Southwest Airlines Employee Goes Extra Miles To Help Cancer Patient – Forbes

Pictured here are Southwest airlines planes on the tarmac at Chicago’s Midway Airport. (Photo: KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

Good customer service makes a big difference…especially for those struggling with major health problems. Here’s what happened when 46-year old Stacy Hurt flew from Nashville to Pittsburgh on Southwest Airlines for a chemotherapy appointment the following morning…and her luggage initially didn’t make it.

The luggage contained medications to help Hurt deal with the side effects of chemotherapy, which she’s receiving for Stage IV colon cancer, as well as emotionally comforting items. Hurt then called Southwest Airlines’ customer service in a panic and reached Sarah Rowan, a Southwest Airlines customer service agent at Pittsburgh International Airport. The following segment from CBS Pittsburgh shows what happened next:

As you can see, Rowan persisted in locating the missing luggage. When the luggage finally arrived after 1:30 am when the last courier had left for the day, Rowan herself drove 25 minutes from the airport to reach Hurt’s home at 3:30 a.m and left the luggage along with a crumpled piece of tissue with the following message:

“Stacy,

Sorry for the delay getting your bag to you! Myself and my Southwest are thinking of you and wishing all the best. Kick that cancer’s BUTT!

With LUV from Sarah from PIT.”

Here’s one situation where writing the word “butt” in ALL CAPS is acceptable. Incidentally, LUV is the Southwest Airlines stock ticker symbol…so it serves dual purposes in this case. The following morning Hurt found the the luggage on her porch with the note. Hurt then posted a picture of the note on Facebook with this message:

“Let me tell you how awesome Southwest Airlines is- I caught an earlier direct flight home from Nashville on Sunday- my later original flight through Baltimore had maintenance problems and was cancelled so my luggage was rerouted- it had medication and items in it I needed for chemotherapy on Monday- when I told this to Sarah in Pittsburgh, not only did she personally drive my luggage to my house at 3am when it came in (the last courier for the night had left), but she put this note in my suitcase- when I read it, I cried- Sarah, I don’t know you, but THANK YOU! You give new meaning to the words ‘exceptional customer service'”

It’s safe to say that Hurt was moved by Rowan’s efforts. If you don’t think so, then perhaps you are the Tin Man. Hurt eventually got a chance to meet Rowan as shown by ABC Pittsburgh:

If you are a business, take heed of this story. Of course, customer service affects all customers and how they view your business. But major health problems have a way of further magnifying not only bad events but also good ones as well. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about half of all adults are struggling with one or more chronic health conditions. So unless you run an airline just for children (which may be the way some airlines are going with the shrinking seat sizes), there’s a good chance that many of your customers are not feeling completely well and will be particularly attuned to how they are being treated. Clearly, Rowan’s extra effort had a very positive impact on Hurt…and probably made Hurt (and others who hear of her story) more likely to fly Southwest Airlines in the future.

Southwest Airlines Employee Goes Extra Miles To Help Cancer Patient – Forbes