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Lifestyle & Human Interest

Southwest Employee Goes Above and Beyond Call of Duty to Help a Mother Fulfill Wish for Her Children

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No matter how prepared or spontaneous a gift-giver you are, sometimes the perfect gift takes time to find — but when you find it, and you know it’s the one, you’ll move heaven and earth to make it happen.

One mom in St. Louis by the name of Melissa had found exactly what she was looking for for her three kids. The problem was, she found it just days before Christmas and it was in San Francisco.

The gift? An adorable goldendoodle puppy that her sister in San Francisco had been able to locate.

“It was days before Christmas and Melissa, mom of three, was still in the hunt for that special surprise when got a text from her sister in San Francisco,” Southwest Airlines posted on Facebook to chronicle the heartwarming event.

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She knew this would take some Christmas magic, but she was willing to try.

“She posted to Facebook,” Southwest wrote. “In a ‘hail mary’ plea to a local mom group, Melissa wondered out loud if anyone was by chance flying from Northern California to STL in the coming days. It was worth a shot, right?”

The plea made it to the attention of a Southwest Airlines employee, who was up for the challenge.

“Somewhere across town was Dan Menius, Southwest Dispatcher,” Southwest continued. “Dan was spending time with his family for the holidays when his cousin showed him a post from a Facebook group. A mom needed a way to get a puppy from the West Coast to the Midwest. Hmm … Dan, you have travel priveleges with Southwest, right?”

So the very next day (and after settling some important details), he set out from St. Louis to San Francisco, picked up the pup, and headed back, putting him at over 3,000 miles traveled in a day for the sake of Jack the goldendoodle and three unexpecting kids.

“After a quick exchange of messages, the details were handled, and bright and early the next day, Dan boarded a flight from STL to SFO, by way of PHX,” Southwest explained.

“He met Melissa’s sister and Jack the goldendoodle in baggage claim, and quickly returned to the terminal to board their flight home. A quick stop in DEN put Dan well over 3,000 miles traveled for the day.”

The pup made it to St. Louis safe and sound, and he made his big debut on Christmas via a root beer box — which successfully threw the kids off the scent.

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In a video Southwest posted in the comments, it’s clear the three are in shock and the youngest states “this doesn’t make sense!” as the pup licks one of his new owners and wags his tail.

Dan said it was worth it, and based on a letter from the kids, they were surprised and in love with the new pup.

“Thank you soo, sooo much for giving YOUR time and probably energy to bring us our wonderful, extremely cute dog … Jack,” the letter read.

“Here’s to connecting people to what’s important in their lives,” the Southwest post concluded. “Especially when it’s Jack the goldendoodle.”

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking