Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Transportation Security Officer (TSO) Hector Cintron-Rivera recently received the “Caring Support” award in Philadelphia International Airport's (PHL) Employee Recognition Program. This award recognizes employees who provide exceptional care and services to seniors, families with young children, disabled passengers, and others with special needs.
As a TSO, Cintron-Rivera screens passengers' IDs at the Terminal D/E Security checkpoint, while upholding TSA security safety procedures and requirements. He’s been at PHL since 2019 and works the 4 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. shift.
On his way to work, Cintron-Rivera listens to music for a positive start to his day. He enjoys looking outside the windows at PHL, seeing planes landing and taking off during breaks. He enjoys interacting with passengers and creates a friendly environment by saying ‘good morning’ and ‘have a great day.’
“Our main goal is to ensure that people are safe,” said Cintron-Rivera. “We don’t know why people are traveling. Some are going on vacation for the first time, and others are traveling for work or to attend a funeral of a loved one who passed away. We must be empathetic. We meet people for a few minutes, so we must take advantage of that and leave a good impression in that short time.”
Cintron-Rivera is known for his effectiveness, respect, integrity, courage, prioritizing passenger needs, customer-centrism, teamwork, transcending expectations, and proactive communication.
In her nomination of Cintron-Rivera, passenger Sierra Moran, stated, “I nominated Hector because he helped me after I had a bad anxiety attack after losing my ID, I almost missed my flight. He helped keep me calm and collected and ensured I got where I needed to go. He told me that if I had any problems or missed my flight, I could return to him, and we’d figure it out together. My interaction with him was one of the best interactions I’ve ever had with a stranger. He didn’t make me feel crazy for crying or invalidate my feelings. He just let me be. He was personable, respectful, and caring.”
Cintron-Rivera regularly practices patience while on the job creating a welcoming environment for people with disabilities to have an easier experience and relieve them of any stress. He also uses his fluency in Spanish to translate when needed and enjoys putting a smiling on travelers' faces. Additionally, he’s always quick to solve problems and assist passengers in navigating their way through the airport.
Within the TSA, Cintron-Rivera enjoys camaraderie with his coworkers, who see 10,000-13,000 travelers daily. He finds training new TSOs to be a humbling and rewarding experience. “It’s all about the teamwork,” he said. “We have to be alert. We want to ensure a safe travel environment for everyone. We all rotate in different areas. We always help each other.”
Cintron-Rivera is a professional diver and has dived in Florida, Hawaii, the Caribbean, Puerto Rico, and Isla de Mona. His main driving force is his family, including their three dogs.
“I would like to thank TSA’s management, our instructors, my coworkers, and everyone that helped make me the person I am today,” said Cintron-Rivera. “PHL is one big family. I love this job. It’s amazing. I know that what I do matters. I can make an impact on everyone I see every day.”
The PHL Employee Recognition Program was established by the airport’s Guest Experience (GX) Department. Honorees are nominated by their peers and selected by the GX Council Steering Committee’s Employee Conduct and Recognition Committee. For more information about the program and to nominate an employee, click here.