Q: What is it like serving as a DSW in the Airport’s Travel Well Ambassador Program?
A: I joined the TWA Program in September and served most actively in September and October. When I first started as a TWA, I was anxious because since we moved to 674, I haven’t been to the terminals as often as before, when our ITT offices were located in the 575 SFO Business Center. Brian Poole was helpful and organized a very detailed tour of the terminals. Theresa Perofeta, from the Guest Services Team, took us through the terminals for more than an hour! It gave me confidence. After the tour, we each received a small card with useful phone numbers and terminal details. Now I feel comfortable with this assignment.
Q: Any memorable moments you’d like to share?
A: TWAs are not only helping ensure people wear facial covering and physically distance. We also help with customer service. My memorable moments involve people having challenges navigating. I remember once a lady asked me how to get to the Caltrain station in five minutes. I knew it was impossible, but she was eager to catch the next Caltrain to Palo Alto; otherwise, she would have waited more than an hour for the train! She ended up looking up options – the BART, or the bus. The BART would have made her late, but with my little cheat sheet, I was able to direct her to the bus stop on the Arrivals level. Luckily, she was able to catch the bus and be on her way.
When I’m stationed at the AirTrain platform, I encounter a lot of confused passengers too, mostly with a language barrier. One time, I approached a passenger, and they were surprised to find out that I speak Chinese. While helping them, I found out that some passengers taking United to go to China need to stay overnight, then quarantine for 14 days. It must be hard. I sympathize with passengers because in a lot of cases, they’ve been waiting for months to go back home. This happened to my cousin in New York, who waited a long time to fly to LA in order to travel to Guangzhou.
There are lighthearted encounters as well, like the time I helped someone in Terminal 2. His biggest concern was he had a bottle and wanted to pass through security. They asked me if there was a place to have a drink before their flight and I said yes. They were so happy. It was good to be able to let someone know they can still enjoy the terminal offerings.
My oddest memory, though, was with a lady again in Terminal 2. I noticed she was wandering around, a little upset. At first, it seemed like she was looking for Garage G/A. I gave her directions, but she was still not having a good time. Then she shared she felt unwell – her tooth was hurting, and she had a headache. I’m sure it didn’t help that she was lost. I offered to accompany her to Garage G, and that’s when it got even odder. When we arrived at Garage G, she said she needed to get to Frontier, so we went to International Terminal Frontier ticket counter. Then she wanted to go back to the garage! Finally, she made a call. I ended up talking to the person on the phone. Turns out she was at the Airport to pick up someone’s car in Garage G who happened to fly Frontier. At the end, she offered me a tip, which of course I declined and made sure to let her know it’s part of my job. Talk about an adventure!
Q: What do you take away from the experience?
A: I’m happy for this program. I feel part of the Airport community again. I now know all the concessions that are open and it’s good to know this information, especially after being in 674 – it’s hard to keep up with what is going on in the terminal.