Back in November, with Thanksgiving around the corner, late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel featured a segment on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” in which kids at a Los Angeles shopping mall were asked what they were thankful for.
As expected, perhaps, many of the kids were thankful for families and friends, while others gave somewhat more unconventional answers (“sushi and garbanzo beans,” said one interviewee; “Minecraft!” claimed another).
But when 12-year-old Harris B. from Rhinebeck, N.Y., matter-of-factly said he was thankful for “Delta – I always fly Delta,” he couldn’t have predicted the surprise that awaited him next.
After the airline heard about the kind words he shared on national television, teams across the company pulled out all the stops to organize an opportunity for Harris and his family to fly to Delta’s headquarters in Atlanta for a one-of-a-kind visit.
Just a few weeks after the show aired, and with Harris’s parents in on the surprise (“It was a hard secret to keep,” said his mom Isabelle), Delta arranged for Harris to be surprised at his doorstep by Captain Doug Taylor, who invited the family to join him on a noon flight to Atlanta the same day.
Over the next 24 hours, Harris was treated to behind-the-scenes tours of the In-Flight Training Center, Technical Operations Center, Operations & Customer Center, Delta Flight Museum, a flight simulator and several Delta Sky Clubs at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Teams from these divisions organized the visit and led the various tours. They also left Harris and his family with some special Delta memorabilia to take home, including personalized first officer wings, artwork and even an engraved scrap rotor blade.
A Delta camera crew traveled to upstate New York to capture the doorstep surprise and filmed the super fan’s super-awesome visit to Atlanta.
“It was amazing to see this level of knowledge in a 12-year-old,” said Taylor, “and great to see someone so analytical say that Delta is the best. That was very heartwarming.”