I did while sitting in the coveted middle seat on a flight to TUL, and he showed me many things—pictures of his grandchildren, his passion for giving back, and his LUV for Southwest Airlines. He even had his favorite Southwest Customer Relations Representative’s extension memorized and was working with her (shout out to the dear Julie Meador!) and the Department to help them partner with Operation Once in a Lifetime (find out more at http://operationonceinalifetime.com).
Then he asks for my napkin, and within 60 seconds, he hands it back to me—but it’s now in the shape of a rose! I’m easily amused, so with my mouth wide open, he shares that he’s been making napkin roses for a long time now and has presented them to many people—namely Flight Attendants and fellow Passengers. “It’s such an easy way to make someone smile,” Greg explained to me. Boy was he right. I was beaming.
He gave me a quick tutorial, and after my first few attempts he looked at me with kind eyes and said, “Keep practicing.” Okay, so maybe I don’t have a future in origami, but this sweet little gesture would brighten anyone’s day, and it’s something YOU can do on your next Southwest journey. Or if you’re really cheap and didn’t get your Valentine anything. It’s the thought that counts.
How to make your own napkin flower: Unfold the napkin and lay it out flat. Fold and crease about one inch or the width of two fingers along one edge of the napkin. Rotate the napkin 90 degrees counter clockwise. Using two fingers as a guide, lightly fold and roll the napkin, being very gentle. About a third of the way down your napkin, right below where your folded edge from earlier lies, gentle pinch the napkin so that it forms the bud of the flower. You can use your fingers to shape and straighten out the bud. Being gentle, but firm, begin to twist below the pinch to form a stem. Once you’ve twisted about half of your stem, find the bottom corner of the napkin and softly pull it up so that the corner becomes a leaf. Pinch the stem just below the leaf and continue to twist. Your napkin flower is complete! Now just find a sweetheart to give it to! I found the Senior Vice President of Culture and Communications, Ginger Hardage, to gift mine to. She LUVed it!
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Tevye sang about it best. Tradition, tradition. Tradition! It’s what makes the holidays special and helps you look back at past memories with nostalgia.
Like many Departments within Southwest Airlines, Culture and Communication has an annual Thanksgiving Feast filled with delicious potluck dishes and something that we believe adds a FUN touch—a Thanksgiving hat decorating contest. It’s an entertaining, creative tradition that gets everyone engaged and makes everyone feel like they belong at the “kid’s table”.
My personal favorite Thanksgiving tradition is watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, so this soon became the inspiration for this year’s hat decorating contest. A group of ten Culture Services friends put our thinking caps on and created a real life Macy’s Parade complete with oversized balloons, the famous Rockettes, a high school marching band, One Direction lip synching on a float, and of course, Santa bringing up the rear.
Marching down the hallways of Southwest Headquarters, I felt a sense of pride—not because our hats were so out of control awesome, but because I realized that we were carrying on the tradition and legacy of having FUN at work. As we passed other SWA Employees down the hall, People would smile and wave (still with a puzzled look, but a smile nonetheless) and some whipped out their camera to video or take pictures. I realized we’re not the first ones to come up with some silly idea and have no shame of looking foolish. We come from a long line of People who take their jobs seriously but not themselves, and I LUV that this is our Culture. It’s a tradition that I plan on carrying on.
Perhaps you’re looking to start a new tradition. You can play it safe and pick up the one I’ve been doing since I was a little girl and what’s been going on for the past 86 years and simply watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. For more information, visit here. Or you could also be a bit more adventurous, and I vote for that. Why not surprise your family and friends by donning your own Thanksgiving hat this Thursday? You can go completely crazy like the ten of us did, or you can do something really quick and simple. Follow the steps below to make your own Pilgrim Bonnet. You’ll need: A large piece of construction paper, or you can staple together two pieces of card stock, like I did. Scissors A stapler Tape Ribbon (about 30”) Take your paper (whether a large sheet of construction paper or stapled together cardstock) and cut it to the these dimensions: Fold up the long side without the two cuts about two inches. Now you will fold the long side with the cuts. First fold the middle piece down and then bring the two sides to the middle, overlapping each other, and staple or tape in place. Finally, slide your ribbon under the fold on the front side, and tape or staple in place. Now you can tie it under your sweet little pilgrim face. The Final Product:
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A lot has changed in the last 35 years, but there’s one thing that obviously hasn’t: Southwest knows how to have a celebration.
September 15, 1977 marked an exciting addition to the Southwest city map, and we began service to Austin. With six nonstop daily departures—all to Dallas Love Field—Austin was 9 th city in Southwest’s system. Fast forward to today, where we have over 52 daily nonstop departures to over 20 cities, AUS has grown to be something to be very proud of.
September 12, 2012 we celebrated AUS’s many successes over the years and thanked our Employees and Customers both for their contribution to its accomplishments. The Employees were served a delicious meal, and the airport graciously provided a beautiful cake. Caricature Artists, Massage Therapists, prizes, and Polaroid pictures made the day especially FUN, and the Customers got a taste of it too with treats, gate games, and entertainment.
When our Corporate Historian, Brian Lusk, shared some pictures from the Station Opening, I was amazed by the fact that we had taken such similar photos 35 years later without even trying to. Gathering around the cake, being presented by the Airport Authorities, and my personal favorite: the stack of Employees all together showing their LUV for AUS.
Here’s to another 35 years!
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How hot is it? It’s so hot… Guy Fieri's shirt is actually on fire. The Statue of Liberty has pit stains Siri asked to be dipped in a glass of ice water You've learned that a seat belt makes a pretty good branding iron The birds have to use potholders to pull worms out of the ground. New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg was seen drinking a Big Gulp The heat has been overwhelming this summer, and frankly, I’ve had enough. In the South, we’ve been hitting the 100’s daily, and I find myself wearing my Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin body lotion and sipping hot chai tea, just to remind myself that fall is eventually coming… it is coming, right?
The high temperatures aren’t just annoying, they’re dangerous. I envision each Ramp Agent wearing an invisible Super Hero cape, because it takes a valiant Warrior to fight the heat while working out in the sun. We all have our part to play in making Southwest Airlines the best airline out there, and the Ramp Agents are kicking some major tail this summer.
To show our appreciation and support, the Ground Ops Culture Ambassadors have ventured out on a “Beat the Heat” tour, visiting eleven of some of our warmer Stations. In June we kicked our tour off with a trip to Ft Lauderdale, and in July we followed it up with visits to Amarillo, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and Dallas. This August, we made stops at Reno, Tucson, Jacksonville, and Tampa, and we’ll have our final visit in September to New Orleans.
At these events, we’re providing refreshing treats such a sno cones, ice cream bars, Sqwinchers Sqweeze pops (like frozen Gatorade® but with more electrolytes), fresh fruit, and plenty of ice cold water. We’re playing games for prizes and leaving our folks with some safety gear such as Ergodyne® absorptive bandanas and sunscreen.
You know, you can host a very similar event wherever you work. Provide some refreshing treats such as ice cream bars or some delicious fruit, and maybe hand out some summer safety tips easily found online. Add some games and music, and you’ve got yourself a party! Keep your temperature low and your spirits high this summer, and keep fighting to beat the heat!
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It seems as though the jitterbug has bitten our People here at Southwest Airlines. You can’t attend a Southwest event without doing the Wobble or Cupid Shuffle, and many of our folks have had some star moments in videos that have gone viral. Always jumping at the chance to shake our groove thang, National Dance Day was something we could not let slip by us. Created by Nigel Lythgoe, this is the third annual National Dance Day, and its purpose is to encourage the nation to be active and move! This special day is also used to give awareness to the Dizzy Feet Foundation, which sponsors, funds, and supports dance education programs. Since Southwest Airlines Headquarters is so quiet on Saturdays, we decided to celebrate on National Dance Day Eve! Our very own Health and Wellness Manager, Kembre Roberts, taught free Zumba classes in our Training Rooms, and in between sessions, we played Wii’s Just Dance. We got our heart rate up and did it all with a smile! What a neat time, as well, to get to meet people from all different departments that you may not get the opportunity to meet otherwise. There’s something about sweating together that bonds you…or maybe it’s the hip shaking. I don’t know. Either way, we had such a fabulous time, and everyone was begging to make this a regular occurrence. We just might need to do that! Whether you’ve perfected your pirouette or your chicken dance, the music is inside of you, so let it free! Find more information about National Dance Day and how you can support the Dizzy Feet Foundation at http://dizzyfeetfoundation.org/national-dance-day. In the meantime, check out how our Employees from around the system helped make this Southwest's most memorable National Dance Day yet!
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On The Fly was cleared for takeoff last week, and we were overwhelmed by the positive response to last week's episodes. We're at it again tonight on TLC at 9/8 CT (so tune in, would ya?). When my fellow SWAmates and I read the blog post about throwing a watch party for the premiere of TLC’s “On the Fly”, we were truly inspired (shout out to our own Ashley Pettit!), and as usual, we jumped at the chance to have a little par-tay! At Southwest Airlines, we are one big happy family, and we LUV to get together outside of work. I actually live in a household of all SWA Employees, and needless to say, we’ve got a lot of Spirit under our roof. We threw together some creative signage, made some SWA-themed food, decorated the house with SWAG (SWA Gear) and our own creative craftiness, and of course outfitted our armored knight, Silent, in old school Flight Attendant attire. He LUVs to dress up.
Friends from across the system gathered together dressed in their favorite Southwest apparel (me, obviously in TJ LUV pajamas, pictured at the top of this post), and we watched back-to-back premiere episodes of TLC’s “On the Fly” while munching on “pigs-in-a-plane” (our take on pigs-in-a-blanket) and using the “lavatory” during commercial breaks. The show was SWAwesome, and we had a hoot of time. This may become our new Thursday night ritual!
Thanks, Ashley, for the idea and getting our creative juices flowing, and to all of you, make sure you tune in tonight for the next exciting episode of TLC’s “On the Fly”. Oh right, the trivia. Look no further than the link below for this week's trivia questions!
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What comes in six different colors, has two eyes, and outsells any other non-chocolate candy during Easter? Why PEEPS, of course! While most people eat them, we in Culture Services like to think outside the basket…er…box. The assignment: Honor the classic candy by making a display using a box of PEEPS. The competition: Culture Activities, Culture Ambassadors, The Village, Culture Outreach, Internal Customer Care, Pass Bureau, and Programs and Administration. Obviously being such an intense competition, each Team put hours of work into its display. As time passed and hunger pains kicked in, those little PEEPS began to feel a little softer and smell a little better. The bunnies’ beady eyes stared into yours, enticing you to take off an ear. But, no! This is not the Hunger Games! Each PEEP is a valuable part of the competition. On Judgment Day, all Teams gathered in a common area to display their creations and the battle had begun. The themes were clever, and the detail was impeccable. Every PEEP held his and her breath as a select group of guest judges announced the winner…
First Place: Programs and Administration’s “The Wobble" Second Place: The Culture Ambassador’s “2 nd and Last Chili PEEPoff” Third Place: Culture Outreach’s “PSA—PEEPS Security Administration”
This April, what will you do with all of those PEEPS the Bunny left you? Eat them? Lame. Try jazzing it up with a FUN recipe, or use them to make a cute craft! PEEP s'mores, anyone? A PEEP vase for Mum? PEEP Wreath!
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What a FUN, eventful week it has been for Southwest Airlines! Monday was our first Deck Party of 2012 (and the first ever Monday night Deck Party, might I add); we celebrated the birthdays of our beloved Herb Kelleher and Gary Kelly that same day; and on Tuesday, March 13, we marked SWA's One-Year Anniversary of serving our great friends in South Carolina at Greenville-Spartanburg and Charleston International Airports. We celebrated with GSP on Tuesday and then brought the party over to CHS on Wednesday—and boy, did we party! Southwest Spirit filled the entire terminal, which was adorned with heart balloons, as Customers grooved in their seats to the music played by DJ Base and DJ Cass from 107.3 Magic FM. A-Listers ran up with answers to our Southwest trivia questions and hard-working moms relaxed for a moment by indulging in a complimentary chair massage. Every child with a sweet tooth and adult on a diet stopped by to grab a cookie or cupcake and, of course, some sweet tea. After all, this is the South. On one of our flights to BWI, we had two Passengers who also flew with us on our first flight out of CHS back on March 14, 2011: Ashley, a precious Unaccompanied Minor, who was visiting her dad for Spring Break, and Mike, a loyal Business Select Customer, who ironically got the same A2 boarding pass on both this flight and on the first one a year ago. What was our most frequent comment from our Customers? "Don't change a thing ... unless the change is adding more flights out of CHS! We can't get enough of the Southwest LUV!" Downstairs, our hardworking Employees enjoyed some catered BBQ and, you guessed it, more sweet tea! A massage therapist worked some magic on our tireless Agents, and the Rampers came out of that ready to take on same major bag action. There's a real sense of Southwest pride here as the Customer Service shines, and Barbie Hawkins, the Station's Admin, prances around in her custom-made SWA Chuck Taylors that she ordered just for this special occasion. “Southwest Airlines’ solid performance in Charleston is a reflection of the great community we serve which has embraced our People, our Bags Fly Free policy, and our low fares,” said Charleston Station Leader Grady Glover. “Southwest is committed to providing the Lowcountry outstanding Customer Service and convenient flight schedules.” With such a fantastic, lively group, it's easy to see why our Customers all seem so happy! They're getting a true taste of the Southern Hospitality that charming Charleston has to offer.
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Yesterday was my favorite day of the year: Valentine's Day. LUV was in the air...literally! This Valentine's week (and yes, as a girl, I like to give it a whole week) has been full of LUV as we kicked off service in Atlanta and had the opportunity to get to know and LUV our AirTran family. I'm not sure the weekend could have gone any better. There was one event after another, and the energy never dropped a bit. We have established some deep Culture roots this weekend, and I'm confident that Atlanta will continue carrying on the Spirit and Fun-LUVing Attitude with pride. This winter, we've been able to visit several of our Stations for our "Stay Warm" Appreciations. In December, we did a mini “New York” tour to EWR, LGA, and ISP to thank those "working in a winter wonderland." In January, we brought the New Year in with some warmth and appreciated our Employees in MKE and MSP. Now, in the Valentine's mood, the Ground Ops Culture Ambassadors just left BUF and are on our way to ALB to spread some LUV to a few of our colder Stations. Many of our cities have to truly embrace the Warrior Spirit by working fervently and Safely in extreme weather conditions while delivering Positively Outrageous Service. What dedication! I don't know about you, but I even freeze when I walk near the produce section in the grocery store. These Employees (SWA and AirTran both) are certainly deserving of some LUV and appreciation, so we're bringing some warmth their way with soup, Demicia's famous grilled cheese sandwiches, games, prizes, goodies, and FUN! Many dread February 14, because they don't feel LUVed or appreciated. Well, it is better to give than to receive, right? Try sharing some LUV this Valentine’s week, and show someone how much you appreciate them. Then see how you feel—you may like this “sweet” holiday more than you realized.
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