After a travel host accidentally gave a Delta customer service rep a bad review, the airline threw a surprise party to honor the worker

  • The travel host Samantha Brown accidentally rated an "amazing" Delta customer service agent poorly.

  • A TikTok she made about the mistake went viral, and she got in contact with Delta and the rep.

  • Delta orchestrated a surprise party to honor the worker and flew Brown out for it.

When Samantha Brown accidentally rated a Delta Air Lines representative poorly after a call, she panicked and wanted to rectify the situation. Her quick action led the airline to eventually throw a surprise party for the employee — where Brown was then able to meet the woman who assisted her on that fateful day.

Brown, a longtime travel host known for her work on the Travel Channel and PBS, made a TikTok video about the situation on October 3. In the viral clip, which amassed over 8.9 million views, she urged Delta to get in touch so she could remedy her mistake and give the "amazing" representative a five-star review.

"I gave one of your customer-service representatives a one when I meant five," Brown said in the clip, explaining that she's a Diamond/Platinum Delta SkyMiles member, which made her worry that her opinion could have negative ramifications for Heinisch. 

"She had a soft southern accent," Brown said at the end. "Please, please, can I take it back? She's a five, she's definitely a five."

How Brown's TikTok video sparked a surprise celebration

Brown, who has about 160,000 followers, told Insider she called Delta to fix a reservation she was making for a flight from New York City to Tampa, Florida, and that Heinisch was very helpful in assisting.

The TikTok quickly took off, with hundreds of people tagging Delta and celebrating Heinisch. In a comment, Brown wrote that she called Delta back, and while the representative — who wasn't Heinisch — said they couldn't retract a rating, they said they could leave a note describing the error.

The video eventually reached the official TikTok account for Delta, whose social-media representative urged Brown in a comment to DM the company.

A man who identified himself as Heinisch's husband — Greg Heinisch — also commented and said: "That was my wife you spoke with this morning. She's great! I'm glad she was able to help you out."

In a follow-up comment, Heinisch appeared to respond to Brown on her husband's account.

"It's Julie! No worries!" the account wrote. "So sweet of you to even be concerned about it and call Delta back! I think you boosted my popularity @ work!"

While it seemed like the situation had resolved itself, that wasn't the end of it. Last week, Brown returned to TikTok with an update: Delta threw a surprise party to celebrate Heinisch, who has worked at Delta for over 26 years.

The party took place on October 16, and Delta organized it so Brown could make a pit stop in Atlanta, where Delta's main campus is located, on her way back home to New York City.

'That's something that is really in their corporate culture ... Of course, I'm not for Delta; I'm not sponsored by Delta.'

Brown told Insider that when Delta saw her video and realized that Heinisch had worked for the company for 26 years, the company decided it was the "perfect time to get some cupcakes and have a little party." Based on conversations she had with workers at the event, it seemed customary for Delta to celebrate employees in this way, she said.

"That's something that is really in their corporate culture," she said. "Of course, I'm not for Delta; I'm not sponsored by Delta."

When reached, a Delta spokesperson told Insider the company took the viral moment to recognize Heinisch for "a job well done" in an exceptional way.

"We were excited to recognize Julie for a job well done, so teams across Delta came together to arrange a huge surprise to recognize her," they said.

In the follow-up video, Brown showed the "company Porsche" picking her up and arriving at the party to surprise Heinisch, whose coworkers and managers surrounded her. Heinisch looked close to tears after hugging Brown, who told Insider that Delta asked her to hide in the crowd and pop out when they called her name.

"I got to tell Julie in person that she is a five," Brown said, showing how Delta created a balloon with a "five" on it for Heinisch. In addition to working at Delta, Brown said she learned that Heinisch "fosters abused and abandoned dogs" in her spare time.

Heinisch appeared to be overjoyed by the celebration. She left a comment on Brown's first video thanking her for coming to see her. "It was the most surreal moment of my life," she wrote in the message, which Brown pasted on the screen in her update clip. "My head just stopped spinning! You are a very kind and amazing lady!"

Charissa Cheong contributed reporting for this story.

Read the original article on Insider