Southwest Pilot Stuns His Millionth Passenger With an Awesome Gift

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We all know the world can be a horrific place plagued by an overabundance of unicorn Frappucinos and a clear and present shortage of peanut butter, among other unpleasantries, but -- believe it or not -- one good thing happened this week: a veteran airline pilot surprised a passenger with a few very awesome gifts before takeoff.

"I'd like to make one special announcement before we go," the pilot in the video above begins, looking at his entire cabin. Captain John Richie explains how he flew F-16s as a combat and test pilot before retiring from the Air Force 22 years ago to fly commercial planes for Southwest. Over the years he kept track of every flight and passenger he flew, tallying them up until now.

"Today is a very special day," he says. "Today I'm flying my one-millionth passenger." The passengers on the plane all applauded as Richie gifted her a bottle of champagne, an autographed copy of her boarding card signed by him, and an envelope filled with cash covering the price of her ticket. You can see Richie grinning as he finishes speaking, turns around, and picks up the bottle of bubbly before walking it over to the grateful passenger's seat and handing over the gifts. The whole thing is 100 seconds of pure, unadulterated warmth.

It should be said: This comes at a time when airlines don't just look bad; they look terrible. American Airlines is reducing its legroom to cram in more seats. Delta told a family to get off their plane or go to jail. United violently dragged a bleeding 69-year-old off a flight. Even our elected officials have trolled the airlines just this week on how crummy flying can be.

We can all learn a lesson from Captain Richie. Kindness counts.

h/t Daily Dot

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Eric Vilas-Boas is a writer and editor at Thrillist. Follow him @e_vb_.