Southwest provides marketing lagniappe for a passenger in need


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#691 in the Project was submitted via e-mail from Marylynne Colacchio. Marylynne forwarded a post by Fran Golden from AOL Travel.

Here is a summary from Fran’s article:

southwest airlines“An Arizona family is praising a Southwest Airlines pilot who held a Tucson-bound plane to wait for a passenger trying to get to a hospital to say his goodbyes to his 2½ -year-old grandson, who was about to be taken off life support.

caden rodgersThe child, Caden Rodgers of Aurora, Colorado, was in a Denver hospital, the victim of child abuse at the hands of his mother’s boyfriend, Theodore Madrid, 30, who has since been charged with first-degree murder.

The Southwest pilot’s efforts to help Caden’s grandfather, Mark Dickinson to get to the child’s bedside on Jan. 5 first came to light when his wife, Nancy Dickinson, wrote of the incident to travel blogger Christopher Elliot.

“He got to say his goodbyes thanks to Southwest. I am so grateful for the airline for doing what they did.”

She says her stepdaughter, Ashley Rodgers, 26, needed her dad. And if Dickinson had missed the plane it would have been a tragedy on top of a tragedy.

“It was heartbreaking,” Dickinson says.

Mark, an engineer with Northrop Grumman, had been on a business trip in Los Angeles when he got word his grandson was to be removed from life support that night. He already had a flight booked back to Tuscon and booked a connecting flight to Denver.

He arrived at LAX two hours early, but had to check in his suitcase, which took an hour, and then encountered a security line that was “out the door and down the sidewalk,” Nancy says.

Mark, on the verge of tears, ended up just grabbing his computer, belt and shoes as they came through security screening and running shoeless to the plane, knowing the minutes were ticking by.

At the gate, the pilot of the Southwest plane and ticketing agent were both waiting for him.

“Are you Mark? We held the plane for you and we’re so sorry about the loss of your grandson,” they said.

Nancy says she and Mark are not sure when or how Southwest got the word, but she is grateful they did. The plane was originally supposed to take off at 11:50; Mark arrived at 12:02 p.m.

“It was the pilot’s call to make. We are grateful that he felt comfortable in making that call,” Nancy says.

Mark was able to get to Denver to say goodbye to his grandson and be with his daughter.

Caden was buried yesterday. The toddler’s organs have been donated to several people in need of tranplants.

Nancy explained that Mark thanked the captain as they walked down the jetway to board the plane. Here was the exchange:

“I can’t thank you enough for this.”

The pilot responded with, “They can’t go anywhere without me and I wasn’t going anywhere without you. Now relax. We’ll get you there. And again, I’m so sorry.”

Marketing Lagniappe Takeaway – Empower your employees and let them in the words of Spike Lee, ‘Do the Right Thing’.

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra) – Here is an ABC News report that chronicles the incident:

Lagniappe defined: A marketing lagniappe, i.e. purple goldfish, is any time a business goes above and beyond to provide a ‘little something extra’. It’s that unexpected surprise that’s thrown in for good measure.

How do you stand out in the sea of sameness? How do you win repeat customers and influence word of mouth?

Where is the GLUE in your marketing?

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Republished with author's permission from original post.

Stan Phelps
Stan Phelps is the Chief Measurement Officer at 9 INCH marketing. 9 INCH helps organizations develop custom solutions around both customer and employee experience. Stan believes the 'longest and hardest nine inches' in marketing is the distance between the brain and the heart of your customer. He is the author of Purple Goldfish, Green Goldfish and Golden Goldfish.


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