Time Magazine ran a story today about a Southwest Airlines pilot delaying his departure of a full airplane so they could wait for a grandfather who was trying to get to his grandson's funeral. The article points out that this was a courageous decision, as the pilot risked the wrath of angry travelers who might end up missing their connections at the next stop. But I didn't think his decision was all that surprising. Not only was it the humane thing to do, but Southwest Airlines doesn't let corporate policy get in the way of doing the right thing.
I can’t anticipate all of the situations that will arise at the stations across our system. So what we tell our people is ‘Hey, we can’t anticipate all of these things. You handle them the best way possible. You make a judgment and use your discretion; we trust you’ll do the right thing. If we think you’ve done something erroneous, we’ll let you know…without criticism, without backbiting. We never jump on employees for leaning too far in the direction of the customer."
Former CEO of Southwest Airlines
That pilot knew that as long as he was doing what he thought was the right thing, Southwest Airlines would have his back. That's the kind of place where people like to work.