The Canadian company WestJet has many believing in Christmas miracles after a video showcasing the airline's generosity (and marketing savvy) went viral. In the five-and-a-half-minute piece, "Virtual Santa" asked unsuspecting Calgary-bound passengers what they would like for Christmas. The customers then boarded their flights from Toronto and Hamilton, Ontario.
The scenes to follow in the video capture the holiday spirit in motion. According to WestJet's blog, a group of 175 volunteers helped grant more than 250 guests their Christmas wishes. "Santa's helpers" scrambled to Best Buy, local malls, and department stores to purchase everything from socks and underwear to a flat-screen TV.
If you have ever waited for luggage in an airport, you know the anxious feeling in your stomach when the siren goes off and the carousel begins moving. Your only concern is that the airline you flew with didn't lose your bags. For WestJet's lucky fliers, a pleasant surprise awaited: The gifts they asked Santa for, boxed and wrapped, came sliding down the chute.
The most captivating moment of the video, which has received well over a million views, is watching the expressions of those receiving the items. A woman begins crying when she unwraps a camera. A kid exclaims, "No way!" when he finds an Android tablet. Yes, Santa and his helpers also placed on the carousel for the Hughes family the flat-screen TV they'd hoped for.
The airline also gifted flights home for the holidays to lucky passengers. (WestJet flies to 88 destinations in North America, Central America, the Caribbean, and Europe.)
Perhaps the guy who requested only socks and underwear is regretting his modest wishes, but he looked happy in the video. Hey, refreshing to see someone only ask for what they need, right?
Greg Plata, WestJet's sponsorship team leader, says the project to make this Christmas miracle a reality began in August.
"We know that Santa has a very busy schedule at this time of year and can't be everywhere," Plata wrote on the company's blog. "So we did what WestJetters do best and helped him spread some Christmas magic to our guests."
Studio m, which produced this piece as well as the airline's 2012 flash mob, used 16 cameras throughout three airports and one plane to secretly film the action from check-in to gift pickup.
WestJet's generosity extends beyond this video. Since the clip surpassed 200,000 YouTube views, WestJet Cares for Kids will donate flights to a family in need through Ronald McDonald House Charities, one of the six charities partnered with its community investment program.