LIVE FROM DALLAS - 6/12/12
At Southwest they believe in having a Servant’s Heart – reaching out to people in need knowing you will receive nothing in return but the gratitude of the recipient. After all, serving others is what Southwest is all about. Well the other night one of our own, Dawn, had such a Servant’s Heart when she reached out to some children at the hotel. They are staying here while their mother is in the hospital and, upon hearing of their situation, Dawn spearheaded a drive to provide them with a pizza dinner. Although others participated, it was Dawn who saw the need and stepped up to the plate. And for that our Southwest leaders recognized her this morning with a brand new Southwest lunch box.
Our agenda for the day was to learn the Southwest service model. Many of us started on DC9’s and are familiar with tray service and we are far more familiar than they on cart service, but here they have their own guidelines for how they would like service performed. So we practiced with trays, taking orders and serving each other, and we practiced on their carts (Whoa! Don’t push those mini-carts too quickly or you could have a disaster). Afterwards we were floating away on the liquids we had imbibed! And we learned to be careful which cans we grab (Hey, Sharon, that is NOT a can of water!) We all walked away feeling like we just want a day on a real plane to really get the lay of the land and know where things are in the galley.
Throughout the day we were given opportunities to do our announcements, and we all did just fine! And in typical Southwest fashion we got a little sticker on our badge for volunteering.
All day long we had a stream of visitors. There was a crew of flight attendants in the building who were there for - well, we don’t really know what – but they stopped in our room so anxious to say hello and welcome us to the family. There was also a leadership group in a meeting on another floor and some of them snuck upstairs after lunch to say hi – giving some of us a chance to ever so briefly meet supervisors from our new bases.
Having finished the classroom work early, we ended the day having a little fun. First we were treated to a ride in “Poolie” – the mock up. This mock-up is actually on hydraulics and after rocking and rolling a bit, we got to command an evacuation and slide off the wing. It was really great to actually get a feel for what sliding off the wing would be like! What amazed most of us was how big a step it was to get out that window!
Tammy then challenged us to show our fun side as we were divided into groups and asked to “sing” a Southwest song. We were provided with songbooks with Southwest lyrics to familiar songs and had about 10 minutes to prepare. Oh, the creativity in this group! I am hoping these won’t hit YouTube, because there were definitely cameras in the room.
We headed back to the Dallas room for some “special guests” as we ended our day. I am sure you can imagine how the room erupted when our own Alison and Travis walked in. I felt like someone had just put all of my puzzle pieces together! They had been invited by TWU 556 leadership to join us at our dinner at the hotel.
The dinner was wonderful. The food was great and every TWU leader in attendance was welcoming and gracious. We met so many people, from the Dallas base rep who is a 35 year flight attendant, to the BWI rep who, with 12 years, is new to her position. They offered to answer any questions we had, to support us in any way that we needed and encouraged any of us who are interested to step up to fill shop steward positions. It was one of those moments that demonstrate what unions are all about - solidarity.
We headed back to our rooms early to prepare for tomorrow – our final exam. Many are anxious but it will be a blessing to have that out of the way, leaving our remaining time to begin to celebrate and settle into our new roles as winged members of our Southwest family.