Herb Kelleher gets his way at Dallas Love Field

Herb Kelleher Way ceremony June 13, 2011, blog.jpg
Herb Kelleher happily holds his new street sign as, from left, Dallas City Council Angela Hunt, Mayor Dwaine Caraway and former Southwest executive Sam Coats join him. (CREDIT: Photos by Terry Maxon/DMN)

Herb Kelleher can now starting singing “My Way” when he drives into Dallas Love Field.

The city of Dallas unveiled the new signs along Cedar Springs Road on Monday with the ceremonial name of “Herb Kelleher Way,” stretching from Mockingbird Road to the airport’s terminal.

The christening came as the former Southwest chairman, president and chief executive officer was honored at a ceremony at Danny Bruce Plaza alongside Herb Kelleher Way, with all Dallas City Council members in attendance.

Here are some comments from the ceremony:

Herb Kelleher:

“Thank you for coming out. I know you really came out to see the Mavs arrive from Miami.”

“Let me tell you what I’m doing. Because of this delightfully clement weather, out of the compassion of my heart, I have cut my remarks to 45 minutes.”

“This very sweet occasion was never anticipated in even my wildest dreams, and I’ve had some really wild dreams.”

“When I heard about this belatedly, I checked my pulse to make sure I was still alive because I thought streets were only dedicated to you after you were dead. But then I remembered that we’re in the Danny Bruce Plaza, and Danny is still alive.”

“This is really a sublime honor, which frankly I cherish and treasure more than any that I have ever received.”

“Parenthetically, Clause Five in my employment agreement with Southwest Airlines, which I wrote, provides that our people do all the work but I receive all the credit. And Carol Kelly, be sure to remind Gary of that.”

“The city of Dallas and Southwest Airlines have been together for quite some time. As matter of fact, 40 years ago I guess you could refer to us as fractious newlyweds. Now, we’ve matured into a happily married couple enjoying nuptial bliss.”

“Now, I’m realistic enough to know that Herb Kelleher Way does not make me immortal. The next generation driving into Love Field will probably ask ‘Who the hell is Herb Kelleher?’ But I patently thank the Dallas City Council for at least provoking the question.”

Herb Kelleherand Angela Hunt June 13, 2011, blog.jpg
Sam Coats, former Southwest Airlines executive who pushed for the name change:

“I’m particularly honored that the mayor and all members of our council are here to honor a guy who really doesn’t deserve it, but we will do it anyway.”

“Herb’s entire family is here except for the grandkids. Joan, thank you for sharing this weird, weird guy with us all these years. Thank you all for being here.”

After introducing Mayor Dwayne Caraway and council members: “This is probably in violation of the public meetings act.”

“When we first conceived this project, I thought the appropriate time to do it would be in 2014 when the Wright amendment goes away. But this guy should have been dead 30 years ago and frankly none of us may be around in 2014. We’re doing it today.”

Mayor Dwaine Caraway:

“This is a great day for Dallas. I mean, for us to stand here and combine Herb and the Dallas Mavericks, this is a great day for Dallas, Texas.”

“We know because here had it not been for Herb, Dallas-Fort Worth, we would not have Southwest Airlines, nor would we have Love Field, a jewel of the city of Dallas, thanks to you, thanks to you.”

“By God, we’re going to name this sucka after you today. We’re going to do that, and that’s all there it is to it.”


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