The Tale of Two TSAs -Seeing the Extraordinary in Unlikely Places.

Small gestures of kindness go a long way, even in the security line.

Chattrawutt Hanjukkam / EyeEm/ Getty Images

I just returned home to Chile from a two-week family vacation in the US with my wife and two-year-old daughter. There is nothing relaxing about 10 hour international flights, going through TSA with five bags, a stroller, and baby food that you know is going to have your bag pulled at every scanner; but what is amazing is how a few employees’ actions can transform your experience.

There is nothing relaxing about 10 hour international flights, going through TSA with five bags, and a stroller; but what is amazing is how a few employees’ actions can transform your experience.

There is always a bit of anxiety that gets stirred up being stared down by a blank faced Airport Security Officer robotically repeating (remove your laptop, water, shoes and belts off….) as you fumble through your things with the line building behind you. It was a complete surprise when the TSA team in Cincinnati, Ohio, completely humanized our experience, especially after being held up for twenty+ minutes, grilled over the baby food, and then given a full search two days prior in Burlington, Vermont (airport with maybe 8 gates).

We entered the security line in Cincinnati and the tall smiling TSA agent saw our daughter and directed us to a family line about ten minutes shorter than the normal line. When we got to the scanner, he helped my wife fold the stroller while joking with my daughter about her stuffed giraffe named Buddy. He held Buddy on the other side of the scanner, making faces, freeing my wife to walk through the scanner with ease. The same baby food that warranted a full search in Vermont, passed with ease. As I repacked our things on the other side and walked over to my daughter, she screamed “Papa look!” with her hand in the air proudly displaying a sticker of a kitten given to her by a lady on the Cincinnati TSA team.

Before going to our gate, I walked back to security and thanked the entire team for bringing humanity back to the security experience! The tall gentleman smiled and said “Here in Cincinnati we try and use common sense in how we treat people!” Thank you Cincinnati TSA!

It is the warm smiles, small gestures and attitudes that create our cultures and our customer experiences. It is all around us… we just need to take a little time to see it!
When we take time to see it… people tend to show more of it!

Today, Choose to See the Extraordinary.
Look for that person in your office, home, or community that makes your day a little brighter and let them know. Maybe it is the security guard who says good morning with a smile, the coworker who always asks if you want coffee before going to the cafeteria, or the person on your staff who always lets you know about great new places to eat in your city. The next time you see them, let them know the difference their actions make on your day. You may just make their day by letting them know how much they made yours!

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