There has been considerable interest in the video we posted on Monday: WestJet Christmas Miracle: real-time giving. The video has since gone viral and across the world, people are wondering where this came from. The answer is simple: we wanted to do something for our guests to show that we care. Speculation abounds but I want to be clear –this wasn’t about branding; this was about you. This was for the Hughes family, for socks and underwear guy, for the Android kid and the twins (who DID get their toys). At the end of the day, it was about creating a remarkable experience, something that would live with our guests far beyond their WestJet flight – and we wanted to share it with all of you, too.

I am not a guy easily given to tears but when the Hughes family saw what came off the carousel, I admit that my eyes were… sweating. No one could script the emotional reaction of our guests to the simple gesture of a gift given for the sake of making someone’s day.

The reaction of families receiving their Christmas wishes, and the reactions of the more than three million people who have since viewed the video, serve to reaffirm one of the most tried and true messages surrounding Christmas; it is better to give than to receive. As we began to watch the reactions pour in and the number of people seeing the video rise, a few visions have danced through my head:

Hour 1 – a few thousand views. OK, not bad, keep in mind it’s hour one, but I start to wonder how many days it will take to reach 200,000 so we could give the gift of flight to one of our Ronald McDonald House Charities families.

Hour 3 – it is starting to pick up. More than 20,000 views; almost at last year’s day one total. The little airline that could is making some waves. News outlets are calling and we are happy to say hello!

Hour 8 – Whoa! Mashable? We aren’t ‘Hot’ yet but we will be in a few more hours, especially after that “Velocity Alert”! Insert another video, this one is of me dancing a small jig at the office (shout out to our new friends in Dublin).

Hour 12 – devour.com? Share, share, share, just like momma taught me way back in preschool, only now it’s way more fun.

Hour 16 – 100,000 views? Is it possible? Can we hit 200,000 views in under 24 hours? Can we make a family’s wish come true?

Day 2 – CTV, CNN, ABC, The Daily Mail, The View – they are all knocking at once. As I rub the sleep from my eyes I see a few unexpected zeroes behind the number of views. I rub my eyes again, and again, and once more then we start on the call-backs to major news networks across North America. We hit one million views. Ronald McDonald House Charities will be getting a very merry phone call!

The coverage is exciting and the achieving three million views is a great milestone, but not nearly as exciting as watching people around the world dig a little deeper. More than a few people were quite sympathetic to the guy who offered a simple but valid response to the question “what do you need?” His reply would make his mother proud as he earnestly replied “socks and underwear.” Now affectionately known as Socks and Underwear Guy, he’s swept the nation, he’s international – we’ve created something bigger than the Christmas Miracle, we’ve created “Socks and Underwear Guy.” I’m sure he’ll have syndicated his own show by the time this blog post is up! We just hope he remembers us years from now.

Before I sign off, I need to send a shout out to the many dedicated WestJetters who helped make this idea a reality. Our team is still overwhelmed by the outpouring of support for the project and your time and effort that went into this. Everyone in this video gave his or her own time to make this miracle come true. In true WestJet spirit they did it all with a smile on their face. Even the greatest honorary WestJetter of all (the jolly old man himself) made a great contribution. Thank you Santa for lending an ear and bringing some holiday magic to our little airline. He has quite the sense of humor!

To everyone who has worked on the video, viewed the video or enjoyed a great day with real-time giving, we at WestJet are grateful to have had the opportunity to give.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good flight!

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  • Drew Kristofik

    You should be very proud – it was an amazing initiative, handled with grace. When I saw the video, I was skeptical, but as I learned more about WestJet, I started to feel an unaccustomed goo accumulating somewhere near my rib cage. You guys knocked so many goals out of the park – making your customers happy, strengthening what was already apparently a very cohesive and invested home team, and letting the world know more about what WestJet stands for (not to mention “who” WestJet is). Well done.

  • Dale Buck

    Great job Westjet you do put the sprit back in Christmas.

  • jvelt

    i heard it was just an ad so did it really happen? did they get their wishes?or was it all an elaborate ad..very cleverly done btw..

  • Gordon Lyons

    :)

  • Steven Szabo

    It’s real.

  • Justine Wood-Ross

    Just incredible!!!!! True Christmas spirit!!!! Way to go!!!♥

  • Nancy Moedt

    It’s an awesome thing that you did. I will always fly westjet. Not because of that but the service is always good and I always have a great flight. Thank you for being a wonderful carrier.

  • Heidi Duhachek-Mayers

    When you spoke of the “Socks and Underwear Guy” having been raised well, you should include yourself in that as well. To pull of such a HUGE gesture to the guests is simply and truly amazing. While many of forget what the Holidays are about, this video makes us stop and realize the true meaning of Christmas, “The Season of Giving,” and that is exactly what you and your workers accomplished. The guests and everyone around the world will be talking about this for years to come. TRULY AMAZING WORK GRET AND WESTJET.

  • Andy Radlgruber

    Thank you WestJet for this, in an age of so much me me me it’s great to see the giving with no real concern about the me. Well maybe the diamond ring thing but it looks like she got something either way. I hope she was half as happy as I was watching the scenario unfold.

  • Candace Riley

    I can only wish that I could have been one of the lucky ones…. Not the passengers, but one of the WestJetters who got to aid in the shopping & wrapping. That looked like an obscenely insane amount of fun!!!! I’ve watched the video 3 times, and have cried every single time – and LONG before the Hughes family sees their TV. :-) Now I can add another wish….that WestJet flew in Oklahoma. Way to go, guys….and thank you for being awesome. :-)

  • Linda Brooksbank

    WestJet, if you do this again sometime, it would be my dream come true to be one of Santa’s behind-the-scenes helpers! :)

  • Cheryl Hoffe Mason

    You are truly a great company! Loved every bit of it and have watched the video more than a few times! Thankyou for all that put this Christmas miracle together!

  • johnbrooks3

    Thanks WestJet for not being Politically Correct and saying “happy holidays” or other non-emotional bland greeting.

  • johnbrooks3

    My wife was on the previous month I think red-eye to Toronto, so she would have loved the Fa-la-la moment you guys pulled off. ha!

  • cathy Hofsink

    Wow! Talk about Spreading Christmas cheer! What a wonderful wonderful idea. May all those that work for West Jet be blessed this Christmas for allowing several families have there dreams come true!

  • Anna Steblyk

    All I want for Christmas is a JOB AT WESTJET!! (not jk!! your team is fabulous and I would love to be a part of it!) Thank you WestJet for yet another wonderful flight – we just arrived back in Edmonton yesterday from another awesome family reunion in Hawaii – as always the WestJet experience was EXCEPTIONAL! We hope to travel with you again real soon WJ! – your longtime loyal customer/members The Steblyk Family

  • Cary Horning

    You not only spread the Christmas Spirit around the World with your most kind and generous surprise. But you also made us regular customers even prouder to be WESTJETTERS!!!!! Merry Christmas to You, Your Family & All the Wonderful WESTJET Staff !

  • Travel With Bender

    I loved this and have shared across our social media networks (check us out) as well. I so want to fly with you, that was such an amazing thing to do. If we can ever work with you guys look us up, this is the airline we would love to deal with. Merry Christmas!

  • Mona Caron Mahovlic

    How could you not watch the video over and over and be touched. What a huge and awesome thing for West Jet to do. I can only imagine how much fun was had by West Jetters and the guests. WJ is the best and always goes above and beyond. I can’t wait to see what happens next year. Kudos to you all!

  • Jon

    I work for a retail chain that prides itself on customer service. We love to surprise and delight customers with anything that helps make them smile. This was an incredible gesture, and its nice to know there’s another company out there with the same values as the one I’m in! Great job Greg!

  • Val Mills

    If I could afford to fly to visit our grandkids in Calgary, hubby and I would def. fly with this awesome company! GOOSEBUMPS AND TEARS, from watching this loving video! wtg making CHRISTMAS extra special for these people!

  • melissafullcircle

    Still in awe.. Merry Christmas, WJ Team!

  • Kate Carter

    Awesome, so lovely to see a company giving :)

  • Peter Miller

    Great Vid. Hard to top, but I hope the Socks and Underwear Guy gets something for his modesty.

  • jaredean

    Please bring your airline to Provo Utah! We have an airport all ready for you to land and take off…PLEASE!!!

  • Cheryl Ballantyne

    Well done, guys. And thank you for a wonderful bright spot in my day.

  • 壯呆熊

    Really awesome… imagine I watch it 3 times. I don’t really celebrate Xmas in Singapore. But is really great and touches to see these people are in joy with tears and laughter. Great job… well done and clap clap…. my wish. I don’t really believe in that unless is really miracle happened! I want smart TV. Hahaha I don’t think it will be happening to me. Thanks for being me joy and watching this clip to experience how important it is to celebrate Xmas. Take care and merry Christmas to all out there and to those who read my post.

  • Tracy Spencer

    You are all Angels Merry Christmas West Jet Staff and happy new Year !! :))))

  • Blondie

    The video was fantastic. I was watching it when my husband came home and he was all concerned that something was wrong because I was in tears…..tears of joy. The effort by everyone, the reactions, Santa – just everything, made me so overcome with emotions. Unfortunately Santa can’t give me what I want, which is my mom (she passed earlier this year) but I know that when I board my flight on December 24th with WestJet for our holiday away from home (with mom not here, the hubby, my dad and I decided to leave town), I will flying with an organization that very clearly loves to make others day…and that is what it’s really all about. I love you WestJet!!!!

  • Lissu Pasila

    Woooooow! Thank you for the video, it was a wonderful gift to me :) I wish you’ll fly to Finland some day!

  • Rob Ricci

    Whoever thought this up should be given a huge bonus. What a great way to gain customer loyalty!!! I, too, wish I was one of those peole “behind the scenes”. I would love to hear what they thought of this.

  • Bruce Morrison

    Next summer(2014) you can meet them in Ireland, and come and visit WESTJET land (Canada)……:)

  • lmcwriter

    Brilliant job. But what firm did the work? Who had the original, heart-warming idea?

  • http://koder.posterous.com/ Greg Solovyev

    Wow! Must have been so awesome to be one of the WestJet employees delivering the gifts!

  • annebelle d’arc

    I really wish I knew the title of the song that plays during the clip? The “Santa’s coming to town” Who’s singing? Great video!

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  • susieq

    Seems odd that Westjet is tooting its own horn. Many airlines do untold hours of giving and charity work, without broadcasting it to make themselves look good. Shame on you.

  • Greg McGraw

    Santa’s Coming Tonight
    Henrik Wikstrom

  • O.Gomez

    Greg Plata you deserve a Peace Prize or something. Nothing made me feel the Christmas spirit like your epic video. Thanks!

  • Richard Zarceno

    WestJet is Available in Philippines?

  • Judy Hill Sullivan

    Honestly didn’t know about you until my sister sent email of your video. You’ve blessed the hearts of all who see your spirit shining on a hillside. Thanks for service to Dublin, by the way!