You’ve probably heard this story many times before. A person loves his job so much that he decides to thank the people who have made it all possible. But this story about a pilot definitely takes the cake.
When Captain John Richie of Southwest Airlines was celebrating 22 years of being an airline pilot, he wanted to mark the milestone in the best possible way he could: by setting aside some money and champagne.
But instead of throwing a party, like you would think, he decided to do something radical instead.
Turns out, Richie was not only keeping track of how many years he’s been flying professionally. He’s also been noting how many people have shared his journey throughout the years. And as icing on the cake, he was flying his one millionth passenger on that same day!
Just let that sink in for a minute. Literally one million passengers have relied on this man to safely get them to their destination.
So when all the passengers have settled in their seats and the plane is about to take off, Richie took to the overhead announcement system and made a not-so-routine announcement.
The pilot had actually taken note of which person on the flight was his actual one millionth and wanted to share this joyous occasion with the unknowing passenger.
In a video taken by a flight attendant, Richie announced, “In honor of that, I have a bottle of champagne. I have an autographed copy of your boarding card, from me. And in addition to that, I did a little bit of snooping, and I found out how much you paid for your ticket.”
I was scheduled to fly DEN to PIT this Sat, my Capt arrives and tells me in the past 21 years he's worked here at SWA, he's kept track of all the passengers he's transported and turns out his 1 MILLIONTH (!!!!) passenger is on this flight. He arranged to have champagne, planned on making an announcement, and found out exactly who his 1 millionth passenger was and then if that wasn't enough, he figured out exactly how much she paid for her ticket….put that much (out of his OWN pocket!) in an envelope and presented it to her. I am so incredibly proud and humbled to be able to "work" for this amazing LUVing airline. Captain John Charles Ritchie, you, sir, are the epitome of everything Southwest stands for and continues to even though we've grown so incredibly much over these past 45 (+) years. Without a heart, it's just a machine!! ❤💙💛 More pictures in comments…
Posted by Jennifer Todd on Wednesday, May 3, 2017
Richie then called out the name of the lucky passenger. He then handed her the envelope with cash inside and a bottle of champagne.
And to show how Richie is full of gratitude for getting to do his dream job for the past 22 years, he reportedly took money from his own pocket to pay for this lucky passenger’s plane ticket.
After giving his gifts to the stunned but delighted passenger, Richie then proceeded to return to the cockpit and fly the plane, just like he does on any normal day.