At Southwest, we believe in connecting people to what’s important in their lives. As a national sponsor of Make-A-Wish, we have the opportunity to help wish kids take flight. Whether our Pilots are taking the time to pose for a photo in the cockpit, our Flight Attendants are making announcements that a special wish kid is onboard, or our Customer Service Agents are hosting fun sendoff parties in the gate area, it’s a joy to play a role in granting wishes.
Today, Make-A-Wish celebrates World Wish Day, a celebration of wish granting with thousands of people participating. Make-A-Wish grants wishes to kids with life-threatening medical conditions in every community in the United States and its territories and nearly 50 other countries. It reminds me of all of the memorable wishes Southwest has had the privilege to enhance. Recently, Southwest set a record for our airline with the most cities to open in one day—Charlotte, NC; Flint, MI; Portland, ME; Rochester, NY; and San Juan, PR—as part of our ongoing integration of AirTran Airways. We also recently celebrated new service to Branson, MO last month. My favorite part of these inaugural celebrations was the Make-A-Wish sendoffs that took place and the unforgettable expressions on these kids’ faces.
Here’s a look:
Charlotte, NC Zoe, who is five-years-old and battling cancer, knew her one true wish to go to Florida theme parks with her family would soon be coming true, but she had no idea that the SeaWorld penguins would surprise her at the airport to give her a proper sendoff!
Portland, ME Seven-year-old Emersyn’s wish to see butterflies and beaches took her and her family to San Diego to visit the Monarch Research Center, San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld San Diego, and the beautiful Southern California beaches. This trip of a lifetime allowed Emersyn the opportunity to forget about battling her neuro-degenerative condition and instead focus on the magic of her wish experience. Here she is smiling big and ready to board her flight!
Rochester, NY Jacob who is nine and lives with a neuromuscular disorder and his family will be traveling to Southern California to experience his wish to go to his favorite theme parks. While in California, he will visit Hollywood Studios, Medieval Times, and the Pirate Adventure. Jacob loves "Cars," so he also will be going to "Cars Land" while on his wish. Before Jacob headed to California, he spent some quality time on the ramp and even got to push a plane for departure!
Branson, MO Kyah is an easy-going, happy five-year-old with a nervous system disorder who loves animals and spending time with family. So, it’s no surprise that her one true wish was to go on an animal adventure! Kyah and her parents received roundtrip tickets to fly from Branson to San Diego where they visited the San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld San Diego. The special sendoff in Branson even included Elvis and the Blues Brothers!
Southwest provides travel to help make these kids’ one wish come true, but it’s really more than that. We offer our friendly service to keep these kids smiling, despite the battles they’re fighting. The LUV airline has supported communities from the very beginning, and it always comes from the heart.