This past Saturday night, myself and several other co-workers gathered at the Ameristar Casino and Sports Bar for a surprise farewell to one of Southwest Airlines long time employees. Now, before you think it's something terrible like a death, it's not. Here is the story.....
A fellow ramp agent, Marty, has resigned. All airport employees wear ID badges that permit us to be in certain areas of the airfield. Some of our jobs require driving on the ramp. Marty happens to have certain restrictions on his driver's license; for instance, no driving at night. When he was getting his airport ID renewed, the airport police noticed the restrictions regarding driving. Obviously, driving at night on airport property is required. Thus the airport police wouldn't renew the driving portion of his airport badge. With those limitations, he can't do the job in full. 98% of the job is driving....
- baggage tugs
- belt loaders
- push back tractors used to push/pull aircraft
- company pickup
- deicing trucks
If you knew Marty, you would also understand why he can't just transfer into another department or other position. He isn't exactly a "customer service" kind of guy. He is a very intelligent individual who wants nothing but what is right for people. If you asked him a question from the daily crossword puzzle, more often than not, he knew the answer. He would give someone the shirt off his back if asked to do so. But he does have a very short fuse if you know what I mean! His wife, Lacey, works at the ticket counter. So they aren't completely without a paycheck. He has become a stay-at-home Dad taking care of their two girls, Lili and Maggie.
Lacey and Cari, another girl that works in Operations (these people handle the weight and balance paperwork for the airplane as well as board the flights), decided to have a party for him. So we got together Saturday night and he was definitely surprised! He was given a gift as well. It consisted of a t-shirt from his own uniform stash (provided by Lacey!) that was signed by his fellow co-workers in permanent marker, and a very large model of one of our own Boeing 737-700 aircraft. I'm not talking about your run-of-the-mill window sill models that you could put together with a friend or a parent. It's big.....I'm guessing maybe 2 feet wing-tip to wing-tip by 3 feet nose-to-tail. We also had a plaque engraved with his name and years of service put on the base of the model. 1992-2006. He was shocked. We all updated him on what's been going on without him. Everyone had some cocktails and enjoyed the atmosphere of the Ameristar Sports Bar and Grill while munching on goodies. Some even walked over to the casino to try their luck at gambling after chatting with each other and Marty. I worked with Marty since my first day at Southwest Airlines. He is missed by all his fellow co-workers. He misses all of us as well. Especially "adult" conversations as he put it! His children are under the age of 3!
But we will still get to see Marty at other company functions as his wife Lacey, will, of course, bring him with her as her date! So he is not going to be forgotten!
Cheers to you Martin (or Mart, as I call him) on a job well done and many years of service to Southwest Airlines and your fellow employees.