Oops! They did it again. WestJet has brought their surprise giving antics to a sunny, impoverished village in the Dominican Republic.
Last time around, the Canadian airline won the internet when it surprised a bunch of unsuspecting passengers with Christmas gifts. This year they dug deeper and brought warmth to a place largely devoid of first world problems—the community of Nuevo Renacer, near Puerto Plata.
What these people ask Santa for is telling in itself. You won't find any Keurigs or iPhone 6s on the wish lists of Dominican moms but essentials we couldn't fathom living without for a day: washing machines and cribs!
That Time Jason Priestley and I Went to Dominican Republic
And even though it's tempting to look down your nose at the meticulously orchestrated PR exercise, a few minutes in and you find that you just can't. Seeing the pure delight on the faces of the children and their families gives you all the feels that we come to associate—but lose sight of—with the Christmas 'spirit.'
Sure, WestJet is promoting their brand, but there are far worse ways to go about it than through goodwill and selflessness. Giving is still giving even when it is done in front of a camera.
The airline apparently does a lot of other charity work behind the scenes, and I'm not about to judge another person or company's efforts to be altruistic. At this time of year, every bit helps.
"I'm sure there are people who poo-poo the idea that this is just another marketing 'trick,' said commenter Sandra Watson. "You know what I say to that...then let them play more marketing tricks like this one!"
I'm cynical, but not cynical enough to view this campaign as anything but a win for WestJet. And a timely reminder of how lucky we are just to have clean running water, electricity at the flick of a switch, and a well-stocked fridge.
'Tis better to give than to receive.