2015, Chris Smith spent a decade putting off a friend who was trying to convince him to work for the Company. These days, he’s more than making up for lost time (although he does admit that he should have listened to his friend sooner). Chris embodies Southwest Leadership and makes his mark by always seeing a project through. He puts others ahead of himself, doesn’t expect the accolades that he deserves, and never looks for praise. Thanks for making our San Antonio Team better, Chris. We’re proud to work alongside you.
—John Alvarez, Customer Support & Services
Giving Back “San Antonio is Military City USA. I volunteer at Fisher House, which is a home away from home for military families and patients receiving medical care in the South Texas Veterans Health Care System.”
Plan A “I love to cook, and I love water and music. Sitting on a beach with food and music would be a great day.”
Golden Rule “I tell my Team every person has a different reason for why it’s important to get to a destination, so they need to treat every Passenger the way they would want to be treated.”
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