New Orleans musician delights airport passengers with surprise song

NEW ORLEANS - A quick thinking Southwest Airlines ticket counter worker lined up some impromptu live music for passengers waiting for their flight in Armstrong International over the weekend.

New Orleans rockers the Honey Island Swamp Band were heading home after playing a festival in Greeley, Colorado, on Sunday, June 11, when the Southwest employee spotted band member Aaron Wilkinson’s guitar case.

“She called me over to the PA when she saw us walking past,” Wilkinson said. “She made me tell everybody my name and what band we were, then she said all the people wanted to hear a song.”

Honey Island Swamp Band ‘Miss What I Got’

Wilkinson said he was nervous because he hadn’t planned to play, but he didn’t want to let anyone down.

After taking out his acoustic guitar and getting positioned in front of the employee’s microphone, he started to play “Ask me if I care,” a song from the band’s latest album, Wishing Well.

Honey Island Swamp Band drummer Garland Paul recorded the performance on his cell phone.

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“This has got to be a first...ever,” Paul says as Wilkinson begins to strum.

The crowd of travellers immediately cheered, and a few even tossed money into Wilkinson’s open guitar case.

“I wasn’t expecting the tips, but people just started doing it,” he said. “I probably made enough to buy a beer.”

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Wilkinson said he gives all credit to the Southwest employee for setting up the performance and bringing smiles to so many faces.

“They have a good sense of humor on Southwest,” he said.

With all the bad press surrounding airlines and airline employees recently, this one interaction ended with a song.