Blaine Lavoie simply wanted to praise the airline for what appeared to be excellent customer service during what was clearly an emotional and stressful time for her friend.
Over the course of the next few days, Lavoie’s post started getting a lot of so-called “likes”, reaching almost 180,000 by the beginning of the working week.
Furthermore, fellow fans of the WestJet page started commenting in their droves, adding their appreciation for what was essentially a decent gesture by the Canadian low cost carrier.
Over 9,000 comments have since been added to the thread.¬†No travel provider on the planet can generate this amount of positive PR by itself.
But therein lies one of the problems with social media – such was the sheer volume of positive sentiment toward the airline (and scepticism that perhaps any such story as this may have been planted in some way by the airline or its marketing folk) that some users questioned its authenticity.
Although Lavoie did not reply to requests for comment to clarify the story, WestJet has now responded to many of the subsequent posts asking for verification.
This is one of the responses it issued to one sceptical commenter:
“This story is, by and large, true. When it came to our attention today (even though it was a month ago!) we investigated what happened.
“A few minor details have been misinterpreted and have overstated our generosity to a degree. However, our people did indeed go above and beyond to assist this gentleman and we are very proud of what they did.”
So a humble and honest response from WestJet (it didn’t, after all, REALLY need to say some elements of the original post had been overstated) that serves as an example of how to engage with not only positive sentiment but also those quizzical about the validity of content in social media.
Since the post went viral over the weekend, one of those involved in the incident in the first place has come forward:
“I am the daughter of James Murrin and yes this is true. And yes some very minor detail were overstated but, our family will forever be touched and in debt to the love, consideration and generosity that WestJet has shown us. I hope anyone anywhere in the world who has the oppoutunity to fly will fly with WestJet.
“To see that they get the recognition that they deserve I will make my mission. Bill kennedy(emergency support team) All of the staff at Halifax and Hamilton airport THANK YOU.”