Part 1 of 4 -- Unless you reside on Mars, you’re undoubtedly familiar with “United Breaks Guitars.” That’s the video musician Dave Carroll posted on YouTube 2½ years ago after United Airlines baggage handlers broke his treasured, and expensive, Taylor guitar and UAL wouldn’t adequately compensate him.

“United Breaks Guitars” is the humorous saga of the stonewalling Carroll encountered from United’s customer service department. The video (see it below) immediately went viral, has been viewed 11.5 million times, and spawned two additional musical videos on the same theme.

And Carroll? He’s become a sought-after spokesman about customer service. In the video below, he explains how social media and his experience merged in surprising fashon. Oh, and he did fly United again – and lost his bags. Watch the video below for more:

This video is the first of four from my interview with Carroll, a down-to-earth fellow who has been writing songs and performing for 20 years, often with his band Sons of Maxwell.

Could he have imagined the celebrity status that followed “United Breaks Guitars?”

“No, not at all,” he says. “… it wasn’t my intention to become famous, but I did ask myself to get a million views. It’s gone much more viral than that.”

Asked frequently why he thinks that happened, he says it resonated with everyone and incorporated humor. “Ultimately,” he says, “it has to do with the fact that we’re all connected with each other … and  now that social media allows us to experience that connection, I think it touched a nerve … anyone who’s ever flown and had a bad airline experience.”

Carroll admits it’s been a challenge to keep up with everything that’s come along for him as a result of “United Guitars.” Still, as a musician he’s been through all the highs and lows and he’s managed to make it all work and stay the same guy he always was.

Here’s the “United Breaks Guitars” video:


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