Orlando Magic Players Aaron Gordon and Elfrid Payton “Trade Places” with Southwest Airlines Employees Working at Orlando International Airport By Josh Cohen, OrlandoMagic.com

While arriving in Orlando for a Disney vacation is plenty to be pumped about, it’s even better when NBA players are at the airport to greet you and wish you a great stay in The City Beautiful.

Or perhaps you’re done meeting Mickey Mouse and all his friends and you are at your gate awaiting your flight back home. It would be pretty cool and memorable if a professional sports team was there to keep you company and entertain you.

Well, this is what Southwest Airlines passengers at Orlando International Airport arriving from Albany, NY and passengers flying to Austin, TX experienced on Thursday, Nov. 19.

The Orlando Magic’s Aaron Gordon and Elfrid Payton, Magic Dancers, STUFF The Magic Mascot and other Magic staff members were at Gate 123 at the Southwest terminal to meet and greet incoming and outgoing passengers.

“If I had that happen to me if I was just on a flight I would be a fan forever,” Gordon said after he just finished scanning tickets during the boarding process. “It’s different. It’s cool to see what the staff members do on the day-to-day.”

The players joined forces with Southwest Airlines employees to work the scheduled flights, direct the aircraft to the terminal, assist customers at the gate podium, helped load bags into the aircraft, assist with flight safety and hand out snacks and souvenirs. Gordon and Payton even got a chance to go in the cockpit to learn the job of a pilot.

“It was really fun, really amazing, so many buttons in there,” Payton said with a smile about his great time on the plane. “This is good for us to get out here, meet new people and build our fan base.”  

This was the third straight year the Magic “traded places” with Southwest employees. Last year, Tobias Harris joined in on the fun.

Southwest employees also got the chance to see how the Magic do their jobs. They attended Wednesday’s game against the Timberwolves and helped pump up the crowd. They also helped fly the Southwest inspired blimp around for fans to catch fun giveaways.

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