This Pilot’s Gift For His One Millionth Passenger Is The Airline Story We Need Right Now

The friendly skies haven’t been very friendly lately. Getting from point A to point C (point B is a four-hour layover in Cincinnati) has turned into Mad Max: Fury Road, with flight attendants threatening to take children away from their parents, passengers being dragged off planes, and don’t you dare even think about using the bathroom. All airlines are bad — I say this as someone who’s 6’3 — but lately, Southwest has been less bad than its competitors.

There was the Britney Spears prank, the decision to stop overbooking, and now, the video above, in which a good-guy pilot surprised one of his passengers with a special gift. Captain John Richie retired from the United States Air Force 22 years ago, and he’s been working for Southwest ever since. He’s also kept track of every passenger he’s flown (not in a creepy way, I swear). During a recent trip from Denver to Pittsburgh, Richie announced, “Today, I’m flying with my one millionth passenger.” He gave the lucky flyer a bottle of champagne and “in addition to that,” he said, “I did a little bit of snooping, and I found out how much you paid for your ticket. So in an envelope, I have in cash the amount of money you paid for your ticket.”

That beats the bag of mini-pretzels other airlines are hoping you’ll fight your fellow passengers for. Champagne and cash-filled envelope > battle royale.