Ticketing mistake sends family to wrong Portland, officer goes extra 3,000 miles to help them get across country

Monday, February 8, 2021
PDX TSA officer

A misguided but well-intentioned travel agent mistakenly books a family of three to the wrong Portland. Instead of landing in Portland, Maine they wind up 3,000 miles from their destination in Portland, Oregon.

What sounded like the plot twist to a screwball comedy was anything but funny, as Portland International Airport (PDX) TSA officer Martin Rios found out when he was called to the checkpoint to interpret for Spanish-speaking passengers.

“Martin is always quick to help out his team members,” said Supervisory TSA officer Kaitlyn Arnold. “He has a very positive attitude and is always smiling. I know I can always count on Martin to be dedicated to the mission.”

Rios learned the family arrived at PDX in Oregon the day before at 7 p.m. and spent the night in the terminal, confused and disheartened. Rios compassionately walked them to the ticket counter and assisted the overwhelmed family in purchasing the correct tickets, booking them from PDX on the west coast to Portland International Jetport on the east coast.

Once Rios learned the family was low on finances, he did something many of us would not even think about, let alone willingly do. He dug into his own pocket and donated funds necessary to get the family to Maine.

“[Rios] is a go getter and the fact that he chose to support these passengers in their time of need was no surprise to both his team and our leadership,” said Senior TSA Manager Jeremy Alanis. “Martin is, and has been since day one, a shining example of what it means to be a team player. [He’s] the kind of officer and person any airport in the country would be proud to have as a member of their team.”

PDX awarded Rios the airport’s Make the Connection Quarterly Award in recognition of his amazing customer service.