April 2021 Employee of the Month: TSA officer uses his way with words to help travelers with special needs
To say that TSA Officer Junior Rodriguez has a way with words would be an understatement. While working at MIA’s Concourse J checkpoint in March, he was approached by two passengers who were visibly distressed. When Officer Rodriguez offered to help, he ran into his first challenge: one passenger had a speech impediment and the other was mute. As he tried to gather more information, Rodriguez ran into his next obstacle – their native language was Ukrainian.
Thanks to his quick thinking and savvy with technology, Rodriguez came to the realization that yes, there is an app for this problem too. He whipped out his cellphone, opened his translation app, and was able to find out that the travelers had accidentally come to the airport one day too early. On top of that, they were under a lot of stress because they had gotten lost trying to return their rental car and get to their flight. Rodriguez was able to translate to them the correct date of their flight, calm them down, and let them know the airport had an on-site hotel where they could stay until the next day.
Rodriguez went a step further and walked them from Concourse J to Concourse E where the MIA Hotel was, explained the situation to the hotel’s front desk staff, and helped them receive a discounted rate. But Rodriguez didn’t stop there. He contacted a friend with Turkish Airlines and found out for them when the check-in area would open the next day, and then he was able to contact a friend of the passengers in Ukraine who spoke English and could relay all the information to them.
In recognition of his caring and compassionate customer service, Rodriguez was named MIA’s April 2021 Employee of the Month.