Letter to Westjet president

Posted on December 31, 2008
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            The following letter explains why my son Nathan got one Christmas present this year with a card that read “from David and from the lovely Raziel S. Garcia.”

            It also self-explains why I could not post the letter to this site before Christmas.


December 15, 2008


Sean Durfy

President and CEO

5055 11th Street N.E.
Calgary, AB

T2E 8N4


Dear Sir:

            Re. Westjet flight # 941, December 10, 2008.

            I hope you get to see this letter. It should brighten your holiday season.

            Raziel  S. Garcia of your staff in Tampa, Florida, went far above and beyond the call of duty to save me from a silly mistake I made that could have been an expensive disappointment.

            I arrived at the airport early and, fortunately for me as it turned out, the flight was delayed an hour. The aircraft had started the day in Quebec City where bad weather and the necessity for de-icing had held it up.

            I checked two bags which is unusual for me. One of the bags was Christmas present luggage filled with other Christmas presents.

            I cannot imagine how I could have been so stunned but I put a bottle of very fine single malt scotch in my carry-on bag. Trying to imagine how I could have been so foolish, I can only think that I think of forbidden liquids as shampoo and hygiene supplies. I think I was thinking of the scotch not as a liquid but as a Christmas present. It is my son Nathan’s favourite and we cannot get it in New Brunswick.

            Naturally, security discovered it and suggested the only solution was to take it to UPS and ship it home. I couldn’t see that working. The cost would be prohibitive and I didn’t think I could ship liquor across the border to New Brunswick.

            I went back to the Westjet counter and approached the same attendant, Ms. Raziel S. Garcia, who had checked me in in the first place. She remembered me because she had given me a plastic bag to help protect the gift luggage.

            Because I had already checked two bags, putting the scotch in my camera bag, and checking that, was going to cost $75 USD. She asked her supervisor if an exception could be made for a very small bag and it could not.

            At this point, Ms. Garcia began working against the interests of her co-workers because I was going to donate the bottle to them for their Christmas party. She didn’t know that, of course. It is perhaps better that they never do.

            Ms. Garcia said she was going to try something and got on the phone. She spent several minutes speaking in Spanish and English explaining to staff in baggage handling what my bag looked like. The baggage staff found it and brought it back up to the counter. I was able to pack the bottle and send it back down.

            It would have been so easy to let me suffer the consequences of my stupidity.

            Instead, Ms. Garcia acted as if it was a pleasure and fun to help me solve my problem. I am sure hundreds of men must fall in love with her every month.

            I have seen the Westjet commercials where Westjet staff members do superhuman things to solve passengers’ problems. I thought the commercials were a bit dangerous because they might give clients expectations no one could meet.

            Maybe so but you couldn’t prove it by me. I have told dozens of people about Ms. Garcia already.

            It would not have been a huge loss if I had lost the bottle or had to add $75 to its cost.  However, the contrast between that and the actual outcome was dramatic. More than the scotch, the example of how some people really mean it when they talk about their customers being important to them was a very nice gift.

            I have enjoyed flying with Westjet before. This experience means that your company will be my first choice for any future trips.

            I hope Ms. Garcia gets a pat on the back for making my day.

            Here’s wishing you and her a very happy holiday season and a happy and prosperous new year.


            David Cadogan


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