Giving Back

Wishes are more than just a nice thing. For a child with a critical illness, a wish creates an opportunity for hope and the ability to experience life beyond illness. But wishes don’t just happen on their own. The Make-A-Wish® Foundation is only able to grant life-changing wishes with help and support from volunteers, donors, and other supporters.

As the Airline with Heart, our longstanding partnership with Make-A-Wish is a natural extension of our Purpose. Since 2011, we have provided thousands of Make-A-Wish families with friendly, reliable air travel by donating more than 15,000 tickets (valued at more than $6 million). To date, these donations have helped grant more than 4,000 wishes. However, in 2019, we had an opportunity to carry our support of Make-A-Wish one step further.

Randy is a 5-year-old boy who has endured three open-heart surgeries due to a rare heart condition. His wish was to become a Southwest Airlines Mechanic. With help from our vendors and our Ground Operations and Tech Operations Employees at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), we were able to help make his dream come true.

Alan, a LAX Mechanic, served as Randy’s personal escort for the day and made sure Randy experienced everything our Mechanics do on the job. To prepare Randy for his day as a Mechanic, Alan put together a personalized toolbox—complete with real tools donated by the Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology—and a cart Randy could use to pull it. The cart was a huge hit, and it never left Randy’s side. Cintas, Southwest’s apparel provider, outfitted Randy with a custom Southwest Mechanic Uniform, while LAX Operations Agent Helen Vincent tailored an existing Safety vest to fit Randy’s 5-year-old frame and embroidered his name and “Aircraft Mechanic” on it.

Randy spent the day learning about maintenance activities like engine and tire checks, touring the maintenance shop, and hanging out with the Mechanics at LAX. We enjoyed turning Randy’s dream into a reality, as the experience of a granted wish will have a lasting impression on Randy.

I have the unique opportunity to support our longstanding partner Make-A-Wish, not only through my role at Southwest, but also by serving on their National Board of Directors. For a child with a critical illness, a wish creates an opportunity for hope and the ability to experience life beyond illness. Southwest is honored to help provide that experience and connect these children to their wishes. This partnership really helps celebrate the purpose of Southwest—connecting People to what’s important in their lives.
—Linda Rutherford, Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer, Corporate Services
If you are interested in supporting Make-A-Wish (or another impactful charitable organization), join us by donating your Rapid Rewards® points through our Points for a purpose program. Since the program’s inception in 2015, our amazing Customers have donated more than 8,000,000 Rapid Rewards points—helping make so many more wishes like Randy’s come true.
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