At the annual celebration, a Customer Service Excellence Person of the Year is selected from the Five Star Award winners of that year. That person receives special prizes and podium recognition at the luncheon.

2018 Person of the Year: Elmo Wedderburn, Southwest Airlines

We hope you enjoy reading Elmo’s nomination story as much as we did.

“I wanted to write and THANK your company for their kind treatment of my husband, John Martinez. We got word that his mother was suddenly reaching the end of her life. We had limited time as she was not well. We were losing her. I had to get my husband, John, to Florida IMMEDIATELY. As we were throwing clothes into a bag, I got online. I bought a ticket from another airline that was only available. I knew it would be too late and we wouldn’t be able to say goodbye to her. My heart was breaking as we raced to the airport. When we arrived, I tried to get an earlier flight with this airline and they could not help me. The thought of her passing without my husband there, sent us both into tears. In desperation I ran to the Southwest counter what I was greeted by Elmo … our ANGEL. This man was so kind and FAST. He immediately got my husband on a flight and treated us with so much respect and empathy. Because of Elmo, my husband was able to say goodbye to his mother. He JUST made it in time. I can’t even begin to express HOW MUCH THAT MEANS to our family. My husband was raised by his single mother who came to the United States alone and 6 months pregnant. They never had much and struggled. She worked hard and raised her son by herself to be the most generous, kind and loving man. He has always expressed to me the love and admiration he has for his mother. When we got the call, I knew our time was limited. I was so afraid he would not be able to say goodbye to her and it sent me into a panic. Elmo didn’t need one word of explanation from me. I briefly told him (while crying hysterically) what was happening and without a word, he got John on a flight immediately. The airport can be an extremely stressful place. I have seen airport employees be treated so poorly by people upset about their flights, etc. It has to be an incredibly stressful job. Elmo was BEYOND patient, kind, fast, helpful. .. he is our ANGEL. Thank you Elmo and THANK YOU Southwest for giving my husband the opportunity to say goodbye to his mother and hold her hand as she slipped away from us. I wish i had the words to express my gratitude fully … Thank you, Elmo for what you did for John Martinez that day. Because of you … a wonderful man who grew up with nothing was able to give his mother everything. With all our hearts we THANK YOU. You are our angel. Thank you Southwest for having such an incredible employee. I truly hope he knows what he means to us.”

Congratulations to Elmo Wedderburn for his outstanding customer service!