Tobias Harris, Kyle O’Quinn team up to surprise Southwest passengers, Employees

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Orlando Magic players Kyle O’Quinn and Tobias Harris “trade places” with Southwest Airlines all-star employees on Feb. 23. The players visited with passengers, signed autographs, took photos, sat in the cockpit and took boarding passes as part of the event. (Photo credit: Fernando Medina).
Orlando Magic players Kyle O’Quinn and Tobias Harris “trade places” with Southwest Airlines all-star employees on Feb. 23. The players visited with passengers, signed autographs, took photos, sat in the cockpit and took boarding passes as part of the event.  (Photo credit: Fernando Medina).
Orlando Magic players Kyle O’Quinn and Tobias Harris “trade places” with Southwest Airlines all-star employees on Feb. 23. The players visited with passengers, signed autographs, took photos, sat in the cockpit and took boarding passes as part of the event. (Photo credit: Fernando Medina).

Passengers aboard Southwest Airlines Flight 779 arriving from Atlanta and customers heading to Philadelphia on Flight 1544 got a unique and entertaining experience on Feb. 23 at Orlando International Airport.

Orlando Magic players Tobias Harris and Kyle O’Quinn, Magic Dancers and STUFF, the Magic mascot, showed up to surprise passengers at Gate 120 and help make their flights even more fun and enjoyable.

The players joined forces with Southwest Airlines employees to work a scheduled flight, direct the aircraft to the terminal, assist customers at the gate podium, help load bags into the aircraft, assist with flight safety and hand out snacks and souvenirs.

“It was fun to be here and see the excitement,” Harris said. “Everybody was surprised. Gate 120 was pretty bumping today. I wanted to help everyone out.”

It was also a special time for Brayden Harper, a local three-year-old boy battling cancer (neuroblastoma). As part of the Make a Wish Foundation of Central and Northern Florida, Harper was invited to meet the Magic players and participate in all the fun.

“Truly a blessing to be asked to come do this,” said Bonnie Harper, mother of Brayden. “This was a wish enhancement for us because he loves basketball so much.”

After experiencing what it’s like to be a Southwest Airlines employee and take tremendous pride in top-notch customer service, Harris and O’Quinn now have great appreciation for the jobs people in this industry do.

“When you fly in your off time, you appreciate these people and make sure you say hello,” O’Quinn said. “Guys say they do like six to eight flights a day. That’s a lot of work. It was fun, especially for the kids.”

Even people who were not passengers on the incoming or outgoing flight took part in the fun. Fans from all over the world got a chance to meet the Magic players and Dancers and take pictures with them.

By Josh Cohen, OrlandoMagic.com

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