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Southwest Treats Oakland TSA to a Free Barbecue



Despite the fact that airlines and Transportation Security Association employees work in the same place, their paths don’t always cross. As we’ve seen with the government shutdown, TSA agents are employed by the federal government and as they work without pay, just mere steps away, their airline brethren continue to receive income from their private airline employers.

This week, Southwest Airlines had planned a barbecue in honor of Herb Kelleher, the Southwest co-founder who recently passed. Instead of limiting the barbecue to their employees, the Southwest Airlines branch in Oakland, California, extended the invitation to those they work alongside every day, TSA employees.

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Without any form of compensation from the federal government for over 30 days, the free barbecue lunch was greatly appreciated by the TSA employees.

According to Steve Bernhardt, a spokesman of Southwest Airlines, the kind gesture was something that Kelleher believe in.

“Herb always believed in servant leadership,” Bernhardt told KRON.

“What better way to celebrate than to show our appreciation not only to our employees, but to the TSA agents who work very hard for us on a daily basis,” he added.

“I can’t tell you how much it means to our officers, when you wake up sometimes, literally at 1:30 in the morning and you know how much you’re appreciated,” explained David Von Damm, Federal Security Director for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, “like the folks at Southwest are showing us today, it just means a world of difference.”

Without TSA employees, Southwest Airlines employees couldn’t do their job and the barbecue was just a little something to show their appreciation.

“I think it’s the little things. I think any sign of appreciation to let them know that we care about them goes a long way,” Bernhardt said.

Southwest Airlines isn’t the only one assisting the Oakland International TSA employees during this rough time. The airport also set up a computer room where TSA employees can apply for unemployment benefits.

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