Travelers Aid Customer Service Supervisor Uyai Esset recently received the “Impression Makers” award from Philadelphia International Airport’s (PHL) Employee Recognition Program. This award recognizes customer-facing employees who provide direct customer service to passengers.
As a supervisor, Esset oversees the day-to-day functions of the information desks throughout the airport. She assists passengers by answering any questions they have related to navigating the airport including finding their gate and figuring out the best transportation option for them. Additionally, her responsibilities also include cleaning and restocking the information desk with face masks, magazines, and airport pamphlets. She joined PHL in November 2022, and works the 3:30 - 11:30 p.m. shift.
“I love knowing that I work for a program that shares my values,” said Esset. “I’m Nigerian. I was brought up in my culture to respect others and to work hard in everything I do. It's part of the reason I treat everyone with respect. We should always help those in need if we ourselves are able to do so.”
Esset was nominated by an anonymous passenger who stated, “I had accessed the secure side when I realized that I had forgotten to mail a card to my hosts after a two-week stay in Philadelphia. I asked at the Information Desk between Terminals B and C whether there was a mailbox I could use but was informed that this was not possible. Uyai voluntarily offered to post the card for me the next time she passed a suitable mailbox if the offer would satisfy my requirements in this matter, which I willingly accepted. This immediately lifted my mood. Uyai reacted in a way that was helpful, kind, and generous, which gave me great relief and happiness at the airport. I am very grateful to Uyai.”
Esset loves the airport atmosphere as she learns something new every day. She enjoys seeing that people are always willing to help one another. “We all work together because at the end of the day we all want to make it to our final destination,” she said.
At PHL, Esset starts off her day by doing her first walk through and introducing herself to new volunteers from diverse backgrounds. She also checks in with the morning crew and is informed on additional information.
“Every day, someone tells me how grateful they are for my help,” said Esset. “You never know what people are going through. I think it's best to put your best foot forward. Travelers Aid is here to do exactly what our program is named after. It brings me joy knowing it's not just me who is making someone's day, it's the team I'm surrounded by as well.”
Since joining Travelers Aid, Esset has increased her multi-tasking skills. Working behind the desk has allowed her to handle passengers’ back-to-back questions and a large queue of travelers all while on the phone trying to help someone find their missing passport.
“My coworkers and I are always willing to lend one another a helping hand,” said Esset. “We get people running for connecting flights in a rush and when we're busy we can't always leave the desk for long periods of time to walk them to their gates. When we send them in the direction of their gate, we call the next information desk they’re passing to help further assist them. My coworkers like to say I'm always at the right place at the right time. There was one time I was walking by the Terminal B information desk and an information assistant had a frantic passenger who left her phone on the flight she arrived on. I was able to run to her previous gate, retrieve her phone, even after the aircraft was already cleaned and ready to board the next flight, and bring it to her while she was in line to board her next flight. We tag team a lot of the time.”
Esset has been described as a ball of sunshine. “My energy is always on a high,” she said. “If you ever come across me in the airport, I'm most likely dancing or singing with Starbucks in my hands.”
Esset hopes she can make travelers' experiences at PHL a positive one. “This job is not as easy as it looks, one moment you're just at your station answering questions then the next moment you're assuaging a crying passenger who missed their flight,” said Esset. “I’ve given countless hugs and heard many stories from passengers that just needed to vent. I've helped so many passengers retrieve items from sleep apnea machines to carry-on luggage. This is a job where you get paid to go above and beyond to help those in need. I consider myself lucky to be employed with Travelers Aid International. There's so much more to this job than just sitting behind a desk or walking through the terminals. We're here to listen and to help those in transit.”
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.