Being aware of your surroundings isn’t just the key to safety at PDX, it’s also part of extraordinary customer service. Whether it’s noticing a puzzled or distressed expression, listening closely to a customer’s needs or knowing where to find answers – being knowledgeable and observant are fundamental ways PDX People make travelers to our airport feel welcomed.
To recognize actions that truly stand out and show gratitude for these efforts, we host the PDX People customer service awards each quarter. Here are the extraordinary employees we recognized from July through September 2021.
Port of Portland
Milagro Menjivar (she/her), with ABM, observed a large group – nearly 60 passengers – gathered by the ticket counters and looking a bit lost. After approaching the travelers, Milagro learned the group’s primary language wasn’t English, and they needed help navigating through PDX.
Translating for them, Milagro escorted the group to baggage claim and notified her supervisor, Robert Lohr (he/him), who stepped up to assist. Nearby, Port of Portland Airport Operations Specialist Francis Evanado (he/him) noticed how many passengers needed assistance and offered to help.
Milagro, Robert and Francis worked as a team, directing passengers to restrooms, facilitating food and beverage purchases and connecting them with their local contact who was responsible for transportation to their hotel.
Their chartered transportation was running late, so Francis coordinated with SP Plus parking staff to confirm the shuttle was at the correct island and the team ensured the guests found their way to the charter bus.
Although the large group was on their way, Milagro learned that a smaller party was due an hour later. She arranged to meet them upon arrival, showed them where to collect their bags and guided them to their charter bus.
Port of Portland
A left behind wallet might have disrupted a passenger’s trip, but Port of Portland Airport Operations Specialist, Anne Elliott (she/her), stepped in to help. The thankful passenger sent this note of appreciation:
“While waiting to pick up a rental car for a visit to Portland, I discovered I didn’t have my driver’s license…most likely I had left it behind at TSA in Newark. Without my license I could not pick up my car and wouldn’t be able to proceed with my travels as planned, including a visit to see an old friend in Eugene.
I filed a request with New York DMV to replace my lost license and they issued me a temporary license electronically. However, the car rental company required a printed document. I went over to the terminal for help and found Anne.
After some unsuccessful attempts in the public-facing areas to find a working printer, she went over to another office and printed the documents for me. Without her help and warm support, I would not have been able to complete my trip as planned. I am forever grateful for her, and the airport staff in general who made my first visit to Portland feel welcoming.”
Tender Loving Empire
Maggie Surgeon (she/they), while passing through the parking garage on her way to work at Tender Loving Empire, was approached by a person who appeared to be in distress. Quickly, Maggie realized the person was choking and could not breathe. They quickly performed the Heimlich maneuver, successfully dislodging the blockage. The recovered individual was beyond grateful to Maggie for her help and was thankfully able to continue traveling out of PDX.
“Not only is Maggie a wonderful employee and person, but they went out of their way that day to help a passenger in a way that may have ultimately saved a life. This example shows a true PDX spirit!”
Dollar Rent a Car
Kaitlyn Herpel (she/her) and Pamela Lopez (she/her) at Dollar Rent a Car took extra steps to meet a customer’s needs and they received this commendation from the guest:
“Pamela and Kaitlyn both provided superior customer service and went above and beyond for me and my daughter. Pamela assisted me with a reservation the day prior to our trip to Portland. But several flight delays shifted our arrival time to 1:30 a.m., and I was worried that Dollar would be closed by that hour.
Pamela spoke to Kaitlyn, and she agreed to stay an extra 30 minutes past closing. Both employees listened, were understanding of my situation and were willing to do what was needed to ensure I had a vehicle.
Thank you, Kaitlyn and Pamela, for caring enough to make sure this worked out for us. I appreciate you both for helping to make a very long, difficult day of travel end on a pleasant note. It was priceless!”
More PDX People Quarterly Award Winners: July – September 2021
David Budnick (he/his) and Christine Brittner (she/her)
TSA, Southwest Airlines
Christine helped a tearful passenger rebook a canceled flight and David’s careful observations helped her quickly make it to her new gate.
Jose Aguilar (he/him)
Jose prevented an accident on an escalator by being aware of his surroundings, thinking quickly and following safety protocols.
Juana Antonio (she/her)
Capers Café & Catering
Juana’s delightful service turned a passenger’s frown into a smile, “She was super friendly, super professional and helped turn my cruddy day around.”
Peter Berezhinskiy (he/his)
SP Plus Corporation
Peter went above and beyond to help passengers find parking spots in the economy lot.
Guyla Hines (she/her)
Guyla helped a passenger retrieve their left behind luggage from the opposite concourse, ” I am so incredibly grateful. She’s a rockstar!”
Joshua Christiaan (he/his)
Joshua used an AED and helped perform CPR during a medical emergency, working diligently until first responders arrived.