Angel, one of our “cold-blooded” Cargo Customers.
Our San Diego (SAN) and Reno (RNO) Freight Agents have the honor of transporting Customer Mary Ann Prall’s pet iguana, Angel. Since Customers are not allowed to bring iguanas inside the cabin, Mary Ann ships Miss Angel using Southwest Cargo when she leaves her home in San Diego to visit her parents in Reno.
While it’s difficult for Mary Ann to put Angel in a box and close the lid, she has the utmost confidence in our SAN and RNO Freight Agents. A recent experience with our Employees only strengthened her faith. When Mary Ann learned that her SAN to RNO flight was delayed, and she was worried that the Cargo office would not be open when she arrived and there was a possibility that Angel would be left there overnight. While SAN Freight Agen Mary Ann is reunited with Angel in RNO. ts Terry Frogley, Macy Blane, Tashi Alden, and Anthony Hunt kept Mary Ann informed about the flight status and kept Angel safe and comfortable in the office until it was time to board, RNO Freight Agents Dixie Wasson and John Yuspa assured Mary Ann that someone would stay with Angel until she arrived. When Mary Ann’s flight touched down in Reno, RNO Freight Agent Gene Dace held up the box that Angel was in so Mary Ann could see she was safe and in good hands. As promised, John had kept the door open and the lights on in the Cargo office, and he was waiting there for Mary Ann to arrive. Mary Ann says that both offices worked together as a Team to give her and Angel first class service! I couldn’t have said it better myself. Thanks for working as One Team. All Heart., SAN and RNO!
... View more
Every now and then, we have the chance to truly express our gratitude to the men and women who sacrifice to serve and protect our freedom. DAL Captain John Gries was presented with his opportunity when he met 1 st Lt. Alva John “AJ” Spain sitting in a wheelchair in one of our jetways. Upon learning he had served in World War II, Captain Gries promptly invited Mr. Spain to step in to the flight deck for the first time since he had come back from the war. Though Mr. Spain had previously been upset with his daughter and son-in-law about having to take to the skies for the first time in decades, his attitude quickly changed as he bonded with a fellow aviator.
The few moments Captain Gries and Mr. Spain spent together in the flight deck on July 12, 2004 made an immeasurable, lasting impact. To the extent that Spain’s son-in-law, Sandy Peters, has glanced in the flight deck of every Southwest flight he’s taken in the last twelve years in hopes of seeing Captain Gries and thanking him for his gesture over a decade ago.
Mr. Spain’s health started to deteriorate after that July 2004 trip, and he passed away in 2009. Mr. Peters recently sent Southwest a letter after witnessing one of our Flight Attendants providing another Customer with the same Hospitality and care that was shown to his father-in-law. It reminded him of that day back in 2004 and he wanted to thank the Pilot again “for making a difference in the life of one of our country’s true heroes.”
After researching the photo and flight, we found the long-sought-after Captain’s name and were able to reunite him with Mr. Spain’s family. The video of their reunion shows the power a few minutes of genuine care and Hospitality can make on our Customers’ lives.
As we approach Memorial Day and continue to have the opportunity to pay our respects, it’s important to me that I share the last sentences of Mr. Peters’ letter. He said, “I know that you don’t teach Employees to treat people this way. You hire people that understand it and you encourage them to do what comes naturally to them. I have told this story many times over the years, and I always end with, ‘and that’s one of the many reasons I fly Southwest.’”
I am proud to work with People who honor, respect, and remember the men and women of our military. Thank you to all those who have served and sacrificed to protect our country, as well as those who continue to make us the land of the free and the home of the brave.
... View more
As we were opening our most recent batch of LUV Mail, a hand-written card caught my eye. The card was addressed to PC CS&S Customer Representative Edie Sjoberg and praised her generous actions to our Customers, Patricia Cioppa, and Michele Marangella, during their time of need for a medical procedure for their son, Max. “As I cried on the phone, you heard the pain in my voice and through your sacrifice of your own mileage points, we were able to face this trip as a family,” writes Patricia. Wow. What a true example connecting our Customers with what is important in their lives.
It all started with a phone call between Edie and Patricia. During the conversation, Patricia had expressed dismay that, even with our low fares, she could not afford to purchase travel for both she and her husband to accompany their fifteen-year-old son, Max, to John Hopkins Hospital in Maryland. She shared that Max has been undergoing treatment for a serious heart condition and the extent of their travel has been a struggle for their family. Edie saw that she had enough Rapid Rewards points to cover one of the tickets, so she generously offered her points to Patricia.
Because of Edie, all three members of the Marangella family traveled together to Johns Hopkins. Patricia wrote in her card how much Edie’s generosity meant, saying, “Our lives as parents of a seriously, chronically ill child [are] a daily battle. We battle disease and chronic pain, but unfortunately, we also battle medical debt and financial strains ... it is through the kindness of people like you that we thrive and continue on our journey.”
We recently had the opportunity to introduce Max and his family to Edie in person so Edie could give them a physical embrace, beyond the support she gave them during their phone call. As you can see in the video, Edie’s decision to go above and beyond made a world of difference for their whole family.
At the bottom of Patricia’s card, Max wrote his own message of gratitude. “Because of you and your generosity, I got to have both my mom and dad with me at the hospital.”
For Edie, the Rapid Reward Points were a small price to pay for what they gave to Patricia, Michele, and Max. And her actions made a difference—they touched a family’s heart. “Edie, you are precisely why we always try to fly for Max’s care at Johns Hopkins with Southwest. You have a big heart and we were so blessed to 'meet' you,” wrote Patricia.
... View more
On Nuts About Southwest we have shared Many stories highlighting the childhood wonder of aviation. This is another that really touched my heart and filled me with pride in our incredible Pilots.
I am a private pilot and chartered a Cessna 182 to fly Bradlee (a special needs child) and his family on a scenic tour of downtown Chicago. As we were flying through MDW's air space, requesting clearance, my only thought by mentioning the special needs trip and "co-pilot" Bradlee, to the tower was in hopes that they would simply acknowledge him by name. What the folks in the tower and the Southwest Pilots did next was incredible for Bradlee and his family.
Not only did every Southwest Pilot in the area acknowledge him, but also every step of our touch and go and return landing Bradlee received praises by your Pilots. As an example, on our touch and go, one of yours [Southwest planes] was on the parallel lined up and waiting. As we touched down and lifted back off, the radio call was “Bradlee, that was great take off, you did a great, great job, enjoy the skies." On the return trip as we taxied to the tower and passed another one of your planes they must have made a cabin announcement. Not only was the cockpit on the radio saying, “Welcome to Chicago " and waving—so was everyone on that side of the plane. These are just two examples of the more than 10 radio calls to him.
No one can ever fully gauge the impact that your folks have made on this boy, but I can tell you that the parents that struggle everyday with the things that we take for granted will never, never forget and for that one day, they felt on top of the world. Thank you for that Culture.
... View more
It has been said that we each have a race to run in life, and it’s up to us how we will run it. Ronald Reagan Washington National (DCA) Customer Service Agent Reecie Howard has chosen to run hers in a way that makes a difference in the lives of others, and if you ask Customer Melissa Stirling, Reecie is out pacing herself so far in her race.
As a 30-year Marine Veteran, Reecie is no stranger to serving others. Her military training taught her to never leave anyone behind and to do everything in her power to make things right. So when Melissa’s bag did not arrive with her at DCA, she chose the right Employee to talk to. When she explained that she would be without her running shoes for an extensive team race, Reecie went above and beyond to get the bag to Melissa before the starting pistol was fired.
Reecie drove nearly three hours, in the rain, to deliver Melissa’s bag in a muddy field in Maryland. Not only that, but Reecie also came out the next day to the finish line to cheer on Melissa’s team. The experience meant so much to Melissa that she emailed Gary to commend him on hiring someone as wonderful as Reecie. As you can see in the video, Reecie was truly touched by Melissa’s compliments.
Every day, Southwest Employees lace up their Customer Service shoes and strap on their Hospitality headbands in preparation for whatever the day’s course will bring them.
... View more