My new friend Charlie Melvoin told me this morning about the amazing triumph WestJet pulled that thrilled a planeload of Christmas travelers and then--thanks to the video of the incident going viral--took the story global.
There are loads of things to love about this story: WestJet got the idea to give every traveler on a Christmas flight their Christmas wish. To do that, they set up a video in the airport lounge in Toronto with which its passengers could interact. When they scanned their boarding pass across the screen, Santa talked to them--by name. Imagine Santa on the screen saying "Ho, ho, ho, Bobby...and what would you like Santa to bring you for Christmas?" Santa asked that question not only of the kids but the adults, too. So people said things like "socks and underwear," Thomas the train," "A widescreen TV," "an Android tablet," whatever came to their mind.
As those passengers boarded the plane, their Christmas wishes were relayed to WestJet employees waiting in the destination city, Hamilton , Ontario who then raced to BestBuy, a partner in this wonderful scheme. The employees bought the gifts (whether socks, underwear or widescreen tvs, Santa knows the stuff on his list, right?) then wrapped them up and attached the names of the passengers to the gifts. As the passengers disembarked they were told to wait at baggage claim for a Christmas surprise. Suddenly the wrapped gifts showed up--tagged with each passenger's name--and tumbled onto the baggage conveyor belt. The employees in blue Santa hats watched with wonder and delight as people went crazy with the thrill of getting a gift from Santa...the very thing for which they had asked.
People were in tears--so was I just watching the video--and you can imagine the conversations that took place at each of the Christmas dinners they enjoyed with their families. Now that the video has gone viral, WestJet finds that everyone is in love with them. And everyone is talking about it. Our Wf360 intern Naoki Doi, from Tokyo, has sent the link to all his friends in Japan, for example.
This act can't be copied...it's a one time deal. But methinks the WestJet people know how to keep this conversation going for quite a while. Bravo, WestJet.
Here's the video: