Oh, baby: These Southwest passengers went above and beyond for two lucky new parents

Feb 15, 2020

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If it takes a village to raise a child, a Boeing 737 full of Southwest passengers is a great start.

Dustin and Caren Moore recently shared a heartwarming story about how more than 60 strangers on a flight from Denver to Long Beach made their newborn daughter’s first journey an unforgettable homecoming.

Photo courtesy of Dustin and Caren Moore.
Photo courtesy of Dustin and Caren Moore.

“I’d like to share with you the kindness strangers offered us the day we brought our daughter home,” Dustin recently shared on Twitter. “I hope our story uplifts you, and reminds you there is goodness to be had in this world.”

The Moores had been waiting for a baby for nine years by the time they met their first child in Denver in November 2019. “Being able to adopt meant healing,” Dustin told TPG. “The day we met our daughter was the day that emotional wounds we had held for so long finally started to heal.”

Despite their intense happiness, parenting still upended everything Dustin and Caren knew about life. Step one: Getting through mountains of paperwork to become their daughter’s legal parents. Just to get her on the plane home, the Moores had to provide medical clearance showing that the baby could travel home; legal adoption documents at the airport; and speak with Southwest customer relations to verify information from two sources.

The Moores chose Southwest because the airline had the best availability for their travel schedule, and also for the great cancellation policy, Dustin said. “It was serendipity! Obviously, we would recommend Southwest [to other parents in our situation].”

Read more: 10 lessons from 10 years of traveling with kids

After successfully navigating the extensive red tape, the Moores were on their way home. “My wife carried our precious bundle, while I offered numerous apologies to passengers while maneuvering the aisle with four bags,” Dustin described on Twitter. 

Halfway through the flight, the baby needed a diaper change, so a Southwest flight attendant named Jenny thoughtfully made space for the new parents toward the back of the plane. Jenny and another passenger later came by to coo over the new baby, while Dustin shared a brief summary of their adoption story and accepted their congratulations and kind words. After a few minutes, another flight attendant named Bobby came by to ask about the baby as well.

“My wife and I exchanged curious looks, but thought nothing more about it,” Dustin said. “Then we heard the intercom. Bobby came on and announced a special guest on the flight: Our daughter. ‘She’s just been adopted by her parents Caren and Dustin, and is making her way home.’ The entire cabin erupted in cheers and applause.”

Bobby then announced that the crew would distribute pens and napkins to each passenger, and anyone who wanted to share a word of advice or encouragement for the Moore family was welcome to do so.

“We sat in speechless gratitude as people kept peeking over their chairs to congratulate us,” Dustin said. After the napkins had been collected, the crew read a few of their favorites over the intercom:

“Rub each other’s feet, and rub the baby’s feet.”

“Make time for date night.”

“Always tell her you love her.”

“Enjoy every minute. It goes by sooo very fast.”

“Drink lots of wine!”

“One more round of cheers came through,” Dustin said, before Bobby and Jenny presented the new parents with approximately 60 napkins, along with a set of pilot wings for their new daughter. “We learned [that Bobby and Jenny] were married, and that someone had done a similar act for them on their honeymoon flight. When I [spoke with] Jenny, she thought it was a perfect opportunity to pay forward the kind act they had been shown on their honeymoon.”

Read more: Love is in the air: Airline employees on what it’s like working with their partners

“Even as we disembarked, people kept approaching us and wishing us well, and complimenting our beautiful daughter,” Dustin said. “Our hearts were full.”

After the Moores got home, a family member helped create a keepsake album displaying all of the well-wishes. But the real impact of Bobby and Jenny’s kind gesture went far beyond a handful of napkins, Dustin said.

The Moore family received more than 60 well-wishes from fellow travelers on Southwest, handwritten onto cocktail napkins. Image courtesy of Dustin Moore.

“What all of those perfect strangers and attendants did not know was the emotionally tender state of two brand-new parents who, after nine years of trying, had been blessed with their first child,” Dustin said on Twitter. “The outpouring of love from that flight, brought on by the actions of two thoughtfully observant flight attendants… it exceeds my ability to describe what it meant to us.”

Dustin ended his Twitter post by addressing his fellow passengers from the flight, saying, “Thank you all for the love you’ve shown us. We only wish we could sit down with each of you, tell you the rest of the story, and hear yours.”

Their fellow passengers made the new parents feel “like we won the lottery,” Dustin told TPG. “There were a lot of concerns and worries that we carried with us, principle for my wife being whether or not people would treat her daughter differently because she was adopted. That plane ride, those flight attendants, those perfectly wonderful strangers, permanently shut the door on that train of thought for us. The selfless love they showed us made it feel as though all of them were there just to see our daughter get home, and we love them for it.”

“Our crew often looks for opportunities to provide exceptional hospitality,” a Southwest spokesperson told The Points Guy. “Our people are our best assets, and it is evident in the kindness and heart that our crew showed to these customers during a special time in their lives. We join in the new parents’ joy and wish them a lifetime of love and baby snuggles.”

All photos courtesy of Dustin and Caren Moore.

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