As the world continues to evolve, so does the role of our Customer Experience Coordinators (CECs). I consider our CECs to be a ray of light in a challenging period. They are consistently out on our trains, making a difference. They create a warm and welcoming feeling for all our passengers daily. I believe that they set the bar high when showing acts of human kindness. In the extreme heat to the cold winters, they make a difference because they unselfishly understand that it is not about them.
I know you want to know more about what makes such a small group awesome. I have not only witnessed the CECs while out on the trains, but I was a CEC before taking this role as a communications specialist. Originally, I was a part of the first fabulous five to hit the trains and platforms connecting with our riders and the community. CECs consistently wear a smile, greet passengers and acknowledge everyone on board, all while staying alert and observing when they need to be of assistance. They carry backpacks with all types of Valley Metro swag such as sunglasses, lip balm, face coverings, pens, flashlights, handheld fans, shirts, shoes, and even water bottles. What they carry in their handy bags changes with the season.
They go the extra mile to contact our less fortunate passengers who may not have the proper attire and give them the items they need to continue their commute. Our model here at Valley Metro is to do “whatever it takes.” If the CECs don't have the items, they contact their fellow CECs to ensure everyone is treated fairly and that fare-paying passengers who follow the rules should not be refused.
Everyone in this diverse and fun group comes with a different background essential to performing the job they do so well. It seems that this program is has been a great help to all of our passengers. Here are a few examples that I've had the pleasure to see with my own eyes.
Kyle is a CEC that we can all learn from. He previously worked with paraplegic kids who played lacrosse. I have witnessed Kyle scanning the train while greeting our passengers, notice a person with a disability who may feel uncomfortable asking another passenger to be courteous and clear the way for them. Kyle will contact any individual in a friendly manner, educate them to consider the passenger with a disability. This is awesome to me because so many times a person with a disability can be overlooked.
Another act of kindness was on one of our many sweltering summer days. Wynita, one of our CECs, noticed an individual without socks or shoes walking on our platforms in intense pain. I know that it must've broken Wynita’s heart to see another human being in such a desperate state. Without any thought or hesitation, Wynita removed the socks from her own feet to help the passenger. After sharing her day with her fellow CECs, they came up with a program called Valley Metro Hatchback Fashions. You can hear more about it on our podcast Storylines. This program has received numerous donations from Valley Metro staff.
Another act of kindness that stands out to me was when there was a missing woman who had a mental health condition. I happened to be on-board that day as she boarded our train. Her behavior stood out and I noticed that she kept referring to herself as a seven-year-old girl looking for her mother. At the point of acknowledging that she needed assistance, it was important for me to connect with this woman and make her comfortable enough with me to trust that I would help her. During our conversation, I was able to connect with security. I also asked if there was a phone number of anyone, I could call for her. This woman could remember her mother’s number. Because I am also a mother, I put myself in her mother’s shoes knowing that she must have been worried. The phone call was made and then I introduced myself and explained that her daughter had boarded one of our trains and that she was safe. Her mother was emotional and cried tears of joy to know that her daughter had been found and all she could say was “God bless you” over and over.
There are so many acts of human kindness that go unspoken daily. It is understood that being a CEC is rewarding. To know that someone’s day can be changed just with our presence is very gratifying. The CECs make it a priority to enhance the lives of everyone that they encounter every day.