PDX People: Four Stories of Extraordinary Customer Service

Being knowledgeable is a core value for PDX People, but it doesn’t just mean knowing all the answers – it also means knowing who to ask for help, what questions to ask, what resources are available and sharing what you know with others. Using that knowledge and maintaining a friendly demeanor while problem-solving is how PDX People help make our airport one of America’s best.

To recognize actions that truly stand out as extraordinary, we host the PDX People customer service awards each quarter. Although the ceremony may be virtual, the gratitude for these efforts is tangible. Below are the PDX People we recognized from January through March 2022.

Raina Babcock
Natalie Summerlin
Sean Michael
Port of Portland

Natalie Summerlin (left) Raina Babcock (right)

When two passengers had troubled claiming their lost luggage, Raina Babcock (she/her) with ABM, and Port of Portland employees Natalie Summerlin (she/her) and Sean Michael (he/him) stepped up to assist.

They received this note of thanks:

“After our airline notified us that our misdirected bags were finally in Portland, I drove up from Eugene to claim them. When I arrived at PDX, I learned it would be four hours before a representative would be available to release my luggage. Thankfully, I connected with Raina Babcock.

Raina went way above and beyond to assist me with getting my baggage. She contacted airport operations specialist Natalie Summerlin whoalong with her supervisor Sean Michaelworked to locate my luggage. After verifying that the bags were mine, I was able to head home just an hour later.

Raina stayed with me the entire time. She was knowledgeable, professional and courteous, as were Natalie and Sean. My daughter’s medications and school laptop were in one of the bags, so it was a huge relief to get those items back.

I wanted to let Raina, Natalie, Sean and their supervisors know how wonderful they were and how appreciative I am for their service.”

Jan Misley
Tim Misley
PDX Volunteer Information Program

Tim Misley (left) Jan Misley (right)

Jan Misley (she/her) and Tim Misley (he/him) volunteer at the information booth in baggage claim as part of their participation in the PDX Volunteer Information Program.

Recently, a family with a toddler in tow approached the duo. The travelers needed help locating the pick-up area and requested assistance in Spanish. Jan and Tim used the Language Line – a translation service accessed by phone – to communicate with the family.

During the conversation, Jan and Tim discovered that the family was not only confused about where they were being picked up – they were actually in the wrong state! A relative purchased their tickets and was unaware that there are two Portland airports: Oregon and Maine.

After straightening out the location mix-up, Jan and Tim tackled the task of helping the family reach their intended destination. Jan spent more than an hour on the phone with the family’s airline. Eventually, she connected with an agent who was sympathetic to the family’s plight and kindly rebooked the travelers at no cost for a flight later that evening.

Jan and Tim purchased snacks and diapers for the family and accompanied them to the security checkpoint. The two volunteers sought out resources, advocated, persevered and went the extra mile to make sure that the passengers were able to travel to the correct destination.

Stephannie Lewis
Travel Oregon

Stephannie Lewis

A family visiting from California stopped at the Travel Oregon Welcome Center seeking trip inspiration. Seeing a child with the family, Travel Oregon’s Stephannie Lewis (she/her) offered up a kid’s activity booklet, but he did not seem to engage with the gesture. The mother explained that her son is a child with autism. Excited to share, Stephannie told them, “We have something just for you!”

Stephannie then gave the family sunflower lanyards and a sensory kit. She explained the purpose behind the items and pointed out the new sensory room on Concourse D. The travelers were thankful and delighted to learn about these offerings.

Stephannie’s nomination from her manager sums up her excellent service:

“Having thoughtful, inclusive and forward-thinking programs at PDX is so important, as is having friendly, knowledgeable and respectful employees like Stephannie bringing those programs to life for our visitors. It’s a great example of the awesome teamwork that takes place at PDX each day!”

Jeffery Fischer
SP Plus Corporation

Jeffery Fischer

Trying to remember where you parked your car is a familiar challenge. Luckily for weary travelers in the PDX economy lot, Jeffery Fischer (he/him) with SP Plus Corporation knows how to help locate your vehicle.

This note was sent in by grateful guests:

“Late on a Friday night, we arrived from our flight, got to the economy parking lot…and realized we didn’t remember where we parked our car! We pressed the emergency button in a bus shelter and within minutes Jeffery Fischer showed up to help.

Jeffery was incredibly courteous as he quickly loaded up our suitcases and then drove us around until we located our vehicle. Thanks to his help, instead of being distraught, we were delighted. He was polite, professional and a credit to your organization. Many, many thanks for his assistance.”

More PDX People Quarterly Award Winners: January – March 2022

Emily Berka (she/her)
Southwest Airlines

Emily impressed a passenger when she handled a frustrated guest: “She was polite, calm and professional. I was amazed at how she maintained her friendly and helpful composure.”

Steven Bradshaw (he/him) and Phil Kudelka (he/him)
CONRAC Solutions

Steven and Phil jumped into action when elevators went out of service, helping guests carry luggage up the stairs.

David Capella (he/him)

David’s great attitude earned him a letter of appreciation from a traveler: “He was an absolute delight during the security process. You’re very lucky to have him.

Brett Latimer (he/him)
Mo’s Seafood and Chowder

Brett noticed a traveler struggling with her bags and stepped up to help by carting her luggage to the gate.

Junior Granville (he/him)

Junior problem-solved for a couple running late for their flight: “Junior made a very unpleasant situation something we can now look back on and smile. He is the best.”

Watch the PDX People customer service awards ceremony:

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