Sometimes all anyone needs is a helping hand. This can especially be the case when traveling with children.
When faced with a delay, Mother Katye Gorman, found a huge relief when given the blessing of a helping hand from Southwest Employee, Chris Roth. Katye was traveling with her pride-and-joy, four-year-old Caelan, who is diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HSLS) requiring him to have oxygen, a feeding tube, and a cooler full of meds at all times. Although this has grown to be a part of their everyday life, these complications can certainly add to an already stressful airport experience.
Chris’s generosity and compassion to go above-and-beyond when traveling on business touched Katye and Caelan in a way they never had expected. After witnessing the Gorman’s situation, Chris felt compelled to improve their day any way he could—he offered them a seat, coffee, helped with boarding and deplaning, and gifted Caelan his own Southwest die cast plane set (which Caelan has affectionately named, Chug!).
Katye wrote a letter to us telling of her experience, and how much the “helping hand” meant to her, on that day, especially. The acts of kindness that Chris displayed were so natural and humble, but meant so much.
At Southwest, we seek out, hire, and invest in individuals who we believe “Live the Southwest Way” through three principles: a Servant’s Heart, Warrior Spirit, and Fun-LUVing Attitude – something Chris displayed in the most simplistic of forms that day. For exemplifying our values, Chris was awarded with what we call our “Winning Spirit Award,” one of the highest honors at our Company for individuals who go above-and-beyond the call of duty to deliver Positively Outrageous Customer Service and contribute to our World-renowned Culture.
Chris and Katye had kept in touch over the months – discussing Caelan’s experiences and challenges he faced throughout his young life. In April, on the tail of Chris receiving his Winning Spirit honor, we had the opportunity to reunite Chris with Katye and Caelan and give them yet another experience they’ll never forget.
The act that Chris did was not earth shattering. He didn’t jump into action when a person collapsed or performed lifesaving CPR; he simply represented the Golden Rule—treat others the way you expect to be treated—and went out of his way to help a Customer where he saw a need. The Winning Spirit Award recognizes Employees who give selflessly—through a variety of ways—in an effort to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others. Mission accomplished, Chris—kudos to you, and thanks for being a constant reminder, to your fellow Employees and our Customers, of why there is a “heart” in our logo.
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