After 22 years as a pilot, captain John Ritchie thanks his one millionth customer in a big way!

June 15, 2017 1:34 pm Last Updated: June 15, 2017 1:34 pm

Southwest airline pilot Captain John Ritchie caused a bit of confusion, as well as some unexpected merriment, on a flight from Denver to Pittsburgh on May 3, 2017. Just prior to taking off, the pilot got on the PA system and stood in full view of the passengers, proclaiming, “Twenty-two years ago I retired from the United States Air Force, and I had the privilege of flying F-16s, both as a combat pilot and as a test pilot. For the past twenty-two years, I’ve been flying for Southwest.” But there was more – a lot more!

“For the past twenty-two years, I’ve been flying for Southwest.”

In the below video recorded by flight attendant Jennifer Todd, excitement started to build after Ritchie said he wanted to personally thank his one millionth passenger! “Today is a special day,” he said. “Ever since I started with Southwest, I’ve kept track of the passengers I’ve flown, and today I’m flying my one millionth passenger.” Captain Ritchie then decided to reveal who that passenger was.

“Today, I’m flying my one millionth passenger.”

Nobody knew who that customer was except the captain. In fact, few passengers really knew what was going on! But Captain Ritchie explained what he was up to, telling everyone he was going to go and find his very special customer. The plane buzzed with anticipation and chatter.

Everyone wanted to know – who was it?

Captain Ritchie announced the name of the passenger, Ms. Maryanne Freedman, to everyone on board, and presented the woman with a bottle of champagne, an autographed copy of her boarding pass, and an envelope stuffed with cash. “I did a little bit of snooping, and I found out how much you paid for your ticket,” he said. The contents of envelope covered the cost of her flight. Everyone cheered!

What a memorable event for what could have been just another mundane flight to Pittsburgh!

Source: Southwest Pilot Showers His Millionth Passenger With Gifts, Pays For Her Ticket by HuffPost Good News and Jennifer Todd Facebook post andPilot Thanks His One Millionth Passenger With Champagne and Ticket Reimbursement by Inside Edition on YouTube.