LETTER OF THE WEEK:
Letter of the Week
I wanted to write you about an experience I had recently in the American Airline terminal in the Philadelphia Airport, involving one of your wheelchair assists: Ms. Lilibeth Herrera. I am in my early seventies, with bad feet, and a very limited budget. When I came to Philadelphia recently to attend my niece’s wedding, I was well aware of how large the airport is, and worried about the logistics of getting from the plane to the baggage area coming in, and the baggage area to the plane returning home. I realized that while I am able to walk short distances on my own in my everyday life, there was no way I could walk that kind of a distance, and was going to need a wheelchair assist. Before leaving home I searched the internet to see what would be considered a fair tip to those who spent their days wheeling people from gate to gate or baggage claim, and found a wide range of answers. Assuming that one person would be taking me from point “A” to point “B” I set aside tip money for the two airport interactions. Prepared as I was, I wasn’t prepared for the fact that I wouldn’t have one person wheeling me from point “A” to point “B” but four different people each way. That’s eight tips, if you’re counting…with even a modest tip for each adding up to a goodly sum. By the time I got to the gate on the morning of October 23rd, I had tipped four different people to take me from check-in to the gate, and while I had been told that the gate was close to the food court and women’s rest room, (which may have been true for someone who could walk a block or two or three) it was anything but close for someone like myself, as the Piedmont puddle-jumper flying under the American Airlines banner was set to depart from the very last gate. My brother, who had a previous commitment close to my fight time, had left me off at the airport quite early, and with four long hours between my arrival at the gate and my departure, I knew I would need to use the ladies’ rest room facilities at least once, and perhaps more, and also make a stop at the food court before getting on the plane so that I would have something to eat between a very early breakfast and my Memphis arrival time of close to 4 p.m. Philadelphia time. What to do, what to do? I had already spent far more than planned on tips, and far more than my budget would allow. As I looked around, I saw a couple of young women not far from the gate, who were standing with their wheelchairs, in ready. I went up to one of them, a pretty young woman named Lilibeth Herrera, and explained my predicament to her. I know her name, because before I boarded the plane I asked her for it – and for your names as well, because she was so kind, so genuine, and so helpful to me, that she made all the other eight wheelchair assistance interactions pale in comparison. As I said, I told her about having to have already tipped four people that day, and needing to use the facilities – not once, but most likely twice before I left, as well as needing to stop at the food court just prior to boarding. She told me not to worry – no tip needed, she would be happy to take me wherever I needed to go, whenever I needed to go. In a world where so few people take the time to be kind, she was a bright spot. She took me to the rest room, then back to the gate, and said she would return to see how I was doing a bit later so that she could take me wherever I needed to go. No charge. And so she did, returning about thirty minutes before boarding to take me to the rest room and then on to the food court, while she waited for me to buy a take-out salad, before returning me to my gate. I only had a few dollars on hand, but wanted to give her more than that. I wanted to do something that would make a difference in her life, as she had made in mine. I felt that a letter to her superior(s) would do far more than any amount of money I could spare, because I thought that they (you) should know how lucky they (you) are to have someone like her on their (your) team. And so I asked her for the name and addresses of those to whom she reports, and told her that I would send them a letter if it was okay with her. She said it was, and wrote your names and contact addresses on a piece of paper, which I managed to misplace until this morning. Thus the delay. While she was driving me to the food court I asked her where she was from, and I believe she said that she was from Venezuela ─ a long way from Philadelphia. Philadelphia- the city I grew up in – used to be known as “the city of brotherly love.” I don’t know if it still is or not. But this young woman exemplified that truism in the very best way. I hope you will recognize her for her work. For doing something with the expectation of getting nothing in return but my gratitude. The other aids who drove me here and there were a haphazard lot. One was so anxious to get where he was going that he didn’t wait for me to put my foot on the foot stand, and rode over it while we were still on the tarmac. He only stopped when I let out a yelp. It’s amazing he didn’t break my foot. Others along the way─particularly the man who drove the electric cart/wheelchair, zoomed down the crowded walkway at such a speed, that if I were truly handicapped – paralyzed, or having had a stroke or something similar, I could very well have fallen out from under my seat belt. All of which makes Ms. Herrera’s attitude and care that much more noteworthy. She truly was remarkable. Sincerely, Jaine R.
WHAT OUR CUSTOMERS ARE SAYING…
“I just wanted to take this time to thank you and Amy C. helping my father through the Chicago Airport …, Amy, calmly maneuvered through the crowds, onto the terminal trains, through the customs check, baggage pick up, ticket counter… Amy was a pleasure, she kept us informed as to what was happening and what was needed. Thank you again for having your service available to seniors, it helps more than you know.”
“Sensitivity is always important with dealing with individuals with disabilities. I have been extremely pleased with the professional demeanor and attentiveness of your staff over the years. That is one of the reasons that I continue to fly American Airlines. I requested a wheelchair, and it was waiting for me. I do want to thank James and Honsul… Their marvelous attentiveness and courtesy must be noted and commended. I sincerely appreciated their help.”
“Your employee Enea B. assisted me in disembarking. I found him to be an exceptional young man, friendly and knowledgeable and so willing to help. Your firm is to be commended on employing what appears to be the highest caliber personnel.”
“I had flown 14 hours straight and with my injured leg swollen and painful I was so grateful to receive wheel chair service from your company. Cliff was the young man assigned to help me and he did such an excellent job. He was respectful, friendly and very efficient. Thank you for providing this service and for such nice employees as Cliff.”
“I flew from England to the US and was assisted by a fine gentleman by the name of Simon. He was very helpful, courteous and made my day of travel much more enjoyable than expected.”
“The wheelchair was there when I left the plane, the driver of this vehicle was Syed Q. The service this young man offered was excellent. The way he moved me and my companion through the immigration area and all the other checking points was speedy and so professional. Besides he was very polite, helpful and nice to talk to. Thank you for your wonderful service.”
“The first thing that got my attention was this very enthusiastic introduction you made of yourself on approaching me, then the very selfless help you gave me by helping to sit me safely and gently unto your equipment. Daniela, I want to tell you something: I am a very frequent flier, but this kind of service that I got from you is particularly memorable and cannot be valued by any dollars or material benefits that can make up for it. …God Bless You”
“Sensitivity is always important with dealing with individuals with disabilities. I have been extremely pleased with the professional demeanor and attentiveness of 98% of your staff over the years. That is one of the reasons that I continue to fly American Airlines. I requested a wheelchair, and it was waiting for me. I do want to thank James and Honsul… Their marvelous attentiveness and courtesy must be noted and commended. I sincerely appreciated their help.”
“I would like to commend the incredible cleaning staff you have in place at SFO International Airport for US Airways. They are an exceptional group of individuals who go above and beyond everyday at their job… Thank You so much Prospect and your employees for making my job a little easier, and most important for your cleaning services.”
“I would like to commend the honesty and helpfulness of Prospect Supervisor Sam. … He was good to his word and I believe he should surely be recognized for his exemplary service to your customers. The memory of that trying day has been and will be overshadowed by the actions of these two fine people.”
“Abdul was extremely courteous, polite, and very very professional. Your company should be proud to have such a nice employee!”
“I would like to advise you that your employee Anna G was OUTSTANDING and I wish all my employees were as good as she. She was polite, competent, courteous and very friendly. I thought you should know this as too often people complain, but rarely offer praise.”
“I wanted to pass on this glowing compliment for our Crown Room Bartender Evelina K. Since joining our club staff, she has really been an asset. We are pleased to have such a wonderful group of bartenders and matrons in the club…”
“Please allow me to compliment the following Prospect employees in our Sky club bar area. They are Liudmyla P,Barbara B, and Lora L. They have been doing an outstanding job taking care of our guests as well as working efficiently behind the scenes…”
“I just wanted to pass on some feedback that while traveling through MCO early Sunday with my family the service I received from your Skycap employees in MCO was outstanding! I was leaving out early SUN morning and your employee, a young gentlemen went out of his way to help me with my numerous bags. His help certainly made my trip with young kids much easier. Please pass along my thanks!”
“I required some assistance with a wheelchair. A young woman transported me from the plane from Baltimore to the terminal on the other side of the runway. When we reached the escalator/elevator area, we observed that a man with a service dog was having a problem. The dog was afraid of the escalator and wouldn’t get on. The leash slipped out of the man’s hand and he continued on down the escalator. Several people seemed to want to help. But Hannah, my young helper, took charge of the situation. She picked up the dog’s leash and called to the man that we would meet him at the bottom of the escalator. She pushed me into the elevator and tugged the frightened dog in with us. When we got to the next level, we waited as the dog’s owner made his way back to us and thanked Hannah for all her help. I was so impressed with this young lady’s manner and the professionalism with which she handled herself. Her leadership skills and confidence are just amazing to me. I just want you to know what a gem she is. Hannah is going to have a bright future. Thank you and Thanks to Hannah for getting it right!”
“I am a 29-year Delta employee, and on Monday, April 14th I flew with my 84-yr old Mom from Tampa to New Jersey (with a short layover in Detroit) so she could spend the Easter holiday with my sister and her family.
My Mom is unable to walk long distances, so I put a special service remark in her reservation requesting a wheelchair for long distances. When we arrived at the Tampa airport for our outbound flight, a wheelchair was waiting for her at check-in and she was pushed from the check-in kiosk all the way to the gate. When we arrived in Detroit and stepped off the plane, there was a wheelchair pusher waiting on the jet bridge holding a tablet with her name on it! She was rolled from the jet bridge to the gate for our next flight. The gentleman was very polite even asking my Mom if she needed to stop anywhere. Once we arrived in Newark, it was the same thing, a gentleman was waiting with a wheelchair on the jet bridge holding a tablet with her name on it!
The same thing happened the following week when I flew with my Mom from Newark through Detroit and back to Tampa on Monday, April 21st! Wheelchair pushers waiting on the jet bridges holding tablets with her name on it. I am so happy and proud to work for a company that treats non-rev passengers and parents as well as revenue passengers. My Mom was so pleased and happy that everything went so smoothly. She hadn’t flown in more than ten years because of an experience she’d had in the past, and she was very hesitant to fly this trip.
I did not get all of the wheelchair pusher’s names in each station but I’d like to express my sincere thanks and gratitude to each one of them for treating my Mom so wonderfully. I do remember Janelle in the Tampa airport who was so very kind and patient once we returned to Tampa. I’d like to extend my sincere “Thank You” to the Tampa, Detroit and Newark stations for their outstanding service!”
“We have been traveling with our parents several times this year and are pleased when we discover we are traveling through a “Prospect airport”! We always are treated with respect and courtesy by your employees. Each time we fly we require two wheelchairs and we are always met at the gate by a team of your people with smiles. We fly out of Detroit most often and the Prospect people we encounter always add to the enjoyment of our trips.”
“I had no hope of making my connection on my way to a family reunion. Two of your Prospect employees were at my gate with a golf cart and offered to drive me to the B Concourse so I could catch my flight. Your staff went above and beyond and I made my flight and my family reunion!”
” I just wanted to reach out and let you know that you guys do an exceptional job. I have had to travel through 9 airports in the past month due to a death in the family, and my health is very poor. At every other airport, I have had a bad experience with getting help getting myself and my luggage where I need to go. Either I’ve been forgotten about/made to wait for up to an hour, have had to wheel my luggage great distances (making me much sicker), or have felt dehumanized by my pushers.
Thank you for your exceptional service. I live in Boston and know no one in Detroit, but your service has left me so satisfied I’d consider going out of my way to make sure my flights connect at your airport.”
“I recently traveled from Sault Ste. Marie, MI to Minneapolis, MN with a transfer in Detroit. I have difficulty with the long walking distance in Detroit so I had wheelchair assistance. I was so impressed with the service I received. It was an incredible blessing – by all of your transport people.
On the way there on November 19, 2014, I was transported by a young man by the name of Josh. I had a tight turnaround as my flight was late leaving Sault Ste. Marie due to technical issues on the plane so therefore arrived late into Detroit. There was a tag team approach taken. A young lady met me at my flight but then I was handed to a young man named Josh. He tried so hard to get me to my flight before the doors closed he literally ran. My flight was scheduled for 7:25 a.m. and we arrived at 7:18 but the doors had just closed. My flight was rescheduled so he took me back to booking so that I could get on the next flight after which he took me to make a phone call and then to the gate for me to catch my flight. I so impressed.
On my return on November 23rd I got to my gate to catch my flight to Sault Ste. Marie and was informed that my flight had been cancelled and that I would have to go to booking to reschedule my flight for the next day. I walked for a little while but then asked a gate agent to call for wheelchair service. A young man by the name of London Brown came was ever so helpful. He stayed with me until my flight was rescheduled and then had a hotel reservation made and knew exactly what hotel I was going to and then took me to where I waited for the shuttle to the hotel. He was so kind and absolutely amazing.
The next day on my arrival back to the airport one of your transporters was right at the shuttle service drop off site and took me to the departure floor where another young man by the name of Chris took me to my gate.
I was so impressed. Your staff made a very difficult situation so much easier for me. I so appreciate them and the service you offer and I just wanted to say thank you.”
I am writing to thank Tsegaye Angassa for his excellent attendance to my sister last Friday, April 17 at the Seattle airport. She is a cancer patient and was in Seattle for treatment. Tsegaye assisted in getting us through security in a very timely manner, which isn’t an easy task with her in a wheelchair and all of her medical paraphernalia, and to our gate in plenty of time.
I hope that all of your employees are as nice and courteous as Tsegaye Angassa.
My 79 year old mother was traveling by herself from dtw to phx on flight 413 on 1/2/16. She resides in Toledo, Ohio and usually flies out of DTW. She needs wheelchair assistance. My daughters and I drove from Northern KY to take her to the airport to facilitate her travel as she gets nervous with a car service dropping her at the curb. We had an outstanding experience because of the wheelchair attendant. I dropped my daughters and my mother at the entrance. They were to go in and get the wheelchair assistance started while I parked the car. By the time I got to the security area to meet them, she was almost through security! (And my parking experience was wonderful and I felt like I was quite timely in my arrival from parking.) I could see the attendant help her through the scanner and in/out of chair. As she was finishing the screening we could no longer see her because she was in the wheelchair. Then, the kindest thing was done by her attendant when my Mom was completely through security – she turned and waved her arms to let us know that she was through security. My mother told me that the woman attendant then told her that she let us know. This gesture meant a lot of and goes a long way when you have an elderly, newly widowed mother who lives in another state and who wants her family to know she’s okay. I would like to thank this woman and let you know the wonderful service provided. I was very impressed with the North terminal and parking and way finding.
Here at Jetblue we always strive to give credit where it is deserved. I would like to give some recognition to Christina Mullins. These past couple of nights, she’s been going above and beyond making sure our closing flights are fully met and staffed upon arrival. Even when we would have pop up customers she would have someone arrive quickly. I would also like to give some recognition to Mr. Devee. When I have issues he corrects the issue quickly and swiftly and for that I thank you. The Prospect team has been doing a phenomenal job! On behalf of our Detroit Station we would like to say “thank you”! Keep up the excellent work!!
On September 7, I flew to Charlotte to be with my daughter who was being operated on the next day. I require wheelchair assistance whenever I travel. Your organization sent Adron to assist me. Since this was the first time I have traveled without my husband, I was terrified. Several times I wanted to turn back and not take the trip…but concern for my daughter’s well being…caused me to move through my fear and take the trip. Adron showed up with my wheelchair…almost immediately, Adron’s kind professionalism and demeanor put my fears to rest. He spoke in a gentle manner and represented your company as I am sure they would have wanted. I am happy that I have your card and phone number because the next time I have to travel…my first choice as my wheelchair person will be Adron!
I just wanted to share a very positive experience we had while flying Frontier with my husband, toddler and elderly parents, one of whom is in a wheelchair. We had the pleasure of meeting Aimen, a young porter, who was such a wonderful help to us. He was so friendly, patient and kind and we just would not have had as positive an experience had Aimen not been there. He helped us from our car to the gate of the plane and was so reassuring and personable. Whoever hired this kind, young fellow deserves to be commended. If all airport employees were as dedicated and positive as Aimen, traveling would be a breeze. Could you please pass along my appreciation to Aimen’s supervisor? Thanks for your help, Amy
I requested assistance (wheelchair) with my airport transfer upon arriving at SFO, on an Air New Zealand flight, on 17th July 2017. Mr Nestor Dolde was assigned the task . We were well on our way to the terminal where I was supposed to board my domestic flight when I realized that I had left behind, in one of the airplane’s bathrooms, my two finger rings (I took them off to wash my hands). I was very upset, these rings are of great sentimental value, and I told Nestor about it. There was no time to go back..and Nestor did what I would think was impossible: he managed to get in touch with the cleaning crew, talked to managers…and at the end my rings were brought back to me, to the departure gate!!! I am truly grateful and wish to thank Nestor and Prospect for the wonderful attitude and the willingness to go the extra mile, and for the professionalism and efficiency. I wish Nestor and his family all the best, from the bottom of my heart.