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My friend’s LUVing example of showing up for others.

“There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.” -Thomas Aquinas

Eight years ago, I had the privilege of sharing the stage with Brené Brown and speaking to the leadership team at Southwest Airlines. Visiting with Brené was a once in a lifetime experience. Having lunch with Southwest President and CEO Herb Kelleher was an honor. But one of the greatest gifts from that day was a friendship that was planted and blossomed afterwards. Let me explain.

At the conclusion of the day in Dallas, many promised to stay in touch. And many of those amazing individuals have. But one in particular has not only stayed in touch, but grown into a valued friend: Kim Seale

In an organization of 70,000, serving millions of customers each year, it is possible to feel like one’s only a super small part of something so big and unable to individually impact positive change. But Kim’s job is to not only remind his colleagues, but also every one of his customers, that they truly do matter, they are seen, their problems are heard, their business is sincerely appreciated and their lives matter. Responsible for customer engagement, Kim gets to spend each day making other people feel special. And he’s been doing this work for the last several decades.

He’s been incredibly successful with Southwest, and I have experienced firsthand the profound impact of his thoughtfulness.

Stuffed airplanes sent to my kids and many others. Support quietly extended to those struggling in the community. A private tour for a young person with special needs interested in the aviation industry. Meeting loyal customers when they land so he can shake their hand and thank them personally for their business. In doing all these things- and more- Kim perpetually asks the question, what more can he do for others? And then he does it.

Last week, I experienced that generous heart again. On the anniversary of the day I was born, my bride asked if she could take me to lunch to celebrate. Beth arrived at my office, had a smile on her face, looked absolutely beautiful, and I happily jumped in her car not yet sure where we were heading. She drove me to one of our favorite Italian restaurants on The Hill.

The hostess led us to a table in the back of the restaurant, where one surprise guest was already waiting: my friend, Kim Seale.

Kim took an early morning flight from Dallas to St. Louis. And he would fly back to Dallas that afternoon. But he took a day off work and time from the busyness of life to show a customer of his organization — and a friend of his — that he loved him.

And although I already knew it, spending time with him, laughing and reminiscing while savoring delicious food and even better friendship was one of the greatest gifts I could have possibly opened last week.

My friends, we can pretend to care, but we can’t pretend to show up. And I know of no one who models this more beautifully in his work and in his life than my friend Kim Seale.

There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship. I feel incredibly blessed to count Kim as one of my true friends, and in his example, I will strive to show up and be a Kim for others.

So fasten your seatbelts, secure all baggage, put your seats and tray tables in the upright position…and get ready to join me in showing up for others.

Today is your day. Live Inspired.

10 replies on “Nothing More Prized Than Friendship”

Friendship will grow when both are invested in becoming better versions of themselves with the help and support of each other! Four qualities that each have to have on their inner core. Stability, Compassion, Trust, Hope!

Absolutely inspiring!! I love flying Southwest! So goes the head, so goes the organization. John, you are always such an inspiration! Keep it going for us all! Blessings!

John – thank you for sharing with us the friendship Kim and you share – when we have out monthly LIT meeting I can see on Kim’s face a special smile when he is talking. I find it is all captured in this sentence “My friends, we can pretend to care, but we can’t pretend to show up.” Like you tell us we have to show up, say yes, and return with friends to help” Thanks again John for reminding us what true friendship is! Bill A

We can pretend to care, but not pretend to show up. YES! Thank you for that gem and Happy Belated Birthday! Hope your week is amazing! Amy

Your essay this morning had a special meaning for me. I spoke at length last night with the daughter of a lifelong friend who is in a spiral of dementia. The family has few resources and is desperately trying to wade through the legal bureaucracy needed to gain medical power of attorney. I worried about this all night wondering what as a friend I could do to help. I have no solutions but reading your email this morning was almost soothing. As a friend I’ll continue trying to help.

John. Thx for the great reminder on how to treat others. It goes a step beyond just doing the right thing. God Bless. Pat

John, what a beautiful story I especially love the surprise ouch and the investment of his time to surprise you and put you first. Thanks for always making my Monday ignite with inspiration. One more reason I love Southwest & the way you show up for us JO 😇

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