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The Idle American
"Social Media's Christmas Miracle?..."
Wednesday, December 25, 2013 • Posted December 24, 2013

Likelihood is great that airlines of the world--most of them maligned by flustered flyers venting their feelings when flights go awry--owe much gratitude to a single member of their flock.

WestJet, a Canadian airline, has become a social media darling with a “feel good” Christmas video that has rocketed far to the right of “viral” on YouTube and other Internet sites.

For five minutes-- brief and shining moments in multiple languages around the world--it’s reaping tears of joy from multiple millions of viewers. It has promoted a sense of “oneness” for 150 airline employees whose joint efforts made the miracle possible, as well as a “lean-back” kind of satisfaction for those who dreamed it up. Results include awakened sugarplum imaginations, as well as recommitment to seeking peace on earth, good will toward men….

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Who can say it was not divine creativity that inspired August planners for a video in November that might warrant 800,000 YouTube “hits” during its December release?

WestJet planners missed projections by light years. Since it was “unleashed,” the numbers are growing by millions daily. Who knows how many hundreds of millions of viewers will eventually see the video? And, if it doesn’t tug at your heartstrings, you need to get them tuned—maybe even re-strung.

A hurting world yearns for good news. The video provides exactly that. If you use a computer, you’ve likely already seen WestJet’s Christmas Miracle. If you don’t, arrange for someone with computer literacy to access it for you, and prepare to weep. If you don’t shed a tear or two, Forbes magazine suggests you may need a “scrooge-ectomy.”…

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Planners’ concepts were warm and cheery. Feature Santa Claus, give presents and throw in “ho-ho-ho’s” every few words.

Settings were airports in Toronto and Hamilton for passengers booked on simultaneous flights--each 2,000+ miles--to Calgary. The flyers--125 at each terminal--saw the Santa set-up, then scanned boarding passes as requested. Next, they stood in front of the interactive Santa for what they thought was “seasonal conversation.”

Passengers were asked what they’d like for Christmas….

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The merry old gent listened intently, whether passengers asked for big screen TVs, iPads, diamond rings or simply “socks and underwear.”

Each request was also noted by 150 “WestJetters” (the airline’s employees) in Calgary. They raced to procure the items, defying the snow, shopping lines and whatever other obstacles they encountered.

They had just four hours for the whole deal, including wrapping each gift, affixing each name and getting the whole “kit-n’-kaboodle” to baggage claim carousel eight, where passengers claimed their luggage. Stunned, they first spotted gifts on the carousel. And Santa was in the midst of the crowd....

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A commercial venture or not, it provides a vignette of the way Christians believe our world should be.

It is a vivid reminder that the ground at the foot of the cross is exceedingly level--that the same God intervening in the affairs of man throughout history is still in charge. It’s also an example of His ongoing work in mysterious ways--His wonders to perform.

Strive to remember WestJet’s warm Christmas story--even when your flight is canceled, your luggage is lost or sent to the wrong continent, your carry-on is overweight by a pound or an inch too big, the snoring guy seated next to you has taken the arm rest, the cabin temperature is not just right, or….

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Finally, breathe a prayer for the folks who came up with this idea. It reminds us that we shouldn’t “give ‘til it hurts, but ‘til it feels good.”

Without question, the folks in the “ideas department” are envied, and may or may not be promoted. Come August, they will again be expected to come up with a “can’t miss” Christmas message. (For the next few days, they deserve plushest fireside chairs, away from media inquiries--dumb and otherwise.)

Odds are great that the idea simply can’t be equaled—certainly not exceeded. In many corporate settings, of course, the latter is always expected. Good luck.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good flight, uh, good night—even if Santa’s suit is blue in the video. That’s about the only criticism I can offer!...

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Dr. Newbury is a speaker in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Speaking inquiries/comments to: newbury@speakerdoc.com. Phone: 817-447-3872. Web site: www.speakerdoc.com. Twitter: @donnewbury.

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