Travelers Aid Going Beyond Expectations

This new feature highlights reports of our volunteers and staff members going above and beyond expectations in assisting our passengers.
Community Link Answers Cries for Help with Bus Tickets
Community Link’s Robin Bridges picked up the phone one recent afternoon and heard frantic pleas for help: A mother, fearing for her life.
The woman was in Charlotte, locked in a bathroom, with her abuser screaming outside the locked door. With her three children already safe with a neighbor, the mom was trapped inside the bathroom. Not knowing what else to do, she called her own mom, who lived in Connecticut. Her mother knew to summon help from Community Link in Charlotte. She also called Robin.
After the abuser left the house, the mom fled with her children that day to Community Link’s office. Bridges and Community Link provided four bus tickets for the family’s safe travel to Connecticut. Community Link assisted the family with luggage, snacks, blankets, and coloring books with crayons.
Travelers Aid Finds a Room at the Inn for Texas Man
On a busy April Sunday afternoon at Washington Union Station, an older gentleman approached the on-duty social worker seeking help in finding a reasonably priced hotel room. The man explained that he was going to be in town for a week to attend his sister’s and brother-in-law’s internment at Arlington National Cemetery. He flew into Washington from Texas, but he had not lined up a hotel. He was searching on his iPad for a hotel, but could not contact any. The Travelers Aid social worker consulted the resource books at the desk and found one in Arlington, near the cemetery. She put the man in touch with the hotel. Problems then arose, because the man was using a friend’s credit card rather than his own. After an exchange of phone calls and emails, she was able to secure a reservation for the man. The traveler was very appreciative of Travelers Aid intervention and offered kind words for this organization. As it turned out, he is city councilman in Midland, Texas. 
Travelers Aid Provided a Help Hand Along the Way in Chicago
A Travelers Aid volunteer at Chicago O’Hare escorted a visibly distraught woman to the Travelers Aid office to get additional assistance from a social worker. The woman had landed at the airport and was awaiting a 9 p.m. connecting flight to Springfield to spend time with her dying father. While waiting on the connecting flight, she received a phone call from her father’s hospice indicating that he may die before her scheduled departure. The woman initially wanted to rent a car to make the drive, but the social worker felt she was not in a condition to drive. Instead, the social worker explored both rail and bus options. The social worker assisted the woman in getting a 5 p.m. Amtrak reservation, which would arrive in Springfield by 8 pm. and provided her with detailed instructions on how to take a city transit bus to Union Station. She made it to Springfield in time.
Will Rogers Volunteer Provides Extra Service to Abuse Victim
Travelers Aid volunteer Carolyn Waterman assisted domestic violence victim, Brianna, when she arrived at Will Rogers World Airport. Brianna arrived at the airport with nothing but the clothes on her back. She was flying home to her family in California to escape a dangerous relationship. Carolyn worked with Delta and the Military Welcome Center to print her boarding pass and secure personal hygiene products. Travelers Aid partnered with TSA to help Brianna through security. Brianna arrived safely in California reuniting with her support system.
Travelers Aid Volunteer Provides a Calming Presence
A visibly upset gentleman approached Travelers Aid volunteer Beth Cutting in the departures area of Bradley International Airport. Having just returned from a cruise, he was upset when he could not get in touch with his mother. Beth escorted the man to the Travelers Aid booth so he could charge his phone. She stayed with him until he connected with his mother and then calmed down. Beth was a huge comfort and a calming presence for this passenger and she was able to tend to him so he could make the final part of his journey home without incident. 
Travelers Aid Facilitates a Three-Language Conversation
Travelers Aid Dulles Volunteers Sarika Srivastava and Gary Waxmonsky provided directions and language assistance to two individuals emerging from the Federal Inspection Station. The first, from Romania, sought directions to the gate for his connecting flight. While the pair began to break through the language barrier, a second traveler, this one from China, asked for help to find his connecting, but different flight. So even though no one spoke the same language, the volunteers used an audio translation app and Goggle Translate to guide them to their respective gates.
The Romanian traveler used Sarika’s phone to reach his daughter to let her know he was successfully navigating the airport and airlines on his journey to her.
Reagan Volunteer Navigates Unusual Rental Car Return
A Travelers Aid volunteer at Reagan National Airport interceded with an airline and the police for a traveler who was nearly late for her flight. Volunteer Carolyn Myles handled multiple calls from the husband and wife as she was driving to the airport. One of the last calls from the husband explained that his wife had arrived and left the car at the curb of the Ticketing level with the keys still in the car as she rushed to the gate to board her flight. After this news, Carolyn spoke with a police officer, and together they located the car. In the next call, Carolyn learned that the woman was trying to deplane her flight so she could properly care for her rental car. Carolyn returned to the car to have another conversation with the police officer when the woman showed up. The husband was so very grateful for all of Carolyn’s legwork and help that he sent the following text: “Carolyn, I cannot thank you enough for your generosity and help with this matter. You were very kind to help.”