As you know, June is anniversary month for Southwest, but there’s also an anniversary in June for my wife and me—we met 29 years ago on June 10, 1981, all because of Southwest Airlines.
Back up to June 1979, when Sandy Mann was hired by Southwest Airlines as a Reservations Sales Agent in their Dallas Reservations Center. She’d worked there for all of about 20 months when the new Reservations Center in San Antonio opened. Southwest transferred Sandy and a few other Dallas Reservations Agents to San Antonio to help open and establish the new Reservations Center there.
Here’s where I come in… At the time, I was living and working and going to school and attending a big Baptist church in San Antonio. Come Wednesday night, June 10, I went to church and, as is the tradition in Baptist churches, this Wednesday prayer meeting was rather informal so, as usual, the Pastor had invited the visitors to stand and introduce themselves to the congregation.
I was sitting up in the balcony with a bunch of other single adults and other parishioners, and happened to not be paying much attention during the introduction proceedings … in fact, I was whispering to my buddy next to me about something that was surely trivial, especially in light of what was happening in a certain pew down at the front of the church. My buddy noticed first, and he quickly averted his eyes from me, leaned his head to look past me … and then his jaw dropped and his eyes flew open wide. I said, “Wha…? and turned to look at what he was seeing.
Providence was smiling on me that night, ladies and gentlemen. Because, lo, there before my eyes, standing all together, in the same pew, taking turns introducing themselves to the congregation, were seven—count them: seven—of the most beautiful creatures I’d ever seen, at least at one time, in one clump. What with the sudden ringing in my ears and the instantaneous tunnel vision, I didn’t catch much of what each one said as it came her turn to speak, but I definitely heard each of them say, consecutively, the word “single”—now, they may have also said something about “Southwest Airlines,” but I didn’t hear that.
Well, that was the longest prayer meeting I think I’ve ever attended, and it couldn’t get over fast enough (forgive me). Because, you see, as the current Director of the Single Adults Department, I felt it my duty—nay, my obligation—to quickly, yet deftly, introduce myself to these lovely [did I mention they were single?] young ladies and invite them to visit our Singles Department. Which I did.
I caught up with the group just before they got out of the sanctuary, and I made my acquaintance—though, at that moment, there were only six of the seven. Sandy was already out in the foyer, waiting on the others.
These visions of perfection were telling me that they all worked for an airline, Southwest Airlines, and how they’d come to be in San Antonio, and how they’d all decided to visit this particular church on this particular Wednesday, etc., etc., etc.
Then, one of these angels of mercy did something that I could not have scripted, even if I had known what was at stake—she went out into the foyer to get Sandy to “come and meet this guy” that the group was talking with.
Well, yada, yada, yada, the rest is history. Sandy Mann and I became Mr. and Mrs. Jonathan T. Shubert a few short 11 months later on May 15, 1982—so, we just celebrated 28 years.
I continued my schooling and working, and Sandy continued to work for Southwest until she resigned in October 1986 to stay home with our newborn girl.
Then, in January 1989, I hired on with Southwest, and Sandy returned to Southwest in April of the same year. So, if you do the math, this year and this month, we have a total of 50 years, together, at Southwest Airlines … and all because of Southwest Airlines.
You know … The LUV Airline.