WARNING: If you weren’t planning on emotioning today, skip this post.  

 

From the Awwwww Files, a heart-warming report from Southwest Airlines was posted on Facebook yesterday.

A family had flown into Southwest’s hub at Love Field in Dallas.  After they were on their way in a rental car they realized that their child, named Hagen, had left a Buzz Lightyear doll on the plane.  By that time, the plane was already on its way to Little Rock, Arkansas, where it would be spending the night.

The story could’ve ended there…but it didn’t.

A Southwest ramp agent named Jason discovered the doll.  Instead of just lobbing it into a Lost and Found bin, Jason realized what that doll probably meant to a child and searched for any identifying marks.  On the bottom of the boot (very similar to the Toy Story movie itself), he saw it written…Hagen.

The story could’ve ended there…but it didn’t.

Jason, the Southwest agent, did a little detective work, looking up the manifests for every passenger on the plane that day…and there was only one Hagen.  Jason knew they needed to return the doll to the family, and now their address could easily be found.

The story could’ve ended there…but it didn’t.

In a move that exemplifies what everyone loves about Southwest, Jason had an idea and ran with it.  A few days later (here’s where the emotions come in), Hagen’s family received a box…a hand-decorated box.  Inside of the box, Hagen’s Buzz Lightyear doll…and a “letter” from Buzz talking about the amazing adventure he had in Little Rock…along with pictures of Buzz on the ramp next to the plane, in the cockpit, and on the plane’s engine.

That was fantastic

That hit me right in the feelers.  It’s been a rough week so far and since I read that I haven’t been able to stop smiling.

Here’s what I love about this:

  • The Southwest ramp agent, Jason, discovered the doll and didn’t want the story to end there
  • Jason showed the initiative to try and figure out who owned it
  • Once he showed the initiative, he also had the ability to do something about it
  • Southwest jumped into action, as I know things like this don’t happen in isolation, and came up with something special

Yes, Southwest probably created customers for life as a result of this cute story.  Moreover, though, Southwest laid the groundwork for stories like this by believing in their team members and supporting them when something like this comes up.

As a customer service junkie, I know that stories like this usually begin with individual thoughtfulness.  It’s so refreshing to see a company embrace that thoughtfulness and make a memorable experience for a customer.

Or, to use the words of Hagen’s mother, “There’s definitely not enough good in this world, and for someone to take the time out of their day to do that for strangers means the world to us.”

So, an official Tip of the Andy’s Travel Blog Hat to Jason and Southwest Airlines for making the day of this family and, well, this blogger.  Leave some love for Southwest on their Facebook post!

 

[wipes away a tear] Ok, back to your Thursday!

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