A passenger in need of assistance traveling through New Mexico’s Albuquerque International Sunport (ABQ), approached a group of officers but he was unable to communicate the request because of a language barrier.
TSA Officer (TSO) Mashell Fleming did not let that obstacle stop her. She escorted the passenger to the checkpoint to see if one of her peers could assist with translation.
“He was making gestures because there was a language barrier,” recalled TSO Rebecca Maloy who was also attempting to help.
TSO Piergiorgio Nurra, was passing by on his way to break when he stopped by the podium where his peers gathered and offer assistance.
“TSO Piergiorgio has an history of successfully finding ways to communicate with international travelers," said TSA New Mexico’s Assistant Federal Security Director of Screening Stephen Felty.
This situation was no different. Nurra quickly learned that the man spoke Italian and was a refugee from Turkey. “He was saying he was very cold but didn’t have a jacket or something to keep him warm,” said Maloy.
Nurra initially suggested that the man request a blanket from the flight attendant once he gets on board the plane but felt the need to stop by the Thunderbird Souvenir Store, and purchased a hoodie for the man to wear.
“We put the hoodie on the gentleman and he went onto the boarding gate area,” said Maloy. The gentleman started to cry.”
“That’s what kind of guy he is,” said Supervisory TSA officer Adam Sena. “This display of compassion literally had people in tears.”
This is the kind of customer service that builds trust and respect for our institution over the long run noted leadership.
“What’s most impressive is that TSO Nurra is so humble, we heard about it from his peer group,” said Felty. “For him, this is just an everyday act of compassion. It’s how he lives his life. For the rest of us, it was a great display of humility and customer service.”
By TeaNeisha Barker, TSA Strategic Communications & Public Affairs