“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”— Fred McNeely Rogers / Television Host of Mister Rogers Neighborhood
As we navigate these uncertain times, the folksy wisdom of Mister Roger rings as true as ever. And while the medical and health professionals who have risked their lives at the front lines against COVID-19 rightly deserve our undying gratitude, I find myself thinking more and more of the countless other helpers who keep us in provisions and sanitary conditions, and who take care of us at great risk to themselves.
Last month, as I sheltered with my family in Lima, I gained a newfound appreciation of the delivery drivers who restocked the tiny bodega across the street every few hours with eggs, vegetables, fruits, milk, and other daily supplies. I found myself grateful for the tireless bakers down the street, as their crunchy chewy ciabatta, fragrant tamales, and coconut macaroons marked moments of joy and nourishment around our family’s table. And each night, the sound of hydraulic brakes reminded me Lima’s trash collectors were about, at great risk to themselves, as they removed the day’s refuse for the benefit of the rest of us.
And that got me thinking of my own Exito colleagues who have stepped in to help so many in a time of great need and stress. Their tireless work on behalf of our travelers around the world these last weeks has been nothing less than extraordinary.
Our sales, operations, and ticketing teams worked round the clock in March and April shepherding hundreds of frantic travelers safely home as borders slammed shut across the globe and re-accommodating thousands more whose plans had suddenly changed. Putting aside Exito’s own existential crisis, they prioritized the safety and well being of our travelers and partners: changing, rebooking and refunding flights by the thousands and fiercely advocating on their behalf with the airlines.
I’ve never been more proud of our team or felt luckier to be part of this family. It seems I’m not alone. Below are a few of the gratifying notes we’ve received from travelers in the weeks since COVID-19 changed the world:
“You have an angel amongst you. We are deeply grateful for the wonderful service, care, and attention provided by Gina Bumpas, International Airfare Specialist. Gina went above and beyond during a very trying and stressful time as we worked to get our daughter back to the USA from Antarctica. She was steadfast, reassuring, and worked diligently on our behalf. She even emailed us early this morning when our daughter landed in New York. We have no doubt that Gina and the whole Exito team are facing unprecedented challenges during this historic period of human history. In light of these circumstances, Gina was a godsend.”— Jesse and Jodi King
“Thank you, Roswitha!!!! You are amazing. Just as we applaud our doctors and nurses we are applauding our flight saviors too!”— BA Cultural Concierge
“Leo, you are the hero of the day, week, month and who knows how much longer.— Peggy Glick
Gothome to Seattle last night after that exhausting, but efficient flight plan you arranged. The flights to Newark and to Seattle had but a handful of people aboard. Thank you for being so pro-active.”
“Thanks SO much, Suzanne for all you have done for the PRATHER’s. They ARE SO GRATEFUL TO YOU for all you have done and wanted me to please THANK YOU VERY MUCH. In fact, they said they love us both 🙂 Thanks a ton, Suzanne!”— Nadia / Africa Easy
“Thanks so much— Vlad / Expeditions Trips
Chrystal! You are my hero and I will sleep so much better tonight. Have a wonderful evening!”
“You all are heroes along with the medical staff unselfishly serving our population. I apologize for those who are unkind or rude or unforgiving. They are on their own journey and hopefully, life’s teachers will awaken them to who they really are… Thinking of you and hoping you are good!”— Mary Anne DeLapp / Thomson Safaris
“I have to say, the way you managed this whole situation has been fantastic. You really worked for us to get to the best solution. You have DEFINITELY gained a customer for life. Thanks again for all of your help with this and my hope is you are able to bounce back. During these times, both my husband and I are beyond thankful.”— Sheila / a Global Basecamps traveler
“First let me say that you have been the one person who has remained helpful throughout this whole process, from booking our original travel plans, keeping us updated as flights changed and now through this worldwide crisis…I really appreciate all you have done to make the best of all of this. I sincerely hope that you do not go out of business. Good people like you are hard to find. Thank you again for your help.“— Jack Miller / WWII Museum Traveler
“I can now see why I should always book with you folks………..thanks for your help.”— Michael Browner