Philadelphia International (PHL) and the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau have presented the Five Star Awards to eight employees who took extraordinary measures to help others at the airport.
The awards were distributed at a ceremony at the airport’s International Arrivals Hall as part of National Travel & Tourism Week.
“These employees, who work in a variety of capacities, each exhibited extraordinary people-oriented behavior, care, compassion and skill in a variety of situations,” says CEO Mark Gale. “Their actions underscore the significance of responding to a customer’s needs and the importance of customer service at our airport.”
Carrie Branch, a sales associate for The Paradies Shops in Philadelphia MarketPlace, helped a young man from the military who was traveling to California and didn’t have any money and whose credit card was declined. She withdrew enough cash from a nearby ATM to cover the cost of the man’s items and make sure he had pocket money to see him through his journey until his parents could wire him some money.
Another award winner was actually a group: Bernita Hall, Jaime Neal, Pearl Bolvin and Mustafa Wilson, all ground transportation associates with the Parkway Corp. When a passenger waiting on the SEPTA Airport Rail Line platform at Terminal A fell onto the tracks where a train was scheduled to arrive and was unconscious, the team worked together to stop the train, due in less than five minutes, help revive the man and get him off the tracks.
Rick Dempsey, ADA coordinator for the airport, has organized and executed the Airport Autism Access Program – A Simulated Airport Experience in collaboration with Albert Einstein Medical Center. The program offers children with autism and their families the chance to experience what a flight would be like – including checking their bags, getting their boarding pass, going through security, going to the gate, boarding, taking a simulated flight, landing and retrieving their luggage at baggage claim – in an effort to make it easier for them to fly. There have been five experiences, which are coordinated with the host airline, the Transportation Security Administration, airport public affairs, security and operations, and professionals from Children’s Hospital and Albert Einstein Medical Center.
Stephen Stinson, a wheelchair assistant with Prime Flight Services, helps passengers at the airport with wheelchair service and positive claims operations in Terminals B and C. He motivates others with his attitude and willingness to go the extra mile for his customers and co-workers, and says he treats each customer in a wheelchair as if he or she was part of his own family.
When a man began choking, Joseph Pilling, a customer service agent with US Airways, rushed over and administered the Heimlich Maneuver. On the third attempt, the object blocking the man’s airway was dislodged from the man’s throat. The customer was traveling through the airport a week later and found Pilling, giving him a card signed by his whole family to thank him for saving his life. In addition, local airport management arranged an appreciation luncheon, which the passenger attended.
“These employees’ dedication and commitment to service is an inspiration to all airport employees,” says Gale. “We are very proud of them and thank them for being great people and fine examples to others.”